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Canada Will Pay Up to $4,830 for Firearms Under Mandatory Buyback Program – Minister

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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The Canadian government announced its buyback plan will give up to C$6,209 (US$4,830) for firearms as it moves to impose stricter legislation on the possession of rifles, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said on Thursday.

“Today’s proposed price list represents another step towards getting these dangerous firearms out of Canadian communities while ensuring current owners are compensated fairly,” Mendicino said in a press release.

The government mandatory buyback program will compensate residents $1,042 for an AR-15 rifle and $4,830 for weapons such as the Swiss made SG550 rifle, he said.

The government will hold a consultation period until August 28 during which time businesses and gun owners are requested to express their views on the proposed compensation amounts.

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Canada Police Charge Two for Murder of Acquitted Suspect in 1985 Air India Bombing – RCMP

In 2020, the Canadian government amended the country’s Criminal Code to ban the purchase and ownership of several types of firearms such as the AR-15 and other rifles.

The authorities gave Canadians who lawfully possessed or acquired the newly banned weapons a “grace period” until the end of October 2023 to hand in their firearms to the government.

In addition, in May 2022, the federal government introduced Bill C-21 which, besides banning assault rifles, proposes prohibiting the possession of handguns. On June 23, it completed the second reading in parliament.



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India’s HIV patients say shortages leaving hundreds of thousands without drugs | Global development

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Hundreds of thousands of people living with HIV in India are struggling to access treatment because of a shortage of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, according to campaigners.

Up to 500,000 people have not been able to get hold of free ARVs from government health centres and hospitals over the past five months, they say, as the country experiences stock shortages of key drugs.

ARVs that are available in privately run pharmacies and shops can be prohibitively expensive. Some people have been given alternative drugs, but others have stopped taking any medication.

“Does the government even realise that at least 500,000, or one-third of the patients, are affected by this? Some adults are being given 11 doses of paediatric medicine to compensate,” said Loon Gangte, president of the Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+), an NGO that works to improve the treatment and facilities for people living with HIV and Aids. “We only demand an uninterrupted monthly supply. This treatment is our right.”

According to Gangte, who has been protesting with about 30 others outside India’s National Aids Control Organisation (Naco) in Delhi for 22 days, at least 12 other states, including Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab, are facing ARV shortages. He said several state governments have asked patients to change their longstanding drug regimes.

“The [Covid-19] pandemic had already broken our backs. Now this shortage is pushing us further into penury,” Gangte said.

Kedar Nath, a 30-year-old street vendor taking part in the protest, said he has not taken his ARVs on several occasions over the past two months. He cannot afford the £50 a month it would cost to buy the drugs on the open market.

“I have been taking these drugs for the last 13 years. They have helped me continue with my life despite the virus in my body. But the recent shortage has turned my life upside down since I can neither find the strength to work, nor have any savings to live off,” he said.

According to government figures, 2.35 million people in India are HIV-positive. About 1.5 million people are on antiretroviral therapy, far lower than the World Health Organization’s “90-90-90 target” – under which 90% of people with HIV are diagnosed, 90% are on ARV treatment, and 90% are no longer infectious.

India says it aims to end the HIV epidemic by 2030. In 2019, an estimated 58,900 Aids-related deaths were reported in the country.

The government has refuted Gangte’s claims of a shortage. The Indian health ministry said it had “reviewed the entire situation and held a series of meetings with the protesters. ARV drugs are being provided for [a] duration of less than one month, but at no point in time has there been any shortage of drugs for any of the PLHIV [patients living with HIV]. There is adequate stock nationally for 95% PLHIV.”

Naco did not wish to comment. However, in a letter seen by the Guardian that was dated 30 May, Naco asked all state Aids prevention and control societies, which oversee HIV testing and treatment in each state, to switch to other regimes “to tide through the crisis situation as an interim arrangement”.

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J&J Stops Global Sales of Scandalous Talc-Based Powder After 130 Years

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Once one of its top products for families, J&J’s talc-based powder has been haunted by claims of causing cancer in recent years even as the company consistently denied what it has called rumors and “misinformation”.

Johnson & Johnson has announced it will be ceasing the sales of its talc-based powder, two years after stopping them in the US and Canada, after keeping it in its product line for 130 years. The company will be replacing the product with a cornstarch-based powder.

“As part of a worldwide portfolio assessment, we have made the commercial decision to transition to an all cornstarch-based baby powder portfolio,” the company’s statement said.

The J&J talc-based powder has been at the epicenter of several lawsuits claiming it caused ovarian cancer due to the presence of a known cancer-causing material – asbestos. However, the company has repeatedly denied these allegations, despite losing $3.5 billion in these lawsuits.

As the firm announced the retirement of the talc-based powder, it once again repeated its long-held position on the controversial product’s safety.

“Our position on the safety of our cosmetic talc remains unchanged. We stand firmly behind the decades of independent scientific analysis by medical experts around the world that confirms talc-based Johnson’s baby powder is safe, does not contain asbestos, and does not cause cancer,” the statement said.

Apart from losing a number of lawsuits, J&J faced tough questions following a 2018 Reuters investigation, which claimed the company knew about the asbestos contamination since at least 1971 but failed to act on it. As the veins of asbestos are often found in talc deposits, the extracted talc used to make the powder can be contaminated with the cancer-causing mineral.

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Pay Up: Supreme Court Rejects J&J’s Request to Appeal $2 Bln Verdict in Talc Cancer Case
Despite continuing to maintain its innocence, J&J stopped selling talc-based powder in the US and Canada in 2020, citing the harm done to the sales by the “misinformation” about its safety. However, the company continued to distribute it around the world alongside the cornstarch-based alternative, which will now completely substitute it.



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Drug traffickers terrorize Mexico’s Ciudad Juárez: Shootings, Molotov cocktails and murder | International

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The Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez in Chihuahua descended into chaos on Thursday as drug traffickers carried out sweeping attacks on convenience stores, gas stations and buses. State authorities have not yet identified a link between the attacks, but the surge of violence has been linked to a prison riot that left three inmates dead.

A few hours after the riot, groups of armed men were filmed throwing Molotov cocktails and firing at well-known local food chains, such as Rapiditos Bip-Bip, OXXO, CircleK and Del Río, which is owned by Alejandra de la Vega, one of the richest businesswomen in Chihuahua.

Security forces outside one of the convenience stores that was attacked on Thursday, in Ciudad Juárez.
Security forces outside one of the convenience stores that was attacked on Thursday, in Ciudad Juárez.JOSE LUIS GONZALEZ (REUTERS)

Around 5pm, two women were killed in an OXXO convenience store in the southeast of the city after assailants threw Molotov cocktails at the building, which was instantly engulfed in flames. According to the local newspaper Diario de Juárez, which cites municipal authorities, the victims were an OXXO employee and another young woman who had come to ask for work.

The attackers also threw Molotov cocktails at another OXXO, at the cross-section of Ejercito Nacional and Manuel Gómez Morín, but the workers managed to escape safely. In a Circle K store, a group of armed men fired at four people, injuring a 15-year-old teenager who was taken to a hospital. Later, employees of a Del Río convenience store were beaten and shot at, with one man injured in the attack, according to local press. The armed gang also threw Molotov cocktails and fired at a gas station located at the intersection of San Antonio and Gómez Morín street. Authorities said no attempts were made to rob the attacked premises.

In a pizza store, belonging to the Little Caesar chain, four men were shot dead. Authorities reported that the assailants also set fire to a bus transporting workers to a maquiladora, a type of factory in Mexico run by a foreign company. The women were able to flee the vehicle before it was consumed by flames.

A man hugs his children, who were visiting a family member in prison when the riot began.
A man hugs his children, who were visiting a family member in prison when the riot began.JOSE LUIS GONZALEZ (REUTERS)

“I deeply regret the loss of human lives in this heinous event against Ciudad Juarez,” said Chihuahua Governor Maru Campos in a Twitter message. “I condemn the violent events that occurred this afternoon. I reiterate my commitment to work with all my strength and capabilities to guarantee the well-being of the people of Juarez,” she added. This was the first official statement after six hours of attacks.

EL PAÍS contacted the Chihuahua prosecutor’s office to gain more information about the violence, but received no reply. In response to the attacks, the University of Ciudad Juárez canceled classes on Thursday and will hold all academic activities scheduled for Friday and Saturday online.

Thursday’s attacks have become part of daily life in the border city of Ciudad Juárez, which has been besieged by violence for decades. According to Diario de Juárez, before the afternoon chaos, a decapitated head was found in the city. “It is the second decapitated head found in less than 24 hours,” the newspaper reported. And in another part of the city, in the Paraje de Oriente neighborhood, a man was riddled with bullets while fleeing from his attackers. “This is the 49th intentional homicide of the month of August,” wrote the newspaper. In Ciudad Juárez, a city of a million and a half inhabitants, almost five people a day have been killed in August alone.

The violence in Ciudad Juárez comes just a few days after drug traffickers terrorized the states of Jalisco and Guanajuato. The armed groups burned cars, trucks and businesses, and also blocked several highways after the Mexican government tried to arrest two alleged leaders of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), one of the most powerful drug organizations in Mexico.

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