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LA MALBAIE, Quebec, June 9, 2018 (News Wires) - President Donald Trump charged into the Group of Seven summit at odds with allies over US trade penalties and then tried to ease tensions with friendly banter. He has made vague claims of progress in talks about the new tariffs, but details are scant and clear differences remain.

Other countries "have been taking advantage of the United States on trade," Trump said, laying out his fundamental grievance as he joined leaders of major industrialized nations assembled at a Canadian resort for the annual meeting.

He stirred things up even more by suggesting the G-7 welcome back Russia, ousted from the group after it annexed Crimea.

Trump on Saturday planned to attend a morning event focused on gender equality before departing for Singapore and his summit Tuesday with North Korea's Kim Jong Un. The president intended to skip G-7 sessions on climate change, clean energy and ocean protection.

Trump's recent moves, building on 18 months of nationalist policymaking, have left him out of step with the G-7 and prompted speculation that the group could fracture into something more like the "G-6 plus one."

But in meetings with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron, Trump stressed his friendships with the allies while insisting he wanted to see changes on trade.

Trump bantered easily with Trudeau, joking that Trudeau had "agreed to cut all tariffs and all trade barriers." And he emphasized a "good relationship" with Macron, saying they sometimes have a "little test" on trade, but predicting a positive outcome.

Still, the disputes hardly faded away.


MONTREAL, June 9, 2018 (News Wires) - Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, under pressure to clean up his act after a string of crashes and costly errors, kept his nose clean, clocking the fastest time in both free practice sessions for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Verstappen, who started from the rear of the grid at the Monaco Grand Prix after a crash in final practice, offered the promise of something much better in Montreal, taking full advantage of an upgraded power unit to put down two polished performances on the 2.7 mile (4.34 km) sun-splashed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

The young Dutchman clocked the best time of the day in the afternoon session, one minute, 12.198 seconds, ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull team mate and Monaco Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo.

“Today was a good day, the car is working very well. We did not really change a lot initially and that’s always a good sign and gives you hope,” said Verstappen. “I think we looked quite competitive and it was a positive start to the weekend.

“So far everything went well and I have a good feeling.”

Mercedes’ championship leader Lewis Hamilton, chasing a record equalling seventh Canadian Grand Prix win, was fourth best ahead of his Ferrari championship rival Sebastian Vettel and team mate Valtteri Bottas.

If Hamilton is to secure what would be a record seventh pole in Canada on Saturday the Briton will have to squeeze more out an engine that is at the end of its life, running in a seventh race while going against his Red Bull and Ferrari rivals who will have upgraded power units.

“It’s such a fun track to drive and we didn’t have any problems, I really enjoyed it,” said Hamilton, who claimed his first career Grand Prix victory in Montreal and has won the last three straight races on the island circuit. “Straight out of the box today I think we started right with the car set-up.”

After a miserable start to the season Romain Grosjean finally gave his Haas F1 Team a reason to smile, clocking the seventh best time.

Verstappen was also able to crack a smile at the end of the day having answered his critics with a smooth error-free effort to not only top a practice session for the first time this season, but do it twice.

Formula One’s youngest race winner arrived in Montreal under attack from all corners, after an incident-filled start to the season that has seen the 20-year-old reach the podium once in six races while Ricciardo has recorded a pair of wins.

BRUSSELS, June 8, 2018 (News Wires) - US Defence Secretary James Mattis on Friday welcomed efforts by European Nato members and Canada to boost their defence spending, striking a conciliatory tone after months of tough talk from Washington.

The thorny question of “burden sharing” — who foots the bill for defending Europe — loomed large at a meeting of Nato defence ministers in Brussels, but announcements of increased European spending, particularly by Germany, look to have at least eased tensions with Washington.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly taken aim at European countries, particularly Germany, for not spending enough on defence, accusing them of leaving the United States to shoulder an unfair burden in Nato.

Currently only three European countries are meeting a pledge made at the Nato summit in 2014 to spend two per cent of GDP on defence — Britain, Greece and Estonia.

But alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg announced European Nato members and Canada are on course to increase their defence spending by 3.82 per cent this year — the fourth consecutive annual rise.

This, coupled with the news that Germany is increasing its military budget by three billion euros next year, and will have boosted it by 80 per cent by 2024, have gone down well with the Pentagon chief, who hailed “significant progress” by the alliance.

“Last year we... saw the largest cross-Nato increase in military spending in a quarter century,” Mattis said after two days of talks with the 28 other Nato defence ministers.

“Many allies are making investments beyond the monetary aspect of the Wales pledge, answering secretary general Stoltenberg’s call to provide ‘cash and capabilties and contributions.”

The two-day meeting at Nato’s new headquarters came with the US and Europe at loggerheads over a range of key international issues, from new US tariffs on steel and aluminium to Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord.

French Defence Minister Florence Parly told AFP that European countries and Canada had chosen to keep a lid on their unhappiness about these issues in order to ensure successful preparations for the July 11-12 Nato summit.

“We prepared the best we can for the summit, which everyone knows will take place under tension,” Parly said.

“We know how strong these tensions are.”

Several ministers are understood to have shared their concerns with Mattis over the way the Trump administration has treated its European allies, particularly the fact that “national security” was used as justification for hitting steel and aluminium imports with tariffs.

TORONTO, May 25, 2018 (News Wires) - An explosion caused by an "improvised explosive device" ripped through an Indian restaurant in a mall in the suburb of Mississauga, wounding 15 people, Canadian police said.

Peel Region Sergeant Matt Bertram said two suspects with their faces covered to conceal their identity entered the Bombay Bhel restaurant late Thursday, dropped the device and fled. "We have no indication to call it a hate crime or any kind of terrorism act," Bertram said.

Peel Region paramedic Joe Korstanje said three people suffered critical injuries and were taken to the hospital while the remaining 12 victims suffered what he described as minor and superficial injuries. Police later updated the condition of the three critically injured patients to stable.

The explosion happened just after 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, and the plaza where the restaurant is located was still sealed off on Friday. Television footage showed an injured woman limping away from the restaurant.


VICTORIA, Canada, May 16, 2018 (News Wires) - The Royal B.C. Museum has had its share of blockbuster exhibitions, and the upcoming Egypt: The Time of Pharaohs is the equal of any of them, says museum chief executive Jack Lohman. “It’s one of the greatest shows, I think, this museum has ever put on.”

The exhibition opens on Friday and continues until Dec. 31. The film Mysteries of Egypt will play at the Imax Victoria Theatre throughout the run.

Victoria is the show’s only scheduled Canadian stop, but it has some American destinations and interest has been expressed by a museum in Sydney, Australia.

Lohman said the ancient Egyptian civilization the show depicts “marks the dawn of the human spirit” and has been unveiled through the work of generations of archeologists.

The first section of the exhibit delves into the Nile River, considered the civilization’s lifeline. Lohman said the show looks not just at those in power, but at many other facets of life in ancient Egypt.

“When you think of ancient Egypt, you think of these great pyramids, you think of the Sphinx, you think of granite obelisks — all these monuments,” Lohman said. “Well, it wasn’t practical to bring these monumental pieces here.

“But what we have done is we’ve brought 330 absolutely exquisite pieces from some of the finest archeological collections.”

The artifacts on display provide a special look at the past, Lohman said.

He said they are “vestiges of history” that cover a large time span, and there is a sense of intimacy from being so close to them.

Wafaa El Saddik, former director the Egyptian Museum of Cairo, also pointed to the varied overview of the civilization.

“It has many different aspects,” she said. “The exhibition is unique because it’s showing the life of the ancient Egyptian, not only the very famous objects of the pharaohs and the queens, but also the daily life of the ancient Egyptian — how the Nile affected this great civilization. “You have here a history of 3,500 years.”

El Saddik said the fact that many museums around the world have Egypt collections made it relatively easy to get the needed artifacts together.

Content for the exhibition comes from four key collections contained at the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, the Roemer- und Pelizaeus-Museum in Hildesheim, Germany, the Gustav Lübcke Museum in Hamm, Germany, and the University Museum of Aberdeen in Scotland.

The largest portion of the content is from the Hildesheim facility, El Saddik said.

Six pharaohs are being featured, including Hatshepsut, one of the few women who rose to the position. A 3,500-year-old, 790-kilogram sandstone bust of her is among the show’s highlights.

Also on exhibit is a 4,000-year-old wooden coffin that belonged to an official named Nakht. Museum-goers can visit a replica tomb, as well.

The show opening coincides with the annual B.C. Museums Week, a celebration of museums, art galleries and other institutions around the province.

CAIRO, May 13, 2018 (MENA) - Canadian projects in Egypt seek providing support to Egyptian women in the field of entrepreneurship through capitalizing on advanced and modern technological means, said Canada's Ambassador to Egypt Jess Dutton on Sunday.

The current contributions of the women in entrepreneurship represent 21 percent, while men account for 40 percent, the ambassador added.

"The embassy, in cooperation with its partners like the National Council for Women, is working on removing all hindrances crippling women's progress in the entrepreneurship domain," ambassador Dutton said while addressing a symposium held by the Egyptian Center For Economic Studies (ECES).

He pointed out to launching a number of programs, in cooperation with authorities concerned, to back entrepreneurship and offer financial support with a view to boosting equality between men and women.

Co-organized by the Canadian embassy in Cairo, Sunday's symposium launches an Egyptian woman's entrepreneurship guide.

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