Loading articles...

RCMP flouted internet policy; U.S. shooting leaves 10 dead: In The News for March 23

Last Updated Mar 23, 2021 at 2:30 am MDT

Police work on the scene outside of a King Soopers grocery store where a shooting took place Monday, March 22, 2021, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of March 23 …

What we are watching in Canada …

An internal review says the RCMP routinely flouted its own policies when gathering information from the internet, potentially endangering investigations and prosecutions.

The newly released audit report says many members across the RCMP use “open source information” in the course of investigations, intelligence gathering, research and engaging with the public.

The national police force’s efforts in the open-source realm range from passive online reading to creation of fake social media accounts.

A section of the Mountie operational manual provides a framework for the collection and use of open source material.

However, the audit found that many employees were unaware that an open-source policy existed or that it applied to their activities.

Overall, the reviewers concluded that internet-related open-source activities conducted across the RCMP “were not consistent nor compliant with” the operational policy.

In a response included in the report, RCMP management agreed with recommendations to improve compliance with policy, training and oversight concerning open-source information.

Also this …

A report by advocates for Canadian inmates is criticizing the rising rates of incarceration in at least two provincial jail systems amid the continuing pandemic.

About a year after the first COVID-19 cases emerged in Ontario jails, the update by the Prison Pandemic Partnership says the risk to inmates increases when there is less space.

The partnership — which includes the Centre for Access to Information and Justice, the Criminalization and Punishment Education Project and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association — estimates that more than 7,000 cases of COVID-19 have been linked to Canadian jails and prisons, including over 5,000 infections among prisoners.

It says at the outset of the pandemic, from March through June last year, prison populations across the country fell in an effort to increase the space available and enable physical distancing. 

However, the study used Statistics Canada data to show that most provincial and territorial jail systems started to put more people back in jail over the summer.

By September last year, incarceration rates had gone back up — though still remaining below pre-pandemic levels — in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

A shooting at a Colorado supermarket killed 10 people Monday, including a police officer who was the first to respond to the scene, authorities said.

Police arrested a suspect, but didn’t reveal his name or any details about the shooting at an evening news conference where Boulder police Chief Maris Herold fought back tears.

Investigators had just begun sorting through evidence and witness interviews and didn’t have details on a motive for the shooting at the King Soopers store in Boulder, which is about 25 miles (40 kilometres) northwest of Denver and home to the University of Colorado, said Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty.

“This is a tragedy and a nightmare for Boulder County,” Dougherty said. “These were people going about their day, doing their shopping. I promise the victims and the people of the state of Colorado that we will secure justice.”

The attack was the seventh mass killing this year in the U.S., following the March 16 shooting that left eight people dead at three Atlanta-area massage businesses, according to a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University.

It follows a lull in mass killings during the pandemic in 2020, which had the smallest number of such attacks in more than a decade, according to the database, which tracks mass killings defined as four or more dead, not including the shooter.

The slain officer was identified as Eric Talley, 51, who had been with Boulder police since 2010, Herold said. He went to the store after a call about shots fired and someone carrying a rifle, she said.

“He was by all accounts one of the outstanding officers of the Boulder Police Department, and his life was cut too short,” Dougherty said of Talley.

Identities of the other nine victims were not disclosed Monday night as police were still notifying their family members.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

President Vladimir Putin said he will get a coronavirus vaccine shot on Tuesday, several months after widespread vaccination started in Russia.

Kremlin opponents have criticized Putin for not getting vaccinated amid a comparatively slow rollout of the shot in Russia, arguing that his reluctance is contributing to the already extensive hesitance about the vaccine. Russia, where only 4.3% of the 146-million population have received at least one dose, lags behind a number of countries in terms of the vaccination rate.

Surveys by Russia’s top independent pollster Levada Center have shown that a number of Russians reluctant to get vaccinated with Sputnik V has grown in recent months — to 62% in February from 58% in December. The Kremlin has said it doesn’t see a connection between Putin not getting vaccinated and public trust in the Russian COVID-19 vaccine.

Putin, 68, told a meeting with government officials and vaccine developers on Monday that he will get his shot “tomorrow,” without specifying which coronavirus vaccine out of the three authorized for use in Russia he will take.

Russian authorities have given regulatory approval to three domestically developed shots. Sputnik V has been approved last August with much fanfare at home and criticism abroad, because at the time it had only been tested on a few dozen people.

But a recent study published in British medical journal The Lancet showed the Sputnik V is 91% effective and appears to prevent inoculated individuals from becoming severely ill with COVID-19, although it’s still unclear if the vaccine can prevent the spread of the disease.

On this day in 1944 …

Montreal Canadiens forward Maurice Richard scored all five goals in a 5-1 Stanley Cup playoff win over Toronto.

In entertainment …

Canadian actor Sandra Oh gave a powerful speech at a Stop Asian Hate protest in Oakland, Pa., over the weekend.

A video on social media shows the Ottawa-raised “Killing Eve” star using a megaphone to speak to a crowd about the rise of anti-Asian hate incidents in the United States.

The two-time Golden Globe Award winner, who is of Korean heritage, said she’s grateful to those who are willing to listen to the feelings of fear and anger many in her community are experiencing.

She said one way to get through that fear is to reach out to communities.

Oh also challenged those at the rally to help aid their “sisters and brothers in need.”

The former “Grey’s Anatomy” star concluded the speech by saying she’s “proud to be Asian.”

Oh has also posted on her Twitter account about the Stop Asian Hate movement, after last week’s Atlanta spa shootings in Georgia that left eight people dead.

ICYMI …

Solomon Awa thinks he’s probably built about 150 igloos, or igluit in Inuktitut, over his lifetime, starting when he was 15. 

Now in his 60s, Awa is considered a master igloo builder in Nunavut. 

On a sunny afternoon in Iqaluit, he slices a long, thin knife through blocks of solid snow, carving them to fit snugly in an igloo’s walls. He steps back, squinting in the warm sun, to eye his progress, a thin layer of frost on his face.

Awa says igloo-building is traditional knowledge that has been passed down through generations of Inuit. There’s no blueprint. 

“It’s all up here,” he says, poking a finger at his head beneath his sealskin hat.

But Awa has never built an igloo this big. 

Last week, he led a team of 12 men in building a 65-square-metre giant igloo, called a qaggiq or gathering place, over four days. It’s about as big as a studio apartment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 23, 2021

The Canadian Press