News

Canada to cease defending asbestos mining

OTTAWA—THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT announced on Sept. 6 that it will no longer defend Quebec’s asbestos-mining industry, a decision that was based on a campaign promise made by the recently elected Parti Québécois (PQ) government to stop the mining of the carcinogen. The Conservatives, who have defended the export of asbestos on the world stage, also stated they will stop opposing the international community from adding chrysotile asbestos to the Rotterdam Convention, a global treaty on hazardous substances.

The PQ have canceled a loan originally planned to revive a large mine in Asbestos, Que., a decision that could significantly impact the community’s economic future. The province’s former Liberal leader Jean Charest promised the loan during this past election campaign.

The sale of asbestos, a substance that can cause cancer when inhaled, is limited in Canada, but the country exports large amounts of it to developing countries where its use is not yet banned. According to the World Health Organization, 100,000 people die each year from asbestos-related disease, and Quebec has among the world’s highest rates of a cancer known as mesothelioma, a result of the province’s heavy mining activities during the past century.

Industry Minister Christian Paradis announced that Ottawa will offer $50 million in assistance for towns in Canada who are dependent on the industry, in order to assist their local economies.

—Justin Dallaire

Israeli prime minister criticizes U.S. stance on Iran, weeks before presidential election

WASHINGTON—BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME minister of Israel, appeared on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday Sept. 16, where he called on the United States to do more in preventing Iran from attaining nuclear weapons. Specifically, Netanyahu asked that the U.S. create a “red line” for Iran, which the Iranians wouldn’t be able to cross without international repercussions; the implication was that under President Barack Obama, the U.S.’s stance towards Iran has been too soft.

Netanyahu has so far avoided taking on an official stance on the Romney vs. Obama presidential race.

Netanyahu’s comments come at a bad time for President Obama, who is seeking re-election in a few months. Some have noted that Obama’s relationship with Netanyahu has appeared strained, and have questioned whether the prime minister’s recent television appearance was partly politically motivated. Netanyahu has rejected this idea, claiming that his comments on State of the Union were made out of urgency rather than political calculation.

—Keeton Wilcock