A news crew reports on the edge of Lake Pontchartrain ahead of approaching Hurricane Ida in New Orleans, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Gerald Herbert

A news crew reports on the edge of Lake Pontchartrain ahead of approaching Hurricane Ida in New Orleans, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Gerald Herbert

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 Aug. 30 …

What we are watching in Canada …

At least one of the three main federal party leaders is on the move today, with events across the country.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has a multi-provincial day ahead.

He’s starting off in Ottawa, where he’s set to make an announcement, and then flying to Ladysmith, B.C., for a meet-and-greet with supporters.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, meanwhile, is sticking to the Greater Toronto Area.

He starts the day at a dog sanctuary in King City, Ont., before heading to an event with supporters in nearby Markham.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s plans were not immediately available.

Trudeau was dogged over the weekend by obscenity spewing protesters angry about his pandemic vaccination policies.

Also this …

WINNIPEG — Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister plans to leave office Wednesday and have the Tory caucus choose an interim leader.

Pallister, who announced his intention to step down earlier this month, said he has decided to leave well before the Progressive Conservative leadership vote Oct. 30.

Part of the reason, he says, is a desire to ensure the race does not become divisive.

“The dangers of not leaving (this week) are that false allegations will be made about me trying to influence the outcome (of the leadership vote),” Pallister said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

“And I have not, in any way, shape or form,” he said. “I have only spoken two weeks ago to my cabinet and caucus and said, ‘I will be neutral. I wish you well. I would encourage you to make sure that this is a contest among friends.'”

So far, former health minister Heather Stefanson, former member of Parliament Shelly Glover and Tory backbencher Shannon Martin have announced plans to run for leader.

In a wide-ranging interview about his political career, Pallister indicated regret over some of his government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, but expressed optimism that the party will rebound from low polling numbers.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

NEW ORLEANS — Hurricane Ida knocked out power to all of New Orleans and inundated coastal Louisiana communities on a deadly path through the Gulf Coast that was still unfolding and promised more destruction.

Forecasters warned of damaging winds, heavy rainfall that could cause flash floods and life-threatening storm surge as Ida continued its rampage Monday through southeastern Louisiana and then moved into Mississippi. It made landfall on the same day 16 years earlier that Hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana and Mississippi, and its 230 kph winds tied it for the fifth-strongest hurricane to ever hit the mainland.

Ida was already blamed for at least one death in Louisiana. Deputies with the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of someone injured by a fallen tree at a home in Prairieville outside Baton Rouge and confirmed the death, the office said Sunday on Facebook. The victim was not identified.

The power outage in New Orleans, meanwhile, heightened the city’s vulnerability to flooding and left hundreds of thousands of people without air conditioning and refrigeration in sweltering summer heat.

Ida had maximum sustained winds of 120 kph early today — meaning it was a Category 1 hurricane more than 12 hours after it made landfall in southern Louisiana. Forecasters said it would rapidly weaken throughout the morning.

As Ida made landfall Sunday, the rising ocean swamped the barrier island of Grand Isle and roofs on buildings around Port Fourchon blew off. The hurricane then churned through the far southern Louisiana wetlands, putting the more than 2 million people living in and around New Orleans and Baton Rouge under threat.

In Baton Rouge, 27-year-old Robert Owens watched the sky in his neighborhood light up as transformers blew up all around him.

“Never in my life have I encountered something this major,” he said as giant gusts rattled his home’s windows.

Significant flooding was reported late Sunday night in LaPlace, a community adjacent to Lake Pontchartrain, meteorologists in New Orleans said. Many people took to social media, pleading for boat rescues as the water rose.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said rescue crews would not be able to immediately help those who were stranded as the storm raged. And he warned his state to brace for potentially weeks of recovery.

What we are watching in rest of the world …

KABUL— Rockets struck a neighborhood near Kabul’s international airport today amid the ongoing U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. It wasn’t immediately clear who launched them.

The rockets struck this morning in Kabul’s Salim Karwan neighborhood, witnesses said. Gunfire immediately followed the explosions but it wasn’t immediately clear who was firing.

The witnesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said they heard the sound of three explosions and then saw a flash in the sky. People fled after the blasts, they said.

U.S. officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment. U.S. military cargo planes continued their evacuations at the airport after the rocket fire.

In Washington, the White House issued a statement saying officials briefed President Joe Biden on “the rocket attack at Hamid Karzai International Airport” in Kabul.

“The president was informed that operations continue uninterrupted at HKIA, and has reconfirmed his order that commanders redouble their efforts to prioritize doing whatever is necessary to protect our forces on the ground,” the statement said, using an acronym for Kabul’s airport.

On Sunday, a U.S. drone strike blew up a vehicle carrying “multiple suicide bombers” from Afghanistan’s Islamic State affiliate on Sunday before they could attack the ongoing military evacuation at Kabul’s international airport, American officials said. An Afghan official said three children were killed in the strike.

The U.S. is to withdraw from Afghanistan by Tuesday. By then, the U.S. is set to conclude a massive two-week-long airlift of more than 114,000 Afghans and foreigners and withdraw the last of its troops, ending America’s longest war with the Taliban back in power.

The U.S. State Department released a statement Sunday signed by around 100 countries, as well as NATO and the European Union, saying they had received “assurances” from the Taliban that people with travel documents would still be able to leave the country. —

In entertainment …

LOS ANGELES — Actor Ed Asner, the blustery but lovable Lou Grant in two successful television series, has died. He was 91.

Asner was a journeyman actor in films and TV when he was hired in 1970 to play the grumpy TV news boss, Lou Grant, on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

The show ended after seven seasons and Asner moved on to star in “Lou Grant,” playing the same character, but in a newspaper drama.

Asner won three best supporting actor Emmys on “Mary Tyler Moore” and two best actor awards on “Lou Grant.”

He also won Emmys for his roles in the miniseries “Rich Man, Poor Man” (1975-1976) and “Roots” (1976-1977).

As Screen Actors Guild president, the liberal Asner was caught up in a political controversy in 1982 when he spoke out against U.S. involvement with repressive governments in Latin America.

“Lou Grant” was canceled during the furor that followed and he did not run for a third SAG term in 1985.

Asner had more than 300 acting credits and remained active throughout his 70s and 80s in a variety of film and TV roles.

ICYMI …

OTTAWA — Health Canada has finally given the green light for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine to be used to inoculate kids as young as 12.

The original approval for Moderna in December 2020 was only for people at least 18 years old.

Moderna applied for authorization for youth in early June, citing a clinical trial of 3,700 youth in which none of the teens who got two doses developed a COVID-19 infection.

Youth as young as 12 in Canada have been authorized to receive the vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech since May 5.

As of mid-August, 75 per cent of kids in that age group had received at least one dose, and 59 per cent were fully vaccinated.

Health Canada also says the National Advisory Committee on Immunization is meeting this week to discuss whether booster shots should be offered to people with compromised immune systems.

Ontario has already begun to offer boosters to transplant recipients, people with some blood cancers and long-term care home residents.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 30, 2021

Read More