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In the news today: Israeli academics on protests, weight-loss drug coming to Canada

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today...
Pro-Palestinian activists at their encampment on the McGill University campus in Montreal, Wednesday, May 1, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today...

Israeli academics respond to campus protests

One of the demands of pro-Palestinian activists who have set up protest encampments on university campuses in Canada and the United States is a severing of ties with Israeli universities.

Tel Aviv University and other research institutions in Israel are accused of being accomplices in that country's war in Gaza and its occupation of Palestinian territories. But some prominent Israeli academics argue their universities are also home to leading voices for peace and have been at the forefront of the internal protest movement against the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu.

"Academics in Israel are striving for peace — maybe more than any other part of the Israel community," Prof. Ran Barkai, who teaches prehistoric archeology at Tel Aviv University, said in an interview Wednesday from Israel.

Israeli universities should be empowered, he added, because they are home to the major forces pushing for reconciliation with Palestinians.

"Good relations should be kept with them because they are the centre of sanity of Israel — if sanity can be reached, it's through people in universities … decreasing relations with Israel universities would only harm chances for peace."

Wegovy weight-loss drug in Canada next week

The makers of Ozempic say their weight-loss drug Wegovy will be available to patients in Canada starting Monday. 

Novo Nordisk's weekly injection is approved for weight loss among patients diagnosed with obesity.

Wegovy can also be prescribed to patients who are significantly overweight and have at least one related medical condition, such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes or obstructive sleep apnea. 

Dr. Sanjeev Sockalingam of Obesity Canada says obesity is a serious medical condition and Wegovy is an important treatment option.

He says it's not intended for "cosmetic" use.

Wegovy contains the same medication — semaglutide — as the diabetes drug Ozempic but at a higher dose.

Two Ontario byelections set for today

It's byelection day in two Ontario ridings and one of the races appears to be quite competitive.

Polls and observers suggest the Progressive Conservatives and Liberals are neck and neck in Milton, just west of Mississauga, while the Tories are largely expected to hold onto the southwest Ontario riding of Lambton-Kent-Middlesex.

Milton has been vacant since cabinet minister Parm Gill resigned in February to join the federal Conservatives.

The Liberal candidate is Galen Naidoo-Harris, who has worked in the local federal constituency office and is the son of a former provincial representative for the area, and the Progressive Conservative candidate has Liberal roots as well.

Carbon capture facility underperforms: study

A signature carbon capture and storage project in Saskatchewan continues to miss emissions reduction goals, raising questions about the cost-effectiveness of the technology, says a report.

"We don't think carbon capture works as well as industry and promoters claim," said David Schissel, an analyst who wrote the report for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, an international non-profit agency.

"We don't think it's a good use of money to keep coal-fired power plants running."

Schissel looked at data from Sask Power's Boundary Dam project, a coal-fired power plant in southeast Saskatchewan that began capturing carbon dioxide emissions in the fall of 2014. 

Proponents originally said the plant would capture up to 90 per cent of its carbon emissions. That would amount to about a million tonnes of climate-changing carbon dioxide a year — the rough equivalent of emissions from 200,000 cars.

Lawyers to seek not criminally responsible defence

Lawyers for a Winnipeg man accused of killing four women say they plan to argue that he is not criminally responsible because he is mentally ill.

The lawyers for Jeremy Skibicki made the statement in court Wednesday, as the two sides tried to resolve issues before a jury is brought in next week to start hearing evidence.

Skibicki, 37, has pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree murder. 

The partial remains of Rebecca Contois were found in a garbage bin and at a city-run landfill in 2022. Police have said they believe the remains of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran are at a different, privately owned landfill outside of the city. 

The location of an unidentified woman Indigenous leaders have named Mashkode Bizhiki'ikwe, or Buffalo Woman, is unknown. 

London Drugs phone lines working again

London Drugs says its phone lines are working again after being taken offline in response to a cybersecurity incident. 

A statement from the Richmond, B.C.-based pharmacy and retail chain says Canada Post offices inside London Drugs stores are also up and running again.

The company closed all of its stores across Western Canada until further notice after the incident was discovered on Sunday.

The statement says the stores remain closed out of an abundance of caution but customers are still being provided with urgent pharmacy care.

It says the investigation is assessing the extent to which any data has been compromised and people will be notified if personal information was affected.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 2, 2024

The Canadian Press

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