'Lightly felt' earthquake reported in southern Ontario originating near Buffalo, N.Y.

Residents in southern Ontario reported they “lightly felt” a 3.8-magnitude earthquake that had originated just south of the border near Buffalo, N.Y., on Monday.

The earthquake was reported in West Seneca, N.Y. — just southeast of Buffalo — at around 6:15 a.m.

It was initially reported by Earthquakes Canada at a 4.2 magnitude but was later downgraded to 3.8 magnitude earthquake by American government agencies.

Earthquakes Canada said there are “no reports of damage, and none would be expected.”

Users took to Twitter and listed areas in southern Ontario such as the Niagara, St. Catharines and Hamilton areas where they said they felt tremors and shaking from the earthquake.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Kingston's Hotel Dieu postpones appointments due to a burst water pipe

A number of appointments at Hotel Dieu Hospital have been postponed due to flooding.

Kingston Health Sciences Centre says the burst pipe was discovered early Sunday morning, affecting several areas of the hospital, including the Sydenham, Centenary and Johnson wings. Hospital staff quickly responded to contain the water damage and assess the impacts.

Hospital officials say the damage is varied across each of those areas, however, as a precautionary measure, they are pausing all in-person patient appointments that are scheduled on Monday for the following areas:

  • Centenary 5 – Heads Up! and eating disorder clinic
  • Centenary 2 – Diabetes clinic, bariatric care clinic
  • Centenary 4 – GI function unit

Patients who are scheduled for appointments in those areas will be contacted to make alternative arrangements. Staff in those departments are also being advised to contact their manager to have their work area assessed.

 

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Residents evacuated after early morning fire in downtown Hamilton apartment

Residents of an apartment were evacuated early Monday morning amid a blaze inside a complex in downtown Hamilton.

Hamilton fire says flames did “significant” damage to a suite during a call around 2 a.m. at Hunter Street West and Queen Street South.

There were no injuries and the cause of the blaze has not yet been determined.

An early Saturday morning fire at a building on Barton Street East under renovation is being investigated, firefighters say.

The blaze started early in a two-storey building just across the street from a similar fire a week ago at Barton Street East just west of Birch Avenue.

“Firefighters arrived on scene and confirmed there was a fire taking place on the roof area of the building with fire and smoke visible on their arrival,” a Hamilton fire spokesperson said in an email.

No injuries were reported and the cause is under investigation.

Hamilton fire says there are no indications the blaze is connected to a similar blaze Jan. 30 at a building under construction on Barton Street east between Milton and Stirton streets.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Tech layoffs: Dell to axe 6,650 jobs as it fights slowing demand

WATCH - Tech layoffs: Seek legal advice, negotiate terms if you've lost your job, experts say

Dell Technologies Inc. will eliminate about 6,650 jobs, or five per cent of its global workforce, the company said on Monday, as the PC maker grapples with falling demand and braces for economic uncertainty.

The company joins a raft of U.S. companies ranging from Goldman Sachs to Alphabet Inc. that have announced thousands of job cuts recently to help ride out a demand downturn as consumer and corporate spending shrinks due to high inflation and rising interest rates.

“What we know is market conditions continue to erode with an uncertain future,” co-Chief Operating Officer Jeff Clarke wrote in a memo to employees. It wasn’t immediately clear if any Canadian jobs were impacted.

Dell’s moves so far to navigate a challenging economic environment, including pausing external hiring, limiting travel and reducing outside services spending, were “no longer enough”, Clarke said in the memo, which the company made public.

Layoffs in the United States hit a more than two-year high in January as technology firms cut jobs at the second-highest pace on record to brace for a possible recession, a report showed on Thursday.

Dell had about 133,000 employees as of Jan. 28, 2022, of which, about one-third were based in the United States.

The news was first reported by Bloomberg News earlier on Monday.

© 2023 Reuters

Canadian dollar's outlook uncertain amid recession concerns, analysts say

WATCH: YourMoney: Canadian dollar dips

Experts say the outlook for the loonie in 2023 largely depends on commodity prices, how the U.S. dollar fares, and whether central banks are successful in avoiding a major recession.

The Canadian dollar recently rose to its highest level in more than two months against the U.S. dollar, which gained strength Friday after a stronger-than-expected jobs report.

However, analysts are predicting some further weakness in the U.S. dollar in 2023.

In a report early January, Scotiabank said the Canadian dollar’s outlook for the year is highly contingent on external developments, with commodity prices and valuation potential positives for the dollar.

Michael Greenberg, senior vice-president and portfolio manager at Franklin Templeton Investment Solutions says if the economic downturn provoked by central banks’ policies is harsher than expected or hoped for, that would weaken the loonie.

Meanwhile, he says a soft landing would mean strength for the Canadian dollar.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Russia continues to press Ukraine as 1-year anniversary of war nears

WATCH: Russian missile strikes hit Kharkiv as Ukraine readies to repel possible offensive this month

Russian forces are keeping Ukrainian troops tied down with fighting in the eastern Donbas region as Moscow assembles additional combat power there for an expected offensive in the coming weeks, Ukrainian officials said Monday.

Weeks of intense fighting continued to rage around the city of Bakhmut and the nearby towns of Soledar and Vuhledar, Ukraine’s presidential office said.

They are located in the Donetsk region, which with neighboring Luhansk region makes up the Donbas region, an industrial area bordering Russia.

“The battles for the region are heating up,” Donetsk Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said in televised remarks, adding that “the Russians are throwing new units into the battle and eradicating our towns and villages.”

In Luhansk, Gov. Serhii Haidai said shelling there had subsided because “the Russians have been saving ammunition for a large-scale offensive.”

Military analysts say the Kremlin’s forces may be probing Ukraine defences for weak points or could be making a feint while preparing for a main thrust through southern Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is hungry for some battlefield success, especially securing illegally annexed territory in eastern Ukraine, to mark the anniversary of his invasion on Feb. 24.

Russian forces made gains in the first few months of the war, though they failed to clinch key objectives and were then driven back from large areas by a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Western military help has been essential for Kyiv. Canadian Defence Minister Anita Anand tweeted late Sunday that the first Leopard tank Canada is donating to Ukraine had arrived in Poland. It is part of a broad tank commitment by Ukraine’s Western allies to help it defeat Russia.

Training for Ukrainian military in how to use the tank was due to begin “soon,” Anand said, as the allies race to get Ukraine’s forces ready before the looming offensive.

Ukraine’s presidential office said Monday that at least one civilian had been killed and 10 others wounded by Russian shelling over the past 24 hours.

Five of those wounded were injured during the shelling of Kharkiv city, where Russian shells struck residential buildings and a university, the presidential office said.

The Russians again fired at targets across the Dnieper River from the Russia-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, damaging residential buildings and power lines in Nikopol and Marhanets across the River Dnieper, Ukrainian authorities reported.

Russian forces occupied Zaporizhzhia, Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant, early in the war, and regular shelling of the area stoked major safety concerns.

The UN nuclear chief is expected to visit Moscow this week to discuss safety at Zaporizhzhia, according to a senior Russian diplomat. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov wouldn’t reveal the exact date of International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Grossi’s visit to Russia, but confirmed that it is expected to take place this week and that the safety of the nuclear power plant was “a key issue” on the agenda.

The IAEA didn’t immediately answer a request for comment.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Why did Bank of Canada hike rate again? Summary release to explain decision 

WATCH: Cost of borrowing money goes up as the Bank of Canada increases its benchmark interest rate again

The Bank of Canada is set to publish its first summary of deliberations Wednesday, giving Canadians a peak into the governing council’s reasoning behind its decision to raise interest rates last month.

Following a recommendation from the International Monetary Fund, the central bank announced in September that it would begin releasing summaries about two weeks after an interest rate decision starting in 2023 in an effort to improve transparency.

“I think it’s a good idea. Most major central banks do release some kind of minutes or meeting summaries,” said Douglas Porter, BMO’s chief economist.

The Bank of Canada raised its key interest rate for the eighth consecutive time since March on Jan. 25, bringing it to 4.5 per cent. At the time, the central bank signalled it would be taking a pause on any further hikes to let the impact of its aggressive hiking cycle sink in.

Wednesday’s summary is expected to shed light on what the governing council discussed while making that decision.

Giving insight into the deliberations is already common practice at the U.S. Federal Reserve, where meeting minutes are released three weeks following an interest rate decision.

Although the minutes can be insightful, Porter said they typically aren’t market-moving and instead serve as historical record.

The Bank of Canada hasn’t said much about what the summaries will look like, leaving the depth and format of the summaries to be discovered on Wednesday.

But Porter said he isn’t expecting them to match up with the detail offered by the Federal Reserve’s meeting minutes.

The Bank of Canada’s governing council is responsible for the central bank’s monetary policy and consists of the governor, senior deputy governor and four deputy governors. Unlike the Federal Reserve, where the 12 members vote on interest rate decision, the governing council’s decisions are consensus-driven.

That means all members of the governing council come to the same decision at the end of deliberations.

Faced with higher borrowing costs, Canadians and businesses are expected to continue to pull back on spending in 2023, thereby slowing the economy and inflation.

Price growth has slowed in recent months, however, inflation is still well above the Bank of Canada’s two per cent target. In December, the annual inflation rate was 6.3 per cent.

After its quarter of a percentage point hike last month, the Bank of Canada made it clear that the pause on future rate hikes was conditional, keeping the door open to more increases if inflation isn’t tamed.

According to its latest monetary policy report, the central bank expects inflation to slow faster than it had previously anticipated. It’s forecasting the annual inflation rate will fall to three per cent by mid-2023 and to its two per cent target in 2024.

Central banks around the world have also been raising rates as countries struggle with high inflation.

Last week, the Federal Reserve hiked its key interest rate by a quarter percentage point and signalled more rate hikes should be expected. Meanwhile, the European Central Bank announced a half percentage point rate hike and said it will raise rates at least one more time.

Porter said the main question he’s hoping to see answered in the summary is whether the Bank of Canada is pausing interest rate hikes, or if they’re planning on jumping back in.

“It’ll be interesting to see whether they’re really set on staying on the sidelines, or whether this truly is just sort of a temporary waystation.”

“Maybe this summary could could help answer that question a little.”

© 2023 The Canadian Press

3 police cruisers, 1 vehicle into hydro pole after crash in Brampton

Peel Regional Police say they are investigating after a vehicle crashed into a hydro pole and three police cruisers were involved.

Police said the crash happened near Clarence Street and Rutherford Road in Brampton at around 3:02 a.m. Monday.

Two people were taken to hospital with minor injuries, police said.

In another update, police said five people were taken into custody.

It is unclear how exactly the crash happened.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

China slams U.S. for shooting down suspected spy balloon: 'Indiscriminate use of force'

WATCH: China threatens repercussions after U.S. shoots down spy balloon

China on Monday accused the United States of indiscriminate use of force in shooting down a suspected Chinese spy balloon, saying it “seriously impacted and damaged both sides’ efforts and progress in stabilizing Sino-U.S. relations.”

The U.S. shot down the balloon off the Carolina coast after it traversed sensitive military sites across North America. China insisted the flyover was an accident involving a civilian aircraft.

Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng said he lodged a formal complaint with the U.S. Embassy on Sunday over the “U.S. attack on a Chinese civilian unmanned airship by military force.”

“However, the United States turned a deaf ear and insisted on indiscriminate use of force against the civilian airship that was about to leave the United States airspace, obviously overreacted and seriously violated the spirit of international law and international practice,” Xie said.

The presence of the balloon in the skies above the U.S. dealt a severe blow to already strained U.S.-Chinese relations that have been in a downward spiral for years. It prompted Secretary of State Antony Blinken to abruptly cancel a high-stakes Beijing trip aimed at easing tensions.

Xie repeated China’s insistence that the balloon was a Chinese civil unmanned airship that blew into U.S. airspace by mistake, calling it “an accidental incident caused by force majeure.”

China will “resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies, resolutely safeguard China’s interests and dignity and reserve the right to make further necessary responses,” he said.

U.S. President Joe Biden issued the shootdown order after he was advised that the best time for the operation would be when it was over water, U.S. officials said. Military officials determined that bringing down the balloon over land from an altitude of 60,000 feet (18,000 meters) would pose an undue risk to people on the ground.

“What the U.S. has done has seriously impacted and damaged both sides’ efforts and progress in stabilizing Sino-U.S. relations since the Bali meeting,” Xie said, referring to a recent meeting between Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in Indonesia that many hoped would create positive momentum for improving ties that have plunged to their lowest level in years.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning provided no new details on Monday, repeating China’s insistence that the object was a civilian balloon intended for meteorological research, had little ability to steer and entered U.S. airspace by accidentally diverging from its course. She also did not say what additional steps China intended to take in response to Washington’s handling of the issue and cancellation of Blinken’s trip, which would have made him the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have stated that this is completely an isolated and accidental incident caused by force majeure, but the U.S. still hyped up the incident on purpose and even used force to attack,” Mao said at a daily briefing. “This is an unacceptable and irresponsible action.”

Balloons thought or known to be Chinese have been spotted from Latin America to Japan. Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki told reporters Monday that a flying object similar to the one shot down by the U.S. had been spotted at least twice over northern Japan since 2020.

“We are continuing to analyze them in connection with the latest case in the United States,” he said.

Mao confirmed that a balloon recently spotted over Latin American was Chinese, describing it as a civilian airship used for flight tests.

“Affected by weather and due to its limited self-control ability, the airship severely deviated from its set route and entered the space of Latin America and the Caribbean by accident,” Mao said.

Washington and Beijing are at odds over a range of issues from trade to human rights, but China is most sensitive over alleged violations by the U.S. and others of its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Beijing strongly protests U.S. military sales to Taiwan and visits by foreign politicians to the island, which it claims as Chinese territory, to be recovered by force if necessary.

It reacted to a 2022 visit by then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi by firing missiles over the island and staging threatening military drills seen as a rehearsal for an invasion or blockade. Beijing also cut off discussion with the U.S. on issues including climate change that are unrelated to military tensions.

Last week, Mao warned Pelosi’s successor, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, not to travel to Taiwan, implying that China’s response would be equally vociferous.

“China will firmly defend its sovereignty, security and development interests,” Mao said. McCarthy said China had no right to dictate where and when he could travel.

China also objects when foreign military surveillance planes fly off its coast in international airspace and when U.S. and other foreign warships pass through the Taiwan Strait, accusing them of being actively provocative.

In 2001, a U.S. Navy plane conducting routine surveillance near the Chinese coast collided with a Chinese fighter plane, killing the Chinese fighter pilot and damaging the American plane, which was forced to make an emergency landing at a Chinese naval airbase on the southern Chinese island province of Hainan. China detained the 24-member U.S. Navy aircrew for 10 days until the U.S. expressed regret over the Chinese pilot’s death and for landing at the base without permission.

The South China Sea is another major source of tension. China claims the strategically key sea virtually in its entirety and protests when U.S. Navy ships sail past Chinese military features there.

At a news conference Friday with his South Korean counterpart, Blinken said “the presence of this surveillance balloon over the United States in our skies is a clear violation of our sovereignty, a clear violation of international law, and clearly unacceptable. And we’ve made that clear to China.”

“Any country that has its airspace violated in this way I think would respond similarly, and I can only imagine what the reaction would be in China if they were on the other end,” Blinken said.

China’s weather balloon explanation should be dismissed outright, said Oriana Skylar Mastro, an expert on Chinese military affairs and foreign policy at Stanford University.

“This is like a standard thing that countries often say about surveillance assets,” Mastro said.

China may have made a mistake and lost control of the balloon, but it was unlikely to have been a deliberate attempt to disrupt Blinken’s visit, Mastro said.

For the U.S. administration, the decision to go public and then shoot down the balloon marks a break from its usual approach of dealing with Beijing on such matters privately, possibly in hopes of changing China’s future behavior.

However, Mastro said, it was unlikely that Beijing would respond positively.

“They’re probably going to dismiss that and continue on as things have been. So I don’t see a really clear pathway to improved relations in the foreseeable future.”

AP journalists Tian Macleod Ji in Bangkok, Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo and news assistant Caroline Chen in Beijing contributed this report.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Victim identified in alleged hit-and-run which Toronto police are treating as a homicide

Toronto police say an alleged hit-and-run that left one man dead in the city’s east end is now being treated as a homicide.

They say officers were called to the area of Danforth and Cedarvale Avenues shortly before 4 a.m. Sunday for reports of a person injured in a collision.

Police say the person hit by a vehicle was at a bar and the suspect was speaking with a group of people outside.

They allege the suspect left the scene, got into the driver’s seat of a vehicle and hit the person as he was walking along the sidewalk.

Police say the suspect left the scene in a dark-coloured SUV after the collision and say the pedestrian was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

He was later pronounced dead and has been identified as Gabriel del Castillo Mullally, 25, of Toronto.

Police are asking anyone with information on the incident to come forward.

Toronto police tape off Danforth and Cedarvale Avenues.

Toronto police tape off Danforth and Cedarvale Avenues.

Marc Cormier / Global News

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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