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Canadian PM Justin Trudeau rebuffs calls for Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s Resignation

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Tamil Fest
Justin Trudeau attended the Tamil Fest organized in Toronto. Wikimedia

Ottawa, May 2, 2017: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has rebuffed resignation calls for Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan over his “architect comments for a 2006 offensive against the Taliban, media reports said.

Trudeau and his embattled minister endured a withering question-period offensive on Monday as opposition MPs accused Sajjan of “stolen valour” for overstating his role in planning Operation Medusa in Afghanistan, The Toronto Star.

Opposition parties trained their sights squarely on Sajjan, who apologised again in the House of Commons.

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The Operation Medusa was one of the bloodiest and most pivotal battles of the Afghan war.

Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose called it a “cardinal sin” in the military circles for stealing valours of others.

“How much more does the Prime Minister need to hear before he understands why our men and women in uniform have lost confidence in the Minister,” Ambrose said.

Trudeau, however, would not be moved from his talking points.

“The Minister made a mistake,” the Prime Minister said repeatedly. “He acknowledged his responsibility and apologised for it; that’s what Canadians expect when one makes a mistake,” The Toronto Sun reported.

Trudeau went on to insist that Sajjan had served his country with distinction in a number of capacities, including as a police officer and as a soldier. As a Minister, he added, “He has my full confidence.”

Sajjan, for his part, later rose and repeated his apology.

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What Sajjan didn’t do is explain his “mistake,” which Ambrose noted he’d made twice – once in 2015 and again two weeks ago during his India visit.

As such, his apology did little to assuage the opposition, with both the Conservatives and the Democratics calling on Trudeau to sack him.

“It’s not an error when you keep repeating the same lie,” New Democratic Party Leader Tom Mulcair said after question period.

In speech in New Delhi on April 18, Sajjan told the Indian think tank Observer Research Foundation that he had been the “architect” of Operation Medusa, which the Minister has since retracted.

“On my first deployment to Kandahar in 2006, I was kind of thrown in an unforeseen situation and became the architect of an operation… where we removed about 1,500 Taliban fighters,” Sajjan said in his speech.

Sajjan was a Major with the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan during Operation Medusa, and received a special commendation.

Hundreds of Taliban fighters were killed or captured over a two-week period. Twelve Canadians were also killed in the fighting. (IANS)

Next Story

Want to Know What’s Happening Around the World Due to COVID-19? Use this App

This app to provide overview of COVID-19 pandemic globally

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COVID-19 app
Researchers have created a web application that provides an overview of the coronavirus pandemic across the globe. Pixabay

Researchers have created a web application that provides an overview of the coronavirus(COVID-19) pandemic across the globe, in a way that is more interactive than other maps and statistics.

The app titled ‘COVID-19’ is based on data from Johns Hopkins University in the US, the Danish National Serum Institute in Denmark, World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations.

“We began working on the app as a pet project, to deal with our boredom and inability to physically meet up. While Skyping one day, we wondered why we couldn’t find a graph that portrayed the evolution of coronavirus cases in Denmark,” said Phillip Bredahl Mogensen from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, one of those behind the app.

According to the study, the app provides an overview of how COVID-19 is spreading and the number of people who have both passed away and recovered.

Statistics from every country on earth are available and readily compared. For example, in only a few clicks, one can see how Spain or Italy are faring with the pandemic compared to Denmark. They also said that this is the first app that attempts to estimate suspected numbers – as opposed to reporting back confirmed positives from the test result.

COVID-19 app
According to the study, the app provides an overview of how COVID-19 is spreading and the number of people who have both passed away and recovered. Pixabay

“With the help of Danish and South Korean mortality statistics, we are able to provide an estimate of how many people were actually infected 20 days ago,” explained Bredahl Mogensen.

“For example, on March 9, there were 92 confirmed cases in Denmark. We estimate that there were actually between 1,163 and 3,615 people infected. In other words, 10 times the number of people were infected as compared to the official statistics,” he added.

Also Read- Find Out How Google is Battling Coronavirus Misinformation

The researchers used South Korean COVID-19 mortality data because the country has been dealing with the epidemic for a longer period of time and because South Korea has broader and more precise data sets than other countries.

“Even though the method is under development, and has yet to be validated, it presents an incredibly interesting estimate of the unknown extent of this virus,” the authors wrote. (IANS)