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$ 29 billion railroad merger to link the United States, Mexico and Canada

Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern on Sunday announced plans to join forces in a $ 29 billion deal that would create the first rail network to link the United States, Mexico and Canada.

This is an effort to capitalize on the trade flows expected to flow through the three countries after President Donald J. Trump signed the United States-Mexico-Canada deal last year. It is also a bet on the strength of the industrial economy as the United States recovers from the pandemic.

The Canadian Pacific Railway connects the major ports on the east and west coasts between the United States and Canada, while Kansas City Southern connects the United States, Mexico and Panama. The two connect at a single point: a joint facility in Kansas City, Missouri, where Kansas City Southern is based.

“This deal has so many long-term strategic benefits,” Kansas City Southern general manager Patrick J. Ottensmeyer said in an interview. “Our board of directors really saw the value of bringing these two companies together now.”

The amalgamated company, Canadian Pacific Kansas City, will have its global headquarters in Calgary, Alberta, while Kansas City will serve as the US headquarters. It will operate approximately 20,000 miles of track and generate sales of approximately $ 8.7 billion. Canadian Pacific Chief Executive Officer Keith Creel will oversee the new entity.

The deal values ​​Kansas City Southern at $ 275 per share, which is a 23% premium over its closing price on Friday. Investors will receive 0.489 Canadian Pacific shares and $ 90 in cash for each Kansas City common share.

This is also a significant increase from the $ 208 per share offer from Blackstone Group, a private equity firm, which Kansas City Southern rejected last year. Kansas City shares are up 12% year-to-date, while Canadian Pacific shares are up nearly 10%.

The boards of both companies unanimously approved the cash and stock deal, which is expected to close by mid-2022, subject to customary approvals.

The railway industry can be considered as an indicator of industrial activity; he hopes to take advantage of a growing US economy after the pandemic is over. The Federal Reserve has expressed optimism about the country’s economic outlook, and President Biden signed a $ 1.9 trillion spending bill this month.

Investors from Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern aren’t the only ones who are optimistic about the industry’s outlook. Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway owns BNSF Railway, recently touted the value he sees in the US rail industry in his annual letter.

Railroad executives on Sunday highlighted other opportunities they see in the deal. Mr. Creel called the merger a “compelling opportunity to get trucks off the road” as the United States focuses on a transition to a greener economy. It also reduces risks in the global supply chain after a pandemic that exposed its weaknesses, Mr Ottensmeyer said.

The deal must be approved by the Surface Transportation Board, a division of the Department of Transportation, which has previously recognized concerns that rail consolidation has resulted in service problems for shippers. Canadian Pacific’s past efforts to acquire US railways have failed, in part because of these concerns. That includes talks with CSX Corporation in 2014 and Norfolk Southern in 2016. And the Biden administration has already signaled a stronger stance on antitrust control.

Due to its size, Kansas City Southern is exempt from guidelines put in place in 2001 to tighten control of transactions in the industry. The merged company would still be the smallest of the six largest freight railroads still in operation in the United States. The two railroads do not overlap, Mr Creel and Mr Ottensmeyer said – and in some cases the transaction will create new markets.

“There is no other agreement that represents the uniqueness of this agreement,” Mr. Creel said.

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US Extends Land Border Closure with Canada and Mexico Again

The United States government announced that the land borders with Canada and Mexico would remain closed to non-essential travel until at least March 21.

According to Reuters.com, the 30-day extension was the first during the term of President Joe Biden, who is working with his administration on potentially more stringent requirements for crossing US land borders into North America.

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Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair also confirmed the extension of the restrictions.

In January, US officials began requiring that all international air travelers landing in the US must provide negative COVID-19 test results within three days of arrival.

President Biden is also working with government officials in Canada and Mexico “regarding public health protocols for land ports of entry.” The Biden administration also conducts a similar review of sea travel and ports.

“The plan must implement the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in accordance with applicable law, and take into account operational considerations relevant to different populations entering the United States by land,” the White House told Reuters.

Last week, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines revealed that they would collect contact tracing data and share it with the CDC as an additional layer of protection for the traveling public.

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Canada to require negative COVID-19 tests at land border crossings

Canada has once again tightened its requirements for people entering the country by adding a negative COVID-19 test requirement.

According to The Associated Press, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed that all non-essential travelers arriving in Canada by land will be required to show proof of a negative PCR-based coronavirus test, effective February 15.

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Canadians who return to their home country without proper COVID-19 testing will face fines of up to $ 2,370, as well as rigorous monitoring by health officials. The order also applies to Canadian residents who reside in the United States part-time.

The land border will remain closed to non-essential non-Canadian travelers.

As part of Prime Minister Trudeau’s earlier changes, Canadians returning to the country were already required to show a negative PCR-based COVID-19 test within three days of arrival.

Mandatory tests are being added to the arrival process at all four Canadian airports where international flights are still allowed, and air travelers must self-quarantine at a hotel when they arrive.

Canada also suspended airline service to Mexico and all Caribbean destinations until April 30, and Trudeau said the country would consider banning international travel.

Last week, the Minister of Transportation, the Honorable Omar Alghabra, announced two new interim orders prohibiting pleasure craft in Canadian Arctic waters and cruising in all Canadian waters through February 28, 2022.

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Canada officially declares the Proud Boys a terrorist group

OTTAWA – Canada officially designated the Proud Boys as a terrorist entity under its criminal law on Wednesday, a move that could lead to financial foreclosures and allow police to treat any crime they commit as terrorist activity.

Government officials said Wednesday they believe Canada is the first nation to label the Proud Boys as a terrorist group. The events of the last month in Washington, they added, contributed to this decision, which was already under consideration.

One official, who spoke on condition that he not be identified, said that while the information gleaned from the attack on the Capitol in Washington was a “contributing factor, it certainly was not the motor force”.

Members of the Proud Boys, an all-male far-right organization that hailed street brawls as part of its founding idea, played a leading role in the assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

Since the attack, Jagmeet Singh, leader of the opposition New Democratic Party, has pushed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to declare the Proud Boys a terrorist group.

He was one of 13 groups added to the government’s terrorism list, including three other far-right or neo-Nazi groups: the Russian-based Imperial Russian Movement, and the Atomwaffen Division and The Base, which largely operate in the United States. United. The other groups added to the list are affiliated with Islamic State and Al Qaeda.

Officials stressed that the designations should not lead to short-term arrests. “Just because you’re on the list doesn’t mean all of a sudden you’re going to be charged with a crime,” said one.

But the official added that any crime committed by members of the group can now be the subject of terrorism charges under criminal law. These potential crimes include providing a terrorist group with funds or other assistance – such as purchasing Proud Boys accessories or clothing, although displaying or wearing them publicly does not violate any law.

In its designation, the government said members of the Proud Boys “espouse misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant and / or white supremacist ideologies and associate with white supremacist groups.”

The government has not indicated how many chapters of the Proud Boys are active in Canada. In 2017, five members of the Canadian Armed Forces were part of a group of Proud Boys that disrupted an Indigenous ceremony in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Canada Day. They were disciplined but not charged by the military.

The Proud Boys was founded in 2016 by Gavin McInnes, who was born in England but raised in Ottawa and helped found the Vice media empire. Vice sought to distance himself from both Mr. McInnes and the Proud Boys.

During protests, Canadian members of the Proud Boys often carry the Red Flag, a flag containing the Union Jack in one corner that was Canada’s official banner until it adopted its maple leaf flag in 1965. Group members are used to engaging in acts of violence. street clashes with leftist activists known as the antifa.

Some Canadian media have reported that Proud Boys chapter websites in several Canadian cities disappeared last month following the events in Washington. It seems that they were removed by the groups themselves rather than by the service providers.

Neil MacFarquhar contributed reporting from New York.

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Canada imposes mandatory quarantine on hotels and bans travel to Mexico and the Caribbean

In response to the new high-transmission variants of COVID-19, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced more stringent restrictions for inbound and outbound travelers. In particular, the imposition of a mandatory hotel quarantine on international visitors to Canada upon arrival and the suspension of all airline services to Mexico and the Caribbean until April 30.

According to ABC News, Trudeau said that in addition to the pre-travel testing that Canada already requires for entry, the government will establish mandatory PCR testing at airports for returning residents and arrivals.

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“Travelers will have to wait up to three days at an approved hotel to receive their test results, at their expense, which is expected to be more than $ 2,000,” Trudeau said. “Those with negative test results may be quarantined at home under significantly increased surveillance and enforcement.”

It is already a requirement for anyone entering Canada for non-essential purposes to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within the previous 72 hours and to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. But increasing pressure on health systems, delays in vaccine implementation, and the emergence of new variants have highlighted the need for stricter controls.

The new hotel quarantine requirement is also intended to deter Canadians from vacationing outside the country, as they presumably will not want to pay high prices to quarantine themselves at a hotel upon return. The high estimated price of such hotel stays influences the cost of a PCR test, on-site security, meals, and the cost of designated hotels to implement measures to keep their employees safe.

“The cost is a parking lot. This is not like any other installation. This is one where there have to be infection prevention control measures, security and other costs as well. It’s not just a regular hotel stay, ”said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s director of public health. Tam explained that security contractors will go door-to-door to verify compliance among returnees who are completing the home quarantine portion.

On the other hand, those who test positive must immediately go into quarantine at designated government facilities, where they will be tested to determine if they carry any of the new, more worrisome COVID-19 variants.

The prime minister also said that Canada’s major airlines, Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Air Transat, agree with the government’s decision to stop service to Mexico and all Caribbean destinations, effective January 31 and Until April 30. be making arrangements with their customers who are currently traveling in these regions to organize their return flights, “said Trudeau.

He also said that, starting February 1, all international passenger flights to Canada will land at one of four airports: Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Montreal.

The permeability of land borders has also been a concern throughout the pandemic, although Canada and the US have officially maintained the closure of land borders to all but essential travel. Trudeau said today: “Also, in the coming weeks, we will require non-essential travelers to submit a negative test before entering the land border with the US, and we are working to meet additional testing requirements for the land travel “.

Canadian officials have felt the need to be more aggressive with travel restrictions and requirements after imploring residents to suspend all non-essential travel as COVID-19 cases continue to rise and discovering that many choose to vacation. in sunny destinations anyway. “Unfortunately, some are making the decision to take non-essential travel. If they are going to make that decision, they must bear the full cost,” said Public Safety Minister Bill Blair.

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US Extends Border Closures with Mexico and Canada

The borders between the United States and Mexico and Canada have been closed for at least another month due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

According to WWNYTV.com, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that the US-Canada border would remain closed to non-essential travel until at least February 21.

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The current travel restrictions have been in effect since March, when the COVID-19 outbreak began in North America. The 30-day extension maintains the order that expires on January 21.

Regarding the border between Mexico and the United States, government officials also requested to extend non-essential travel restrictions. The border closure was initially instituted on March 21 and is now scheduled to last until February 21.

“Due to the development of the spread of COVID-19 and because several states are in orange (threat level),” the Mexican Foreign Ministry told Fox San Diego. “Mexico proposed to the United States the extension, for another month, of the restrictions on non-essential land traffic on their common border.”

While decisions to extend border closures have been sympathetically accepted by most Americans due to the high number of confirmed coronavirus cases, Mexicans have complained that no one is preventing US citizens from traveling south of the border.

The news comes hours after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that it would begin requiring a negative COVID-19 test of all air passengers entering the United States, effective January 26. .

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Restrictions on the land border of the US, Canada and Mexico were extended

As COVID-19 cases continue to spread across the Americas like a wildfire, a decision has been made to keep the United States’ land borders with Canada and Mexico closed until at least January 21, 2021.

Just today, US and Canadian officials confirmed the extension of the mutual ban on nonessential land border crossings, which was first imposed in March in an effort to stem the spread of the pandemic. Since then, the border closure has been renewed every month, based on reassessments of the current COVID-19 situation.

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Acting Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf wrote on Twitter that the three neighboring nations have extended the ban, “to continue to prevent the spread of COVID.” He continued: “We are working closely with Mexico and Canada to keep essential trade and travel open while protecting our citizens from the virus.”

Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair also took to Twitter, explaining that “current restrictions on all non-essential travel between Canada and the US will remain in effect until January 21.” , and assured: “Our decisions will continue to be based on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe.”

This latest extension means that the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden will ultimately determine when those border restrictions will be lifted. Biden will take office on January 20.

US officials had reportedly previously sought some revisions to the continued closure of the Canadian border, considering that communities near the border on both sides are closely intertwined. But, given the growing and uncontrolled outbreaks of coronavirus in the United States, Canada has shown little interest in loosening restrictions.

In fact, earlier this month, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation unapologetically: “Until the virus is significantly more under control worldwide, we are not going to release restrictions on border”.

Last week, the US recorded more than 200,000 COVID-19 cases per day for four consecutive days, according to a Reuters tally of official data. On December 2, a record 3,253 deaths were reported in the United States. In all, the United States has so far seen some 15.6 million cases and 292,642 deaths, while Canada has suffered about 442,000 confirmed cases and just over 13,100 deaths.

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Stranded in Canada, she was saved by a stranger

Things went pretty well the first few days, all through North Dakota and Saskatchewan. At the Canadian border, she had five days to get to her destination.

It ended up taking him seven.

First, she lost her cell signal and, as the weather deteriorated, she lost her bearings several times, forcing her to buy a GPS along the way. It was colder and the children did not have their thick winter coats. She hadn’t been through heavy snow before either, and she had the wrong tires for the terrain. But restrictions related to the pandemic have prevented her from shipping their belongings to Alaska, she said, leaving her with no choice but to continue.

After five days of “white punching” through snowy western Canada, it pulled up to a gas station in Wonowon, a small mountain town in British Columbia, and began to collapse. . “A woman came out of the gas station and asked, ‘Are you okay? “, She says.

She wasn’t. She was exhausted and couldn’t bring herself to drive any further.

“I guess I was at the point where I needed to talk to someone,” she says.

The stranger, a paramedic named Teena Sew, generously offered to help. First, she guided Ms. Marchessault to a tire store to have her truck fitted with winter tires. Then, after driving the family to the Buffalo Inn in nearby Pink Mountain, Ms Sew reached out to veterans she knew on Facebook. These friends in turn came into contact with other friends, and eventually word got to Mr. Bath.

“A friend of mine had shared someone else’s post on Facebook, saying they were looking for someone to drive from Pink Mountain to Alaska,” he said. “Everyone wished they could help, but no one could. We talked, and I said I would take him up there.

Mr. Bath lives with his wife, Selena, in Fort St. John, about an hour and a half from Pink Mountain. A veteran of the Cadet Instructors Cadre of the Canadian Armed Forces, he is currently participating in Operation LASER, the CAF effort to respond to Covid-19.

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The closure of the land borders of the United States with Canada and Mexico is extended

The U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico are likely to remain closed to nonessential travel until December 21 at the earliest.

According to Reuters.com, current travel restrictions between the three countries are set to expire on Saturday, but a growing number of coronavirus cases in North America have forced officials to extend the shutdown.

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The United States leads the world in deaths from COVID-19, but cases are increasing in all three countries. As a result, government officials decided that extending the shutdown would be prudent to help mitigate the spread.

The COVID-19-related restrictions were first implemented in March and have been extended every month since then. A Homeland Security official told Reuters the agency was “continuing to seek appropriate public health criteria for a future reassessment of existing restrictions.”

In Canada, a government spokesman in Ottawa said travel restrictions would remain in effect for at least another month, while Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said the “spread of COVID-19 in both countries” reinforced the need for an extension.

Data from earlier this year suggests that US visits to Canada by car had plummeted by more than 95 percent in August compared to the previous year.

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Canada Keeps US Border Closed for Another Month

The border between Canada and the US will be closed for another 30 days.

In a move that was widely expected and has now become almost common, Public Security Minister Bill Blair posted a short note on Twitter Monday to say that the Liberal government is “extending non-essential travel restrictions. with the United States until November 21, 2020. “

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“Our decisions will continue to be based on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe,” said Blair.

The border was closed for the first time in March and there are regular extensions almost every month. The last extension before yesterday was to expire on October 21.

The border is still open to air traffic. Ottawa has also granted exemptions in some cases, including funerals and for married couples and families to get together.

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