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Few Good Solutions as Home Affordability Plummets
World

Few Good Solutions as Home Affordability Plummets

Charles St-Arnaud, the chief economist at Alberta Central, the central bank for the province’s credit unions, started out his inquiry with a simple question: How far would prices need to fall, or would incomes need to rise, to make housing affordable again in Canada?The answer for most cities in Canada is “too much.”Mr. St-Arnaud’s research, published this month, presents a major obstacle to efforts to make housing in Canada more affordable. It suggests that the proposals being offered by many politicians — building more houses to lower prices by increasing supply — are unlikely to make a big difference.By most measures, houses are now so costly in much of Canada that affordability has reached a four-decade low. Back in the early 1980s, the squeeze was created by mortgage rates of more tha...
Middle East Crisis: Hostage Talks Set for Paris on Friday
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Middle East Crisis: Hostage Talks Set for Paris on Friday

A song called “October Rain” might simply be a ballad about dreary fall weather. But in the charged atmosphere following the Hamas-led attacks on Israel of Oct. 7, the title could also signal a lament about that tragedy, or a rallying call to stand firm against terrorism.This week, the meaning of “October Rain” — a song that very few people have heard — became a contested question when newspapers in Israel reported that a song with that name had been chosen to represent the country in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.Although initial reports gave few details of the song, they sparked a furor on social media. Some Eurovision fans complained that the track was clearly referring to Oct. 7 and should not be allowed in the nonpolitical event in which pop stars, representing countries, compet...
As Latin America’s Prison Population Explodes, Gangs Seize Control
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As Latin America’s Prison Population Explodes, Gangs Seize Control

Ecuador’s military was sent in to seize control of the country’s prisons last month after two major gang leaders escaped and criminal groups quickly set off a nationwide revolt that paralyzed the country.In Brazil last week, two inmates with connections to a major gang became the first to escape from one of the nation’s five maximum-security federal prisons, officials said.Officials in Colombia have declared an emergency in its prisons after two guards were killed and several more targeted in what the government said was retaliation for its crackdown on major criminal groups.Inside prisons across Latin America, criminal groups exercise unchallenged authority over prisoners, extracting money from them to buy protection or basic necessities, like food.The prisons also act as a safe haven of ...
Dozens Killed in Papua New Guinea After Clashes Between Tribes
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Dozens Killed in Papua New Guinea After Clashes Between Tribes

“From the outside, it will look like they’re one country,” Elizabeth Kopel, a researcher at the Papua New Guinean National Research Institute, said during a panel discussion organized by the United States Institute of Peace about tribal violence in October. “But we really struggle with trying to live with each other, understand each other, given all the different diversities.”Tensions have for several years been rising in the highlands, including Enga Province, where the recent deaths occurred. “This sort of situation has been just becoming increasingly more severe for many years now,” said Michael Main, a researcher at the Australian National University. He added: “It’s been going on for so long that you have an entire generation that’s growing up deeply, deeply traumatized. This level of...
Residents Oppose Expanding Drug Use Sites to Suburban Vancouver
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Residents Oppose Expanding Drug Use Sites to Suburban Vancouver

British Columbia’s rampant drug deaths have more than once thrust public health officials into uncharted territory. It became the first province to decriminalize small quantities of hard drugs for personal use in 2022, about two decades after Vancouver opened the first supervised injection site in North America. But as overdoses increase in some British Columbia towns, there is disagreement in one city about how to address it.In Richmond, one of British Columbia’s largest cities, with 230,000 people, municipal council chambers turned raucous this week as a full public gallery of residents opposed a plan for staff to study whether a safe consumption site for drug users would be viable in the community. The plan was adopted on Tuesday, but the effort is off to a rocky start, with few officia...
Egypt Builds Wall Across From Gaza Border: Israel-Hamas Live Updates
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Egypt Builds Wall Across From Gaza Border: Israel-Hamas Live Updates

A wall is going up in the desert of Egypt near the border of the war-torn Gaza Strip, but no one is talking much about it.Satellite imagery, photographs and video analyzed by The New York Times show a large patch of land being bulldozed and the wall being built in the buffer zone between Egypt and Rafah, the southern Gaza city overflowing with over a million displaced Palestinians that Israeli forces are poised to invade.Construction of a wall along the Egyptian border with Rafah is seen in this satellite imagery.Credit...Maxar TechnologiesThe satellite imagery clearly shows newly graded land south of the Rafah border crossing. An analysis of the satellite images indicated that the work began around Feb. 5.But the Egyptian government, which has looked on with concern as Gazans displaced by...
The Detention of Rocío San Miguel Raises Human Rights Concerns
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The Detention of Rocío San Miguel Raises Human Rights Concerns

Of all the government critics, few thought that Rocío San Miguel would be the one to disappear.Ms. San Miguel, 57, has long been one of Venezuela’s best known security experts, a woman who dared investigate her country’s authoritarian government even as others fled. She is also a moderate, has international recognition and appeared to have strong contacts in the secretive world of the Venezuelan military, qualities that her peers thought might protect her.But late last week, Ms. San Miguel arrived at the airport outside Caracas with her daughter, bound for what a relative called a short trip to Miami, when she was picked up by counterintelligence agents. Soon after, her family began to disappear, too. The daughter, two brothers and two former romantic partners. Gone.For four days, the only...
Middle East Crisis: How Israeli Commandos Rescued 2 Hostages in Gaza
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Middle East Crisis: How Israeli Commandos Rescued 2 Hostages in Gaza

Israeli special operations forces raided a building in the southern Gazan city of Rafah early Monday to free two hostages held by Hamas, the military said, as Israel launched a wave of attacks overnight that killed dozens of Palestinians in Rafah, according to the Gazan health ministry.The operations were met with elation in Israel, and grief and foreboding in the Gaza Strip, where more than a million Palestinians have crowded into Rafah, fleeing their homes and seeking refuge from Israeli military actions farther north. Palestinians feared the raid — and the accompanying death toll — portended a more prolonged Israeli operation to capture Rafah.The nighttime rescue operation marked only the second time Israeli forces said they had rescued captives in Gaza since the war began in October. T...
Brazil Has a Dengue Emergency, Portending a Health Crisis for the Americas
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Brazil Has a Dengue Emergency, Portending a Health Crisis for the Americas

Brazil is experiencing an enormous outbreak of dengue fever, the sometimes fatal mosquito-borne disease, and public health experts say it is a harbinger of a coming surge in cases in the Americas, including Puerto Rico.Brazil’s Health Ministry warns that it expects more than 4.2 million cases this year, outstripping the 4.1 million cases the Pan-American Health Organization recorded for all 42 countries in the region last year.Brazil was due for a bad dengue year — numbers of cases of the virus typically rise and fall on a roughly four-year cycle — but experts say a number of factors, including El Niño and climate change, have significantly amplified the problem this year.“The record heat in the country and the above-average rainfall since last year, even before the summer, have increased ...
Netanyahu Orders Plans for Civilian Evacuation of Rafah: Israel-Hamas War Live Updates
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Netanyahu Orders Plans for Civilian Evacuation of Rafah: Israel-Hamas War Live Updates

President Biden sharply escalated his criticism of Israel’s approach to the war against Hamas on Thursday, calling military operations in Gaza “over the top” and saying that the suffering of innocent people has “got to stop.”Mr. Biden, who has strongly supported Israel’s right to retaliate for the Oct. 7 terrorist attack by Hamas that killed an estimated 1,200 people, exhibited growing impatience with the scale and duration of Israel’s response during a nighttime meeting with reporters at the White House.“I’m of the view, as you know, that the conduct of the response in Gaza, in the Gaza Strip, has been over the top,” Mr. Biden said in response to questions at the end of the rowdy session, meant to address a special counsel report on his handling of classified documents. “I’ve been pushing...