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Poppy 2.0: Remembrance Day symbol gets a digital makeover – National




Canadians sporting poppies on their lapels can support the country’s veterans in a new way this Remembrance Day.

The Royal Canadian Legion will be offering what they describe as “digital poppies” for the first time.

READ MORE: Why white poppies — meant to be a symbol of peace — are so controversial

Nujma Bond, who works for the Legion, explained to Global News that the digital poppies are meant to be complementary to traditional ones.

“We essentially wanted to give Canadians another option, another means of donating to the poppy campaign,” she explained.

About 20 million lapel pins will be distributed this year.

WATCH: Canada’s Remembrance Day poppy goes digital

How does the digital poppy work?

The digital poppy has been made available online for Canadians on the legion’s website and on

After making a donation, Canadians get access to a poppy, which they can post online via social media websites such as Facebook.

READ MORE: No Stone Left Alone expanding in Canada this Remembrance Day

They can also choose to keep it unnamed or dedicate the poppy to a specific person.

Like traditional poppies, the funds will go toward the Legion’s Poppy Campaign, which provides funding for several veterans services.

“The funds are used for a range of financial assistance and support for veterans for things like food and heating costs, medical equipment, and the work of branch service officers across the country, who represent veterans at no cost, and help them access the support they need,” Bond explained.

The legion posted photos of what the poppies will look like, including examples of digital poppies created by prominent Canadians, such as author Margaret Atwood.

Atwood dedicated hers to Brig.-Gen. T.G. Gibson.

“I’m dedicating my digital Poppy to Brigadier General T.G. Gibson, my spouse Graeme’s father,” she wrote in her tribute message. “He fought in World War Two in Italy and then through Holland and into Germany.”

Why go online?

Bond explained that offering an online version of poppies is simply a new way to reach Canadians.

“It’s just the way the world is going,” Bond explained. “We wanted to reach people who may not be carrying as much cash as they used to.”

READ MORE: The dos and don’ts of wearing a Remembrance Day poppy 

But she noted that the Legion expects similar poppy etiquette will be followed online — especially when it comes to comments and tributes.

“We expect people to show common respect that they would use when speaking about our veterans,” Bond said.

Connecting with youth

Another reason for making the poppy digital is connecting with younger Canadians, who Bond explained may not have the same experience with war as the older generation in terms of the world wars.

But she noted that poppies are meant to honour veterans and victims of other wars as well.

WATCH: Calgarians to cover church with 7,000 poppies to mark Remembrance Day

“There have been many conflicts since then, whether it has been Afghanistan or Bosnia,” she said. “Veterans of those conflicts need to be remembered in those same manners.”

She said she hopes digital poppies can help “trigger younger Canadians to think about all the conflicts and what they have meant for our country.”

Do youth need to be more involved?

While there has been a conversation around getting younger Canadians more involved in Remembrance Day, one survey suggests traditions aren’t fading away.

A 2017 survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Historica Canada found that millennials are leading a gradual resurgence of interest when it comes to attending Remembrance Day ceremonies.

It found that found that 29 per cent of respondents planned to attend a ceremony to honour fallen soldiers last year — that was an increase of three percentage points from 2016 and marked a return to highs established in 2015.

WATCH: Thousands attend 2017 Remembrance Day ceremonies

It said 37 per cent of millennial respondents planned to attend a ceremony, well ahead of the 29 per cent of baby boomers over age 55 who were surveyed.

Historica chief executive officer Anthony Wilson-Smith said veterans relaying the horrors of war in person in Canadian schools, or sharing their anecdotes in online archives, have had a chance to make an impression on a demographic that often gets a “bad rap.”

“We’re more aware of our place in the world, and that translates into a greater appreciation of sacrifice in a global context,” he said.

— With files from The Canadian Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali



Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu

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Harris accepts VP nomination



Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself



Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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