Picture shown is for illustrative purposes only.
Canada's parliament has gone virtual through the pandemic, assembling MPs across six time zones and giving a rare peek at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's bookcase, a deer head and a stifled opposition.
In this photo shows the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to the media. File photo
Every Tuesday and Thursday over the past month 338 Canadian MPs logged into Zoom from home to question ministers in lieu of holding a daily in-person question period.
The first sessions were marred by glitches -- "Can you hear me now?" "There's an issue with the translation." "The minister is being cut off." "Please unclick your mute." "You might also hear my son, he doesn't sound too happy, in the background."
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"This is a historic day," Speaker Anthony Rota said when it began, while admonishing MPs over sounds of camera clicks "not to post photos on the Internet of the screen," as per parliamentary rules.
A few others including the British and Latvian parliaments have also gone online to limit person-to-person spreading of the COVID-19 virus.
"We cannot be vectors for the virus," New Democrat MP Peter Julien told AFP, explaining why his party pushed for this arrangement to maintain democracy in a crisis.
"The only way to ask questions on behalf of constituents and hold government accountable without endangering the public is a virtual parliament," he said.
Critics such as Democracy Watch co-founder Duff Conacher lamented that it has diminished the role of the official opposition, while the minority Liberal government of Trudeau uses daily press briefings to discuss policy.
"It's very difficult in these mass virtual sessions to put a minister or the prime minister on the spot," Conacher said, describing the sessions as "chaotic."
He also warned of the risk of abuse if parliamentary oversight is curtailed.Agence France-Presse
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A year into the pandemic, infection rates are falling. Hospitals are quieter; morgues are emptier. Emboldened by vaccines, we’re dropping our masks and stepping closer. Slowly we’re reopening indoor dining, theaters, museums and schools.
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The Coromandel Express, which runs from Kolkata to Chennai, derailed and fell on the opposite track, with many people still trapped, the reports said.
Sheikh Mohammed added in a tweet on Twitter: "We found its executive director at the service counters, receiving customers, speeding up procedures, and contributing to clearing transactions. The secret shopper assured us that providing the service did not exceed five minutes."
The first lady arrived in Cairo from Amman, where she attended the wedding of Crown Prince Hussein. She is travelling to Morocco on Saturday before heading to Portugal, the final stop of her tour, on Monday.