Federal government to offer $800M in aid to companies hit by U.S. steel, aluminum tariffs: source

OTTAWA — The Canadian government will hit back against U.S. tariffs on its steel and aluminum by offering affected companies and workers up to $800 million in aid, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland will make an announcement in the steel city of Hamilton on Friday morning.

Freeland will announce the aid and reveal a list of U.S. goods that Canada intends to subject to retaliatory tariffs, said the source, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation.

U.S. President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum last month, citing national security reasons. The move helped upend one of the world’s most important trading relationships and soured ties between Ottawa and Washington.

Freeland said on June 19 that the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was working on ways to directly support the steel and aluminum industries and their workers.

Freeland’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The source said the assistance – to be spread over several years – would be similar to an $867 million five-year package offered to Canadian softwood lumber producers in 2017 after Washington imposed tariffs.

That took the form of loans, loan guarantees, commercial financing and support to help firms expand overseas markets. It also included money to help affected workers learn new skills and provided support for work-sharing agreements.

The source did not say which steel and aluminum firms would be in line for help. Companies with operations in Canada include Evraz Plc, Rio Tinto Plc, Algoma Acquisition Corp, Essar Steel Algoma Inc, ArcelorMittal SA and Alcoa Corp.

Canada promised to react by imposing retaliatory tariffs on $16.6 billion worth of U.S. exports and Freeland is due to outline exactly which goods will be hit, said the source.

Trump is also threatening to impose tariffs on Canadian autos, which would cause significantly more economic harm.

Senior officials from Canada are lobbying the Big Three U.S. car makers to stave off the punitive measures and say they are considering all options, including providing financial aid.

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland

Science fiction writer Harlan Ellison is dead

Harlan Ellison, the 84-year-old author of some of science fiction’s best-known stories, has died. His death was announced on Twitter by Christine Valada.

In addition to short fiction, Ellison also wrote for the movies and TV, most notably penning “The City on the Edge of Forever” — he was vocally unhappy with how his script was rewritten, but the filmed version is still generally considered the finest episode of any Star Trek series.

Ellison also made his mark as an editor, thanks to his 1967 anthology “Dangerous Visions” — while the stories’ sex and violence, as well as their stylistic experimentation, may no longer seem groundbreaking, “Dangerous Visions” remains the definitive collection of New Wave science fiction.

He was also a teacher, most notably championing the work of “Kindred” author Octavia Butler after meeting her at the Clarion Workshop. And he experimented with other media as well, for example working on the computer game adaptation of his story “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” and even providing the voice for the game’s evil AI.

But the stories were his greatest accomplishment. Tales like “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ said the Ticktockman” (about a future where being late is the greatest crime) and “The Deathbird” (a man witnesses the dying Earth’s final moments) and “Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes” (the saddest Las Vegas ghost story you’ll ever read) won him many awards, and have been anthologized many times. They show a pessimistic imagination at work — his most famous stories generally end in death or defeat — but thanks to the tremendous energy of Ellison’s writing, they’re never dour or boring.

Ellison was a hero of mine, especially when I was younger. He seemed like the kind of writer I wanted to be when I grew up, someone who could be wildly creative while remaining passionately engaged with the world’s real problems. In fact, I wrote an entire college application essay about how I wanted to be him — and later, when I had to write an adventure game for class, I borrowed shamelessly from the post-apocalyptic, underground suburbs of his story “A Boy and His Dog.”

(I wasn’t the only one who cribbed from Ellison. After seeing similarities with his short story/”Outer Limits” script “Soldier,” Ellison sued the makers of “The Terminator” — they settled, and his name was added to the credits.)

It’s been a while since Ellison was in the spotlight. He hasn’t written much in recent years, and since his reputation rested on short stories, he didn’t have a novel like “Dune” or a “Stranger in a Strange Land” or a “The Left Hand of Darkness” sitting on bookstore shelves for new readers to discover him.

Ellison never seemed to back down from controversy — not for nothing was a recent biography titled “A Lit Fuse” — so when he did get attention, it was usually because he’d said or done something offensive or dumb.

But the stories remain. For those who’ve read and loved them, what we’ll remember — what I’ll remember — is the strange hum of the Ticktockman, the laughter of the mad AI ruling over the ruins of the Earth and a gambler’s tired eyes staring out from a haunted slot machine.

Protesters, lawmaker arrested in U.S. Senate building sit-in over immigration

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Nearly 600 protesters were arrested during a clangorous occupation of a U.S. Senate office building in Washington on Thursday, where they decried U.S. President Donald Trump’s “zero- tolerance” stance on illegal immigration.