Police body cameras and COVID-19 app roll out delayed; In The News for July 2

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of July 2 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

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Many political leaders have been calling for wider use of body-worn cameras on police officers across the country, saying it would provide increased accountability in the wake of global protests.

But the vast majority of research into the technology has found no consistent evidence that the cameras reduce police violence.

Research released last year looked at 70 other studies into body cameras and found they had statistically insignificant impacts on police and citizen behaviour.

Another study looking at camera use in the United States found cameras had no meaningful effect on how police react.

A six-month trial by the Western Australia Police Force actually found a small increase in use-of-force incidents when officers wore the cameras.

Erick Laming is a First Nation PhD candidate in criminology at the University of Toronto, who studies police use of force.

He says there's not enough research into the efficacy of the cameras in Canada.

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Also this ...

TORONTO — A new mobile app meant to help with contact tracing of COVID-19 cases won't roll out across Ontario today as planned.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health says the province is still working with the federal government and the app is expected to launch soon.

The province will be the first to use the COVID Alert app, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said it should be ready for downloading in the rest of the country later this summer.

Premier Doug Ford says the app is meant to enhance the province's contact tracing strategy.

He's previously said it could play a key role in helping contain the spread of COVID-19 as more businesses reopen their doors.

The app will be voluntary, and will notify users based on a number of criteria, including if they were within two metres of a person who tests positive for the virus and if that contact took place over an extended period of time.

The province didn't give a new date for the app's launch.

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What we are watching in the U.S. ...

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is promising one of the largest fireworks displays in recent memory in Washington on July Fourth.

It also plans to give away as many as 300,000 face masks to those who come down to the National Mall for the festivities, although they won't be required to wear them.

This is despite concerns from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who warns that the plans run counter to established health guidelines.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt on Wednesday detailed President Donald Trump's plans for Independence Day in the nation's capital and said they include a mile-long detonation of 10,000 fireworks.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump plan to host events on Saturday from the White House south lawn and from the Ellipse.

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What we are watching elsewhere in the world ...

Russian election officials say that 78 per cent of voters in Russia have approved amendments to the country’s constitution that will allow President Vladimir Putin to stay in power until 2036.

The announcement was made Thursday after counting 100 per cent of the precincts.

Kremlin critics, however, say the vote was rigged. In the week-long balloting that concluded on Wednesday, 77.9 per cent voted for the changes, and 21.3 per cent voted against.

Officials say the turnout exceeded 64 per cent.

Critics say the vote was tarnished by widespread reports of pressure on voters and other irregularities.

Opposition figure Alexei Navalny says "a record in falsifying votes has been set in Russia."

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Today in 2003 ...

Vancouver won the right to host the 2010 Winter Olympics ahead of Salzburg, Austria, and Pyeongchang, South Korea.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 2, 2020.

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