TORONTO — Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook visited Canada for the first time as CEO Monday, surprising students at a downtown Toronto Apple store to highlight the importance of learning to code, and dropping in on a group of developers to thank them for their contributions to the tech giant’s app store.The unannounced visit by Cook, who as Apple’s chief executive since 2011 has overseen the rollout of the iPhone 7 and the Apple Watch, was the first time an Apple CEO has visited Canada since Steve Jobs made the trek north in the late 1980s.Cook surprised a class of Grade 7 students from Scarborough, Ont., as they learned how to program robots to dance on tables using Apple’s Swift programming language, recently introduced by the company as a low-barrier-to-entry way of coding.Apple’s spending plan may help America, but it will likely help shareholders even moreApple to pay $38 billion tax on repatriated cash, invest billions on U.S. jobs, manufacturing, data centresApple’s battery replacement program could slash iPhone sales by 16 million“Swift came out of the fundamental recognition that coding languages were too geeky. Most students would look at them and say, ‘that’s not for me,” Cook said as the pre-teens participated in an Apple-designed “Everyone Can Code” workshop, which helps children learn how to build mobile apps, at the Apple Store in Toronto’s Eaton Centre.“That’s not our view. Our view is that coding is a horizontal skill like your native languages or mathematics, so we wanted to design a programming language that is as easy to learn as our products are to use.”There are 250,000 apps in the App Store that have been coded with Swift, including popular ones such as LinkedIn and AirBnb. In 2016, Apple released Swift Playgrounds, which turns learning the programming language into a game for people of all ages — though especially for students.The Canadian visit follows a similar surprise last week, when Cook visited a school in the United Kingdom, as part of a whistle-stop tour of Europe, where Apple recently launched its “Everyone Can Code” curriculum in several schools.The CEO’s tour to promote the benefits of Apple technology comes after the company recently came under fire from shareholders over concerns about the addictive effects of gadgets and social media on young people.New York-based Jana Partners LLC and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System said in a Jan. 6 open letter to Apple that the company must offer more choices and tools to help children fight addiction to its devices.Among their proposals to Apple: Establish a committee of experts, including child development specialists; offer Apple’s “vast information resources” to researchers; and enhance mobile device software so that parents have more options to protect their children’s health.But Cook’s Canadian stop was squarely focused on the benefits, both educational and economic, of Apple’s technology.There are more than 120,000 jobs in Canada directly related to Apple’s iOS and App Store ecosystem, the company said Monday. These positions can include developers, designers, entrepreneurs and other highly skilled roles.“Canada is an extremely important market for us. We have a great team in Canada,” Cook said.“I want to do everything I can do to highlight their innovation, their companies and their work, because it is a critical part of the entire user experience. I wanted to come say thank you.”Demand for digital skills in Canada continues to expand and the federal government has identified coding as a key job development skill. By 2021, there will be 210,000 Canadian jobs in the space and, based on forecasted numbers of computer science graduates, the country won’t have the skilled workers to fill these positions.Denise Salsman, who teaches the Grade 7 class that Cook surprised, said that in less than a year of implementing code into the classroom, her students have seen an improvement in their grades.“Coding is something my students, who will have jobs we don’t even know about yet, need to know.”Cook’s visit came the same day the federal government launched its first major investment in coding education.Navdeep Bains, Federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development introduced CanCode, a federal program designed to help Canadian students improve their digital skills.“It’s a $50 million program launched by our government to pave the path for Canada’s future leaders,” Bains said at a stop at Microsoft Canada in Mississauga, Ont.Bains said the program will give more than one million children and their teachers across Canada the chance to develop their digital skills.
The sites that remains closed off to the public and under the control of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey’s house, Salisbury Ambulance Station, Amesbury Ambulance Station, Bourne Hill Police Station and Council Office, Ashely Wood vehicle recovery, The Mill Pub and Zizzi’s Italian restaurant. The bench on which Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found poisoned is set to be replaced by an art installation, council officials have said. Salisbury’s main shopping area The Maltings in the city centre – where Russian former spy and his daughter were found unconscious – was released from Government control on Monday following decontamination work.While there is no plans to replace the bench, which was removed as part of the investigations, the council is looking to install artwork in its place. The Maltings – one of the key sites at the centre of the Skripal poisoning case – poses “no risk to public health” and is set to reopen this weekend – 82 days after the nerve agent attack. Around eight retail units and an area of the park that surrounds the shopping centre in the Wiltshire town have been out of bounds for the public since March 4. While other major sites – such as Sergei Skripal’s house and the car pound from which his BMW was recovered – remain behind a cordon, The Maltings re-opening signals the first major shift towards Salisbury returning to normal. When the cordon is lifted, expected to be Friday, it will mark the first major re-opening of a site directly linked to the novichok nerve agent attack. Chairman Alistair Cunningham confirmed the plans for the bench on Tuesday, and said: “There’s no risk to public health, it’s a simple message. There’s no doubt the site is clean.”The site is in quite a state after not being touched for a few months. Our plan is to do as much as we can in the next few days … because it’s a vital economic link for the town centre.”He added around £250,000 had been given to affected local businesses, which saw revenues drop by up to 80% in the immediate aftermath of the poisoning.Mr Skripal, 66, and Ms Skripal, 33, were admitted to Salisbury District Hospital after coming into contact with the military-grade nerve agent novichok.Mr Skripal left the hospital on Friday morning following his daughter’s discharge on April 10.Mr Cunningham added: “Things are running to plan and this is a real milestone in Salisbury returning to normal.”You walk around and life goes on, the city is bigger than the incident.” A team from the town’s recovery co-ordinating group will now tidy up the spot, which was shut off at the beginning of March as part of the police investigation and later for decontamination. One location – Mr Skripal’s house – is still under police watch as the investigation into who poisoned the former Russian double agent continues. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.