Toronto police say a man has died and a woman is in life-threatening condition after a shooting in the Summerhill neighbourhood Friday evening. Erica Vella reports.
Toronto police say a man has died and a woman is in life-threatening condition after a shooting in the Summerhill neighbourhood Friday evening. Erica Vella reports.
Another type of COVID-19 vaccine was authorized by Health Canada on Friday. The new vaccines are manufactured by AstraZeneca, and developed in partnership with Oxford University. Canada also approved the Serum Institute of India’s version of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Afterwards, Anita Anand, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement announced that Canada has secured two million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine through an agreement with Verity Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc./Serum Institute of India. AstraZeneca has licensed the manufacture of its ChAdOx1 vaccine to the Serum Institute. The first 500,000 doses will be delivered to Canada in the coming weeks. The remaining 1.5 million doses are expected to arrive by mid-May. “The Government of Canada continues to do everything possible to protect Canadians from COVID-19. This includes securing a highly diverse and extensive portfolio of vaccines and taking all necessary measures to ready the country to receive them,” Anand said in a release. “We remain fully on track to ensure that there will be a sufficient supply so that every eligible Canadian who wants a vaccine will have access to one by the end of September. I am grateful for the collaboration of our partners in India to finalize this agreement, and I look forward to continuing to work closely together in the weeks ahead.” The two million doses secured through this agreement are in addition to the 20 million doses already secured through an earlier agreement with AstraZeneca. Health Canada’s authorization of the AstraZeneca vaccine allows the Government of Canada to advance its work with AstraZeneca to finalize delivery schedules for the 20 million doses. The application for authorization from AstraZeneca was received on Oct. 1, 2020 and from from Verity Pharmaceuticals Inc./Serum Institute of India (in partnership with AstraZeneca Canada Inc.) on January 23, 2021. After thorough, independent reviews of the evidence, the Department has determined that these vaccines meet Canada’s stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements. These are the first viral vector-based vaccines authorized in Canada. These are also two-dose regiments and can be kept refrigerated for at least six months. Health Canada’s authorization of the Verity Pharmaceuticals Inc./Serum Institute of India product relies on the assessment of its comparability to the AstraZeneca-produced version of the vaccine.. These vaccines were authorized with terms and conditions under Health Canada’s Interim Order on the importation of drugs for COVID-19 The process allowed Health Canada to assess information submitted by the manufacturer as it became available during the product development process, while maintaining Canadian standards. Health Canada has placed terms and conditions on the authorizations requiring the manufacturers to continue providing information to Health Canada on the safety, efficacy and quality of the vaccines to ensure their benefits continue to be demonstrated through market use. Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada will closely monitor the safety. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until the end of March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors on Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry also says first responders and essential workers may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
SILVER SPRING, Md. — Spending on U.S. construction projects rose 1.7% in January as new home building continues to lift the sector. Last month's increase followed small revised gains in December and November. Spending on residential construction rose 2.5% in January, with single family home projects up 3%, the Commerce Department reported Monday. Despite an economy that’s been battered for nearly a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, historically low interest rates and city dwellers seeking more space in the suburbs and beyond has boosted home sales. Last week, the Commerce Department reported that sales of new homes jumped 4.3% in January, and are 19.3% higher than they were last year at this time. In a separate report, the government reported that applications for building permits, which typically signal activity ahead, spiked 10.4% in January. Spending on government projects, which has been constrained by tight state and local budgets in the wake of the pandemic, rose 1.7%. Matt Ott, The Associated Press
Trystan Lackner first got interested in urban food security way back in his senior year of high school after a supportive vice-principal helped him build a community garden in barren soil where portable classrooms had been removed. It ended up producing around eight or 10 grocery bags full of lettuce, potatoes, carrots and other produce that they donated to local volunteer group Feed The Need Durham. But it only lasted the year that Lackner and classmates he had brought along were there to sustain it. “It was a seed,” says Lackner, explaining he didn't have the experience or knowledge at the time to carry it forward. “The community garden was there, and then it wasn't, and there wasn't any communication of those ideas.” Fast-forward a few years and a degree in international development later, and Lackner is looking to make a more lasting impact. After six months of preparation, Lackner and colleagues hosted an online summit called "Does Your Meal Plan Cover Climate Change?" last month as part of Youth Challenge International’s Innovate MY Future program. “Our whole idea was to develop an educational summit for young people to become more aware, get involved, and connect with the experts within the field,” he says, about the Youth Roots Durham project. The hope is that more informed communities will build more resilience into the process by which they get fed, one that faced a sharp shock due to COVID-19 disrupting global supply chains, as well as ongoing threats to the same system from climate change. The summit included a weekend panel discussion of experts followed by networking, and workshops on the links between food and climate change, the benefits of moving from mass production of commodity crops, and how to get involved in pushing for more sustainable practices. One speaker at the summit was a local permaculture farmer, who grows multiple crops in proximity to each other for mutual benefit. The practice can reduce the need for pesticides and cut carbon emissions by limiting the need to transport food, Lackner explains. The information gathered in the course of the project is being prepared to be archived on a page of the Durham Food Policy Council’s website, ensuring that unlike his high school garden, Lackner’s legacy may live on. The region — which is suburban in its southern sections near Lake Ontario and more rural in its north towards the Lake Simcoe border — exports most of its produce in the form of commodity crops, such as soy and corn, Lackner says. He says that with demand for food to expand by roughly 70 per cent in coming decades as our global population approaches 10 billion people, innovative solutions applied locally will be key. “There is a very high possibility that you will see in the next decade or two, if we can innovate more with the greenhouses and produce more in warehouse settings, you can essentially urbanize and create factories of food within these large urban centres,” he says. In addition to these modern factory farms, Lackner wants to see more rooftop gardens and government policy that sets aside land to protect it from being developed other than as farmland. And for young people wondering what they can do, he says just dive in. “Get out there, get your hands dirty. Make that change that you want to see,” he says. “If you see something that no one else is doing or that's missing, don't wait for someone else to get that going, start it yourself and get involved. There is a way to do all that and connect with the experts and community partners.” Morgan Sharp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
NEW YORK — Before a late night rehearsal in December, Terrence Floyd couldn’t remember the last time he squatted on a drum throne, sticks in hand and ready to perform. Surely, he said, it had not happened since his brother, George Floyd, died at the hands of police in Minneapolis last May, sparking a global reckoning over systemic racism and police brutality. Now, Terrence is lending a talent he honed as a youngster in a church band to help produce and promote a forthcoming album of protest anthems inspired by the Black Lives Matter demonstrations prompted in part by his brother's death. “I want to pay my respects to my brother any way I can, whether it’s a march, whether it’s just talking to somebody about him, or whether it’s doing what I do and playing the drums,” Terrence told The Associated Press. “His heartbeat is not beating no more,” he said, “but I can beat for him.” The untitled project, set for release one year after George Floyd’s death, follows a long history of racial justice messages and protest slogans crossing over into American popular music and culture. In particular, music has been a vehicle for building awareness of grassroots movements, often carrying desperate pleas or enraged battle cries across the airwaves. Terrence was recruited for the project by the Rev. Kevin McCall, a New York City activist who said he believes an album of street-inspired protest anthems does not yet exist. “These protest chants that were created have been monumental,” said McCall. “It created a movement and not a moment.” Some songs make bold declarations, like the protest anthem album’s lead single, “No Justice No Peace.” The well-known protest refrain, popularized in the U.S. in the 1980s, is something that millennials grew up hearing before they joined the front lines of their generation’s civil rights movement, McCall said. McCall is featured on the track, along with his fiancée, singer Malikka Miller, and choir members from Brooklyn’s Grace Tabernacle Christian Center. The song is currently available for purchase and streaming on iTunes, Amazon Music and YouTube. Godfather Records, a label run and owned by David Wright, pastor of Grace Tabernacle Christian Center, plans to put out the seven-song album. His late father, Timothy Wright, is considered the “Godfather of gospel music.” “We’re mixing gospel music with social justice, to reach the masses,” Wright said. “We have always been strengthened through songs, like ‘We Shall Overcome’ and ‘Wade in the Water.’ I want to put a new twist on it.” There is a history of interplay between music and Black protest. The 1991 beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles Police Department officers — as well as the contemporary “war on drugs” — amplified NWA’s 1988 anthem, “F(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk) tha Police,” and Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” released in 1989. More recently, Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright,” Beyoncé’s “Freedom” featuring Lamar, and YG’s “FDT” provided a soundtrack for many BLM protests. Legendary musician and activist Stevie Wonder released his hit 1980 song, “Happy Birthday,” as part of a campaign to recognize the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday as a federal holiday. King’s Day, which faced years of opposition at the national level, was officially recognized in 1986, three years after it won the backing of federal lawmakers. Some historians cite Billie Holiday’s musical rendition of the Abel Meeropol poem, “Strange Fruit,” in 1939 as one of the sparks of the civil rights movement. The song paints in devastating detail the period of lynching carried out against Black Americans for decades after the abolition of slavery, often as a way to terrorize and oppress those who sought racial equality. The new film “United States vs. Billie Holiday” depicts the jazz luminary’s real-life struggle to perform the song in spite of opposition from government officials. Singer and actress Andra Day, who portrays Holiday in the film, recently told the AP the song's significance influenced her decision to take on the role. “It was her singing this song in defiance of the government that reinvigorated the movement,” Day said. “And so that was really incentivizing for me.” Todd Boyd, the Katherine and Frank Price Endowed Chair for the Study of Race and Popular Culture at the University of Southern California, said many of the most well-known protest chants came out of the civil rights and Black power movements, and then inspired songs. “That’s how culture works,” Boyd said. “Something that starts out in one space can very easily grow into something bigger and broader, if the movement itself is influential.” Terrence Floyd said the protest anthem project feels like a fitting way to honour his brother’s memory. Many years before his death, George Floyd dabbled in music — he was occasionally invited to rap on mixtapes produced by DJ Screw, a fixture of the local hip-hop scene in Houston. “If his music couldn’t make it out of Houston, I’m using my Floyd musical ability to reach people in his name,” Terrence said. ___ AP entertainment reporter Jamia Pugh in Philadelphia contributed. ___ Morrison is a member of the AP’s Race and Ethnicity team. Follow him on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/aaronlmorrison. Aaron Morrison, The Associated Press
LEVERKUSEN, Germany — Bayer Leverkusen right back Timothy Fosu-Mensah will be out for several months with a cruciate ligament tear in his right knee, the German club said Monday. Fosu-Mensah was injured just before halftime in Leverkusen's 2-1 loss to Freiburg on Sunday. The club said he will need an operation and is expected to spend “the coming months” on the sidelines. It’s the second serious knee injury of the Dutch defender's career. He also needed ligament surgery while on loan at Fulham in April 2019 and missed most of Manchester United's 2019-20 season. “It is a hard blow for Timothy,” Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes said. “We will do everything we can to support him, so that he can come back stronger from this difficult situation.” Fosu-Mensah, who signed from Manchester United less than two months ago, has played every minute of Leverkusen's last six Bundesliga games. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
The European Commission will propose this month an EU-wide digital certificate providing proof of a COVID-19 vaccination that could allow Europeans to travel more freely over the summer. The EU executive aims to present its plans for a "digital green pass" on March 17 and to cooperate with international organisations to ensure that its system also works beyond the European Union. "The aim is to gradually enable them to move safely in the European Union or abroad - for work or tourism," Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said in a tweet on Monday.
En Abitibi, la forestière RYAM a piloté un projet de rétablissement du caribou forestier, en travaillant en collaboration avec le ministère de la Forêt, de la Faune et des Parcs du Québec, les autochtones et les écologistes... avant même la mise sur pied du plan de Québec. Au passage, RYAM a concédé l’équivalent de trois semaines d’approvisionnement en bois, ce qui a permis de réduire le taux de perturbation à 39 %. Reportage. Tout a commencé en 2013, lorsque Tembec (entreprise vendue à Matériaux innovants Rayonnier (RYAM) en 2017) a reçu un certificat de non-conformité pour maintenir sa certification de la Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). À l’époque, de nouvelles données scientifiques soulignaient l’importance de réduire la perturbation sur le territoire occupé par la harde de caribou Détour-Kesagami, à la frontière du Québec et de l’Ontario. « Pour nous, c’était essentiel de garder cette certification pour vendre nos produits sur le marché », souligne Marie-Ève Sigouin, directrice de la foresterie pour RYAM, qui était jadis à l’emploi de Tembec. Pour trouver une solution durable, la forestière crée alors un comité technique régional sur le caribou forestier. En 2013, le gouvernement du Québec venait de reprendre le contrôle de la planification forestière avec la mise en place du nouveau régime forestier. En étant gestionnaire du territoire, le gouvernement avait désormais un rôle important à jouer dans le processus de certification. Pikogan, une communauté algonquine qui occupe le territoire où l’on retrouve les caribous, est aussi invitée à siéger au comité. « Dès le départ, un des vice-présidents de Tembec, Michel Lessard, a demandé qu’on implique la SNAP (Société pour la nature et les parcs) dans le processus », remarque Mare-Ève Sigouin. Deux ans plus tard, le comité en arrive à une première réussite, pour trouver des solutions afin de maintenir la certification FSC, en incluant la protection du caribou forestier dans le plan d’aménagement. Retour à la table à dessin En 2018, les exigences de FSC Canada sont toutefois rehaussées, alors que les plus récentes connaissances scientifiques soulignent qu’il faut limiter les taux de perturbation de l’habitat du caribou forestier sous le seuil de 35 %. L’équipe caribou se remet au travail et lors des premières rencontres, les discussions sont parfois corsées. « Quand on commençait à s’éloigner du sujet principal, je rappelais à tout le monde qu’on était là d’abord pour le caribou, pas pour nos intérêts personnels », soutient Benoit Croteau, directeur territoire et environnement, du Conseil de la Première Nation Abitibiwinni. En 2019, le comité de travail a notamment organisé un forum à Pikogan sur l’intégration des connaissances autochtones, réunissant une cinquantaine d’intervenants de huit communautés. Ce forum a permis d’améliorer la relation de confiance en écoutant davantage les préoccupations des communautés, souligne Benoit Croteau. Les liens avec les chercheurs sont de plus en plus importants et les connaissances autochtones sont de plus en plus reconnues. Pikogan et RYAM ont notamment investi 15 000 $ chacun pour financer les travaux d’un étudiant à la maîtrise sur le savoir traditionnel des Premières Nations sur le caribou. Après deux ans de travail, les partenaires en viennent à proposer un plan pour protéger l’habitat du caribou. La possibilité forestière sera réduite de 6 % dans cette unité d’aménagement forestier. Aucune activité de récolte ne sera faite dans les aires de reproduction et de migration des caribous. La construction de chemins forestiers devra être réduite au minimum et de vieux chemins devront être reboisés. Un engagement de la haute direction L’implication de la haute direction est un des facteurs clés du succès du projet de protection du caribou forestier, estime Marie-Ève Sigouin. C’était vrai à l’époque Tembec et ça s’est poursuivi avec RYAM à compter de 2017, alors que l’entreprise a intégré l’importance de la norme FSC dans sa politique environnementale. Un choix environnemental, mais aussi économique, car plusieurs clients exigent la certification FSC, souligne Marie-Ève Sigouin. Guillaume Roy, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
PARIS — A Paris court on Monday found French former President Nicolas Sarkozy guilty of corruption and influence peddling and sentenced him to one year in prison and a two-year suspended sentence. The 66-year-old politician, who was president from 2007 to 2012, was convicted for having tried to illegally obtain information from a senior magistrate in 2014 about a legal action in which he was involved. The court said Sarkozy will be entitled to request to be detained at home with an electronic bracelet. Sarkozy will face another trial later this month along with 13 other people on charges of illegal financing of his 2012 presidential campaign. THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below. The verdict is expected on Monday in a landmark corruption and influence-peddling trial that has put French former President Nicolas Sarkozy at risk of a prison sentence if he is convicted. Sarkozy, who was president from 2007 to 2012, firmly denied all the allegations against him during the 10-day trial that took place at the end of last year. The 66-year-old politician is suspected of having tried to illegally obtain information from a senior magistrate in 2014 about a legal action in which he was involved. This is the first time in France’s modern history that a former president has gone on trial for corruption. Sarkozy’s predecessor, Jacques Chirac, was found guilty in 2011 of misuse of public money and given a two-year suspended prison sentence for actions during his time as Paris mayor. Sarkozy’s co-defendants — his lawyer and longtime friend Thierry Herzog, 65, and now-retired magistrate Gilbert Azibert, 74 — also deny wrongdoing. Prosecutors have requested two years of prison and a two-year suspended sentence for all three defendants over what they said was a “corruption pact.” “No pact has ever existed,” Sarkozy told the court. “Neither in my head, nor in reality.” “I want to be cleared of that infamy,” he added. The trial focused on phone conversations that took place in February 2014. At the time, investigative judges had launched an inquiry into the financing of the 2007 presidential campaign. During the investigation they incidentally discovered that Sarkozy and Herzog were communicating via secret mobile phones registered to the alias “Paul Bismuth.” Conversations wiretapped on these phones led prosecutors to suspect Sarkozy and Herzog of promising Azibert a job in Monaco in exchange for leaking information about another legal case, known by the name of France’s richest woman, L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt. In one of these phone calls with Herzog, Sarkozy said of Azibert : “I’ll make him move up ... I’ll help him.” In another, Herzog reminded Sarkozy to “say a word” for Azibert during a trip to Monaco. Legal proceedings against Sarkozy have been dropped in the Bettencourt case. Azibert never got the Monaco job. Prosecutors have concluded, however, that the “clearly stated promise” constitutes in itself a corruption offence under French law, even if the promise wasn't fulfilled. Sarkozy vigorously denies any malicious intention. He told the court that his political life was all about “giving (people) a little help. That all it is, a little help.” “I was 100 billion miles away from thinking we were doing something we did not have the right to do,” he said. Sarkozy said he did not get confidential information from Azibert. Prosecutors believe Sarkozy was at some point informed that the secret phones were being wiretapped and that it is the reason why he did not ultimately help Azibert get the job. The confidentiality of communications between a lawyer and his client has been a major point of contention in the trial. “You have in front of you a man of whom more that 3,700 private conversations have been wiretapped... What did I do to deserve that?” Sarkozy said. Sarkozy’s defence lawyer, Jacqueline Laffont, argued the whole case was based on “small talk” between a lawyer and his client. “You don’t have the beginning of a piece of evidence, not the slightness witness account, the slightness declaration,” she told the court. Sarkozy withdrew from active politics after failing to be chosen as his conservative party’s presidential candidate for France’s 2017 election, won by Emmanuel Macron. He remains very popular amid right-wing voters, however, and plays a major role behind the scenes, including through maintaining a relationship with Macron, whom he is said to advise on certain topics. His memoirs published this summer, “The Time of Storms,” was a bestseller for weeks. Sarkozy will face another trial later this month along with 13 other people on charges of illegal financing of his 2012 presidential campaign. His conservative party is suspected of having spent 42.8 million euros ($50.7 million), almost twice the maximum authorized, to finance the campaign, which ended in victory for Socialist rival Francois Hollande. In another investigation opened in 2013, Sarkozy is accused of having taken millions from then-Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi to illegally finance his 2007 campaign. He was handed preliminary charges of passive corruption, illegal campaign financing, concealment of stolen assets from Libya and criminal association. He has denied wrongdoing. Sylvie Corbet, The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — Chloé Zhao became the second woman to win best director at the Golden Globes and the first female winner of Asian descent on a night in which her film “Nomadland” was crowned the top drama film. Zhao, who was among three women nominated in the directing category, was honoured for her work on “Nomadland,” about people who take to the road and move from place to place seeking work for usually low wages. It stars two-time Oscar winner Frances McDormand and includes nonprofessional actors. “I especially want to thank the nomads who shared their stories with us,” Zhao said, accepting the directing honour virtually on Sunday night. She singled out real-life nomad Bob Wells, who appears in the movie, for help with her remarks. “This is what he said about compassion,” Zhao said. “Compassion is the breakdown of all the barriers between us. A heart to heart pounding. Your pain is my pain. It’s mingled and shared between us.” The 38-year-old director who lives in Los Angeles is a leading Oscar contender for “Nomadland,” which is in select theatres and streaming on Hulu. “Now this is why I fell in love with making movies and telling stories because it gives us a chance to laugh and cry together and it gives us a chance to learn from each other and to have more compassion for each other,” Zhao said in her acceptance remarks. “So thank you everyone who made it possible to do what I love.” She joins Barbra Streisand, who won in 1984 for “Yentl,” as the only women to win directing honours at the Globes. Until this year, just five women had been nominated in the category. “Sometimes a first feels like a long time coming. You feel like, it’s about time,” Zhao said in virtual backstage comments. “I’m sure there’s many others before me that deserve the same recognition. If this means more people like me get to live their dreams and do what I do, I’m happy.” Regina King ("One Night in Miami...") and Emerald Fennell ("Promising Young Woman") were the other female director nominees. Zhao also was nominated for best motion picture screenplay and lost to Aaron Sorkin. McDormand received a nod for actress in a motion picture drama, but lost. Born in China, Zhao made her feature directing debut in 2015 with “Songs My Brother Taught Me.” She broke out in 2017 with “The Rider.” Next up for her is the big-budget Marvel film “Eternals,” set for release this fall. Beth Harris, The Associated Press
Shares of Twilio were up nearly 2% at $399 in premarket trade. Twilio also said that private-equity firm Carlyle Group Inc, which is currently the major owner of Syniverse, will maintain its majority interest in the telecom services company. The companies will pursue additional potential financing transactions in the form of public market transactions or additional equity investment, Twilio said.
Toronto Mayor John Tory on Monday outlined the city's vaccination plan, which will see vaccines spread out across 49 hospital sites, 46 community health centres and 249 pharmacies. He called it the "largest vaccination effort" in the city's history, but added people need to continue to abide by public health measures to keep each other safe.
Canadians across the country can look forward to a mild spring peppered with the odd winter flashback throughout the first part of the season, according to predictions from one prominent national forecaster.Chris Scott, chief meteorologist with The Weather Network, said Canadians can count on some sunny days to put a bounce in their step after a long winter."There's going to be some challenges. We're not out of the woods for winter, but we've certainly put the worst behind us and there's some really nice days ahead," said Scott, adding that people should get out and enjoy the sunshine when the daily forecast calls for it.The Weather Network predicts that March will bring extended tastes of early spring to Ontario and Quebec after a particularly wintry February. But Scott said the two provinces should brace for a period of colder weather in mid-spring before more consistent warmth sets in. The Weather Network is forecasting a slower than average start to spring in British Columbia, with lower-than-average temperatures in the offing for the first half of the season.An above-normal snowpack will make for excellent skiing conditions but also a heightened risk for spring flooding when warm weather finally arrives, Scott said.The Weather Network's outlook suggests March will be dramatically warmer through the Prairies, but indicates western parts of the region will struggle to reach consistently mild temperatures. The network said it's concerned that drought conditions south of the border could become more widespread and affect southern parts of the region by the start of the growing season.Scott predicted temperatures exceeding seasonal norms in Atlantic Canada, but said the region is still at risk for high-impact, late-winter storms.In Northern Canada, colder than normal spring temperatures are expected for southern Yukon, while eastern Nunavut will be warmer than usual."There's going to be good days (for outdoor activities) in every part of the country, you're just going to have to pick your battles," Scott said.The meteorologist did have good news for most of Canada's largest river valleys, predicting they would be spared disastrous floods in the months ahead.Scott said the Red River Valley in Manitoba, the Ottawa and St. Lawrence valleys in Ontario and Quebec, as well as the Saint John River valley in New Brunswick likely won't have to contend with dangerously high water levels in March and April."That's because we don't have the tremendous snowpacks that are the antecedent condition that you need to get really severe spring flooding," said Scott. "That's really good news in places, especially in Eastern Canada, that have been hit with floods."This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press
(Submitted by Joseph Luri - image credit) When the calls come from cash-strapped loved ones in war-torn Syria, Edmontonian Mohamad Mawed and his Canadian relatives band together to send what money they can. But for refugee families trying to eke out a new life in Canada, there is little to spare. "When people ask you for help, sometimes you cannot because you don't have ability," said Mawed, a settlement worker, who came to Canada in 2014. "This will be our heart breaking." It's a similar story for countless Edmontonians anxious about the plight of family members worldwide facing hunger, poverty, disease, conflict, disaster, political upheaval and human rights abuses. Despite finding a safe haven in Canada, devastating events unfolding in their country of origin still take a psychological and financial toll. According to Dr. Karin Linschoten, clinical director for counselling services at the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers (EMCN), roughly 30 percent of Edmontonians are refugees or immigrants, potentially impacted by hardship overseas. She says the result can be aggravated symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or sleepless nights fearing for loved ones amid frantic calls to check on their wellbeing. "That immediately affects their stress level, their mental health level, and it immediately affects their functioning," Linschoten said. She noted that problems often persist years after a war has officially ended and faded from the headlines, for instance in Afghanistan. "So the impact it has on the people here is also still happening, even if we don't hear anything about it," Linschoten said. Two months to access therapy But with more people seeking counselling since the beginning of the pandemic, it's harder to access support. Wait times at EMCN have shot up from four weeks to more than two months. "Which is terrible — I have no other word for it, because people need support," said Linschoten. "Many communities have associations and they are really good support for each other ... It would be good if these associations would themselves get more support so they can more easily organize these things." The burden has only worsened as poverty increases in households throughout Edmonton because of COVID-19. At EMCN, Joseph Luri oversees programs for youth and families with roots in countries such as South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia and Democratic Republic of Congo where relatives and friends have been displaced by conflict. "You can see that your people are suffering, you can see that there is a need when you receive those phone calls," Luri said. "But there is nothing much one can do because so many of the community members have either been laid off from their jobs or they have had their hours cut. And so it becomes really difficult. It has resulted in a lot of mental health challenges." 'I feel a lot of guilt living here' The impact of overseas disasters is not just felt by first-generation Canadian immigrants. After the Ethiopian government launched a military offensive against leaders in the northern region of Tigray last November, Edmonton-born Giyona Tiku couldn't look away. "All day, from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep, this is what I think about while struggling to focus on work and school in between," said Tiku, 29, about the region where she has made many trips to visit aunts, uncles and cousins. "I've had family members who have moved to the capital during this time and young men who when soldiers approached their hometowns, who fled into the mountains, who hid in remote caves." Often unable to reach loved ones, Tiku monitors the unfolding humanitarian disaster that has reportedly displaced and cut off millions from food and healthcare as reports emerge of mass killings, gang rape, and other human rights violations by pro-government forces. On Saturday, U.S. authorities called for the atrocities to be independently investigated, urging the Ethiopian government to end hostilities and troops from neighbouring Eritrea to withdraw. Tiku wants the Canadian government to take a similar stance. "I don't know how horrible the experience of my family has been throughout this time," said Tiku. "I feel a lot of guilt living here. I can't even describe the level of helplessness, like we see how horrible this situation is and all we can do is try to get people to hear us and hope that they can do something about it."
MOSCOW — Two top United Nations human rights experts urged an international probe into the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and called Monday for his immediate release from prison. Agnès Callamard, the Special U.N. Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and Irene Khan, the Special U.N. Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, said Navalny’s poisoning was intended to “send a clear, sinister warning that this would be the fate of anyone who would criticize and oppose the government.” “Given the inadequate response of the domestic authorities, the use of prohibited chemical weapons, and the apparent pattern of attempted targeted killings, we believe that an international investigation should be carried out as a matter of urgency in order to establish the facts and clarify all the circumstances concerning Mr. Navalny’s poisoning," they said in a statement. Navalny, the most prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, fell sick on Aug. 20 during a domestic flight in Russia and was flown while still in a coma to Berlin for treatment two days later. Labs in Germany, France and Sweden, and tests by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, established that he was exposed to a Soviet-era Novichok nerve agent. Russian authorities have denied any involvement in the poisoning. In December, Navalny released the recording of a phone call he said he made to a man he described as an alleged member of a group of officers of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, who purportedly poisoned him in August and then tried to cover it up. The FSB dismissed the recording as a fake. Callamard and Khan on Monday published their official letter sent to the Russian authorities in December and noted that “the availability of Novichok and the expertise required in handling it and in developing a novel form such as that found in Mr. Navalny’s samples could only be found within and amongst state actors.” The experts emphasized in the letter that Navalny “was under intensive government surveillance at the time of the attempted killing, making it unlikely that any third party could have administered such a banned chemical without the knowledge of the Russian authorities.” Navalny was arrested on Jan. 17 upon returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from the nerve agent poisoning. The arrest triggered massive protests, to which the Russian authorities responded with a sweeping crackdown. Last month, Navalny was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for violating the terms of his probation while convalescing in Germany. The sentence stems from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that Navalny has rejected as fabricated — and which the European Court of Human Rights has ruled to be unlawful. Last week, Navalny was sent to serve his prison sentence to a prison outside Moscow despite the ECHR's demand for his release, which cited concerns for his safety. Russian officials have dismissed demands from the United States and the European Union to free Navalny and stop the crackdown on his supporters. Mikhail Galperin, Russia's deputy justice minister, charged Monday that Moscow has contested the ECHR's ruling demanding Navalny's release in a letter sent to the Strasbourg-based court. Meanwhile, the UN rights experts noted that an international probe into Navalny's poisoning is “especially critical” now when he is in prison. They called for his immediate release and reminded Russia that it's “responsible for the care and protection of Mr. Navalny in prison and that it shall be held responsible for any harm that may befall him.” Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press
(Submitted by Chip Taylor - image credit) A new report says monarch butterfly populations in Mexico have decreased, but according to one expert, the number of butterflies Canada will see this year depends on what happens this month as they embark on their migrations north. The presence of the monarch butterfly in the Mexican hibernation forests declined by 26 per cent due to a reduction of its habitat, according to the recent report by WWF-Telmex Telcel Foundation. According to the report, the species occupied 2.1 hectares in December 2020 compared to the 2.83 hectares in December 2019. These numbers are unsurprising to Chip Taylor, the director of Monarch Watch at the University of Kansas. "They were about as I expected," he said. "But that tells us that we are dealing with a population that fluctuates with the weather conditions, but it's also dependent on the amount of habitat available. Had there been a lot more habitat available last year in the form of nectar plants, then it's likely we would have seen a higher population," he said. Taylor said that monarchs need nectar plants and milkweed, which he said Canada provides a lot of. The presence of the monarch butterfly declined by 26% in the Mexican hibernation forests due to a reduction of its habitat, according to a recent report by WWF-Telmex Telcel Foundation. "As we get into Canada ... we get a lot more common milkweed. And one of the things that happens in Canada is that the monarchs who have reached Canada in May and June develop a population of common milkweed and that population tends to move along the lakes and eventually move through Point Pelee in fairly large numbers," he explains. Every fall, Point Pelee plays host to thousands of monarch butterflies on their migrations. The insects make their way across Lake Erie to the mountains of Mexico, roughly 3,000 kilometres south, for the winter. In late spring, their offspring return to Canada, and the cycle continues. According to Parks Canada, monarchs have a life span of about a month but the ones who emerge late in the summer are born to migrate and stay alive for over six months to make the journey. Taylor said it's hard to predict what the population of the monarch butterfly will be like this spring until he sees how conditions are like in Texas. "The Canadian situation is highly dependent on what happens in March in Texas. So if the returning butterflies are abundant and they have good conditions in Texas, there are good conditions as they move north in May and June and they encounter good conditions in Canada, the population does well," he said. "If they get off to a bad start in Texas. It's going to be a bad year in Canada." - Chip Taylor, director of Monarch Watch Taylor said the butterflies have already left the overwintering sites in Mexico and should reach Texas in about two weeks. "The question is, what are they going to find when they get there?" He asks, pointing to the massive winter freeze that took place just weeks ago. "The question I'm asking all my colleagues in Texas is that vegetation going to come back in time, so they're going to be milkweeds above ground and nectar plants for the butterflies to feed on," he said. Chip Taylor, the director of Monarch Watch, says how conditions will look in Canada is highly dependent on how conditions will be like in Texas in two weeks. Taylor said he's watching the weather and monitoring plant development carefully and can better predict how things will look in two weeks. "What we've learned in the past is that what happens in March in Texas has a big influence that that determines everything that happens, including what happens in Canada, on the rest of the year," he said. "So it's very important for the population to get off to a good start. If they don't, if the population doesn't get off to a good start, then it's very likely that it's never going to be able to recover. There just aren't enough generations," he said. What you can do Taylor says people can help preserve the monarch butterfly by creating a lot of habitat for the species. Point Pelee National Park also encourages local residents to plant a butterfly garden with native plants, milkweed for monarch butterflies and caterpillars. "Create a habitat and they will come, they will use it," Taylor said.
Filming a polar bear just inches from its nose, close enough to see its breath fog up the lens, was a career highlight for Jeff Thrasher. The CBC producer is part of the team behind "Arctic Vets," a new show that follows the day-to-day operations at Assiniboine Park Conservancy in Winnipeg."It was breathing warm air onto the lens. I was thinking, 'Wow, there's nothing between me and this polar bear,"' Thrasher said, who filmed the shot using a GoPro camera up in Churchill, Man. The show is also the first time cameras have been allowed in the Winnipeg facility, which houses Arctic animals like seals, polar bears and muskox."I've filmed many, many things in my career and that's right up there," Thrasher said. There are 10 half-hour episodes in the new series that features expeditions to Manitoba's subarctic, emergency animal rescues and daily life at the conservancy. The first episode follows veterinarian Chris Enright to Churchill just as polar bears are starting to migrate up the coast of Hudson Bay. When a bear wanders too close to town, Enright works with the local Polar Bear Alert Team to catch it and lift it by helicopter to a safe distance away. In the same episode, back in Winnipeg, the team trims the hooves of resident 800-pound muskox, Chloe.Although being around Arctic animals is part of Enright's daily life, he hopes the show will help bring southern Canadians a little closer to the North."This is our norm. But it's not the norm for a lot of people, so the show is a good opportunity to tell these stories," he said. "We have herds of caribou that rival migrating animals on the Serengeti, but people in the South don't necessarily know about that. And that's really unfortunate, because there's some incredible wildlife in the North."Enright also hopes the show will urge Canadians to think about protecting the country's Arctic ecosystems, which face the critical threat of climate change."There's a lot of concern with the effects of climate change and over the next 50, 100 years what's going to happen. As southerners, there are things we can do to protect and conserve those ecosystems," he said. The COVID-19 pandemic also hit in the middle of filming, which Enright said prevented the team from travelling into Nunavut.Jackie Enberg, an animal care supervisor and Heather Penner, an animal care professional, are also featured in the show for their work with polar bears."It's not just animal care or vet care, or conservation and research. It's all of it. We all have a great passion to educate and share and help inspire other people to make a difference, whether it's to make changes in your lives or just talk about," Penner said.Enberg said the bears featured in the show were rescued when they were a few years old. "They're here because they could not survive in the wild," Enberg said. "We just ultimately hope people will fall in love with polar bears as much as we have," Penner said. "Arctic Vets" premiers Friday, Feb. 26 at 8:30 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem. By Emma Tranter in Iqaluit, NunavutThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021.---This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version erroneously reported that "Arctic Vets" premiers Friday at 8 p.m. In fact, it airs Friday at 8:30 p.m.
RIO DE JANEIRO — On the morning of Feb. 10, a cyclist chugged his way up the curves of Rio de Janeiro’s most popular sport cycling road. A familiar scent wafted in the air. It was the smell of jackfruit, vaguely cloying and ripe with peril. Without warning, one fruit plummeted from the heavily laden canopy of Tijuca National Park. It hit the cyclist on the head, cracking his helmet and sending him sprawling. There had long been stories of the world’s largest tree-borne fruit divebombing passersby. Now it was no longer urban legend, and that was potential trouble for Marisa Furtado and Pedro Lobão, a couple who have taken up the challenge of rehabilitating the fruit’s public image. Jackfruit is abundant during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer, but many Brazilians are loath to eat it. Historically, it has been consumed more by the poor or enslaved; in barbecue-mad Brazil, the idea of fruit substituting for meat is viewed with suspicion. It’s considered an invasive species, even if it arrived here centuries ago. Ecologists disdain it for crowding out native species in 13 federal conservation units across Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, especially Tijuca park, one of the world’s largest urban forests. And now cyclists spreading news of the accident on message groups and Facebook were accusing the fruit of assault. One posted that he had skidded out on jackfruit. Others shared close calls, like a jackfruit exploding so close it splattered a bike’s spokes with shrapnel. Riding under jackfruit, another said, was like Russian roulette. But this isn’t the jackfruit Furtado knows and loves. Furtado, 57, drinks a jackfruit smoothie every day. She dreams of a pilgrimage to the jackfruit’s point of origin, India. Her 2020 Christmas card? A photo of herself beside a whopping, 73-pound jackfruit -- enough to prepare roughly 150 dishes. Its Yuletide message: “May abundance be with you all in 2021”. She and her 54-year-old boyfriend, Lobão, collect unripe jackfruits from trees, process them for sale, donate whatever they can’t unload, and share free recipes. She rattles off entrees -- jackfruit cod, jackfruit lasagna, jackfruit pie, jackfruit tenderloin -- and insists that they are both tasty and nutritious. “History loads the jackfruit with prejudice. Today we hear about the jackfruit that stinks, ... the violent jackfruit, the invasive jackfruit,” Furtado said. “It’s true: Jackfruit adapted very well. So everyone who adapted this well to Brazil should be exterminated?” ___ In the 17th century, the Portuguese transported jackfruit seedlings to Brazil, where it was visual curiosity, and the tree soon reached Rio, according to Rogério Oliveira, an environmental and ecological history specialist. Rio’s forest was getting cleared for timber, charcoal, coffee and sugar cane plantations, said Oliveira, an associate professor at Rio’s Pontifical Catholic University (PUC). The emperor ordered massive reforestation. Jackfruit thrived in the degraded soil and produced gargantuan fruit that crashed to the ground and tumbled downhill, scattering seeds. The trees -- which can reach 80 feet tall -- took root, anchoring the soil and feeding animals. Thirty-four vertebrates in Brazil partake, including agoutis and black capuchin monkeys, according to a paper that journal Tropical Ecology published this month. Endangered golden-headed lion tamarins, too. Population densities are higher where jackfruit is their primary food. That belies potential problems, said Rodolfo Abreu, an ecology professor at Rio’s Federal Rural University. “Instead of favouring diversity of fauna, of amphibians, of insects, you prioritize those who use jackfruit. You simplify the tropical chain,” said Abreu, a biologist who has studied jackfruit’s invasiveness. “Some rare species start to disappear, or become rarer.” To the extent Brazilian humans consume jackfruit, it’s mostly eaten ripe. It tastes like a combination of pear and banana. Unripe jackfruit is used in savory dishes. In India, jackfruit has been a meat alternative for centuries, even called “tree goat” in West Bengal state, says Shree Padre, a farming magazine editor. Once considered a poor person’s crop, cultivation and export have increased, coinciding with global interest in the “superfood,” he said. In Rio’s tony Ipanema neighbourhood, plant-based restaurant Teva’ s top-selling appetizer is BBQ jackfruit tacos, said head chef Daniel Biron. His clientele is often surprised by a fruit normally encountered littering trails in a state of pungent rot. “They’re impacted because they start to open their minds to a universe they didn’t know,” said Biron, 44. “The jackfruit has that capacity.” Furtado and Lobao’s organization is Hand in the Jackfruit ( Mao na Jaca, in Portuguese), a twist on the phrase “foot in the jackfruit,” which means to slip up or go too far. The expression is evocative for anyone who has plunged a Havaiana sandal into decomposing mush, from which seeds protrude like garlic cloves. On a recent day, Furtado and Lobão loaded 139 pounds of seeds into a squeaky shopping cart for delivery to a chef in Babilonia, one of Rio’s hillside favelas. Regina Tchelly, who hails from poor, northeastern Paraiba state, enjoyed jackfruit flesh and roasted seeds as a girl. In 2018, with money tight, she dreamt up a spin on shredded chicken dumplings made from jackfruit. It sold like crazy, said Tchelly, who runs culinary project Favela Organica. Tchelly swapped some recipes, like her jackfruit seed ceviche, for Furtado’s seeds. She says jackfruit could end Brazilian hunger -- a fresh concern after the government ended COVID-19 welfare payments. “It’s a food that’s so abundant, and the jackfruit can bring lots of nutrients to your body and be a source of income,” Tchelly said. ___ During the pandemic, the road into Tijuca park has become an ideal venue for socially-distanced exercise, and so potential jackfruit targets abound. Some cyclists contacted authorities after the accident, demanding action that could include cutting overhead branches or tree removal. “Before, removal of jackfruit trees was an internal issue of the park. But now there are jackfruits threatening lives!” said Raphael Pazos, 46, founder of Rio de Janeiro’s Cycling Safety Commission. “If he hadn’t been wearing a helmet, or if it had fallen on a 4-year-old, it could’ve killed.” By phone, Furtado tried to calm the outcry by reaching out to cyclists, including the one who was struck. He declined AP interview requests. She sought to steer them toward mapping jackfruit trees’ locations, posting signs about their benefits and organizing collection of fruit. Along the road, she said, jackfruits could be snagged using a truck-mounted crane then donated to surrounding communities, with Hand in the Jackfruit holding workshops to teach the sticky, labour-intensive art of processing. She spoke at length with Tijuca park’s co-ordinator, too, and made her case. Furtado acknowledges the importance of diversity, but argues a centuries-old Brazilian resident shouldn’t be cast out of the garden. “It’s an inheritance that needs to be valued, from the social, economic, cultural and environmental points of view,” she posted on Instagram. “Eradicating it would be a huge error and part of the arrogance of those who don’t perceive life is dynamic.” But some scientists disagreed -- at least as far as Tijuca park is concerned. “I’m 100% in the camp of taking it out from the park; it’s exotic, we don’t need it, human livelihoods aren’t depending on it,” said Emilio Bruna, president of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation. “Outside the park, we can have this conversation.” PUC’s Oliveira said there’s no doubt ecologically that native species should be substituted for jackfruit in Tijuca park. But in urban areas, it's free fruit for people who don’t always have access to it. Further, it’s apparently not as invasive as believed, he said. It becomes hyper-dominant where soil is degraded, but an experiment of his showed seeds didn’t germinate in robust forest. “A good forest has a certain amount of defence against the jackfruit tree,” he said. He said populations should be managed through girdling: slicing off a bark ring, which usually kills a tree in months. Abreu said herbicide injection is more effective, and his models indicate killing 5-10% of mature trees annually is enough to put a given population on the decline. The government’s management plan for Tijuca park says jackfruit eradication should be prioritized; some 2,000 trees were girdled there between 2016 and 2017. It isn’t clear what percentage of the park’s total that represented, Abreu said. ___ On Feb. 21, cyclists from the safety commission convened at Tijuca park’s entrance. Furtado’s efforts had worked -- to some degree. They embraced her proposal to collect and distribute jackfruit to surrounding communities, and decided to present it at the next meeting of the park’s consultative council, where the commission holds a seat. “We didn’t even know an association that did this existed,” Pazos said after the meeting, standing beside his bike. “There’s no way to dislike the idea of giving food to the population.” They supported emergency collection by Hand in the Jackfruit, too, but still favoured girdling all roadside jackfruit trees. He pointed out that another jackfruit had dropped just downhill, smack in the middle of the road. Furtado concedes a few roadside trees could be removed as a last resort if collection or pruning proves impossible, and after careful impact study. She vehemently opposes girdling or herbicide, and believes in management through consumption. “If we eat the jackfruit and their seeds,” she said, “we can contain them.” ___ AP writer Aniruddha Ghosal contributed from New Delhi David Biller, The Associated Press
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said a "disappointing" $1.7 billion had been pledged by countries on Monday for humanitarian aid in Yemen - less than half the $3.85 billion the world body was seeking for 2021 to avert a large-scale famine. Childhood in Yemen is a special kind of hell. Some 16 million Yemenis - more than half the population of the Arabian Peninsula country - are going hungry, the United Nations says.
LOS ANGELES — From Jason Sudeikis’ hoodie to Jodie Foster’s bare feet, the stars embraced a virtual Golden Globes, and still found ways to cut loose. There was no red carpet and logjam of celebrities outside the show’s usual location at the Beverly Hilton. No boozy camaraderie at the jammed-in tables inside the ballroom, either. The coronavirus pandemic made certain of that. Instead, most of Sunday night’s winners accepted from their own homes or hotel rooms in laidback settings unheard of for Hollywood's biggest awards shows. Many were surrounded by spouses, parents, kids, pets or support staff. Several winners welcomed the change. “This is the best Globes ever, to be able to be home, but also it just felt really real,” a giddy Foster said in virtual comments after her win. “It didn’t feel like it was filled with so much artifice. I think people were kind of thrilled by the newness and the sort of live theatre.” Foster cozied up on a sofa, cuddling her white dog while sharing a kiss with her wife. Friends watching on television downstairs raised a delayed shout when she was announced as the winner for supporting actress in a motion picture drama. Foster stuck her bare foot in the air, showing media that she wasn’t wearing any shoes. She was headed downstairs to eat dinner after her win. “It was really fun,” said Aaron Sorkin, winner for motion picture screenplay. “There was an intimacy to it.” Sacha Baron Cohen won two trophies for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” with wife Isla Fisher smiling next to him. He donned a traditional tuxedo and she wore a gown and red lips. “The virtual experience was different, but a lot more relaxing,” Baron Cohen said. “You didn’t have to do the red carpet, which I’m not sure a lot of people enjoy.” In London, Sudeikis won best actor in a television series, musical or comedy for “Ted Lasso.” He wore a white hoodie promoting his sister's dance and workout studio in New York City. “When people you care about do cool, interesting things you should support them, so this is no different than that,” Sudeikis later told reporters. Clearly surprised by his win, the actor hesitated and rambled during his acceptance remarks. Fellow nominee Don Cheadle was shown whirling his finger in the air, a joking signal that Sudeikis should wrap up. “The guy's got chops,” Sudeikis said. “He's an ex-stage manager.” Nominee Kate Hudson hosted a family get-together. Wearing a strapless gown, she sat with her kids, her partner Danny Fujikawa, her mother Goldie Hawn, as well as Kurt Russell and brother Oliver Hudson. Her 2-year-old daughter, Rani, blurted out, “Hi, everybody!” as the telecast went to a commercial break. Nicole Kidman and musician-husband Keith Urban got glammed up to sit on their couch. Their daughters, Sunday and Faith, both wore white dresses while making a rare appearance. A shocked Andra Day had a crowd that included two co-stars from “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” her manager, her publicist, her parents and some of her cousin's family. Known for her singing career, Day became the second Black woman to win for actress in a motion picture drama in her acting debut. “There's cake outside, so I'm going to eat with that, and with my family and my team,” she said after her win. “We're just going to eat so much food.” Beth Harris, The Associated Press