There are five teams in the AFC sitting at 10-5 but only four playoff spots available. The Colts are currently on the outside looking in, but there are number of ways this could play out.
There are five teams in the AFC sitting at 10-5 but only four playoff spots available. The Colts are currently on the outside looking in, but there are number of ways this could play out.
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump has lost his social media megaphone, the power of government and the unequivocal support of his party's elected leaders. But a week after leaving the White House in disgrace, a large-scale Republican defection that would ultimately purge him from the party appears unlikely. Many Republicans refuse to publicly defend Trump's role in sparking the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But as the Senate prepares for an impeachment trial for Trump's incitement of the riot, few seem willing to hold the former president accountable. After House Republicans who backed his impeachment found themselves facing intense backlash — and Trump’s lieutenants signalled the same fate would meet others who joined them — Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly Tuesday for an attempt to dismiss his second impeachment trial. Only five Republican senators rejected the challenge to the trial. Trump's conviction was considered a real possibility just days ago after lawmakers whose lives were threatened by the mob weighed the appropriate consequences — and the future of their party. But the Senate vote on Tuesday is a sign that while Trump may be held in low regard in Washington following the riots, a large swath of Republicans is leery of crossing his supporters, who remain the majority of the party’s voters. “The political winds within the Republican Party have blown in the opposite direction,” said Ralph Reed, chair of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a Trump ally. “Republicans have decided that even if one believes he made mistakes after the November election and on Jan. 6, the policies Trump championed and victories he won from judges to regulatory rollback to life to tax cuts were too great to allow the party to leave him on the battlefield.” The vote came after Trump, who decamped last week to his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, began wading back into politics between rounds of golf. He took an early step into the Arkansas governor’s race by endorsing former White House aide Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and backed Kelli Ward, an ally who won reelection as chair of Arizona’s Republican Party after his endorsement. At the same time, Trump’s team has given allies an informal blessing to campaign against the 10 House Republicans who voted in favour of impeachment. After Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer backed impeachment, Republican Tom Norton announced a primary challenge. Norton appeared on longtime Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast in a bid to raise campaign contributions. On Thursday, another Trump loyalist, Rep. Matt Gaetz, plans to travel to Wyoming to condemn home-state Rep. Liz Cheney, a House GOP leader who said after the Capitol riot that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. — a star with Trump’s loyal base —- has encouraged Gaetz on social media and embraced calls for Cheney’s removal from House leadership. Trump remains livid with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who refused to support Trump's false charges that Georgia's elections were fraudulent. Kemp is up for reelection in 2022, and Trump has suggested former Rep. Doug Collins run against him. Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s decision not to seek reelection in 2022 opens the door for Rep. Jim Jordan, one of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters, to seek the seat. Several other Republicans, some far less supportive of the former president, are also considering running. Trump’s continued involvement in national politics so soon after his departure marks a dramatic break from past presidents, who typically stepped out of the spotlight, at least temporarily. Former President Barack Obama was famously seen kitesurfing on vacation with billionaire Richard Branson shortly after he left office, and former President George W. Bush took up painting. Trump, who craves the media spotlight, was never expected to burrow out of public view. “We will be back in some form,” he told supporters at a farewell event before he left for Florida. But exactly what form that will take is a work in progress. Trump remains deeply popular among Republican voters and is sitting on a huge pot of cash — well over $50 million — that he could use to prop up primary challenges against Republicans who backed his impeachment or refused to support his failed efforts to challenge the election results using bogus allegations of mass voter fraud in states like Georgia. “POTUS told me after the election that he’s going to be very involved,” said Matt Schlapp, the chair of the American Conservative Union. “I think he’s going to stay engaged. He’s going to keep communicating. He’s going to keep expressing his opinions. I, for one, think that’s great, and I encouraged him to do that.” Aides say he also intends to dedicate himself to winning back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022. But for now, they say their sights are on the trial. “We’re getting ready for an impeachment trial — that’s really the focus,” said Trump adviser Jason Miller. Trump aides have also spent recent days trying to assure Republicans that he is not currently planning to launch a third party — an idea he has floated — and will instead focus on using his clout in the Republican Party. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he received a call from Brian Jack, the former White House political director, on Saturday at home to assure him that Trump had no plans for defection. “The main reason for the call was to make sure I knew from him that he’s not starting a third party and if I would be helpful in squashing any rumours that he was starting a third party. And that his political activism or whatever role he would play going forward would be with the Republican Party, not as a third party,” Cramer said. The calls were first reported by Politico. But the stakes remain high for Trump, whose legacy is a point of fierce contention in a Republican Party that is grappling with its identity after losing the White House and both chambers of Congress. Just three weeks after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, Trump’s political standing among Republican leaders in Washington remains low. “I don’t know whether he incited it, but he was part of the problem, put it that way,” said Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a strong Trump supporter, when asked about the Capitol siege and the related impeachment trial. Tuberville did not say whether he would personally defend Trump in the trial, but he downplayed the prospect of negative consequences for those Republican senators who ultimately vote to convict him. “I don’t think there’ll be any repercussions,” Tuberville said. “People are going to vote how they feel anyway.” Trump maintains a strong base of support within the Republican National Committee and in state party leadership, but even there, Republican officials have dared to speak out against him in recent days in ways they did not before. In Arizona, Ward, who had Trump’s backing, was only narrowly reelected over the weekend, even as the party voted to censure a handful of Trump’s Republican critics, including former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain. At the same time, Trump’s prospective impeachment sparked a bitter feud within the RNC. In a private email exchange obtained by The Associated Press, RNC member Demetra DeMonte of Illinois proposed a resolution calling on every Republican senator to oppose what she called an “unconstitutional sham impeachment trial, motivated by a radical and reckless Democrat majority.” Bill Palatucci, a Republican committeeman from New Jersey, slapped back. “His act of insurrection was an attack on our very democracy and deserves impeachment,” Palatucci wrote. ___ Peoples reported from New York. Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this report. Steve Peoples And Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
Despite an easing of restrictions, which went into effect on Monday, January 18 and permit personal and wellness services to resume one-on-one operations by appointment only, there will be no additional lifting of restrictions at this time. Restrictions on indoor and outdoor social gatherings, including in-person dining and indoor recreational activities, was originally announced on December 8, 2020 and were extended earlier in January until at least January 21. During the Thursday, January 21 COVID update, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said, “Our cases are falling, but we still have the second highest active case rate per capita in Canada.” Numbers show the restrictions are helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and, as of Thursday’s conference, more than 96,000 doses of the COVID vaccine have been administered. However, Dr. Hinshaw noted, “We are not in the clear just yet.” The Thursday press conference marked one year since Dr. Hinshaw gave her first provincial COVID-19 update. Since then, there have been more than 120,000 positive cases of COVID-19 and nearly 1,600 deaths reported across the province. During the Monday, January 25 COVID update, Alberta’s Minister of Health Tyler Shandro announced two new variants strains of COVID-19, which were first identified in the United Kingdom (UK) and South Africa, have been reported in Alberta. There are currently five cases of the South African variant, and 20 cases of the UK variant strains. All but one case of the UK variant strain has been linked to international travel. “These new variants present a serious threat and a complicating factor when it comes to relaxing restrictions. We need to continue to proceed cautiously, recognizing our health system is still under significant strain,” Minister Shandro said during the update. Due to these concerns, no timeline for when Albertans can expect further easing or lifting of restrictions was given. As of Monday, January 25 there are 13 active and 162 recovered cases in Drumheller; there have been a total of four deaths locally since the start of the pandemic. There are eight active and 38 recovered cases at the Drumheller Institution. A spokesperson for Correctional Service Canada (CSC) told the Mail, “The measures to contain the spread (of COVID-19) remain in place. Normal routine will be re-established at the Institution once it is determined to be safe to do so, according to public health advice.” As of Monday, January 25 there are four active cases in Kneehill County, 11 in Starland County, and 24 in Wheatland County. Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail
Teachers are determined to keep remote learners connected to the school community. At Cook elementary, Grade 5 and 6 students learning from home are writing poetry that is displayed inside the school. “We want to continue to build connections and relationships even with the students that are at home learning, and include their work on our school bulletin boards,” says principal Sarah Loat. “We want to stress the importance of community more than ever during this stressful time.” She says teachers are trying to offer all students the same learning opportunities, whether they're in the classroom or not. “Teachers are taking a great deal of time and care to plan and implement creative, meaningful, engaging learning opportunities,” says Loat. “I am very proud of the job the staff are doing to keep students safe, supported and engaged.” Similarly, at Diefenbaker elementary all students are invited to “Zoomblies”—including those learning from home—to help build and maintain connections. Many classroom teachers have created individual kits of supplies for students, and some have come up with songs for lining up, washing hands, and cleaning up, says principal Huey Wong. Masks with the school’s logo are available to staff and students, thanks to PAC subsidization for the adult mask cost. And Grade 7 students have been engaged as morning ambassadors, picking up younger students from the drive-thru lane and walking them to their classroom door. And at Richmond High, students were connected starting early on in the year with a virtual clubs day. International Baccalaureate (IB) students celebrated their accomplishments through a four-day film festival. “This included digital work, music ensembles, singing, dancing, a chess battle, and an interactive show that had one performer zooming in to improvise music based on audience suggestions,” says principal Anita Kwon. Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
A lawyer representing an Alberta man accused of being one of five gang members who took RCMP on a 150-kilometre, two-hour chase gave the Crown a proposed resolution. Kyle Lajimodiere from Cold Lake, Alta., had an appearance in Lloydminster Provincial Court Jan. 26 and his appearance was waived. Crown Prosecutor Liam Fitz-Gerald from North Battleford asked the court for an adjournment until Feb. 9 to give him time to go over defence’s proposal. Lajimodiere was arrested in November 2020. His co-accused are Tonia Cantel, 22, of North Battleford, Juanita Wahpistikwan, 21, from Big Island Cree Nation, and two young offenders who can’t be named in accordance with the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The chase the alleged Westside Outlaws street gang members took police on occurred Nov. 20, 2020, and went from Lashburn to north of Paradise Hill. Police officers from six detachments rapidly coordinated resources to track and arrest them. They were all charged with theft of a vehicle, storing a prohibited firearm, four counts of possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose, two counts of carrying a concealed weapon, possessing a firearm without a license, being a vehicle with an unauthorized firearm, possessing a prohibited firearm with accessible ammunition without registration, possession a firearm with an altered serial number, endangering the safety of the public, and flight from police. Cantel was denied bail Jan. 21, 2021, and is at Pine Grove Correctional Centre for women in Prince Albert. She appears next in Lloydminster Provincial Court on Feb. 4. Wahpistikwan also remains in custody at Pine Grove and appears next in Lloydminster Provincial Court on Jan. 28. The charges against the accused haven’t been proven in court. If you are associated with a gang and want to leave it, contact STR8 UP in northern Saskatchewan at 306-763-3001, STR8 UP in central Saskatchewan at 306-244-1771, or Regina Treaty Status Indian Services in southern Saskatchewan at 306-522-7494 to get assistance. Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
NEW YORK — CBS has placed two top executives on administrative leave as it investigates charges of a hostile work environment for women and minorities at news operations in some of its largest individual stations. Peter Dunn, president of the CBS Television Stations, and David Friend, senior vice-president for news at the stations, are on leave pending the results of an external investigation. “CBS is committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace where all voices are heard, claims are investigated and appropriate action is taken where necessary,” the network said in a statement. The accusations were outlined over the weekend in an investigation by the Los Angeles Times and a subsequent meeting between CBS and the National Association of Black Journalists. Since 2009, Dunn has been head of stations owned and operated by CBS in big cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago and others. The Times said Dunn had referred to a Black male news anchor in Philadelphia as “just a jive guy." One executive at the station quit because she couldn't tolerate the culture and another has filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relates Commission alleging he was fired for co-operating with an internal review of his bosses, the Times reported. The NABJ has said CBS stations lag in maintaining diverse staffs, saying New York's WCBS-TV had only one female Black full-time reporter and went five years without a male Black reporter. “This is toxic. There's no other way to put it,” said Ken Lemon, the NABJ's vice-president of broadcast, on Tuesday. Since the story was published, Lemon said he had talked to at least five other people with new experiences to tell about the working atmosphere at CBS. He said the NABJ is optimistic about the steps CBS has taken. David Bauder, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Tuesday rescinded a Trump-era memo that established a “zero tolerance” enforcement policy for migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, which resulted in thousands of family separations. Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson issued the new memo to federal prosecutors across the nation, saying the department would return to its longstanding previous policy and instructing prosecutors to act on the merits of individual cases. “Consistent with this longstanding principle of making individualized assessments in criminal cases, I am rescinding — effective immediately — the policy directive,” Wilkinson wrote. Wilkinson said the department’s principles have “long emphasized that decisions about bringing criminal charges should involve not only a determination that a federal offence has been committed and that the admissible evidence will probably be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction, but should also take into account other individualized factors, including personal circumstances and criminal history, the seriousness of the offence, and the probable sentence or other consequences that would result from a conviction.” The “zero tolerance” policy meant that any adult caught crossing the border illegally would be prosecuted for illegal entry. Because children cannot be jailed with their family members, families were separated and children were taken into custody by Health and Human Services, which manages unaccompanied children at the border. While the rescinding of “zero tolerance” is in part symbolic, it undoes the Trump administration’s massively unpopular policy responsible for the separation of more than 5,500 children from their parents at the U.S-Mexico border. Most families have not been prosecuted under zero tolerance since 2018, when the separations were halted, though separations have continued on a smaller scale. Practically, the ending of the policy will affect mostly single men who have entered the country illegally. “While policies may change, our mission always remains the same: to seek justice under the law," Wilkinson wrote in the memo. President Joe Biden has issued an executive order to undo some of Trump’s restrictive policies, but the previous administration has so altered the immigration landscape that it will take quite a while to untangle all the major changes. Some of the parents separated from their children were deported. Advocates for the families have called on Biden to allow those families to reunite in the United States. Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, along with Trump and other top leaders in his administration, were bent on curbing immigration. The “zero tolerance” policy was one of several increasingly restrictive policies aimed at discouraging migrants from coming to the Southern border. Trump’s administration also vastly reduced the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. and all but halted asylum at the border, through a combination of executive orders and regulation changes. The policy was a disaster; there was no system created to reunite children with their families. A report from the Justice Department’s inspector general, released earlier this month, found that the policy led to a $227 million funding shortfall. Children suffered lasting emotional damage from the separations and the policy was criticized as grossly inhumane by world leaders. The policy began April 6, 2018, under an executive order that was issued without warning to other federal agencies that would have to manage the policy, including the U.S. Marshals Service and Health and Human Services. It was halted June 20, 2018. A federal judge ordered the families to be reunited and is still working to do so. The watchdog report also found that Sessions and other top officials knew the children would be separated under the policy and encouraged it. Justice officials ignored concerns from staff about the rollout and did not bother to set up a system to track families in order to reunite them. Some children are still separated. ___ Follow Balsamo and Long on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeBalsamo1 and https://twitter.com/ctlong1. Michael Balsamo And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
New Brunswick is spending less money than any other province on COVID-19 measures while leaving millions of federal dollars on the table, according to a new report by a national think tank. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says the Higgs government is the stingiest administration in the land, spending just $7,500 per person on COVID-19 programs. Nova Scotia is the next lowest at $8,500 per person. At the same time, the province has not spent millions of dollars it could have claimed from Ottawa, including $5.9 million available for health care, personal protective equipment, testing and long-term care. The report says massive spending is needed to get Canadians through the pandemic, and no province should be turning down money in the name of fiscal prudence. "The federal government needs to continue to lead the way and provincial governments need to do their part," the report says, "starting by investing any unspent COVID-19 federal funds that they've been sitting on." Other amounts unclaimed by New Brunswick, according to the report, are: $30 million to top up the wages of essential workers. $19.7 million for long-term care. $9.6 million for a "rapid housing initiative." The report says 99 per cent of all direct COVID-19 spending in New Brunswick has been federal money. "The province provided its 25 per cent for the essential worker wage top-up and provided its own emergency workers' benefit, but little beyond those programs for individuals," it says. The report's findings echo criticisms of the Progressive Conservative government by the Opposition Liberals. "Now it's documented, it's researched and it's real," says Liberal Leader Roger Melanson, calling the Higgs government's approach "the cheapest effort I've seen in the country." Secured or negotiating 'every available federal dollar' In a lengthy statement, government spokesperson John McNeil said the province "has secured or is currently negotiating every available federal dollar" for its COVID-19 response. The Department of Social Development, which oversees long-term care, has secured "every available federal dollar" for programs, including infection prevention, "workforce stability plans" for care workers and the creation of isolation wings in nursing homes. And the Department of Health "is currently forecasting that all the health-related funding will be required," McNeil said. In those departments, "full accounting of the details of these expenditures will only be known at the end of the fiscal year as the situation changes regularly based on the progress of the pandemic," the statement said. While the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says its report was up to date as of Dec. 31, McNeil says it's based on figures from last September and some federal-provincial spending agreements are still being worked on. In November, Premier Blaine Higgs told the legislature that the province was getting $218 million from Ottawa for COVID programs and that it had spent $167 million until that point. "We will be spending in the particular categories beyond what they've currently allotted," he said during question period. "But who knows by how much at this stage, because we do not know how long this is going to last." The report's author says Higgs may have been looking at particular funding programs, while he examined all programs. "It may be well be that they exceed in some areas and underspend in some areas," says David Macdonald, the think tank's chief economist. This government is trying to spend the bare minimum on addressing COVID and is leaving the vast majority of expenditures to the federal government. - David Coon, Green Party leader "Certainly the province should be accessing all the federal money that's on the table. It's certainly in their interest. It doesn't make a lot of sense to leave money on the table when the feds are giving it to you, in essence. "All you have to do is show the plans that you want to improve long-term care, you want to improve affordable housing, you want to improve wages for low-wage essential. These aren't, I don't think, controversial issues." Green Party Leader David Coon says it's impossible, when the legislature isn't sitting, to reconcile Higgs's claim in November with the report. "It's still a big black box without us being able to dig into this at the legislative assembly and get the numbers out," he says. "This government is trying to spend the bare minimum on addressing COVID and is leaving the vast majority of expenditures to the federal government." Higgs also pushed back in November on Liberal calls to spend more by pointing to the province's relatively low COVID-19 case rates and its improving economic indicators. Atlantic comparisons But other Atlantic provinces that have similarly good case numbers are spending more. Compared to New Brunswick's $7,500 per person, Nova Scotia is spending $8,500, Prince Edward Island is spending $8,600 and Newfoundland and Labrador is spending $9,180. Melanson says he believes Higgs is leaving some federal money on the table because the programs would require matching provincial dollars the premier doesn't want to spend. Last week, Higgs announced new $5,000 grants for businesses affected for at least a week by red and orange-phase restrictions between early October and the end of March. Those grants are not accounted for in the report. "This program is funded entirely by the provincial government," McNeil said. In December, after months of sparring with the federal government and opposition parties over unclaimed infrastructure dollars intended to help the pandemic-hampered economy, the province began approving projects in its capital budget. Those projects, including the refurbishment of a 19th-century Fredericton building that houses legislature offices and the legislative press gallery, are 80 per cent funded by Ottawa under a "resilience" stream of the Canadian Infrastructure Fund. Both of those recent spending initiatives are too recent to have been included in the numbers Macdonald used. Wage support also weakest According to Macdonald's report, New Brunswick has also spent the least of any province on direct COVID-19 programs for individuals, such as wage subsidies. Last spring the province created the short-term New Brunswick Workers Emergency Income Benefit, which lasted until Ottawa created the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. New Brunswick has spent $3,300 per person on programs for individuals compared to $3,700 spent by Nova Scotia, $3,600 by Prince Edward Island and $3,800 by Newfoundland and Labrador. Alberta spent the most at $5,500 per person.
WASHINGTON — Female soldiers can let their hair down, and flash a little nail colour under new rules being approved by the Army. But male soldiers will still have to shave. Army leaders announced Tuesday that they are loosening restrictions on various grooming and hairstyle rules, as service leaders try to address longstanding complaints, particularly from women. The changes, which also expand allowances for earrings and hair highlights and dyes, are particularly responsive to women of various ethnicities, and will allow greater flexibility for braids, twists, cornrows and other styles more natural for their hair. The new regulations take effect in late February and come after months of study, in the wake of a directive by former Defence Secretary Mark Esper, who ordered a new review of military hairstyle and grooming policies last July. The review was part of a broader order to expand diversity within the military and reduce prejudice, in the wake of widespread protests about racial inequality last summer. “These aren’t about male and female,” said Sgt. Maj. Michael Grinston, the Army's top enlisted leader during a Facebook Live presentation on Tuesday about the latest changes. “This is about an Army standard and how we move forward with the Army, and being a more diverse, inclusive team.” The Army announcement has been long-planned, but it came just days after the Pentagon's first Black defence secretary — Lloyd Austin — took over. Austin has vowed to try to root out racism and extremism in the ranks and foster more inclusion. Esper and many of the service leaders have also been taking steps to make the military more diverse, particularly in the higher ranks. As an example, Esper last summer ordered that service members’ photos no longer be provided to promotion boards. Officials said studies showed that when photos are not included “the outcomes for minorities and women improved.” On Tuesday, Army Sgt. Maj. Brian Sanders told reporters that the panel recommending the new grooming changes considered a variety of factors, including cultural, health and safety issues. He said the tight hair buns previously required by the Army can trigger hair loss and other scalp problems for some women. And larger buns needed to accommodate thick or longer hair, can make a combat helmet fit badly and potentially impair good vision. At the same time, he said that changes, like allowing women in combat uniforms to wear earrings such as small gold, silver and diamond studs, let them “feel like a woman inside and outside of uniform." He added, "At the end of the day, our women are mothers, they're spouses, they're sisters, they definitely want to be able to maintain their identity and that’s what we want to get after." In many cases — such as the earrings — the changes simply let female soldiers wear jewelry or hairstyles that are already allowed in more formal, dress uniforms, but were not allowed in their daily combat uniforms. Army leaders said women will now be able to wear their hair in a long ponytail or braid and tuck it under their shirt. Sanders said that allowing that gives female soldiers, particularly pilots or troops at a firing range, greater ability to turn their head quickly, without the restraints that the buns created. The new regulations also allow the exact opposite. Female soldiers going through Ranger or special operations training get their heads shaved, like male soldiers do. But when they leave training, their hair is too short, based on the Army's previous minimum length requirements. Now there will be no minimum length rules. For men, however, the perennial request to allow beards is still a no-go. Grinston's answer to the question from the online audience was short and direct: “No.” He noted that the Army already makes exceptions for medical and religious reasons. Also, male soldiers still can't wear earrings. The new lipstick and nail polish rules, however, allow men to wear clear polish, and allow colours for women, but prohibit “extreme” shades, such as purple, blue, black and “fire engine” red. Men will also be able to dye their hair, but the colours for both genders are limited to “natural" shades. Prohibited colours include blue, purple, pink, green, orange or neon. In another sign of the times, the new rules state that soldiers will now automatically receive black and coyote-colored face masks. They are also permitted to wear camouflage colored masks, but have to buy those themselves. The Army also is taking steps to change wording in the regulations to remove racist or insensitive descriptions. References to “Fu Manchu” moustache and “Mohawk” hairstyle have been removed, and replaced with more detailed descriptions of the still-banned styles. Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press
QUEBEC — The 24-year-old man accused in the Quebec City Halloween night sword attack appeared briefly before a judge Tuesday. Carl Girouard appeared by video conference in a Quebec City courtroom as the Crown continued to disclose more evidence in his case. He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder after a man dressed in a medieval costume and wielding a Japanese-style sword went on a rampage Oct. 31 in Quebec City's historic district. Two local residents, Francois Duchesne, 56, and Suzanne Clermont, 61, were killed, and five others were seriously injured in the attack. Duchesne was the director of communications for the Musee national des beaux-arts du Quebec while Clermont worked as a hairdresser in the neighbourhood where she lived. Four of the five people injured have also been identified after the court lifted a publication ban on their identities: Remy Belanger, Gilberto Porras, Lisa Mahmoud and Pierre Lagrevol. Prosecutor Francois Godin told the court the Crown had almost completed disclosure, adding that some laboratory test results were pending. Girouard, from Ste-Therese, a suburb north of Montreal, remains in detention and is scheduled to return to court March 12. He is now represented by Pierre Gagnon, a defence lawyer who primarily practises in the Chicoutimi judicial district north of the provincial capital. On Tuesday, the court authorized the release of Girouard's seized vehicle as well as a cellphone belonging to a victim. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Caroline Plante, The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the cellphone released belonged to the accused.
Council approved a property tax increase of 5.68 per cent at last night’s meeting. “Keeping this community safe should be our No. 1 priority,” said Coun. Bill McNulty, who was in favour of the increase. A main point of contention in the increase is the hiring of 16 RCMP officers and 11 municipal employees, amounting to a 1.24 per cent increase. However, Coun. Chak Au was not in favour of the “historical” increase, saying he would not approve growth of more than five per cent. He added that Richmond is not the worst city in the region in terms of police officer to population ratio, with 666 residents per officer. In comparison, Surrey has 692 residents per officer, Burnaby 799, and Coquitlam 829. “We’ve been playing catch-up, we had a very low ratio of police to our population,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “I hear so many people talking about being in favour of community safety and how we really have to be safe as a community. What is more fundamental than having police officers?” Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
NEW YORK — The first inaugurations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama were the only ones to exceed Joe Biden's in popularity among television viewers over the past 40 years. The Nielsen company said that 33.8 million people watched Biden's inauguration over 17 television networks between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. last Wednesday. Reagan's festivities in 1981 drew 41.8 million viewers, and Obama's 2009 inaugural reached 37.8 million, Nielsen said. Perhaps most important to a former president known to watch television ratings closely: Biden exceeded the 30.6 million who watched Donald Trump take office in 2017, Nielsen said. CNN was the most popular network for inaugural viewers, Nielsen said. Meanwhile, Fox News' audience for Biden's oath of office and inaugural address was down 77% from the network's viewership for Trump. Meanwhile, the pro football conference championship games gathered people around televisions in big numbers Sunday. Nielsen said 44.8 million people saw Tom Brady and his Tampa Bay Bucs qualify for the Super Bowl, while 41.8 million watched Kansas City beat Buffalo. With the prime-time game, CBS easily won the week in the ratings, averaging 10.4 million viewers. ABC had 3.4 million, Fox had 2.7 million, NBC had 2.5 million, Univision had 1.2 million, while Ion Television and Telemundo each averaged 1.1 million viewers. CNN led the cable networks, averaging 2.76 million viewers in prime time. MSNBC had 2.67 million, Fox News Channel had 2.56 million, TNT had 1.19 million and HGTV had 1.1 million. ABC's “World News Tonight” won the evening news ratings race, hitting 10.1 million people. NBC's “Nightly News” had 8.3 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 6.2 million. For the week of Jan. 18-24, the top 20 prime-time programs, their networks and viewerships: 1. AFC Championship: Buffalo at Kansas City, CBS, 41.85 million. 2. “NFL Post-Game,” CBS, 17.88 million. 3. “NCIS” (Tuesday, 8 p.m.), CBS, 9.64 million. 4. “FBI,” CBS, 8.99 million. 5. “NCIS” (Tuesday, 9 p.m.), CBS, 8.75 million. 6. “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 7.39 million. 7. “911,” Fox, 7.2 million. 8. “Presidential Inauguration" (9 p.m.), CNN, 7.08 million. 9. “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 6.73 million. 10. “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune,” ABC, 6.3 million. 11. “Presidential Inauguration” (8 p.m.), CNN, 6.24 million. 12. “The Neighborhood,” CBS, 6.09 million. 13. “911: Lone Star,” Fox, 6.03 million. 14. "Magnum, P.I., CBS, 5.86 million. 15. “FBI: Most Wanted,” CBS, 5.81 million. 16. “Bob Hearts Abishola,” CBS, 5.56 million. 17. “Presidential Inauguration” (10 p.m.), CNN, 5.31 million. 18. “B Positive,” CBS, 5.06 million. 19. “Mom,” CBS, 5.03 million. 20. “The Bachelor,” ABC, 5.02 million. David Bauder, The Associated Press
The consolidation of two airlines is set to take flight in remote fly-in communities in Saskatchewan. Transwest Air and West Wind Aviation will become Rise Air, changing the face of an air service that acts as one of the few links to southern resources. "If we had been two separate airlines going into COVID, I don't believe we would have survived," said West Wind CEO Stephen Smith. West Wind Aviation Group of Companies bought Transwest Air in 2016, but both airlines continued to use separate operating certificates, Smith said. Combining the airlines cuts it down to one and reduces redundancy. Rebranding will take place gradually, and Derek Nice will replace Smith as CEO on Feb. 1. Smith said the consolidation is unlikely to immediately reduce airfares — which are ongoing concerns for people in remote communities who say the costs of travelling south are too steep. "The prices are sky-rising," noted Black Lake First Nation Chief Archie Robillard. The best way to help his community would be a longer runway in Stony Rapids, but that's unlikely, he added. It's similarly costly to fly in and out of Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation, said Chief Bart Tsannie. He noted ticket costs are regularly several hundred dollars, which hasn't improved as COVID-19 reduced passenger loads. "That's very expensive. People don't have that kind of money in Hatchet Lake," he said. Smith said consolidating the airlines will make them more profitable, allowing Rise Air to invest in new aircraft and facilities. That could also mean a better position to pass profits on to its 22 per cent owner, Prince Albert Development Corporation, and its 65 per cent owner, Athabasca Basin Development, which represents seven communities including Hatchet Lake and Black Lake. Smith said those communities haven't received dividends in the last 10 years, which he hopes to change. The Rise Air rebranding also comes after a difficult year. A downturn in mining and the onset of COVID-19 forced a 50 per cent cut to operations, Smith said. He noted operations are now up to two-thirds of their levels prior to the pandemic. While the consolidation likely won't affect the costs of airfare, Smith added that the airline continues to push the federal government to declare paved runways at Fond du Lac and Wollaston Lake. If it does so, aircraft taking off there can carry more weight, lowering some of the prices for those communities, Smith said. "If we can reduce (fares), we will." Nick Pearce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The StarPhoenix
Opposition politicians are questioning the Nova Scotia government's commitment to the environment following further delays related to key legislation. During a meeting Tuesday of the legislature's standing committee on human resources, it was noted that the minister's roundtable on environment and sustainable prosperity is mostly vacant. Tory MLA Brad Johns, the party's environment critic, said it's been about 15 months since an emergency debate on the climate crisis was held at Province House, but little seems to have come from it. The government passed new legislation in October 2019 related to emissions reduction efforts and other environmental initiatives, but most of the goals and timelines are to be set in regulations that have yet to be developed. Environment Minister Gordon Wilson acknowledged in the fall the government would miss its own timelines to get things in place. A priority or not? Johns expressed frustration that the minister's roundtable, which has 15 positions, still has 12 vacancies. That's despite 55 people putting their names forward for consideration. "If it is a priority for the government, then I don't understand why we're not filling those vacancies," he said in an interview. "Either the environment is a priority or it's not." Like Johns, New Democrat MLA Claudia Chender said the government is taking too long to act on an issue that has reached a crisis level. Chender pointed to the provincial green fund, which was created through the province's cap-and-trade program. The value of the fund after two cap-and-trade auctions last year was $28.7 million, with most of that money remaining unspent to date. More appointments coming Environment Department officials have said now that the organizational work related to the fund is mostly complete, attention will turn to ways to spend the money. But Chender said she's disappointed that so little of the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on COVID-related stimulus projects has focused on green initiatives. "While many of those projects may be necessary, they certainly are not carbon neutral and they certainly need to be balanced and mitigated by robust action on the climate file," she said. An Environment Department spokesperson said further appointments to the minister's roundtable are expected in the coming months. MORE TOP STORIES
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick's Public Prosecutions Service announced Tuesday that no criminal charges will be filed against police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Rodney Levi last June.Levi, who was from the Metepenagiag First Nation, was shot dead by the RCMP on the evening of June 12 after police responded to a complaint about a disturbance in a home in Sunny Corner, N.B.The incident was investigated by Quebec's police watchdog, the Bureau des Enquetes independantes, which submitted a report to New Brunswick prosecutors in December.A statement from the prosecutions service said it is clear the officers on the scene believed Levi was using force against them, and he was shot to protect themselves and civilians who were present."This action followed repeated attempts to engage with Mr. Levi peacefully, and followed several applications of a Taser to disarm him from the dangerous weapons (knives) he refused to yield," the statement said.The prosecutions service concluded the police officers in question were acting lawfully to protect the residents of the home that evening."The evidence presented to Public Prosecutions Services does not establish a reasonable prospect of conviction, and therefore, we will not proceed with criminal charges," it said.Levi's killing came days after an Edmundston, N.B., police officer shot and killed Chantel Moore, a 26-year-old Indigenous woman, during a wellness check. The two killings sparked dismay and anger in the province's Indigenous community along with demands for a full inquiry.Alisa Lombard, the lawyer for Levi's family, said Tuesday that family members are disappointed with the outcome."They were provided with a very thorough explanation and review of the evidence and the law. They are now taking the time to process this information and to grieve," she said in an interview.Lombard said she expects the family will want to take further action. "I can say with a fair amount of confidence that this is not the end," she said.A summary of evidence prepared by the prosecutions service and published Tuesday says an autopsy confirmed Levi died from gunshot wounds to the chest. Witnesses told investigators Levi had been acting erratically, and a toxicology report revealed the presence of traces of amphetamine and methamphetamine in his body, the report said.The report summarizes what investigators heard from witnesses, though it does not name them. One woman, identified as a close relative of Levi, did not witness the shooting but spoke of his state of mind and intent on June 12.She said Levi had been living in her home for a few days and was very depressed, according to the report. "He kept talking about suicide and more specifically about 'suicide by RCMP'," the report says. The witness tried to dissuade Levi, but suicide by RCMP was all he would talk about. She never saw him again after he left her home on the afternoon of June 12.The report states that four witnesses at the home in Sunny Corner believed Levi was under the influence of something when he took knives from the kitchen of the home and began waving them around. He refused to put down the knives, and two people called 911.The witnesses said the officers were calm and tried to defuse the situation but Levi refused to drop the knives. They said Levi was Tasered three times by police and at one point said something to the effect of "you'll have to put a bullet in me," the report says. The witnesses said Levi "lunged" or "charged" at one of the officers, who then opened fire.The evidence included a 37-second video filmed by a witness, which shows Levi being hit with the stun gun three times. After the third time, Levi drops one of his knives but immediately picks it back up and seconds later is moving toward one of the officers with the knives pointed toward him, according to the report. The sound of two shots follows.The officer who fired the shots told investigators Levi was about three to five feet away from him and he perceived a “threat of death or grievous bodily harm” when he fired.In its statement, the prosecutions service said the decision not to lay charges against the officers does not "diminish the tragedy of the event." It said Levi's death is "a pain shared by members of the Metepenagiag First Nation and residents of neighbouring communities that cared about him."A coroner's inquest will be held into the incident, although a date and location have not been set.At such an inquest the presiding coroner and a jury will hear evidence from witnesses to determine the facts surrounding the death. The jury can then make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances in the future.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press
Another milestone for The Great One. Wayne Gretzky turned 60 Tuesday. It's a number the Hockey Hall of Famer knows well. The NHL notes that the former Edmonton Oiler, Los Angeles King, St. Louis Blue and New York Ranger scored 60 hat tricks (50 during the regular season and 10 in the playoffs) during an NHL career that stretched from 1979 to 1999. No. 99 also recorded a point in 60 consecutive regular-season games from March 13, 1983, to Jan. 27, 1984 (one day after his 23rd birthday), during which he recorded 70 goals and 111 assists for 181 points. The run began with a nine-game point streak to end the 1982-83 campaign (9-19—28) and continued with a 51-game stretch to start the 1983-84 season (61-92—153), which remains the longest point streak in NHL history. Gretzky also holds NHL records for fewest games to 60 goals in a season (49 games played in 1981-82), 60 assists in a season (32 games played in 1985-86) and 60 assists in a career (56 games played). The native of Brantford, Ont., retired with 894 goals and 1,963 assists for 2,857 points in 1,487 regular-season games. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021 The Canadian Press
Northern Health has released COVID-19 exposure notices for Uplands Elementary School and Centennial Christian School in Terrace. The exposure at Uplands Elementary School occurred Jan. 19 to Jan. 21, and Centennial Christian School’s exposure took place on Jan. 20 and Jan. 21, according to Northern Health’s list of public exposures and outbreaks. There have been numerous COVID-19 exposure notices for Terrace schools issued by Northern Health since Nov. 2020, and nearly all Terrace schools have had at least one exposure notice. Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News
Given the broad range of chip products supplied by the company, investors consider its quarterly report card as a proxy for both the health of the industry and other sectors where semiconductors are key components. The company said it also saw strong demand from automotive and industrial markets, benefiting from a growing number of chip components in their products. Total revenue rose to $4.08 billion from $3.35 billion a year earlier, above Wall Street estimates of $3.6 billion.
Out of 99 new positive cases discovered in the Simcoe Muskoka Region, health officials say 97 are linked to a long-term care home in Barrie and all of those people are likely affected by the fast-spreading U.K. variant. There are concerns the highly contagious strain of the virus is more widespread than initially thought. Miranda Anthistle has the details.
REGINA — Saskatchewan's top doctor says he believes there are limits to where people can protest after a handful of demonstrators unhappy with COVID-19 restrictions showed up outside his home. Chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab says while people can go to public spaces like legislatures to stage their frustration, he doesn't believe they have the right to protest at someone's private residence. Premier Scott Moe says his government has offered security to Shahab after police were called to his house on the weekend to respond to protesters who had gathered nearby. Moe says it's up to police in Regina to investigate and decide whether to lay any charges. The premier says the demonstration crossed a line between protesting government decisions around COVID-19 and the privacy of a person, his family and his neighbours. He says his Saskatchewan Party government is looking at what options exist to address protests at the homes of public servants. "We have been starting to look at what other jurisdictions have in place with respect to some of the laws that they have, and looking at whether or not we should consider those here," he said during a briefing Tuesday. Moe said he wasn't sure what options the government has to address what happened, since streets and sidewalks are public property. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021 Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
When Isak Vaillancourt first began thinking of his short documentary, a project he would create with his team and the support of the guest curator of Up Here 6, Ra’anaa Brown, the global conversation on race had never been louder. At the time, it was shouting names like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. “People were suddenly realizing the urgency and validity of this movement,” said Vaillancourt. “Having difficult conversations in regards to their own complicity with systematic racism and their privilege. With the short documentary, I wanted to capture this unique moment in time from the perspectives of three Black community members here in Sudbury.” In the opening shots of the film, an introduction reads: “Black communities are having conversations about race that never make it to mainstream media. The collective consciousness rarely lends itself to amplify these voices.” With his documentary, Vaillancourt wanted to add new voices to the conversation. Not his, however: he decided to amplify the voices of three Black women in Sudbury and the struggles, racism and challenges to their own identity they have faced. And he called it, Amplify. Vaillancourt, a multimedia content producer and activist, is also from the area. He grew up in Chelmsford with his twin sister and younger brother, the children of a Franco-Ontarian father and a mother who found her way to Canada after leaving Somalia in 1991 to escape the civil war. He wanted to show that despite many believing that there are no issues with racism in Sudbury, the reality is quite the contrary. “It’s important to realize that racism and discrimination exist in Sudbury, as much as we like to pretend that Canada is a nation of cultural tolerance.” To him, the medium of a short documentary was the perfect choice to showcase his message. “We decided that a short documentary would be the perfect platform to shed light on the inequalities and discrimination that affects the lives of many racialized individuals here in Sudbury,” said Vaillancourt. “This project would not have been possible without the continuous support from the amazing team at Up Here. Behind the scenes, I worked very closely with my cinematographer, Shawn Kosmerly, and my editor, Riley McEwen, to bring this project to life.” The documentary itself focuses on the lived experiences of the three Black women it features: Josephine Suorineni-Zaghe, Shana Calixte and Sonia Ekiyor-Katimi, and their thoughts in relation to the current political climate, racial inequality and social justice. It is an opportunity for them to describe the challenges they have had to overcome and to educate those that perhaps have never had to consider the prejudice, both subtle and overt, that Sudburians of colour face. It is a chance to understand that if you have not experienced something directly, rather than deny or deflect, you should defer. “We as a society need to learn how to defer to people with lived experiences when speaking on issues that affect them directly,” said Vaillancourt. But also cautions, “Keep in mind that, amplifying Black, Indigenous, and POC (people of colour) voices does not mean placing the heavy burden on marginalized communities to educate you on the ways they’ve been oppressed. It’s the act of listening, self-reflection and continuous learning. It’s a commitment.” As the film lives on, Vaillancourt hopes viewers will find ways to show this commitment by getting involved locally. He quotes Josephine Suorineni-Zaghe from the film and says “Build up the movement locally. Be there for Black children. Be there for Black girls and Black boys. Be there for the Black LGBTQ+ community and when you do have that interaction, you do see the immediate change.” He also notes the many grassroots organisations that can benefit from more community involvement. “Within the City of Greater Sudbury, there has been a growing culture of community care and mutual aid all in the face of hatred,” he said. “This has not been cultivated by city officials but rather grassroot community groups such as Black Lives Matter - Sudbury, Sudbury Pride, Myth and Mirrors, SWANS Sudbury and The Sudbury Workers Education and Advocacy Centre (SWEAC) just to name a few. I encourage viewers to take the extra step and learn more about how they can uplift these organizations and the important work they're doing.” The video is currently hosted by Up Here 6, and it is also available with French-language subtitles. For now, not only is Vaillancourt submitting this film to festivals, but he is currently working on multimedia projects that highlight “the amazing and diverse communities we have here in Sudbury.” For more of Vaillancourt’s work, you can visit his website at IsakVail.ca. You can watch the documentary below. Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com