SUDBURY, Ont. — A class has been sent home from a Sudbury, Ont., elementary school following a confirmed case of COVID-19. Parents of a senior kindergarten/Grade 1 class at St. David's Catholic elementary school were told their children should stay home. Director of Education Joanne Benard says in a letter issued to parents on Sunday that the person with the confirmed case of the novel coronavirus is self-isolating. She says public health officials will notify the parents of anyone considered a close contact. Benard also says all students in the class should self-isolate until Jan. 29 and get tested for the virus as soon as possible. She says "it's understandable that this situation may make caregivers anxious" and says parents of children in other classes should notify the school if they choose to keep their youngsters at home. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. The Canadian Press
An old roadbed in Conception Bay North is getting a new lease on life. Up until the 1970s, the road between Old Perlican and Bay de Verde was the main thoroughfare that connected the two communities. That road was phased out in the 1970s as the current road was put in. Now, decades later, the old roadbed is getting a facelift as a group of volunteers is restoring the old road into a multi-use trailway. “We thought we could go all the way through to Old Perlican,” said organizer Carl Riggs, who is from Bay de Verde. The idea for the trailway started as a conversation between friends, and it ballooned from there. Riggs decided he would take the idea to the councils of Bay de Verde and Old Perlican. They were supportive of the idea and things took off from there. “The support has been tremendous,” said Riggs. It’s been a whirlwind six weeks between work starting and the idea coming to fruition. Since work got underway on Jan. 11, between 80 and 100 people have contributed to clearing brush, rocks and other debris from the trail. There have been significant contributions from the towns of Old Perlican and Bay de Verde, who have sent various pieces of heavy equipment to help with the job. The business community has also chipped in, and there have been donations of equipment, time and money from people all over the province. “It is amazing how much work has been done in a short period of time,” said Bay de Verde Mayor Gerard Murphy. While the original motivation for the restoration of the old road was for use by all-terrain vehicles, the group believes there is ample room for hikers, walkers, mountain bikers and others to use the trail. When finished, it will connect to Bay de Verde’s Lazy Rock Walking Trail. “It is a little bit of an attraction for the whole area,” said Old Perlican Mayor Clifford Morgan. “It is a very, very nice initiative.” The work being conducted this winter by the group is just the start of things for them. Riggs said they want to install gazebos, rest areas and signage along the route in the future. There are also plans to work with the CBN T’railway group to connect their projects. The CBN group is working to clear and maintain the old railbed in the region. The hope is they will be able to connect and provide all-terrain vehicle users with the chance to go from Brigus Junction to Bay de Verde. “This is just the tip of the iceberg for us,” said Riggs. “Excited is not the word.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
TOKYO — Japan's foreign minister accused South Korea on Monday of worsening already strained ties by making “illegal” demands for compensation for the sexual abuse of Korean women and use of forced labourers during World War II. Toshimitsu Motegi, in a diplomatic policy speech in parliament, said a recent South Korean court ruling ordering Japan to compensate 12 South Korean women who were sexually abused in Japanese military brothels during the war was "an abnormal development absolutely unthinkable under international law and bilateral relations.” “We strongly urge South Korea to correct the violation of international law as soon as possible” and restore healthy relations, Motegi said. The Seoul Central District Court ruled on Jan. 8 that the Japanese government must give 100 million won ($91,360) to each of 12 elderly women who filed lawsuits in 2013 over their wartime suffering as “comfort women.” They were among tens of thousands of women across Japanese-occupied Asia and the Pacific who were sent to front-line Japanese army brothels. The ruling worsened tensions between the two countries, whose relations had already plunged to the lowest level in decades over earlier South Korean rulings on Japan's actions during its 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. South Korea's Supreme Court in 2018 ordered Japanese companies to provide reparations to some South Koreans who were forced to work in their factories during the war. The dispute over forced labour escalated into a trade dispute and prompted South Korea to threaten to scrap a 2016 military intelligence-sharing agreement with Japan, a key component of their regional defenceco-operation with the United States. Japan has protested the court rulings, saying all wartime compensation issues were settled under a 1965 treaty normalizing relations in which Japan provided $500 million in economic assistance. Motegi called South Korea “an important neighbour” and said its co-operation with Japan and the United States was “indispensable for regional security," including the response to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. Japan, under a 1995 semi-governmental Asian Women’s Fund, offered payments and apology letters to certified victims of its wartime sexual abuse from five countries, settling disputes with all but South Korea. In 2015, the then governments of South Korea and Japan reached what was supposed to be a final and irreversible deal to settle the issue with a new fund set up by the Japanese government, but the current South Korean administration of President Moon Jae-in dissolved it, saying the deal was reached without proper consultation with the victims. ___ Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mariyamaguchi Mari Yamaguchi, The Associated Press
The Quebec government is investing $19 million into educating, recruiting and training workers for the information technology sector — a sector that has been stretched even thinner by the pandemic. With an unprecedented number of people working from home, IT specialists have been in higher demand than ever before. The sector was already suffering from a workforce shortage before COVID-19 made landfall, with 6,500 positions left unfilled. The government's most recent investment aims to fill roughly 4,500 of those posts, ensuring some 900 companies are able to staff crucial IT roles. Labour Minister Jean Boulet said the funding will also help retrain those who've lost their jobs since March. "During the pandemic, many young people, women, immigrants lost their jobs," he said. "They've become extremely affected by the pandemic, and we have to help them get re-qualified or upscale their capacity." The recruitment campaign began in December under the motto "On cherche du mode," or in English, "We are looking for people." Of the investment, $15 million will go toward offering financial support to businesses in the IT sector, assisting with recruitment outside of Quebec, according to a government announcement. Another $4 million will help unemployed people get into short-term training programs at the college or university level. That investment is expected to give 500 people a career boost. The initiative is in addition to other actions aimed at attracting workers into fields such as visual effects, computer animation and video games, the province said. 'Upsurge in career changes' This funding comes at a time when an increasing number of people, many well into their career, are changing fields, according to Pier-Samuel Goulet-Côté, admissions counsellor at Collège O'Sullivan de Québec. "What we have noticed since the start of the pandemic is really an upsurge in career changes," he said. His school has hybrid classrooms set up that allow students to come in person or attend classes from home. "I would say that we are riding the wave since we offer a lot of online training," Goulet-Côté told Radio-Canada. He said a large proportion of students who enrol in IT programs are mid-career workers who want to upgrade or simply change jobs. For a 45-year-old who has a career, a house, a car, and children, it's not easy to dedicate so much time to schooling, Goulet-Côté said, but this government program could help. If companies want to recruit and retain IT professionals in the current job market, he said, they will have to do their part by offering training and skill development.
City council will discuss Monday extending a program that encourages businesses to expand or set up new operations in three areas of Calgary. By cutting red tape and reducing cost, the city hopes businesses can get moving with their plans quicker. The proposal would see more exemptions from development permits, allowing immediate applications for building permits and doing away with some permit fees. The pilot project would apply to the International Avenue business improvement area in Forest Lawn, the Montgomery business improvement area as well as two commercial streets in Sunalta. While the program would result in benefits for businesses, the city would also need fewer resources for permit processing. That's not a significant benefit as those services are paid for by permit fees. Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he would have some questions about the program but is generally in favour. "We're taking a pilot project that we've used downtown to cut some red tape and encourage investment and development and expanding that to different parts of the city," said Nenshi. "I'm very much in favour of that as a concept." Downtown tried it first A similar project called the City Centre Enterprise Area was rolled out in 2017 as a way to make it easier for businesses to expand or try different concepts in many empty storefront spaces downtown. In 2019, council voted to extend that project until July 2021. The city acknowledges that there is greater commercial interest in the core, more employment uses and in normal times, more people in the vicinity than the three areas now being looked at for the program. However, the city says choosing the three additional areas for a small pilot project allows it to monitor change of use or renovation exemptions closely. Tough times Administration says making it easier for businesses to start up or expand their operations is critical in Calgary's pandemic-ravaged economy. The executive director of the Montgomery on the Bow business improvement area, Marion Hayes, said the city approached her organization to see if there would be interest. She said they jumped at the opportunity as businesses need ways to quickly adapt to the current environment. "If they can bring change to their business without going through a lot of red tape and also a lot of additional cost, it's a great benefit to them," said Hayes. If council approves the proposal, the pilot project in the three areas will be tried for a year and then be reviewed.
Starting next week, Austria will introduce a similar rule nationwide.View on euronews
After being "overwhelmed" with 911 calls on the latest pandemic restrictions, Windsor police have provided more information about how they will enforce the rules. The police service said officers won't enter homes, stop cars or people for the sole purpose of enforcing the stay-at-home order and provincial emergency. Further, no one is required to carry proof that they are going to work, the police service said in a statement Friday. If an officer has "reasonable grounds" to think that someone has violated the Reopening Ontario Act or the emergency declaration, officers can ask for ID in order to issue a fine or summons. Failing to properly identify yourself can lead to a fine or obstruction charges. "We will continue to monitor for COVID-19 compliance and respond to COVID-19-related complaints, as required. We will undertake enforcement actions, as necessary, under the legislation," the police service stated. New order sparks questions, criticism Under the stay-at-home order that took effect last Thursday, people can only leave their homes for essential reasons. There is a long list of exceptions, including going out for exercise or essential work, buying groceries and picking up prescriptions. Under the new order, officers can order people attending gatherings to go home, close any building where they believe an illegal event is taking place, and ask for the name and address of anyone they think is committing an offence. Charges can be laid through a ticket or summons to appear in court. The minimum fine for violating provincial gathering rules is $750. For those organizing illegal gatherings, there's a minimum fine of $10,000 and up to a year in jail. Within Windsor and across the province, the new rules have led to questions about how law enforcement will be ensuring compliance. They've also prompted concerns that people from visible minority groups could be disproportionately targeted by enforcement efforts. Police see uptick in 911 calls Windsor police have asked the public not to call 911 regarding the stay-at-home order, saying operators have been "overwhelmed" with calls. On Friday, the police service said it had received 200 non-emergency and 911 calls related to COVID-19 and the new order since Tuesday. "Any call to 911 that is not an emergency can take precious seconds away from a person trying to get through on 911 for a true emergency, where seconds may count for them," police said in an emailed statement.
DÜSSELDORF, Germany — Underwhelming at Real Madrid, Luka Jovic has a second chance to prove himself at the German club where he made his name. The Serbian striker came off the bench in his first game back on loan in the Bundesliga on Sunday and scored two goals, lifting Eintracht Frankfurt to a 3-1 victory over Schalke. It was an explosive half-hour cameo as Jovic sent a rising shot into the roof of the net off, then added another in stoppage time after beating a defender with his footwork. That was as many goals as he scored in 19 months with Madrid. “Couldn’t have imagined a better comeback,” Jovic wrote on Instagram. “I hope this is only the beginning and that the best is yet to come.” Frankfurt teammate Djibril Sow recounted a pre-game conversation where Jovic said he would score once if given 15 minutes of game time, twice if he had a half hour. “He kept his word,” Sow said in comments reported by the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper. “And it isn't something you can take for granted to deliver like that in your first game. A lot of class.” If he can keep it up, that kind of scoring form could bring Jovic back to relevance in Madrid after spending 2020 in the spotlight more for his injuries and conduct amid the coronavirus pandemic than for his increasingly rare appearances. Jovic's record of two goals in 32 games for Madrid is far below the form — 27 goals in 48 games for Frankfurt in 2018-19 — which earned him a transfer to Spain for a reported 60 million euros ($72 million). That reflects Jovic's limited game time in Madrid, with only 11 starts, and his own less-than-stellar performances. Jovic looked visibly frustrated in his last start for Madrid in one of the most ignominious games in the club's recent history, the 3-2 home loss in October against a Shakhtar Donetsk team so badly depleted by coronavirus cases that it had to draw on youth players. The pandemic threw Jovic's career into turmoil. In March, he travelled home to Serbia when the Spanish league was suspended and was pictured at a party. Jovic faced a possible six-month prison sentence for breaking quarantine but the case was resolved when he agreed to pay 30,000 euros ($36,000). When the Spanish league resumed, Jovic was sidelined with a foot injury he picked up while training at home. He missed yet more games after testing positive for the coronavirus in November. Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane gave few opportunities to Jovic but in October said the striker was an important part of his squad. Zidane said he was the one who asked Madrid to sign Jovic and dismissed reports of a rift between them. If Jovic can keep scoring for Frankfurt, it could also be what the club needs to fulfil its potential. Frankfurt has excelled in knockout competitions in recent years with a German Cup title and a run to the Europa League semifinals, but hasn't been able to get above mid-table in the Bundesliga. After Sunday's win, the team is three points off the Champions League places. “For Luka, it's extremely important that he comes back here, where he had his best time and where he feels good," Frankfurt coach Adi Hütter said. “Scoring two goals like that shows his class.” ___ AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni in Madrid and Associated Press writer Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade, Serbia, contributed to this report. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports James Ellingworth, The Associated Press
Abandoned houses and properties are found everywhere in Newfoundland and Labrador. They are houses with chipped paint, boats laid on the shore for the last time and old barns that have been beaten down by the elements. Sometimes, families just left these places and never came back. Other properties fall into disrepair because owners aren’t quite sure what to do with them. Regardless of how they were left, these objects are living history and lend themselves to the story of the people who lived there. Photographer Cory Babstock has documented many of the abandoned structures and objects in his home of Clarenville and the surrounding area. He even produced a small book made up of images of houses left behind, called "Unsettled." “It is important to me. … I’m all about preserving what I can for my kids so that they know we didn’t always live in these bungalows, clumped together in orderly fashion,” he said. That idea of preserving history is part of the reason Babstock takes such pride in photographing the buildings and objects that are left behind. The photos he takes are a historical record of the people and the places where they lived. Last fall, what was left of the Mary Ruth, a sailing vessel built in 1918, had disappeared from its usual spot in Southport. An old home in Open Hall-Red Cliffe that Babstock had photographed frequently has blown down in recent years. Someday, others will be lost to time and there won’t be any record they were ever there. “There is a whole other story, and somebody has to document them," said Babstock. “Sometimes families aren’t able to.” Joe Woods started the Abandoned and Historic Newfoundland and Labrador Facebook group in 2016. He did so to showcase the many such structures across the province to a wide audience. It allowed photographers and those interested in those buildings to interact while sharing their experiences and their work. The group has about 20,000 members and there are several posts daily. “I love finding new places to explore, and Newfoundland and Labrador is endless with them,” Woods said in a social media conversation. In the group, there are pictures of ancient graveyards, abandoned barns, empty storefronts and the skeletons of wooden boats. Often, the interactions inspire others to seek out the images they find in the group, while adding their own. When a new picture is posted, the comment section will sometimes spiral into a cross-section of a person’s connection to the object in the photo, people marvelling at the photo and others who seek to add that object to their photo bucket list. After a quick scroll through the comments, it becomes swiftly evident that these callbacks to an earlier time strike a nerve with people. “One day photographs will be all we have to remember they even stood one time,” said Woods. “It's second chances to admire the beauty and architecture.” The abandoned places Babstock walks don’t always feel like they’re supposed to. Those homes hit your senses differently as you try to picture how families lived a life that was so different from your own, he says, and stepping through their doors pulls you somewhere else. “Every one of these places has a different feel to them,” said Babstock. “Some places resonate with sadness.” He recalled an abandoned home he entered — Babstock always gets permission first — where he found a bed that was left behind. It still had some dressing and a pillow laid on top of it. The floor of another home had long collapsed when he found it. Babstock found a table in the home with dishes still set on it. The dishes appeared to have been left behind in a hurry, he said. “There is a different weight to (the place),” said Babstock. Life has kept west coast photographer Jaimie Maloney from chasing life through a camera lens recently, but that hasn’t diminished her love for photographing and exploring old buildings. When her schedule did allow her to explore the west coast, she found herself drawn to the older structures she found there. “I find it draws me in because it wants to tell me a story,” said Maloney. “I go looking at them and feel the energy and think of various people living there and what they may have done. “It's like the building is talking to you and wants you to share it and pass the information along. It’s almost like being a detective.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
A provincial review of post-secondary institutions is raising questions about whether Red Deer and Grande Prairie Regional colleges will transition into universities as planned. Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides said the decisions are under review as external consultants McKinsey and Company evaluate how post-secondary education is offered across Alberta. "Whether or not they need to become a university I think is a question that's still ongoing," Nicolaides said in an interview with CBC last week. The transformations would be expensive and require changes to the colleges' governance structures, he said. The schools do not need to be classified as universities to be able to grant degrees for programs that Nicolaides approves. It's a departure from the celebratory mood in 2018 when both colleges announced the former NDP government had granted them permission to make the transition. The former Grande Prairie Regional College president called the announcement the proudest moment in his career. Red Deer College hired consultants, sought feedback from hundreds of people, and announced in 2019 it would eventually rebrand itself as Red Deer University. But as part of a provincial review of the province's 26 post-secondary institutions, McKinsey is recommending the government consider creating superboards to oversee multiple institutions. Nicolaides likes the idea. He says he'd like the future oversight bodies to find more ways for polytechnics, colleges and universities to work together, and flag unnecessary duplications in the system. They should not add extra layers of bureaucracy, he says. Amalgamating any schools is also a "no-go" in his mind. That could damage relationships with alumni and donors. "It has to be done in a way that maintains strong institutional identity, maintains the connection to the community, and allows them to continue to build those important partnerships," Nicolaides said. Although the government initially asked the contractor to study the viability of institutions, Nicolaides said shuttering any schools is not the goal. However, he said he's not convinced the colleges in Grande Prairie and Red Deer need to be universities to best serve their communities. Red Deer College (RDC) is looking at adopting a "polytechnic university" model, he said, to retain trade and apprenticeship programs in demand by local employers. "If it did transition to a full research intensive university with graduate programs, you may shed some of those programs that are needed by the local community, so I think we have to find the right balance," Nicolaides said. Instructor sees 'brain drain' from Grande Prairie region Administrators at both colleges declined interview requests. In a written statement, RDC president Peter Nunoda said he is awaiting the outcome of the McKinsey review, which is expected to be released in the summer. "While work continues in our institution behind-the-scenes on program development and other matters relating to our institution's future, we are awaiting the outcomes identified in the Alberta 2030 post-secondary system review to further establish our future direction," the statement said. The college offers two degree programs, which are a bachelors of applied arts in animation and visual effects and a bachelor of applied arts in film production. The college has applied to the advanced education ministry for approval of five more bachelors' degree programs, including a bachelor of science in biological sciences, bachelors of science and arts degrees in psychology, bachelor of education and a bachelor of business administration. Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC) CEO Robert Murray said in a written statement the college is still developing proposals for degree-granting programs while the provincial review continues. Ali Al-Asadi, president of the academic staff association at GPRC, said the name and status of the school is less important than its ability to grant degrees. The college had been offering some degree programs in partnership with other institutions. But psychology instructor Al-Asadi said government funding reductions have led some of those other schools to cancel the partnerships, and the college had to end some degree programs. Every time a student leaves northwestern Alberta for university or enrols in another institution online, money leaves the community, he said. He calls it a brain drain. "When a student leaves, very few of them come back." NDP advanced education critic David Eggen said his former government wanted universities in Grande Prairie and Red Deer to help diversify the economies of those communities and give students more educational options near their homes. The closest universities for Grande Prairie students are about 450 kilometres away in Edmonton. Giving the colleges a pathway to become universities was a sign of respect, he said. For the government to consider withdrawing that permission is disturbing, he said. "I think that it's a mistake. "I think that this government clearly does not value post-secondary education." McKinsey is contracted until the end of March to evaluate Alberta's system, highlight best practices from other jurisdictions and propose possible reforms. The government has committed to releasing a plan for the next decade this summer.
BRUSSELS — The European Union’s executive arm on Monday defended a decision to send a team of senior officials to Lisbon for a meeting with Portuguese government ministers, after two ministers tested positive for COVID-19 and a number of top officials went into isolation. Eight members of the European Commission paid a one-day visit to Lisbon Friday — as Portugal started a month-long lockdown — for meetings early in the country's six-month term as EU president nation, which began on Jan. 1. Portugal’s finance and labour ministers later tested positive for the virus, while three other ministers have gone into isolation after coming into contact with people who tested positive. Two EU commission vice-presidents and a commissioner are in quarantine. Asked why it was so important for the visit to go ahead, commission spokesman Eric Mamer said the decision to meet face to face rather than via videoconference — like most EU meetings over the past year — was “not taken lightly.” “It is the launch of an extremely important presidency. There are many, many files which need to be carried forward by the Portuguese presidency, and it was felt important to be able to hold in-person discussions on these different political files,” Mamer said. Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa said Wednesday that the pandemic is “at its most dangerous point” in the country and that the new lockdown would last at least a month. Staying at home is mandatory, including for work, and fines for not complying with rules such as to wear masks oiutdoors have doubled. Schools remain open, along with companies providing essential services. Mamer said the commission officials in quarantine would respect Belgium’s coronavirus rules and take a test on the seventh day after their return from Lisbon. In August, the EU’s chief trade negotiator, Commissioner Phil Hogan, had to resign after he admitted flaunting some measures during a summer stay in his native Ireland. ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
MAMUJU, Indonesia — Aid was reaching the thousands of people left homeless and struggling after an earthquake that killed at least 84 people on an Indonesian island where rescuers intensified their work Monday to find those buried in the rubble. More rescuers and volunteers were deployed in the hardest-hit city of Mamuju and the neighbouring district of Majene on Sulawesi island, where the magnitude 6.2 quake struck early Friday, said Raditya Jati, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency’s spokesperson. He said nearly 20,000 survivors were moved to shelters and more than 900 people were injured, with nearly 300 of them still receiving treatment for serious injuries. A total of 73 people died in Mamuju and 11 in Majene, said Didi Hamzar, the disaster agency's director of preparedness. He said rescuers also managed to pull 18 people alive from the rubble of a collapsed houses and buildings. Mahatir, a relief co-ordinator for volunteer rescuers, said his team was trying to reach many people in six isolated villages in Majene district after the quake damaged roads and bridges. Aid and other logistic supplies can be distributed only by foot over the severe terrain, said Mahatir who goes by one name. In a virtual news conference, Hamzar said that three helicopters were taking aid supplies Monday to four cut-off villages in Majene. In other hard hit areas. water, which has been in short supply, as well as food and medical supplies were being distributed from trucks. The military said it sent five planes carrying rescue personnel, food, medicine, blankets, field tents and water tankers. Volunteers and rescue personnel erected more temporary shelters for those left homeless in Mamuju and Majene. Most were barely protected by makeshift shelters that were lashed by heavy monsoon downpours. Only a few were lucky to be protected by tarpaulin-covered tents. They said they were running low on food, blankets and other aid, as emergency supplies were rushed to the hard-hit region. Police and soldiers were deployed to guard vehicles carrying relief goods and grocery stores from looting that occurred in some areas, said Muhammad Helmi, who heads the West Sulawesi police’s operation unit. Jati said at least 1,150 houses in Majene were damaged and the agency was still collecting data on damaged houses and buildings in Mamuju. Mamuju, the provincial capital of nearly 300,000 people, was strewn with debris from collapsed buildings. The governor’s office building was almost flattened and a shopping mall was reduced to a crumpled hulk. The disaster agency said the evacuees are in dire need of basic necessities — blankets, mats, tents, baby food and medical services. The disaster agency’s chief, Doni Monardo, said authorities were trying to separate high- and lower-risk groups and provided tens of thousands of anti-coronavirus masks for those needing shelters. He said authorities would also set up health posts at the camps to test people for the virus. People being housed in temporary shelters were seen standing close together, many of them without masks, saying that they difficult to observe health protocols in this emergency situation. West Sulawesi province has recorded more than 2,500 cases of the coronavirus, including 58 deaths. Indonesia has confirmed nearly 908,000 cases and almost 26,000 fatalities. Many on Sulawesi island are still haunted by a magnitude 7.5 earthquake that devastated Palu city in 2018, setting of a tsunami and a phenomenon called liquefaction in which soil collapses into itself. More than 4,000 people were killed, including many who were buried when whole neighbourhoods were swallowed in the falling ground. Indonesia, home to more than 260 million people, is lined with seismic faults and is frequently hit by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. A magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra in 2004 triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries. ____ Karmini reported from Jakarta, Indonesia. Niniek Karmini And Yusuf Wahil, The Associated Press
MILAN — Stellantis, the car company combining PSA Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler, was launched Monday on the Milan and Paris stock exchanges, giving life to the fourth-largest auto company in the world. Stellantis shares rallied 7.6% in Milan to 13.53 euros ($16.32). CEO Carlos Tavares said during a virtual bell-ringing ceremony that the merger creates 25 billion euros in shareholder value. “The focus from day one will be on value creation from synergies, which will increase competitiveness vis-a-vis its peers,” Tavares said. Stellantis has a new logo and will launch on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, due to the Monday U.S. bank holiday, followed by a press conference with Tavares. Chairman John Elkann, heir to the Fiat-founding Agnelli family, said that the new company has “the scale, the resources, the diversity and the knowledge to successfully capture the opportunities of this new era in transportation.” The technological shift includes electrified powertrains as well as moves toward greater autonomous driving. The merger is aimed at creating 5 billion euros in annual savings. The new company will have the capacity to produce 8.7 million cars a year, behind Volkswagen, Toyota and Renault-Nissan. Fiat Chrysler, which was created from the merger of the Italian and U.S. car companies in 2014, closed Friday down 4.35% at 12.57 euros, having gained in previous days. Its closing market capitalization was under 20 billion euros, far off its 2018 highs of more than 30 billion euros. Colleen Barry, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — As new cases of COVID-19 surge across Canada, the federal government and the provinces have been imposing stricter measures to try to limit the illness's spread. The Canadian Press interviewed three leading Canadian experts in disease control and epidemiology, asking their thoughts on Canada's handling of the pandemic, the new restrictions on activities — and what else can be done. Here's what they had to say. John Brownstein, Montreal-born Harvard University epidemiologist and chief innovation officer at Boston Children's Hospital Having a national testing strategy in Canada that uses rapid tests people could do at home would limit the spread of the virus, Brownstein says. "That would enable us to get insight on infection and actually have people isolate," he says. No such tests have been approved in Canada yet. "We've been saying this all along, so it's not just a purely Canadian issue, but having a strategy that implements that kind of information would go a long way to drive infections down in communities while we wait for the vaccine." Brownstein says curfews have unintended consequences because they force people to get together over a shorter period of time during the day. "We haven't seen a lot of evidence that curfews have driven down infection." He says a mix of testing and quarantine is the best way to make sure international travellers don't cause outbreaks when they return from the pandemic hot spots. Testing alone is not enough, he says, because tests can come back negative during the novel coronavirus's incubation period; people should be careful about relying on test results that could give a false sense of security. Brownstein says pandemic fatigue is real and the governments' support for people suffering in the crisis should continue. He says promoting low-risk activities, including walking and exercising outdoors, is also important. "Whatever we can do to allow for people to spend more time outside, probably the better." David Juncker, professor of medicine and chair of the department of biomedical engineering at McGill University Canada needs a national strategy for how to use rapid tests for the virus that causes COVID-19, says Juncker. Juncker is an adviser for Rapid Test and Trace, an organization advocating for a mass rapid-testing system across Canada. "Initially the Canadian government (spoke) against (rapid tests) and then they pivoted sometime in October or September," he says. The federal government then bought thousands of rapid tests and sent them to the provinces, where they've mostly sat unused. "Every province is trying to come up with their own way of trying them — running their own individual pilots. There's a lack of exchange of information and lack of guidelines in terms of how to best deploy them," he says. Juncker says the testing regime based on swabs collected in central testing sites was working in the summer but it collapsed in the fall. He says medical professionals prefer those tests because they are more accurate and can detect low levels of the virus, which is important for diagnoses, but rapid tests can be useful for public health through sheer volume, if they're used properly. A federal advisory panel's report released Friday, laying out the best uses for different kinds of tests, is a step in the right direction, he says. "I'm happy to see we're slowly shifting from the point of view of 'Should we use rapid tests?' to a point of view (of) 'How can we best use them?'" More recent research suggests that rapid tests are more accurate than was previously thought, he says. "We still don't have enough capacity to test everyone so we'd have to use them in a strategic way." Juncker says the lockdowns in Ontario and Quebec should have happened earlier in the fall, when cases started to rise. He says the late lockdowns in Canada won't be as effective as those in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and South Korea, where early lockdowns effectively stopped the disease from spreading. "Countries that were most aggressive early on, are the ones that have, I think, the best outcome." He says countries where health decisions are fragmented across the country, including Canada, have added challenges. "If you live in Ottawa-Gatineau, you have one province (that) allows one thing, the other province allows another thing, so this creates confusion among the citizens," he said. Donald Sheppard, chair of the department of microbiology and immunology in the faculty of medicine at McGill University and member of Canada's COVID-19 therapeutics task force: Canada's federal-provincial sharing of power over health care is highly inefficient and has led to major problems, says Sheppard. "There's a lot breakdown in communication, a lot of territorialism. It's greatly impacted the efficiency of the response," he says. The problems in long-term care homes are examples. "Quebec is screaming they want money but they're refusing to sign on to the minimum standards of long term care," he says. "I think it's heinous." He says highly centralized authority and decision-making has had a stifling effect on innovation. "It puts up roadblocks, and has led to the Canadian health-care system having lost any attempt to be innovative and nimble," he says. Sheppard says he doesn't think there will be mass vaccinations for Canadians this summer and the September timetable that the federal government is talking about for vaccinating everybody is optimistic. "Remember that we don't have vaccines that are approved in under-11-year-olds," he says. "There will still be opportunities for the virus to circulate in children, particularly children are in school settings." He suggested that the current immunization campaign's goal is not herd immunity, eliminating transmission of the virus and rendering is extinct. "The goal here is to create an iron wall of immunity around the 'susceptibles' in our population, such that this becomes a virus of the same public health importance as influenza." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2020 ——— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press
The council set up to guide the Northwest Territories government in its economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic has lost a co-chair, and two other members have been replaced. The 17-member Business Advisory Council started meeting in early June to give advice to the minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment on lessening the short-term effects of COVID-19 on N.W.T. businesses, and on longer-term actions the territory can take to help the businesses rebound. On Friday Paul Gruner, president and CEO of Det'on Cho Management LP, the economic development arm of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, said he stepped down recently as co-chair of the council to focus on his company during the pandemic. Jenni Bruce, president of the NWT Chamber of Commerce and regional manager at Midwest Property Management is now the council's sole chair. She said it's too early to say what will happen with the vacancy left by Gruner. Bruce said the two other changes on the council were a result of people leaving the organizations they were named to represent. She said each seat was filled by a person from the same organization that lost its representative. Duc Trinh, representing the Northwest Territories and Nunavut Construction Association, was replaced by Trevor Kasteel, who now represents the construction association. Donna Lee DeMarcke of the Hay River Chamber of Commerce took a position with NWT Tourism, said Bruce. Her spot was filled by Terry Rowe, the president of the Hay River Chamber of Commerce.
CAIRO — The death toll from tribal violence between Arabs and non-Arabs in Sudan’s West Darfur province climbed to at least 83, including women and children, a doctor’s union and aid worker said, as sporadic violence continued Sunday. The ruling sovereign council met Sunday and said security forces would be deployed to the area. The deadly clashes grew out of a fistfight Friday between two people in a camp for displaced people in Genena, the provincial capital. An Arab man was stabbed to death and his family, from the Arab Rizeigat tribe, attacked the people in the Krinding camp and other areas Saturday. Among the dead was a U.S. citizen. Saeed Baraka, 36, from Atlanta, had arrived in Sudan less than two months ago to visit his family in Darfur, his wife, Safiya Mohammed, told The Associated Press over the phone. The father of three children rushed to relieve a neighbour amid the clashes in the Jabal village in West Darfur, when he was shot in his head Saturday, his brother-in-law Juma Salih said. Baraka's wife said the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum phoned her to offer condolences. The embassy did not return phone calls and emails from AP seeking comment. The violence led to local authorities imposing a round-the-clock curfew on the entire province. Besides the 83 killed, at least 160 others were wounded, according to Sudan’s doctors’ committee in West Darfur. It said there were troops among the wounded. It said clashes subsided by midday on Sunday and the security situation started to improve. The committee is part of the Sudanese Professionals Association, which spearheaded a popular uprising that eventually led to the military's ouster of longtime autocratic president Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. The clashes pose a challenge to efforts by Sudan’s transitional government to end decades-long rebellions in areas like Darfur, where most people live in camps for the displaced and refugees. Sudan is on a fragile path to democracy and is being ruled by a joint military-civilian government. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “is deeply concerned” about the violence and “calls on the Sudanese authorities to expend all efforts to de-escalate the situation and bring an end to the fighting,” his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said. The bout of violence came two weeks after the U.N. Security Council ended the joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force’s mandate in the region. The UNAMID force, established in 2007, is expected to complete its withdrawal by June 30. It also puts into question the transitional government’s ability to stabilize the conflict-ravaged Darfur region. Salah Saleh, a physician and former medical director at the main hospital in Genena, said clashes renewed Sunday morning at the Abu Zar camp for internally displaced people, south of the provincial capital. He said most of the victims were shot dead, or suffered gunshot wounds. Adam Regal, a spokesman for a local organization that helps run refugee camps in Darfur, said there were overnight attacks on Krinding. He shared footage showing properties burned to the ground, and wounded people on stretchers and in hospital beds. Authorities in West Darfur imposed a curfew beginning Saturday that includes the closing of all markets and a ban on public gatherings. The central government in Khartoum also said Saturday a high-ranking delegation, chaired by the country’s top prosecutor, was heading to the province to help re-establish order. A database by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, showed that inter-communal violence across Darfur region doubled in the second half of 2020, with at least 28 incidents compared to 15 between July and December 2019. West Darfur province experienced a “significant increase” of violence last year, with half of the 40 incidents reported in the entire Darfur region, OCHA said Sunday. Samy Magdy, The Associated Press
BEIJING — Chinese state media say 12 out of 22 workers trapped for a week by an explosion in a gold mine are alive, as hundreds of rescuers seek to bring them to safety. The Xinhua News Agency said Monday a note passed through a rescue shaft Sunday night reported the fate of the other 10 remains unknown. The handwritten note said four of the workers were injured and that the condition of others was deteriorating because of a lack of fresh air and an influx of water. Managers of the operation were detained after they failed to report the accident for more than a day. The mine in Qixia, a jurisdiction under the city of Yantai in Shandong province, had been under construction at the time of the blast, which occurred Jan. 10. More than 300 workers are seeking to clear obstructions while drilling a new shaft to reach the chambers where the workers were trapped and expel dangerous fumes. “Keep on with the rescue efforts. We have hope, thank you," read the note, written in pencil on notebook paper and posted on Xinhua's official website. China's mining industry has a reputation for skirting safety requirements amid massive demand for coal and precious minerals, although increased supervision has reduced the frequency of accidents that used to claim an average of 5,000 miners per year. Two accidents in the southwestern megacity of Chongqing last year killed 39 miners, prompting the central government to order another safety overhaul. The Associated Press
Leon Draisaitl offers his condolences to defencemen on the other six Canadian teams forced to contend with the foot speed of Connor McDavid this shortened NHL season. "It's so hard to defend," Draisaitl says of the Edmonton Oilers captain's burst up ice. "I wouldn't want to be that guy standing at the blue-line with him coming 1,000 miles an hour at me. He just has that gift that no one else has." Whether it be in practice or in games, Draisaitl and the Oilers routinely witness the magic of McDavid's gifts. At six-foot-three, 193 pounds, McDavid skates fast enough to garner speeding tickets in school zones. His drive to the net is relentless. His playmaking abilities sublime. WATCH | Ranking the North division: At age 24, the Richmond Hill, Ont., native is determined improve his game this season, if that's even possible for a player with 164 goals and 474 points in his first 354 NHL appearances. On the eve of training camp, McDavid told reporters that his team must do a better job of keeping the puck out of the Edmonton net. "No one's hiding their head in the sand here," he said at the time. "Everyone understands where we're at." And he plans to lead by example in that regard. "Offensively, I think I check off most of the boxes," he said. "Defensively is where it's at. It's the little things: stopping on pucks, winning battles, hounding pucks on the forecheck. Getting involved in battles and winning faceoffs. "It's just rounding out that game and being solid all over the ice." Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada's seven NHL teams are playing only one another during the 56-game campaign. Treating the fans As such, Canadian hockey fans are in for a treat with McDavid on their tablets, smartphones, and televisions all season long — with many of his games in primetime for those in Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes. "We're all a little bit more careful against McDavid," said Montreal centre Phillip Danault. "We all know the speed he's got, his quick hands, quick edges. "I don't know how he changes directions like that, but that's one of his strengths." McDavid's many strengths took over the game last Thursday in a 5-2 victory for the Edmonton Oilers over the Vancouver Canucks. The captain dominated with a hat trick and four points. "He was exceptional," said Vancouver Canucks head coach Travis Green. "One of the best players in the world." With a game plan designed to minimize the damage inflicted by No. 97, the Canadiens limited McDavid to a lone assist Saturday night and, not coincidentally, beat the Oilers 5-1. WATCH | Connor McDavid dominates the Canucks: Leading the charge With the Canadiens up 1-0 in the first period, McDavid stripped the puck from Montreal forward Tyler Toffoli and roared up the ice on a breakaway. Montreal goalie Carey Price slammed his pads shut just in time. "You want to play against the best players in the world," Price says. "Connor, in my opinion, is the best player in the world. "He's so talented, and with his speed and his hands and his vision, it's a pleasure to share the ice with him." The question of who shares the ice with McDavid — on the home side — will no doubt dominate workday chats around the virtual water cooler this week in the Alberta capital. On Saturday, McDavid's linemate Zack Kassian missed the game due to the birth of his daughter Olivia. And the Canadiens were the more rested team. Still, Edmonton's depth looked shaky, especially in comparison to Montreal's contributions from all four lines and the back end. "They were definitely quicker than us," McDavid said. "They got the jump on us early and Price was solid all over. "Playing three games in three-and-half-days is a lot coming out the gate. But not making any excuses for ourselves. We have to be better. We have to win more battles." Rest assured; the captain will lead the charge.
JERUSALEM — Israeli military aircraft struck targets in the Gaza Strip early on Monday in response to two rockets fired from the Palestinian territory, the military said. In a statement, the military said fighter jets hit Hamas military targets, including sites for digging underground tunnels, some of which stretch into Israel. There were no immediate reports of injuries from the airstrikes. There were also no reports of damage or injury from the rockets launched. It was not immediately clear who fired the rockets. Hamas maintains an unofficial cease-fire with Israel, but Israel holds the group responsible for any fire emanating from Gaza. Hamas meanwhile accuses Israel of failing to honour its truce obligations, which include easing a crippling blockade on the Palestinian enclave, and allowing for large-scale infrastructure and job-creation projects. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since the Islamic militant group seized power of the coastal enclave in 2007. While no major confrontation has occurred since 2014, there are often cross-border skirmishes and flare-ups between the sides. While militant rocket attacks and Israeli retaliatory artillery and aerial strikes are frequent, they have largely been subdued in recent months due to the coronavirus outbreaks in both territories. The Associated Press
Le ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ) répondra aux questions des citoyens de Tadoussac en ce qui concerne le projet de réaménagement de la route 138 à l'approche de la traverse. Une séance d'information publique aura lieu le 20 janvier à 19 h via la plateforme virtuelle Teams. Les résidents de la municipalité intéressés à participer à la rencontre doivent s'inscrire par Internet via le lien suivant : https://forms.gle/j3JpTQfdz6cDDAcFA. Rappelons qu'avec l'arrivée des deux nouveaux traversiers à la traverse de Tadoussac-Baie-Sainte-Catherine, la Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ) a demandé au MTQ de revoir le réaménagement des voies de circulation à l'approche du quai à Tadoussac, sur la rue du Bateau-Passeur. « Ces nouveaux navires ayant une plus grande capacité de chargement, la STQ souhaite que le processus d'embarquement et de débarquement se déroule en respectant l'horaire actuel de 20 minutes par traversée », peut-on lire sur le site du MTQ. Ainsi, le réaménagement comprend une aire de préchargement sur la route 138 à l'approche du quai ainsi qu'une aire d'attente du côté sud de la route, à proximité du quai. Ce réaménagement permettra de rendre le secteur de la traverse sécuritaire pour tous les usagers de la route, d'assurer le maintien des infrastructures routières, ainsi que d'améliorer la circulation et la signalisation routière, entre autres. Pour plus d'infos sur le projet: https://bit.ly/3stpb0uJohannie Gaudreault, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Haute-Côte-Nord