The FFL cast reveals which players performed at a high level in 2020.
The FFL cast reveals which players performed at a high level in 2020.
WASHINGTON — The words of Donald Trump supporters who are accused of participating in the deadly U.S. Capitol riot may end up being used against him in his Senate impeachment trial as he faces the charge of inciting a violent insurrection. At least five supporters facing federal charges have suggested they were taking orders from the then-president when they marched on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 to challenge the certification of Joe Biden's election win. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. It's the first time a former president will face such charges after leaving office. “I feel like I was basically following my president. I was following what we were called to do. He asked us to fly there. He asked us to be there," Jenna Ryan, a Texas real estate agent who posted a photo on Twitter of herself flashing a peace sign next to a broken Capitol window, told a Dallas-Fort Worth TV station. Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man photographed on the dais in the Senate who was shirtless and wore face paint and a furry hat with horns, has similarly pointed a finger at Trump. Chansley called the FBI the day after the insurrection and told agents he travelled “at the request of the president that all ‘patriots’ come to D.C. on January 6, 2021,” authorities wrote in court papers. Chanley’s lawyer unsuccessfully lobbied for a pardon for his client before Trump's term ended, saying Chansley “felt like he was answering the call of our president.” Authorities say that while up on the dais in the Senate chamber, Chansley wrote a threatening note to then-Vice-President Mike Pence that said: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.” Trump is the first president to be twice impeached and the first to face a trial after leaving office. The charge this time is “inciting violence against the government of the United States.” His impeachment lawyer, Butch Bowers, did not respond to call for comment. Opening arguments in the trial will begin the week of Feb. 8. House Democrats who voted to impeach Trump last week for inciting the storming of the Capitol say a full reckoning is necessary before the country — and the Congress — can move on. For weeks, Trump rallied his supporters against the election outcome and urged them to come to the Capitol on Jan. 6 to rage against Biden's win. Trump spoke to the crowd near the White House shortly before they marched along Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill. “We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen,” Trump said. “You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.” Later he said: “If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.” He told supporters to walk to the Capitol to “peacefully and patriotically” make your voices heard. Trump has taken no responsibility for his part in fomenting the violence, saying days after the attack: “People thought that what I said was totally appropriate.” Unlike a criminal trial, where there are strict rules about what is and isn’t evidence, the Senate can consider anything it wishes. And if they can show that Trump’s words made a real impact, all the better, and scholars expect it in the trial. "Bringing in those people's statements is part of proving that it would be at a minimum reasonable for a rational person to expect that if you said and did the things that Trump said and did, then they would be understood in precisely the way these people understood them," said Frank Bowman, a constitutional law expert and law professor at University of Missouri. A retired firefighter from Pennsylvania told a friend that that he travelled to Washington with a group of people and the group listened to Trump's speech and then “followed the President’s instructions” and went to the Capitol, an agent wrote in court papers. That man, Robert Sanford, is accused of throwing a fire extinguisher that hit three Capitol Police officers. Another man, Robert Bauer of Kentucky, told FBI agents that “he marched to the U.S. Capitol because President Trump said to do so,” authorities wrote. His cousin, Edward Hemenway, from Virginia, told the FBI that he and Bauer headed toward the Capitol after Trump said “something about taking Pennsylvania Avenue." More than 130 people as of Friday were facing federal charges; prosecutors have promised that more cases — and more serious charges — are coming. Most of those arrested so far are accused of crimes like unlawful entry and disorderly conduct, but prosecutors this week filed conspiracy charges against three self-described members of a paramilitary group who authorities say plotted the attack. A special group of prosecutors is examining whether to bring sedition charges, which carry up to 20 years in prison, against any of the rioters. Two-thirds of the Senate is needed to convict. And while many Republicans — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky— have condemned Trump's words, it remains unclear how many would vote to convict him. “While the statements of those people kind of bolsters the House manager's case, I think that President Trump has benefited from a Republican Party that has not been willing to look at evidence,” said Michael Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law who testified before the House Judiciary Committee during Trump's first impeachment hearings in 2019. “They stood by him for the entire first impeachment proceeding, thinking that the phone call with the president of the Ukraine was perfect and I’m sure they will think that was a perfect speech too. There is nothing yet to suggest that they would think otherwise," Gerhardt said. ____ Richer reported from Boston. Alanna Durkin Richer And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
As Dustin Ritter picks up his pencil and starts to draw, he immediately breaks into a smile. The portrait artist may not see perfectly, but his pencil lines are clear and purposeful. "I think people are really surprised that I can draw because of my condition and, again, I have to explain how it works for me," he said. "I do have what people call an invisible disability." Ritter said it can take him hours to complete a piece — longer than it would other artists — but his time spent drawing isn't wasted. "I want people to feel as good as I did making it when they get it. And I guess just to explain to them that I enjoyed the process so much because it helped me centre myself." Ritter has a type of macular dystrophy. It's a blind spot in the centre of each eye that affects his perception of details and depth. His ophthalmologist has told him it's not the typical type of macular dystrophy as his eyes don't seem to be getting worse with age. Despite having the blind spot since he was a young child, Ritter has been drawing for as long as he can remember. With his condition, Ritter has to create his artwork differently than others. He can't work with a live model and instead uses reference images that he can hold close to his face to see the details. He said his eye condition is something other people point out more than he notices it himself. "Like, I won't notice that I'm holding my phone right in front of my face until someone says that. And I'm like, 'You don't do that?'" Ritter said with a laugh. "I think you get so used to doing things a certain way that you have your routines." As a teenager, Ritter moved away from drawing, thinking he needed to get a "real job." In 2018, he rediscovered his passion and started drawing again, "just for therapeutic reasons, like wanting to just draw and relax. Now I'm fully addicted to doing it again, and it's been a really good time." Ritter said drawing offers him something to focus on and helps counteract anxiety, but more than that, it offers him a purpose. "Drawing was always a kind of escape for me," Ritter said. "I can put a lot of time into that where other things are more of a challenge and more of a chore." For example, Ritter said cooking can be a struggle as he needs to read ingredient lists or small print. When other things are frustrating, that's when he turns to drawing. Two years and hundreds of commissions later, the 37-year-old has made artwork his career. He has a month-long exhibit up at Bushwakker Brewpub in Regina. For commissions and his latest exhibit, Ritter has been creating custom frames with the help of his dad. They use wood from their family farm, where a 100-year-old barn recently blew over, and they also salvaged pieces from an old grain elevator. On top of doing commissions, Ritter teaches art classes at the Paper Crane Community Art Centre in Regina and tutorials for Ranch Ehrlo Society youth. Ritter also does client-centred murals where he sketches out the mural and the youth help fill it in. "Being a person with a disability, it makes it easier for me to work with someone with a disability because I can kind of empathize with them and realize how scary it is for them to start something," Ritter said. "I think everyone has a fear of starting something because you won't be good at it, right? So if someone else kind of starts it for you and gives you the tools to do it on your own, you can still feel good with the finished product." Ritter credits Bushwakker for good exposure, hopes to continue doing murals and challenging himself to grow as an artist. "Art is kind of like music, where everyone can kind of enjoy it and get some sort of fulfilment out of it," Ritter said. "It's something that drives me to do it more because I feel it does help people who need it."
LONDON — A major British doctors' group is says the U.K. government should “urgently review” it's decision to give people a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine up to 12 weeks after the first, rather than the shorter gap recommended by the manufacturer and the World Health Organization. The U.K., which has Europe’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak, adopted the policy in order to give as many people as possible a first dose of vaccine quickly. So far almost 5.5 million people have received a shot of either a vaccine made by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech or one developed by U.K.-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University. AstraZeneca has said it believes a first dose of its vaccine offers protection after 12 weeks, but Pfizer says it has not tested the efficacy of its jab after such a long gap. The British Medical Association on Saturday urged England’s chief medical officer to “urgently review the U.K.’s current position of second doses after 12 weeks.” In a statement, the association said there was “growing concern from the medical profession regarding the delay of the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as Britain's strategy has become increasingly isolated from many other countries.” “No other nation has adopted the U.K.‘s approach,” Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the BMA council, told the BBC. He said the WHO had recommended that the second Pfizer vaccine shot could be given up to six weeks after the first but only “in exceptional circumstances.” “I do understand the trade-off and the rationale, but if that was the right thing to do then we would see other nations following suit,” Nagpaul said. Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England, defended the decision as “a reasonable scientific balance on the basis of both supply and also protecting the most people.” Researchers in Britain have begun collecting blood samples from newly vaccinated people in order to study how many antibodies they are producing at different intervals, from 3 weeks to 24 months, to get an answer to the question of what timing is best for the shots. The doctors’ concerns came a day after government medical advisers said there was evidence that a new variant of the virus first identified in southeast England carries a greater risk of death than the original strain. Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said Friday “that there is evidence that there is an increased risk for those who have the new variant,” which is also more transmissible than the original virus. He said the new strain might be about 30% more deadly, but stressed that “the evidence is not yet strong” and more research is needed. Research by British scientists advising the government said although initial analyses suggested that the strain did not cause more severe disease, several more recent ones suggest it might. However, the number of deaths is relatively small, and fatality rates are affected by many things, including the care that patients get and their age and health, beyond having COVID-19. Britain has recorded 95,981 deaths among people who tested positive, the highest confirmed virus toll in Europe. The U.K. is in a lockdown to try to slow the latest surge of the virus, and the government says an end to the restrictions will not come soon. Pubs, restaurants, gyms, entertainment venues and many shops are closed, and people are required to stay largely at home. The British government is considering tightening quarantine requirements for people arriving from abroad. Already travellers must self-isolate for 10 days, but enforcement is patchy. Authorities are considering requiring arrivals to stay in quarantine hotels, a practice adopted in other countries, including Australia. “We may need to go further to protect our borders,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday. ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka’s health minister, who has faced criticism for consuming and endorsing a herbal syrup made by a sorcerer, has tested positive for COVID-19. A Health Ministry official on Saturday confirmed that Pavithra Wanniarachchi became the highest-ranking official to be infected with the virus. She and her immediate contacts have been asked to self-quarantine. Doctors have said there is no scientific basis for the syrup as remedy for the coronavirus. It's said to contain honey and nutmeg. Thousands of people gathered in long queues in December in the town of Kegalle, northeast of the capital Colombo, to obtain the syrup, just days after Wanniarachchi and several other government officials publicly consumed it. The maker of the syrup said he got the formula through his divine powers. In local media, he claimed the Hindu goddess Kaali appeared to him in a dream and gave the recipe to save humanity from the coronavirus. Sri Lankans are used to taking both the regular medicine and indigenous alternative drugs to cure ailments. Meanwhile on Saturday, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced that Sri Lanka will receive the first stock of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from India on Jan. 27. He said India is giving this stock free of charge and his government is making arrangements to purchase more vaccines from India, China and Russia. On Friday, Sri Lanka approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine amid warnings from doctors that front-line health workers should be quickly inoculated to prevent the medical system from collapsing. The vaccine was the first to be approved for emergency use in Sri Lanka. The Health Ministry says the inoculation will begin by mid-February. Sri Lanka has witnessed a fresh outbreak of the disease in October when two clusters — one centred on a garment factory and the other on the main fish market — emerged in Colombo and its suburbs. Sri Lanka has reported 52,964 cases with 278 fatalities. ___ This story has been corrected to show that the town where people lined up for the syrup was Kegalle. ___ Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
An Edmonton man who admitted stabbing his stepfather with scissors at a Christmas Day family gathering three years ago has been acquitted of second-degree murder. Stephan Kody was found not guilty this week in the Dec. 25, 2017 death of Eddie Melenka at a home near 73rd Avenue and 77th Street. In his decision, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Adam Germain said the Crown "has not negated Mr. Kody's plea of self-defence" so the homicide "will have to remain a non-culpable homicide." The Crown had argued that Kody should have been convicted of "at least" manslaughter, Germain said. But he said he didn't need to consider a manslaughter finding because he concluded that Kody "is entitled to the benefit of the doubt about self-defence." The stabbing occurred on Christmas Day. A family gathering fuelled by alcohol, drugs and karaoke had started the night before. Kody, who was 22 at the time, and Melenka, 48, had been drinking alcohol "all day" and snorting cocaine. The cocaine belonged to Melenka, who was sharing it with Kody in the master bedroom. Kody admitted that he did at least three or four lines of cocaine and that a dispute arose over whether he could count on his stepfather to leave him another line. According to Germain's decision, the two men got into a fight. Melenka pushed Kody over a couch. Kody grabbed a pair of scissors from the kitchen table and ran back to the bedroom. Kody said Melenka followed him into the room and attacked him. Kody fought back with the scissors. "One of the wounds entered Mr. Melenka between his top second and third rib and proceeded downward into his heart which led to bleeding into the chest cavity and despite prompt, competent and aggressive medical intervention, Mr. Melenka succumbed to his wounds," Germain said. The Crown had argued for Kody to be convicted of at least manslaughter because the stabbing stemmed from Kody's anger that his stepfather had stopped him from continuing to use his cocaine. The Crown had also said that picking up a pair of scissors and stabbing someone near the heart reflects an intention to kill, and that there wasn't enough evidence to show that Kody was not in full control of his faculties at the time. The defence lawyer argued that his client's evidence should be believed as being "reasonable, logical, and consistent with all of the background facts," Germain said. The judge noted that Kody gave evidence indicating that he was afraid of being beaten by Melenka, a larger man who was a more capable and experienced fighter. Photos taken of Kody following his arrest revealed that he had been subject to a beating. The stabbing was not witnessed by the other five people who were in the house. "Given the amount of alcohol and cocaine consumed that night and the circumstances of this homicide, I could not, under any basis, conclude that the requirements for second-degree murder have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt," Germain said. "Therefore, if I am wrong about the Crown's failure to prove that self-defence did not apply, Mr. Kody would've been convicted only of manslaughter. "In the event of successful appellate review by the Crown which does not result in a retrial, arrangements to sentence Mr. Kody on the basis of manslaughter should be considered."
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OTTAWA — A Senate committee should examine the hurdles that make it difficult to use secret intelligence in Canada's courts, says the government representative in the upper chamber. Sen. Marc Gold says "a fresh look" at the vexing issue would help highlight possible solutions that could make terrorism and espionage cases unfold more smoothly. "This is not an issue that's going to go away," Gold said in an interview. "There are reasons we are where we are." A former high-ranking U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation official recently spoke out about how the challenges caused delay and frustration in putting handcuffs on Jeffrey Delisle, a Canadian navy officer who was selling secrets to the Russians. Frank Figliuzzi, who was the FBI's head of counter-intelligence, said it fell to him to tell the RCMP about Delisle's betrayal even though the Canadian Security Intelligence Service had been monitoring the sub-lieutenant. CSIS, acting on legal advice, opted to keep its investigation sealed for fear of exposing sources and methods of the intelligence trade in open court. The Liberal government has acknowledged that federal agencies face challenges when attempting to use intelligence in a form that is admissible as evidence. Shortly before being appointed government representative in the Senate, Gold, a constitutional law expert, proposed that a committee delve into the subject. "The fear that sensitive information may ultimately be disclosed may lead our intelligence agencies to decide not to share it with law enforcement, with a corresponding and very real risk to public safety," he told the Senate. "And lest you think this is merely a hypothetical example, you may remember that CSIS chose not to share with the RCMP information it had in the period leading up to the bombing of Air India Flight 182 in 1985, which killed 329 people aboard." This "dilemma or conundrum" has led to "very complicated provisions" governing disclosure of evidence, including parallel proceedings in which designated judges of the Federal Court wrestle with the issues while a trial takes place in a different court, Gold noted. It can also mean the use of closed hearings where the affected party — often someone facing criminal charges — is not privy to the intelligence information, as well as the use of amicus curiae, or friends of the court, in certain legal proceedings or security-cleared special advocates in other cases, he said. "These mechanisms have their proponents and their critics, but all stakeholders tend to agree that the intelligence-to-evidence issue has potentially serious impacts on criminal prosecutions for terrorism, administrative proceedings regarding immigration, and on national security and public safety itself." Gold's motion evaporated when Parliament was prorogued last year, but he said in the interview he remains hopeful the Senate national security and defence committee will do a study. "I continue to believe that the issue is one that should be looked at in a serious and comprehensive and non-partisan way." A committee examination would also cast a light on a shadowy topic many know little about, which could help build public support for police and security agencies — something that is critical if they are going to protect Canadians and "the values that define us," Gold said. CSIS, the RCMP and the Department of Justice are working to improve their collaborative approach, Mary-Liz Power, a spokeswoman for Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, said recently. Briefing materials prepared for Blair in late 2019 said work on the question had found that the legal framework was largely sound and that a drastic legislative overhaul to mandates or machinery was not needed. The way forward, instead, consisted of "significant operational reform" at key agencies, complemented by targeted policy and legislative measures. The changes could also involve "significant budgetary considerations," including money for new personnel and advanced information-technology systems, the notes said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
A naked Florida man stole what news footage showed to be a marked police vehicle and crashed it in a wooded area, officials said. Joshua Shenker, 22, was arrested after Thursday's crash on charges including theft of a motor vehicle, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, depriving an officer of means of communication or protection and resisting an officer without violence, according to a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office report. Officers responded to reports of a naked man running along Interstate 10 in western Jacksonville shortly before noon Thursday. Shenker was lying in the the roadway when an officer stopped on the opposite side of the route, the report said. Shenker then ran across the highway lanes toward the officer, officials said. The redacted report didn't say how Shenker stole the vehicle. Authorities confirmed only that a vehicle belonging to the City of Jacksonville was stolen. First Coast News footage of the scene showed the crashed vehicle to be a marked patrol car. According to the police report, about $10,000 worth of damage was done to the vehicle. Officers noticed Shenker had road rash after the crash and he was taken to a hospital to be checked out, authorities said. Shenker was being held on $4,011 bail. Jail records didn't list an attorney for him. The Associated Press
Less gas, more green. That is the motto behind the Indigenous Off-Diesel Initiative, a federal program that recently awarded $800,000 toward green energy projects in Inuvik — one of the biggest consumers of diesel in the north. The money was awarded to Grant Sullivan, president of Nihtat Energy Ltd., a Gwich'in development corporation. Sullivan said he is hopeful to put the money to use this summer. "The Gwich'in Tribal Council supports innovative energy projects developed by our own Gwich'in participants, like Grant Sullivan, for the benefit of our communities," Gwich'in Tribal Council Grand Chief Ken Smith said. Two solar projects slated The new funding is set aside to pursue solar projects in the Beaufort Delta region, according to the federal press release. The projects include a 2021 solar project at the Inuvik Satellite Station Facility, with funds to help with implementation and training, and planning for a grid-connected solar farm in Inuvik, slated to start in 2021 and be completed by 2022. Nihtat Energy Ltd. has a history of green initiatives and collaborations in the north. Last year, the company teamed up with The North West Company to install 640 solar energy panels on the roof of the Inuvik Northern store, saving approximately $60,000 in electricity expenses annually. The announcement comes four months after the federal government also pledged $8 million for eight clean energy projects in the territories.
A large trailer sits in a parking lot behind the Mount Royal Metro station. It's bright and colourful, adding life to a parking lot that is otherwise washed out with snow and construction. Large letters are written on its side: "Wapikoni: First Nations travelling audiovisual and creation studio." Wapikoni is a not-for-profit based in Montreal. They once used the trailer to hold audiovisual workshops for Indigenous youth, but during the pandemic it serves a different purpose. Sheri Pranteau and her team of support workers use it as a home base for the Indigenous Support Workers Project. Watch | Learn more about the project on Our Montreal: The project was founded in 2018 to help people who are Indigenous and homeless in Montreal. At the time, at least 12 per cent of Montreal's homeless population identified as Indigenous, according to a survey conducted by I Count MTL. Since then, the project has expanded to include three more team members. Pranteau was the first support worker to be hired. Her job was to search the streets for people who are homeless and Indigenous, and offer her support. She would brave the cold with nothing more than her coat and what she could carry on her back. But now, Pranteau uses the Wapikoni trailer to collect donations, store equipment and serve hot beverages to people who ask for it. Julia Dubé is a project co-ordinator at Wapikoni. She explained that, due to pandemic restrictions, the organization reduced their programming and stopped providing in-person workshops in the trailer. "Because we weren't using our equipment for our regular activities, the trailer was just kind of sitting there," she said. "So the idea here was to offer some support in terms of equipment." With the addition of the trailer, Pranteau says she and her team can better support people on the street. "[The team] is small but mighty," she said. Every day they do the rounds, walking as far as Place des Arts to meet people, provide support and listen to what they need. If ever they don't have something on hand, they head back to the trailer to get it. But beyond the physical needs, Pranteau also explains the importance of connection. "A lot of them just need acknowledgement," she said. "That's all it takes sometimes, to be acknowledged and to be told, 'you matter.'" She explained that her personal background helps in this regard. She identifies as Cree Anishinaabe, and has had her own experiences that help her empathize with the people she's helping. "I went down a lot of dark roads," she said. "And I paid dearly for those." She credits her community and her elders for helping her get back on her feet. Now she's focused on paying it forward, helping people on the street stay connected to their culture. "Food is one of our things that brings healing, it brings us together," she said. This is why she regularly bakes bannock and brings it with her on her outings. "I just want to help, and see our people rise up and not continue to die and freeze to death," Pranteau said. "I can't save everyone, but I wouldn't want to do anything else."
A new book that documents the stories of Gwich'in elders to help bridge the divide between the generations and record a collective history of the Gwich'in people has just been published by the Gwich'in Tribal Council. The book, Our Whole Gwich'in Way of Life has Changed is a compilation of Gwich'in elders' stories from the late '90s and early 2000s. "It's stories from the people of the land," explained Sharon Snowshoe, director of the Gwich'in Tribal Council's Department of Cultural Heritage. "It's the elders telling their own life stories. It talks about residential school. You know, our elders like to tell stories to us, so there's a bit of humour in it, too." Depth of interviews 'overwhelming' Snowshoe said that in 1998, a group led by Leslie McCartney, then a master student in cultural anthropology who was working for the Gwich'in Social and Cultural Institute, and some community members and youth, set out to interview and record the stories of elders in the four Gwich'in communities. In consultation with elders, McCartney and her team recorded the oral histories of 23 Gwich'in elders, 17 women and six men. "The richness, depth of the interviews was unexpected and overwhelming," said Snowshoe. "Most of the elders interviewed were the last generation where Gwich'in was their mother tongue," said Snowshoe. She said the Gwich'in language is one of the most endangered languages in Canada, and the elders recorded were encouraged to tell their stories in the Gwich'in language so it would be preserved. She added that the stories "also speak to the Gwich'in principles of elders playing a crucial role as teachers of traditional knowledge, history, language and culture." As well, she said the principles are based on a special spiritual relationship between the Gwich'in and the land. Since the council can't have a book launch, Snowshoe sent copies of the book to schools in the Gwich'in area as well as to designated Gwich'in organizations for distribution. Only one elder that was interviewed for the book is still alive so Snowshoe sent a letter and a copy of the book to the oldest family member of the elders who are in the book. The book, which was published by University of Alberta Press, is also available online.
WASHINGTON — The heads of three federally funded international broadcasters were abruptly fired late Friday as the Biden administration completed a house-cleaning of Donald Trump-appointees at the U.S. Agency for Global Media. Two officials familiar with the changes said the acting chief of the USAGM summarily dismissed the directors of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks just a month after they had been named to the posts. The changes came a day after the director of the Voice of America and his deputy were removed and the chief of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting stepped down. The firings follow the forced resignation of former President Donald Trump’s handpicked choice to lead USAGM only two hours after Joe Biden took office on Wednesday. Trump’s USAGM chief Michael Pack had been accused by Democrats and others of trying to turn VOA and its sister networks into pro-Trump propaganda machines. Pack had appointed all of those who were fired on Thursday and Friday to their posts only in December. The two officials said the acting CEO of USAGM, Kelu Chao, had fired Middle East Broadcasting Network director Victoria Coates, Radio Free Asia chief Stephen Yates and Radio Free Europe head Ted Lipien in a swift series of moves late Friday. It was not immediately clear if any of those removed would try to contest their dismissals. The White House appointed Chao, a three-decade VOA veteran journalist, to be the agency’s interim chief executive on Wednesday shortly after demanding Pack’s resignation. Chao did not respond to phone calls seeking comment about her actions. The two officials familiar with the dismissals were not authorized to publicly discuss personnel matters and spoke on condition of anonymity. Coates, Yates and Lipien, along with former VOA director Robert Reilly and former Cuba broadcasting chief Jeffrey Shapiro were all prominent conservatives chosen by Pack to shake up what Trump and other Republicans believed was biased leadership in taxpayer-funded media outlets. Reilly and his deputy Elizabeth Robbins were removed just a week after coming under harsh criticism for demoting a VOA White House correspondent who had tried to ask former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a question after a town hall event. Pack had created a furor when he took over USAGM last year and fired the boards of all the outlets under his control along with the leadership of the individual broadcast networks. The actions were criticized as threatening the broadcasters’ prized editorial independence and raised fears that Pack, a conservative filmmaker and former associate of Trump’s onetime political strategist Steve Bannon, intended to turn venerable U.S. media outlets into pro-Trump propaganda machines. Biden had been expected to make major changes to the agency’s structure and management, and Pack’s immediate dismissal on inauguration day signalled that those would be coming sooner rather than later. Pack had not been required to submit his resignation as his three-year position was created by Congress and not limited by the length of a particular administration. VOA was founded during World War II and its congressional charter requires it to present independent news and information to international audiences. Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
After a lengthy career as a drug and alcohol counsellor, followed by a stint as a shuttle driver at a diamond mine, you might expect Allyn Rohatyn to go gently into retirement. Not this 77-year-old. Rohatyn decided it was time to go back to his sewing roots and open a business. Last October, he opened Allyn Rohatyn Upholstery in Hay River's Caribou Centre. Rohatyn does all kinds of work, from fixing furniture to repairing skidoo seats. He got his start as a sewer when he was five years old, growing up on a farm in Saskatchewan, creating little things like tea towels on his mom's old pedal-powered sewing machine. One of his first creations was a pair of pants he made for his sister out of flour bags. They were a little short for her, with the hem landing about 15 centimetres below the knee. "She said, 'you didn't make the legs long enough.' And I said, 'well I made them for you when you ride your bike so you don't get your pant legs caught in them, they're called pedal pushers.' She had a good laugh about that." Unconventional career path Rohatyn had his first upholstery shop in Bienfait, Saskatchewan, from 1965 to 1975. Around 1980, after "alcohol got a grip on my life and everything fell apart," he went to rehab. Afterwards he got a degree in social work, majoring in alcohol and drug studies at the University of Regina, which led to a career as a drug and alcohol counsellor. In 2006, he came North, taking another job as a counsellor. The job took him all over the North, to places like Fort Simpson, Wrigley and Fort Providence. But he never lost his passion for sewing and sewing machines. After he retired, he said that he needed something to do with his time. "I know some fellas that talk about retiring when they're 65 and I keep insisting to them that, you better have something in your mind that you want to do to keep yourself occupied, because you'll be going downhill quick," he says. But Rohatyn didn't get back into the sewing business quite yet. He fulfilled a long-time dream of working at a mine in the territories when he got a job as a shuttle driver at the Ekati mine. In 2016, however, he suffered a major heart attack. Uses same machine he learned on as a boy He says it was one of the things that inspired him to get back in the upholstery business and open his own shop. Customers can see about four different sewing machines in his shop but he owns 17 of them. He keeps the others at home. He collects them, restores them and then either uses them or gives them away. One of the sewing machines he uses is the same machine he learned on as a boy. He was 12 when his first boss' wife gave him the machine after her husband had died. That machine is more than 80 years old now. "Yep, that's the machine, the one that I use everyday. I have a couple other ones that are industrial machines, I just like to use the one that I learned to sew with." Rohatyn says with a little bit of care and maintenance, the machine still works great to this day, and it's his main work horse in the shop. Never know where business will come from He says his most notable creation so far has been for a dairy farmer whose cows would have their udders so full of milk, they were almost dragging on the ground. "He came in one day to my little shop and he asked me if I could make him a bra for his dairy cows. I thought he was trying to pull my leg. "We went out to his dairy farm, and I measured them all up, and I went back to my shop and I made up this bag with a bra-like feature to it, and a belt that went over top of the cow. Went back out and we put it on the cow, and uh, I think even the cow was happy. "Later on, he asked me if I could make about 20 more of them!"
Fifteen people — including patient attendants, kitchen staff, maintenance workers and cleaners — have packed their bags and said goodbye to partners, parents and children to move into the Manoir Stanstead seniors' home where they work. Also taking up residence is a bulldog-Shih Tzu mix named Snow White. Last spring, staff did the same thing for a month and managed to keep COVID-19 at bay while maintaining a normal life for the residents. This time around, the decision came after the province announced seniors' homes should serve meals in individual rooms instead of the dining hall. "We just don't think that's human," said Manoir Stanstead assistant director and patient attendant Donna Rolfe. "By us locking in, they can go to the dining room and eat and socialize, which is very important for them." Rolfe says the residence is like "one big family," and forming a communal bubble means they can all enjoy bingo, movie nights, hockey games on TV and more socializing. However, staff members are still wearing masks and keeping a two-metre distance from residents, whenever possible. "They're doing fine," Rolfe said. "They're happy with the dog, of course, but they're also happy we've moved in and they feel loved." The move meant big sacrifices for some people, including patient attendant Angèle Trudel, who has a partner and five children at home. But Trudel said her family was understanding and supported her decision. "We do some FaceTime," she said. "It's not the same as being all together but it's good." And Trudel brought Snow White with her, who enjoys rides around the home on seniors' walkers. Rolfe said the staff and their families understand the importance of what they're doing by moving into the residence. She said thankfully there aren't many COVID-19 cases in Stanstead but in the small town, even one case in the residence could be disastrous. "We got all the support from the families that they will not come in while we're doing this," she said. "They'll FaceTime or call, but they won't come in. So this way we're in our own little bubble and the residents can get out of their rooms, not just four walls." It's the second time the staff at Manoir Stanstead has moved in. "We learned a lot from the last time, so it's going really well this time," Rolfe said. She said she's trying to keep life and routine as normal as possible for the residents and staff, including giving employees privacy in their own rooms when they're off the clock. Rolfe says the staff will move out Feb. 8, regardless of whether the province extends its current restrictions. By Jan. 23, all of the patient attendants at Manoir Stanstead will have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
WOLVERHAMPTON, England — Wolverhampton has signed Brazilian striker Willian José on loan from Spanish club Real Sociedad until the end of the season, the Premier League club said Saturday. The loan signing adds depth to the Wolves squad after forward Raúl Jiménez suffered a fractured skull against Arsenal on Nov. 29. Wolves said the deal remains subject to Willian José being granted a work permit and international clearance, and that it includes an option to buy at the end of the season. Wolves said he is unlikely to be available for the team's next game against Chelsea in the Premier League on Wednesday. Willian José has scored 62 goals in 170 games for Real Sociedad but scored only three times in 13 games in La Liga this season. He scored twice in his last game for the Spanish club in a 2-0 win over Cordoba in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Larry King, who quizzed thousands of world leaders, politicians and entertainers for CNN and other news outlets in a career spanning more than six decades, has died aged 87, his media company said in a statement on Saturday. King had been hospitalized in Los Angeles with a COVID-19 infection, according to several media reports. "For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry's many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster," it said.
Bulgaria will ease some coronavirus restrictions from February 4 though restaurants will remain closed for now due to concerns about the new coronavirus variant, officials said on Saturday. Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said secondary school students will be allowed to attend classes under a special regime as of next month and will also be able to attend extracurricular sport and dance activities. Bulgaria reopened primary schools and kindergartens in early January - a move that has not led to a spike in infections.
CAIRO — Tribal clashes in Sudan’s Darfur region have killed at least 250 people and displaced more than 100,000 people since erupting earlier this month, the U.N. refugee agency said. The violence in the provinces of West Darfur and South Darfur has posed a significant challenge to the country’s transitional government. Among those displaced were some 3,500 people, mostly women and children, who fled into neighbouring Chad, according to Boris Cheshirkov, a spokesman for the UNHCR said Friday. Those fleeing the violence into eastern Chad's Ouaddai province have been overwhelmingly forced to seek shelter — often nothing more than a tree — in remote places that lack basic services or public infrastructure, the spokesman added. The U.N. agency said that Chad's current COVID-19 measures would require people to quarantine before accessing existing refugee camps. Before the latest influx, there were more than 350,000 Sudanese refugees in Chad, according to the agency. The fighting in West Darfur between members of the Arab Rizeigat tribe and the non-Arab Massalit tribe grew out of a fistfight Jan. 15 in a camp for displaced people in Genena, the provincial capital. Four days later, the clashes in South Darfur erupted between Rizeigat and the non-Arab Falata tribe over the killing of a shepherd. The violence has been a major test for the Sudanese government’s ability to protect civilians in the war-torn region following the end of the joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force’s mandate in Darfur this month. Sudan is on a fragile path to democracy after a popular uprising led the military to overthrow strongman Omar al-Bashir in April 2019, after nearly three decades of rule. A joint military-civilian government is now in power. The Associated Press
The only thing Margaret Marilyn DeAdder loved more than tea and toast — was reheating tea and toast. "She burned many a teapot and caused smoke damage countless times, leaving her kids with the impression that fanning the smoke alarm was a step in brewing tea." That's a sneak peak into the life of 78-year-old Marilyn DeAdder — the "clipper of coupons, baker of cookies and terror behind the wheel," who died this week. In the obit, her son, Michael DeAdder, pokes fun at his mom's ability to give the finger as well as her inability to put her car in reverse. 'A champion of the underdog' DeAdder said his mom, who he refers to as Marilyn, was also "a champion of the underdog, ruthless card player, and self-described Queen Bitch." She also loved the spotlight and was the life of every party. So when her obituary went viral this week, DeAdder knew his mother would've been pleased. "My mother was a ham," he said. "She liked to be the centre of attention, not in a bad way, as a joking way." I doubt I'd be a cartoonist without the mom I had. - Michael DeAdder In her obituary, the award-winning cartoonist described his mom as a lifelong volunteer at the Capitol Theatre in Moncton, "which her sons suspected was her way of seeing all the shows for free." She was also a trained hairdresser and enjoyed styling people's hair in her kitchen, "so much so her kitchen smelled of baking and perm solution." She loved her three sons, except when they weren't clean shaven. "At least one of them would ruin Christmas every year by coming home with facial hair, and never forgot that one disastrous Christmas in which all three sons showed up with beards." And she adored her granddaughters, feeding them mountains of sugary snacks. "While her sons committed unspeakable crimes against humanity, her granddaughters could do no wrong," the obituary said. And she was also funny — a trait the New Glasgow native passed onto her three sons. "I doubt I'd be a cartoonist without the mom I had." Mom's obituary needed 'a splash' of humour Before writing his mother's obituary, DeAdder perused through a few others for inspiration. But none of them were Marilyn. "The standard obituary is depressing and cold," he said. He knew Marilyn's write-up would need "a splash" of humour — and a dig or two about how she always found time in her busy life to run her children's lives. Then the story wrote itself. "It seemed like every line had a punch line … it took off in a strange direction naturally." The eldest of three said the obituary felt more like a Christmas homecoming, where he and his brothers would spend the holidays teasing their mom — which she loved, of course. After the obit was posted, hundreds of people who knew Marilyn and people who didn't, were coming out of the woodwork sharing condolences, fond memories and many more laughs. "It sort of got out of hand." A different kind of spotlight DeAdder said his mom died after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease Tuesday. "Marilyn, ever the penny-pincher, decided to leave this world on the day Moncton went into red-alert, her sons believe, to avoid paying for a funeral." During an interview with Information Morning Moncton on Friday, DeAdder said he wasn't ready for his mom to go this week. "We sort of think she bowed out." But he said Marilyn would've been thrilled about the prospects of being talked about on CBC radio. "This is a different spotlight," DeAdder said. "She wouldn't expect this." In honour of their mom, Marilyn's family asks that people do something nice for someone else unexpectedly, and without explanation.
DALIAN, China — Former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez left Chinese club Dalian Pro on Saturday, citing family reasons during the coronavirus pandemic. “The pandemic is still here, for all of us, and supporting our families has been a priority when making this decision,” Benitez wrote in a statement on his personal website. Benitez had one year left on his contract with the club, which finished 12th in the 16-team Chinese Super League last season. “I say goodbye sadly under these circumstances, but at the same time I am convinced that the future will be bright for Dalian Pro,” he said. The 60-year-old Spaniard went to China after a three-year spell re-establishing Newcastle in the English Premier League. Benitez won the Spanish league twice and a UEFA Cup with Valencia before moving to Liverpool. He led Liverpool to a surprise Champions League title in 2005, the first of his six seasons there. Benitez later had short stints in charge at Inter Milan, Chelsea — winning the Europa League in 2013 — and Real Madrid. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press