Will 2021 be the year that Rihanna drops R9?
Will 2021 be the year that Rihanna drops R9?
In announcing a planned phone call on Friday between U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the White House's intended message was clear: Traditional allies are back in favour while despots, dictators and the killers of dissenters are on the outs. The way press secretary Jen Psaki announced the scheduled call with Trudeau was revealing, as it came in response to a question that had nothing at all to do with Canada's prime minister. She was asked about Vladimir Putin. Specifically, she was asked when Biden would speak with the Russian leader. Psaki replied that it wasn't an immediate priority. "[Biden's] first foreign leader call will be on Friday with Prime Minister Trudeau," she said. "I would expect his early calls will be with partners and allies. He feels it's important to rebuild those relationships." U.S. plans to investigate Russia Psaki elaborated on Putin in a separate news conference where she described Russia as "reckless" and "adversarial." She said Biden has tasked the intelligence community with reporting on a variety of alleged Russian transgressions: cyberattacks on U.S. companies, interference in U.S. politics, the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and Russian-paid bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Yet the goal of rebalancing relationships away from rivals toward like-minded countries has been tested already. Some Canadians, notably Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, want trade retaliation against the U.S. following the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline on Day 1 of the new administration. The decision undermines Canada's No. 1 export to the United States: oil. WATCH | The National's report on Keystone XL: Biden's foreign policy ambitions will keep being tested as international relationships undergo unwieldy twists on any given issue due to practical and political considerations. Here is what we already know about the Biden administration's approach to other countries after its first couple of days in office. The moves so far The administration will release a report on suspected Saudi government involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, an issue the last administration showed little interest in pursuing. It is also threatening to cancel support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It is willing to consider new NATO expansion on Russia's doorstep, into Georgia, and in fact is staunchly supportive of the international military alliance. And Biden has rejoined previous alliances the U.S. was either scheduled to exit (the World Health Organization) or had already left (the Paris climate accord). These activities are intended to signal a dramatic change in foreign policy from Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, who frequently bashed the leaders of democracies and international institutions while simultaneously cultivating friendly relationships with non-democratic leaders in the Middle East, Russia and North Korea. There will be contradictions in Biden's approach — as there were in Trump's. For example, while Trump often had kind words for dictators, he also sanctioned their countries on occasion, including Russia and China. Also, don't count on an ambitious foreign policy from Biden. Early on, the new administration will be busy juggling domestic crises, said Edward Alden, an expert on Canada-U.S. relations. "I think we are going to see an approach to alliances that looks a lot like [Barack] Obama's — engaged, respectful, but not overly ambitious," said Alden, a senior fellow at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. "The United States has enormous problems at home, and those are going to take priority for some time." Alden said he does expect some new international initiatives, such as more active co-operation on global vaccine distribution. Biden wants changes on Canada-U.S. pandemic travel On COVID-19, Biden also wants to immediately connect with Canada and Mexico to establish new rules within 14 days for pandemic-related travel safety measures. Alden also expects an attempt to rework and revive the international nuclear deal with Iran, and establish greater co-ordination with other countries in confronting China. For example, Biden has proposed a summit of democracies where countries can share ideas for countering autocracies. Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told his confirmation hearing this week that the last administration had a point in reorienting policy toward Beijing. "President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China," Blinken said. "The basic principle was the right one, and I think that's actually helpful to our foreign policy." He got into a testy exchange at that hearing with Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican who favours a hands-off approach on foreign affairs. When Blinken said he was open to expanding NATO membership to Russia's neighbour Georgia, Paul called that a recipe for war with Russia. Blinken argued the opposite is true. After years of Russian incursions in non-NATO Georgia and Ukraine, recent evidence suggests Russia is most belligerent with countries outside NATO's shield, he said. Keystone XL: The early irritant Biden and Trudeau are expected to discuss new travel measures to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as Biden's decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion that would run south from Alberta to Nebraska. So far, Trudeau has shown little desire to escalate the pipeline issue. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, on the other hand, has demanded retaliatory action, and some trade experts say potential legal avenues do exist. WATCH | Kenny on the fate of Keystone XL: But they're skeptical they will achieve much. Eric Miller of the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, a cross-border consulting firm specializing in trade and government affairs, said the best that pipeline-backers can hope for is to sue the U.S. government for financial compensation for the cancelled project. He said the Alberta government and the project's developer, TC Energy, can try suing under the investor-state dispute chapter in the old NAFTA, which will remain in effect for two more years for existing investments. "[But] nothing is going to force the Biden administration to deliver the permit," Miller said. "One has to be clear that there is no world in which Joe Biden [retreats on this]." Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said he doubts complaints from Canada will make a difference. He said the most politically effective argument for the pipeline would come from Americans — from the companies and unions that would have serviced the project. The Ohio-based lawyer said challenges under U.S. laws, such as the Administrative Procedures Act, could potentially work, but he cautioned: "They're high hurdles."
For the second straight day, a truck became stuck under Moncton's subway underpass which crosses Main Street at Foundry Street. On Thursday at approximately 2:25 p.m., a transport truck that had been driving west on Main Street hit the CN Rail bridge, said Moncton Fire Department Platoon Chief Brian McDonald. Police were the first to respond as it is a motor vehicle incident, said McDonald, while the fire department came to assess the situation. "Codiac RCMP contained and secured the scene," said McDonald. Police cruisers blocked off Main Street in both directions, Codiac RCMP also called CN Rail to advise them of the collision so engineers can inspect the bridge, which belongs to CN, McDonald said, adding this was done as a precaution. No injuries were reported. Pulling the truck out from under the bridge was a loud affair, but the truck was removed successfully just before 4 p.m. While vehicles exceeding the posted height restrictions getting stuck under the bridge is not an uncommon occurrence, Wednesday's collision was the second in as many days. McDonald said a 5-tonne truck also got struck under the bridge on Wednesday. MFD and RCMP also attended that collision, he said, but it was determined the fire department were not needed early into the incident, and there was no fluid leak. Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
Beijing launched mass COVID-19 testing in some areas on Friday and Shanghai was testing all hospital staff as China battles its worst outbreak of the disease since March, with families fretting over Lunar New Year reunion plans amid new curbs. Mainland China reported a slight decline in new daily COVID-19 cases on Friday - 103 from 144 infections a day earlier. Of the new cases, 94 were local transmissions, Heilongjiang province in the northeast reported 47 new cases, while Shanghai reported six new cases and the capital, Beijing, reported three new cases.
Nestled into the head of the Hathhayim [Von Donlop] Park Trail on Cortes Island, B.C, a forest of hemlock, fir and alder wraps around a small clearing recently levelled and fenced. Soft water sounds come from a building with an open door. Inside, K’all-K’all Tina Wesley is leaning into a salmon incubator box. She’s checking on 70,000 Chum eggs, removing any that died. As fisheries manager for Klahoose First Nation (KFN), Wesley does this at the community’s salmon hatchery every morning. Wesley sees her hatchery work as one task of many, but an essential one to rebuild salmon stocks. “Hatcheries are key and important, it's returning back what we've taken,” she says. “If you take enough to feed us through the winter, it's nice to be able to put it back.” There have been significant salmon stock declines in recent years. Hatcheries operating in the Tla’amin and Klahoose territory are working to rebuild stocks in the face of climate change. The hatcheries harvest eggs from spawning salmon and care for them through their development until they are ready for release or transplant into streams. Every year, the Tla’amin hatchery’s target is to release 60,000 Coho, 100,000 Chinook, 1.5 million Chum, according to hatchery manager Lee George. “We do our best to meet those targets, based on abundance.” The previous year had lower returns, and there were no surplus eggs to share with Klahoose. As a result, Klahoose didn’t release any eggs in 2020. Tla’amin hatchery emphasizes Chum, because it is the dominant species in Tla’amin River, and they return in higher volumes. The advantage of Chum eggs is in their timing, explains Wesley. They start on land in incubator boxes and are transplanted to creeks in the spring. This is done before warmer temperatures can impact them. Additionally, the water levels are still high enough for them to survive. “Compared to the other salmon...Chum are pretty tough [against the] elements,” Wesley says. Between climate change impacting early stages, and over predation not all will survive to return to spawn. With hope, the work continues at hatcheries. Working as sister nations 40,000 coral coloured spheres glisten in the water. They are Chum eggs, massed together as they like to be. These ones are tucked into a creek on Klahoose traditional territory. The eggs started their journey at Tla’amin Hatchery. Lee George is the hatchery manager. He has spent over 32 years nurturing the eggs through all their early stages. The hatchery is north of Powell River, on the Tla’amin Creek. Their territory covers an expanse from the upper Sunshine Coast through the Johnston Strait, with overlaps of sister nations. There are many factors impacting the salmon, one of which is warming waters. “Where it's colder, into the rivers and lakes where they’re supposed to spawn, but the water’s too warm, because of climate change,” George says. “We’re going to have really poor survival rates because of climate change.” George carries his Ayajuthem name Nexnohom in high regard, he says. It means ‘community provider.’ “At the end of the day, it’s going to be a long hard battle over the next few years, and we need to work together to seek a common goal, and that’s protect the resources for everybody to enjoy,” he says. The Tla’amin hatchery harvests eggs from mature fish, known as broodstock, and begins the process of tending the growing eggs. When they have surplus, they share them to the smaller hatchery at Klahoose. But there is more involved in rebuilding salmon stocks than simply having more eggs, Wesley says. Some things she can improve, like providing the hatchery with power, light, fencing. But other concerns are out of her control — and they’re on her mind as she takes temperatures, cleans mesh over drains at the hatchery. Climate change is a larger issue that shows itself in water levels and stream temperatures. Wesley says the optimum temperatures for rearing salmonids are generally between 10° C and 16° C, but the actual range for fish in streams varies with food availability and the ability for individuals to obtain that food. “When the waters are above 20° for days it brings stress and lack of oxygen and they die,” says Wesley. “Our hot summers have brought very warm temperatures to our waters, over 20°C.” “Another thing with the climate, you're also dealing with the water supply. One year, 2017, we ran out of water. So the fry were there and we need to keep them in water. We couldn't. So they got an early release.” Warming climate has reduced the snowpack, she says, and this is also on her mind. “I’m a snow dancer,” says Wesley, as she explains snowpack is essential for water levels. The Chum need a steady supply of oxygenated, flowing water washing over them constantly in the incubator. Of the salmon species, Chum have a better chance of resiliency in facing climate change, says Cortes Island Streamkeeper Cec Robinson. He explains the differences between salmon species. Sockeye needs a lake system, and that’s a system beyond what small hatcheries can address. Coho stays in their stream for a full year, and so they’re at risk for low water levels, and the resulting warmer water temperatures. Chum stay only a couple of weeks once they are hatched, and in the spring there is a better chance of cooler temperatures and higher water levels. Cortes Island Streamkeepers are a project of Friends of Cortes Island Society, a local environmental charity. Robinson says the streamkeepers reasoned with DFO through the DFO community advisor, and successfully won them over to trying Chum fry in local streams. “We just were the ones to advocate for a couple of changes, to shift the focus from Coho to Chum,” says Robinson. “In the summertime, you know, we're having hotter and hotter summers, unfortunately the streams are getting lower now compared to their historic level. Whereas the Chum and the Pinks- they go in, and there's a couple of weeks when they swim up out of the gravel, and then they're gone.” They leave for the open oceans. “And that happens in the spring when there's lots of water. So it doesn't bother them if the whole stream gets warm and low in the summertime.” The latest research on pacific salmon freshwater migration confirms “there are population-specific differences in temperature and flow tolerance thresholds,” says Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The switch to Chum is not widespread, says Robinson. DFO focuses hatcheries on raising the Chinook and Coho — which are what sport fishermen prefer. ”The focus has been on Coho and Springs (Chinook) because they're the flashy ones,” says Robinson. “The one that the sports fishermen are all after and that's what everybody thinks about. To recognize the dire need and then shifting, I think it's critical. Climate change is going to make that switch in focus imperative.” “With the situation of the sockeye not returning and the closures, the nation has been relying heavily on the salmon returning to the Tla’amin river and the species that’s more appetizing to them is the Chum,” explains George. Similar to the hatchery at Tla’amin, Robinson emphasizes the importance of public awareness and education. “I wish people would fall in love with the fish,” says Robinson. He says when people build a personal relationship, “that’s when they want to look after them. That's what I would hope. Ultimately, you can't just rely on the DFO or any organization. It has to be a bigger movement. That would be a dream,” says Robinson. “In the meantime, their numbers dwindled to almost nothing.” says Robinson, “but now they can access their ancestral habitat.” The journey for Wesley started with growing up in Toba Inlet, part of Klahoose First Nation’s Traditional Territory. She left home at 17, and steadily gathered education and fisheries experience. She hoped to bring these skills home to her community if an opportunity arose. “Coming back was a long life goal and opportunity that I had waited for. Coming back home, and taking on a position for protecting our resources, which is huge for me.” Her Ayajuthem name K’all-K’all means “cedar maker”. She shares how her grandmother and father explained the meaning of this name. While she talks, she uses a protective gesture of wrapping a cape around someone, “K’all-K’all.” She protects, and cares for her family and community. “[Salmon is] part of our culture and our tradition, the traditional foods. Without it, it really starts eating away at our culture and it starts taking away a part of us,” she says. Wesley speaks about this food and resource by drawing the full circle. Feeding people and animals includes nourishing land and culture. “Look at how much has been damaged from fish farms that are in our oceans and so much has been destroyed and so much has been lost.” Wesley says. But through the work they are doing she hopes to ensure salmon survive. “Imagine all the other little hatcheries and the bigger hatcheries, that we're all putting our input into providing future sustenance,” says Wesley. “Anything to contribute to help bring it back and keep going and moving forward. It's bringing them home.” This past fall, Wesley noticed 30 eagles sitting by a small stream that runs from beside the hatchery into the estuary. “Boy, there’s a lot of eagles over there,” she remembers thinking. “So I went for a walk, to go check it out and here's all these Chum going up our little creek. It was just neat to see that, they always returned home where they come from.” Wesley believes those fish were from eggs that had slipped through the drain in the old system, or maybe eggs that were not quite dead in the culling and had survived. “They survived and found their way through the drain, through the gutter and eventually trickled to our stream. They survived and then returned to this little stream in the fall.” Like Wesley returning home with skills to help protect her nation’s resources, the escaped eggs worked hard to find their way home. Odette Auger, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse
Vancouver Island blew past previous highs reporting 47 new COVID-19 cases today (Jan 21.). The previous high was 34 new cases in a day, reported on Jan 12 and 15. Province-wide there were 564 new cases today, for an active total of 62,976. The Vancouver Island region now has over 200 active cases, the highest number since the outbreak began last year. As of Jan 20, there were 15 patients in hospital and 17 confirmed deaths on the Island. While the rest of B.C. has been trending downwards, Vancouver Island’s numbers have steadily risen this month. “Despite our COVID-19 curve trending in the right direction, we continue to have new outbreaks, community clusters and high numbers of new cases. COVID-19 continues to spread widely in our communities,” Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister Adrian Dix said in the press release. “Thank you for doing your part and choosing to bend the curve, not the rules.” RELATED: Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday RELATED: Island Health’s daily COVID-19 case count reaches record high Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: email@example.com Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
WASHINGTON — Paul Chavez had no idea where a sculpture of his father, Latino American civil rights and labour leader Cesar Chavez, would end up in the White House. He agreed just this week to lend the bronze bust to President Joe Biden and hustled to get it wrapped up and shipped across the country from California. It was an utter surprise Wednesday when he saw Biden at his desk in the Oval Office, with the bust of the late Cesar Chavez right behind the president. “We're still smiling cheek to cheek,” Paul Chavez said in an interview Thursday. Biden pressed themes of unity and inclusivity and advocacy for racial justice during the campaign, and Chavez said Biden appeared to be trying to convey that through a series of quick decorative changes he's made to the world's most powerful office. Chavez said the prominent placement of his father's likeness in the White House sends the message that it's a “new day" following the tenure of Donald Trump and the anti-immigrant policies that he and his advisers pushed. Chavez, who is president and chairman of the board of directors of the foundation named for his father, predicted that “the contributions of working people, of immigrants, of Latinos ... will be taken into account” in the new administration. Whenever Biden is seen at his desk, Chavez, a farm worker advocate, will be there, too. Biden revealed his Oval Office touch-up Wednesday as he signed a raft of executive orders and other actions in his first hours as the nation's 46th president. The most visually striking change is Biden's choice of a deep blue rug, with the presidential seal in the middle, that was last used by President Bill Clinton, to replace a light colored rug laid down by Trump. Biden is also using Clinton's deep gold draperies. Busts of civil rights activists Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks are also on display, along with a sculpture of President Harry Truman. Biden removed a bust of Winston Churchill, the former British prime minister. On the wall across from Biden's desk is a portrait collage of predecessors George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt, along with Alexander Hamilton, a Founding Father and former treasury secretary. No longer on display is a portrait of President Andrew Jackson, a Trump favourite who signed the Indian Removal Act that forced tens of thousands of Native Americans out of their homeland. Biden is keeping the Resolute desk, so named because it was built using oak from the British Arctic exploration ship HMS Resolute. But he got rid of the red button that Trump had on the desk and would push to have a butler bring him a Diet Coke, his beverage of choice. All presidents tweak the Oval Office decor at the start of their terms to reflect their personal tastes or to telegraph broader messages to the public. The White House maintains a vast collection of furniture, paintings and other artifacts that they can choose from. Presidents are also allowed to borrow items from the Smithsonian and other museums. The White House curator oversees everything, and the makeover is carried out in the hours after the outgoing president leaves the mansion and before the new president arrives. Biden also replaced a row of military service flags Trump used to decorate the office with a single American flag and a flag with the presidential seal, both positioned behind his desk. He also chose a tufted, dark brown leather chair instead of keeping the reddish brown desk chair Trump used. Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
Capturing planet-warming emissions is becoming a critical part of many plans to keep climate change in check, but very little progress has been made on the technology to date, with efforts focused on cutting emissions rather than taking carbon out of the air. The International Energy Agency said late last year that a sharp rise in the deployment of carbon capture technology was needed if countries are to meet net-zero emissions targets.
Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in Rosthern, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) announced that visitor limitations were put in place at Rosthern Hospital on Jan. 20. Family presence and visitation will be limited to compassionate reasons at the hospital. “The decision to restrict family presence is not taken lightly. These measures are in place to keep you, your loved ones, and health care workers safe. The Saskatchewan Health Authority is asking the public for their support and cooperation in order to contain the spread of the virus,” a media release stated. Compassionate care reasons include, but are not limited to, family or support persons during end-of-life care, major surgery, intensive care/critical care, maternal/pediatrics, long-term care residents whose quality of life or care needs are unmet or those inpatients and outpatients with specific challenges. No other visitors are allowed into Rosthern Hospital at this time and these limitations will remain in place until it is safe to return to the previous level of family presence. “Family members and support people who are permitted must undergo a health screening prior to entering the facility or home. This includes a temperature check and questionnaire.” The family member or support person will be required to perform hand hygiene (hand washing and/or use of hand sanitizer) when entering and leaving the facility or home and when entering and leaving the patient's or resident’s room. Family members and support people will be required to wear a medical grade mask while inside the facility or home and potentially additional personal protective equipment if required. Family members and support people are not permitted to wait in waiting rooms or other common areas. “The decision to restrict family presence is not taken lightly. These measures are in place to keep you, your loved ones, and health care workers safe. The Saskatchewan Health Authority is asking the public for their support and cooperation in order to contain the spread of the virus,” a media release stated. Compassionate care reasons include, but are not limited to, family or support persons during end-of-life care, major surgery, intensive care/critical care, maternal/pediatrics, long-term care residents whose quality of life or care needs are unmet or those inpatients and outpatients with specific challenges. No other visitors are allowed into Rosthern Hospital at this time and these limitations will remain in place until it is safe to return to the previous level of family presence. “Family members and support people who are permitted must undergo a health screening prior to entering the facility or home. This includes a temperature check and questionnaire.” The family member or support person will be required to perform hand hygiene (hand washing and/or use of hand sanitizer) when entering and leaving the facility or home and when entering and leaving the patient's or resident’s room. Family members and support people will be required to wear a medical grade mask while inside the facility or home and potentially additional personal protective equipment if required. Family members and support people are not permitted to wait in waiting rooms or other common areas. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
It has taken one volunteer to spearhead the effort to develop and open up cross-country and snowshoeing trails in North Grenville. While the municipality has been supportive, Sarah Herring is the driving force behind the Kemptville Winter Trail initiative. "I first heard a few years ago about a new trail being developed in Ottawa and thought, wouldn't it be wonderful to develop something like that here?" said Herring. She had moved to Kemptville in the spring of 2017 and soon after got involved with Friends of Ferguson Forest Centre, and the municipal Active Transportation Committee. "I have a strong appreciation for nature and water in particular; that's what drew me to Kemptville. I'm a boat builder, my husband and I have built three boats," said Herring. She added she grew up cross-country skiing with her dad, but early onset arthritis took her off the trails for a number of years until she was able to get a new hip and now she's hoping to get back out gently. "Sarah got started with the idea of forming a trails group to work collaboratively with the municipality and Ferguson Forest Centre, and I supported it," said Coun. Doreen O'Sullivan, who sits on the same two boards. The land within the Ferguson Forest Centre is mostly Crown land with some municipal land as well, according to O'Sullivan, and there are already a number of walking trails, a dog park and a newly opened toboggan hill within the boundaries of the forest centre. "COVID has changed things quite a bit and we need these trails more than ever now. The curling club is closed, the arena is closed, travel is restricted and snowbirds are staying home. Hence the winter trails are very important to provide to our community; it's a physical and mental health issue, and a safe environment for social contact," said O'Sullivan. The new Kemptville Winter Trails will not be using the established walking trails in Ferguson Forest, but are developing new trails on the 25 acres of land known as the arboretum. "We had permission to start working in Ferguson Forest. Our goal is to start the multi-use trails at the forest centre but expand throughout the municipality. In total we expect to have six kilometres of trails this year and then expand into more of the residential areas, but avoid the snowmobile trails," said Herring. The idea, she said, is to create trails that can be used for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skate skiing and fat bikes. "It'll be trial and error in the first year to see what works for everyone and whether it's right for fat bikes or whether we’ll need the trails to be more packed, whether we need a roller as well as the trail groomer," said Herring. This year, Herring says the tails will be groomed for cross-country skiers, and there will be a flat area for snowshoeing, skate skiing and fat bikes. If all goes well, the trails should open by the end of January, when it's hoped more snow will have arrived. Herring started working on the project last year, just before the first pandemic lockdown. One of the first things she did was register the group as a not-for-profit corporation to give it the legitimacy to fundraise. "We've since raised more than $5,000 in the community through a GoFundMe campaign, Facebook and direct approaches to businesses," said Herring. Between corporate and individual donations the group has raised enough money to buy a trail grooming machine, which has just been ordered and is expected to arrive in the next day or two. Herring says they'll still need to secure more funding for operations and are just working through the last hurdle before they can open the trails – namely insurance. "There’s a lot of red tape – getting set up with bank accounts, finding someone who can offer the kind of insurance we need to operate, creating and paying for signage – that kind of thing," said Herring. Although the municipality has been supportive of the initiative, in the end the project has been a volunteer effort. "What we've done as an organization is bringing pieces together, but it's the whole community that’s making this happen," said Herring. Over the past two months, Herring, who is retired from Statistics Canada, says she's put in about 20 hours a week, but hopes the pace will drop off once the trails open. "While Sarah is very determined and I admire her 'get-up-and-go' attitude, she can be impatient with the bureaucracy, and I do appreciate her frustration. I share her passion for the outdoors and support the whole concept," said O’Sullivan, adding that as a cross country skier herself she's thrilled that there are going to be new winter trails in the municipality. O'Sullivan said she has encouraged the group to apply for a municipal community grant to top up their coffers and speed up the opening. The total municipal grant envelope is $125,000. Herring said the group has pulled together an application for about $1,500 to $2,000, which was headed to council. The biggest hurdle right now is insurance, but because the group is incorporated privately, it can't be covered under municipal insurance. "It's been very difficult to find someone who understands what we need and can provide it. There aren't very many insurance companies that do this kind of insurance," said Herring. Meanwhile, O'Sullivan said the municipality is working with the group to try to get them over the last hurdles if they can. She also appreciates the support of local business and individuals who have supported the fundraising initiatives. "This is a great thing for our community, particularly during COVID, people need things to do, and it's going to be a wonderful asset," said O'Sullivan, who also has the backing of Mayor Nancy Peckford. "It was one of the things we heard over and over again from residents when we were campaigning. People wanted to see more recreational options close to home," said Peckford. Heddy Sorour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times
Through an online petition a Vancouver Island teacher is imploring B.C. Premier John Horgan to close the borders of the the province for a month and quarantine travellers in a bid to control the spread of COVID-19 strains. Almost 8,000 others seem to agree with him. A week ago, Christian Stapff – a teacher with School District 84 (Vancouver Island West) – started the petition to close the border to non-essential air, ground and sea traffic in order to contain and stop the spread of the virus, “especially in light of more virulent strains already in B.C.” Stapff used the efficacy of such strict measures in Western Australia as an example to further advocate for provincial border closures. “We implore you to take this action to save the economy and lives not yet lost,” Stapff tells the premier in his petition. Of late calls have been mounting for the province to impose an inter-provincial travel ban after the surge of coronavirus variants in B.C. The premier announced last week that the government was looking into the legalities of imposing such restrictions. But closing off the borders of the province may not be a feasible solution yet said the provincial Ministry of Health in an email statement today. The Ministry of Health told the Mirror that what works elsewhere may not work here. “B.C. is not an island and we have many ports of entry,” said ministry spokesperson Devon Smith. “Questions about inter-provincial travel have come up repeatedly so we are doing due diligence by seeking legal advice in order to put the matter to rest,” said Smith, and added, “Of course we can’t put up walls at our provincial borders and essential travel critical to our economy must safely continue.” The ministry said that they are also considering economic impacts and the practicalities of such a policy, and are reaching out to key sectors of the economy to get feedback. It said that no steps will be taken without thoughtful consultation with communities and businesses affected by these decisions. “As we roll out the vaccine, the bottom line is that public health advice remains the same – now is not a time for non-essential travel.” ALSO READ: Isolating provinces is a bad idea, says Canadian Chamber of Commerce ALSO READ: Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day Binny Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Campbell River Mirror
OTTAWA — It will likely be another year before a federal review of the government's key transparency law is complete, fuelling the frustration of openness advocates. Newly released terms of reference for the government study of the Access to Information Act say a report will be submitted to the Treasury Board president by Jan. 31 of next year. The review, announced last June, has prompted skepticism from open-government proponents, who point to a pile of reports done over the years on reforming the access law. The law, introduced in 1983, allows people who pay $5 to ask for a range of federal documents, but it has been widely criticized as antiquated and poorly managed. "Putting the government in charge of reviewing its own secrecy and delay problems was never a good idea," said Ken Rubin, a researcher and longtime user of the access law. The Liberals should either present a new transparency bill before the next general election or let Parliament and the public figure out how to improve access to federal records, he said. Cara Zwibel, director of the fundamental-freedoms program at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said she is frustrated by the review because many of the issues have already been studied by bodies including the federal information commissioner and the House of Commons committee on information, privacy and ethics. The timetable likely means that any change to the law or how it works is at least 18 months to two years away, and even that would assume the Liberals were still governing and had the same priorities, she said. "I am disappointed that we remain in a holding pattern when it comes to advancing in this area." Conservative MP Luc Berthold, the party's Treasury Board critic, called it another example of the government failing to take transparency seriously. "It’s irresponsible for the Trudeau Liberals to wait another year to fix the issues in Canada’s information system," he said. "The time to act is now.” The terms of reference say the review will focus on the legislative framework, opportunities to improve proactive publication to make information openly available and assessing processes to improve service and reduce delays. "The review will seek to broaden understanding of the Access to Information Act, its important role in our democracy and the values and principles it balances." Details about consultations and procedures for making written submissions will be posted on the review's website. The government says the resulting report, to be tabled in Parliament, will include a summary of feedback received during the review and provide recommendations to improve access to information for Canadians. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — Nothing illustrates the political passions of a television network's audience quite like ratings for a presidential inaugural. The 6.53 million people who watched President Joe Biden take the oath of office and deliver his inaugural address on MSNBC Wednesday was a whopping 338% bigger than its audience for Donald Trump's swearing in four years ago, the Nielsen company said. On the flip side, Fox News Channel's audience of 2.74 million for Biden on Wednesday represented a nearly 77% drop from its viewership for Trump in 2017, Nielsen said. A preliminary Nielsen estimate shows Biden's inaugural viewership on the top six networks beat Trump by 4%. Nielsen said it doesn't have a complete estimate for inaugural viewing because it is still counting people who watched on other networks or outside their homes. CNN, with 10 million viewers, easily beat ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and Fox during Biden's big moment, Nielsen said. That's 196% more than watched Trump four years ago. CNN, which has been on a hot streak in the ratings since Biden's victory, also topped all the others for its coverage of the primetime inaugural celebration. MSNBC, meanwhile, said it recorded the highest daytime ratings of the network's nearly 25-year history on Wednesday. ABC had 7.66 million viewers for the oath-taking (up 10% from 2017), NBC had 6.89 million (down 12%) and CBS had 6.07 million (down 13%), Nielsen said. David Bauder, The Associated Press
Jurisdictional issues are causing concerns when it comes to the distribution of coronavirus vaccines to Indigenous people. “There … (are) challenges to overcome when we try to work in partnership with multiple levels of governments and the prioritization province-by-province,” said Marion Crowe, CEO for the First Nations Health Managers Association (FNHMA). During the weekly virtual townhall Jan. 21 hosted by FNHMA, Crowe referenced comments by premiers who have questioned the need to provide their provinces’ allocated vaccines to Indigenous peoples because First Nations are a federal responsibility. Crowe said one premier even went so far as to say that First Nations were not a priority. She did not report which premiers she was referring to in her comments. The federal government’s role is to procure the vaccines. It’s up to the provinces to distribute them. However, said Dr. Tom Wong, executive director and Chief Medical Officer of Public Health with Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), that distribution should follow the guidelines set out by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). Wong, who sits on NACI, told the virtual forum audience that NACI did a “thorough evidence review” and developed prioritization recommendations, including Elders and residents and staff in long-term care and Elder care facilities; frontline healthcare workers; and Indigenous peoples in communities in settings where they are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. “Those are the groups right at the very, very beginning. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is telling the whole country please follow these evidence-based guidelines and that includes marginalized, racialized groups in urban settings, including First Nations, Métis and Inuit in those settings,” Wong said. Issues have arisen in dealing with the urban Indigenous population and Wong highlighted outbreaks in Montreal, Vancouver and Winnipeg. “In particular, the (intensive care unit) admissions for off-reserve in urban areas in Manitoba has been found to be even worse than that on reserve. So this really highlights the point that, yes, there are great needs in the north, but equally that there’s huge needs in some of the urban centres where there’s a lack of services, overcrowding, in homeless shelters,” he said Kim Daly, senior nurse manager, Communicable Disease Control Department with ISC, is also with the COVID-19 vaccine working group for urban Indigenous populations. She told the virtual audience that working with provinces goes beyond prioritizing Indigenous groups. It’s also about making the vaccine accessible. “When we’re talking about items such as systemic racism, it’s important that provinces recognize that just opening a clinic down the road does not mean equal access for all the populations. We’re really trying to break down those barriers so that they know that it’s not just on reserve. It’s not just on remote and isolated (communities). There are barriers all across this country and we’re working together with them,” she said. Epidemiology, said Daly, also dictates how the vaccine is used province-to-province and that was clear throughout the country. Some provinces, like Newfoundland/Labrador, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia prioritized remote, isolated or fly-in communities, while other provinces, like Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, prioritized those 18 years and over in Indigenous communities. Manitoba, Alberta and the Northwest Territories prioritized Elder care homes. In Saskatchewan, northern communities were included in the first phase. Daly applauded provinces, like Quebec, which initially saw only about a 50 per cent uptake from Indigenous residents in remote communities for the vaccine. “The province was really gracious with communications, stating, ‘When you’re ready, the vaccine will be here.’ And there was a provision they kept back vaccines… So we really like that approach so people don’t have to make an on-the-spot decision, that they feel comfortable to come back through,” said Daly. Vaccine hesitancy, she added, should be answered with “kindness and understanding and facts.” Daly also pointed out that there were some First Nations and organization like Nishnawbe Aski Nation, which led the process, setting the example for how the vaccine should continue to be rolled out. Wong said more than 160 Indigenous communities have started immunization clinics. “As vaccine deployment continues it remains critical that First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders and partners are included at decision-making tables in each province and each territory and continue to engage in co-planning to determine ongoing capacity and needs with respective communities,” he said. Windspeaker.com By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
Peterborough County councillors have agreed to send a request to the province to deploy rapid COVID-19 testing into long-term care facilities across the province to test residents and staff. The motion brought forward by Sherry Senis, deputy mayor of Selwyn Township, will be sent to both the federal and provincial governments and health officials further requesting they commit to vaccinating all long-term care residents, retirement and other congregate senior living facilities by Feb. 15. While the province has already made the Feb. 15 commitment, Senis said council members would be reiterating that commitment by supporting the motion. “Health Canada has yet to approve the rapid COVID testing for widespread use. Once this is done, we ask the province to deploy the testing into long term care facilities. At this time, Fairhaven is on a pilot project for the testing,” she said. During their special virtual council meeting held on Thursday, Senis said the pandemic has put a spotlight on long-term care homes across the province with devastating results for family members. “As of this week, over 3,000 (Ontario long-term care) residents have died, along with 10 staff. Every day we hear about another outbreak in a long-term care home,” she said. “As I’m a board member of Fairhaven, I felt it appropriate to bring forward this motion with the executive director, Lionel Towns supports.” The motion also requests the federal and provincial governments provide sufficient emergency funds to hire adequate staff, provide training and continue to enhance long term care wages, similar to what Quebec has done. “Quebec has done a massive hiring of staff and trained them for their long-term care homes and their numbers have decreased substantially as a result. In Ontario, we should be following suit and pay the staff accordingly,” Senis said. The Peterborough census metropolitan area has the second largest proportion of seniors living in Canada’s 34 census metropolitan areas, she said. “Many of them are vulnerable and cannot speak for themselves. County council represents a large swath in Peterborough County and I feel it would be appropriate for us to support the recommendations and send them forward. We have a voice and I can’t think of a better reason than this to use it,” Senis said. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Peterborough-Kawartha MP Maryam Monsef, Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MP Jamie Schmale, Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP Phillip Lawrence, federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliot, Premier Doug Ford, Peterborough-Kawartha MPP Dave Smith, Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MPP Laurie Scott, Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini, Long-Term Care Minister Merilee Fullerton, the City of Peterborough, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the Eastern Ontario Wardens Caucus will all receive a copy of the motion. Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
TORONTO — Canadian record producer Bob Rock is joining a chorus of musicians selling off rights to their past work, reaching a deal with a U.K. investment firm for more than 40 songs from Michael Buble and Metallica. The agreement between Rock and Hipgnosis Songs Fund, announced Thursday, will give the London-based operation Rock's full producer rights to a raft of prominent tracks. Among them is Rock's stake in Metallica's self-titled 1991 album, often called "The Black Album," which includes the metal band's hits "Enter Sandman," "The Unforgiven" and "Nothing Else Matters." He's also sold his rights to Buble's album "To Be Loved" in its entirety and his work on "Call Me Irresponsible," "Crazy Love" and "Christmas." Rock, who was born in Winnipeg, is one of Canada's most prolific rock music producers, having worked with the Tragically Hip, Aerosmith, Bryan Adams and Bon Jovi. The Hipgnosis deal, which encompasses 43 songs, comes as the fund moves quickly to build its library of rights holdings. Last week, Hipgnosis picked up the publisher and songwriter rights to Shakira's entire catalogue of 145 songs, and earlier this month acquired a 50 per cent stake in Neil Young's catalogue of 1,180 songs. Rights deals have become a hot commodity in the pandemic as artists look to monetize their assets while the touring industry remains at a standstill and listening moves increasingly to streaming platforms over record sales. Each transaction can be slightly different than the next, depending on what rights the creator is selling. Rock is selling off his royalty percentage of sound recording copyrights, or "points" as they're called in music industry. That covers his share in revenues for his contribution to studio recordings, such as mixing or production. His points share could vary by each track, but would ultimately determine how much money funnels back to him — from album sales and streaming, to licensing for commercials and TV shows. Those rights are now owned by Hipgnosis. Other artists have recently sold their publishing rights, which cover anything earned for the musical work that's committed to paper. Typically that means a slice of revenues from live performances as well as licensing fees from covers recorded by other artists. Bob Dylan recently sold publishing rights to more than 600 songs to the Universal Music Publishing Group for estimates that were priced between $300 million and half a billion dollars. Stevie Nicks sold an 80 per cent stake in her music to Primary Wave for a reported $100 million. — Follow @dfriend on Twitter. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. David Friend, The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — British Columbia's Liberal party took the first steps Thursday towards selecting a new leader while also addressing a constitutional technicality that still has Andrew Wilkinson as party leader. The party appointed former cabinet minister Colin Hansen as co-chair of an organizing committee to oversee the campaign. A date hasn't been set yet to choose a new leader. Hansen, known as a stalwart in the governments of former premier Gordon Campbell, will co-chair the seven-member committee with Victoria lawyer Roxanne Helme. Interim Liberal Leader Shirley Bond said she is energized by the formation of the campaign oversight committee and downplayed the fact Wilkinson hasn't followed the protocol to resign under the party's constitution. "I just have to say this, that British Columbians this morning didn't wake up and worry about whether or not there was constitutionally a technical issue with who's the leader of the B.C. Liberal Party," she said at a news conference. Wilkinson announced his resignation after the Liberals lost the election last fall and dropped seats that were once considered safe for the party. In the days following the Oct. 24 election, Wilkinson held a brief news conference where he said he planned to resign, but would remain leader until a replacement is chosen. About one month later he posted on Facebook: "It is now time for me to leave the role as Opposition leader as voters in B.C. have made their preference clear." Although Wilkinson hasn't official resigned, Bond said she is leading the Liberals. "I'm speaking to you today as the leader of the Opposition, make no mistake about that," she said. Wilkinson is not receiving any leadership benefits from the party and he has no leadership responsibilities, Bond said. "I can assure you this, Andrew Wilkinson is focusing on his role as an MLA," she said. "He has no responsibilities, no stipend, nothing like that related to the B.C. Liberal Party. We certainly expect a letter of resignation at some point in the next few weeks, but the fact of the matter is I lead the official Opposition." Wilkinson was not immediately available for comment. Bond, who has already ruled herself out of the Liberal leadership race, said 2021 will be a year of reflection, renewal and rebuilding for the party. "In the meantime, the party will continue to create and unveil the leadership contest rules and how it will work," she said. "I'm quite energized looking at what candidates might emerge and eventually they will transition to take on the role that I have now." Other members of the organizing committee to help pick a leader include legislature members Jackie Tegart, Derek Lew, Sarah Sidhu, Don Silversides and Cameron Stolz. The committee's mandate includes determining the timeline for the leadership election, establishing the campaign's rules and implementing the election process for party members. — By Dirk Meissner in Victoria This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
Michelle Myers’ clean energy journey began back in 2016 when she attended a summit while she was a student in university. And now her Xeni Gwet’in First Nation in British Columbia will soon be reaping the benefits of her participation. While attending a clean energy summit five years ago in Waterloo, Ont., Myers, who was studying at the University of Alberta, was told about a new program offered by the Indigenous Clean Energy (ICE) Social Enterprise. Myers was convinced to join the first cohort for ICE’s 20/20 Catalysts, a national clean energy capacity building program for Indigenous individuals across Canada. Myers and several other current and former participants of the program were featured in a presentation on Wednesday, Jan. 20 during the Indigenous Clean Energy E-Gathering. Program participants discussed the various ventures they are now involved with in their communities. “I was in my third year of university for a Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies with a minor in Environmental Conservation,” Myers recalled of the time she discovered the Catalysts Program. While continuing her education, Myers simultaneously enrolled in the three-month program, which connects participants to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous clean energy project mentors. Those in the program learn about clean energy project developments, including information on energy efficiency, solar, wind, hydro, biomass, geothermal as well as on-grid and off-grid ventures. Myers was able to juggle her university studies with her Catalysts learning. “From there I was just immensely inspired by everybody that attended and inspired by the initiative and the directive,” Myers said. Upon graduation, Myers returned to her community and landed various contract jobs. Then, an opportunity to work on her First Nation’s clean energy plan arose. That led to her current responsibilities where she not only oversees clean energy projects in her community but has become the lands and resources manager for Xeni Gwet’in, located in central interior B.C. Her community is an off-grid remote one, which is not connected to the BC Hydro grid and is currently diesel powered. “My home right now is powered by an individual gas generator and I’m currently running off a battery that I charge with my generator at night,” Myers said. But plenty of positive changes are in store for her community. “We’re installing an underground line, extending from our microgrid in our central community to 28 homes,” Myers said. “The underground line idea comes from many years of community engagement around clean energy projects and clean energy development of our community not wanting to see power lines or power poles going right through our valley because we hold the esthetic value of our community and our territory very high.” Myers said Xeni Gwet’in has become a popular tourist destination, as well as a sought-after location for making movies. “We have a lot of opportunities for tourism,” she said. “We have a lot of people that come into our communities and want to utilize our territory for films.” And this helps explain why community members are not keen for many visible changes. “We also have a lot of ceremonial gatherings and traditional spots all the way from the central, middle of the community out to here and beyond that an overhead power line would kind of get in the way of and disturb if we went that route,” she said. George Colgate, the underground distribution line project manager for Xeni Gwet’in, explained there will soon be substantial savings for community members who currently operate their own generators for power. “Running a small generator probably works out to about $2 a kilowatt hour,” he said. “Once this is in, people are going to be paying BC Hydro rates out. That’s the idea. For Tier 2, I think that somewhere around 8-10 cents a kilowatt hour.” Another participant featured in Wednesday’s presentation was Alex Cook, the owner of a start-up business based in Iqaluit. His company has a vision of developing affordable, efficient and resilient housing for rapid deployment to remote Arctic communities. These houses will be partially built with shipping containers. “For as long as I can remember, Nunavut has struggled with a housing crisis,” Cook said. “The housing crisis has gotten so bad that right now across the territory there are people living outside in nothing more than tents and shacks.” With the contacts he made through the Catalysts Program, Cook believes he’ll be able to design Nunavut’s first accessible net zero home. The prototype will be built in his community of Baker Lake this fall. “Our people are strong,” Cook said. “We figured how to live here before. We’ll do it again.” Another program participant is Nathan Kaye, a finance student at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary. Kaye is also the co-chair of SevenGen, a virtual youth summit that will be held next month. “What we hope to accomplish there is to get youth to initiate renewable energy products in their communities by providing support, services and funding for those projects,” Kaye said. That summit has expanded and will feature an Indigenous youth mentorship program. Kaye is also involved in a food security initiative with Tsuut’ina Nation. “We built a community garden back in April and May,” he said. “And right now we’re working on building a geothermal greenhouse.” The Indigenous Clean Energy E-Gathering began on Monday and continues until Friday. Windspeaker.com By Sam Laskaris, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
Researchers at Ruhr University use designer protein brain injections to regenerate spinal nerves which allow paralyzed mice to walk again.
On Thursday the province released the updated numbers on COVID-19 cases in youth. The total active cases in youth provincially in all locations are 969, 19 have no known location and 950 have a location reported. The province releases the update on the numbers each Thursday. Currently in the North Central zone, which includes Prince Albert, there are 106 active cases in youth, an increase of 10 from the previous report. Last week there were 266 tests performed across the North Central zone. North Central 2, which is Prince Albert, has 53 active cases in youth. North Central 1, which includes communities such as Christopher Lake, Candle Lake and Meath Park, has 53 active cases and North Central 3 has 15 active cases. Cumulative tests performed since Sept. 7, 2020 in the North Central zone is 4,925. Provincially there is a 17.5 per cent test positivity rate in youth. There were 2,941 tests performed in total in the province in the last week. The cumulative number of tests performed since Sept. 7, 2020 is 63,842. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
Vaccinating close to a million people in less than a year is likely going to take more hands to accomplish than Nova Scotia's health-care system currently has on deck. That's why regulatory bodies like the Nova Scotia College of Nursing are offering to relicense former health-care professionals to help with the massive COVID-19 vaccination program. The college put out a call to retired nurses last week to sign up for free temporary licences — a program meant primarily to bolster the vaccine workforce and help with other aspects of the COVID-19 response like contact tracing and assessment. In the first seven days, the college handed out 139 emergency conditional licences. Janet Hazelton, president of the Nova Scotia Nurses Union, said she expects far more nurses will sign up in the months ahead as the vaccine rollout is supposed to ramp up. "We're always nurses, regardless of when we retire. Many [nurses] have retired, but are still anxious to help out," Hazelton said in an interview. The union isn't involved in the relicensing program, but Hazelton said phones at her office have been ringing off the hook with questions about helping with vaccine efforts. Hazelton said there are hundreds of nurses in Nova Scotia who, like herself, don't currently work in clinical settings but have maintained their licences to practise. She said reassigning some people from administrative roles to vaccine clinics could help keep other health services running uninterrupted. "It's an opportunity for us to vaccinate because we have the skills to do that, and to keep as many nurses as we can at the bedside doing what they do best: looking after patients," she said. The Nova Scotia College of Nursing launched a similar program last spring to help with the COVID-19 response, and almost 200 nurses reactivated their licences. At that time, the program was open to people who had practised within the past five years. This year's iteration includes nurses who have practised within the past 10 years. The temporary licences from the college are valid for four months starting when the individual is selected for work — and Nova Scotia's health authority has been looking to hire. Several job postings recently closed for workers across the province to support COVID-19 vaccinations. They were open to paramedics, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, midwives, nurse practitioners and pharmacists. At a COVID-19 briefing earlier this week, Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health, said he expects more health-care regulators, including the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia, will soon introduce rapid relicensing programs. Dr. Chris Randall, a retired physician in Yarmouth, N.S., came out of retirement last year when the college first offered temporary licences in response to the pandemic. He was assigned to a COVID-19 unit but didn't end up seeing any patients. It was boring, he said, but he didn't mind. "We're trying to make people well," he said. "When we don't see sick people, that's absolutely great." Randall said he wouldn't hesitate to reactivate his licence again to help with the vaccination effort should the health system need his help. MORE TOP STORIES