U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams says the government is looking closely at a new strain of the coronavirus identified in the U.K. (Dec. 21)
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams says the government is looking closely at a new strain of the coronavirus identified in the U.K. (Dec. 21)
WASHINGTON — The patter of paws is being heard in the White House again following the arrival of President Joe Biden's dogs Champ and Major. The two German shepherds are the first pets to live at the executive mansion since the Obama administration. Major burst onto the national scene late last year after Biden, then president-elect, broke his right foot while playing with the dog at their home in Wilmington, Delaware. The Bidens adopted Major in 2018 from the Delaware Humane Association. Champ joined the family after the 2008 presidential election that made Joe Biden vice-president. The dogs moved into the White House on Sunday, following Biden's inauguration last week. “The first family wanted to get settled before bringing the dogs down to Washington from Delaware,” said Michael LaRosa, spokesperson for first lady Jill Biden. “Champ is enjoying his new dog bed by the fireplace and Major loved running around on the South Lawn.” The dogs were heard barking outside near the Oval Office on Monday as Biden signed an executive order lifting the previous administration's ban on transgender people serving in the military. Last week, the Delaware Humane Association cosponsored an “indoguration” virtual fundraiser to celebrate Major's journey from shelter pup to first dog. More than $200,000 was raised. Major is the first shelter dog to ever live in the White House and “barking proof that every dog can live the American dream," the association said. The Bidens had promised to bring the dogs with them to the White House. They plan to add a cat, though no update on the feline's arrival was shared on Monday. White House press secretary Jen Psaki predicted, while on video answering questions from members of the public, that the cat will “dominate the internet” when it arrives. Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, a self-described germaphobe, does not own any pets and had none with him at the White House. Just like they do for ordinary people, pets owned by the most powerful people in the world provide their owners with comfort, entertainment, occasional drama and generally good PR. “Pets have played an important role in the White House throughout the decades, not only by providing companionship to the presidents and their families, but also by humanizing and softening their political images,” said Jennifer Pickens, author of a book about pets at the White House. Pets also serve as ambassadors to the White House, she said. Pickens added that she hoped the Bidens' decision to bring a rescue dog to the White House might inspire others to adopt. President Theodore Roosevelt had Skip, who is described by the White House Historical Association as a “short-legged Black and Tan mongrel terrier brought home from a Colorado bear hunt.” Warren G. Harding had Laddie Boy, who sat in on meetings and had his own Cabinet chair. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had his beloved terrier Fala. At night, Fala slept in a special chair at the foot of the president’s bed. More recently, George H.W. Bush’s English springer spaniel Millie was featured on “The Simpsons” and starred in a bestseller, “Millie’s Book: As dictated to Barbara Bush.” Hillary Clinton followed Bush’s lead with a children’s book about family dog Buddy and cat Socks: “Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to the First Pets.” When he declared victory in the 2008 presidential race, Barack Obama told his daughters: “You have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House.” Several months later, Bo joined the family, a gift from Sen. Ted Kennedy. A few years later, fellow Portuguese water dog Sunny arrived. Among the stranger White House pets was Calvin Coolidge and first lady Grace Coolidge’s raccoon Rebecca. She was given to the Coolidge family by a supporter who suggested the raccoon be served for Thanksgiving dinner, according to the White House Historical Association. But instead she got an embroidered collar with the title “White House Raccoon” and entertained children at the White House Easter Egg Roll. Some notable pets belonged to first kids, including Amy Carter’s Siamese cat, Misty Malarky Ying Yang, and Caroline Kennedy’s pony Macaroni. The Kennedy family had a veritable menagerie, complete with dogs, cats, birds, hamsters and a rabbit named Zsa Zsa. President Harry Truman famously said that “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog” — and many successors have followed Truman's advice. The first President Bush once said, “There is nothing like the unconditional love of a dog to help you get through the rough spots.” ___ Associated Press writer Kevin Freking contributed to this report. Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Sarah Sanders, Donald Trump's former chief spokeswoman, announced she's running for Arkansas governor at a time other Republicans are distancing themselves from the former president facing an impeachment charge that he incited the deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol. But the former White House press secretary, who left the job in 2019 to return to her home state, ran the other direction with an announcement Monday that embraced Trump as much as his rhetoric. “With the radical left now in control of Washington, your governor is your last line of defence,” Sanders said in a nearly eight-minute video announcing her 2022 bid that prominently featured pictures of the president as well as some of his favourite targets. Trump, who publicly encouraged Sanders to run, wasted no time putting his seal of approval on her bid. The former president on Monday night backed Sanders' candidacy — his first official, public endorsement since leaving office — and called her a “warrior who will always fight for the people of Arkansas and do what is right, not what is politically correct." The daughter of former Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sanders is the most high-profile Trump official to seek major office and is doing so less than a week after the tumultuous end of his presidency. Her candidacy could showcase just how much of a hold Trump still has on the GOP. “Trump is simply not a liability here,” said Janine Parry, a political scientist at the University of Arkansas. “At least for the time being, we’re in a state where he remains an asset.” That’s even as the Senate is preparing for an impeachment trial over the Jan. 6 insurrection by Trump supporters that was aimed at halting the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory over Trump. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell rebuked the president last week, saying he “provoked” the siege. Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson told reporters days before Biden’s inauguration he wanted Trump’s administration to end, though he also opposed the president’s impeachment. Sanders’ announcement makes a brief reference to the Capitol siege that left five dead, equating it with violence that occurred at some protests last year over racial injustice and the 2017 shooting at a congressional baseball practice that injured U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise and four others. “This is not who we are as Americans,” Sanders said in the video, but not mentioning Trump’s role in encouraging his supporters who stormed the Capitol. She joins a Republican primary that already includes two statewide elected leaders, Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. The three are running to succeed Hutchinson, who is unable to run next year due to term limits. No Democrats have announced a bid to run for the seat. Griffin and Rutledge had already spent months positioning themselves ahead of Sanders’ entry by lining up endorsements, raising money and trying to stake their claims as the most conservative candidate. Griffin has called for the outright elimination of the state’s income tax, while Rutledge signed on to Texas’ ultimately unsuccessful lawsuit challenging the result of the presidential election. Following the riot, Griffin and Rutledge issued statements condemning the storming of the Capitol but not addressing Trump’s role in stirring up his backers. Combined, the two have raised more than $2.8 million for the race. Griffin on Monday criticized Sanders for promising in her video to cut off funding to so-called sanctuary cities that violate immigration laws. He noted a 2019 measure Hutchinson signed into law already does just that by cutting off funding to cities that don’t co-operate with immigration authorities. “It sounds like she needs to catch up on what’s been going on in Arkansas,” Griffin said in a statement. Rutledge, meanwhile, said in a statement the race was about “who has a proven record and not merely rhetoric.” The race could also get even more crowded. Republican State Sen. Jim Hendren, a nephew of Hutchinson’s, is considering a run for the seat and said he hoped to make a decision within the next three weeks. “Right now we have three announced candidates but they all do represent the far right part of the Republican Party,” said Hendren, who has been much more willing to criticize Trump and hasn’t ruled out an independent bid. “The question I have to decide is, is there room for a more pragmatic, centrist type of approach?” Sanders was already well known in Arkansas politics, going back to when she appeared in ads for her father’s campaign. She managed Sen. John Boozman’s 2010 election and worked as an adviser to Sen. Tom Cotton’s in 2014. During Sanders’ nearly two-year tenure at the White House, daily televised briefings led by the press secretary ended after Sanders repeatedly sparred with reporters who aggressively questioned her. She faced questions about her credibility, but she also earned reporters’ respect working behind the scenes to develop relationships with the media. She remains an unknown on many issues and wasn’t made available for interviews Monday, though she staked out some positions in her introductory video that include reducing the state’s income tax. Her introductory video indicates she’s leaning more on her time with Trump, with it featuring images of or calling out those who frequently drew his ire including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and CNN. Republicans hold a firm grip on Arkansas, with the GOP holding all statewide and federal seats. They also hold a majority in both chambers of the Legislature. Trump in November won the state by nearly 28 percentage points, one of the biggest margins in his ultimate loss to Biden. State Democratic Party Chairman Michael John Gray on Monday called the GOP primary a “race to the bottom.” But national party leaders indicated Sanders’ candidacy may draw more resources and attention to a long-shot race that will coincide with 2022 congressional midterm elections. “As we close the book on a dark chapter in our history, we must make sure Trump’s brand of politics stays in the past," Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison tweeted. “Now, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is running on his record." Hutchinson, who has remained generally popular since taking office in 2015, said he didn't plan on endorsing anyone at this time in the race. “I am a voter, so I will follow the campaign with interest, but I have a job to do for the next two years, and I will devote my energies to bring Arkansas out of the pandemic and to revitalize our economy," he said in a statement. ___ Follow Andrew DeMillo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ademillo Andrew Demillo, The Associated Press
Canada's natural resources minister accused the Opposition of beating their chests in a show of support for the oil and gas industry, during an emergency debate in the House of Commons regarding the Keystone XL pipeline expansion project Monday evening. "Do we, as some are suggesting, start a trade war with our closest ally and largest trading partner, with the single largest customer for Canadian crude? ... I have not yet heard a single argument that would convince me a trade war is in the best interests of our oil and gas workers," Seamus O'Regan said. O'Regan said the new U.S. administration represents an opportunity to work together with a government aligned with Canada's priorities on clean energy, pointing to TC Energy — the Calgary-based company behind the Keystone project — committing to buying renewable energy to achieve net zero emissions. Last week, on his first day in office, U.S. President Joe Biden scrapped the pipeline's permit as one of multiple actions intended to fight climate change, effectively killing the $8-billion US project. If completed, the 1,897-kilometre pipeline expansion project, first announced in 2005, would have carried 830,000 barrels of oilsands crude from Hardisty, Alta., to Nebraska, where it would then connect with the original Keystone pipeline that runs to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. Opposition Leader Erin O'Toole called for the debate earlier on Monday, accusing the government of not doing enough to advocate for the expansion. During the evening's debate, which stretched until just past midnight in Ottawa, O'Toole described empty office towers and job losses in Calgary. "Canada has been dealt a serious blow … these are Canadians, thousands of them, being totally forgotten and left behind by this government," he said. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government has repeatedly said it supports the project, and Trudeau expressed his disappointment with Biden during a call between the two nations' leaders on Friday. "We will stand up and have our workers' backs.… Let's talk TMX. We approved it, we bought it, we're building it," O'Regan said, referring to the federal purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which is under construction. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has called for sanctions against the U.S. in response to the permit's cancellation. Kenney's government invested $1.5 billion Cdn in equity in the project alongside billions in loan guarantees.The provincial opposition NDP is calling on the Alberta government to release documents containing details of that deal, calling it a risky one. The project had been rejected under former president Barack Obama's government. It was later approved under former president Donald Trump, but Biden had repeatedly stated he intended to rescind that permit once elected. Canada's ambassador to the U.S. has said it's time to respect that decision, however disappointing it may be to proponents, and move forward. WATCH | Keystone XL pipeline project 'appears to be dead,' says Rachel Notley Edmonton-Strathcona NDP MP Heather McPherson said Biden's decision should have come as no surprise given Biden's opposition and legal challenges of the project. "Remember when Jason Kenney gambled on Donald Trump. He didn't gamble his money — he gambled ours … that was his plan to get jobs for workers in my province," she said. "Now, he wants to start a trade war with the U.S., the customer for 95 per cent of our energy exports." Lakeland Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs said while the decision did not come as a shock, it underlines that Canada is in a vulnerable position when it comes to its energy industry as the U.S. has increased domestic production. "With the stroke of a pen thousands of people are out of work in the middle of a global crisis ... Canadians whose livelihoods depend on the oil and gas sector are rightfully anxious about their future," she said. O'Regan referred to climate change as an "existential crisis." "The market has an important role here. It is the leading role in determining how investment decisions should be made, but it is our government's duty to set the parameters on that and to incent what we believe to be extraordinarily important goals, namely net-zero emissions by 2050. That is the goal we have set for ourselves, and many of our friends, colleagues and competitors around the world have also set that goal for themselves. This is an existential crisis, there is no question." It's also an economic crisis for the many people across the country who worry they may be left behind, he said. "We cannot allow that to happen." Former Green Party Leader and Saanich-Gulf Islands MP Elizabeth May said it would be extremely unfair to say those who think the Keystone expansion cancellation was a good decision don't care about workers losing their jobs. "I would no more say that people who are supporting the oilsands are deliberately and consciously threatening my grandchildrens' future than I would say it's right to be celebrating when people suffer an immediate downturn in their economic prospects."
VANCOUVER — A third-party report examining how the British Columbia government responded to COVID-19 in long-term care homes during the first wave of the pandemic reveals confusion over policies and infection prevention. The report, by Ernst & Young, says specific policy orders from the provincial health officer were interpreted differently by health authorities and there were gaps in infection prevention and control as well as emergency preparedness. It also highlighted a lack of consistent provincial policy on how health authorities and facility operators handled residents who tested positive for COVID-19. Ernst & Young did praise the government for its decision to create a health emergency command centre as well as restricting staff from working at multiple long-term care facilities, which it says contributed to stopping the spread of COVID-19 infections in care homes. But it added that those restrictions also highlighted staffing shortages and other underlying issues. Health Minister Adrian Dix said last week that his government has implemented all the recommendations in the report and its assessment of the province's actions was "overwhelmingly favourable." The report was completed last fall and stakeholders and the Opposition Liberals have questioned why it was not released sooner. More than 650 of B.C.'s over 1,100 deaths from COVID-19 have been in long-term care facilities. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
A man is in critical condition following a two-vehicle collision in Mississauga, Peel Regional Police say. Police earlier said the man had died but later issued a correction indicating he had lost vital signs and was revived. Emergency crews were called to the area of Dixie Road and Winding Trail at 2:47 p.m, where the man had been found with life-threatening injuries. He was rushed to a trauma centre and by 4:23, police said he had died. Shortly afterwards, they said the man had in fact lost vital signs and that medical staff were able to revive him. Dixie Road has been shut down in both directions from Burnhamthorphe East to Winding Trail, with drivers asked to use alternate routes. Peel police's major collision bureau has taken over the investigation. Anyone with dashcam or surveillance footage is being asked to contact police.
YELLOWKNIFE — A 28-year-old Alberta man has been charged with making threatening statements toward the chief public health officer of the Northwest Territories. Police say threats were made over the phone Jan. 20 during a call to the office of Dr. Kami Kandola, the territory's chief public health officer. Police did reveal the nature of the threats, but said it was concerning. Police say they launched an investigation after the call was received and took the man into into custody Jan. 22. Clinton Leussink is charged with intimidation and uttering threats. He is scheduled to appear in territorial court in Yellowknife Feb. 16. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan, 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
Le non-respect des consignes sanitaires en pleine pandémie de COVID-19 peut être considéré comme un comportement «répréhensible et même nuisible au développement de l’enfant» dans une affaire de garde partagée. Dans une récente décision, le juge de la Cour supérieure Claude Villeneuve a retenu cet élément parmi plusieurs arguments pour retirer la garde partagée à un père, en Estrie. La cause entendue devant la Chambre de la famille, dans le district judiciaire de Saint-François, portait sur la demande d’un enfant de 11 ans voulant que l’on mette fin au système de garde partagée. Depuis quelques années, l’enfant réclamait une garde exclusive de la mère en raison de «mauvaises expériences vécues» principalement à cause du mode de vie adopté par le père. Dans sa décision rendue le 18 décembre, mais publiée en ligne lundi, le juge Villeneuve tient compte de la maturité de l’enfant malgré son jeune âge et détermine qu’il n’est pas dans son intérêt de «maintenir une telle formule de garde contre son gré». Parmi les éléments mentionnés comme posant problème, on note un régime alimentaire végétalien auquel l’enfant ne veut pas adhérer. «Bien qu’une personne adulte soit tout à fait libre de choisir son mode d’alimentation et qu’il puisse être opportun d’en enseigner les vertus à son enfant, il y a des limites à l’imposer quand cela ne correspond pas aux besoins de celui-ci», écrit le juge. On rapporte également que le père aurait frappé l’enfant à au moins deux reprises. Une fois à l’aide d’une ceinture et une autre fois avec un livre. Cependant, le juge Claude Villeneuve a aussi retenu contre le père son comportement face à l’actuelle crise sanitaire. Surtout que l’homme est travailleur autonome dans le domaine de l’entretien ménager et que son principal client est un centre de la petite enfance. Selon le juge, «même si la liberté d’expression est un droit reconnu, cela ne va pas jusqu’à permettre à un adulte de dénigrer et discréditer, en présence de son enfant mineur, les citoyens qui respectent les règles décrétées par les autorités sanitaires en pleine période de pandémie liée à la COVID-19». Il ajoute qu’un tel message transmis par un parent à son enfant correspond à lui inculquer «qu’il n’est pas important de respecter la loi ni la santé et la sécurité d’autrui». Un comportement qui pousse le magistrat à «remettre en question les capacités parentales du parent en matière d’éducation et de bien-être de l’enfant». L’homme aurait décrit à son enfant les gens qui portent le masque dans les lieux publics comme des «caves» ou des «sans-génie». Un message qui n’aurait toutefois pas eu l’effet escompté puisque l’enfant aurait à son tour qualifié le comportement de son père comme étant «irresponsable». Me Sébastien Gagnon agissait à titre d'avocat de l'enfant dans cette affaire. À son avis, ce jugement pourrait servir de jurisprudence en matière de droit familial. Avec la pandémie qui s'étire et la vaccination qui commence, il s'attend à voir d'autres dossiers où le respect des consignes sera débattu comme un argument parmi d'autres sur la capacité d'un parent à donner l'exemple. De son côté, Me Maïté Morin, qui représentait la mère, dit avoir été un peu étonnée par l'emphase mise sur cet aspect dans le jugement. Elle reconnaît toutefois que certains propos au sujet de la pandémie lui avaient paru inquiétants lors de l'audience. Dans le camp du père, Me Guillaume-Marc Caza tient simplement à souligner que cet aspect a plutôt été retenu comme un facteur parmi d'autres et non comme un point déterminant dans la décision du juge. D’après les faits rapportés par la cour, une avocate qui représentait le père a choisi de se retirer du dossier entre autres parce que son client opposait un «refus catégorique de porter un masque» lors de leurs rencontres. Ensuite, l’homme lui-même aurait admis ne porter le masque «que dans de très rares occasions» et qu’il ne le porte pas au travail alors qu’il est engagé pour nettoyer et désinfecter un CPE. «Ce comportement du père est justement une des causes de propagation du virus au sein de la population plus vulnérable», sermonne le juge Claude Villeneuve dans sa décision. Bien que la garde complète de l’enfant soit confiée à la mère, le père conserve un droit d’accès une fin de semaine sur deux dans le but de maintenir la relation avec l’enfant.Ugo Giguère, Initiative de journalisme local, La Presse Canadienne
FREDERICTON — Bertha Higgs, the mother of New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs, passed away Monday at the age of 100. The news was made public on Twitter by Higgs's chief of staff, Louis Leger. Mrs. Higgs celebrated her 100th birthday on Dec. 31, 2020, at her home in Forest City, N.B., close to the border with Maine. The premier has said his mother was a school teacher and that up until Grade 6, his teachers were either his mother or his aunt. Higgs has said his mother was very inquisitive and would always ask him about what was happening in the province. Details on funeral arrangements will be forthcoming. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — Microsoft founder Bill Gates did not create the virus that causes COVID-19 and he is not forcing microchips into your body through vaccinations. Those pieces of misinformation are examples of what a group of Canadian scientists and health professionals is trying to discredit through a new campaign tackling inaccurate theories about the pandemic. About 40 misinformation debunkers are using the hashtag #ScienceUpFirst to provide science-based evidence on social media. "There's been misinformation about all kinds of things that you can do to treat COVID with crazy treatments like cow urine and bleach," said Prof. Timothy Caulfield, Canadian research chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta. Caulfield is spearheading the #ScienceUpFirst movement. "And now we're in the middle of trying to roll out the vaccine and we know that misinformation is having an adverse impact on vaccination. "Things like the vaccine will change your DNA. No, it won't. The idea that the vaccine is associated with infertility. No, it's not," Caulfield said Monday in a phone interview. "There is just an incredible amount of misinformation out there about COVID. I've been studying misinformation for decades. I've never seen anything like this." He said the campaign was already trending on Twitter on Monday, the day of its launch. Caulfield is known for taking actor Gwyneth Paltrow's wellness brand Goop to task in his book "Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong about Everything?'' as well as for a Netflix series called "A User's Guide to Cheating Death." The initiative is in collaboration with the Canadian Association of Science Centres, COVID-19 Resources Canada, and the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta. "There's been research that has shown that the spread of misinformation is having an adverse impact on health and science policy, it's led to increased stigma and discrimination, and it's just added to the chaotic information environment that we all have to deal with," Caufield said. "The evidence tells us that debunking does work if you do it well, so we're trying to do it well. We're trying to listen. We're trying to be empathetic in our approach. We're trying to be creative in our messaging and, hopefully, even if we move the needle a little bit, we can make a difference." A spokesperson for #ScienceUpFirst says the campaign is pushing to involve Canadian athletes and celebrities to get the word out about tackling misinformation. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. ——— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press
While Metro Vancouver’s streets didn’t receive the sprinkling of snow forecast over the weekend, the North Shore Mountains certainly got a big dumping of powder. Skiers and snowboarders will be pleased to know the three ski hills all recorded more than 28 centimetres of snow in the last 24 hours. Cypress Mountain Ski Resort on Hollyburn Mountain recorded 35 cm of snow in the past 24 hours, while Mount Seymour Resort recorded 32 cm. Meanwhile, Grouse Mountain recorded 28 cm of snow over the past day, including a top-up of 10 cm overnight. Flurries are continuing on the mountains today, so visibility is limited, with temperatures between -2°C to -5°C. Lisa Erven, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said the recent dumping of snow was due to colder air settling over British Columbia. “Leading up to it, we finally had colder air settle over the province that helped contribute to low freezing levels and low temperatures so that when the precipitation did come, it fell as snow for the North Shore mountain ski resorts,” she said. Plus, Erven said conditions were looking good for a little more snow on the mountains this week. “The ingredients are there for snowfall or at least light snowfall amounts throughout this week for the North Shore ski resorts,” she said. “Temperatures are looking fairly cool throughout the work week, so that would help keep freezing levels low so that any precipitation that does fall, it will likely come down as snow. “In terms of the forecast this week, I don't see anything substantial hitting the mountains, but just, you know, a little bit [of snow] sort of every day or every other day, which will help refresh conditions throughout the week.” The Metro Vancouver forecast also calls for a chance of flurries this week, with predictions of rain showers or flurries from Tuesday night through Friday. “For the next several days, we've got freezing levels that are going to remain fairly low, and that's why you see in our public forecast, for the City of Vancouver itself, snow mixed in with rain, and it's because the freezing levels are low enough that there's the potential for precipitation to switch over to snow or to have some snow mixed in with the rain,” said Erven. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
New Brunswick's health minister says she believes the province can stay on track with its vaccination goals for the first quarter of 2021 despite a disruption in the supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine starting this week. Dorothy Shephard says she's hopeful the federal government is right when it says Pfizer will "ramp up" shipments of its COVID-19 vaccine in March so that supplies catch up and provinces can still hit their targets. But in the meantime the province will have to adjust its roll-out plans for February to deal with the reduction in shipments, which includes no new Pfizer vaccine for Canada this week. "We can't issue vaccines if we don't have the vaccine to release," Shepherd said Monday. "Absolutely we are making those changes." She did not provide details of what those changes would be. She also added: "We have been assured that the shipments will be ramped up in March so that we should be able to meet our planned vaccination rollout for [the first quarter] in the month of March. … So I expect March is going to be very busy." As of Monday, New Brunswick had received 21,675 vaccine doses, including a shipment of 3,900 doses from Pfizer last Friday. 'Almost easier than the flu shot' One of those doses went into the arm of family physician Dr. Marc-André Doucet at a clinic at the Chaleur Regional Hospital in Bathurst on Saturday. "There was no wait," Doucet said. "Everything was smooth sailing. "We're privileged to be among the first to have it. Obviously I think we're also exposed to the risk, so it makes sense." He said he suffered no side effects from the dose he received Saturday, his first. "It's actually almost easier than the flu shot I get every year." On Monday, Ontario said it would postpone shots to some health care workers in February because of the Pfizer delays, so that long-term care residents at greater risk could be vaccinated with the supply the province has. Shephard said in New Brunswick, another vaccine from Moderna is being used for long-term care residents so that won't be affected by the Pfizer delay. Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander leading vaccine logistics for the Public Health Agency of Canada, recently said there would be no Pfizer deliveries to Canada this week and that shipments would reduced by up to 50 per cent over four weeks. New Brunswick had been due to receive 35,100 Pfizer doses between now and the end of February. The federal government's delivery schedule website hasn't been updated with new numbers for Pfizer. The company is upgrading its plant in Belgium to manufacture even more doses this year than originally planned, but that means slowing production temporarily. The site shows New Brunswick is still expected to receive 4,300 doses of Moderna's vaccine next week and another 4,700 doses in the final week of February. The province has also been holding back 7,418 doses to ensure there are enough second shots for everyone who has had a first one. Shephard said 1,300 people were vaccinated at 10 long-term care facilities last week, as well as 1,950 health-care workers at hospitals in Bathurst, Edmundston, Saint John and Fredericton. 20 long-term care facilities to get Moderna vaccine Another 750 people at 20 long-term care facilities will get doses of the Moderna vaccine this week, along with 1,600 health-care workers who will get their second dose. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots to be fully effective. So far 14,257 New Brunswickers have received at least one shot and 2,839 have had both doses and are considered fully immunized. Shephard said the province could go faster if it had more supply. "It continues to not be a matter of our ability to vaccinate, but that we do not have the vaccine in sufficient quantities yet." Last week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the CEO of Pfizer has personally assured him that shipments would pick up again and catch up with the original shipment schedule by the end of March. "That has yet to be seen," Shephard said. "We can only hope that is what will happen." Anyone who wants vaccine could get it by fall In December, the federal government said there would be enough Pfizer vaccine to immunize three million Canadians by the end of March. With per capita distribution that would mean 60,000 New Brunswickers. The province hopes that by fall any New Brunswicker who wants the vaccine will have had the chance to get it. "Our goal is to get to September and be where we want to be," Shephard said. "These kinds of adjustments have to be made, we have to work with them, and we will continue to work with them."
A man banished from Onion Lake Cree Nation was arrested there on Dec. 8, 2020. RCMP arrested Terrance Stonechild, 32, on Onion Lake Dec. 8, 2020, and charged him with weapons and drug-related offences. Onion Lake Cree Nation band council “banished” 32 people from its community in 2020 as they continue to fight illegal drug and gang activity. The banished individuals have “contravened and violated peace and good order in the territory of the Onion Lake Cree Nation, and thereby are banished,” Okimaw (Chief) Henry Lewis posted on OLCN’s website Sept. 3, 2020. Names and photos of the banned individuals were posted on OLCN’s website. Lewis said the band council was exercising its authority and jurisdiction under convention law and land law. The OLCN band council asked people to call Onion Lake RCMP if they saw any of the banned individuals in the community. OLCN declared a state of emergency Jan. 22, 2020, after gang-related violence and drug activity. They drove out suspected gang members and boarded up about 15 suspected meth houses. Stonechild pleaded not guilty to the drug and weapons charges and elected to be tried by provincial court judge alone. A trial has been set in Lloydminster Provincial Court in June. OLCN has three townships spanning 188,000 acres and is on the Saskatchewan-Alberta border about 50 kilometres north of Lloydminster, Sask. firstname.lastname@example.org Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter / Battlefords News-Optimist Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Monday reinstated COVID-19 travel restrictions on most non-U.S. travellers from Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom and 26 other European countries that allow travel across open borders. He also added South Africa to the list. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said South Africa was added to the restricted list because of concerns about a variant of the virus that has spread beyond that nation. “This isn’t the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel,” Psaki said. The prohibition Biden is reinstating suspends entry to nearly all foreign nationals who have been in any of the countries on the restricted list at any point during the 14 days before their scheduled travel to the U.S. The new requirements go into effect on Tuesday. Top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci called Biden's decision to reinstate the travel restrictions—and add South Africa to the list— “prudent” in a round of television interviews Monday. “We have concern about the mutation that’s in South Africa," Fauci told "CBS This Morning." "We’re looking at it very actively. It is clearly a different and more ominous than the one in the U.K., and I think it’s very prudent to restrict travel of noncitizens.” Biden revered an order from President Donald Trump in his final days in office that called for the relaxation of the travel restrictions as of Tuesday. Trump's move was made in conjunction with a new requirement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that all international travellers to the U.S. obtain a negative test for COVID-19 within three days of boarding their flight. Last week, Biden expanded on the CDC requirement and directed that federal agencies require international travellers to quarantine upon arrival in the U.S. and obtain another negative test to slow the spread of the virus. Those requirements also go into effect Tuesday. The 26 European countries impacted by reinstatement of the ban are part of the border-free Schengen zone. They include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Biden's team had announced that he would reimpose the travel restrictions, but the addition of South Africa to the restricted travel list highlights the new administration’s concern about mutations in the virus. The South Africa variant has not been discovered in the United States, but another variant — originating in the United Kingdom — has been detected in several states. Fauci said there is “a very slight, modest diminution” of the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against those variants but “there’s enough cushion with the vaccines that we have that we still consider them to be effective against both the UK strain and the South Africa strain.” But he warned that more mutations are possible and said scientists are preparing to adapt the vaccines if necessary. “We really need to make sure that we begin, and we already have, to prepare if it’s necessary to upgrade the vaccines,” Fauci said. “We’re already taking steps in that direction despite the fact that the vaccines we have now do work.” Aamer Madhani And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
Canada’s Natural Resource Minister Seamus O'Regan rebuffed calls to issue sanctions on the United States over President Joe Biden‘s move to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion. He said the government has a “responsibility to Albertans to safeguard our relationship with the single largest customer for Canadian crude.”
NEW YORK — Illustrator Michaela Goade became the first Native American to win the prestigious Randolph Caldecott Medal for best children's picture story, cited for “We Are Water Protectors.” Tae Keller's “When You Trap a Tiger” won the John Newbery Medal for the outstanding children's book overall of 2020. Jacqueline Woodson, whose previous honours include a National Book Award, won her third Coretta Scott King Award for best work by a Black author for “Before the Ever After.” And a tribute to Aretha Franklin, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T," received the King award for best illustration. The book was written by Carole Boston Weatherford, with images by Frank Morrison. The awards were announced Monday by the American Library Association. Goade is a member of the Tlingit and Haida Indian tribes in Southeast Alaska. “We Are Water Protectors,” written by Carole Lindstrom, is a call for environmental protection that was conceived in response to the planned construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline through Standing Rock Sioux territory. Keller, who was raised in Hawaii and now lives in New York, drew upon Korean folklore for “When You Trap a Tiger," in which a young girl explores her past. Keller's work also was named the year's best Asian/Pacific American literature. The Newbery medal was established in 1922, the Caldecott in 1937. Goade is the first Native American to win in either category. Daniel Nayeri's “Everything Sad Is Untrue (a true story)" won the Michael L. Printz Award for best young adult novel, and Mildred D. Taylor, known for “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” among other works, was given a “Literature Legacy” award. Kekla Magoon, who has written or co-written “X: A Novel" and “How It Went Down,” won a lifetime achievement award for young adult books. Ernesto Cisneros' “Efrén Divided" won the Pura Belpré prize for outstanding Latinx author. Raul Gonzalez's “Vamos! Let’s Go Eat” received the Belpré award for illustration. The Stonewall Book Award for best LGBT literature was given to Archaa Shrivastav for “We Are Little Feminists: Families." ____ On the Internet: ala.org. Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — The Quebec government came under pressure Monday to ease lockdown restrictions, from the opposition who called for the homeless to be curfew exempt, to regional mayors who said the rules are unjustified in their towns. Mayors in less-populated parts of the province where COVID-19 infections rates are low said health authorities should ease restrictions after they are set to expire Feb. 8. Marc Parent, the mayor of Rimouski, Que., said his region shouldn't be treated like Montreal, which reports hundreds of new cases every day. Rimouski, by contrast, located about 540 kilometres northeast of Montreal, reported a single new case on Sunday, he said. “When you look at the lower St-Lawrence, the Gaspe and the North Shore, we are in the neighbourhood of about 10 cases per 100,000 residents,” Parent said in an interview Monday. He said residents are looking for health orders to reflect the COVID situation in their region. “I believe the Quebec government must take into consideration the regional realities … it’s a must," Parent said. Much of Quebec has been under some form of lockdown since October, when in-person dining at restaurants, bars, gyms and entertainment venues were closed. But in early January, following a rise in COVID-related hospitalizations, the premier ordered all non-essential businesses across the province to close and imposed an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for virtually all Quebecers. Rejean Porlier, mayor of Sept-Iles, Que., said he’s had conversations with Quebec’s director of public health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, about identifying thresholds that would trigger certain extra measures as needed. “That’s what was behind the colour-coded system in the beginning, but we’re in a completely different place now: it’s oatmeal for everyone,” Porlier said. He said curfews and restaurant closures don't make sense in Sept-Iles, located about 650 kilometres northeast of Quebec City, which reported zero new COVID-19 cases on Sunday and five cases last week. “We’ll have to respect the decisions that are taken but we’re hopeful our concerns will be heard and we’ll be able to resume certain activities here,” Porlier said. “When there are zero cases, our (hospital) beds aren’t occupied, what could justify such extreme measures?” Also on Monday, opposition parties joined community groups for a virtual news conference during which they repeated demands the government exempt the homeless from the provincewide curfew. Meanwhile, lawyers argued in Quebec Superior Court that the curfew violates homeless people's Charter rights to safety and security and to be protected against cruel and unusual punishment or treatment. The judge hearing the case is expected to rule later in the week. Last week, Premier Francois Legault rejected the Montreal mayor's request for an exemption, saying he had concerns people would fake homelessness to defy the curfew and avoid the fine, which can be as high as $6,000. Montreal's request came following the recent death of Raphael Andre, a 51-year-old homeless Innu man found dead in a portable toilet. New data indicates the daily infection rate and number of hospitalizations are trending downward. Quebec has reported a drop in hospitalizations for the past six reporting periods, representing 179 fewer patients in hospital. Health officials reported 1,203 new cases of COVID-19 Monday and 43 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including 12 that occurred in the past 24 hours. The Health Department said hospitalizations dropped by six, to 1,321 and 217 patients were in intensive care, a decrease of two. Fewer hospitalizations in recent days are starting to impact hospitalizations, Heath Minister Christian Dube said. "Case data continue to be encouraging," Dube said in a tweet announcing the daily count. "It shows that our efforts over the past few weeks are bearing fruit." Health officials said Monday 1,672 more people have recovered from COVID-19, for a total of 228,887, adding that Quebec has 16,424 active reported cases. Officials said 220,715 doses of vaccine had been administered as of Sunday, representing 2.58 per cent of the population that had been vaccinated. Quebec has reported 254,836 infections and 9,521 deaths linked to the virus since the beginning of the pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. — with files from Morgan Lowrie Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
She’s had Dex since he could fit in her hand. As a puppy, Dex had an overbite that made nursing impossible. So Cindi Ilchuk adopted and hand fed the dog until he was able to eat. Now he’s 10 years old, 65 pounds, and the two are inseparable. “Dex is a support dog. He’s not an officially trained support dog, but he fell into the job and he’s filled the role wonderfully,” said Ilchuk’s stepfather Wayne Pierce. “That dog is everything to Cindi. I don’t know what she’d do without him. He’s the one constant in her life.” On Jan. 17, Dex broke his paw in the panic that ensued when a fire engulfed the hallway at Ilchuk’s apartment — the Town Park Apartment C block fire that has displaced everyone who lived in the 15 units. RELATED: ‘Suspicious’ Port Hardy apartment fire could keep tenants out of their homes for months RELATED: Fundraiser started for tenants left hanging after apartment fire In the panic of the fire, Ilchuck slid down the drain pipe to escape the fire and smoke in the hallway. A friend tried to pass Dex down to her. She half-caught, half-broke the dog’s fall, but he landed on one paw breaking it badly. “Everyone heard him yelp when that happened,” Pierce said. If the break had been a few inches higher, a simple cast could have been used. But the paw was broken at a joint, and requires surgery. Dex has been at the North Island Veterinarian Hospital since the fire and is getting anxious for Ilchuk, staff told Pierce. Pierce will take Dex to Campbell River Veterinarian Hospital for surgery on Jan. 25, but isn’t sure how their family will cover the $4,000 bill, plus over $1,000 due to the North Island Veterinarian Hospital. Ilchuk is on disability income for a variety of health challenges, and now faces the imminent challenge of finding new housing. She has been living in Town Park Apartment C-block in Port Hardy for just over a year — the longest home Pierce can remember in the last 20 years. Ilchuk’s mother Ann Ilchuk has started a GoFundMe account to raise funds towards the surgery costs: https://gofund.me/70f1ef35. Staff at both veterinarian hospitals will also accept payments to Dex’s account. RCMP consider the fire suspicious and are investigating. 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
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Groups of youths confronted police in Dutch towns and cities Monday night, defying the country's coronavirus curfew and throwing fireworks. Police in the port city of Rotterdam used a water cannon and tear gas in an attempt to disperse a crowd of rioters. Police and local media reported trouble in the capital, Amsterdam, where at least eight people were arrested, the central city of Amersfoort, where a car was turned on its side, and other towns before and after the 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. curfew began. It was the second night of unrest in towns and cities across the Netherlands that initially grew out of calls to protest against the country's tough lockdown, but degenerated into vandalism by crowds whipped up by messages swirling on social media. Rotterdam police said youths took to the streets “seeking a confrontation with police.” Riot officers attempted to break up the violence and made a number of arrests, before firing tear gas. Police warned people to stay away from the area. National broadcaster NOS showed video of police using a water cannon and reported that some shops had been looted. In the southern town of Geleen, police tweeted that youths in the downtown area were throwing fireworks. Riot police charged at protesters in The Hague. Dutch media reported calls on social media for further violent protests even as the country struggles to contain new coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths. Police in the southern town of Goes and the North Holland province said they detained people on suspicion of using social media to call for rioting. “It is unacceptable,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte said earlier Monday of rioting Sunday. “This has nothing to do with protesting, this is criminal violence and that's how we'll treat it.” Worst hit Sunday was the southern city of Eindhoven, where police clashed with hundreds of rioters who torched a car, threw rocks and fireworks at officers, smashed windows and looted a supermarket at its railway station. “My city is crying, and so am I,” Eindhoven Mayor John Jorritsma told reporters Sunday night in an emotional impromptu news conference. He called the rioters “the scum of the earth” and added “I am afraid that if we continue down this path, we’re on our way to civil war." Amsterdam police arrested 190 people amid rioting at a banned demonstration Sunday. The rioting coincided with the first weekend of a new national coronavirus curfew, but mayors stressed that the violence wasn't the work of citizens concerned about their civil liberties. “These demonstrations are being hijacked by people who only want one thing and that is to riot,” Hubert Bruls, mayor of the city of Nijmegen and leader of a group of local security organizations, told news talk show Op1. Nijmegen was one of a number of towns and cities that issued emergency decrees giving police extra powers to keep people away from certain locations amid reports of possible riots there. At least one store in Nijmegen was shown on Dutch television being boarded up as a precaution. Bruls, who chaired a meeting of security officials Monday, said despite the violence, he didn't advocate further limiting demonstrations. “You should be very reluctant to limit the right to demonstrate,” he said, noting that the rioting Sunday happened at protests that already had been banned by local authorities. Police in Eindhoven said Monday they have detained 62 suspects and have launched a large-scale investigation to identify and arrest more. One woman not involved in the rioting in Eindhoven was injured by a police horse. Local residents went to the scene of the rioting Monday morning to help in the cleanup operation. On Sunday, rioters threw rocks at the windows of a hospital in the eastern city of Enschede. On Saturday night, youths in the fishing village of Urk torched a coronavirus testing facility. Police in the southern province of Limburg said military police were sent as reinforcements to two cities. The Netherlands has seen over 13,600 confirmed virus deaths in the pandemic. ___ Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Mike Corder, The Associated Press
Le conseil municipal de la Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts a remis à plus tard les démarches visant l’édification d’un projet immobilier dans le secteur du Mont-Habitant. « Nous avons dû remettre à plus tard les consultations publiques pour l’évaluation de ce projet. Nous devons attendre après la Santé publique, afin de pouvoir réunir de 50 à 75 citoyens en un même endroit, à cause de la Covid. On préfère prendre notre temps, agir en toute transparence et voir ce que le promoteur voudra faire. Il est question de possiblement baisser le nombre de maisons mises en chantier », a décrit le maire de Saint-Sauveur, M. Jacques Gariépy. « J’aimerais rassurer les gens, qui me disent que l’on va perdre une belle montagne. Rassurez-vous, il n’est pas question de toucher à la station de ski. C’est un projet à part ». Le premier citoyen sauverien a tenu à souligner l’envoi à Québec d’une résolution de son conseil, demandant à la SQ d’exercer un contrôle plus serré auprès des personnes en provenance des zones rouges, vers la MRC des Pays-d’en-Haut. « Nous l’avons acheminé à la ministre de la sécurité publique, au premier-ministre Legault, au préfêt de la MRC, à notre députée/ministre Marguerite Blais, etc. On veut que tous les moyens soient pris pour garder notre taux de contamination bas ». Enfin, M. Garipéy espère conclure avant la période des fêtes une entente avec la MRC des PDH, afin que les résidents de Saint-Sauveur puissent utiliser gratuitement les sentiers du territoire de la MRC. Il y aura une collecte des encombrants les 3 et 4 novembre prochains. Les citoyens qui souhaitent utiliser ce service doivent s’inscrire en ligne sur le site de la municipalité avant le 30 octobre à midi. Le port du masque est maintenant obligatoire à l’écocentre, dès votre arrivée, pour protéger le personnel et les utilisateurs du site.Ève Ménard, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Two major casino companies announced deals Monday with daily fantasy sports providers as they seek to expand their reach and integrate different forms of fan engagement with professional sports into their gambling operations. In the first deal, announced Monday morning, Bally's continued its acquisition juggernaut by acquiring the daily fantasy sports company Monkey Knife Fight in an all-stock transaction that further widens the fast-growing company's drive to add casino, online sports betting and media companies. Later in the day, Caesars Entertainment announced a strategic investment in SuperDraft, a daily fantasy sports company launched in September 2019, with the option to acquire the whole company over time. Daily fantasy sports involves players assembling virtual rosters of professional athletes, and then competing against others based on the performance of those athletes in real life. It is played just for fun, as well as for cash. There has been growing synergy between daily fantasy sports and sports betting; two of the original dominant fantasy providers, DraftKings and FanDuel, have become leading sports betting bookmakers in the U.S. Providence, Rhode Island-based Bally's becomes the third U.S. sports betting company to have a daily fantasy sports component, along with DraftKings and FanDuel. Bally's has been on a tear in recent months, adding gambling and media properties as it aims to become a major national player. “With this acquisition, we are pleased to enter into the high-growth (daily fantasy sports) market," said George Papanier, the company's president and CEO. "Monkey Knife Fight is a unique asset that we look forward to incorporating into Bally’s constantly growing omnichannel portfolio of land-based casinos and iGaming platforms.” Bally's recent moves include the purchase of Bally's casino in Atlantic City, a media partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group and its pending acquisition of Bet.Works. The company plans to integrate Monkey Knife Fight's geographic presence in 37 states, Washington, D.C., and Canada, with Sinclair’s portfolio of 21 regional sports networks. Monkey Knife fight has about 180,000 registered users, 80,000 of whom have made monetary deposits in order to play. Papanier said Monkey Knife Fight will support Bally’s plans to develop a potential customer database in states that have not yet adopted sports betting but which are considered lucrative potential markets, including California, Florida and Texas, as well as in Canada. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021. Caesars did not divulge the amount of its investment in SuperDraft, which operates in more than 35 states. "We’re super excited to be part of Caesars’ powerful gaming ecosystem,” said Steve Wang, CEO and founder of SuperDraft. “Daily fantasy players deserve a breath of fresh air, and we’re here to transform the industry. SuperDraft is now well-positioned to accelerate its growth with financial staying power while broadening its consumer appeal with bigger contests and better rewards to players of all interest levels.” ___ Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC. Wayne Parry, The Associated Press