Amid jump in domestic violence reports to police in Alberta during COVID-19, some women's shelters have seen a drop in calls for service.
Amid jump in domestic violence reports to police in Alberta during COVID-19, some women's shelters have seen a drop in calls for service.
WASHINGTON — Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.Barr's comments, in an interview Tuesday with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month's voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.More to Trump's liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn't said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn't comment Tuesday.Trump has long railed against the investigation into whether his 2016 campaign was co-ordinating with Russia, but he and Republican allies had hoped the results would be delivered before the 2020 election and would help sway voters. So far, there has been only one criminal case, a guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer to a single false statement charge.Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest. An attorney general must document such reasons in writing.Barr went to the White House Tuesday for a previously scheduled meeting that lasted about three hours.Trump didn't directly comment on the attorney general's remarks on the election. But his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, "with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president's complaints.Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump's allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired. But it's not clear whether Barr might suffer the same fate. He maintains a lofty position with Trump, and despite their differences the two see eye-to-eye on quite a lot.Still, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quipped: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud.That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election was certified. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.The Trump campaign team led by Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers didn’t have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened. The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence.But local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims, prompting grave concerns over potential damage to American democracy.Trump himself continues to rail against the election in tweets and in interviews though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever. He recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but he still refuses to admit he lost.The issues they've have pointed to are typical in every election: Problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.But they've gone further. Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” – the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. Powell has since been removed from the legal team after an interview she gave where she threatened to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.Barr didn't name Powell specifically but said: “There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”In the campaign statement, Giuliani claimed there was “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined.”“We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth,” he said.However, Barr said earlier that people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said a remedy for many complaints would be a top-down audit by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all," he said, but first there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. ... And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on."___Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
Toronto FC will be going after goals in searching for a third designated player.The slot became open this week when TFC announced that while it was open to Argentine winger Pablo Piatti returning, it would not be as a DP."We need someone that can come in and help us score goals at a very high clip, that can create relationships with our players on the field and off the field, that can contribute in a lot of different ways, that has a great character and personality off the field," GM Ali Curtis told reporters Tuesday.Toronto's other designated players are Spanish playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo and striker Jozy Altidore.TFC tied for 12th in goal-scoring this season in the 26-team league, averaging 1.43 goals a game.Young striker Ayo Akinola and Pozuelo each had nine goals while fullback/midfielder Richie Laryea and Piatti had four apiece. Altidore, limited to just 13 appearances through injury, had two goals."Obviously our real only consistent goal-scorer this year was Ayo and so that's an area we're looking to upgrade," team president Bill Manning said of his strike force.The hunt will go on in conjunction with the search for a coach to follow Greg Vanney, who stepped down Tuesday.Toronto (13-5-5) posted the second-best regular-season record in MLS in 2020 despite only playing four games at BMO field due to pandemic-related travel restrictions.There will be other changes."How much change? It's such a relative kind of term," said Curtis. "But there will be change. We have to bring in a new coach. We've got to find a way to get better we can win these trophies."Pozuelo has been a hit right out of the box, a member of the league's Best XI in his two MLS seasons and a leading contender for MVP this year. Altidore can be a force to be reckoned with when healthy, but keeping him out on the pitch has been a problem.Curtis said Altidore will be back next year, although his words did not come with a guarantee."Jozy's been a really big part of TFC over the years … Unfortunately he had a couple of injuries and wasn't able to be on the field as much as we'd like but we're looking to have Jozy back next year and we'll go from there."(If) for some reason we were to have a conversation and something were to change or things like that, then just like any player we would have that conversation. But for the most part right now I think the focus is on how we can find a player to fill that designated player slot and how can we find a coach to help lead our team on the field."The team also has high hopes for 23-year-old rookie forward Ifunanyachi Achara, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the second game of the season.While Toronto has declined its option on Piatti, Manning said there were lots of positives with the 31-year-old Argentine and that Curtis has had "very good discussions" with his agent."So if we're in a situation where we can have a new designated player and Pablo on the team together, I think we're going to be better," he added.Said Curtis: "Pablo was a great addition … We're just looking for something slightly different."As for 21-year-old Scottish fullback Tony Gallacher, Curtis said the club's loan agreement with Liverpool did not come with an option to buy.Curtis said the club continues talks with 33-year-old fullback Justin Morrow, whose contract expires at the end of the season."We'd like for Justin to come back but we also recognize that he's earned the right to be a free agent. He's a good soccer player … He's got a lot of juice in him as a soccer player."Morrow also serves as executive director of Black Players for Change.As for 35-year-old defender Laurent Ciman, Curtis said he plans a conversation with his agent but was unsure about his future.\---Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
Et la lumière fut! Samedi en soirée, à Natashquan, la croix de fer a de nouveau illuminé le promontoire en face de l’église du village. L’installation des ampoules DEL et l’illumination de la structure constituaient la dernière étape d’un projet de restauration mené par le comité de soutien à la Fabrique de l’église. Le sablage au jet et la peinture, tout comme les manœuvres de déboulonnement et de réinstallation, ont été effectués par de généreux bénévoles. La compagnie Mini Équipement du Havre s’est chargée du retour de la croix de plus de 2220 livres vers son socle. C’est la compagne GLR qui avait fourni le camion pour le transport de la structure vers le garage où les travaux devaient être accomplis. Grâce à une campagne virtuelle via la plateforme GoFundMe et de nombreux dons faits en mains propres, le comité de soutien a amassé 5649 $ dollars, dont 2562 $ ont servi à la remise à neuf de la croix. Le montant restant servira aux autres projets du comité, notamment la réparation de la porte du cimetière. Construite en 1987 par Jacques Landry, son père, Normand, et d’autres proches, la croix de fer fait partie du patrimoine religieux des Macacains et des Macacaines.Laurence Dami-Houle, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Portageur
REGINA — Saskatchewan's minister of corrections and policing says she doesn't know how the novel coronavirus got into a jail where more than 100 inmates are infected — and she isn't going to try to find out. Christine Tell says precautions were in place to try to prevent the virus's transmission in jails.Inmates have been required to isolate for 14 days upon arrival and correctional officers have been wearing masks since the summer.Despite that, the Justice Ministry said 107 inmates and 23 staff at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Monday. "Why it came into the facility with all the precautions, I can't answer that," Tell said Tuesday. Asked if she would try to find out what happened, Tell responded "no.""I cannot say how it got in there," said Tell. "There's no possible way for us to find out."NDP justice critic Nicole Sarauer said Tell's response was unsurprising. "It makes me wonder if she worries about the safety of the inmates and the staff in our correctional centres," Sarauer said. "This is a minister that shouldn't be a minister anymore."The government made masks mandatory for all provincial inmates last week. Offenders had only been required to wear them when they showed symptoms or moved around a facility. Some of the inmates at the Saskatoon jail say getting masks now is too little too late and they are worried about overcrowding.Troy Maurice said his unit has a shared bathroom with 15 bunk beds and five portable beds on the floor.“I feel like a science experiment. I feel like a lab rat being watched by scientists," the 29-year-old recently told The Canadian Press.Maurice said the bunks are close together, there isn't enough air flow and inmates on the unit have been together for weeks. “We shouldn’t be jam-packed like tuna fish," Maurice said."It was impossible to get away from everybody. There are guys who tested positive for COVID on the bottom bunks and the guys on the top bunks are just deathly scared."Cory Charles Cardinal, another inmate, said people are coughing on his unit and the jail didn't put enough precautions in place to prevent the virus from spreading.“They just gave out a little memorandum every once in a while saying try (to) wash your hands and social distance," said Cardinal, who added some inmates have been reluctant to get tested out of fear of being ostracized.Tell acknowledged that overcrowding has been an issue in the province's jails for more than 20 years and said her government has expanded capacity. "I think COVID is bigger than our government," she said The Ministry of Justice said public-health officials have advised that movement between units should be restricted because offenders who test negative could still have been exposed to positive cases."This is a similar precaution that has occurred in other provinces that have experienced a COVID-19 outbreak in a correctional centre," said spokesman Noel Busse. "Additionally, Corrections must continue to ensure that incompatible offenders (rival gang members) are not put in a situation where they are more likely to endanger themselves or others."Busse said last week that most inmates in Saskatoon's jail who tested positive were asymptotic. Temporary trailers were brought in so those offenders could isolate.Justice officials said no more inmates are being sent to the Saskatoon jail. They are being diverted to jails in Regina and Prince Albert. The provincial government said that despite COVID-19 it has no plans to release offenders who are serving sentences.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
Regina– On Nov. 30, Premier Scott Moe made reference of possible easing of COVID-19 socialization restrictions in time for Christmas. On Dec. 1, New Democratic Party Leader Ryan Meili told Moe during question period, “At this rate, the only thing you’ll be opening for Christmas is a field hospital.” Speaking to reporters after question period on Dec. 1 regarding current modelling of COVID-19’s spread in Saskatchewan, Moe said, “Modelling is modelling, and not in any way predictions. Modelling is put together to predict what our responses should be.” He noted a number of initiatives were put in last week, and the government was looking for success by Dec. 17 to only curb the increased rate of infection experienced over the last few weeks, which as also been experienced by the rest of Canada and North America. Moe said, “If we are able to, in some way, have some type of reprieve, of that rate of transmission, Dr. (Saqib Shahab) is working on what those scenarios may look like, and what recommendations to see what that looks like. “This is part of the short-term goal, to allow potentially people to see their loved ones for a short period of time, with the appropriate safety, personal protection, to see a loved one in a long-term care centre,” he said. “In order for that to happen, people need to adhere to the measures that are in place. And we need to see, and Dr. Shahab will speak more specifically to this, as we get closer to December 17, which is the time when we are either going to relax, renew or intensify the restrictions that were put in place last week.” Responding to a reporter who asked it was his place to provide hope, Moe said, “If it was my place to provide hope, and to provide opportunity, and to provide some targets for people across the province to work towards, between now and December 25th, I think it is.” He said Quebec will have “a little bit of a different standard” from Dec. 24 to Dec. 27 regarding social gatherings, for instance. Dr. Shahab, Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer, would be making the recommendations, Moe said. “It may be the status quo,” Moe said. He expressed hope, saying, “I would think its everyone’s hope that we would be able to see some of our family over Christmas. I, myself, my wife, we are already making plans for that not to happen in our family. Unfortunately, I know many other people across the province are likely having the same conversation with their immediate families.” Moe noted it’s been a nine, 10 long months across the world, and “we do need some opportunities to look forward to. Christmas maybe one of those opportunities. We're hoping it is it may not be.” He noted widespread access to a vaccine is another opportunity. Moe said risk to long-term care facilities can be mitigated through the usage of personal protective equipment. Meili on Christmas Meili told reporters, “I think he should acknowledge that he should have acted when the experts said to him, when 400 doctors came up and said, ‘You need to take action now. Do that circuit breaker.’ “That’s what would have saved Christmas. I think trying to spin people a story that somehow we'll be opening up for Christmas at the same time, as we're really going to be opening field hospitals, is dishonest and should not be approached.” Meili continued, “He should be honest with Saskatchewan people about what the modeling actually says. And that's what frustrates me so much. You’ve got the Minister of Health out here yesterday, trying to tell people that an optimistic scenario that wasn't even realistic, when it was presented, was already passed when it was presented, is still something that's going to happen. “When they presented this scenario is the modeling to the doctors, they didn't even include that because, they know it's false. If you've got modeling that shows something different than what you're saying, that's being dishonest. Meili said, “Certainly, I won't be joining my folks for Christmas, which makes me very sad. I hope people are going to make this, we're going to find this really hard, to not be able to get together. I hope that people will be making the wisest choice. And obviously, we'll see what the numbers are doing. But right now, it doesn't look like that's a serious possibility. And I think it's up to the premier to show leadership and responsibility. Be honest with them.” Meili said, “The premier is the one who is making the decisions. We know that he has made decisions for political reasons that have got us into this situation.” Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
The Town of Drumheller reported the hundredth case of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic on Thursday, November 26. The number of total cases, both active and those with an outcome, nearly doubled from 51 cases on Monday, November 16 to 101 cases on November 26. On Monday, November 23 the Town of Drumheller had the eighth highest regional rate of active cases with 700 active cases per 100,000 population, beating out all but one region in both Calgary and Edmonton. As of Monday, November 30 the rate of active cases in Drumheller has dropped to 533 active cases per 100,000. There are currently 48 active cases, with 57 recovered and two deaths. Wheatland County has 21 active cases and there are 13 active cases in Kneehill County; both counties remain on enhanced status, along with the Town of Drumheller. Starland County has four active cases.Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail
MILLBROOK, Ala. — The owners of an outdoor recreation destination in Alabama fear a days-old baby goat has been stolen from a free-ranging herd near a former movie set and tourist attraction. Two newborn goats from the herd on Jackson Lake Island in Milbrook have disappeared since November, according to the owners. The property has public access for fishing and camping, as well as the fictional town of Spectre, where scenes for the 2003 Tim Burton film “Big Fish” were shot, The Montgomery Advertiser reported. There are about 55 grown goats on the property and they sometimes sleep under the church on the set, the newspaper said. One of the goats, Bambi, was taken in early November but was returned about a day later, said Lynn Bright, who owns the property and goats and is the former first lady of Montgomery. Bambi died after being away from his mother, she added. Bluebell, who was born Friday, has since gone missing. “We know who took Bambi,” Bright said. “We have addressed that with the young man’s family, and we are still considering taking legal action. We can’t be certain if Bluebell wasn’t carried off by an animal. But we had reports of a family passing her around before she went missing.” The owners posted photos of Bluebell to Facebook on Monday calling for the public's help in returning the animal and putting a stop to stealing the goats. Bright added that baby goats have gone missing from the property before. “We love sharing our goats for everyone to enjoy," the post said. "However, we can’t continue to let them roam free and play with everyone if this keeps happening. We love our babies too much, and we must keep them safe. We are now installing even more cameras on the island, and we hope this post helps.” The Associated Press
Toronto Police have arrested and charged a man with the attempted murder of an officer. It’s the second time within a 48 hour period where an officer has been injured on the job. Shocking video has been released of the one of the incidents showing the alleged moment the officer was hit by the suspect’s stolen vehicle. Miranda Anthistle reports.
A man is in critical condition after a crash at BC Ferries' Tsawwassen Terminal on Tuesday.BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall said it happened at about 12:30 p.m., as the Coastal Renaissance sailing from Duke Point was finishing its disembarking routine."The last vehicle to be unloaded off the upper car deck drove off the ship, accelerated rapidly and smashed through a concrete wall. The vehicle then fell approximately 30 feet (nine metres) to the lower holding compound of the terminal, landing on its roof," said Marshall.B.C. Emergency Health Services confirmed that one patient was taken to hospital in critical condition. Marshall, along with Delta police confirmed that no other people were in the pickup truck or in its path, as it plummeted to the ground below the loading ramp.The Coastal Renaissance is about an hour behind schedule, but no other BC Ferries sailings were affected, said Marshall.
OTTAWA — More than 100 years after a young soldier from Newfoundland was killed on a battlefield in Belgium, the Canadian military has officially confirmed his identity through genetic analysis of remains unearthed in 2016.When he enlisted in the Newfoundland Regiment on Aug. 14, 1916, John Lambert of St. John's lied when he told recruiters he was 18. He was only 16 when he shipped out as a private to Scotland for training and later fought in Belgium with the regiment's 1st Battalion.He was reported missing in action north of Ypres on Aug. 16, 1917 during what became known as the Battle of Langemarck. A relative of Lambert's, St. John's resident Shirlene Murphy, said the family kept his memory alive through the years."The family dearly loved him," Murphy said in an interview Tuesday, noting that Lambert was her grandmother's brother. "He was always talked about. There's pictures of him in everybody's house."Everyone in the family referred to him as "Uncle Jack."Lambert's remains, along with those of three unidentified British soldiers, were discovered during an archeological dig in April 2016, near the town of Langemark.The archeologists knew one of the soldiers was a Newfoundlander because his uniform had a NFLD shoulder badge.Sarah Lockyer, a forensic anthropologist with the Department of National Defence, took a lead role in determining his identity.Using DNA samples from bones retrieved from the dig, Lockyer was able to determine his age and height, information that was later cross-referenced with historical data gleaned from the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and the provincial archive at The Rooms in St. John's."We thought we had a really good chance of identifying the Newfoundlander, because there were only 16 missing from that area, which is a very small list of candidates," Lockyer said.Provincial archivist Greg Walsh spent a year tracking down descendants for 13 of the 16 missing soldiers — a painstaking task complicated by the fact that the age on Lambert's official documentation was wrong.Murphy's mother, 90-year-old Patricia Eagan of Mount Pearl, N.L., submitted the DNA sample that proved to be a match with Lambert's profile.The entire process took more than three years, said Lockyer, who is casualty identification co-ordinator with the Defence Department's directorate of history and heritage."That is a very quick turnaround," she said, adding that she worked closely with her counterparts at the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre in the U.K.A padre and the commanding officer of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment officially delivered the news to Eagan on Friday that her uncle had been identified."She's just amazed," said Murphy, referring to her mother. "The first thing she thought about was her mother and how good it would have been if she was around to see this."The Canadian Armed Forces confirmed Tuesday that Lambert will be buried, likely next summer, at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's New Irish Farm Cemetery in West-Vlaanderen, Belgium."It's still emotional, to this day," said Murphy. "But it gives some closure. Everyone is feeling very good about it. His remains have been found, and he can be buried properly with a proper headstone."In Ottawa, the federal government's Casualty Identification Program is in the process of determining the identities for 45 sets of remains from the First World War.Lockyer said the Commonwealth War Graves Commission typically receives the remains of about 40 soldiers every year, most of them uncovered by construction crews digging in northern France.The commission commemorates the 1.7 million Commonwealth military members who died during the two world wars.About 20,000 Canadians were reported missing after the First World War, and another 7,000 to 8,000 after the Second World War."Private Lambert's service demonstrates the courage and sacrifice of this brave service member during the First World War," Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said in a statement. "Although more than a century has passed, we will never forget the ultimate sacrifice he made for Newfoundlanders and Canadians."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.— By Michael MacDonald in HalifaxThe Canadian Press
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):7:50 p.m.British Columbia is reporting 656 new cases of COVID-19 today, with 8,796 active cases across the province.There have been 16 additional deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 457 since the pandemic began.In a joint statement, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix say 336 people are being treated in hospital for COVID-19, and 76 of them are in intensive care.Another 10,123 people are being monitored after they were exposed to a known case of the novel coronavirus.\---2 p.m.Nova Scotia is reporting 10 new cases of COVID-19.Public health officials say all the new cases were found in the central zone, bringing the province's total active case count to 142.Rapid testing was administered at pop-up sites Monday in both Wolfville and Halifax and no cases were found at either site.A total of 4,138 COVID-19 tests were administered in the province Monday.\---1:50 p.m.Public health officials in New Brunswick are reporting seven new cases of COVID-19 in the province Tuesday.Chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell says there are four new cases in the Saint John zone and three new cases in the Fredericton zone.There are currently 116 active cases in the province, and there have been 508 cases in New Brunswick since the pandemic began.There have been seven deaths and no one is in hospital.\---1:35 p.m.Manitoba is reporting 282 new COVID-19 cases and a record 16 deaths. The test positivity rate remains high at 13 per cent, and Premier Brian Pallister says restrictions on business openings and public gatherings may have to remain in place for some time.\---1:10 p.m.Quebec Premier Francois Legault says his government will decide in 10 days whether the province's COVID-19 situation will allow for multi-household gatherings at Christmas.He says an increase in hospitalizations is straining the health-care network, and some hospitals are nearing the limit of how many COVID-19 patients they can treat.The premier says the situation in hospitals and the toll on health-care workers will be the most important factors in determining the plan for Christmas, adding that things are not headed in the right direction.Legault had announced last month that gatherings of up to 10 people would be allowed between Dec. 24 and 27.\---1 p.m.Another measure to limit the spread of COVID-19 took effect in Yukon today, as masks are now mandatory in all indoor, public spaces.Yukon's chief medical officer of health Dr. Brendan Hanley says everyone over the age of five who does not have a medical exemption will be required to wear a mask.The order imposed under Yukon's Civil Emergency Measures Act carries a fine of up to $500 but Hanley says Yukon residents will first be given a chance to adapt before any enforcement begins.Premier Sandy Silver reports eight new cases of COVID-19 in the territory since the briefing last Tuesday, bringing the total number to 47 since the start of the pandemic.Seventeen cases are still considered active, but none related to community transmission.\---12:55 p.m.Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says when looking at people experiencing the most severe illness, older Canadians are more at risk than younger Canadians with pre-existing conditions.She says that suggests after the initial round of vaccines goes to people in high-risk living or work situations, like long-term care centres and hospital staff, the next round of immunizations should be done by age, with the oldest Canadians at the front of the line.\---12:52 p.m.Manitoba handed out 100 tickets to people not following public health orders last week.The provincial government brought in restrictions three weeks ago to deal with surging COVID-19 case numbers that set strict limits on public gatherings and require non-essential businesses to close.Two churches that held services recently are among the establishments that have been ticketed.\---12:50 p.m.Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting one new case of COVID-19.The case affects a man in his 50s who returned to the province from work in British Columbia.Health officials say the man is self-isolating and contact tracing is underway.Newfoundland and Labrador has 33 active COVID-19 cases, with 339 cases confirmed since the onset of the pandemic.\---12:35 p.m.Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says restrictions on public gatherings and business openings could continue into the winter.Pallister says with cold weather ahead, there's a risk of greater COVID-19 transmission as more people stay, and perhaps gather, indoors.Manitoba's daily rise in cases has levelled off somewhat after spiking last month, but health officials say it is still straining the health-care system.\---12:25 p.m.Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Canada was one of the first countries to sign a deal to get doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna.She says it was also the fourth to sign a deal with Pfizer, and the first country without the ability to mass produce the vaccine domestically to sign with AstraZeneca.Anand says there has been "significant misinformation" about the doses procured and when they will arrive.\---11:50 a.m.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is taking on billions of dollars in more debt to protect Canadians from having to do the same thing.Trudeau says the average credit card interest rate is more than 19 per cent, and that it makes more sense for Ottawa to shoulder more of the burden through the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn because it can borrow at rates now close to zero.The prime minister also says his government has no intention to start cutting spending at this time, saying now is not the time for austerity.The fall economic update released Monday proposed $25 billion in new spending to help Canadian businesses and workers make it through a COVID-19 winter promised tens of billions more to help the country recover once the pandemic passes.\---11:40 a.m.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is launching efforts to support two more northern communities that are struggling with COVID-19.The Canadian Red Cross is sending specialists to the predominantly Inuit community of Arviat in Nunavut, which has seen dozens of cases.The Canadian Rangers are also being deployed to Hatchet Lake First Nation in northern Saskatchewan, where Trudeau says they will provide health services and support elders.\---11:35 a.m.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says 80 per cent of the money spent to support and protect Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic has come from the federal government.The prime minister says that includes tens of millions of rapid tests that are starting to be distributed across the country, as well as billions of doses of yet-to-be-delivered COVID-19 vaccines.Trudeau says Canada is guaranteed to receive some of the first doses of the vaccine produced by U.S. pharmaceutical company Moderna once it has been approved by Health Canada.The Moderna vaccine candidate is one of four currently being reviewed by the department.\---11:30 a.m.Prince Edward Island's chief health officer says she expects the COVID-19 vaccine to begin arriving in her province in January 2021.Dr. Heather Morrison says discussions are continuing between the federal and provincial governments around vaccine allocation, distribution, procurement and logistics.She says P.E.I. will be following the national recommendations for priority groups to be immunized, but all Islanders who want the vaccine will receive it over time.Morrison says it will take many months for all Islanders to be immunized.She said the arrival date and the actual number of doses will be made public once the details are known.\---11:05 a.m.Quebec is reporting 1,177 new cases of COVID-19 today and 28 additional deaths associated with the novel coronavirus.According to public health authorities, three of those deaths took place during the past 24 hours and the rest occurred earlier.The Health Department says 719 people are currently in hospital, an increase of 26 from the previous day. Of those, 98 people are in intensive care, an increase of four from the previous day.Quebec has reported 143,548 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic and 7,084 deaths associated with the virus.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.The Canadian Press
CHICAGO — A federal judge on Tuesday struck down two Trump administration rules designed to drastically curtail the number of visas issued each year to skilled foreign workers.The changes applying to the H-1B visa program announced in October include imposing salary requirements on companies employing skilled overseas workers and limits on specialty occupations. Department of Homeland Security officials deemed it a priority because of coronavirus-related job losses and estimated as many as one-third of those who have applied for H-1B's in recent years would be denied under the new rules.U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in California said the government didn't follow transparency procedures and its contention that the changes were an emergency response to pandemic job losses didn’t hold water because the Trump administration has floated the idea for some time but only published the rules in October.“The COVID-19 pandemic is an event beyond defendants’ control, yet it was within defendants’ control to take action earlier than they did,” White wrote.The U.S. issues up to 85,000 H-1B visas each year in sectors including technology, engineering and medicine. Usually, they’re issued for three years and renewable. Most of the nearly 600,000 H-1B visa holders in the U.S. are from India and China.The H-1B rules announced weeks before the election were part of President Donald Trump's wider agenda to curb nearly all forms of immigration. In June, he issued an order temporarily suspending the H-1B program until the end of the year.The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and universities including the California Institute of Technology sued in California, arguing there wasn’t adequate notice or time for the public to comment on the changes. They also said the rules, particularly related to requiring a prevailing wage for visa-holders, would have a drastic impact on new hires and “sever the employment relationship of hundreds of thousands of existing employees in the United States."The University of Utah cited an example where an H-1B employee seeking renewal was paid an $80,000 salary but would have to be paid $208,000 under the new rule.The judge agreed that the federal government didn’t make a case for implementing the rules under the Administrative Procedure Act, which makes agencies accountable to the public by requiring a detailed process for enacting regulations.“Defendants failed to show there was good cause to dispense with the rational and thoughtful discourse that is provided by the APA’s notice and comment requirements,” White wrote.The rule on wages, proposed by the Department of Labor, took effect in October, while the Homeland Security rule on occupations and other issues was supposed to take effect Monday. It also would have placed limits on “offsite” firms that employ and contract out H-1B visa holders to other companies; their visas would have been limited to one year at a time."This is incredibly important decision to preserve the H-1B program,” said attorney Paul Hughes, who represented the plaintiffs. “This ruling enables those individuals to maintain their jobs and their families in the United States.”The Chamber of Commerce said in a statement that the ruling “has many companies across various industries breathing a huge sigh of relief,” with the visa changes having "the potential to be incredibly disruptive to the operations of many businesses.”Messages left Tuesday for spokespeople with the Labor and Homeland Security departments weren’t immediately returned.The wage rule has prompted at least two other federal lawsuits in New Jersey and Washington, D.C.___Follow Sophia Tareen on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophiatareen.Sophia Tareen, The Associated Press
CALGARY — Curling Canada wants Calgary's Canada Olympic Park to be a curling hub for the season's top events.Canada's governing body of curling proposes holding the 2021 national men's, women's and mixed doubles championships, as well as the men's world championship without fans in a condensed schedule at WinSport's Markin MacPhail Centre.Potential dates have yet to be announced as Curling Canada works with health authorities to set up a "bubble" environment similar to the NHL's model to complete the 2020 playoffs in Edmonton.The COVID-19 pandemic has forced domestic and international sport organizations to establish competition "bubbles" to avoid the spread of the virus to the public.The Markin MacPhail Centre at Canada Olympic Park features four sheets of ice, over a dozen dressing rooms, convention space and a commercial kitchen.Thunder Bay, Ont., was originally scheduled to host the Scotties Tournament of Hearts from Feb. 20 to 28, followed March 6-14 by the Tim Hortons Brier in Kelowna, B.C. Curling Canada announced Tuesday that Thunder Bay will host the 2022 Scotties instead.The men's world championship April 3-11 had been awarded to Ottawa. The women's world championship is scheduled for March 20-28 in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.Curling Canada has provisional approval for Calgary's hub-city concept from Alberta Health."While none of us knows what trajectory the virus will take between now and this event, I’m confident that the organizers, in consultation with medical experts, will take every necessary precaution and adjust, if required, to ensure all events are conducted safely,” Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi said Tuesday in a statement.The tournaments would be televised on TSN and RDS.“No one can deny that these are challenging times, and not just for curling, obviously, but we also know how important these events are to the athletes, to our partners and, of course, to our fans," chief executive officer Katherine Henderson said in a statement.“It is thanks largely to the commitment of our business partners that we are able to have ambitions of holding some of our events, giving the best curling fans in the world something to look forward to in the new year."WinSport, which operates Canada Olympic Park, is also pursuing international freestyle ski and snowboard hubs for the park in January and March.All provinces and territories including a Northern Ontario entry and the defending champions are in the national men's and women's championship fields.Provincial and territorial playdowns generally start in early January, although the path to the Tournament of Hearts and the Brier may not be straightforward in 2021 because of the pandemic.Formats for all three Canadian championship events will be announced at a later date. There wouldn't be a Team Wild Card in the Tournament of Hearts or the Brier, however, as the play-in game on the eve of the main draw won't be part of the format.Brad Gushue's team from St. John's, N.L., won the 2020 Brier on March 8 in Kingston, Ont., mere days before the advancing COVID-19 shut down the sports world globally.Neither he nor Kerri Einarson's Manitoba team were able to represent Canada in world championships cancelled because of the pandemic.Both will return to the national championships as Team Canada."It’s been a difficult few months, obviously, so I’m very happy to see these events taking place in a safe environment, and very happy for the fans as they will have something to look forward to,” Einarson said in a statement.“We understand these are strange times with some accompanying challenges that go beyond sport, but as athletes, we embrace challenges and will do our best to thrive under whatever circumstances we find ourselves in.”Several competitions have already been cancelled or postponed this season including November's Canada Cup in Fredericton and January's Continental Cup in Oakville, Ont.The first four World Curling Tour Grand Slams of 2020-21 were scrubbed. Two remain on the schedule: the Princess Auto Players’ Championship in Toronto from April 13-18 and the Humpty’s Champions Cup in Olds, Alta., from April 27 to May 2, 2021.Another COVID-19 complication for Curling Canada is filling the Olympic trials fields later this year when so many qualifying events and bonspiels providing ranking points have been cancelled.Of 18 berths available in the trials Nov. 27-Dec. 5 in Saskatoon, only four have been filled.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press
DELTA, B.C. — A man has critical injuries after the vehicle he was driving plunged about nine metres from a BC Ferries exit ramp to the pavement below. BC Ferries spokeswoman Deborah Marshall says the incident occurred Tuesday at the Tsawwassen ferry terminal as vehicles were leaving the vessel Coastal Renaissance, which had arrived from the Duke Point terminal near Nanaimo. She says the vehicle accelerated sharply after it left the vessel and crashed through a concrete barrier on the upper exit ramp, landing on its roof on the road below. A statement from BC Emergency Health Services says several paramedic crews were dispatched to the scene and the patient was transported to hospital in critical condition. Marshall says the man, who was driving a crew-cab pickup truck, was the lone occupant of the vehicle and no one else was hurt. Marshall says the man was conscious and talking after the incident. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — BC Hydro's residential customers will get a one-time credit of $4 on average early next year on their bills to reflect a change to its rates.The BC Utilities Commission requested that Hydro amend its rate reduction for 2020-21 to reflect last year's results and its latest financial forecast.That dropped the rate decrease to 1.62 per cent from 1.01 per cent.The credit reflects the additional decrease and is retroactive to April 1.BC Hydro says commercial customers will receive from $10 to $600 on average based on the size of the business, while industrial customers will receive up to $375,000.Energy Minister Bruce Ralston says the government has been focused on keeping BC Hydro rates affordable and the rate cut is the first in decades. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. The Canadian Press
MILLBROOK — Cavan Monaghan Township residents from Cavan Ward were able to voice their opinions about off-road vehicles during a virtual public meeting on Monday. A total of 16 individuals signed up to speak for a maximum of three minutes, some who were for and some who were against the concept of ORVs on township roads in the Cavan Ward. Robert Winslow, the founder of 4th Line Theatre, was among the speakers. “I live at 779 Zion Line in Cavan Ward; fifth generation of my family on this property. I was born and raised on our farm which I retrofitted into a live outdoor theatre in 1992, almost 30 years ago,” he said. Winslow said that added noise from ORVs during performances will reduce the appeal of their theatre. “In a movie theatre you can ask the person who is talking in the row ahead of you or behind you to shush so you can enjoy the film properly. Our theatre patrons won’t have that option as ATVs, side-by-sides, or dirt bikes pass by the farm during our plays,” he said. In addition to the hazards of the winding, narrow, steep and shoulder components of the road, along with high speeds of cars, trucks, motorcycles and commercial industrial vehicles along the road, Winslow said, ORV traffic on his road could also be an added danger for both patrons arriving and leaving the theatre and as well as ORV operators. However, Garry Otten, a realtor at Century 21, said many people he deals with move to the region because of the recreational opportunity. “More so today with the pandemic, our ORV interest has gained popularity beyond belief,” he said. The value of many properties in the area will increase if council chooses to allow ORVs on municipal roads, Otten said. “Our location allows us the good fortune of being able to access a trail that could take us all the way to Bancroft. We could certainly use that extra business in this township and our businesses could use that extra business. I would hope our councillors recognize the benefits instead of all the fear mongering that’s taking place,” he said. Comments will be received by the township until Dec. 4. Staff will then summarize the comments and bring forward a report in early 2021 for council to make a final decision. 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: email@example.comMarissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
ATLANTA — Some establishment Republicans are sounding alarms that President Donald Trump’s conspiratorial denials of his own defeat could threaten the party’s ability to win a Senate majority and counter President-elect Joe Biden’s administration. The concerns come ahead of Trump’s planned Saturday visit to Georgia to campaign alongside Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who face strong Democratic challengers in Jan. 5 runoffs that will determine which party controls the Senate at the outset of Biden’s presidency. Republicans acknowledge Trump as the GOP’s biggest turnout driver, including in Georgia, where Biden won by fewer than 13,000 votes out of about 5 million cast. That means every bit of enthusiasm from one of Trump’s signature rallies could matter. But some Republicans worry Trump will use the platform to amplify his baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud — arguments roundly rejected in state and federal courts across the country. That could make it harder for Perdue and Loeffler to keep a clear focus on the stakes in January and could even discourage Republicans from voting. “The president has basically taken hostage this race,” said Brendan Buck, once a top adviser to former House Speaker Paul Ryan. Especially fraught are Trump’s continued attacks on Georgia’s Republican state officials and the state’s election system, potentially taking away from his public praise of Loeffler and Perdue. “Trump’s comments are damaging the Republican brand,” argued Republican donor Dan Eberhart, who added that the president is “acting in bad sportsmanship and bad faith” instead of emphasizing Republicans’ need to maintain Senate control. The GOP needs one more seat for a majority. Democrats need Jon Ossoff to defeat Perdue and Raphael Warnock to defeat Loeffler to force a 50-50 Senate, positioning Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking majority vote. Trump on Monday blasted Gov. Brian Kemp as “hapless” for not intervening to “overrule” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s certification of Biden’s win. The president baselessly claimed in a Tuesday tweet that Kemp had allowed Georgia to be “scammed.” On Sunday, Trump told Fox News he was “ashamed” he’d endorsed Kemp in his 2018 GOP primary for governor. Kemp’s office noted in response that state law gives Kemp no authority to overturn election results, despite Trump’s contention that Kemp could “easily” invoke “emergency powers.” Meanwhile, Raffensperger, a Trump supporter like Kemp, has accused the president of throwing him “under the bus” for doing his job. The president launched similar broadsides against another Republican, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, after his state certified Biden's victory there. Ducey pushed back Tuesday on social media, defending Arizona's election system and saying he'd bragged on it previously “in the Oval Office.” Ducey did not mention Trump by name. Perdue and Loeffler have attempted to stay above the fray. They’ve long aligned themselves with Trump and even echoed some of his general criticisms of the fall elections, jointly demanding Raffensperger’s resignation. But the crux of their runoff argument — that Republicans must prevent Democrats from controlling Capitol Hill and the White House — is itself a tacit admission that Biden, not Trump, will be inaugurated Jan. 20. And at one recent campaign stop, Perdue heard from vocal Trump supporters who demanded that he do more to help Trump somehow claim Georgia’s 16 electoral votes. Republicans see three potential negative outcomes to Trump fanning the flames. Some GOP voters could be dissuaded from voting again if they accept Trump’s claims that the system is hopelessly corrupted. Among Republicans more loyal to Trump than to the party, some could skip the runoff altogether out of anger at a party establishment the president continues to assail. Lastly, at the other end of the GOP spectrum are the moderate Republicans who already crossed over to help Biden win Georgia and could be further alienated if the runoff becomes another referendum on Trump. Josh Holmes, a top adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said Republicans “haven’t seen any evidence of lack of enthusiasm in the Senate races.” But none of the potential bad effects would have to be sweeping to tilt the runoffs if they end up as close as the presidential contest in Georgia. “We’ll see how it plays out. It changes day by day and week by week. But so far, so good,” Holmes said. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany insisted in an appearance Tuesday on “Fox & Friends” that the president still believes it’s important “to turn out and vote,” despite his continued groundless claims of widespread fraud. In Georgia, any Republican concerns are more circumspect. Brian Robinson, a former adviser to Kemp’s Republican predecessor as governor, said Trump should “drive a strong, forward-looking message” about what’s at stake for a Republican base that “is fervently devoted to him.” “The best thing he can do for the party,” Robinson said, “is to talk about the importance of having a Republican Senate majority to project his policy legacy and to make sure the Democrats can’t reverse a lot of what he has put in place that Republicans support.” Asked what Trump should avoid, Robinson circled back to what he believes the president should say. Former U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, a Trump ally, downplayed the potential for GOP splintering, framing an “inner-family squabble” as a sideshow to the “incredible” consequences that define the runoffs. “Followers of Trump will follow Trump, but they’re not blind to the huge stakes. And neither is he,” Kingston said. “He knows to keep his legacy. He’s got to get these people reelected.” Trump, Kingston argued, is “keeping the base interested,” a necessary component of any successful runoff campaign since second rounds of elections often see a drop-off in voter participation. Robinson added that Democrats face their own challenge in replicating record turnout for Biden. “What’s the best motivator? Fear,” he said. Before November, Democrats dreaded a second Trump term more than Republicans feared Trump losing, Robinson reasoned. “Republicans have reason to be scared now,” he said, because of the prospect that Democrats could control both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. “That could make a difference in turnout” beyond anything Trump says, Robinson concluded. For their parts, the senators continue their public embrace of all things Trump ahead of the visit. “I couldn’t be more excited to welcome” the president “back to Georgia,” Loeffler wrote on Twitter after Trump confirmed his plans. Perdue’s campaign quickly retweeted the comment, which Loeffler punctuated with a reminder that the runoffs are “an all-hands-on-deck moment.” It’s not clear, though, if all Republicans will be on hand at all. Kemp, the governor who appointed Loeffler upon Sen. Johnny Isakson’s retirement last year, has on previous Trump visits greeted the president as he disembarks from Air Force One. Asked Monday whether Georgians will see a similar scene Saturday, Kemp spokesman Cody Hall said he could not comment “yet.” ___ Fram reported from Washington. Bill Barrow And Alan Fram, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — “Papa!” screams a hospital worker, covered from head to toe in a Hazmat suit and PPE, in the opening moments of the documentary “76 Days."This is in the early days of the pandemic in Wuhan, back in January and February when the city of 11 million went into a 2 1/2-month lockdown and hospitals were overrun. The health worker's father has just died, and her agony at not being able to sit by his side is overwhelming. Her colleagues restrain her as she sobs, moaning, “Papa, you'll stay forever in my heart.”“76 Days," shot in four Wuhan hospitals, captures a local horror before it became a global nightmare. Given the constraints at the time on footage and information from Wuhan, it's a rare window into the infancy of the pandemic. The film is directed by the New York-based filmmaker Hao Wu, who worked with two Chinese journalists — one named Weixi Chen, the other is remaining anonymous — to create of a portrait of the virus epicenter.Some of the images document the fear and confusion of those early days: A group of patients mill outside the hospital doors, pleading to be let in. Others are by now more familiar: Solitary deaths followed by phone calls to family members.“There has been so much news coverage and commentary about the pandemic but most of that has primarily been about statistics and our political divide," Wu said in an interview. “What I think is missing is the human stories, the human faces of the pandemic.”That may be especially true for stories of the pandemic from China, which President Donald Trump and his supporters have been highly critical of, blaming it for the “Wuhan virus.” Wu's film, though, consciously avoids politics to concentrate on the humanity inside the hospitals — even if the workers are so obscured by their Hazmat suits that they're only identifiable by the names penned in sharpie on their backs.“I feel like right now there is such a toxic background to a lot of the discussions around the virus,” Wu says. “The virus is an enemy that doesn’t care about your nationality.”“76 Days," which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, is being released Friday by MTV Documentary Films is more than 50 virtual cinemas. Last month, it was nominated for best documentary by the IFP Gotham Awards.It's among the first in a coming surge of coronavirus documentaries. A handful have already arrived, some — snapshots in an ongoing drama — hurriedly edited even as the scope of the pandemic has continued to expand. In October, Alex Gibney released “Totally Under Control," a two-part indictment of the federal U.S. response to the virus. In August, the artist-activist Ai Weiwei debuted “Coronation,” a documentary he directed remotely with dozens of volunteers to capture the lockdown experience for ordinary Chinese people.For some, the films are too harsh a reminder of an all-consuming reality. But “76 Days" feels like a vital early draft of history. Wu's first instinct had been to create a more straightforwardly journalistic film examining what happened in Wuhan. But Wu — a Chinese native who lives in New York with his partner and two children (he depicted his journey as a gay man in a traditional Chinese family in the 2019 Netflix documentary “All in My Family” ) — soon recognized the difficulty of access and the rapidly changing situation would make such a film either very difficult or potentially stale by the time it was finished.“The images coming out of Wuhan were so harrowing. Everyone was scouring social media, trying to find out what happened in Wuhan, how it got so bad. A lot of us were so angry,” he says. “I started getting away from wanting to assign blame."The journalists, working with press passes, would have typically been closely watched by Communist party minders but in the chaos were given more free rein. Wu leaned into a more observational approach without talking heads, and urged his collaborators to focus on the people and the details. One poignant shot shows the ziplocked cellphone of a deceased person quietly ringing.Wu's last trip to China was in January and February. Right after he came back, his grandfather was diagnosed with late stage liver cancer. He would die a month later. Wu, unable to visit because of travel restrictions and busy on the film, wasn't able to say goodbye in person.“For me, I was compelled to tell the story. It’s almost like a tribute to my grandfather,” says Wu. “The shots that attracted me were those that showed the details of people willing to be nice to each other. I guess it was guilty about not being able to say goodbye to my grandfather, to hold his hand.”___Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAPJake Coyle, The Associated Press
Cookie swaps are an annual tradition for many of us who love to bake and to share treats with friends on an afternoon in early December.Here's the gist: everyone bakes a larger than usual batch of cookies or squares, typically a dozen for each guest at the swap — and then each participant goes home with a mixed batch of holiday baking to get them through the season.Things are a bit different this year, of course. With restrictions on in-home gatherings, a typical cookie swap isn't an option, nor are we all having the parade of seasonal get-togethers a huge stash of cookies might be useful for.But in the spirit of keeping traditions alive, and looking for ways to engage with each other this holiday season, there are ways to safely strategize a cookie swap.You could co-ordinate a door-drop cookie swap: package up baked cookies or squares, or make logs of cookie dough, put on some holiday tunes, pick up a latte or hot chocolate (from one of our many amazing local roasters) and drop festive packages on your friends' doorsteps.Consider swapping just the dough itself: it's less work for the bakers and minimizes handling (wearing a mask in the kitchen regardless as you prep is a safe extra step). It's also more easily packaged and stored, and allows the recipient to bake what they need, when they need it.One of the benefits of icebox cookies — most any shortbread or rolled sugar or gingerbread cookie dough — is that they have the same baking time, so you can cut a few slices off a variety of logs and bake them together for an assortment all at once. And if you're living alone or with a smaller group, you can bake a few at a time in the toaster oven. If you're planning a walk, skate, tobogganing outing or other outdoor activity with a few in your extended bubble, you could plan to swap cookies then (wearing masks and practising safe distancing, of course). And if there's someone in your life who may not have the ability to bake and deliver, pack up a tin to leave on their step.You can buy sleeves of paper boxes, like the ones they use in bakeries and delis, at restaurant supply stores such as the Real Canadian Wholesale Club, or buy festive boxes and bags at most dollar stores.What kind of dough freezes the best?They all do!Typically, shortbread or rolled cookie dough is best to roll into a log to slice and bake, and drop cookies (chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin) can be frozen in scoops, then transferred to ziplock bags for people to bake from the freezer.Let them sit on the baking sheet to thaw while you preheat the oven.Perhaps best of all, you can wrap chilled logs in festive paper with ribbon or string at each end, like a Christmas cracker — and not worry if they freeze on someone's doorstep.Cinnamon Bun Icebox CookiesThese swirled slice and bake cookies look and taste like cinnamon buns. Finish the cooled cookies with a simple icing drizzle to complete the effect, if you like. * ½ cup butter, at room temperature * ½ cup sugar * ¼ cup packed brown sugar * 1 large egg * 1 tsp vanilla * 1½ cups all-purpose flour * 1 tsp baking powder * ¼ tsp saltFilling: * ½ cup brown sugar * ¼ cup finely chopped pecans (optional) * 2-3 tbsp honey or golden syrup * cinnamonIn a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars until well blended. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fluffy. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture and stir until the dough comes together. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for half an hour or so.On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch (ish) square, or to make two logs, into two smaller squares. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and pecans and smooth them with your hand to evenly cover the dough. Drizzle with honey or golden syrup, and sprinkle with cinnamon.Roll up in a jelly-roll style, wrap in parchment, twisting the ends to seal, then refrigerate until firm (or for up to a week) or freeze for up to six months.When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F. Slice the dough about ¼-inch thick and place the slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until pale golden and set. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Makes about two dozen cookies.Mona's Mother's Mother's Best Friend's Favourite CookiesFrom the original Best of Bridge cookbook, this is a great go-to drop cookie that can be customized to add all kinds of ingredients — dried cranberries, orange zest and white chocolate chunks or chips are great during the holidays. They also spread well, which works with dough you're going to freeze.Time in the freezer plus baking from colder than room temp will slow the spread, so this formula makes up for it.Ingredients: * 1 cup butter, at room temperature * 1 cup sugar * ½ cup brown sugar * 1 large egg * 1 tsp vanilla * 1¼ cups flour * 1¼ cups quick-cooking rolled oats * 3/4 cup coconut * 1 tsp baking powder * 1 tsp baking soda * ¼ tsp salt * 1 cup chocolate chips, chopped chocolate, raisins and/or nuts (optional)Instructions:Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla.Add the flour, oats, coconut, baking powder, baking soda and salt (stir together first if you like) and stir just until blended.If you like, add some raisins, chopped nuts, and/or chocolate chunks or chips as you mix.Drop by the large spoonful onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.Makes about two dozen cookies.Sonya's Auntie Dianne's Jam Sandwich CookiesThanks to Sonya, who shared the recipe for her aunt's cream cheese sugar cookies, sandwiched with jam, on Twitter this week!This recipe makes a large quantity of dough, but it freezes well so you could roll and bake half now and the rest later in the season. Or use it to make rugelach.Sonya also suggested flavouring the dough with grated orange or lemon zest or cardamom, if you like.These are more involved and may be more work to make in larger quantities, but they're beautiful and satisfying to make — worth the effort when you have more time to spend in the kitchen and want to drop something special on someone's doorstep. Ingredients: * 1 cup butter, at room temperature * 1½ cups sugar * 1 8-oz. package cream cheese * 1 egg * 1 tsp vanilla * ½ tsp almond extract (optional) * 3½ cups all-purpose flour * 1 tsp baking powder * ½ tsp salt * jam, for spreading * icing sugar, for sprinklingInstructions: In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the egg, vanilla and almond extract. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and beat on low speed or stir until you have a soft dough. Divide in half (or into smaller balls or discs), wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour, or up to a few days — it can also be frozen at this point. When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 F and roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to about ¼-inch thick.Cut into whatever shapes you like, and cut a small window out of half of them — use the open end of an icing decorating tip, or a small cookie cutter.Bake for 8-10 minutes, until pale golden.Once cooled, spread the solid cookies with jam (or marmalade, Nutella or anything else you like), and sprinkle the windowed cookies with icing sugar before placing them on top.Makes about two dozen medium sandwich cookies.
A care home in Saskatoon says four of its residents have died COVID-related deaths since an outbreak was declared two weeks ago."Families were provided end of life visitation opportunities and our sincere condolences go out to them," Luther Special Care Home said in an emailed statement Tuesday.Health officials declared an outbreak at the Varsity View neighbourhood home on Nov. 17.As of Tuesday, 44 residents and 14 staff members had tested positive for the virus, according to an update shared with families.The care home did not offer other details about the residents who have died, citing privacy concerns.On Tuesday, health officials announced four more COVID-19-related deaths province-wide, including two people aged 80 or over in Saskatoon.6 recent deaths in care homes province-wideIn total, six residents at long-term or personal care in Saskatchewan have died COVID-19 related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in March. "The data submitted to the Ministry of Health regarding COVID-related deaths does not identify deaths that may have occurred among LTC staff," a spokesperson for the ministry said.One of the other resident deaths was recorded last week at Regina's Parkside Extendicare home, which is dealing with the largest known outbreak at any extended care home in the province.As of Monday, the home had 50 active cases among residents and another 25 active cases among staff.