Joe Biden fulfills a decades-long ambition in becoming the 46th President of the United States. A former Vice President, Senator and three-time candidate for the nation's highest office, it's been a long road to the White House.
Joe Biden fulfills a decades-long ambition in becoming the 46th President of the United States. A former Vice President, Senator and three-time candidate for the nation's highest office, it's been a long road to the White House.
Frankfurt prosecutors are looking into German financial regulator BaFin's handling of collapsed payments company Wirecard, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office said on Wednesday. Prosecutors and federal police made an unannounced visit to BaFin's headquarters on Wednesday to hand over a letter requesting information, the spokesman said. BaFin has faced widespread criticism for failing to spot wrongdoing ahead of the collapse of the payments company, and its chief is stepping down.
The Indigenous Activists Networks have put forth a press release calling for action against The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) Bill C-15. The federal Bill C-15 “is a sleight of hand that promises to increase and expand Indigenous rights but actually accomplishes the opposite,” says Truth Before Reconciliation Campaign spokesperson Russell Diabo. This bill states that the UNDRIP will be held under Canadian law, and the whole purpose of this bill was to do exactly the opposite; hold Canadian Law accountable to UNDRIP. Under section 35 of the Canadian Constitution, the Canadian courts have already been adjudicated to give Canada control of Indigenous lands under the Doctrine of Discovery, and places extreme limits on the rights of self-determination. By holding UNDRIP Bill C-15 under Section 35, “the government is taking away all of the rights the declaration was designed to recognize,” Diabo states. Professor Nicole Schabus, who teaches law at Thompson Rivers University, says the central problem is that Bill C-15 attempts to “domesticate” International law into Canadian Law. By holding UNDRIP under Canadian Law, Bill C-15 denies Indigenous Peoples the right to self-determination. UNDRIP is supposed to recognize “the right to self-determination is the main remedy for colonization.” The Indigenous Activists Networks states that Bill C-15 will negatively impact all aspects of the lives of Indigenous Peoples and Nations in Canada for generations to come. The Bill will keep in place the colonial system of the Crown’s (federal, provincial, municipal) centuries old domination through its laws, including the Constitution Act 1867 and the Constitution Act 1982, which are based on the colonial Doctrine of Discovery. A link to the full press release is linked here. Josie Fiegehen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, SaultOnline.com
A long career in municipal affairs that began in 1980 for Charles Barton, the CAO, clerk and deputy treasurer of Nipissing Township, has ended with his retirement. Barton's last day of work at the township office was Feb. 16. The retirement is actually Barton's second farewell from the municipal office. He took an early retirement in 2001 after his wife passed away from cancer in 1994 at the age of 42. At the time of her death, Barton's son and daughter were teenagers, and several years later he came to the conclusion that “life's too short” not to enjoy it. But he was coaxed back by the mayor in 2008 after Nipissing carried out a study of its operations and decided it should have a chief administrative officer. “They wanted me to work full time, but I said no and we settled on three days a week,” says Barton, 71. Barton studied business administration at Canadore College when it was still a campus of Sudbury's Cambrian College before becoming an independent institution in 1972. Born and raised in Nipissing Township and after graduating from college, Barton began working at the Bank of Nova Scotia's main branch in North Bay in 1971. He spent nine years as a Scotiabank employee and, during that time, he and his family moved eight times. “I liked working for the bank, but I didn't like moving all the time. And when the kids started to get into school, they didn't want to keep moving either,” Barton recalls. When he was growing up, Barton knew the type of work he wanted to do. He liked three careers, namely becoming a bank manager, a township clerk or a church minister. He ended up in banking, and when the financial sector took him to Sault Ste. Marie, he played the organ at the church the Barton family attended. It was then he got a phone call from the then reeve of Nipissing. Barton recalls the conversation. “He said 'The clerk's job in Nipissing is coming up, You better apply,'” Barton recalls. “I said 'OK,' applied and got the job. So I guess with me now finally retiring I won't become a minister.” LONE OFFICE EMPLOYEE Barton first started at the township office on May 5, 1980, as the municipality's clerk, treasurer and tax collector. At the time, he was the only office member, although the township had a roads superintendent who also was in charge of the landfill. “I looked after the office, cemetery and recreation,” Barton recalls. Since those early days in 1980, Barton has seen several major changes and he had input in bringing them about. For example there was no zoning bylaw or official plan, which he helped create. Also, there was no fire department. Several portable pumps are what the township used to fight fires. Barton recalls one of the pumps was stationed at the township office, another was in Commanda Township, a third in Nipissing and one pump was in place for the island properties. The former Ministry of Natural Resources would help Nipissing Township in the event of a forest fire. And if there was a structure fire too large for the community to fight on its own, Callander would send its firefighters. Although a group of volunteers built the township's first fire department on Wasi Road, Barton says the community wouldn't see a full fire department until the late 1980s. When Barton agreed to return in 2008, he assumed the roles of chief administrative officer and clerk, and a little later he was named deputy treasurer. With Barton's latest departure, town council has named Kris Croskery-Hodgins the interim CAO-clerk-treasurer. Prior to the appointment, Croskery-Hodgins was the treasurer and deputy clerk. It was during Barton's second life with the township that the office personnel began to expand. He says Croskery-Hodgins was hired as was John-Paul Negrinotti, who looked after issues such as zoning bylaws, minor severances and variances in his role as the municipal planning official. 'LONG SUCCESSION PLAN' Over the succeeding years, Barton trained both of the new employees calling what he was doing a “long succession plan. “They're trained, ready to take over and it was time for me to retire,” he says. Over his two stints at the township hall, Barton worked with 13 town councils, speaking highly of the elected officials. “I never had a bad council in all those years,” he says. Barton says he enjoyed going to work every day over the decades, adding “you never knew what was going to happen.” Nipissing Township has a core, year-round population of 1,700 people, but swells to more than 3,000 residents during tourist season. Barton says he could always expect a call of some sort almost daily. Barton originally intended to retire last year, but when COVID-19 struck he agreed to stay on a little longer. But after that additional year, Barton says the time to leave is now. Council, he says, is in the third year of a four-year term and he didn't want to leave during an election year or leave when the new council is elected. “That was at the back of my mind,” he says. “But now with me gone, they can hire a new person who can be trained for next year's election.” 'GOOD' RESERVES Barton says he's leaving the township in excellent financial shape adding “our reserves are good.” He most recently helped bring about a new official plan and last December the zoning bylaw was updated. Barton personally hopes council sees its way to make Croskery-Hodgins the permanent CAO. “I hope council sees Kris would be the logical choice if they do advertise for a chief administrative officer,” he says. Barton lives on a 170-acre property and in the same home where he was born. His daughter lives next door to him in Nipissing and his son about one kilometre away. He has four grandchildren, one great-grandchild and a female companion in the Burk's Falls area. With his municipal career over, Barton says he now has more time for recreational activities like snowmobiling on his land, and come this summer he can golf on a nine-hole course he put on his land. He also recently bought a piano. “So I have lots to do,” he says. Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget
The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has signed a multi-year deal to show content from the sport on interactive streaming service Twitch, the organisations told Reuters on Wednesday. Twitch is best known as a platform for e-sports and has become increasingly popular with musicians and sports teams but FIBA is the first international governing body to join the service. Under the deal, FIBA will broadcast around 600 hours of live basketball games each year but will also give fans and influencers access to official footage to create their own content.
La Zec de Forestville a entamé la semaine dernière une cure de rajeunissement de son poste d’accueil situé sur la route 138. En plus de mettre en valeur le centre d’interprétation, les travaux permettront d’améliorer l’aménagement intérieur du bâtiment. « Nous procédons effectivement à une cure de rafraîchissement. Nous voulons mettre l’emphase sur le centre d’interprétation qui sera déplacé à l’avant du poste d’accueil et aménager une salle de réunion ainsi qu’un bureau à l’arrière du bâtiment », confirme la directrice Catherine Simard. C’est l’année pandémique qui a exposé les problématiques de l’infrastructure notamment pour le service à la clientèle. « Avec la COVID-19, nous avons pu voir que l’aménagement n’était pas optimal pour la clientèle en plus du fait que le bureau administratif pouvait être relocalisé étant donné la restructuration de l’entreprise effectuée il y a quelques années », précise Mme Simard. Cet investissement d’environ 25 000 $ à 30 000 $ a été rendu possible grâce à la vente de chalets sur le site du lac Cassette. De plus, la Zec a fait une demande d’aide financière pour financer ce projet. « Pour le moment, nous n’avons pas eu de réponse », dévoile la directrice. Johannie Gaudreault, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Haute-Côte-Nord
(Dale Molnar/CBC - image credit) The union representing workers at four local plants have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike mandate should they deem it necessary. Unifor Local 444 says 99 per cent of members at Avancez, Dakkota, HBPO, ZF/TRW have backed a strike mandate vote amid bargaining negotiations that started earlier this month with one of the plants. "Will strike if provoked," the union tweeted on Tuesday night. The "feeder four" plants supply parts for auto manufacturing. The union is "pattern bargaining" with the manufacturers and ZF/TRW was designated the target employer, Unifor 444 President Dave Cassidy said in a video earlier this month. More from CBC Windsor:
À défaut de ne pouvoir utiliser le site de la station de ski du Mont-Édouard pour des raisons sanitaires, les bénévoles de l’organisme La Montagne en Feu, de L’Anse-Saint-Jean, animeront le village alpin, au cours de la semaine de relâche, afin de faire bouger jeunes et moins jeunes. La présidente de l’organisme sans but lucratif, Marie-Hélène Gagnon, a mentionné que les bénévoles qui ont habitué le public anjeannois à l’organisation des feux d’artifice de la veille du jour de l’An, ont trimé dur pour monter une programmation diversifiée, durant la prochaine relâche. « L’ouverture de la station de ski a été effectuée il y a 30 ans grâce à l’implication de bénévoles. La Montagne en Feu unit des bénévoles passionnés qui souhaitent offrir des activités ludiques divertissantes en développant des partenariats avec des organismes et entreprises », a-t-elle fait valoir. Dès samedi, 30 familles prendront livraison de coffrets scientifiques montés par Techno Science Mauricie Centre-du-Québec et le magazine Les Débrouillards. Trois expériences portant sur l’électricité et le magnétisme pourront être réalisées à l’aide d’une vidéo afin que les jeunes puissent mener des expériences qui les mèneront peut-être un jour à travailler pour la NASA. D’autres auront l’occasion de laisser aller leur créativité puisque l’organisation invite toutes les familles à réaliser une sculpture sur neige, un bonhomme de neige, un château de neige à leur lieu de résidence. Des moules en carton plastifié seront disponibles pour la fabrication des blocs de neige. Les 27 et 28 février, le sculpteur Francis Bourgeois démontrera son art sur des blocs de neige entassés aux intersections des rues de la Canourgue, Vébron et Vébron-Dallaire. Ces trois sculptures seront réalisées pour les commanditaires BMR Saint-Honoré, Meubles Gilles Émond et l’entrepreneur Lauréat Gagné. Ceux qui voudront se balader sur des vélos à pneus surdimensionnés pourront en louer un au coût de 10 $ pour une heure. Il faudra toutefois réserver sa bécane avant d’en prendre possession. Le sentier de raquettes longeant le ruisseau Patrice Fortin, entre l’ancien bistro et le champ d’épuration, sera éclairé avec des lampes solaires afin de permettre aux familles d’effectuer une balade nocturne dans le respect du couvre-feu à partir du 27 février et pour toute la semaine. Le lundi 1er mars, les amateurs de bingo virtuel ont rendez-vous à compter de 18h30 pour la tenue d’une soirée divertissante. Selon Mme Gagnon, plusieurs prix pourront être attribués et livrés à domicile le soir même par l’équipe de bénévoles de La Montagne en feu. Ceux qui s’ennuient du golf pourront pratiquer leur coup roulé le 2 mars puisque l’organisation a loué une structure installée à l’extérieur dans le secteur Genolhac-Villefort. Le Café du quai et la cuisinière Marina Lavoie embarquent dans la fête en offrant des poutines déjeuners qui seront disponibles les 28 février et 5 mars. Le 5 mars, les enfants auront aussi l’occasion de bouger avec des courses de raquettes et de poches de jute dans le petit sentier du village. La tenue d’un rallye extérieur, les 3 et 4 mars, ainsi que l’envolée de lanternes biodégradables, le vendredi 5 mars à 18h30, complètent la programmation. Mme Gagnon a mentionné qu’au plan financier, l’organisation a reçu de l’aide de la MRC du Fjord-du-Saguenay, de la municipalité et de la Caisse Desjardins de L’Anse-Saint-Jean et de Boréal Management. Denis Villeneuve, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
President Joe Biden proposed multiple “free college” measures while on the campaign trail. Do any of them have a real shot? Some experts think so. “The issue is bipartisan in its appeal, economically effective and supported by the leadership in today’s Congress and administration — that’s (a) pretty good triple play,” says Morley Winograd, president of The Campaign for Free College Tuition. Others are skeptical now is the time to move forward on free college. “I have a really hard time seeing any sort of four-year free college program passing at this point,” says Douglas Webber, associate professor of economics at Temple University. The first glimpse of a formal proposal will most likely be in Biden’s upcoming budget, experts say. Here’s what to look for. TUITION-FREE COMMUNITY COLLEGE IS MOST LIKELY “Free college” really means free tuition. Students would still have to pay for room and board, along with other costs of attendance such as transportation, books and supplies. The average cost for room and board is $11,386 at a four-year school and $7,636 at a two-year school, according to federal data. President Biden’s free college proposals include: —Four years tuition-free at public colleges for those whose family income is under $125,000. —Two years of free tuition for low- and middle-income students attending minority-serving institutions. —Tuition-free public community colleges. That last one is the easiest sell, experts say. “We’ve seen how much free community college has become more popular,” says Wesley Whistle, senior advisor for policy and strategy with the Education Policy program at New America, a public policy think-tank . “It became a drum and you hear it and that helps it pick up over time.” The primary blocker for any tuition-free program is the cost, experts say, as any such program would likely be funded through a federal-state partnership. Community college is the cheaper bill to foot: The cost to fund tuition at public two-year schools is around $8.8 billion compared with about $72.5 billion at four-year public schools, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. HOW ‘FREE’ COLLEGE MIGHT WORK There’s already a blueprint for tuition-free programs: Currently 15 states have a program in place, while several others have extensive scholarship programs. Some cities do, too. Most state programs, such as Tennessee Promise and the Excelsior Scholarship in New York, which both offer four years of tuition-free public college, are last-dollar. That means students must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, and accept all need-based federal and state aid before the tuition-free benefit kicks in. Most experts say a federally enacted program would likely be first-dollar, covering tuition costs before any other aid is applied. That could increase the per-student impact of scholarships and state funding, says Edward Conroy, associate director of institutional transformation for the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice. “If we get a federal program that says we’re going to make tuition free and you can still receive any state or federal grants on top of that, that would be a robust program,” Conroy says. In that case, additional aid could go toward paying for additional expenses. PELL GRANT EXPANSION MAY BE EASIER There’s another path toward tuition-free college, though it doesn’t have “free” in the name: the Pell Grant. The Pell Grant program provides students who have demonstrated need with free aid; for 2021-22, it’s up to $6,495. Though the Pell was meant to cover most college costs, it hasn’t kept up — the average tuition and fees at four-year public schools is $9,212, according to the most recent federal data. Most experts say doubling the maximum Pell Grant would effectively create free tuition and in some cases cover additional expenses. Biden has called for this, along with expanding eligibility to cover more middle-income students. Robert Kelchen, associate professor of higher education at Seton Hall University, says expanded Pell would be easier to pass than tuition-free college since the grant program already exists. Free college proposals are simultaneously blasted for not being generous enough and being too generous to students without demonstrated need, experts say. These criticisms make it more difficult to attain approval among both lawmakers and the public. Expanding the existing Pell Grant program could work to provide free tuition, but it lacks the appeal of a new and “free” program. “From a messaging perspective, saying the Pell (Grant amount) is going up by, say, $2,000 might not have the same impact on students as ‘Your tuition is covered,’” Kelchen says. HOW STUDENTS CAN CUT COSTS Tuition-free college policy could take a long time to pass through Congress — if it can at all — so students and parents may not see this benefit for many months or years. But there are a few existing strategies for getting a degree at a lower cost: —Find out if your state already has a tuition-free program. —Consider a public college unless a private school offers you more aid. —Attend a two-year school, then make a plan to transfer credits and complete a four-year degree. —Compare college cost, graduation rates and typical student loan payments using the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard. —Submit the FAFSA and accept all need-based federal and state aid. —Find scholarships using search tools. The U.S. Department of Labor has one. —If your family’s finances have changed, request a professional judgment to appeal your aid award. ________________________________ This article was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Anna Helhoski is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @AnnaHelhoski. RELATED LINKS: NerdWallet: States with Free College Programs http://bit.ly/nerdwallet-free-college U.S. Department of Labor: CareerOneStop Scholarship Finder https://www.careeronestop.org/Toolkit/Training/find-scholarships.aspx U.S. Department of Education: College Scorecard https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/ Anna Helhoski Of Nerdwallet, The Associated Press
Dr Michael Gardam, PEI’s Chief Operations Officer (COO), is new on the Health PEI block but he brings more than 20 years of experience improving health care systems with him. Now he intends to assist PEI in the same way. “I realize in any role like this I’m going to have to prove myself and show I actually mean what I say,” Dr Gardam said. “All of the consulting work I’ve done around the world has been about empowering local groups to come up with their own local solutions. So I should be the least scary COO ever in PEI.” Dr Gardam has worked in Ireland, Sweden, New Zealand, New York and all across Canada with consistent success helping to improve health systems’ quality of care and safety. “I was warned that people would see any changes to the organizational structure as trying to centralize to Charlottetown. That’s exactly not what I am doing,” he said. “I come with the rural focus of how do we make these communities where it’s hard to recruit and so on, as strong as possible?” He said breaking down silos east and west as well as between mental health and the rest of the health care system will help create smooth, well-integrated and collaborative plans. This could improve the quality of care patients receive. “Now all of the different groups, long-term care, acute care, mental health and addictions, we’re all at the same table. So we can sit together and work through how a plan is going to impact everybody else and how it can fit together.” He said having services such as mental health and addictions trapped in their own silo is outdated. “It’s something you would see in the ‘50s, not now,” he said. “Part of the challenge was we had mental health coming with proposals on its own but those proposals impact and rely on other parts of the system. Or you’d have the east versus west, versus central disconnects.” Dr Gardam hopes the new and relatively standard organizational structure will assist in pulling leadership together to create smoother planning. He said it will not be at the loss of regional leadership’s authority and power to develop and follow through with plans, well tailored to address local needs. In some ways, PEI reminds Dr Gardam of Ireland. “What would work in Dublin definitely was not going to work in Cork. And what worked in Cork was definitely not going to work in Limerick. So we set standards that everybody was going to work on, then it was up to them to figure out how they were going to get there.” This is the leadership style Dr Gardam brings to the Island. The analogy Dr Gardam uses is to imagine a map of PEI and you have to drive from Souris to Tignish. Some of the roads will be mandatory, those are the standards, but otherwise it doesn’t matter what roads you take as long as you get where you are going. In all of this he says his job will be to move boulders out of the way to empower plans and decisions that are best for each region. Paul Young, administrator of hospitals services west of Charlottetown is optimistic about the changes. “There is a lot of excitement across the organization right now, it’s literally palpable. People are excited about the new organization and how that will come together so we can look at better coordination and integration of services,” he said. The changes are a tremendous advancement from his perspective and help from an all-star perspective like Dr Gardam’s adds to his optimism. “A big part of this is support. After speaking with Dr Gardam there seems to be an additional emphasis of the idea that we want to build off what you guys are doing well and give you the room to grow and expand services and try new things,” Mr Young said. Dr Gardam said, health care systems don’t change on a dime and it will take hundreds of small changes before the system will start to improve. “I’m looking forward to two years from now or five years from now and saying, hey what works better?” Dr Gardam has a 2-year contract with Health PEI. Rachel Collier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Graphic
GUYSBOROUGH – What should have been a routine point on the monthly Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) council meeting agenda, a report on the recent Eastern Counties Regional Library (ECRL) library board meeting, spurred a long discussion about the fate of the libraries in Canso and Guysborough. At the Feb. 17 meeting, councillors voiced concerns about the hours at each library branch and the fear that those few hours may be reduced as the ECRL creates a budget for the coming fiscal year. The ECRL has asked the MODG to increase its funding. At this time, the MODG has no plans of doing so; they provide the ECRL with $35,990 per year and own and maintain the buildings ECRL uses in the municipality at a cost of approximately $40,000 a year. Council put forward and passed a motion to send a letter to the ECRL board about their concerns. Warden Vernon Pitts told the media after the council meeting, “ECRL are looking for a major increase in funding but they’re also, in the same breath, they’re also looking at cutting services…. We have 16 hours of service here in Guysborough and we have 24 hours of service in the community of Canso; to me that’s substandard anyway. If they’re going to cut services what’s left to cut? Is the next thing to close the libraries? “What we are trying to do is get ahead of this. We’re trying to make them realize that … the municipality does the maintenance, the lights, the phone; we do all the bills in regard to that so I can’t see where these costs are coming from,” said Pitts, adding that an ECRL board meeting set for Feb. 18, would hopefully result in some answers to questions council has about funding and service. In regard to last month’s meeting with representatives from Emergency Health Services (EHS), Pitts said council has not received any additional response to their questions about availability of ambulances and response times. He added, “I noticed watching CTV news that there are major problems in other areas. So, we’re not the only one bucking the trend, shall we say. Let’s see where it goes. It’s not good news, what you’re hearing; be it equipment issue or manpower issue. We are going to have to get that sorted out. The only way we can do that is to have an exchange of ideas … Until they contact us, our hands are basically tied.” Council has also filed a freedom of information request in regard to plans for the Irving Oil property in Guysborough and a former gas station property in Boylston. Pitts said, “Council is not going to slacken off on this. This is a priority for our council. It is not only the property in the Guysborough area it is also the old service station in the Boylston area. We want them all cleaned up. This day and age there’s no need of it.” In the coming month, the MODG will formulate the budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. Pitts said of the budget planning to date, “As everyone through the municipality knows, likely province wide, the last number of years we’ve taken a $3 million hit in regard to property assessment commercial (due to decommissioning of Sable Offshore Energy Project). We have a plan in place, a five-year-plan … as long as we stick to the plan; I think we are going to weather this alright. “We are not looking at any major tax increases going forward. We just went through our preliminary budget meeting planning session at the CLC a number of weeks ago. Things aren’t too bad. We are very comfortable. Let’s not rock the boat,” said Pitts. When asked if there would be an increase in taxes he said, “I believe we are still going to have the lowest tax rate in the province of Nova Scotia when we get through the budget process … I anticipate perhaps, maybe there will be a very minimal increase.” Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
ORLANDO, Fla. — A player for the Orlando City Soccer Club and his brother are accused of sexually assaulting a woman, sheriff's investigators said. Jonathan Suarez-Cortes, 24, was arrested Tuesday night near Orlando, the Osceola County Sheriff's Office said in a statement posted on Twitter. The team said in a statement officials learned of its player's arrest late Tuesday and are gathering more information. “No further comment will be provided by the club until additional investigation of the alleged incident is complete,” the statement said. Sheriff's investigators said the deputies responded on Monday afternoon after a woman said she had been sexually assaulted by two men the previous afternoon. A special investigations detective took over the case and authorities were able to identify Jonathan Suarez-Cortes and his brother Rafael Suarez Jr. as suspects, the sheriff's office said. Suárez-Cortés, 24, is a defender for Orlando City, acquired on loan from Querétaro FC earlier this month, according to the team's roster. The men are being held in the Osceola County Jail. Lawyers for them were not available on jail records. The Associated Press
If you have a craving for a sweet treat, consider ordering cupcakes this week, as Cupcakes to the Rescue raises money for animal shelters across the province. The cupcakes, available in any quantity can be ordered in advance and are available in chocolate, vanilla, lemon, cherry, carrot, golden and rainbow chip, with buttercream or cream cheese icing (on the carrot cupcakes). A donation of $25 per dozen is suggested but people are asked to give what they can. The purchase of cupcakes helps give a surrendered, rescued or abused animal a second chance at a new life. Many animals who have found a temporary home in shelters are in need of medical attention and some are in need of emergency surgery. All animals leaving the rescues are spayed or neutered before going to their forever homes. Adoptive parents are screened to ensure the placement is as successful as possible. All money raised will be split between Allies for Alley Catz and Adopt-a-Pet Rescue in Lucknow. This year, the event runs from Feb. 22-26. Cupcakes can be ordered by contacting Debbie Emmerton at email@example.com or by calling 519-395-4567. Arrangements for pickup or drop off can be made when placing orders. Because of the pandemic, the delivery person will be wearing a mask and ask that the person accepting the order wears one as well. Payment can be made by e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org. And for those with empty beer cans, bottles, wine or alcohol bottles piling up, consider donating them to the Lucknow rescue. Empties can be dropped off under the carport at 301 Alice Street in Kincardine. Or, return your own bottles and donate to the rescue via e-transfer to email@example.com. All money raised supports the medical and day-to-day care of animals taken in by the shelter. Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent
Which would you prefer? In Serbia, people can select any of four jabs: the one developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, China’s Sinopharm, Russia’s Sputnik V and Oxford-Astrazeneca's.View on euronews
The European Commission on Wednesday took a step towards improving the rights of gig economy workers with the launch of a public consultation to determine their legal employment status and how to improve their working conditions. Courts and regulators have meanwhile sought to correct the shortcomings in the gig economy. The UK Supreme Court ruled last week that Uber drivers are entitled to workers' rights, such as the minimum wage, and a Spanish court said in September that riders for Barcelona-based food delivery app Glovo were employees, not freelancers.
SUDBURY, Ont. — Public health officials in Sudbury, Ont., have dismissed students and staff from two schools following five confirmed cases of COVID-19. Lasalle Secondary School and Cyril Varney Public School were closed today. All five cases have been identified by Public Health Sudbury & Districts as variants of concern. The afternoon route of elementary bus N100 is also affected. "These measures were taken as a precaution to protect the school communities and to reduce the spread of the virus," said a statement from Public Health Sudbury & Districts. Staff and students at the two schools and on the bus route are being advised by public health officials to self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19. Officials say there is no evidence the virus was acquired or spread within the school communities, so no outbreak has been declared. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — Two more units have been added to a COVID-19 outbreak declared at Vancouver General Hospital. A statement from Vancouver Coastal Health says outbreaks are underway on inpatient units T-14-G and T-11-G in the highrise tower of the hospital's Jim Pattison Pavilion. The health authority says the outbreaks are in addition to one declared Sunday in unit T-10-C in the same tower. The statement says, in total, 16 patients and 13 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Visits to all three units have been suspended, except for end-of-life compassionate visits, and the hospital says infection prevention and control protocols are underway to prevent further transmission. Coastal Health says the rest of the hospital, including the emergency room, remain open and operating as usual. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
TOKYO — Japan’s communications ministry punished 11 senior officials on Wednesday for accepting lavish dinners paid for by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s eldest son and fellow executives at a satellite broadcaster, the latest embarrassment for Suga’s already scandal-laden government. The case surfaced after weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun reported that Seigo Suga and other executives from satellite broadcaster Tohokushinsha Film had entertained the officials at the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, which regulates communications business. On Wednesday, the ministry announced penalties including salary cuts and reprimands for the 11 ministry officials for accepting the expensive dinners and gifts in violation of the ethics code. Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Ryota Takeda told reporters it was regrettable that the case led to the loss of public trust in the government. Takeda said he is taking a three-month salary cut himself and ordered the ministry to set up an investigative panel to look further into the case. A ministry internal investigation found that the ministry officials received dinners and gifts totalling about 600,000 yen ($5,700) on around 40 occasions from 2016 to 2019. It also found one of Prime Minister Suga's public affairs officials, Makiko Yamada, also accepted an expensive steak dinner when she was at the ministry in 2019. Suga apologized over his son’s entertaining of the officials. He, however, denied any involvement in his son’s business activity or knowledge of his entertaining of the officials. "I'm very sorry about my son's involvement that led to illegal activity, and I would like to apologize to the people,(asterisk) Suga said. The National Public Service Ethics Law prohibits government officials from accepting treats, gifts or entertainment from individuals or companies seeking favourable treatment. Opposition lawmakers alleged that the officials met with executives of the broadcaster because of its affiliation with Suga's son and raised questions about whether they gave the company favourable treatment. The scandal could be a further setback for the prime minister, whose approval ratings have been on the decline, with poll respondents saying he was too slow to act on coronavirus measures when infections were surging to new highs in late December. A vice education minister in Suga's Cabinet was dismissed after he and two other senior governing party lawmakers acknowledged partying at an expensive hostess bar last month, defying a state of emergency, even though the measure is a non-binding request for bars and restaurants to close early and for people to avoid dining out. A former farm minister resigned as lawmaker in December after allegations he took bribes from an egg farm. Mari Yamaguchi, The Associated Press
BANGKOK — Three Cabinet ministers in Thailand were forced to leave their posts Wednesday after a court found them guilty of sedition for taking part in sometimes-violent protests in 2013-2014 against the government then in power. The Criminal Court in Bangkok found Digital Economy Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta, Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan and Deputy Transport Minister Thaworn Senneam guilty along with about two dozen other defendants in a case that was launched in 2018. The verdicts can be appealed to a higher court but under the law the Cabinet ministers must relinquish their jobs immediately. Another prominent person convicted Wednesday was Suthep Thaugsuban, a former deputy prime minister who helped found the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, which led the demonstrations against the elected government of then-Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Instability caused by the street protests led to the Thai army staging a coup in 2014 and keeping power until 2019. Suthep and the Cabinet ministers each received prison sentences ranging from five to about seven years. The Associated Press
(Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit) An online portal for booking appointments for COVID-19 vaccines in Ontario is set to launch on March 15, the head of the province's immunization task force said Wednesday, but it will likely be months longer before many people are able to get a reservation. The announcement from retired general Rick Hillier comes as members of the general public in both Alberta and Quebec will be able to start booking appointments this week. Hillier said the delay in launching Ontario's version is because the focus until that point will be on populations that don't require an appointment, such as patient-facing health-care workers and essential caregivers for long-term care residents. "I would have liked to have it earlier, quite frankly," Hillier told reporters, adding that health authorities are working "furiously" to test the system. When the online portal, along with a telephone booking system, launch in March, Ontarians aged 80 and over will be the next priority. Hillier cautioned that anyone who is not in that age group, or who is not trying to make a reservation for a person in the 80-plus age group, will not be able to book an appointment in the weeks that follow. Officials expect to begin vaccinating people 80 years and over by the third week of March. The proposed schedule in the following weeks, Hillier said, will look something like this as long as supplies of vaccine stay steady: April 15: vaccinations begin for people 75 years old and over. May 1: vaccinations begin for people 70 years old and over. June 1: vaccinations begin for people 65 years and over. July 1: vaccinations begin for people 60 years and over. Essential workers, meanwhile, should begin getting their shots the first week in May, Hillier said, with the final decision about who qualifies in that category still to come from cabinet. The task force has already submitted its recommendations, he added. Hillier wouldn't say when those 60 years old and under who are not essential workers should expect to start getting shots. "A great question, we don't need to answer it right now. Early summer is when we might be able to discuss that issue," Hillier said. WATCH | Retired general Rick Hillier on Ontario's vaccine rollout timeline: He also did not provide even a rough timeline for when people under 60 with underlying medical conditions or those living in higher-risk neighbourhoods might expect to be given a first dose of vaccine. Hillier did say, however, that where Ontarians can expect to get a shot will be based on their postal code. They will be delivered through a combination of mass vaccination clinics, community centre programs pharmacies. Asked why Ontario's platform wasn't launched sooner considering Alberta and Quebec residents will be booking vaccines imminently, Ford said at a news conference Wednesday that he respectfully disagrees the province is lagging behind. Ford pointed to Alberta's system crashing Wednesday on its first day of operations and said Quebec hasn't administered a single second dose of the vaccine thus far. In a series of tweets, Dr. Isaach Bogoch, an infectious disease physician and member of the task force, said that primary care providers will help staff vaccination sites and will eventually be able to offer shots at their own clinics once additional vaccines are approved for use by Health Canada. Several options on the horizon are more stable than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines currently available, Bogoch said. Approval of further vaccines could "significantly speed up" the rough timeline offered by Hillier. Ontario Premier Doug Ford watches a health-care worker prepare a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. Each public health unit will eventually be expected to give out up to 10,000 doses per day, though some larger health units should be doing considerably more, Bogoch said. For example, Toronto Public Health expects to have capacity for up to 400,000 shots per week, with most administered at nine mass vaccination sites, he added. As of Feb.14, all residents of long-term care and high-risk retirement homes — generally defined as those that provide memory care — who wanted a vaccine had been given their first shot. So far the province has administered a total of 602,848 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and 251,590 people have gotten both doses. At a news conference Wednesday, Ford also announced Ontario will spend $115 million to provide tuition-free training to 6,000 prospective personal support workers. The programs, which are set to be up and running in April, will consist of paid placements with students completing in six months, rather than eight. The government will also provide approximately $2,000 in financial assistance to some 2,200 students already completing studies in the PSW fields. Asked if the province will move to institute paid sick days for PSWs, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Ontario's minister of long-term care, didn't answer directly. 1,054 new cases of COVID-19 The news comes as Ontario reported another 1,054 cases of COVID-19 and nine more deaths of people with the illness Wednesday morning. The additional cases include 363 in Toronto, 186 in Peel Region and 94 in York Region. Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were: Simcoe Muskoka: 53 Windsor-Essex: 50 Thunder Bay: 45 Waterloo Region: 44 Ottawa: 40 Hamilton: 38 Durham Region: 35 Halton Region: 26 Niagara Region: 13 Middlesex-London: 10 (Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.) The Ministry of Education also reported 112 school-related cases: 89 students, 18 staff members and five people who were not identified. As of yesterday, 16 of Ontario's 4,828 publicly-funded schools were closed due to COVID-19. Ontario's lab network completed 54,852 tests for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and logged a test positivity rate of 2.4 per cent. The seven-day average of new daily cases rose to 1,084. A steep drop in the seven-day average that began on Jan. 12 has levelled out. According to the Ministry of Health, there were 675 people in Ontario hospitals with COVID-19 as of yesterday. Of those, 287 were being treated in intensive care and 182 needed a ventilator. The nine deaths reported today bring Ontario's official toll to 6,893.
ROME — Italy on Wednesday pressed the United Nations for answers about the attack on a U.N. food aid convoy in Congo that left a young ambassador and his paramilitary police bodyguard dead. Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio told lawmakers in Rome that Italy has asked both the U.N. and the U.N. World Food Program to open an investigation into the security arrangements for convoy, which was attacked two days earlier. The minister said Italy also will spare no effort to determine the truth behind the killing of Ambassador Luca Attanasio and Carabiniere paramilitary officer Vittorio Iacovacci. A WFP Congolese driver, Moustapha Milambo, was also killed in the attack. “We have formally asked the WFP and the U.N. to open an inquest that clarifies what happened, the motivations for the security arrangements employed and who was responsible for these decisions,” Di Maio said. The trip was undertaken at the U.N.’s invitation, according to Di Maio. The two Italians had “entrusted themselves to the protocol of the United Nations,” which flew them on a U.N. plane from Kinshasha to Goma, 2,500 kilometres (1,500 miles) away, Di Maio said. The Italian embassy in Kinshasha, Di Maio noted, has two armoured vehicles at the ambassador's disposal for moving around the city and the country. But for Monday's mission, to visit a WFP school food project in Rutshuri in eastern Congo, Attanasio was travelling in U.N. vehicles. Only hours earlier, Di Maio, flanked by Premier Mario Draghi, met the arrival of the bodies of the two Italians at a Rome military airport. Autopsies are scheduled for Wednesday and a state funeral for both men was set for Thursday in Rome. A special team of Carabinieri investigators, dispatched by Rome prosecutors, arrived Tuesday in Congo on what Di Maio said would likely be multiple missions to determine what happened. Attanasio, 43, who leaves a widow involved in volunteer projects in Congo and three young children, "was in love with his profession, with Africa and his family,'' Di Maio said. He noted that the Carabiniere was nearing the end of his security detail in Congo and was soon due back in Rome. The World Food Program, which won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for its efforts to feed refugees and other malnourished people worldwide, is headquartered in Rome. "For this reason, I immediately asked WFP in Rome and the United Nations, involving directing the Secretary General (Antonio) Guterres, to supply a detailed report on the attack on the convoy,'' Di Maio said. WFP has said the road had been previously cleared for travel without security escorts. U.N. security officials based in Congo usually determine road safety. On Tuesday, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in New York that the U.N. had launched an internal review concerning the “security around the incident.” Di Maio said the attackers numbered six, had light arms and apparently spread obstacles on the road and fired shots in the air to stop the convoy. “The noise of the shooting alerted soldiers of the Congolese Armed Forces and the rangers of Virunga park, less than a kilometre (half-mile) away, headed to the place of the incident.” Di Maio quoted the local governor as saying that to force the victims to go into the bush, they killed the WFP driver. When the ranger patrol arrived, Di Maio said, citing the Congolese interior minister’s account, the attackers “fired upon the Carabiniere, killing him, and at the ambassador, gravely wounding him.? Attanasio died of his wounds shortly afterward. Italy will reinforce its commitments to aid Africa, Di Maio said, calling that the “best way to honour the memory? of the two slain Italians. "A policy that puts Africa at the centre of Italian diplomatic, European and international attention, this is the commitment Luca believed in and in which we believe in,'' the foreign minister said. Frances D'Emilio, The Associated Press