From Dolly Parton's donation to help fund vaccine research to the contributions of Sean Penn's Community Organized Relief Effort, here are some of the top uplifting celebrity stories of 2020. (Dec. 18)
From Dolly Parton's donation to help fund vaccine research to the contributions of Sean Penn's Community Organized Relief Effort, here are some of the top uplifting celebrity stories of 2020. (Dec. 18)
MONTREAL — Quebec is reporting 2,225 new COVID-19 cases and 67 further deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. The number of hospitalizations dropped for a second day, this time by 22 for a total of 1,474 patients, with four fewer patients in intensive care for a total of 227. Health Minister Christian Dube tweeted that all Quebecers need to continue to follow public health rules to ensure cases and hospitalizations go down. The province's Health Department reported 2,430 more recoveries, for a total of 210,364. Quebec currently has 21,640 active cases. The province has now reported 240,970 confirmed infections and 9,005 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021. The Canadian Press
LONDON — Michail Antonio scored in his first English Premier League start for West Ham since November in a 1-0 win over Burnley on Saturday. Antonio side-footed home from close range in the ninth minute after a left-wing cross from Pablo Fornals flicked off the top of Burnley defender Ben Mee's head and into the path of the West Ham forward, who was free at the back post. West Ham has missed the mobility and presence up front of Antonio, who was sidelined before Christmas with a hamstring injury and has been eased back into action by manager David Moyes given his importance to the team. He came on as a substitute against Southampton and Everton over the festive period, and played in the win over Rochdale in the FA Cup on Monday. Moyes has few other alternatives for the striker role, especially with Sebastien Haller recently leaving to join Ajax in the Netherlands, so keeping Antonio fit is particularly important if West Ham is to finish in the top half of the standings. Burnley thought it equalized before halftime when a cross by Chris Wood was turned into his own net by West Ham defender Aaron Cresswell, but the goal was disallowed because Wood was offside in the buildup. While West Ham is unbeaten in its last four league games, keeping three straight clean sheets in the process, Burnley has lost three of its last four games and dropped to fourth-to-last place, one above the relegation zone. Scoring is its biggest problem — Sean Dyche's team has just nine goals in 17 games, tied for the fewest in the league with last-placed Sheffield United. Relegation is a distinct possibility for the northwest club, which became the latest league team to be owned by Americans when ALK Capital’s sports investment arm, Velocity Sports Partners, bought an 84% stake in December. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
WILMINGTON, Del. — In a dig at the outgoing Trump administration, President-elect Joe Biden said the team of scientific advisers he introduced Saturday will lead with "science and truth. We believe in both.” Biden is elevating the position of science adviser to Cabinet level, a White House first, and said that Eric Lander, a pioneer in mapping the human genome who is in line to be director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, is “one of the most brilliant guys I know.” Lander said Biden has tasked his advisers and “the whole scientific community and the American public” to “rise to this moment." Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris used the rollout of the science team to recall her late mother, a cancer researcher whom she credited with teaching her to think critically. “The science behind climate change is not a hoax. The science behind the virus is not partisan,” Harris said. “The same laws apply, the same evidence holds true regardless of whether or not you accept them.” Both Biden and Harris veered from their prepared texts to hold up the scientists as examples to children across the country. “Superheroes aren’t just about our imagination,” Harris said. “They are walking among us. They are teachers and doctors and scientists, they are vaccine researchers ... and you can grow up to be like them, too.” Lander is the founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and was the lead author of the first paper announcing the details of the human genome. He would be the first life scientist to have that White House job. His predecessor is a meteorologist. The president-elect is retaining the director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, who worked with Lander on the human genome project. Biden also named two prominent female scientists to co-chair the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Frances Arnold, a California Institute of Technology chemical engineer who won the 2018 Nobel Prize in chemistry, and MIT vice-president for research and geophysics professor Maria Zuber will lead the outside science advisory council. Lander held that position during Obama administration. Collins, in an email statement, called Lander “brilliant, visionary, exceptionally creative and highly effective in aspiring others.” “I predict he will have a profound transformational effect on American science,” Collins said. The job as director of science and technology policy requires Senate confirmation. Science organizations were also quick to praise Lander and the promotion of the science post to Cabinet level. Elevating the position "clearly signals the administration's intent to involve scientific expertise in every policy discussion,” said Sudip Parikh, chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest general scientific society. Biden picked Princeton's Alondra Nelson, a social scientist who studies science, technology and social inequality, as deputy science policy chief. Lander, also a mathematician, is a professor of biology at both Harvard and MIT and his work has been cited nearly half a million times in scientific literature, one of the most among scientists. He has won numerous science prizes, including a MacArthur “genius” fellowship and a Breakthrough Prize, and is one of Pope Francis' scientific advisers. Lander has said in talks that an opportunity to explain science is his “Achilles' heel": “I love teaching and more than that, I firmly believe that no matter what I do in my own scientific career, the most important impact that I could ever have on the world is going to be through my students.” ___ Borenstein reported from Kensington, Maryland. Bioll Barrow And Seth Borenstein, The Associated Press
Northwest Territories health officials are urging anyone who has been in self-isolation in Hay River or Kátł'odeeche First Nation since Jan. 1 to arrange for a COVID-19 test. On Thursday, public health officials said wastewater testing suggested there are one or more cases of COVID-19 in the area. The Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory also reports a "persistent positive COVID-19 signal in Hay River wastewater" collected on Jan. 11, said Dr. Andy Delli-Pizzi, N.W.T.'s deputy chief public health officer, in a news release issued Saturday. But so far, no one who has tested for COVID-19 since then has been a positive case, said Delli-Pizzi. "Currently, there is not enough information to confidently assess public risk," he said. "But with evidence pointing towards at least one undetected case of COVID-19 in Hay River, we are asking the public to assist in containing the situation quickly to prevent transmission." Public health officials are also asking anyone who is self-isolating because they entered N.W.T. from another jurisdiction, and has been in Hay River or Kátł'odeeche First Nation since Jan. 1, to be tested. Residents who fit that criteria should be tested, regardless of symptoms. Previously, public health officials had focused on people who were self-isolating between Jan. 1-6. Public health officials are also urging essential workers, who were not self-isolating because they had an exemption to work in Hay River or Kátł'odeeche First Nation since Jan. 1, to arrange for testing. "High-risk essential service workers" who are not symptomatic and were already tested as part of their permission to work, such as health-care workers, are exempt, said Delli-Pizzi. People who were self-isolating in Hay River or Kátł'odeeche First Nation since Jan. 1, but who have since left those communities, should contact the local health centre to arrange for a test. Hay River testing clinic open this weekend To accommodate the testing, public health officials are extending the hours of a dedicated testing clinic. The testing clinic in Hay River, located at 52 Woodland Drive, will run Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Residents looking to get tested should call public health at 867-874-8400 to book an appointment and a public health nurse will call back. The nurse can also help with arrangements for transportation to the clinic for those who need it. Public health officials are urging those arriving for drive-thru testing to follow the signs, stay in their vehicles and wait their turn. They're also reminding people to wear a mask when they go for their test. Delli-Pizzi is reminding people that if they do get a positive result, public health officials will follow up for contact tracing and to try to find where a person may have been exposed to COVID-19.
Ottawa is reporting 136 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. Western Quebec has confirmed 43 new infections today. Today's Ottawa update Ottawa Public Health (OPH) recorded 136 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. OPH also declared 111 more cases resolved and reported no new deaths. The infection rate in Ottawa has risen to record levels since around Christmas, prompting OPH to declare the city is once again in a COVID-19 crisis. The current lockdown in eastern Ontario went into effect Dec. 26, and is now scheduled to last until Feb. 11. A provincial stay-at-home order is also in effect. Numbers to watch 88.9: The number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Ottawa residents, down from Friday. 1.01: The average number of people infected by a single COVID-19 case, or R(t), has been in gradual decline this month but remains unchanged since Friday. OPH aims to keep the number below one. 4.1%: Ottawa's average test positivity percentage, down from 4.5 per cent. Across the region Health authorities in western Quebec are reporting 43 new cases of COVID-19 but no more deaths. Quebec's lockdown lasts until Feb. 8. It includes an 8 p.m. curfew that went into effect last weekend.
The provincial government has begun vaccinating British Columbia's most vulnerable against COVID-19 and an advocacy group for people with Down syndrome is hoping the group it represents will be added to this priority queue. Wayne Leslie, CEO of the Burnaby-based Down Syndrome Resource Foundation (DSRF), laid out his reasons why in a letter addressed to Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry earlier this week. Down syndrome is a genetic condition that can result in physical, mental, and developmental disabilities and, as a result, people with the condition can have complex health and mental health needs. In his letter to Henry, Leslie says people over the age of 40 with Down syndrome can develop high-risk medical conditions that are comparable to someone over the age of 70 in the general population. Leslie's complete letter to the province on behalf of the DSRF can be found here. According to the foundation, the average life span of a person with Down syndrome is approximately 60 years. The average life expectancy for British Columbians, according to 2017 Statistics Canada data, is 84 for women and 79.9 for men. The province has taken a phased-in approach to its vaccination program, with the first available doses being doled out to front-line health-care workers, and staff and residents in long-term care facilities. After that, the plan is to primarily vaccinate people by age, beginning with the most elderly. The priority vaccine groups can be found here. Recommendations to province Leslie's letter makes two recommendations — that adults with Down syndrome over the age of 40 be considered high priority for vaccination, and that individuals with Down syndrome between the ages of 16 and 39 also be given priority consideration. His letter highlights that adults with Down syndrome are four times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 and 10 times more likely to die from the virus. Leslie's statistics are based on research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in October that looked at a cohort of over eight million adults, of which just over 4,000 had Down syndrome. Twenty-seven of those with Down syndrome died of COVID-19. "One of the key reasons is that someone in their forties typically has the health issues associated with aging of the typical population in its seventies," Leslie told Stephen Quinn, host of CBC's The Early Edition, on Thursday. He said people with Down syndrome in the 16 to 39 category should be considered a priority because many individuals in that age group, due to the pandemic, are without critical programs and services such as mental health supports. People with developmental disabilities, including Down syndrome, often also depend heavily on predictable routines to successfully navigate daily life — routines that have been completely upended by COVID-19. "It's very hard for me and my friends," said 27-year-old Andrew Bingham, who has Down syndrome and is an ambassador for the foundation. Bingham said while he tries to stay connected with friends by text message, COVID-19 has already cost him a job, sports, and his social life. Provincial responses Premier John Horgan, addressing reporters on a wide range of issues Thursday, said he has received "piles of mail" from individuals and groups asking to be prioritized for a vaccine. "We want to start, I think the rule of thumb, is the older you are the more at risk you are," said Horgan. In a Thursday statement to CBC, the Ministry of Health said vaccines are not available to everyone at once and because of the challenges in storing and shipping the doses, certain groups have been prioritized. "As Dr. Henry has said, everybody is important in B.C. and everyone who the vaccine is recommended for will have access to it. But we know that some people are at higher risk, and that is why they are getting immunized first," said the statement. Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix will provide an update next week about when the general population in B.C. will be able to receive the vaccine. Leslie is optimistic the province will respond to his letter and consider his request. Using general population figures, the foundation estimates the Down syndrome population in B.C. to be somewhere between 3,500 and 4,000 people and about 2,000 of that group to be over age 16. Tap here to listen to Wayne Leslie and Andrew Bingham interviewed on CBC's The Early Edition.
Quelques semaines après avoir vu les images de vacanciers passant Noël dans des « tout inclus » au soleil, le député Maxime Blanchette-Joncas ne décolère pas, a pu constater Le Mouton Noir lors d’une entrevue. Il a encore en travers de la gorge le fait que ces voyageurs, partis pour des raisons non essentielles, puissent être admissibles à la Prestation canadienne de maladie pour la relance économique (PCMRE) de 1000 $ s’ils ne peuvent se présenter à leur travail en raison de la quarantaine obligatoire. Au tout début de l’année, le gouvernement Trudeau a pourtant réagi rapidement lorsqu’il s’est rendu compte qu’une zone grise dans son programme permettait des abus de ce type : à partir du 3 janvier, plus possible de s’engouffrer dans la faille, a prévenu le premier ministre. Insuffisant pour le Bloc québécois, qui veut que la rectification soit appliquée rétroactivement à partir de la date d’entrée en vigueur de la PCMRE, le 2 octobre dernier. « C’est un non-sens, c’est une aberration, c’est encore un cafouillage total, je dirais même que c’est de la sottise, un manque de jugement flagrant », s’emporte le député de Rimouski-Neigette-Témiscouata-Les Basques, qui assure qu’il se met au diapason de la population qu’il représente en utilisant un tel vocabulaire. « C’est la première fois que je voyais une telle révolte : les gens m’ont envoyé des milliers de messages, par courriel, sur les réseaux sociaux ou par téléphone. Ils étaient outrés de la situation, à raison. » On peut effectivement vérifier cette frustration sur les réseaux sociaux, où de nombreuses personnes ont partagé leur sentiment d’injustice : alors qu’elles se sont astreintes à respecter les règles sanitaires et n’ont reçu personne dans le temps des fêtes, voilà que d’autres voient leurs mojitos remboursés par le gouvernement fédéral (donc, in fine, par les contribuables restés bien sagement à la maison) qui leur avait pourtant fortement recommandé de ne pas voyager! Si certains de ces voyageurs ont touché les 1000 $ de PCMRE, ils doivent les rembourser, dit M. Blanchette-Joncas. Cela pourrait se faire au moment du rapport d’impôt, par exemple. Surtout, il ne veut aucune exemption pour ceux ayant voyagé avant que le gouvernement ne se rende compte de sa bourde, même si ces gens n’ont rien fait d’illégal – ils ont simplement ignoré une recommandation gouvernementale. « Pourquoi ça serait plus légitime pour la personne revenue le 25 décembre plutôt que le 3 janvier d’avoir accès à la PCMRE? On ne peut pas corriger une inégalité en en créant une autre! » Peu de gens concernés Le député rimouskois ne connait pas le nombre de personnes qui pourraient avoir bénéficié de la PCMRE après un voyager « dans le sud ». On peut penser qu’il est très faible puisque d’une part, les conditions pour en bénéficier sont assez restrictives : il faut avoir été empêché de retourner au travail par une quarantaine et ne bénéficier d’aucune autre prestation – cela exclut donc les étudiants, les retraités, les chômeurs ou tous ceux qui font du télétravail. Par ailleurs, avant que les médias ne mettent cette faille en évidence, bon nombre de voyageurs l’ignoraient tout bonnement… D’après les chiffres fournis par le gouvernement du Canada, il n’y a pas eu d’explosion de nombres de demandes de PCMRE dans la semaine du 27 décembre au 2 janvier, c’est-à-dire au moment où ceux partis pour Noël sont revenus. Au contraire, c’est la période où il y a eu le moins de demandes (20 600) depuis l’entrée en vigueur du programme en octobre, alors que certaines semaines, le cap des 60 000 demandes a été franchi. Maxime Blanchette-Joncas se défend de faire un « show de boucane » à partir d’un nombre marginal de profiteurs insouciants. Pour lui, peu importe « que ce soit 2500 personnes ou 40 personnes, c’est une question de principe ». La confiance que la population porte aux institutions en dépend, ajoute-t-il. Plutôt que de devoir corriger une situation qui a choqué la population, le gouvernement Trudeau aurait pu contrôler le flux de voyageurs en forçant les compagnies aériennes à rembourser les billets d’avion annulés plus tôt en 2020, comme cela a été fait en Europe, ajoute le député. Disposant plutôt d’un crédit voyage qu’elles ont eu peur de perdre, plusieurs personnes ont décidé de l’utiliser dans le temps des fêtes. « Quand on veut prévenir une situation, il faut agir. Le gouvernement fait la sourde oreille et pense régler la situation en faisant des remaniements ministériels en vue d’élections générales », assène le député Blanchette-Joncas. À entendre son ton combatif, nul doute que lui aussi est près pour partir en campagne…Rémy Bourdillon, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Mouton Noir
NEW YORK — All federal prisons in the United States have been placed on lockdown, with officials aiming to quell any potential violence that could arise behind bars as law enforcement prepares for potentially violent protests across the country in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday. The lockdown at more than 120 federal Bureau of Prisons facilities took effect at 12 a.m. Saturday, according to an email to employees from the president of the union representing federal correctional officers. “In light of current events occurring around the country, and out of an abundance of caution, the decision has been made to secure all institutions,” the Bureau of Prisons said in a statement. The lockdown decision is precautionary, no specific information led to it and it is not in response to any significant events occurring inside facilities, the bureau said. To avoid backlash from inmates, the lockdown was not announced until after they were locked in their cells Friday evening. Shane Fausey, the president of the Council of Prison Locals, wrote in his email to staff that inmates should still be given access in small groups to showers, phones and email and can still be involved in preparing food and performing basic maintenance. Messages seeking comment were left with Fausey on Saturday. The agency last put in place a nationwide lockdown in April to combat the spread of the coronavirus. During a lockdown, inmates are kept in their cells most of the day and visiting is cancelled. Because of coronavirus, social visits only resumed in October, but many facilities have cancelled them again as infections spiked. One reason for the new nationwide lockdown is that the bureau is moving some of its Special Operations Response Teams from prison facilities to Washington, D.C., to bolster security after President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Authorities are concerned there could be more violence, not only in the nation’s capital, but also at state capitals, before Trump leaves office Jan. 20. A Bureau of Prisons spokesman said the agency was co-ordinating with officials at the Justice Department to be ready to deploy as needed. Earlier this month, about 100 officers were sent to the Justice Department's headquarters to supplement security staff and were deputized by the U.S. Marshals Service and given special legal powers to “enforce federal criminal statutes and protect federal property and personnel,” said the spokesman, Justin Long. The specialized units typically respond to disturbances and other emergencies at prisons, such as riots, assaults, escapes and escape attempts, and hostage situations. Their absence can leave gaps in a prison’s emergency response and put remaining staff at risk. “The things that happen outside the walls could affect those working behind the walls,” Aaron McGlothin, a local union president at a federal prison in California. As the pandemic continues to menace federal inmates and staff, a federal lockup in Mendota, California, is also dealing with a possible case of tuberculosis. According to an email to staff Friday, an inmate at the medium-security facility has been placed in a negative pressure room after returning a positive skin test and an X-ray that indicated an active case of tuberculosis. The inmate was not showing symptoms of the lung disease and is undergoing further testing to confirm a diagnosis, the email said. As a precaution, all other inmates on the affected inmate’s unit were placed on quarantine status and given skin tests for tuberculosis. The bacterial disease is spread similarly to COVID-19, through droplets that an infected person expels by coughing, sneezing or through other activities such as singing and talking. Mendota also has 10 current inmate cases and six current staff cases of COVID-19. As of Wednesday, the last day for which data was available, there were 4,718 federal inmates and 2,049 Bureau of Prisons staff members with current positive tests for COVID-19. Since the first case was reported in March, 38,535 inmates and 3,553 staff have recovered from the virus. So far, 190 federal inmates and 3 staff members have died. __ Balsamo reported from Washington. __ On Twitter, follow Sisak at twitter.com/mikesisak and Balsamo at twitter.com/mikebalsamo1 Michael R. Sisak And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
A group of fishermen found the body of missing canoeist Kenneth Surette on Saturday in coastal waters off Yarmouth County. A search for Surette, 69, began Tuesday after the body of an unnamed woman was discovered along the shoreline of Morris Island, N.S. RCMP have said the pair were paddling together. Search and rescue crews scoured the area for two days and found their canoe on the morning of Jan. 13, also near Morris Island. Surette's body was recovered from the water near where his boat was found. RCMP Sgt. Andrew Joyce said it was "very, very fortunate" to have located the body, given how much tides and currents can move things around in coastal waters. The formal search was called off mid-week and turned over to the RCMP as a missing persons case, but Joyce said some local fishermen never stopped searching. Joyce said the RCMP investigation will continue at least until the provincial medical examiner completes an autopsy. RCMP are not classifying Surette's death as suspicious. MORE TOP STORIES
LAVAL, Que. — Alimentation Couche–Tard Inc. and the French grocer it was courting say they have abandoned takeover talks but will consider future operational partnerships. The Laval-based convenience store chain and Carrefour SA issued a joint statement saying they recently discussed a possible deal, but are no longer continuing with those conversations after recent events. French finance minister Bruno Le Maire told Couche-Tard founder Alain Boucher on Friday in Paris that he refused to let a potential $25-billion takeover proceed because he felt the deal would put food security at stake. Now Couche-Tard and Carrefour say they will look at how they can collaborate around fuel, purchasing volumes and private labels. They will also examine partnerships that use innovation to enhance the customer experience and optimize product distribution across their overlapping networks. If Couche-Tard's friendly takeover attempt had been approved, the Quebec company would have taken control of a fifth of France's groceries market and strengthened its international presence. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:ATD) The Canadian Press
Un homme a été blessé gravement vers 10h30 ce matin, dans le secteur du lac Vert à Hébertville. Selon les informations rapportées par la Sûreté du Québec, l’arbre que l’homme buchait se serait abattu sur lui. L’individu, qui était seul, a eu besoin des secours des policiers et ambulancier pour le sortir de sa position. Il a ensuite été transporté en centre hospitalier, où l’on craint pour sa vie. Un enquêteur est actuellement sur place afin de déterminer les causes de l’accident. Janick Emond, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Lac St-Jean
Mayor Andy Schor of Lansing, Mich., says security preparations ahead of inauguration day are in place to prevent violent protests against the presidential election results.
LOS ANGELES — Hours after an angry mob of Trump supporters took control of the U.S. Capitol in a violent insurrection, Selena Gomez laid much of the blame at the feet of Big Tech. “Today is the result of allowing people with hate in their hearts to use platforms that should be used to bring people together and allow people to build community,” tweeted the singer/actor. “Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Jack Dorsey, Sundar Pichai, Susan Wojcicki — you have all failed the American people today, and I hope you’re going to fix things moving forward.” It’s just the latest effort by the 28-year-old Gomez to draw attention to the danger of internet companies critics say have profited from misinformation and hate on their platforms. Gomez has been calling out Big Tech for months — publicly on the very platforms she’s fighting and privately in conversations with Silicon Valley’s big hitters. In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Gomez said she’s frustrated by what she views as the companies’ lacklustre response and that they have to “stop doing the bare minimum.” “It isn’t about me versus you, one political party versus another. This is about truth versus lies and Facebook, Instagram and big tech companies have to stop allowing lies to just flow and pretend to be the truth,” Gomez said in a phone interview from New York. “Facebook continues to allow dangerous lies about vaccines and COVID and the U.S. election, and neo-Nazi groups are selling racist products via Instagram. “Enough is enough,” she said. Facebook and Twitter representatives declined to comment. Google didn't respond to an AP request for comment. Gomez is among a growing number of celebrities using their platforms to call out social media, including Sacha Baron Cohen, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Kerry Washington, and Kim Kardashian West. Gomez became passionate about the issue in 2017 when a 12-year-old commented on one of her Instagram posts: “Go kill yourself.” “That was my tipping point,” she said. “I couldn’t handle what I was seeing.” Social media experts have argued that companies like Facebook and Twitter played a direct role in the Capitol insurrection both by allowing plans for the uprising to be made on their platforms and through algorithms that allow dangerous conspiracy theories to take flight. That’s even though executives, such as Facebook’s Sandberg, have insisted that planning for the riots largely took place on other, smaller platforms. “The operational planning was happening in spaces that Selena, for example, was identifying to Sheryl Sandberg in advance saying, ‘You know, we need to do something about white supremacist extremism online and their ability to just form a group on Facebook and happily talk away to each other, plan what they’re going to do next,’” said Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, which has helped educate Gomez about online misinformation. In emails shared exclusively with the AP, Gomez told Sandberg in September that “a search for a militia group ‘Three Percenters’ results in dozens of pages, groups and videos focused on people hoping and preparing for civil war, and there are dozens of groups titled ‘white lives matter’ that are full of hate and lies that might lead to people being hurt or, even worse, killed.” That’s even though Facebook banned U.S.-based militia groups from its service in August. In the same email, Gomez also points to several ads with lies about election fraud being allowed to remain on Facebook and Instagram and questions why that was being allowed. “I can’t believe you can’t check ads before you take money, and if you can’t you shouldn’t be profiting from it,” she wrote. “You’re not just doing nothing. You’re cashing in from evil.” In an email response to Gomez, Sandberg defends Facebook’s efforts to remove harmful content, saying the platform has removed millions of posts for hate speech, and bans ads that are divisive, inflammatory, or discourage people from voting. She didn’t directly address the advertising examples Gomez pointed to. “It’s beating around the bush and saying what people want to hear,” Gomez said about her interactions with Sandberg and Google, among others. "I think at this point we’ve all learned that words don’t match up unless the action is going to happen.” Following the violence at the U.S. Capitol, tech companies made some of their biggest changes to date. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms banned President Donald Trump, drawing criticism from some including the American Civil Liberties Union that it was censorship, and praise from others who say the president abused his platform by encouraging violence. In a thread defending Twitter’s Trump ban, CEO Jack Dorsey said “offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all.” In addition to banning Trump, Facebook has been removing video and photos from Capitol rioters. The company also added text on posts questioning the election, confirming that Joe Biden has been lawfully elected, and saying it was taking enforcement action against militarized social movements like QAnon. While the changes are positive, they’re “just a drop in the bucket,” said Jeff Orlowski, director of Netflix’s “The Social Dilemma,” a popular 2020 film that showed how Silicon Valley’s pursuit of profit could pose an existential threat to U.S. democracy. Voices like Gomez’s can be a huge help to get the message across, considering her hundreds of millions of followers, Orlowski said. “Think of the advertising revenue from every Selena Gomez post. Think of the advertising revenue from every Donald Trump post, the advertising revenue from every post from The Rock or whoever,” he said. “Those people are literally generating millions of dollars for these companies ... The top 20 people on Instagram have probably the most influence over Mark and Sheryl compared to anybody else until finally Congress as a whole gets enough momentum and energy to put some legislation together.” Orlowski and Ahmed both said they’re looking to Biden’s administration for reforms, including a measure that would hold social media companies accountable for the posts they allow, an effort that has gained momentum and drawn bipartisan support. “The question no longer is ‘Is there going to be change,’” Ahmed said. “The question is, ‘What kind of change are we going to get?’” Meanwhile, Gomez vows to keep fighting as long as she has a pedestal. “While I have this, I’m going to do good things with it,” she said. “I think that’s my purpose.” ___ Associated Press writer Barbara Ortutay contributed to this report from Oakland, California. Amanda Lee Myers, The Associated Press
BERLIN — Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus missed a penalty in a 1-1 draw with lowly Mainz while Leipzig again missed the chance to move to the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday. Leipzig, which was denied top spot in losing to Dortmund 3-1 last weekend, could manage only 2-2 at Wolfsburg and it remains a point behind league leader Bayern Munich. Bayern hosts Freiburg on Sunday. Dortmund was looking for its fourth win in five league games under new coach Edin Terzic but was frustrated by a committed performance from Mainz in Bo Svensson’s second game in charge. The draw was enough for Mainz to move off the bottom on goal difference from Schalke, which visits Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday. Dortmund got off to a fine start with Erling Haaland firing inside the left post in the second minute. But the goal was ruled out through VAR as Thomas Meunier was offside in the buildup. Jude Bellingham struck the post toward the end of the half and it was as close as Dortmund came to scoring before the break. Mainz defended doggedly and took its chance in the 57th when Levin Öztunali eluded Mats Hummels with a back-heel trick and let fly from 20 metres inside the top right corner. The visitors almost grabbed another shortly afterward when Alexander Hack struck the crossbar with a header. The 16-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko had just gone on for Dortmund and he played a decisive role for his side’s equalizer in the 73rd, keeping the ball in play before sending in a cross that was cleared by Mainz defender Phillipp Mwene – only as far as Meunier, who fired back in to equalize. Meunier was then fouled in the penalty area by Hack, giving Reus a chance to score from the spot. The Dortmund captain sent his kick outside of the left post. It could have been worse for Reus’ team as Mainz captain Danny Latza hit the post late on. Dortmund remained fourth, four points behind Bayern, which has a game in hand. Werder Bremen scored late to beat Augsburg 2-0 at home, Cologne drew with Hertha Berlin 0-0, and Hoffenheim vs. Arminia Bielefeld also ended scoreless. Stuttgart hosted Borussia Mönchengladbach in the late game. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP CiaráN Fahey, The Associated Press
TORONTO — A tentative deal that could see General Motors Canada pour a billion dollars into Ontario's beleaguered automotive sector could bring the province one step closer to modernizing its economy and keeping local production afloat, according to a prominent Canadian manufacturing association. GM and national union Unifor announced the deal on Friday night, saying the two sides had reached a preliminary agreement to transform the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ont. into a hub for commercial electric vehicle manufacturing. The deal, valued at $1 billion, is still subject to ratification by union members later this weekend. Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters hailed the announcement as a breath of fresh air for a sector that has struggled to retain jobs and fend off other North American competitors for years. "It is good news for Ontario, for those employees in the auto sector, and for the businesses and employees in the supply chain that supports auto assembly in Ontario," association President Dennis Darby said in an email to The Canadian Press. GM dealt Ontario a blow when the last pickup trucks rolled down the line at its Oshawa assembly plant just before Christmas in 2019. The shutdown led to layoffs for the roughly 2,600 people employed at the plant, which had been in operation since 1953 and had nearly ten times as many workers on its assembly lines during its 1980's hay day. Unifor, politicians and even U.K. singer Sting fought the decision to close the plant. GM eventually relented and saved 300 jobs with a $170 million investment to turn a portion of the operation into a auto parts plant. Experts have since predicted a pivot towards electric and self-driving cars and trucks would help Canada contend with competition from the southern U.S. and Mexico. While both regions' auto sectors flourished, Unifor estimated Canada dropped to the No. 10 auto manufacturing country in the world in 2017, down from No. 4 in 1999. "Over the past few years the province has lost production to other jurisdictions, and this (new GM) announcement like some previous ones in the past year by other manufacturers helps provide some much needed stability and hope for the future continued viability of this sub-sector of manufacturing," said Darby. GM said it intends to use the Ingersoll plant for the production of delivery vans dubbed BrightDrop EV 600s, a new venture the company touted at the Consumer Electronics Show this week. The GM deal, if approved, would mark the latest in a string of negotiation triumphs for Unifor as it seeks to bolster Canada's automotive industry. The union struck deals with General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler last year that included support from the federal and Ontario governments. A Ford deal reached in September included $1.95 billion to bring battery electric vehicle production to Oakville, Ont., and a new engine derivative to the southwestern Ontario city of Windsor. The Fiat Chrysler agreement included more than $1.5 billion to build plug-in hybrid vehicles and battery electric vehicles. General Motors agreed in November to a $1.3 billion dollar investment to bring 1,700 jobs to Oshawa plus more than $109 million to in-source new transmission work for the Corvette and support continued V8 engine production in St. Catharines, Ont. If the latest GM deal is ratified, Unifor said recent negotiations would have helped pump $6 billion into the provincial auto sector. Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli issued the statement celebrating the most recent announcement. "This announcement is an important signal that Ontario’s economy remains competitive even in these difficult times," they said. — `with files from Anita Balakrishnan in Toronto This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021. Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press
Canada's Alimentation Couche-Tard and European retailer Carrefour SA have decided to work on partnership opportunities after takeover talks failed, the two companies said in a joint statement on Saturday. Couche-Tard dropped its 16.2 billion euro ($19.57 billion) bid for Carrefour after the French government opposed the deal, citing food security concerns. The decision to end merger talks came after a meeting on Friday between French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Couche-Tard's founder and chairman, Alain Bouchard.
Ontario Provincial Police say they've been kept busy by a steady stream of minor traffic accidents as heavy snow falls over the region. "We're just encouraging people as we always do, whenever we have a snow event, you know — see snow, go slow," said Bill Dickson, spokesperson for the OPP. "I mean our traffic is hopefully very light anyway because people are being encouraged to stay at home." Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for the Ottawa area, as well for Maniwaki, Que. According to Ian Black, climatologist for CBC News Ottawa, the city could see between 15 and 25 centimetres of snow. Eight centimetres of snow was already on the ground by 6 a.m. Saturday morning, Black said. The temperature will remain steady around 0 C for much of the day. Overnight parking ban planned for Ottawa Ottawa will also enforce an overnight parking ban between 7 p.m. on Saturday and 7 a.m. on Sunday, allowing crews to clean city streets unimpeded. Those hours could be extended if additional time is needed. Other parts of eastern Ontario, like Pembroke, Ont., can expect light precipitation with heavy snow mixed in, according to Environment Canada. Kingston, Ont., will see grey clouds overhead, with a 60 per cent chance of flurries or drizzle in the forecast. Tractor-trailer crashes Dickson said OPP officers responded to a number of tractor-trailer collisions Saturday but none that led to injuries. He said if people do need to travel, they should drive carefully and ensure their vehicle is cleared off, including the head and brake lights. "In terms of speed limits, remember, those speed limits that are posted out there are for ideal conditions," he said. "Today is by no means even close to ideal conditions."
Two former Obama administration officials have emerged as front-runners for the top antitrust job at the U.S. Department of Justice under the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter. One of the picks is Renata Hesse, who has had several stints at the Justice Department since 2002 and most recently served as the Acting Assistant Attorney General from mid-2016 to Jan. 2017.
Justin Kripps of Summerland, B.C., and Cam Stones of Whitby, Ont., earned their seventh World Cup medal together in finishing third at their second two-man bobsled race of the season on Saturday in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The Canadians had a two-run time of two minutes 12.84 seconds on a fast track that is quickly becoming one of their favourites. "The track was much faster than in training and we had a lot of fun on our way to our first ever two-man medal on this track," said Kripps, the reigning Olympic two-man champion with 17 World Cup two-man medals who was fifth at last week's season-opener in Germany. The 34-year-old had never reached the podium in St. Moritz until last year when Kripps teamed with Ben Coakwell, Ryan Sommer and Stones to win the four-man title. WATCH | Kripps and Stones hang on to 3rd spot on podium: "It was another great day in St. Moritz for Team Kripps. It is easily becoming one of our favourite tracks, and is especially fun to win medals on," added Stones. "Justin's driving was great, and we are really looking forward to trying to defend our four-man title from last year tomorrow." The Canadians, who joined forces after the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, turned in the third-fastest time in their opening run down the only non-refrigerated track in the world. Friedrich leads 1-2 German finish They held the final spot on the podium despite posting the fifth-fastest final run time on the 1,700-metre chute of natural ice that winds its way to the finish line in the town of Celerina. "It is the birthplace of bobsleigh," said Kripps of St. Moritz. "It is like Monaco for the Grand Prix. There is so much history and always such a treat to slide here." It was a 1-2 German finish Saturday as Francesco Friedrich won the 47th World Cup gold medal of his career (2:11.92) while piloting Alexander Schueller to break a tie with fellow German Sandra Kiriasis for the most by any bobsled pilot. Johannes Lochner and Florian Bauer placed second in 2:12.37. WATCH | Francesco Friedrich records 47th gold of World Cup career: Calgary's Chris Spring, who picked up three medals on the Europe Cup circuit a week ago, was competing on the World Cup for the first time in more than a year on Saturday. Pushed by Ottawa's Mike Evelyn, the newly formed team finished 11th spot at 2:13.79 in the latter's World Cup debut. The World Cup continues Sunday with the women's and four-man bobsleigh races.
A worker at Agnico Eagle's Meliadine gold mine, located about 25 kilometres north of Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, has tested positive for COVID-19, the company said in a news release Friday. The worker tested positive on Jan. 8, but the positive test result was confirmed on Jan. 13, the release says. Prior to arriving at the mine, the person was tested on Dec. 24 and the result came back negative. They were tested again twice — once after being on site for three days, then on Day 5 — about results were also negative, the release says. But on Jan. 8, the person "developed mild COVID-19 symptoms and was immediately placed in isolation," the release says. "The employee presumptively tested positive on the same day." Agnico Eagle says the person was isolated on site until they could be flown out on a special charter flight later that day. There have been nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the mine since the start of the pandemic, an Agnico Eagle spokesperson told CBC News Saturday via email. 11 contacts identified Contact tracing identified 11 employees who may have had contact with the positive case, says the release. The impacted workers were flown out of the mine on a special charter on Jan. 8, and were tested on Jan. 9. The results were all negative, says the release. The infected worker and the 11 close contacts are now self-isolating at home for 14 days, said the Agnico Eagle spokesperson. Contamination risk is "deemed low," the company says, but common areas at the mine, such as the gym, smoke shacks and recreational room, have been closed for cleaning and disinfection. The public health risk to Rankin Inlet is also "very low," as the mine isolated itself from the community in March, and sent all Nunavummiut employees home with 75 per cent of their base salary to reduce the risk of potential transmission to Nunavut communities. Agnico Eagle is working closely with Nunavut's office of the chief public health officer and following its recommendations, the company says.