Here's the latest for Monday December 21st: Congress to vote on coronavirus relief deal; Biden to get COVID-19 vaccine; COVID patients overwhelming California hospitals; Tennessee Governor calls state coronavirus "ground zero."
Here's the latest for Monday December 21st: Congress to vote on coronavirus relief deal; Biden to get COVID-19 vaccine; COVID patients overwhelming California hospitals; Tennessee Governor calls state coronavirus "ground zero."
Tuesday, January 5, 2021, Mayor Stasiuk called the Town of Langenburg council meeting to order at 7:30 P.M. with all members present. The council reviewed the agenda before Councillor Sicinski made a motion to accept; the motion carried. Next, the council reviewed the minutes from the last council meeting. Following a short discussion, Councillor Popp made a motion to accept the minutes as amended; motion carried. With no business arising from the minutes, the council reviewed the town’s accounts next. Administrator Lemcke explained a few of the charges to the council before Councillor Hunt made a motion to accept the town’s accounts; motion carried. Bank reconciliation was next to be reviewed. Councillor Popp explained the bank reconciliation to the council before making a motion to accept; the motion carried. Councillor Popp explained the financial summary to the rest of the council. Councillor Hunt made a motion to accept the summary which was carried. The council next heard Town of Langenburg Foreman Dave Tucker give his report regarding the happening of the town maintenance staff. Councillor Hunt made a motion to purchase $1500 of hand tools; motion carried. Councillor Farmer made a motion to accept the report which was carried. Economic Development Officer (EDO) Lina Petkeviciene was next to give her report to the council. She discussed the construction of the proposed washroom at the rest stop as well as the banners being looked at by the EDO and council. Administrator Lemcke was next to give her report, starting with Councillor emails to be assigned to the tablet used by the councillors. Councillor Hunt made a motion to go to a town domain for council and town employees; motion carried. Councillor Hunt made a motion to pay Karlis VanCaeseele’s certification to run the water plant in case of an emergency basis; motion carried. The council next reviewed the correspondence received by the town over the last two weeks. Councillor Sicinski made a motion to file the correspondence which was carried. The meeting was adjourned by Councillor Sicinski. Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal
BERLIN — The German soccer federation is investigating whether Union Berlin player Florian Hübner used a xenophobic slur against Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Nadiem Amiri when the Bundesliga teams played Friday. The federation said Saturday that there was a “suspicion” that Hübner racially insulted Amiri, whose parents are from Afghanistan, at the end of Union’s 1-0 win. “We will take on this initial suspicion and initiate appropriate investigations at the start of the new week,” said Anton Nachreiner, chairman of the federation’s control committee. “For the first step, we will write to everyone involved and ask them to comment. We will also evaluate the available material up to then.” Nachreiner said the federation “fundamentally does not tolerate any racism or discrimination.” Friday’s game ended with Amiri angrily approaching Hübner and pointing his finger in the Union defender’s face after the final whistle. Amiri also had heated words with other Union players. Union coach Urs Fischer tried without success to console the furious midfielder. Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah told broadcaster DAZN that Amiri was abused by an opponent who used a racially charged term referring to the Germany midfielder’s Afghan background. “It doesn’t belong on the football pitch, no matter how emotional things get,” Tah said. “It’s the most bitter part of the evening. I hope there are consequences.” Amiri said Saturday that he accepted an apology from the player involved. “He came to me in the changing room after the game,” Amiri told Leverkusen’s website. “There were ugly words on the pitch said in the heat of the moment that he’s very sorry for. He credibly assured me of that and therefore the matter is now settled for me.” Neither Amiri nor Tah referred to the Union player by name. Fischer missed the incident. “I heard there were words on the pitch that have no place on the pitch,” Fischer said after the game, before calling for an investigation. Union welcomed the federation’s investigation. “Union Berlin completely distances itself from racism and discrimination in football and in our society. To be clear: it’s not acceptable in any form,” the club said on Twitter. ___ 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
Durham Regional Police are investigating after a body was found in Lake Ontario in Oshawa Saturday morning. Police say human remains were located in the water just after 10:30 a.m. near Farewell Street and Harbour Road. The death does not appear to be suspicious at this time, police say. The investigation is ongoing. No further information has been released at this time.
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 11:15 a.m. 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, and four fewer patients in intensive care for a total of 227. The province added 2,430 more recoveries, for a total of 210,364. The province has now reported 240,970 confirmed infections and 9,005 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. --- 10:45 a.m. Ontario is reporting 3,056 new cases of COVID-19 today along with 51 new deaths related to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliot says 903 of the latest diagnoses are in Toronto, with 639 in neighbouring Peel region and 283 in York Region. The province says 1,632 COVID-19 patients are currently in hospital, with 397 in intensive care. Elliott says the province had administered 189,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine as of 8 p.m. on Friday. --- 10:30 a.m. Ontario says a shipping delay from Pfizer BioNTech means residents who receive an initial dose of the company's COVID-19 vaccine will have to wait longer than expected to receive their second one. The government says long-term care residents and staff who have been inoculated already will wait up to an extra week before a second dose is administered. Anyone else receiving the Pfizer vaccine were initially supposed to get a econd dose after 21 days, but will now see that timetable extended to a maximum of 42 days. The government says it's on track to ensure all long-term care residents, essential caregivers and staff, the first priority group for the vaccine, receive their first dose by mid-February. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021. The Canadian Press
Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week. MOVIES — Regina King’s directorial debut “One Night in Miami” brings Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree), Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), and Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) gather into a Miami hotel in February 1964, celebrating Ali’s knockout of Sonny Liston. The set-up, from the play by Kemp Powers (co-director of Pixar’s “Soul”), is fictional, but the dialogue — about power, freedom and Black identity — rings bracingly true. The film, which played at the top festivals in the fall, premieres Friday on Amazon Prime. —Shot during the early days of the pandemic, Doug Liman’s “Locked Down” is one of the most notable projects to emerge from quarantine yet. Starring Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor, “Locked Down” centres on a couple put into lockdown just as they’re deciding to separate. Directed by the “Bourne Identity” filmmaker and written by Steven Knight (“Dirty Pretty Things,” “Eastern Promises”), the film debuts Thursday on HBO Max. — Another acclaimed film from the virtual festival circuit, Sam Pollard’s “MLK/FBI,” debuts on-demand and in theatres Friday. Pollard, a frequent editor for Spike Lee, examines J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI’s surveillance and harassment of Martin Luther King, Jr. — widely considered one the darkest chapters in FBI history. It’s a murky story dealing with the extramarital affairs of King but, more importantly, about the federal government’s racist attempts to control and thwart the civil rights leader. — AP Film Writer Jake Coyle MUSIC — Three years after releasing their full-length debut album, boy band Why Don’t We are back with their sophomore release “The Good Times and the Bad Ones.” The 10-track album includes the single “Fallin’ (Adrenaline),” which samples Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead” and is the group’s first song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Another track, “Slow Down,” borrows from the Smashing Pumpkins’ mid-90s hit "1979,” while Skrillex, Timbaland and Travis Barker contribute to the album’s production. — A year after their last live gig, Jimmy Eat World will perform their entire 10th studio album, 2019’s “Surviving,” on Friday. It’s one of three performances that’s part of the band’s Phoenix Sessions. On Jan. 29 they will perform their fifth effort, 2004’s “Futures,” and on Feb. 12 they will perform “Clarity,” their third album released in 1999. Tickets start at $14.99. — Bob Dylan’s grandson is releasing a new EP created during the early days of the pandemic while the world was on lockdown. Pablo Dylan, the son of film director Jesse Dylan who has collaborated with Erykah Badu and A$AP Rocky, is putting out the five-song set called “Solitude” on Friday. The acoustic-flavoured EP is the first in a series of three EPs that reflecting on current events in America. — AP Music Editor Mesfin Fekadu TELEVISION — Catherine Zeta-Jones is joining Fox’s “Prodigal Son,” about a skilled criminal profiler (Tom Payne) and his serial-killer dad (Michael Sheen). The Oscar- and Tony-winning actor appears in the season’s second half as a doctor and foil to Sheen’s Martin Whitly, whose intimate knowledge of murder comes in handy for the NYPD’s toughest cases. Will Dr. Vivian Capshaw (Zeta-Jones) get too close to Martin? Will Martin strengthen his relationship with son Malcolm? The sophomore season of “Prodigal Son” starts at 9 p.m. EST on a new night, Tuesday. — A real-life killer who terrorized Californians in the mid-1980s is the subject of Netflix’s limited, four-part documentary series, “Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer,” debuting Wednesday. The brutal crime wave began in the Los Angeles area during a long, hot summer in 1985, with men, women and children among the victims of after-dark killings and assaults. First-person interviews, archival footage and original photography help recount the crimes and the hunt for the man responsible. — Even an Emmy-winning dramatic actor like Kyra Sedgwick (“The Closer”) can’t resist comedy. Sedgwick, who’s had a recurring role as police Deputy Chief Madeline Wuntch on “Brooklyn Nine Nine,” stars in the new ABC sitcom “Call Your Mother” as a parent who flees her empty nest to get back into her children’s lives — whether they like it or not. The cast of “Call Your Mother,” debuting 9:30 p.m. EST Wednesday, includes Rachel Sennott, Joey Bragg and Emma Caymares. — AP Television Writer Lynn Elber ___ This story was first published on Jan. 11, 2021. It was updated on Jan. 16, 2021, to correct the name of an actor who stars in the television series “Prodigal Son.” It is Michael Sheen, not Martin Sheen. ___ Catch up on AP’s entertainment coverage here: https://apnews.com/apf-entertainment. The Associated Press
In order for a personal support worker employed in a long-term-care home to make ends meet in Toronto, they’d have to clock at least 50 hours every week. Here’s how the numbers break down: PSWs in unionized long-term-care homes start at about $20.80 per hour, and can earn up to about $22 hourly. If they are paid for 37.5 hours of work per week, they will gross $40,560 in a year at the starting rate, but the take home after tax is closer to $32,000. But this is over $10,000 short of the 2020 cost of living in Toronto, estimated by lowestrates.ca. The insurance company found that for a single person renting a one-bedroom apartment, the cost of living is close to $42,500. Meanwhile, in 2015, $55,117 was the median income for single-adult households in Toronto, according to Statistics Canada, which is just below the amount needed to meet the cost of living today, after tax. Someone earning that amount would only have to put in about 20 extra hours over the course of a year to make ends meet — less than half an hour a week. Cost of living can be greater too if the person is supporting a family, and it would be even more challenging if the person is the sole breadwinner for their household. Long-term-care homes have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, shedding light on a system that has been dysfunctional for years. With cases and deaths climbing in the sector, the need to address ongoing issues has been made all the more urgent. In Ottawa, a COVID-19 outbreak in a women’s shelter was linked to two long-term-care workers who were staying in the facility because they could no longer afford rent with their income. Where PSWs are concerned, there is no oversight body, like there is for nurses, which advocates say has caused issues with low pay, precarious work and high turnover. Matthew Cathmoir, the head of strategic research at the Service Employees International Union which represents health-care workers in Ontario, said PSWs wind up working as much overtime as possible to supplement their income. “They accept as much overtime as possible; they’ll work doubles. So, they’ll work a 16-hour shift, which is unsustainable ... it’s incredibly difficult work — hard on the body, hard on the mind (but) they have to do it,” he said. Many PSWs also had more than one job, which was restricted during the pandemic to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Pandemic pay has offered a $3 per hour wage bump for eligible long-term-care workers, but Cathmoir notes that there have been challenges with the rollout. All the while, in a recent survey the SEIU posed to its members working in long-term care, 92 per cent of the 700 or so respondents reported feeling overworked and understaffed during the pandemic. “It’s difficult work. It’s dangerous,” Cathmoir said. “It takes a special type of person to work, specifically, and that goes for all (health-care positions).” Angelyn Francis is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering equity and inequality. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org Angelyn Francis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
With the new year here, many are starting to think of tax season which is just around the corner. This year, with the uncertain financial standing Canada and the world, is in with COVID-19 still breathing down our throats, it is helpful to hear of tax credits being offered by the government. Recently, Deputy Premier and Finance minister Donna Harpauer came forward with a few tax credits the Sask Party is offering, “We are pleased to resume the indexation of income tax brackets and tax credit amounts in 2021….. Indexation protects Saskatchewan taxpayers from bracket creep, and helps keep the tax system fair, competitive and affordable.” All Saskatchewan income tax brackets and tax credit amounts will once again be indexed in 2021, this will save taxpayers an estimated $15 million. The level of indexation in 2021 will be 1.0 percent, matching the national rate of inflation. “Restarting the Active Families Benefit to make children’s activities more affordable was a key election commitment of our government,” Harpauer said. “As promised, the Active Families Benefit will provide a non-refundable tax credit of $150 per year per child to eligible families. Families of children with a disability will receive an additional $50, for a total tax credit of $200 per year per child.” Families with children enrolled in sports, arts and cultural activities will also be able to claim the Active Families Benefit once again on their 2021 taxes, the restarting of the Active Families Benefit will be part of the 2021-22 Budget which will be retroactive to January 1, 2021. Parents who enroll their children in sports, arts and cultural activities in the new year are therefore reminded to keep their receipts so they may claim the benefit with their 2021 tax filings. Saskatchewan residents who are planning to renovate their homes may also be able to claim the recently announced Saskatchewan Home Renovation Tax Credit. Under this non-refundable tax credit, Saskatchewan homeowners can save up to $1,155 in provincial income tax in 2021 if they claim a 10.5 percent tax credit on up to $11,000 of eligible home renovation expenses incurred between October 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021. A further $945 in savings may be claimed in 2022 in respect of eligible expenses incurred between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022. Eligible expenses include the cost of permits, contractor labour and professional services, building materials, fixtures, and equipment rentals. Tax Credits are always helpful to see as tax season approaches. It is always a good idea to check with your local accountant, or better yet hire a local account, as they are always on top of any tax credit you may be eligible for. Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal
Ontario says it's slightly slowing the pace for some COVID-19 vaccinations in response to a shipping delay from drugmaker Pfizer BioNTech. Chief Medical Officer of Health David Williams says the company's decision to temporarily delay international vaccine shipments will likely have an effect on the province, though the full impact of the move is not yet known. Williams says long-term care residents, caregivers and staff who already received their first dose of Pfizer's vaccine will receive their second dose between 21 and 27 days later, no more than a week longer than originally planned. He says the timetable will be longer for anyone else receiving the Pfizer vaccine, with second doses being delivered anywhere from 21 to 42 days after the initial shot. The adjustments come as Ontario reported 3,056 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, along with 51 new deaths related to the virus. Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 stand at 1,632, with 397 patients in intensive care. Health Minister Christine Elliott said Toronto and the neighbouring regions of Peel and York continue to post the highest infection rates in the province. She said 903 of the most recent diagnoses were found in Toronto, with 639 in Peel and 283 in York. Some of those regions are among those targeted by a government blitz of big box stores which got underway on Saturday. The province said earlier this week it would send 50 inspectors to stores in five regions -- Toronto, Hamilton, Peel, York and Durham. They'll be looking to ensure the retailers are complying with the province's tightened public health rules, which went into effect on Thursday along with a provincewide stay-at-home order meant to curb the spread of the virus. Labour Minister Monte McNaughton has said inspectors will focus on compliance with masking and physical distancing rules, as well as other health guidelines. He said they'll have the authority to temporarily shut down facilities found to be breaching the rules, and to disperse groups of more than five people. The minister said inspectors will also be able to issue tickets of up to $750 to management, workers or customers if they're not abiding by the measures. Premier Doug Ford, who has faced criticism for allowing big-box stores to remain open for on-site shopping while smaller businesses are restricted to curbside pickup or online sales, vowed this week to crack down on big lineups and other infractions at large retailers. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Far-right media personality Tim Gionet, who calls himself “Baked Alaska,” has been arrested by the FBI for his involvement in the riot at the U.S. Capitol, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press. Gionet was arrested by federal agents in Houston on Saturday, according to the official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter before the public release of a criminal complaint and spoke on condition of anonymity. Thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress was meeting to vote to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral win. Five people died in the mayhem. Law enforcement officials across the country have been working to locate and arrest suspects who committed federal crimes and so far have brought nearly 100 cases in federal court and the District of Columbia Superior Court. Gionet posted video that showed Trump supporters in “Make America Great Again” and “God Bless Trump” hats milling around and taking selfies with officers in the Capitol who calmly asked them to leave the premises. The Trump supporters talked among themselves, laughed, and told the officers and each other: “This is only the beginning.” Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
The organisers of the march called for a total review of legislation.View on euronews
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
Residents of the village of Pemberton, B.C., know their odds aren't good, but they are vowing to fight to keep the community's only bank. More than a dozen people spent Wednesday camped outside the Scotiabank holding signs saying, "Please Stay" and "Save our Bank." The local branch of the Scotiabank, which has been there for over 60 years, is set to close July 15, 2021, according to announcements posted on the doors last week. Customers are being told to take their business to the Whistler branch. But customers, the town council and local First Nations want the bank to stay. They believe it is an essential service in the fast growing community, and the drive to Whistler is not an option for many, especially during a pandemic. They also say online banking is a challenge because many in the area struggle with cell service and internet connections. There is a credit union in the village of 2,500, but many worry it won't be able to serve their needs. Marina Cruz, holding a sign saying "Please don't close our bank," said many local seniors and elders are worried about losing a familiar branch. "I feel so bad, because it is so important for me and all the seniors in town. It is ridiculous not to have a bank," Cruz said. "I want to cry right now," said Katherine Tekekwithia Peters after learning the news, listing off all the people who work there and have helped her over the years. "I've been dealing with them for 42 years. It is going to affect me and a lot of other people." An online petition has garnered more than 2,000 signatures as of Jan. 15. Village council voted Tuesday night to write a letter to the bank's headquarters to try to convince them to change their minds. Mayor Mike Richman says the local government wasn't given any warning the move was coming. "It feels like the kind of decision that was made, using a set of metrics, looking at numbers on a paper at a distance, not recognizing, the demographics of our town, the complexities of it and the level of growth," Richman said. A long drive Sheldon Dowswell, the chief administrative officer with the Lower Stl'atl'imx Tribal Council representing five of the 11 Stl'atl'imx Nation communities in the area consisting of about 2,700 people, said he was disappointed in the decision. "I'd say it is borderline between disappointment and anger," Dowswell said. "Connectivity can be very limited, definitely for at least three of our five First Nations. So having the ability to actually see somebody in person is super important." He says for some communities, the drive to Pemberton in bad weather can take three hours on forestry roads and up to five hours to Whistler. While some communities do arrange group transportation into Pemberton, lengthening the trip will add strain to already limited resources, he said. There is also fear that COVID will still be a major concern in July when the bank is slated to close. "I think people don't want to leave their homes anymore than they have to, and I think that you're adding a really unnecessary risk when going to a place like Whistler that is very heavy with tourists." Business community concerns The local Chamber of Commerce has also written a letter. President Steve McCloskey says there are federal regulations around the closures of bank branches and wants to make sure the decision was made with due process. "We understand that there are difficult business decisions that have to be made," he said. Some local businesses fear if people head to Whistler to do their banking, the money they take out may stay there. "There are a significant number of people that come to the bank on a regular basis on payday. They get their cheque, they get cash and they walk out of the bank with a fistful of dollars," said David MacKenzie, the general manager of the Pemberton Valley Lodge. "They just start basically spending that cash directly right here in our town, whether it be the grocery stores, drug store, liquor store, the deli." Not a decision made lightly: Scotiabank In a statement to CBC, Scotiabank said it did not make the decision lightly, and understands that this will have an impact on the Pemberton community. "We feel that this relocation will help us provide better service and greater resources to our customers in both Pemberton and Whistler," the statement went on to say. As for any potential job losses, the company says it is still finalizing its staffing plans and that it is working with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada to ensure it follows all guidelines. The credit union in town, BlueShore Financial, says it is working to fill the gap. "We remain committed to Pemberton, " said CEO Chris Catliff. "We've been in operation for just coming up to 18 years, and don't see any changes."
As we all know the federal and provincial governments have quickly passed a vaccine to combat COVID-19. One selected vaccine type will be the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, but what do we know about this vaccine? Traditionally, vaccines take years to develop, test and finally be approved by Health Canada to be used as a vaccine. They usually undergo lab testing, tests on animals then finally human trials to determine the effectiveness and possible adverse side effects long before it is used in the general population. Lack of testing can bring a lack of public confidence in the safety and protection the vaccine is giving, but with COVID-19 the world has pushed for a vaccine and the vaccine companies feel confident that they have produced a vaccine safe for human use as well as protection against the virus. Health Canada authorized the vaccine with conditions on December 9, 2020, under the Interim Order Respecting the Importation, Sale and Advertising of Drugs for Use in Relation to COVID-19. About the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA vaccine (Tozinameran or BNT162b2) is used to prevent COVID-19. This disease is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The vaccine is approved for people who are 16 years of age and older. Its safety and effectiveness in people younger than 16 years of age have not yet been established. How it works mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response without using the live virus that causes COVID-19. Once triggered, our body then makes antibodies. These antibodies help us fight the infection if the real virus does enter our body in the future. ‘RNA’ stands for ribonucleic acid, which is a molecule that provides cells with instructions for making proteins. Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines contain the genetic instructions for making the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. This protein is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. When a person is given the vaccine, their cells will read the genetic instructions like a recipe and produce the spike protein. After the protein piece is made, the cell breaks down the instructions and gets rid of them. The cell then displays the protein piece on its surface. Our immune system recognizes that the protein doesn’t belong there and begins building an immune response and making antibodies. The side effects that followed vaccine administration in clinical trials were mild or moderate. They included things like pain at the site of injection, body chills, feeling tired and feeling feverish. These are common side effects of vaccines and do not pose a risk to health. As with all vaccines, there’s a chance that there will be a serious side effect, but these are rare. A serious side effect might be something like an allergic reaction. Speak with your health professional about any serious allergies or other health conditions you may have before you receive this vaccine. Health Canada has conducted a rigorous scientific review of the available medical evidence to assess the safety of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. No major safety concerns have been identified in the data that they reviewed. Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal
A team of climbers from Nepal on Saturday become the first mountaineers to successfully complete a winter attempt on the summit of K2, the world's second tallest peak. Located on the Pakistan China border, K2 is the only mountain over 8,000 metres that had not been summitted in the winter. The group were named as Nirmal Purja, Gelje Sherpa, Mingma David Sherpa, Mingma G, Sona Sherpa, Mingma Tenzi Sherpa, Pem Chhiri Sherpa, Dawa Temba Sherpa, Kili Pemba Sherpa, and Dawa Tenjing Sherpa.
Once upon a time, there was a girl named Sofia who loved books but was bothered by how the book collection in her school library was very … well … white. So the girl decided she'd try to write a new twist to the tale by penning something prosaic yet powerful — an application for a government grant, to be exact. Two thousand dollars later, 13-year-old Sofia Rathjen of Sherwood Park, Alta., is curating a collection of books by, and about, Black, Indigenous and people of colour. The new books are building diversity on the bookshelves of the Sherwood Heights junior high library and more tolerance and understanding among its students. "Students of colour — and all people of colour — can see their stories represented authentically and unapologetically and written by authors who understand those experiences," the Latino-Canadian teen told CBC Radio's Edmonton AM. "And non-people of colour can understand things that we go through. That way, it's not always our job to explain everything and why something is hurtful or racist." 'I just thought about how I could change that' In total, the school will get 134 books — science fiction, poetry, history, graphic novels, mythology and more — featuring authors from dozens of cultural backgrounds. Rathjen's application for Strathcona County's Community Change grant grew out of another piece of writing — a "passion project" essay about why representation matters in school libraries that she had done the year before. "The library was great, [but] I noticed that it lacked representation of people of colour and I saw the way that it affected outside of the library and outside of books," Rathjen said. "Personally, I experienced a lot of micro-aggressions, and I know people who have experienced blatant racism from people at our school. And so I just thought about how I could change that." The Grade 8 student came up with the idea to apply for the grant, then went to the teacher of her leadership class, Robin Koning, for help. Koning said he is "pleased as punch," not just at the grant being approved but at what it means for the school. "We really want to increase our Black/Indigenous/people of colour collection," he said. "Like Sofia said, we want people to realize that people from other cultures experience all kinds of discrimination, whether it's words or actions or just weird things that people say and do." The school's new "technicolour bookshelf," as Rathjen dubs it, is a powerful way to share that message. And Rathjen, said Koning, is a powerful ambassador. "For us to increase the collection of books that ... students would love to read, that's what we're about," he said. "The excitement from Sofia will make, hopefully, other students her age excited about reading." The first 39 books arrived at Rathjen's home during the at-home schooling period so, of course, she took the opportunity to read them. Books provide perspective She reviews books, too, on her Instagram account @the_technicolour_bookshelf, and happily rattled off suggestions to a CBC Radio producer who asked about titles. "OK, so Clap When You Land is by Elizabeth Acevedo. This is about two sisters who don't know that the other exists until their dad dies in a plane crash. And it's about grief and loss and also sisterhood. And it's really beautiful," she said. "And this, Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, is based off of African and African-American mythology. And it's about a boy who punches a hole in the sky into a world of folklore that he thought were only stories." Rathjen said she worked hard to find books that will appeal to people of any ethnicity, whether or not they love books as much as her. Books, she said, are the way to see the perspectives of others. "There's a metaphor [about] windows and mirrors. So books are either a window into someone else's perspective and experiences, or a mirror of your own. "And so I think that's why I love reading so much. Because you get to read about so many different stories and experiences and put yourself in the shoes of other people." The end. For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
For 12-year-old Ava Tran, watching herself on the Heartland season premiere last Sunday was "cool." For her mom Melissa Tran, it was surreal. "It was one thing to see her on set [when] we were filming, but then to actually see her on the screen after all the hard work she's put into this was pretty awesome to see," Melissa told The Homestretch. Tran plays the character of Parker on the new season of the show in her first professional acting role. "It's amazing, all the actors, they're so nice and it's just so awesome to be on a show this big," she said. Heartland, the popular family drama filmed in and around Calgary, is now in its 14th season. The new character of Parker brought the drama right in the first episode, with a surprise plot twist. "Well, it was very interesting and it was really hard for me to not tell my friends, any of my friends the plot," Tran said of the spoiler. "It was a big secret to keep." Before getting the role, most of Tran's acting was done in school plays and small gigs. But acting is in the family blood — Tran has two sisters and an aunt who are also in the business. Still, landing the role of Parker was a big deal, and it was months in the making, she said. "So first I had to audition in March, right before COVID hit, and that was really good," she said. "I felt like I did a really good job because they looked at me, they smiled, and they really [had] much feedback for me." From there, Tran got on the short list. "My callback was closer to the end of August, right after my birthday, so that was really fun and really exciting. And then I found out I got the role just shortly after school started," she said. Now, it's down to work. Tran said she looks forward to playing a strong-willed character and bringing more drama. "She's a very independent girl, and she's not afraid to share her opinions, because she has very strong opinions," she said. "She's a very environmentally-friendly girl." Tran said she feels her own personality is quite similar to the character she will play, with one exception — her character is afraid of horses. "I just love animals so much," Tran said. "We are very much alike because I care about the environment, I have strong opinions about things. And she's 12 and I'm 12. And yeah, it's just really cool to just put my own ideas into my character." Season 14 of Heartland airs Sundays on CBC and CBC Gem. With files from The Homestretch.
Three Ontario Provincial Police officers and another person have been charged, while four other officers have been suspended in connection with an ongoing investigation into the towing industry in the GTA, the force said Saturday. In a news release, the OPP said its professional standards unit received an internal complaint in February of 2019 alleging members of the OPP Highway Safety Division were providing preferential treatment to tow operators within the Greater Toronto Area. A joint investigation involving the force's criminal investigation branch commenced in October of last year into the situation. Now, three OPP officers — all with more than 20 years of service — have been charged with secret commissions and breach of trust contrary to the Criminal Code. The officers are: 53-year-old Const. Simon Bridle, who is attached to the highway safety division's 407 detachment. 52-year-old Const. Mohammed Ali Hussain, with the Toronto detachment. 57-year-old Const. Bindo Showan, who is with the 407 detachment. Bridle has also been charged with obtaining sexual services for consideration, police say. Showan is currently out of the province, the OPP said, and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. The other officers were arrested earlier this week. 4 more OPP officers suspended with pay All three members have been or will be served notices of suspension with pay, the OPP said. Additionally, as a result of the criminal investigation, four more OPP officers — including two commissioned officers from the highway safety division — have been suspended with pay. These members remain under investigation but have not been charged with an offence, the OPP said. The OPP has also charged a 52-year-old Toronto man with aiding and abetting breach of trust and secret commissions. The accused is expected to appear in court on April 16 at the Ontario Court of Justice, Finch Avenue in Toronto. Investigators are asking anyone with information regarding this ongoing investigation to call the OPP non-emergency number at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers.
Portugal's fragile health system is under growing pressure due to a worrying rise in coronavirus infections, with the country reporting 10,947 new cases and 166 deaths on Saturday, the worst surge since the pandemic started last year. The cases, which come a day after a new lockdown was put in place, bring the total number of cases in a country of just over 10 million people to 539,416, with the death toll increasing to 8,709. The health system, which prior to the pandemic had the lowest number of critical care beds per 100,000 inhabitants in Europe, can accommodate a maximum of 672 COVID-19 patients in ICUs, according to Health Ministry data.
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
WASHINGTON — The public won’t see President Donald Trump’s White House records for years, but there’s growing concern the collection won’t be complete, leaving a hole in the history of one of America’s most tumultuous presidencies. Trump has been cavalier about the law requiring that records be preserved. He has a habit of ripping up documents before tossing them out, forcing White House records workers to spend hours taping them back together. “They told him to stop doing it. He didn’t want to stop,” said Solomon Lartey, a former White House records analyst. He said the first document he taped back together was a letter from Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., about a government shutdown. The president also confiscated an interpreter’s notes after Trump had a chat with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Trump scolded his White House counsel for taking notes at a meeting during the Russia investigation by former special counsel Robert Mueller. Top executive branch officials had to be reminded more than once not to conduct official business on private email or text messaging systems and to preserve it if they did. And now, Trump's baseless claim of widespread voter fraud, which postponed for weeks an acknowledgement of President-elect Joe Biden's victory, is delaying the transfer of documents to the National Archives and Records Administration, further heightening concern about the integrity of the records. “Historians are likely to suffer from far more holes than has been the norm,” said Richard Immerman at the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. In the Trump White House, "not only has record-keeping not been a priority, but we have multiple examples of it seeking to conceal or destroy that record.” Lack of a complete record might also hinder any ongoing investigations of Trump, from his impeachment trial and other prospective federal inquiries to investigations in the state of New York. But even with requests by lawmakers and lawsuits by government transparency groups, there is an acknowledgment that noncompliance with the Presidential Records Act carries little consequence for Trump. In tossing out one suit last year, U.S. Circuit Judge David Tatel wrote that courts cannot “micromanage the president’s day-to-day compliance.” The Presidential Records Act states that a president cannot destroy records until he seeks the advice of the national archivist and notifies Congress. But the law doesn’t require him to heed the archivist's advice. It doesn't prevent the president from going ahead and destroying records. Most presidential records today are electronic. Records experts estimate that automatic backup computer systems capture a vast majority of the records, but cannot capture records that a White House chooses not to create or log into those systems. THE MOVE Moving a president’s trail of paper and electronic records is a laborious task. President Barack Obama left about 30 million pages of paper documents and some 250 terabytes of electronic records, including the equivalent of about 1.5 billion pages of emails. The records of past presidents are important because they can help a current president craft new policies and prevent mistakes from being repeated. “Presidential records tell our nation’s story from a unique perspective and are essential to an incoming administration in making informed decisions,” said Lee White, director of the National Coalition for History. “They are equally vital to historians." When Trump lost the November election, records staffers were in position to transfer electronic records, pack up the paper ones and move them to the National Archives by Jan. 20, as required by law. But Trump’s reluctance to concede has meant they will miss the deadline. “Necessary funding from the (White House) Office of Management and Budget was delayed for many weeks after the election, which has caused delays in arranging for the transfer of the Trump presidential records into the National Archives' custody,” the National Archives said in a statement to The Associated Press. “Even though the transfer of these records will not be completed until after Jan. 20, the National Archives will assume legal custody of them on Jan. 20 in accordance with the Presidential Records Act.” The White House did not respond to a request for comment about preserving Trump's records. One person familiar with the transition said guidance typically emailed to executive branch employees explaining how to turn in equipment and pack up their offices was sent out in December, but quickly rescinded because Trump insisted on contesting the election. With little guidance, some staffers in the White House started quietly calling records workers to find out what to do. Departing employees are instructed to create a list of folders in each box and make a spreadsheet to give the National Archives a way to track and retrieve the information for the incoming Biden team. The process gets more complex with classified material. The Biden administration can request to see Trump records immediately, but the law says the public must wait five years before submitting Freedom of Information Act requests. Even then, Trump — like other presidents before him — is invoking specific restrictions to public access of his records for up to 12 years. Six restrictions outlined in the law include national security, confidential business information, confidential communications between the president and his advisers or among his advisers and personal information. RECORD-KEEPING PRACTICES Around Trump's first impeachment and on other sensitive issues, some normal workflow practices were bypassed, a second person familiar with the process said. Apparently worried about leaks, higher-ups and White House lawyers became more involved in deciding which materials were catalogued and scanned into White House computer networks where they are automatically saved, this person said. The individuals, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss inner workings at the White House, said that if uncatalogued materials ended up in an office safe, for instance, they would at least be temporarily preserved. But if they were never catalogued in the first place, staffers would not know they existed, making such materials untraceable. White House staff quickly learned about Trump's disregard for documents as they witnessed him tearing them up and discarding them. “My director came up to me and said, ‘You have to tape these together,'” said Lartey, the former records analyst. Lartey said someone in the White House chief of staff's office told the president that the documents were considered presidential records and needed to be preserved by law. Lartey said about 10 records staffers ended up on Scotch tape duty at different times, starting with Trump’s first days in the White House through at least mid-2018. Trump's staff also engaged in questionable practices by using private emails and messaging apps. Former White House counsel Don McGahn in February 2017 sent a memo that instructed employees not to use nonofficial text messaging apps or private email accounts. If they did, he said, they had to take screenshots of the material and copy it into official email accounts, which are preserved. He sent the memo back out in September 2017. “It's an open question to me about how serious or conscientious any of those people have been about moving them over,” said Tom Blanton, who directs the National Security Archive at George Washington University, which was founded in 1985 to combat government secrecy. Trump was criticized for confiscating the notes of an interpreter who was with him in 2017 when the president talked with Putin in Hamburg, Germany. Lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to obtain the notes of another interpreter who was with Trump in 2018 when he met with Putin in Helsinki, Finland. It's unclear whether the two presidents talked about Russia's interference in the 2016 election. Many people suspected the subject did come up because at a news conference afterward, Trump said he believed Putin when Putin denied Russian interference despite U.S. intelligence agencies finding the opposite. Several weeks ago, the National Security Archive, two historical associations and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington sued to prevent the Trump White House from destroying any electronic communications or records sent or received on nonofficial accounts, such as personal email or WhatsApp. They also alleged that the White House has already likely destroyed presidential materials. The court refused to issue a temporary restraining order after government lawyers told the judge that they had instructed the White House to notify all employees to preserve all electronic communications in their original format until the suit was settled. “I believe we will find that there’s going to be a huge hole in the historical record of this president because I think there’s probably been serious noncompliance of the Presidential Records Act," said Anne Weismann, one of the lawyers representing the groups in their suit. "I don’t think President Trump cares about his record and what it says. I think he probably cares, though, about what it might say about his criminal culpability.” Trump faces several legal challenges when he leaves the White House. There are two New York state inquiries into whether he misled tax authorities, banks or business partners. Also, two women alleging he sexually assaulted them are suing him. DESTROYING OR SAVING HISTORY Presidential records were considered a president's personal property until the Watergate scandal under President Richard Nixon prompted Congress in 1978 to pass the Presidential Records Act over worry that Nixon would destroy White House tape recordings that led to his resignation. After that, presidential records were no longer considered personal property but the property of the American people — if they are preserved. Lawmakers have introduced legislation to require audits of White House record-keeping and compliance with the law. “The American public should not have to wait until a president has left office to learn of problems with that president’s record-keeping practices," Weismann said. Deb Riechmann, The Associated Press