Auckland, New Zealand has welcomed the arrival of 2021. Auckland residents are among the first people in the world to celebrate the new year because they are so close to the International Date Line. (Dec. 31)
Auckland, New Zealand has welcomed the arrival of 2021. Auckland residents are among the first people in the world to celebrate the new year because they are so close to the International Date Line. (Dec. 31)
In announcing a planned phone call on Friday between U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the White House's intended message was clear: Traditional allies are back in favour while despots, dictators and the killers of dissenters are on the outs. The way press secretary Jen Psaki announced the scheduled call with Trudeau was revealing, as it came in response to a question that had nothing at all to do with Canada's prime minister. She was asked about Vladimir Putin. Specifically, she was asked when Biden would speak with the Russian leader. Psaki replied that it wasn't an immediate priority. "[Biden's] first foreign leader call will be on Friday with Prime Minister Trudeau," she said. "I would expect his early calls will be with partners and allies. He feels it's important to rebuild those relationships." U.S. plans to investigate Russia Psaki elaborated on Putin in a separate news conference where she described Russia as "reckless" and "adversarial." She said Biden has tasked the intelligence community with reporting on a variety of alleged Russian transgressions: cyberattacks on U.S. companies, interference in U.S. politics, the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and Russian-paid bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Yet the goal of rebalancing relationships away from rivals toward like-minded countries has been tested already. Some Canadians, notably Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, want trade retaliation against the U.S. following the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline on Day 1 of the new administration. The decision undermines Canada's No. 1 export to the United States: oil. WATCH | The National's report on Keystone XL: Biden's foreign policy ambitions will keep being tested as international relationships undergo unwieldy twists on any given issue due to practical and political considerations. Here is what we already know about the Biden administration's approach to other countries after its first couple of days in office. The moves so far The administration will release a report on suspected Saudi government involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, an issue the last administration showed little interest in pursuing. It is also threatening to cancel support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It is willing to consider new NATO expansion on Russia's doorstep, into Georgia, and in fact is staunchly supportive of the international military alliance. And Biden has rejoined previous alliances the U.S. was either scheduled to exit (the World Health Organization) or had already left (the Paris climate accord). These activities are intended to signal a dramatic change in foreign policy from Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, who frequently bashed the leaders of democracies and international institutions while simultaneously cultivating friendly relationships with non-democratic leaders in the Middle East, Russia and North Korea. There will be contradictions in Biden's approach — as there were in Trump's. For example, while Trump often had kind words for dictators, he also sanctioned their countries on occasion, including Russia and China. Also, don't count on an ambitious foreign policy from Biden. Early on, the new administration will be busy juggling domestic crises, said Edward Alden, an expert on Canada-U.S. relations. "I think we are going to see an approach to alliances that looks a lot like [Barack] Obama's — engaged, respectful, but not overly ambitious," said Alden, a senior fellow at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. "The United States has enormous problems at home, and those are going to take priority for some time." Alden said he does expect some new international initiatives, such as more active co-operation on global vaccine distribution. Biden wants changes on Canada-U.S. pandemic travel On COVID-19, Biden also wants to immediately connect with Canada and Mexico to establish new rules within 14 days for pandemic-related travel safety measures. Alden also expects an attempt to rework and revive the international nuclear deal with Iran, and establish greater co-ordination with other countries in confronting China. For example, Biden has proposed a summit of democracies where countries can share ideas for countering autocracies. Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told his confirmation hearing this week that the last administration had a point in reorienting policy toward Beijing. "President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China," Blinken said. "The basic principle was the right one, and I think that's actually helpful to our foreign policy." He got into a testy exchange at that hearing with Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican who favours a hands-off approach on foreign affairs. When Blinken said he was open to expanding NATO membership to Russia's neighbour Georgia, Paul called that a recipe for war with Russia. Blinken argued the opposite is true. After years of Russian incursions in non-NATO Georgia and Ukraine, recent evidence suggests Russia is most belligerent with countries outside NATO's shield, he said. Keystone XL: The early irritant Biden and Trudeau are expected to discuss new travel measures to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as Biden's decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion that would run south from Alberta to Nebraska. So far, Trudeau has shown little desire to escalate the pipeline issue. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, on the other hand, has demanded retaliatory action, and some trade experts say potential legal avenues do exist. WATCH | Kenny on the fate of Keystone XL: But they're skeptical they will achieve much. Eric Miller of the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, a cross-border consulting firm specializing in trade and government affairs, said the best that pipeline-backers can hope for is to sue the U.S. government for financial compensation for the cancelled project. He said the Alberta government and the project's developer, TC Energy, can try suing under the investor-state dispute chapter in the old NAFTA, which will remain in effect for two more years for existing investments. "[But] nothing is going to force the Biden administration to deliver the permit," Miller said. "One has to be clear that there is no world in which Joe Biden [retreats on this]." Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said he doubts complaints from Canada will make a difference. He said the most politically effective argument for the pipeline would come from Americans — from the companies and unions that would have serviced the project. The Ohio-based lawyer said challenges under U.S. laws, such as the Administrative Procedures Act, could potentially work, but he cautioned: "They're high hurdles."
TORONTO — Canadian record producer Bob Rock is joining a chorus of musicians selling off rights to their past work, reaching a deal with a U.K. investment firm for more than 40 songs from Michael Buble and Metallica. The agreement between Rock and Hipgnosis Songs Fund, announced Thursday, will give the London-based operation Rock's full producer rights to a raft of prominent tracks. Among them is Rock's stake in Metallica's self-titled 1991 album, often called "The Black Album," which includes the metal band's hits "Enter Sandman," "The Unforgiven" and "Nothing Else Matters." He's also sold his rights to Buble's album "To Be Loved" in its entirety and his work on "Call Me Irresponsible," "Crazy Love" and "Christmas." Rock, who was born in Winnipeg, is one of Canada's most prolific rock music producers, having worked with the Tragically Hip, Aerosmith, Bryan Adams and Bon Jovi. The Hipgnosis deal, which encompasses 43 songs, comes as the fund moves quickly to build its library of rights holdings. Last week, Hipgnosis picked up the publisher and songwriter rights to Shakira's entire catalogue of 145 songs, and earlier this month acquired a 50 per cent stake in Neil Young's catalogue of 1,180 songs. Rights deals have become a hot commodity in the pandemic as artists look to monetize their assets while the touring industry remains at a standstill and listening moves increasingly to streaming platforms over record sales. Each transaction can be slightly different than the next, depending on what rights the creator is selling. Rock is selling off his royalty percentage of sound recording copyrights, or "points" as they're called in music industry. That covers his share in revenues for his contribution to studio recordings, such as mixing or production. His points share could vary by each track, but would ultimately determine how much money funnels back to him — from album sales and streaming, to licensing for commercials and TV shows. Those rights are now owned by Hipgnosis. Other artists have recently sold their publishing rights, which cover anything earned for the musical work that's committed to paper. Typically that means a slice of revenues from live performances as well as licensing fees from covers recorded by other artists. Bob Dylan recently sold publishing rights to more than 600 songs to the Universal Music Publishing Group for estimates that were priced between $300 million and half a billion dollars. Stevie Nicks sold an 80 per cent stake in her music to Primary Wave for a reported $100 million. — Follow @dfriend on Twitter. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. David Friend, The Canadian Press
British Columbia will not ban visitors from other provinces, Premier John Horgan said Thursday, because a review of legal options showed it would not be possible right now. Horgan said most interprovincial travel right now is for work and cannot be restricted in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But he also left the door open for more restrictions in the future. "The review of our legal options made it clear we can't prevent people from travelling to British Columbia. We can impose restrictions on people travelling for non-essential purposes if they are causing harm to the health and safety of British Columbians," Horgan said in a statement. "If we see transmission increase due to interprovincial travel, we will impose stronger restrictions on non-essential travellers." Horgan said he spoke with other premiers and the prime minister on Thursday, and has asked them to spread the message that nobody should be travelling for non-essential reasons right now. "We ask all British Columbians to stay close to home while vaccines become available. And to all Canadians outside of B.C., we look forward to your visit to our beautiful province when we can welcome you safely," Horgan said. He added that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is looking into tighter restrictions on international travel, and B.C. will be ready to support any efforts in that direction. Horgan announced his plan to seek legal advice on the matter last week, in response to concerns about tourists from other provinces visiting over the Christmas holidays, as well as "frustration and anger" over Canadian politicians travelling abroad for vacations. An emergency room doctor from Whistler recently told CBC News about treating a "worrying" number of patients from Ontario and Quebec who had travelled west over the holidays. However, there were questions about the constitutionality of restricting travel across provincial boundaries. Lawyers have said that charter rights are subject to reasonable limits if the government proves those limits are justified in order to achieve an objective. In this case, the province would need to prove a ban on non-essential travel is justified by the risk of increased COVID-19 transmission caused by tourists visiting from other parts of the country. Horgan said health officials' advice continues to be for everyone in B.C. to obey the current orders wherever they are.
Researchers at Ruhr University use designer protein brain injections to regenerate spinal nerves which allow paralyzed mice to walk again.
Vaccinating close to a million people in less than a year is likely going to take more hands to accomplish than Nova Scotia's health-care system currently has on deck. That's why regulatory bodies like the Nova Scotia College of Nursing are offering to relicense former health-care professionals to help with the massive COVID-19 vaccination program. The college put out a call to retired nurses last week to sign up for free temporary licences — a program meant primarily to bolster the vaccine workforce and help with other aspects of the COVID-19 response like contact tracing and assessment. In the first seven days, the college handed out 139 emergency conditional licences. Janet Hazelton, president of the Nova Scotia Nurses Union, said she expects far more nurses will sign up in the months ahead as the vaccine rollout is supposed to ramp up. "We're always nurses, regardless of when we retire. Many [nurses] have retired, but are still anxious to help out," Hazelton said in an interview. The union isn't involved in the relicensing program, but Hazelton said phones at her office have been ringing off the hook with questions about helping with vaccine efforts. Hazelton said there are hundreds of nurses in Nova Scotia who, like herself, don't currently work in clinical settings but have maintained their licences to practise. She said reassigning some people from administrative roles to vaccine clinics could help keep other health services running uninterrupted. "It's an opportunity for us to vaccinate because we have the skills to do that, and to keep as many nurses as we can at the bedside doing what they do best: looking after patients," she said. The Nova Scotia College of Nursing launched a similar program last spring to help with the COVID-19 response, and almost 200 nurses reactivated their licences. At that time, the program was open to people who had practised within the past five years. This year's iteration includes nurses who have practised within the past 10 years. The temporary licences from the college are valid for four months starting when the individual is selected for work — and Nova Scotia's health authority has been looking to hire. Several job postings recently closed for workers across the province to support COVID-19 vaccinations. They were open to paramedics, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, midwives, nurse practitioners and pharmacists. At a COVID-19 briefing earlier this week, Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health, said he expects more health-care regulators, including the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia, will soon introduce rapid relicensing programs. Dr. Chris Randall, a retired physician in Yarmouth, N.S., came out of retirement last year when the college first offered temporary licences in response to the pandemic. He was assigned to a COVID-19 unit but didn't end up seeing any patients. It was boring, he said, but he didn't mind. "We're trying to make people well," he said. "When we don't see sick people, that's absolutely great." Randall said he wouldn't hesitate to reactivate his licence again to help with the vaccination effort should the health system need his help. MORE TOP STORIES
Since fall 2020, students in P.E.I. schools have been able to pay what they can for a school healthy lunch program — usually, hot meals that require cutlery. Since the kids were using single-use plastic cutlery, they were creating a lot of waste that was going into the landfill. Now, students are being asked to bring their own cutlery. "What we're trying to do is reduce waste as much as possible. We've been asking students for a while now to bring their own cutlery and now we're just making it official," said Brad Trivers, P.E.I.'s minister of education. Feb. 12 will be the last day vendors will provide plastic cutlery with meals. 'Going to make a difference' "It's about reduce, reuse and recycle, and really the most important thing is to reduce," Trivers said. "We're trying to make sure students realize if you can reduce the plastic that is needed, then that's a big help to the environment. "Every plastic spoon or fork that you save means that much less is going into our waste. That's the lesson here, and I think it's really going to make a difference." The cost savings to the vendors will be minimal, he said, because plastic cutlery is very cheap. Families are being notified now so they can prepare. Trivers notes there will be a small amount of cutlery on hand at schools for students who forget. More from CBC P.E.I.
Battered by criticism that the 2020 census was dangerously politicized by the Trump administration, the U.S. Census Bureau under a new Biden administration has the tall task of restoring confidence in the numbers that will be used to determine funding and political power. Picking up the pieces of a long, fractious process that spooled out during a global pandemic starts with transparency about irregularities in the data, former Census Bureau directors, lawmakers and advocates said. They advised the new administration to take more time to review and process population figures to be sure they get them right. The high-stakes undertaking will determine how many congressional seats and Electoral College votes each state gets as well as the distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal spending each year. “We are optimistic that things at the Census Bureau will be better. The question is whether the damage caused by the Trump administration can be rectified,” said Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League. Morial’s organization, along with other advocacy groups and municipalities, sued former President Donald Trump's administration last year over a decision to end the once-a-decade head count early. According to critics, that damage includes a failed effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census questionnaire and a Trump order to figure out who is a citizen and who is in the U.S. illegally. They say another Trump directive to exclude people in the country illegally from the apportionment of congressional seats, shortened schedules to collect and process data, and four political appointments to top positions inside the bureau also threatened the count’s integrity. Census workers across the country have told The Associated Press and other media outlets that they were encouraged to falsify responses in the rush to finish the count so the numbers used for determining how many congressional seats each state gets could be produced under the Trump administration. Census Bureau officials said such problems were isolated. Census advocates were heartened Wednesday by President Joe Biden's quick revocations of Trump's order to produce citizenship data and the former president's memo attempting to exclude people in the U.S. illegally from the apportionment count. The Biden administration also has pledged to give the Census Bureau the time it needs to process the data. The Census Bureau also said Thursday that redistricting data it's releasing later this year for states and municipalities to use in creating legislative districts won't include information on citizenship or immigration status. It also said the agency is suspending all work on trying to produce the immigration status of U.S. residents for the census. “President Biden’s swift action today finally closes the book on the Trump administration’s attempts to manipulate the census for political gain," said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, who argued against the legality of the apportionment memo before the Supreme Court last year. The high court ruled that any challenge was premature. After the bureau missed a year-end deadline for turning in the apportionment numbers, it said the figures would be completed as close to the previous deadline as possible. Trump administration attorneys recently said they won’t be ready until early March because the bureau needs time to fix irregularities in the data. There will be flaws, likely undercounts of communities of colour and overcounts of whites, but “they will just have to ‘bake the best cake possible’ through identifying and correcting the errors they can find,” said Rob Santos, president of the American Statistical Association. Trump’s four political appointments to the Census Bureau last year were denounced by statisticians and Democratic lawmakers worried they would politicize the once-a-decade head count. The Office of Inspector General last week said two of them had pressured bureau workers to figure out who is in the U.S. illegally before Trump left office, with one whistleblower calling the effort “statistically indefensible.” Then-Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham ordered a technical report on that effort but halted it after blowback. He resigned this week after Democratic lawmakers and civil rights groups called for his departure. The bureau’s new interim chief, Deputy Director Ron Jarmin, didn’t respond to a request for an interview. He will report to Biden's new pick to head the Commerce Department — which oversees the Census Bureau — Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo. Former Census Bureau Director Kenneth Prewitt said he’s optimistic the final product will be as accurate as past censuses, especially now that Jarmin is at the helm. “They know how to do it right. It just takes time,” said Prewitt, who served in the Clinton administration. Another former bureau director, John Thompson, said the exit of Trump’s appointees will help eliminate distractions to finishing the 2020 census, but the agency needs to hold a public forum to discuss what anomalies bureau statisticians have found in the data and what they’re doing to fix them ahead of the apportionment numbers being turned in. U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii, asked Biden to set up a nonpartisan commission to review the apportionment data to make sure it’s fair and accurate before it’s delivered to the House of Representatives. “The Census Bureau faced a number of challenges with the 2020 Census,” Schatz said in a letter. “Some, like the pandemic, were beyond the agency’s control. However, the Trump Administration actively interfered with the agency’s operations.” Despite facing pressures from their political bosses, the Census Bureau’s career staff did a good job of resisting the Trump administration’s most questionable orders by coming forward when they found errors in the data without worrying about the deadline and by whistleblowing to the inspector general when they felt pressured to produce citizenship of dubious accuracy, according to Morial, Santos and Thompson. “They deserve to be honoured,” Santos said. ___ This story has corrected the first name of Rob Santos, instead of Ron Santos. ___ Mike Schneider on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAP Mike Schneider, The Associated Press
Niagara school boards are coming to terms with the fact students here will remain at home Monday. “We know that the optimal place for students to learn is in-person with their teacher, in their classroom,” District School Board of Niagara education director Warren Hoshizaki said Thursday. “However, we fully support the decision from the province because safety of our students and staff is always top priority. We are fully prepared to continue supporting students and families with remote learning.” On Wednesday, Ontario announced Schools in Grey Bruce, Peterborough, Haliburton and Kingston are among those in southern Ontario allowed to open their doors to students to attend class in person, starting Monday. Schools in the north welcomed children back Monday, with a few exceptions in communities that saw a sharp jump in cases over the holidays. The seven areas where elementary and secondary students can resume in-person learning on Jan. 25 are: Haliburton/Kawartha/Pine Ridge; Peterborough; Grey Bruce; Hastings/Prince Edward; Leeds/Grenville/Lanark; Renfrew; Kingston/Frontenac/Lennox & Addington. Students in all other southern Ontario public health districts, including Niagara, will remain online for now, and the government gave no specific timeline other than to say the chief medical officer of health will monitor COVID cases and determine when kids can return. Niagara Catholic District School Board education director Camillo Cipriano said, “We continue to find ways to ensure that students are actively engaged during the school day and that we meet the needs of students wherever they are in their learning. “We understand that all of this is difficult, and we are so proud of the excellent work that is happening online by our students, teachers, administrators and support staff to keep advancing learning.” Despite confidence in abilities to navigate the uncharted waters that is a global pandemic, neither of board has received any indication regarding the criteria the Education Ministry or the province’s chief medical officer of health has set for schools to reopen safely. “Creating a one-size-fits-all approach to school reopening is a challenge,” Cipriano said. “We have regular meetings with the ministry and public health and will continue to look forward to open dialogue with the ministry through the end of the school year.” He added, “We did receive requests for technology support and assistance from families when schools first reopened after the Christmas break and have supported families with their requests. We recognize that as this continues, families may experience technology issues for many reasons, and we encourage them to contact their child’s school if they do have challenges.” DSBN also acknowledged hardships of remote learning. “Any families who have questions about their child’s remote learning are strongly encouraged to contact their teacher and principal,” said Hoshizaki. “It’s important to us that this time of remote learning meets the needs of all our students, and we are here to support our students and their families.” The Niagara Falls Review reached out to Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff, parliamentary assistant to Education Minister Stephen Lecce, but he has not been available for an interview. With files from the Toronto Star Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org Sean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review
For the second straight day, a truck became stuck under Moncton's subway underpass which crosses Main Street at Foundry Street. On Thursday at approximately 2:25 p.m., a transport truck that had been driving west on Main Street hit the CN Rail bridge, said Moncton Fire Department Platoon Chief Brian McDonald. Police were the first to respond as it is a motor vehicle incident, said McDonald, while the fire department came to assess the situation. "Codiac RCMP contained and secured the scene," said McDonald. Police cruisers blocked off Main Street in both directions, Codiac RCMP also called CN Rail to advise them of the collision so engineers can inspect the bridge, which belongs to CN, McDonald said, adding this was done as a precaution. No injuries were reported. Pulling the truck out from under the bridge was a loud affair, but the truck was removed successfully just before 4 p.m. While vehicles exceeding the posted height restrictions getting stuck under the bridge is not an uncommon occurrence, Wednesday's collision was the second in as many days. McDonald said a 5-tonne truck also got struck under the bridge on Wednesday. MFD and RCMP also attended that collision, he said, but it was determined the fire department were not needed early into the incident, and there was no fluid leak. Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla by phone Thursday, the same day the company informed Canada delays to its shipments of COVID-19 vaccines are going to be even worse than previously thought. Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander now overseeing the vaccine logistics for the Public Health Agency of Canada, said last week a factory expansion at Pfizer's Belgium plant was going to slow production, cutting Canada's deliveries over four weeks in half. In exchange, Pfizer expects to be able to ship hundreds of millions more doses worldwide over the rest of 2021. Tuesday, Fortin said Canada would receive 80 per cent of the previously expected doses this week, nothing at all next week, and about half the promised deliveries in the first two weeks of February. Thursday, he said the doses delivered in the first week of February will only be 79,000, one one-fifth of what was once expected. Fortin doesn't know yet what will come the week after, but overall, Canada's doses over three weeks are going to be just one-third of what had been planned. Trudeau has been under pressure to call Bourla, as the delayed doses force provinces to cancel vaccination appointments and reconsider timing for second doses. Fortin said some provinces may be hit even harder than others because of limits on the way the Pfizer doses can be split up for shipping. The vaccine is delicate and must be kept ultra frozen until shortly before injecting it. The company packs and ships specialized coolers, with GPS thermal trackers, directly to provincial vaccine sites. Ontario Premier Doug Ford said earlier this week he doesn't blame the federal government for the dose delays but wanted Trudeau to do more to push back about it. "If I was in (Trudeau's) shoes ... I'd be on that phone call every single day. I'd be up that guy's yin-yang so far with a firecracker he wouldn't know what hit him," he said of Pfizer's executives. Trudeau informed Ford and other premiers of the call with Bourla during a regular teleconference to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic. Until Thursday, all calls between the federal cabinet and Pfizer had been handled by Procurement Minister Anita Anand. Ford also spoke to Pfizer Canada CEO Cole Pinnow Wednesday. Trudeau didn't suggest the call with Bourla made any difference to the delays, and noted Canada is not the only country affected. Europe, which on the weekend thought its delayed doses would only be for one week after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke to Bourla, now seems poised to be affected longer. Italy is so angry it is threatening to sue the U.S.-based drugmaker for the delays. Mexico said this week it is only getting half its expected shipment this week and nothing at all for the next three weeks. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain also reported delays getting doses. Pfizer Canada spokeswoman Christina Antoniou said more countries were affected but wouldn't say which ones. Fortin said Pfizer has promised to deliver four million doses to Canada by the end of March and that is not going to change with the delay. With the current known delivery schedule, the company will have to ship more than 3.1 million doses over 7 1/2 weeks to meet that commitment. Deliveries from Moderna, the other company that has a COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Canada, are not affected. Canada has received about 176,000 doses from Moderna to date, with deliveries arriving every three weeks. Moderna has promised two million doses by the end of March. Both vaccines require first doses and then boosters several weeks later for full effectiveness. Together Pfizer and Moderna intend to ship 20 million doses to Canada in the spring, and 46 million between July and September. With no other vaccines approved, that means Canada will get enough doses to vaccinate the entire population with two doses by the end of September. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
Nestled into the head of the Hathhayim [Von Donlop] Park Trail on Cortes Island, B.C, a forest of hemlock, fir and alder wraps around a small clearing recently levelled and fenced. Soft water sounds come from a building with an open door. Inside, K’all-K’all Tina Wesley is leaning into a salmon incubator box. She’s checking on 70,000 Chum eggs, removing any that died. As fisheries manager for Klahoose First Nation (KFN), Wesley does this at the community’s salmon hatchery every morning. Wesley sees her hatchery work as one task of many, but an essential one to rebuild salmon stocks. “Hatcheries are key and important, it's returning back what we've taken,” she says. “If you take enough to feed us through the winter, it's nice to be able to put it back.” There have been significant salmon stock declines in recent years. Hatcheries operating in the Tla’amin and Klahoose territory are working to rebuild stocks in the face of climate change. The hatcheries harvest eggs from spawning salmon and care for them through their development until they are ready for release or transplant into streams. Every year, the Tla’amin hatchery’s target is to release 60,000 Coho, 100,000 Chinook, 1.5 million Chum, according to hatchery manager Lee George. “We do our best to meet those targets, based on abundance.” The previous year had lower returns, and there were no surplus eggs to share with Klahoose. As a result, Klahoose didn’t release any eggs in 2020. Tla’amin hatchery emphasizes Chum, because it is the dominant species in Tla’amin River, and they return in higher volumes. The advantage of Chum eggs is in their timing, explains Wesley. They start on land in incubator boxes and are transplanted to creeks in the spring. This is done before warmer temperatures can impact them. Additionally, the water levels are still high enough for them to survive. “Compared to the other salmon...Chum are pretty tough [against the] elements,” Wesley says. Between climate change impacting early stages, and over predation not all will survive to return to spawn. With hope, the work continues at hatcheries. Working as sister nations 40,000 coral coloured spheres glisten in the water. They are Chum eggs, massed together as they like to be. These ones are tucked into a creek on Klahoose traditional territory. The eggs started their journey at Tla’amin Hatchery. Lee George is the hatchery manager. He has spent over 32 years nurturing the eggs through all their early stages. The hatchery is north of Powell River, on the Tla’amin Creek. Their territory covers an expanse from the upper Sunshine Coast through the Johnston Strait, with overlaps of sister nations. There are many factors impacting the salmon, one of which is warming waters. “Where it's colder, into the rivers and lakes where they’re supposed to spawn, but the water’s too warm, because of climate change,” George says. “We’re going to have really poor survival rates because of climate change.” George carries his Ayajuthem name Nexnohom in high regard, he says. It means ‘community provider.’ “At the end of the day, it’s going to be a long hard battle over the next few years, and we need to work together to seek a common goal, and that’s protect the resources for everybody to enjoy,” he says. The Tla’amin hatchery harvests eggs from mature fish, known as broodstock, and begins the process of tending the growing eggs. When they have surplus, they share them to the smaller hatchery at Klahoose. But there is more involved in rebuilding salmon stocks than simply having more eggs, Wesley says. Some things she can improve, like providing the hatchery with power, light, fencing. But other concerns are out of her control — and they’re on her mind as she takes temperatures, cleans mesh over drains at the hatchery. Climate change is a larger issue that shows itself in water levels and stream temperatures. Wesley says the optimum temperatures for rearing salmonids are generally between 10° C and 16° C, but the actual range for fish in streams varies with food availability and the ability for individuals to obtain that food. “When the waters are above 20° for days it brings stress and lack of oxygen and they die,” says Wesley. “Our hot summers have brought very warm temperatures to our waters, over 20°C.” “Another thing with the climate, you're also dealing with the water supply. One year, 2017, we ran out of water. So the fry were there and we need to keep them in water. We couldn't. So they got an early release.” Warming climate has reduced the snowpack, she says, and this is also on her mind. “I’m a snow dancer,” says Wesley, as she explains snowpack is essential for water levels. The Chum need a steady supply of oxygenated, flowing water washing over them constantly in the incubator. Of the salmon species, Chum have a better chance of resiliency in facing climate change, says Cortes Island Streamkeeper Cec Robinson. He explains the differences between salmon species. Sockeye needs a lake system, and that’s a system beyond what small hatcheries can address. Coho stays in their stream for a full year, and so they’re at risk for low water levels, and the resulting warmer water temperatures. Chum stay only a couple of weeks once they are hatched, and in the spring there is a better chance of cooler temperatures and higher water levels. Cortes Island Streamkeepers are a project of Friends of Cortes Island Society, a local environmental charity. Robinson says the streamkeepers reasoned with DFO through the DFO community advisor, and successfully won them over to trying Chum fry in local streams. “We just were the ones to advocate for a couple of changes, to shift the focus from Coho to Chum,” says Robinson. “In the summertime, you know, we're having hotter and hotter summers, unfortunately the streams are getting lower now compared to their historic level. Whereas the Chum and the Pinks- they go in, and there's a couple of weeks when they swim up out of the gravel, and then they're gone.” They leave for the open oceans. “And that happens in the spring when there's lots of water. So it doesn't bother them if the whole stream gets warm and low in the summertime.” The latest research on pacific salmon freshwater migration confirms “there are population-specific differences in temperature and flow tolerance thresholds,” says Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The switch to Chum is not widespread, says Robinson. DFO focuses hatcheries on raising the Chinook and Coho — which are what sport fishermen prefer. ”The focus has been on Coho and Springs (Chinook) because they're the flashy ones,” says Robinson. “The one that the sports fishermen are all after and that's what everybody thinks about. To recognize the dire need and then shifting, I think it's critical. Climate change is going to make that switch in focus imperative.” “With the situation of the sockeye not returning and the closures, the nation has been relying heavily on the salmon returning to the Tla’amin river and the species that’s more appetizing to them is the Chum,” explains George. Similar to the hatchery at Tla’amin, Robinson emphasizes the importance of public awareness and education. “I wish people would fall in love with the fish,” says Robinson. He says when people build a personal relationship, “that’s when they want to look after them. That's what I would hope. Ultimately, you can't just rely on the DFO or any organization. It has to be a bigger movement. That would be a dream,” says Robinson. “In the meantime, their numbers dwindled to almost nothing.” says Robinson, “but now they can access their ancestral habitat.” The journey for Wesley started with growing up in Toba Inlet, part of Klahoose First Nation’s Traditional Territory. She left home at 17, and steadily gathered education and fisheries experience. She hoped to bring these skills home to her community if an opportunity arose. “Coming back was a long life goal and opportunity that I had waited for. Coming back home, and taking on a position for protecting our resources, which is huge for me.” Her Ayajuthem name K’all-K’all means “cedar maker”. She shares how her grandmother and father explained the meaning of this name. While she talks, she uses a protective gesture of wrapping a cape around someone, “K’all-K’all.” She protects, and cares for her family and community. “[Salmon is] part of our culture and our tradition, the traditional foods. Without it, it really starts eating away at our culture and it starts taking away a part of us,” she says. Wesley speaks about this food and resource by drawing the full circle. Feeding people and animals includes nourishing land and culture. “Look at how much has been damaged from fish farms that are in our oceans and so much has been destroyed and so much has been lost.” Wesley says. But through the work they are doing she hopes to ensure salmon survive. “Imagine all the other little hatcheries and the bigger hatcheries, that we're all putting our input into providing future sustenance,” says Wesley. “Anything to contribute to help bring it back and keep going and moving forward. It's bringing them home.” This past fall, Wesley noticed 30 eagles sitting by a small stream that runs from beside the hatchery into the estuary. “Boy, there’s a lot of eagles over there,” she remembers thinking. “So I went for a walk, to go check it out and here's all these Chum going up our little creek. It was just neat to see that, they always returned home where they come from.” Wesley believes those fish were from eggs that had slipped through the drain in the old system, or maybe eggs that were not quite dead in the culling and had survived. “They survived and found their way through the drain, through the gutter and eventually trickled to our stream. They survived and then returned to this little stream in the fall.” Like Wesley returning home with skills to help protect her nation’s resources, the escaped eggs worked hard to find their way home. Odette Auger, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse
Peterborough County residents may be paying 2.23 per cent more on the county portion of their property tax bills this year compared to last year. County councillors received the draft budget for 2021 from county staff during a special virtual meeting on Thursday. The county plans to raise an additional $1.5 million from tax dollars compared to last year, according to the draft budget, which recommends spending $48,052,395 to run the county in 2021. Increases for salaries and benefits are impacting this year’s budget by about $403,250 and the budget levy by 0.86 per cent. This is as a result of wage increases under collective agreements, non-union wage increases, a decrease in PCCP workplace safety and insurance program NEER charges, annualization of salaries and benefits for new positions or changed positions approved in the 2020 budget — which include purchasing supervisor and IT administrative support — and an additional summer student for the human resources department. Shared services with the city, including housing, child care, social services and the Provincial Offences Act office, are impacting the budget by $132,323 and budget levy by 0.28 per cent. The increase is due to an expected reduction of $139,207 in court fines, offset by Safe Restart funding, a social assistance decrease of $241,000, a child care increase of $81,839 and social housing increase of $50,725. The increase child-case costs for 2021 are primarily related to changes within provincial funding models announced in early 2019, according to county staff. Increases within social housing are due to reserve transfer increases required to fund future capital. Net reserve contributions are impacting the budget by $5,839,959 and budget levy by 12.55 per cent. Outside agencies including Fairhaven, Peterborough Public Health and Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development have not requested increases that would affect the levy, said Trena Debruijn, the county’s director of finance and treasurer, but it’s not clear if these agencies can continue to operate without increases in the future. While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on county operations, the one-time funding the county received from provincial and federal governments to address the COVID-19 crisis has helped mitigate most of the impact, Debruijn said. The extent of the changes may have a long-lasting effect on county operations and it is unknown whether or not funding will continue in future years, she added. The county will hold a public meeting on Feb. 3 to review the proposed budget and provide answers to any questions or inquiries residents may have. The budget presentation can be accessed on the county’s website. Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: email@example.com Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
The global release of the James Bond movie "No Time to Die" was postponed to October from April, its producers said, another setback for movie theaters trying to rebuild a business crushed by the coronavirus pandemic. The movie's new debut date is Oct. 8, according to an announcement on the James Bond website and Twitter feed. "No Time to Die", from MGM and Comcast Corp's Universal Pictures, had originally been set to hit the big screen in April 2020 before moving to November 2020 and then April 2021.
Health PEI says the province's two intensive care units are operating at reduced capacity, all as a result of a nurse staffing crunch. According to the agency, only four of the six ICU beds at Summerside's Prince County Hospital are operational. That's because 9.6 of the 15.6 ICU nurse positions there are vacant. At Charlottetown's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, just eight of the 10 ICU beds are open. The agency says between the ICU and the critical care unit, which share staff, there are 5.9 vacant nursing positions. 'It's huge when you get a loss from the ICU' The P.E.I. Nurses' Union says while many areas of health care continue to face staffing shortages, recruiting and training ICU nurses has proven particularly challenging. "When you get vacancies in areas like ICU, you can't just train an ICU nurse in two weeks," said Barbara Brookin, the union's president. "It's six months minimum before you get a nurse that works in ICU able to work as a second, or take charge of patients and not just supporting the other nurses. So it's huge when you get a loss from ICU." According to the union president, nurses from other departments have been shuffled around to cover some ICU shifts. Health PEI says while the staffing crunch has been manageable to date, it would become more challenging if P.E.I. saw a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases, and increased demand for ICU beds and ventilators. "We could have a certain number of ventilators at Prince County Hospital. But if we don't have the nursing level to safely look after them, we wouldn't be able to receive that ventilated patient," said Arlene Gallant-Bernard, the hospital's chief administrative officer. "They probably would look at going to QEH, or on some occasions, we'd have to send them off-Island." Bubble closure hurting recruitment Gallant-Bernard said Health PEI is advertising the ICU nursing positions across Canada. The agency's also offering a $5,000 signing bonus, plus $10,000 to cover moving expenses. But she said the pandemic and closure of the Atlantic bubble have made finding nurses more challenging. Normally, she said, there are nurses living in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, willing to travel here to work during the week. "People have been in those arrangements. But it's getting harder now to make that look appealing because of all the guidelines. And every province's guidelines are a bit different," said Gallant-Bernard. "So when we had the bubble, we had a much broader group to draw from. But now we don't have that." Though one aspect of the pandemic is giving the hospital CAO some recruitment hope. She said the fact P.E.I. has had relatively few COVID-19 cases, restrictions, and health-care pressures should make it a more attractive place for nurses. "It's a very appealing place to come to right now," she said. "So I think if we can recruit, now is the time." More P.E.I. news
En cette période de confinement où le télétravail s’impose plus que jamais, Action Laval souhaitait suspendre l’application du règlement municipal régissant le stationnement alternatif. Déposé ce mois-ci par la conseillère de Chomedey, Aglaia Revelakis, et débattu séance tenante, l’avis de proposition à cet effet a été rejeté en bloc par le parti au pouvoir et l’opposition officielle. «Le gouvernement provincial nous demande à tous de rester à la maison pour éviter la propagation du virus, il y a donc beaucoup plus de voitures stationnées qu’en temps ordinaire sur les rues», a rappelé la cheffe de la seconde opposition et candidate à la mairie, Sonia Baudelot, dans un communiqué publié le 19 janvier. Une situation qui n’est pas sans compliquer la vie des Lavallois contraints à déplacer leur véhicule du bon côté de la rue, et ce, tous les jours de la semaine, laisse-t-elle entendre. «Abasourdie» par le résultat du vote au conseil, Mme Baudelot fait valoir que le travail des élus municipaux consiste à «trouver des solutions et apporter de la souplesse au système», évoquant du coup le «mécontentement» que suscite cette politique auprès de nombreux citoyens «depuis le début de la période de confinement». Le maire suppléant Stéphane Boyer et son collègue Ray Khalil, chargé des dossiers de travaux publics au comité exécutif, ont indiqué qu’une telle décision ne pouvait s’improviser en raison des considérations logistiques fort complexes liées aux opérations de déneigement. À cet égard, les trois projets pilotes déployés l’hiver dernier en vue d’éliminer pour 2020-2021 le stationnement saisonnier ont soulevé «d’énormes problèmes», a mentionné M. Khalil, forçant ainsi la Ville à poursuivre les essais en testant, cet hiver, quatre solutions dans six secteurs de la Municipalité, question d’ajuster ses façons de faire selon les particularités des quartiers. «Ce ne sera pas une solution mur à mur», a-t-il repris, ajoutant que pour le moment «la priorité est de sécuriser nos rues et nos trottoirs pour que les gens puissent circuler en toute sécurité». Même son de cloche du côté de l’opposition officielle. Aller de l’avant avec une telle mesure «en plein milieu de l’hiver, sans signalisation adéquate et moyen de communication efficace comme on a mis en place dans les six projets pilotes sur le territoire» serait courir à sa perte, a mentionné le conseiller Claude Larochelle. «C’est bien tentant de dire aux citoyens "on élimine ça" [le stationnement alternatif], mais ce n’est pas comme ça qu’on gère une ville», a-t-il terminé. Stéphane St-Amour, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
Vancouver Island blew past previous highs reporting 47 new COVID-19 cases today (Jan 21.). The previous high was 34 new cases in a day, reported on Jan 12 and 15. Province-wide there were 564 new cases today, for an active total of 62,976. The Vancouver Island region now has over 200 active cases, the highest number since the outbreak began last year. As of Jan 20, there were 15 patients in hospital and 17 confirmed deaths on the Island. While the rest of B.C. has been trending downwards, Vancouver Island’s numbers have steadily risen this month. “Despite our COVID-19 curve trending in the right direction, we continue to have new outbreaks, community clusters and high numbers of new cases. COVID-19 continues to spread widely in our communities,” Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister Adrian Dix said in the press release. “Thank you for doing your part and choosing to bend the curve, not the rules.” RELATED: Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday RELATED: Island Health’s daily COVID-19 case count reaches record high Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon announced plans Thursday to move ahead with a military trial for three men held at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who are suspected of involvement in bombings in Indonesia in 2002 and 2003. A senior military legal official approved non-capital charges that include conspiracy, murder and terrorism for their alleged roles in the deadly bombing of Bali nightclubs in 2002 and a year later of a J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta. The men have been in U.S. custody since 2003, and military prosecutors have previously moved to charge them before the military commission at Guantanamo, but the Pentagon official, known as a convening authority, never signed off on the charges. The next step would be an arraignment at the base, but proceedings there have been halted by the pandemic. Encep Nurjaman, who is known as Hambali, is alleged to have been the leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian affiliate of al-Qaida. The Pentagon said in a brief statement on the case that he is accused with Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep and Mohammed Farik Bin Amin of planning and providing assistance in the attacks. The 2002 bombings on the tourist island of Bali killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists, and left a deep scar in Indonesia. The attack on the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta killed 12. Military proceedings at Guantanamo have bogged down for years because of legal challenges and the logistical difficulty of holding court hearings at the remote base. The most prominent case, involving five men charged in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack, has been stuck in the pre-trial phase since their arraignment in May 2012 with no date yet established for the trial. The U.S. holds 40 men at Guantanamo. President Joe Biden has said he favours closing the detention centre but has not yet disclosed his plans for the facility. The Associated Press
The first COVID-19 case in Prince Albert since schools re-opened on Jan. 18 was reported Thursday morning. The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) identified a positive COVID-19 case in an individual at Ecole St. Anne School in Prince Albert. The Prince Albert Catholic School Division explained in a news release that communication has been shared with the specific classroom/cohort, as well as the school community. They also said case wasn’t acquired at the school. “The Saskatchewan Health Authority is proceeding with their assessment of the situation, and all individuals deemed to be close contacts will be communicated with.” As is the case in all cases in the division no further information will be made available citing privacy concerns. “We want to reassure families of Ecole St. Anne School that school will continue to operate for in-person classes while maintaining the safety protocols that are in place,” the release added. The cohort impacted by this cases being notified and provided instruction. The students and families will be receiving updates using the Edsby platform. “Our thoughts and prayers are with this member of our school community, and we hope they are doing well.” They emphasized that everyone has a shared responsibility to decrease the risk of COVID-19 entering schools. “Thank you to everyone for continuing to be diligent in performing daily health screening, staying home if ill, calling HealthLine 811 if exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, practicing proper hand hygiene, maintaining physical distancing as much as possible, wearing a mask when appropriate and doing everything we can to keep each other safe,” the release stated. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
Capturing planet-warming emissions is becoming a critical part of many plans to keep climate change in check, but very little progress has been made on the technology to date, with efforts focused on cutting emissions rather than taking carbon out of the air. The International Energy Agency said late last year that a sharp rise in the deployment of carbon capture technology was needed if countries are to meet net-zero emissions targets.
GENEVA — The United States will resume funding for the World Health Organization and join its consortium aimed at sharing coronavirus vaccines fairly around the globe, President Joe Biden’s top adviser on the pandemic said Thursday, renewing support for an agency that the Trump administration had pulled back from. Dr. Anthony Fauci’s quick commitment to the WHO — whose response to the pandemic has been criticized by many, but perhaps most vociferously by the Trump administration — marks a dramatic and vocal shift toward a more co-operative approach to fighting the pandemic. “I am honoured to announce that the United States will remain a member of the World Health Organization,” Fauci told a virtual meeting of the WHO from the United States, where it was 4:10 a.m. in Washington. It was the first public statement by a member of Biden’s administration to an international audience — and a sign of the priority that the new president has made of fighting COVID-19 both at home and with world partners. Just hours after Biden’s inauguration Wednesday, he wrote a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres saying the U.S. had reversed the planned pullout from the WHO that was expected to take effect in July. The withdrawal from the WHO was rich with symbolism — another instance of America's go-it-alone strategy under Trump. But it also had practical ramifications: The U.S. halted funding for the U.N. health agency — stripping it of cash from the country that has long been its biggest donor just as the agency was battling the health crisis that has killed more than 2 million people worldwide. The U.S. had also pulled back staff from the organization. Fauci said the Biden administration will resume “regular engagement” with WHO and will “fulfil its financial obligations to the organization.” The WHO chief and others jumped in to welcome the U.S. announcements. “This is a good day for WHO and a good day for global health,” Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “The role of the United States, its role, global role is very, very crucial.” The two men hinted at a warm relationship between them, with Fauci calling Tedros his “dear friend” and Tedros referring to Fauci as “my brother Tony.” The White House said later Thursday that Vice-President Kamala Harris had discussed many of the same themes as Fauci raised in a call with Tedros. But she emphasized the need to beef up the global response to COVID-19, “mitigate its secondary impacts, including on women and girls,” and work to “prevent the next outbreak from becoming an epidemic or pandemic,” the White House said in a statement. “In addition, the vice-president emphasized the importance of making America safer through global co-operation,” it added, highlighting the new tone out of Washington. John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called the renewed commitment “great news” in an email. “The world has always been a better place when the U.S. plays a leadership role in solving global health problems including the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria, polio and other diseases,” he said. Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke wrote on Facebook: “This is going to have a huge impact on the world’s ability to fight the pandemic. It is decisive that the United States is involved as a driving force and not a country that is looking for the exit when a global catastrophe rages.” Fauci also said Biden will issue a directive Thursday that shows the United States’ intent to join the COVAX Facility, a project to deploy COVID-19 vaccines to people in need around the world — whether in rich or poor countries. Under Trump, the U.S. had been the highest-profile — and most deep-pocketed — holdout from the COVAX Facility, which has struggled to meet its goals of distributing millions of vaccines both because of financial and logistic difficulties. WHO and leaders in many developing countries have repeatedly expressed concerns that poorer places could be the last to get COVID-19 vaccines, while noting that leaving vast swaths of the global population unvaccinated puts everyone at risk. While vowing U.S. support, Fauci also pointed to some key challenges facing WHO. He said the U.S. was committed to “transparency, including those events surrounding the early days of the pandemic.” One of the Trump administration’s biggest criticisms was that the WHO reacted too slowly to the outbreak in Wuhan, China, and was too accepting of and too effusive about the Chinese government’s response to it. Others have also shared those criticisms — but public health experts and many countries have argued that, while the organization needs reform, it remains vital. Referring to a WHO-led probe looking for the origins of the coronavirus by a team that is currently in China, Fauci said: “The international investigation should be robust and clear, and we look forward to evaluating it.” He said the U.S. would work with WHO and partner countries to “strengthen and reform” the agency, without providing specifics. At the White House later in the day, Fauci quipped to Jeff Zients, who is directing the national response to the coronavirus, “You can imagine the comments we were getting from the people in the WHO.” Then he added, his voice trailing off, “They were lining up to thank ..." ___ Associated Press writers Cara Anna in Nairobi, Kenya; Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report. Jamey Keaten, The Associated Press