Wearing leg restraints and barefoot, he escaped from custody while returning from juvenile court in North Carolina, officials said.
Wearing leg restraints and barefoot, he escaped from custody while returning from juvenile court in North Carolina, officials said.
In a moment of nation-splintering turmoil, an incoming American president, Abraham Lincoln, travelled by train to his inauguration in Washington, D.C., in a nerve-racking ride cloaked in disguise as he faced threats to his life. Now, 160 years later, an incoming president has cancelled plans for a train ride to Washington. It was supposed to be a symbolic journey highlighting Joe Biden's decades-long habit of riding the rails to D.C. each day from his family home in Delaware. Instead, it has taken on a sad new symbolism, of an American capital clenched shut in fear of political violence at Wednesday's inauguration. The question nagging at residents here, and at security analysts, is whether the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was the worst of a passing storm, a one-off, or the start of a dark era of political violence. What's already clear is this will be no normal inauguration. The American capital has transformed into a heavily armed and tightly barricaded fortress. "Clearly, we are in uncharted waters," Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser told a news conference last week, urging tourists to stay away from her city during the inauguration. Fences are now up around Washington's downtown. Thousands of soldiers are patrolling the streets, bridges are blocked, parking garages are shut, bicycle-sharing services are suspended, Airbnb reservations are cancelled, and residents are being urged on neighbourhood chat groups against renting rooms to tourists. Suspicion strikes Capitol Hill neighbourhood Security concerns are most acute in the neighbourhood near the Capitol. Lawyer Matt Scarlato already has an overnight bag packed in case unrest spills into his neighbourhood and he's forced to flee the city with his family. He lives near one of the new security barriers near Capitol Hill, where police are forcing residents on some streets to show ID if they want to access their home. Scarlato was working from home the day of the riot in the Capitol building, when unexploded bombs were found near political party offices. He received a message from his son's daycare urging parents to immediately come pick up their children. Scarlato grabbed a baseball bat and tossed it in the car for the ride to the daycare. "It was a minute-by-minute escalation," Scarlato said. "We were all just sitting in the house saying, 'What the hell is going on?'" A longtime resident of the area, he compared the recent panic to a smaller-scale version of what he witnessed during the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. On the day of the Capitol riot, he was concerned by the sight of an unfamiliar RV on his street given the reports of bombs in Washington and the recent explosion in Nashville. For her part, Monica Ingram, a retired health-care administrator, was rattled yesterday morning by the sound of helicopters hovering over the same Capitol Hill neighbourhood. Around that same time, the congressional precinct was ordered evacuated. The panic was the result of an explosion and fire nearby, caused by a propane tank in a homeless encampment. Ingram said people now look at each other differently, warily. Ingram saw a man taking pictures of streets near the Capitol the other day and she worried whether he was up to something nefarious. "We're suspicious of each other now. It's sad," she said. "It's very disheartening, upsetting. It's like I don't even know this country anymore." WATCH | Staff and media scramble as a blast goes off during inauguration rehearsal: Some call for indoor inauguration She's among the many people with mixed feelings about whether this inauguration should even be happening in public. Ultimately, she prefers it going forward, as opposed to moving to a makeshift indoor location, in order to deliver a message: that this country won't buckle in fear. There is, however, a part of her that hopes Biden might throw another inaugural party, a year from now, a real festive party, after this pandemic, and this panic. Biden should have a "redo" inauguration, she said. "It's so sad that president-elect Biden has to be sworn in like this. It should be a day of joy for this country." There's no guarantee this place will feel safer in a year. Mark Hertling, a retired lieutenant-general who led U.S. soldiers in Europe, said he worries about whether the United States is now entering an era of political insurgency. And he's not alone. One-time riot or preview of insurgency? Some analysts who study domestic political violence have warned for years (in thesis papers and books and government reports) that the conditions existed for an American insurgency on the right. Those conditions include a proliferation of guns, a surge in ex-military joining militia groups, two increasingly hostile political parties, and a split along racial and cultural lines in a rapidly diversifying country. A 2018 book, Alt-America, charts how membership in armed militia groups skyrocketed after the election of a first Black president, Barack Obama, in 2008, and these fringe groups began showing up at political protests. Alleged members of such militias are now accused of participating in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, where numerous people were dressed in paramilitary-themed clothing and several could be heard in the crowd warning they'd be back with weapons. "Welcome to the reality of other countries," said Greg Ehrie, who led FBI domestic terrorism units and is now vice-president of law enforcement and analysis at the Anti-Defamation League. "There is sort of an underlying belief that if we can get through Wednesday, this stops and then it moves on. And that's just not true.… This is going to be something we're going to be living with for several years — this heightened sense of security." Details released since the siege of the Capitol suggest things could have been worse. Jan. 6 could have been worse One man arrested that day allegedly had two guns and enough materials to make 11 Molotov cocktails, and another allegedly had a loaded gun, spare bullets and a gas mask. A federal prosecutor said one air force veteran who carried plastic handcuffs intended to take hostages. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City said in a YouTube video she believed she was going to die during the riot in the Capitol and that she experienced a traumatic event she declined to discuss: "Many, many, many members of Congress were almost murdered," she said in the video. "We were very lucky [to escape]." One police officer died as a result of injuries sustained during the riot. Another said he narrowly survived the angry mob and described how he was Tasered while some wanted to take his gun and kill him with it. Joseph Young, a professor at American University in D.C. who studies the factors that drive political violence, usually in other countries, said he is bothered by the trends he sees. "More and more, my work has been applicable to the United States," he said in an interview. "[And that's] troubling." A word of historical caution He said it's wrong, however, to conclude this is a more violent political era than the 1960s and 1970s. The U.S. experienced hundreds of terrorist attacks back then, from white-supremacist church bombings to political assassinations to the activities of the left-wing group Weather Underground, which bombed the Capitol, the State Department and other government buildings. But he's still worried about the current U.S. situation. As are the authorities preparing for inauguration day. The Pentagon has authorized the Washington, D.C., National Guard to carry weapons on domestic soil amid ongoing worries about the possible use of explosives. About 25,000 National Guard troops from D.C. and several states were expected to be part of the security operation. National Guard members are being screened themselves for any extremist affiliations. A Secret Service member was reportedly under investigation over political comments related to the Capitol riot posted on Facebook. Jared Holt, an expert who monitors extremist chatter online, said it has gotten quieter lately. He said he was extremely worried before Jan. 6 about the heated and violent rhetoric he saw in online platforms. People were posting tips for smuggling guns into Washington and maps of the underground tunnels connecting the Capitol to lawmakers' offices. Those same forums erupted in joy after the attack. "It was initially jubilation," said Holt, of the Digital Forensic Research Lab at the Washington-based Atlantic Council think-tank. "They were thrilled. They felt incredibly accomplished. [Now], the cohesion between groups has eroded." It became clear within hours of the riot that it might backfire — against those involved and against Donald Trump. It failed to stop the vote to certify Biden's election win. Then it led to Trump's swift impeachment in the House. WATCH | Preparations underway to fortify U.S. capital ahead of inauguration day: Has the threat already receded? Some rioters in the Capitol who posted triumphant images of themselves on social media have been arrested or fired from their jobs, with their posts used as evidence against them. Social media platforms are either limiting extremist rhetoric and shutting out Trump, are offline altogether (Parler), or are unusually slow (Gab). Holt now worries that violent rhetoric is moving to tighter channels that are harder to monitor publicly, such as Telegram and other private messaging apps. So residents of Washington, D.C., and the country as a whole, enter this historic transition week in a fog of uncertainty, about whether they've just witnessed a dark passing moment in the life of the American republic or a sombre omen. "It looks like a police state down here. We've never seen it like this," Emilie Frank, a communications professional, said in an interview a few days ago, referring to the imposing concrete-and-metal labyrinth being erected downtown. "It would normally be bustling, everybody's excited [for the inauguration]. But it's silent, blocked off, police cars everywhere." She doesn't know if any of this will be necessary. But she'd rather have this than the under-preparation by authorities that the city witnessed on Jan. 6, she said. "So, even if it's just [for] show, it's better than nothing, I guess," she said. "If some people will be convinced they should stay away after seeing all this stuff in place, then that's good." WATCH | Ex-FBI agent on the new domestic terrorism:
LOS ANGELES — Inside hospital rooms across America, where the sick are alone without family to comfort them, the grim task of offering solace falls to overworked and emotionally drained hospital chaplains who are dealing with more death than they’ve ever seen. Last week nearly a dozen died on a single day at the 377-bed Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, a gleaming, modern medical facility that is tucked into the northwest corner of Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. Three more passed — within a span of 45 minutes — the next day. As he has each day for the past 11 months, Chaplain Kevin Deegan sits with the sick and dying, clad in a facemask, face shield, gloves and full body cover. He prays with them, holds their hands, gently brushes their foreheads and reassures them there is nothing to fear. Grieving families, unable to enter the hospital because of the deadly virus, watch through the iPad he’s carried into the room with him. “All right, Miss Leticia, it’s Chaplain Kevin. We’re going to say some prayers now. Ok, my dear?” “She can hear you,” he tells her son, Jayson Lim, urging him to talk to her. “Yo, Ma,” Lim manages to say before breaking down in tears and burying his head in his hands. Later he’ll pray with her. Deegan, who ministered to people undergoing hospice and palliative care before joining Holy Cross two years ago, is no stranger to death. But still, he says, he and his fellow chaplains had seen nothing like this before COVID-19 struck last year and began to kill people by the hundreds of thousands. Close to 400,000 people have died in the U.S. alone. Holy Cross is filled with so many COVID-19 patients that it has had to double up some people in intensive care rooms and put others in areas normally reserved for outpatient care and patient recovery. A makeshift area at the end of a hallway has even been turned into a hospital room. Deegan and about a dozen other chaplains cover shifts that extend to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As Chaplain Anne Dauchy prays for a woman during her last moments, the patient's loved ones watching through Dauchy's iPad can be heard sobbing in the background and saying words like, “I love you so much, Mamma" and "Thank you for everything.'" “We try to kind of reframe what a miracle is,” an exhausted Dauchy says afterward. “Sometimes it’s living another day, sometimes it’s a patient opening their eyes. “Perhaps that’s the miracle, that she’s at rest and at peace and not suffering anymore,” she says of the woman who died. When asked how he, Dauchy and the others manage to survive the turmoil emotionally, Deegan replies, “That's a good question. I have to be honest. I don't know.” What he does know is when he saw doctors, nurses and other hospital staff risking their own lives to do everything they could to save others he felt he had to be there, right in the room with them, to offer comfort and be a surrogate for their loved ones who couldn't be there. He was sure he'd eventually be infected as COVID-19 patients began pouring into the hospital every day. So far he has not, and just last week he had his second dose of the vaccine. “Who knew PPE really works," he said with a chuckle during a rare lighthearted moment as he discussed the personal protective equipment he dons each day before work. On that Monday when 11 people died, including three he personally ministered to, Deegan went home and, after he tried to fall asleep, saw the faces and again heard the voices of the people who had sobbed and screamed at him, “Why? Why? Why?” Some families lash out at the chaplains, looking for someone to blame, said Monica Pantoja, a clerk at the hospital's intensive care unit who has been isolating at home after becoming infected herself. “They take a lot of heat and people don’t understand that they’re doing the best they can. I think their prayers mean more than anything to families,” Pantoja said, speaking from first-hand experience. When her 72-year-old mother was hospitalized for three months with COVID-19, including several weeks on a ventilator, a chaplain called every day to put her on the iPad with her. Her mother is now recovering at a rehabilitation centre. There are other occasional victories as well. As Deegan prayed with another patient last week he encouraged her loved ones to talk to her through the iPad, and when one shouted, “Hi Mom,” the woman, on oxygen, opened her eyes wider, raised her head slightly and tried to reply, although the words wouldn't come. “Who is that?”, Deegan asked her. “Is that Marvin?” She nodded. Later, when he stepped out of the hospital, he found Leticia Lim's son Jayson waiting by the door to thank him as his mother continued her fight to live. “It was painful and at the same time it was heartwarming because I had the chance to pray with my mom, with the pastor,” he said before turning to Deegan to tell him, ‘Thank you, God bless you.’" “You're bringing tears to my eyes, ” Deegan said as he removed his glasses to wipe the tears away before pausing to remember once again why he shows up every day. ___ Associated Press photographer Jae Hong and Associated Press videographer Eugene Garcia contributed to this story. John Rogers, The Associated Press
Ankara has imposed advertising bans on Twitter, Periscope and Pinterest after they failed to appoint local representatives in Turkey under a new social media law, according to decisions published on Tuesday. Under the law, which critics say stifles dissent, social media companies that do not appoint such representatives are liable for a series of penalties, including the latest move by the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK). It has caused concern as people turn more to online platforms after Ankara tightened its grip on mainstream media.
MEXICO CITY — Authorities in Mexico's Gulf coast state of Veracruz said Monday that 12 men were killed and their bodies dumped on a roadside in what may have been a dispute between cattle ranchers. The killings occurred in the rural town of La Choapas, near the border with the neighbouring state of Tabasco. Veracruz Gov. Cuitláhuac Garcia wrote in a statement that “initial investigations suggest a division between ranchers and helpers from La Choapas and Uxpanapa.” He added that “abuses and threats between them led to this unfortunate outcome.” The region is south of the crime-ridden city of Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz. The Associated Press
EDMONTON — Shea Weber's goal held up as the game-winner as the Montreal Canadiens beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 Monday night. Rookie Alexander Romanov and Arttuti Lehkonen also scored for Montreal (2-0-1), which beat Edmonton (1-3-0) for the second time in three nights. The Habs also trounced the Oilers 5-1 on Saturday. Goalie Jake Allen made 25 saves in his debut for the Canadiens Montreal’s penalty kill was key in the victory, shutting down Oilers snipers Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on seven power plays. Mikko Koskinen stopped 31-of-34 shots for Edmonton. He conceded a short-handed goal 12:15 into the third period after Lehkonen broke up a pass in his own zone and sprinted up the ice with the puck on his stick. He put a quick snap shot past Koskinen for his first of the season, and put Montreal up 3-0. Edmonton clawed a goal back with just over two minutes to go, though, with Devin Shore popping a snap shot past Allen for a short-handed tally. Koskinen allowed one to get past earlier in the game on a Montreal power play with seconds to go in the second period. Edmonton had the man advantage when McDavid was called for hooking, leading to 1:20 of 4-on-4 hockey before the Habs got a 40-second power play to close out the frame. With about 11 seconds left on the clock, Montreal's Jeff Petry drove through the slot and Shore careened into Koskinen. Meanwhile, Weber launched a shot from the side of the net and Koskinen made the initial stop. He couldn't control the rebound, though, which bounced back out to Weber. The defenceman batted it in off Koskinen's back as he lay in the crease with Shore underneath him. The goal was instantly called off, with the official saying Petry caused goalie interference when he sent Shore crashing into his netminder. Montreal coach Claude Julien elected to challenge the call and, upon review, the officials agreed, giving Weber his first goal of the season and a 2-0 lead for Montreal. Montreal already had a first-period tally from Romanov, who opened the scoring 9:53 into the game with a shot from just below the blue line. The puck rocketed through traffic and past Koskinen stick side for the Russian rookie's first NHL goal. Montreal selected Romanov, 21, 38th overall in the 2018 draft. The Canadiens scored on one of its five power plays. Montreal had to kill off three penalties in the first period alone, including more than 30 seconds of 5-on-3 play. Edmonton had some promising opportunities across the stretch -- including a big shot from McDavid that ricocheted off the knob of Allen's stick -- but the Habs didn't surrender a goal. As a crucial part of the penalty kill, Weber played 9:10 in the first frame alone. Montreal will open a three-game series with the Canucks in Vancouver on Wednesday. The Oilers will be in Toronto the same night to battle the Leafs. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen is calling on Congress to do more to fight a deep pandemic-induced recession, saying the threats of a longer and even worse downturn are too great to cut back on support now. “Without further action, we risk a longer, more painful recession now — and long-term scarring of the economy later,” Yellen said in testimony prepared for her confirmation hearing Tuesday before the Senate Finance Committee. Yellen, who will be the first female treasury secretary in the nation's history, is expected to have little trouble winning approval in a Senate that will be narrowly controlled by Democrats once two Democratic senators from Georgia are seated. In her testimony, Yellen, who was also the country's first female chair of the Federal Reserve, said that the quick action Congress took by passing trillion-dollar rescue packages last spring and an additional $900 billion relief measure last month were successful in “averting a lot of suffering.” But she said that even with the extraordinary government help, the pandemic has still caused “widespread devastation.” “Eighteen million unemployment insurance claims are being paid every week. Food bank shelves are going empty. The damage has been sweeping and as the president-elect said last Thursday, our response must be too,” Yellen said. “Over the next few months, we are going to need more aid to distribute the vaccine, to reopen schools, to help states keep firefighters and teachers on the job,” Yellen said. She said more support would also be needed to keep unemployment benefit checks going out and to help families who are going hungry or in danger of being homeless. Biden last week unveiled a $1.9 trillion relief plan that would provide more aid to American families, businesses and local communities and provide more support for vaccine production and distribution. While Democrats have endorsed the effort, many Republican lawmakers have expressed concerns about the price tag given soaring federal budget deficits. Yellen said that she and Biden were aware of the country's rising debt burden. “But right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big,” she said. “In the long run, I believe the benefits will far outweigh the costs, especially if we care about helping people who have been struggling for a very long time.” The Senate Finance Committee hearing with Yellen on Tuesday is one of several that the Senate will be holding as the incoming Biden administration tries to get its top Cabinet officials in office quickly. Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
DETROIT — The resiliency, culture and heroism of Black Americans and the African diaspora will be the central theme of a virtual event that will celebrate the nation’s diversity on the eve of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris is slated to speak at Tuesday's event, “We Are One,” which will also honour the historic nature of her being the first Black and South Asian woman to become U.S. vice-president. Black voters nationwide helped deliver Biden’s presidency, overwhelmingly supporting him from the start of his White House bid. Black-led organizing work across the nation galvanized voters of colour and contributed to historic turnout in key battleground states. Tony Allen, CEO of the inaugural committee, said the programming will “honour acts of resilience, heroism, and commitment to unity” from Black, Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities "as the coalitions that make up our nation come together to celebrate a new chapter in our history." Several of the nation’s top Black leaders will deliver remarks, including House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, a close ally of Biden whose endorsement in South Carolina widened Biden’s winning margin and started his avalanche of March primary victories. Among other speakers: Stacey Abrams, whose voter registration and education efforts helped flip Georgia blue for Biden; Rep. Cedric Richmond; Congressional Black Caucus Chair Rep. Joyce Beatty; Sen. Cory Booker; and the incoming senator from Georgia, Rev. Raphael Warnock. The event will pay homage to the legacy of the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities, as well as Black sororities and fraternities. Harris is the first HBCU graduate and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority member to be vice-president. The sorority’s international president and CEO, Dr. Glenda Glover, and Howard University President Dr. Wayne Frederick will deliver remarks. The event will feature musical performances and appearances from activists and celebrities. It'll be hosted by Terrence J and feature Leslie Jones, DJ D-Nice, and Black cultural icons such as Frankie Beverly, The O’Jays, and Rapsody. The celebration also includes a Battle of the Bands and features several HBCUs, including: Delaware State University, Howard University, the Texas Southern University Debate Team, Florida A&M University Marching 100, Grambling State University World Famed Marching Band, Jackson State University Sonic Boom of the South, Louisiana Leadership Institute All-Star Marching Band, South Carolina State University Marching 101, Southern University Human Jukebox Marching Band, and the Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands. The event is part of five planned days of programming under the inaugural’s theme of “America United.” It will air Tuesday from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET on social media and on select channels, including Urban One, Revolt TV and The Choice channel on Peacock, NBCUniversal's streaming service. ___ Kat Stafford is an investigative reporter on The Associated Press’ Race and Ethnicity team. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/kat__stafford. Kat Stafford, The Associated Press
Heritage and community advocates are calling for a halt of the demolition of the Foundry Site in the West Donlands neighbourhood to make way for a new development that the provincial government says will contain hundreds of affordable housing units. Erica Vella reports.
TOLEDO, Ohio — An Ohio police officer was shot and killed after an hourslong armed standoff that resulted in gunfire Monday, police said. Toledo Police Officer Brandon Stalker, 24, died after the shooting that sent both him and the suspect to the hospital, Police Chief George Kral said at a Monday night news conference. Negotiators had tried for hours to get the suspect to surrender peacefully. Stalker leaves behind a fiancée and a child. He had joined the police department in July 2018. “Very sad day for the city of Toledo and specifically the Toledo police department,” Kral said. "He was an amazing police officer.” The suspect's condition wasn't disclosed. Kral said the standoff started at about 4 p.m. when officers noticed a man with warrants out for his arrest in connection to cathedral vandalism smoking outside a home in a residential neighbourhood. Officers approached the man, who fled brandishing a firearm and entered a nearby home. Police set up a barrier around the home and a SWAT team was called in, Kral said. After hours of unsuccessful negotiation, police used tear gas to force him out. He then exited holding two guns, firing. Police shot back, striking the subject. One of the suspect's shots hit Stalker, Kral said. Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said his city's department “has had to endure too many dark and terrible days in the last six months," with the July on-duty killing of 26-year-old Officer Anthony Dia and the unexpected death of an officer just a few weeks ago. “This has been a very difficult time,” Kapszukiewicz said. “It is a very difficult day for the city." Gov. Mike DeWine has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff. Police said they would provide an update on the standoff Wednesday. The Associated Press
SANTIAGO, Chile — A powerful earthquake struck in northwestern Argentina near the border with central Chile just before midnight Monday, shaking people in parts of both countries. There were no reports of injuries or serious damage, though some power outages were reported in the quake area. The U.S. Geological Survey said the tremor had a preliminary magnitude of 6.4. Its epicenter was 27.6 kilometres (17 miles) southwest of the Argentine town of Porcito and struck at a depth of 14 kilometres (nearly nine miles). The quake was followed by a magnitude 5.0 aftershock about a quarter hour later and then at least five more strong aftershocks in the next hour ranging from magnitude 5.3 to 4.8, the USGS said. Argentine media said some houses reportedly were damaged in the small down of Media Agua and at least one road was said to have been disrupted, but there were indications of injuries. Electricity also failed in spots and some goods were shaken from supermarket shelves, the reports aid.. People in the quake zone reported there was panic when the initial quake struck and said they spent anxious hours as the aftershocks brought new shaking. Strong movement was felt in Chile's capital, Santiago, which is about 300 kilometres (186 miles) from the area hit by the quake. Chilean officials said there were no damage reported in that nation. The Associated Press
BEIJING — China is now dealing with coronavirus outbreaks across its frigid northeast, prompting additional lockdowns and travel bans. The country reported a total of 118 newly confirmed cases Tuesday — most of them in Jilin province, the Hebei region just outside Beijing and Heilongjiang province bordering Russia. A fourth northern province, Liaoning, has also imposed quarantines and travel restrictions to prevent the virus from further spreading, part of measures being imposed across much of the country to prevent new outbreaks during during February’s Lunar New Year holiday. Authorities have called on citizens not to travel, ordered schools closed a week early and conducted testing on a massive scale. ___ THE VIRUS OUTBREAK: — Japan’s prime minister vows to hold the already postponed Olympics this summer as proof of victory over virus — Israel trades Pfizer vast troves of medical data for the continued flow of its hard-to-get vaccine — Brazil approves two coronavirus vaccines, ones by Sinovac and Oxford-AstraZeneca — China's economy grows in 2020 as it rebounds from virus, likely only major economy to expand — Britain vows to give all adults 1st shot of the virus by September — Tennis players find ways to keep fit even during hotel room quarantines in Australia __Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak ___ HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING: WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Travelers to New Zealand from most other nations will need to show negative coronavirus test results before boarding as of next Monday. New Zealand recently imposed the test requirement for travellers from the U.S. and Britain, and authorities said Tuesday that it is being extending to all other countries, with the exception of Australia and a handful of Pacific Island nations. Travelers returning from Antarctica are also exempt. COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says New Zealand has some of the strictest border measures in the world. There is currently no community spread of the virus in New Zealand, with all known infections among travellers who have been put into quarantine at the border. Most travellers are required to spend two weeks in quarantine upon arrival. ___ WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming White House press secretary says his administration does not intend to lift coronavirus travel restrictions for Europe, the U.K., Ireland and Brazil. The message from Jen Psaki came Monday evening after the White House said President Donald Trump had lifted the restrictions for those countries, effective Jan. 26. Psaki then tweeted: “On the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26.” She added, “In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19.” Trump imposed the travel restrictions early in the pandemic to slow the spread of the coronavirus to the U.S. They prevented most people without American citizenship or residency from travelling to the U.S. from the affected regions. ___ OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has announced a plan to set up coronavirus vaccination sites statewide with help from the National Guard and others as part of an overall goal to vaccinate 45,000 people a day. Inslee said Monday that while the goal is currently higher than the current allotment of vaccine the state is receiving from the federal government, the state is working to get the infrastructure in place now for when the supply increases. He says the state is now vaccinating between 13,000 and 15,000 people a day. The governor also announced a public-private partnership with business, health care and labour entities on areas ranging from co-ordination of volunteer vaccinators to communications support. ___ JACKSON, Miss. — More than 100,000 people in Mississippi have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and officials are taking further steps to administer the state’s supply of shots more efficiently, Gov. Tate Reeves said Monday. Inoculation rates in Mississippi have lagged far behind most of the U.S., according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But Reeves insisted Monday that health officials are making changes to speed things along. The state’s website for making vaccine appointments has been upgraded to handle increased traffic, and more people are answering calls from those booking by phone, he said. Meanwhile, state officials are working to free up more shots for the general population aged 65 and older by getting several thousand doses from nursing homes that received more than they need, Reeves said. ___ LOS ANGELES — California’s state epidemiologist is urging a halt to more than 300,000 coronavirus vaccine doses by Moderna because some people who received it needed medical treatment for possible severe allergic reactions. Dr. Erica S. Pan is recommending that vaccine providers stop using one lot of the Moderna vaccine pending completion of an investigation. She says less than 10 people who were inoculated at a single vaccination site needed medical attention. But she also said serious reactions to vaccinations are extremely rare. The virus has claimed more than 33,000 lives in California. ___ MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced on Monday the state will open nine community sites this week to vaccinate adults over 65, pre-kindergarten through 12th grade educators, school staff and child care workers. The program opens the state’s vaccine rollout beyond the first high-priority group that includes healthcare workers and long-term care residents and staff. The nine sites will start inoculating people Thursday by appointment-only due to the small number of available doses. The announcement comes after the Democratic governor accused the Trump administration of “lying” when he and six other governors asked for permission to receive their states’ second doses from a national stockpile to ramp up vaccination efforts. The governors were told by federal officials that the administration would release the federal reserve of doses, but later learned the stockpile had already been exhausted. ___ BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota reported on Monday zero coronavirus deaths for the fifth time this month, although the fatality rate by population continues to be among the worst in the country. The state’s death count, which stands at a total of 1,384, is the sixth highest per capita in the country at 185 deaths per 100,000 people, according to John Hopkins University researchers. North Dakota’s 14-day rolling average of daily new cases has decreased by more than 27%, according to The COVID Tracking Project data. The state has experienced a steady decline in daily new cases since the virus case count peaked in mid-November. It now ranks 48th per capita in the U.S. for new cases over the last two weeks. A statewide mask mandate that was enacted in mid-November was allowed to expire Monday morning. ___ ST. LOUIS -- More than 172,000 people in St. Louis County have registered for the COVID-19 vaccine, but the the local health department so far has only received 975 doses, county Executive Sam Page said Monday. The county expects more doses to arrive Tuesday but it was unclear how many, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Page also urged residents to be honest about the information they use to register for vaccinations, saying some have falsely claimed to be health care workers or brought along family members who are ineligible at this time. A new inoculation phase began Monday in Missouri that allows older people and those with certain pre-existing conditions to be vaccinated. ___ PRAGUE — The fast-spreading coronavirus variant first identified in the U.K. has been found in the Czech Republic, a health official said Monday. The National Institute of Public Health confirmed its findings after it announced over the weekend it was testing suspected samples. Health Minister Jan Blatny says the variant accounts for about 10% of all sequenced samples in in the country. No further details were provided. The country of 10.7 million has reported 891,852 confirmed coronavirus cases and 14,449 deaths since the start of the pandemic. The daily infection rate has been in decline since Jan 6., prompting the government to allow stores selling stationary and children’s clothes and shoes to reopen. The country still remains under a tough lockdown with a nighttime curfew. ___ MADRID — Spain’s Health Ministry has confirmed 84,287 new known coronavirus cases since Friday amid a post-Christmas virus surge. The ministry also reported 455 deaths over the weekend. Monday’s figures brought the total number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic to 2.34 million and known deaths to 53,769. Spain’s 14-day incidence rate for 100,000 inhabitants rose to 689, from 575 on Friday. Coronavirus patients currently occupy 33% of ICU beds, up from 30% on Friday. Despite the substantial daily increases, Health Minister Salvador Illa on Monday insisted the measures taken by each of Spain’s 17 regions are enough to quell the increase, ruling out a total lockdown. Spain’s health emergency chief Fernando Simon said that the country could be at the peak of the latest surge or getting close to it. ___ ROME — For the first time in three weeks, Italy’s daily caseload of known coronavirus infections dropped below 10,000 on Monday. Health Ministry figures reported 8,825 additional cases since Sunday, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 2.4 million since the start of the pandemic. Sicily has the nation's highest daily caseload. Italy registered 377 deaths for a second straight day. The nation’s known COVID-19 death toll of 82,554 is the second highest in Europe. ___ MADRID — The tiny British colony of Gibraltar says it has lost more people to the coronavirus since the start of the year than from any other single cause in the past century. Gibraltar, with a population of some 34,000, has posted 38 deaths since Jan. 1. “Even in war, we have never lost so many in such a short time,” Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said on Monday. He said 21 people had died from the virus in the past three days, bringing the colony's total virus deaths to 45 since the start of the pandemic. Located on Spain’s southern coast, Gibraltar has recorded some 4,000 cases. It has been under lockdown since the beginning of January. ___ BERLIN — Swiss authorities say they have placed two hotels under quarantine and ordered all guests and employees to be tested after a new variant of the coronavirus was detected among them in the upscale skiing resort of St. Moritz. Local authorities said Monday they have also closed down skiing schools, regular schools and kindergartens. Officials did not reveal the names of the two affected facilities, but Swiss media said both were luxury hotels. In addition to tests at the hotels, all residents of St. Moritz were being asked to be tested on Tuesday. Authorities ordered all residents to wear protective masks, and asked people to reduce their contacts to prevent the further spread of the virus. “The health office is concerned,” authorities of the Graubuenden canton said in their statement. “The variant of the virus is clearly more contagious than the one that’s currently predominant globally.” Swiss media reported that the variant of the virus detected in St. Moritz was the one first found in South Africa. ___ MOSCOW -- Backers of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V say it has been approved in Turkmenistan, an ex-Soviet nation in Central Asia that hasn’t officially reported any infections so far. The Russian Direct Investment Fund that bankrolled the development of the shot announced Monday that health officials in Turkmenistan approved Sputnik V “under the emergency use authorization procedure.” It wasn’t immediately clear whether Russia would ship the vaccine to Turkmenistan any time soon. The vaccine is still undergoing advanced studies among tens of thousands of people needed to ensure its safety and effectiveness. Nevertheless, the shot last month was rolled out in a large-scale vaccination campaign in Russia. It has also received regulatory approval in several other countries, and immunization with Sputnik V has started in Belarus and Argentina. Turkmenistan, a gas-rich nation of 5.9 million, hasn’t reported any coronavirus infections, but authorities have shut restaurants and non-food stores and recommended that the population wears masks to protect against dust and unspecified infectious agents. However, the British ambassador to the capital, Ashgabat, said last month that he had contracted the virus. The Associated Press
A grieving Vancouver mother wants answers after the shrine she maintained for years in her daughter's memory was removed without any notice. The shrine, near East 7th Avenue and St. Catherines Street in East Vancouver, was established near the spot where Marlene Thistle's daughter, Janice Nicole Bryant, 33, was shot and killed on May 23, 2017. Bryant's killer has not been found. "Someone took it upon themselves to remove the memorial, and dump it right there like it was garbage," said Thistle. "My daughter is not garbage." Thistle put up the memorial — which had flowers, statues of angels and a cross — just a few metres from where Bryant was shot. "She was a genuine human being. She had a huge heart, was very loving," Thistle said. "She'd give the shirt off her back to anyone in need." Thistle said the memorial was both a way of honouring her daughter and keeping a light on her unsolved case. The removal of the memorial has been devastating, she said. "When I witnessed it, it was like her being gone all over again, the moments of her being shot," Thistle said. "What if this memorial site was for your daughter, your sister or your mother? Really sit back and think about the impact of how you would feel as an individual to find a memorial destroyed like it was." In an email to CBC, both the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Park Board say their staff were not responsible for taking down the memorial. City officials did note, however, that there had been several requests from the public to remove it due to its location and sight lines from the adjacent roads. Thistle said the memorial had taken years to build up, but she is committed to putting it back together for her daughter. "Until her murder case is solved, I will set it up again."
WASHINGTON — Back when the election was tightening and just a week away, Joe Biden went big. He flew to Warm Springs, the Georgia town whose thermal waters once brought Franklin Delano Roosevelt comfort from polio, and pledged a restitching of America's economic and policy fabric unseen since FDR's New Deal. Evoking some of the nation's loftiest reforms helped Biden unseat President Donald Trump but left him with towering promises to keep. And he'll be trying to deliver against the backdrop of searing national division and a pandemic that has killed nearly 400,000 Americans and upended the economy. Such change would be hard to imagine under any circumstances, much less now. He's setting out with Democrats clinging to razor-thin House and Senate control and after having won an election in which 74 million people voted for his opponent. And even if his administration accomplishes most of its top goals in legislation or executive action, those actions are subject to being struck down by a Supreme Court now controlled by a 6-3 conservative majority. Even so, the effort is soon underway. Washington is bracing for dozens of consequential executive actions starting Wednesday and stretched over the first 10 days of Biden's administration, as well as legislation that will begin working its way through Congress on pandemic relief, immigration and much more. Has Biden promised more than he can deliver? Not in his estimation. He suggests he can accomplish even more than he promised. He says he and his team will “do our best to beat all the expectations you have for the country and expectations we have for it.” Some Democrats say Biden is right to set great expectations while realizing he'll have to compromise, rather than starting with smaller goals and having to scale them back further. “You can’t say to a nation that is hungry, uncertain, in some places afraid, whose economy has stalled out ... that you had to slim down the request of their government because you have a narrow governing margin,” said former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Biden's onetime Democratic presidential primary rival. New presidents generally enjoy a honeymoon period that helps them in Congress, and Biden's prospects for getting one were improved by Democratic victories this month in two Georgia special Senate elections. He may have been helped, too, by a public backlash against the deadly, armed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters. Biden's advisers have acknowledged they'll have bitter fights ahead. One approach they have in mind is a familiar one in Washington — consolidating some big ideas into what is known as omnibus legislation, so that lawmakers who want popular measures passed have to swallow more controversial measures as well. Another approach is to pursue goals through executive orders. Doing so skirts Congress altogether but leaves the measures more easily challenged in court. Trump made hefty use of executive orders for some of his most contentious actions, on border enforcement, the environment and more, but federal courts often got in the way. Biden's top priority is congressional approval of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan to administer 100 million vaccines by his 100th day in office while also providing $1,400 direct payments to Americans to stimulate the virus-hammered economy. That's no slam dunk, even though everyone likes to get money from the government. Any such payment is likely to be paired with measures many in Congress oppose, perhaps his proposed mandate for a $15 national minimum wage, for example. And Biden's relief package will have to clear a Senate consumed with approving his top Cabinet choices and with conducting Trump's potential impeachment trial. Nevertheless, the deluge is coming. On Day One alone, Biden has promised to extend the pause on federal student loan payments, move to have the U.S. rejoin the World Health Organization and Paris climate accord and ask Americans to commit to 100 days of mask-wearing. He plans to use executive actions to overturn the Trump administration's ban on immigrants from several majority-Muslim countries and wipe out corporate tax cuts where possible, while doubling the levies U.S. firms pay on foreign profits. That same day, Biden has pledged to create task forces on homelessness and reuniting immigrant parents with children separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. He'll plan to send bills to Congress seeking to mandate stricter background checks for gun buyers, scrap firearm manufacturers' liability protections and provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children. The new president further wants to relax limits immediately on federal workers unionizing, reverse Trump’s rollback of about 100 public health and environmental rules that the Obama administration instituted and create rules to limit corporate influence on his administration and ensure the Justice Department's independence. He also pledged to have 100 vaccination centres supported by federal emergency management personnel up and running during his first month in the White House. Biden says he'll use the Defence Production Act to increase vaccine supplies and ensure the pandemic is under enough control after his first 100 days in office for most public schools to reopen nationwide. He's also pledged to have created a police oversight commission to combat institutional racism by then. Among other major initiatives to be tackled quickly: rejoining the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal, a $2 trillion climate package to get the U.S. to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, a plan to spend $700 billion boosting manufacturing and research and development and building on the Obama administration's health care law to include a “public option.” Perhaps obscured in that parade of promises, though, is the fact that some of the 80 million-plus voters who backed Biden may have done so to oppose Trump, not because they're thrilled with an ambitious Democratic agenda. The president-elect's victory may not have been a mandate to pull a country that emerged from the last election essentially centrist so far to the left. Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak predicted early Republican support for Biden's coronavirus relief and economic stimulus spending plans, but said that may evaporate quickly if “they issue a bunch of first-day, left-wing executive orders.” “You can't be bipartisan with one hand and left-wing with the other,” Mackowiak said, “and hope that Republicans don't notice.” Biden had a front-row seat as vice-president in 2009, when Barack Obama took office, with crowds jamming the National Mall, and promised to transcend partisan politics. His administration used larger congressional majorities to oversee slow economic growth after the 2008 financial crisis, and it passed the health law Biden now seeks to expand. But Obama failed to get major legislation passed on climate change, ethics or immigration. He failed, too, to close the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which remains open to this day. Falling short on promises then hasn't made Biden more chastened today. He acknowledges that doing even a small portion of what he wants will require running up huge deficits, but he argues the U.S. has an “economic imperative” and “moral obligation” to do so. Kelly Dietrich, founder of the National Democratic Training Committee and former party fundraiser, said the divisions fomented by Trump could give Biden a unique opportunity to push ahead immediately and ignore conservative critics who “are going to complain and cry and make stuff up" and argue that socialists are "coming to kick your puppy.” Biden and his team would do well to brush off anyone who doesn't think he can aim high, he said. “They should not be distracted by people who think it’s disappointing or it can’t happen," Dietrich said. "Overwhelm people with action. No administration, after it’s over, says, ’We accomplished too much in the first hundred days.’” Will Weissert, The Associated Press
Alberta is going to run out of COVID-19 vaccine early this week due to a shipment delay from Pfizer. On Monday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced the province will run out of vaccine on Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning, resulting in the province temporarily halting giving out more first doses of the vaccine. "By the end of the day, or early tomorrow, Albertans will have no more vaccine doses in storage to administer as first doses to Albertans," Kenney said. "We have quite simply run out of supply." So far, the province has given out almost 90,000 doses since vaccinations started on Dec. 15, but now the province will be halting any more first-dose appointments. Kenney said the second doses will continue as planned. "Second dose appointments will not be cancelled," Kenney said. "We believe we can administer second doses to all those who need them within the recommended time frame." On Friday, Canadians learned doses of Pfizer vaccine would be reduced for several weeks due to the Pfizer vaccine manufacturing facility scaling up, which will result in a short period of shutdown on the vaccine supply. All countries that receive vaccines from the European facility will be facing the same delay. Tyler Shandro, Alberta minister of health, said Friday that Canada will only receive 20 per cent of the previously expected Pfizer vaccine this week, followed by a reduction of 80 per cent for one week and 50 per cent in the two weeks after. Shandro said this will force delays in getting the vaccine out ot Albertans. "This is unfortunate news and we are all disappointed. However, we will not stop,” Shandro said. Shandro said the delay will slow down the immunization process of priority health care workers in Phase 1 of the vaccine roll-out plan, along with seniors over the age of 75 and all Indigenous seniors living on reserve over the of 65. Kenney said by Monday seniors in all of Alberta's 375 long-term care and designated supported living facilities had received their first round of vaccinations, but further vaccinations of Phase 1 groups will be delayed. "This means the planned vaccination of First Nations and Métis individuals over the age of 65, and seniors broadly over the age of 75, has been put on hold," Kenney said. The province had hoped to start vaccinations of priority seniors next week. Shandro said the province is going to continue to increase vaccine capacity, including staff and locations, across the province so the sites are ready to hit the ground running when the vaccine shipments come in. By the end of January, the province will be prepared to hand out 50,000 doses a week, if not more, Shandro said. According to the federal government, the most profound impact on the supply will be during the week of Jan. 25, where it is expected to drop by 80 per cent. The vaccine creation will scale back up in the first two weeks of February and then return to what was expected after that. Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette
A culture-based private school will build on a surplus school site in southeast Edmonton after council's executive committee agreed to the move, recommended by administration, on Monday. The city will sell the three-acre parcel in Kiniski Gardens to the Headway School Society of Alberta for $2.5 million. The site is at the corner of 38th Street and 38th Avenue. Public interest groups and Edmonton Public School Board oppose the city selling the site to a private entity. The current Headway School, in Forest Heights, offers a Punjabi language course and accommodates about 370 students. Most students live in Mill Woods and spend about an hour on a bus each way. School principal Jagwinder Singh Sidhu has been working for years to secure a site closer to the community. Many parents have said the current location is too far from home and they would like to have "something cultural," Sidhu said Monday. He said the executive committee's decision is a victory for immigrant families looking to preserve their heritage and language. "I feel good today, I feel good," Sidhu told CBC News. "I finally feel like I'm being treated like 100 per cent Canadian." He said the Punjabi language component of the school helps preserve language, noting that third generation immigrants lose 70 per cent of their language. The site was assembled in 1992 for a public elementary school but Edmonton Public Schools declared it surplus in 2009. Neither the Catholic nor francophone school boards wanted to use the land, so it reverted to the city. Trisha Estabrooks, chair of the Edmonton public school board, spoke to the committee Monday, opposing the land sale to a private school. "This will impact Edmonton Public and our ability to offer what is important programming, important diverse programming within the public system, within the public setting — accessible to everyone," Estabrooks said. She said she acknowledges the right for private schools to exist. "What I take great exception to," she added, "is private schools receiving public money to operate when in fact they're not open and accessible to the entire public." Students attending private schools make up 5.5 per cent of the province's student population and receive 3.5 per cent of the education budget, according to figures from Alberta Education. Private schools receive 70 per cent of the base funding provided to all public schools, based on enrolment, and do not receive infrastructure funding to build schools, said Justin Marshall, press secretary to Education Minister Adriana LaGrange. "This funding approach has been in place for over a decade," Marshall said in an email. The public school system receives approximately $7.2 billion in operational funding while private schools receive $294 million, he added. Estabrooks said the site could be used for a variety of purposes "for the greater purpose of serving all citizens, rather than a select few." Small businesses, seniors or community groups could use the land, she suggested. Sidhu believes the Edmonton Public Schools perspective is undemocratic. "They don't want competition, they don't want choice," he argued. "When you only have one party or one institution or one of anything delivering those things, I call it communistic." He said the new school could double as a place for community events and sports like basketball and volleyball. Joint use deal The land sale is governed by a joint use agreement between the city and school boards, which guides how sites are planned, developed and maintained for school and park purposes. It also provides the framework for decision making related to surplus reserve and non-reserve sites and reserve accounts, the city says. Mayor Don Iveson said he understands the school board's concern about the use of surplus school sites. "If the question of them all becoming private schools from a competition standpoint is a real question to them then I think we've got to settle that to the satisfaction of both parties to be able to mobilize the lands for highest and best use." Coun. Scott McKeen also recognized the tension of the public versus private argument. "This, to me, is a complex clash of values, some of which are occurring in my head right now as I speak," McKeen said during the meeting. "But I don't feel that I have a comfortable position to stand on to oppose this." Chris Hodgson, the city's branch manager of real estate, said the department is working on an updated strategy on surplus school sites. The Headway School has three years from the March 1, 2021 closing date of the sale to build the new structure. @natashariebe
The Tl’etinqox Government predicts COVID-19 cases in its semi-remote community west of Williams Lake could soar to 60 or more by the end of the week. “Tl’etinqox is calling for a state of emergency,” stated a Jan. 18 Facebook post by Tl’etinqox Government. “There are currently 12 cases in the community with a prediction of up to 60 or more.” Tl’etinqox Chief Joe Alphonse, who is seeking re-election, could not be reached for immediate comment. Positive cases have been identified in every Indigenous community in the Chilcotin. A local state of emergency remains in effect until Feb. 5 at Ulkatcho First Nation with non-members prohibited from entering the community. Ulkatcho First Nation band manager Brian Johnson confirmed a positive case was identified Jan. 18. “Everyone will be issued a permit to place on their dashboard, and we have implemented a curfew from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m.,” Chief Lynda Price said in a Jan. 14 Facebook video. COVID-19 cases have also been identified on-reserve at Tsideldel, Yunesit’in, Xeni Gwet’in and Tl’esqox. “Individuals do not have to reveal this information, and it takes courage due to the stigma surrounding this virus,” said Tsideldel Chief Otis Guichon in a Jan. 14 Facebook video, praising a positive member for being transparent. A lockdown went into effect at Yunesit’in Wednesday, Jan. 13. Xeni Gwet’in is anticipated to enter a full lockdown for 14 days after the first rollout of the Moderna vaccine is complete Tuesday, Jan. 19. Full lockdowns will result in only essential services entering and leaving the community, with members who leave without authorization not being allowed re-entry until the lockdown is lifted. Informational checkpoints are active at Tl’esqox (Toosey) where Chief Francis Laceese said he is aware of at least two positive cases. “We do have a lot of members who live in Williams Lake and hopefully, the vaccine will happen for them sooner than later,” Laceese said. Vaccines have so far arrived to the communities of Ulkatcho, Yunesit’in, Xeni Gwet’in, Tsideldel and Tl’etinqox. Rebecca Dyok, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Williams Lake Tribune
A majority of Canadians, New Brunswickers among them, want improved access to psychologists, according to a poll conducted by Nanos. Canadians most frequently report having the most confidence in psychologists when it comes to helping people with mental health problems, but many say access to these professionals is still a problem and they’d like both the private and public sector to help them do that more easily. “COVID-19 has impacted the psychological health of New Brunswickers who were already faced with a shortage of psychologists,” said Mandy McLean, executive director of the College of Psychologists of New Brunswick. "Access to necessary psychological support was difficult before – and the need for the services of licensed psychologists continues to grow." Fifty-eight per cent of New Brunswickers responded that COVID-19 has had a negative or somewhat negative impact on their ability to access mental health care by psychologists. In the public sector, which includes psychologists who work in schools, hospitals and community mental health systems, the shortage is significant, McLean told the Times & Transcript. Of New Brunswick respondents, 46.1 per cent said the amount of time needed for Canadians to get access to psychological services in the publicly-funded health-care system is either unreasonable to somewhat unreasonable. More than 88 per cent of New Brunswickers supported or somewhat supported improving access to psychologists through the publicly-funded health-care system. Many New Brunswickers say the cost of receiving care from a psychologist is influencing their decision to pursue treatment privately. More than 83 per cent said cost was very or somewhat significant in deciding whether to access a psychologist. McLean said some extended workplace health plans are offering benefits for sessions with a psychologist for about $300 a year, which would not provide more than a couple of sessions with a private psychologist. More than 76 per cent of New Brunswickers said providing greater access to psychologists through employer health benefit plans would be a good or very good idea. Access is also about wait times. Long wait times significantly or somewhat significantly were a factor for 76.2 per cent of New Brunswickers in deciding to access a psychologist. Psychologists have nearly a decade of training or more, said McLean, making them unique in their extensive training in how people think, learn and behave. Nearly half of New Brunswickers believe psychologists are effective in diagnosing people living with depression, anxiety, addiction of learning disabilities. Nanos conducted a representative online survey of 3,070 Canadians, drawn from a non-probability panel between Sept. 25 and Oct. 2, 2020. The research was commissioned by the Canadian Psychological Association and the Council of Professional Associations of Psychologists and was conducted by Nanos Research before being compiled into a report. Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Capitol complex temporarily locked down during a rehearsal for President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration after a fire in a homeless encampment roughly a mile away sent a plume of smoke into the air and caused security concerns in an already jittery city. The false alarm briefly interrupted Monday's rehearsal for Wednesday's inauguration ceremony, a quadrennial exercise in which stand-ins take the roles of Biden and other VIPs and the U.S. Marine Band goes through its paces, including practicing “The Star-Spangled Banner” for Wednesday’s performance by Lady Gaga. Rehearsal resumed not long afterward, accompanied by frequent passes by a helicopter patrolling the skies over the Capitol. Law enforcement officials said there was no threat to the public and the fire was not believed to be a threat to the inauguration. Local firefighters put out the blaze quickly. The evacuation of some participants and the lockdown were ordered by the acting chief of Capitol Police in an abundance of caution, officials said. But the fast decision to lock down underscores the fear that has gripped Washington since the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters and prompted extraordinary measures ahead of the inauguration. Armed protests planned for this past weekend around the country were mostly a bust, but anxiety is still skyrocketing. U.S. Secret Service tightened security in and around the Capitol a week early in preparation, and the city centre is essentially on lockdown with streets blocked, high fencing installed and tens of thousands of National Guard and other law enforcement officers stationed around the area. But U.S. defence officials, worried about a potential insider attack or other threat from service members involved in securing the event, pushed the FBI to vet all of the 25,000 National Guard troops coming into the area. Acting Defence Secretary Christopher Miller said in a statement Monday that vetting of National Guard troops continues and that the Pentagon has found no intelligence so far that would indicate an insider threat. Still, the Secret Service issued a bulletin over the weekend about what it sees as an “uptick” in National Guard troops posting pictures and details of their operations online. The Associated Press obtained the “all concerned” message sent to all the National Guard troops coming to Washington. Without getting into specific postings, the bulletin said, “No service members should be posting locations, pictures or descriptions online regarding current operations or the sensitive sites they are protecting” and urged them to stop immediately. Asked about the bulletin, a spokesperson for the Secret Service issued a statement saying it “does not comment on matters of protective intelligence.” President Donald Trump has refused to attend the inauguration, the first time a sitting president has not attended since Andrew Johnson, though Vice-President Mike Pence will be there as well as other former presidents. Capitol police spokeswoman Eva Malecki said there were currently no fires on or within the campus. “Members and staff were advised to shelter in place while the incident is being investigated,” she said in a statement. Firefighters were called to the homeless encampment shortly before 10:15 a.m., where a woman who lived there had a portable heater with a flammable gas tank, fire department spokesman Vito Maggiolo said. The woman, who was injured but declined medical treatment, told firefighters that the flames spread quickly and her possessions were burned. The fire was extinguished almost immediately after firefighters arrived. Participants were ushered from the West Front of the Capitol. Those who had gathered for a walk-through, including a military band, were directed to head indoors and moved in the direction of a secure location inside the Capitol complex. People involved in the rehearsal said security officials yelled “this is not a drill.” The lockdown was lifted about an hour later. Five people died in the Jan. 6 riot, including a police officer. ___ Associated Press writers Zeke Miller and Michael Balsamo in Washington and James LaPorta in Delray Beach, Florida, contributed to this report. Andrew Taylor, Colleen Long And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
Some Sackville residents started their Sunday with an unpleasant sight - black or brown water coming from their taps. And for a few residents, the issue was not fully resolved more than a day later. Melanie Long-Pitre of Zwicker Drive said she first noticed this issue around 9:20 a.m. Sunday. She called a neighbour, and then posted to Facebook to see if others were also experiencing water issues. She soon discovered a number of others were. Nearby, Cathy Crinnion in Ogden Mill, told the Times & Transcript her water was “shockingly black” on Sunday morning. Later Sunday, the town issued a bulletin for residents, stating the municipality "experienced a technology communication failure between our water treatment plant and water tower early this [Sunday] morning. As a result, residents may experience discoloration in their water, as well as low pressure. Our Public Works crew is currently attending to the issue with watermain flushing in strategic areas, and we hope to have it resolved soon." Dwayne Acton, the town’s engineer, said the discolouration is caused by iron and manganese deposits loosened in the pipes when water surged through them at a higher velocity than usual. When the computer system issue occurred with the altitude valve, the town engaged in a flushing program, but this action can make the situation worse, at least visually, and cause the discolouration residents saw, he said. “Although it doesn’t look the best, it won’t harm you to drink or use,” he said. Staff worked Saturday night and into Sunday to resolve the issue, Acton said, adding that things were for the most part back to normal on Monday. But residents in some areas said they were still seeing discolouration, although less intense. Long-Pitre said her water wasn't completely back to normal and was unsure whether it was safe to drink until the town issued a second advisory around noon on Monday. Crinnion said by mid-afternoon Sunday her water was at least 85 per cent clearer, but by Monday morning it wasn’t completely back to normal, and she made plans to bring in water to use. Late Monday afternoon, Crinnion said her water was finally running clear. She said she was surprised that the initial advisory Sunday did not indicate if the water was safe to use. Acton said the town is now advising residents that if they are still experiencing discoloured water, to run their cold water taps to see if the water clears. If it does not, they should contact Public Works at 363-4960. While the issue initially affected the whole town, it was more acute and long-lasting in the Ogden Mill and Reservoir Road areas, he said. The town planned to engage in light flushing based on reports of ongoing issues so as not to make the discolouration pronounced again, while trying to resolve the issue, Acton said. Long-Pitre said as of 5 p.m. Monday, though markedly improved, the situation had not fully resolved in her home. Jamie Burke, chief administrator officer for the town, confirmed that they received a few reports of water discolouration through the day and were continuing to flush the system as of 5 p.m. Monday, but hoping to have things back to normal soon. Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
Montreal resident Alexandre Cherton checked his street for any orange "no parking" signs before leaving his car next to the curb. There weren't any, so he headed into his apartment, thinking his car would be safe from tow trucks for at least another day since the city will remove any vehicle blocking snow-removal operations. Cherton was dismayed when he finally noticed the signs at 9 p.m., but he wasn't allowed outside. The province's curfew went into effect an hour before and moving his car before 5 a.m. would mean risking a hefty fine. That gave him a two-hour window Monday to get his car safely out of harm's way, as towing could start as early as 7 a.m. "This morning we had to wake up earlier to put the car elsewhere, make sure we don't get fined or get towed," Cherton said. "So it could be managed a little bit better by the city." Sud-Ouest Coun. Craig Sauve says he is looking into Cherton's complaints. "You know there's thousands and thousands and thousands of these signs that go up and down every day but we can trace it back hopefully and help him with this," he said. But the city has put in a few extra measures this year, recognizing the curfew is creating a bit of a headache for car owners who need to move their vehicle when the infamous "no parking" signs go up. The second snow-removal operation of the season started on Sunday at 7 a.m., with hospitals, access to public transit networks and major arteries a top priority. In a statement, the city says parking-prohibited signs, which are usually installed up until 8 p.m. for snow-loading starting the next day at 7 a.m., will be installed before 7 p.m. This is aimed at giving people an extra hour to move their cars before curfew. Montreal also added nearly 3,000 free parking spaces to various municipal facilities for a total of 8,400. These spaces are available during snow-loading operations. Additionally, the city says people can park for free in any off-street park-and-ride spots between 3 p.m. and 5 a.m. during snow-removal days. Of course, the parking lots are sometimes closed when snow-removal operations are scheduled there as well, the city says. Due to the curfew, snow-removal vehicles will stop activating their sirens after 7:30 p.m. to warn people to move their car. While residents are expected to adhere to both the snow-removal signs and the curfew, Montreal police will use their best judgment in an exceptional case where a car must be moved, the city says. Issuing fines for a curfew violation is completely up to the discretion of officers. The city publishes all information about snow operations, free parking spaces and towing on its website.