B.C is now the second province to approve the NHL's COVID-19 safety plans to host games in the province once the season begins on Jan. 13. With three more provinces still to decide, a doctor weighs in about those plans.
B.C is now the second province to approve the NHL's COVID-19 safety plans to host games in the province once the season begins on Jan. 13. With three more provinces still to decide, a doctor weighs in about those plans.
WASHINGTON — The patter of paws is being heard in the White House again following the arrival of President Joe Biden's dogs Champ and Major. The two German shepherds are the first pets to live at the executive mansion since the Obama administration. Major burst onto the national scene late last year after Biden, then president-elect, broke his right foot while playing with the dog at their home in Wilmington, Delaware. The Bidens adopted Major in 2018 from the Delaware Humane Association. Champ joined the family after the 2008 presidential election that made Joe Biden vice-president. The dogs moved into the White House on Sunday, following Biden's inauguration last week. “The first family wanted to get settled before bringing the dogs down to Washington from Delaware,” said Michael LaRosa, spokesperson for first lady Jill Biden. “Champ is enjoying his new dog bed by the fireplace and Major loved running around on the South Lawn.” The dogs were heard barking outside near the Oval Office on Monday as Biden signed an executive order lifting the previous administration's ban on transgender people serving in the military. Last week, the Delaware Humane Association cosponsored an “indoguration” virtual fundraiser to celebrate Major's journey from shelter pup to first dog. More than $200,000 was raised. Major is the first shelter dog to ever live in the White House and “barking proof that every dog can live the American dream," the association said. The Bidens had promised to bring the dogs with them to the White House. They plan to add a cat, though no update on the feline's arrival was shared on Monday. White House press secretary Jen Psaki predicted, while on video answering questions from members of the public, that the cat will “dominate the internet” when it arrives. Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, a self-described germaphobe, does not own any pets and had none with him at the White House. Just like they do for ordinary people, pets owned by the most powerful people in the world provide their owners with comfort, entertainment, occasional drama and generally good PR. “Pets have played an important role in the White House throughout the decades, not only by providing companionship to the presidents and their families, but also by humanizing and softening their political images,” said Jennifer Pickens, author of a book about pets at the White House. Pets also serve as ambassadors to the White House, she said. Pickens added that she hoped the Bidens' decision to bring a rescue dog to the White House might inspire others to adopt. President Theodore Roosevelt had Skip, who is described by the White House Historical Association as a “short-legged Black and Tan mongrel terrier brought home from a Colorado bear hunt.” Warren G. Harding had Laddie Boy, who sat in on meetings and had his own Cabinet chair. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had his beloved terrier Fala. At night, Fala slept in a special chair at the foot of the president’s bed. More recently, George H.W. Bush’s English springer spaniel Millie was featured on “The Simpsons” and starred in a bestseller, “Millie’s Book: As dictated to Barbara Bush.” Hillary Clinton followed Bush’s lead with a children’s book about family dog Buddy and cat Socks: “Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to the First Pets.” When he declared victory in the 2008 presidential race, Barack Obama told his daughters: “You have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House.” Several months later, Bo joined the family, a gift from Sen. Ted Kennedy. A few years later, fellow Portuguese water dog Sunny arrived. Among the stranger White House pets was Calvin Coolidge and first lady Grace Coolidge’s raccoon Rebecca. She was given to the Coolidge family by a supporter who suggested the raccoon be served for Thanksgiving dinner, according to the White House Historical Association. But instead she got an embroidered collar with the title “White House Raccoon” and entertained children at the White House Easter Egg Roll. Some notable pets belonged to first kids, including Amy Carter’s Siamese cat, Misty Malarky Ying Yang, and Caroline Kennedy’s pony Macaroni. The Kennedy family had a veritable menagerie, complete with dogs, cats, birds, hamsters and a rabbit named Zsa Zsa. President Harry Truman famously said that “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog” — and many successors have followed Truman's advice. The first President Bush once said, “There is nothing like the unconditional love of a dog to help you get through the rough spots.” ___ Associated Press writer Kevin Freking contributed to this report. Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Sarah Sanders, Donald Trump's former chief spokeswoman, announced she's running for Arkansas governor at a time other Republicans are distancing themselves from the former president facing an impeachment charge that he incited the deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol. But the former White House press secretary, who left the job in 2019 to return to her home state, ran the other direction with an announcement Monday that embraced Trump as much as his rhetoric. “With the radical left now in control of Washington, your governor is your last line of defence,” Sanders said in a nearly eight-minute video announcing her 2022 bid that prominently featured pictures of the president as well as some of his favourite targets. Trump, who publicly encouraged Sanders to run, wasted no time putting his seal of approval on her bid. The former president on Monday night backed Sanders' candidacy — his first official, public endorsement since leaving office — and called her a “warrior who will always fight for the people of Arkansas and do what is right, not what is politically correct." The daughter of former Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sanders is the most high-profile Trump official to seek major office and is doing so less than a week after the tumultuous end of his presidency. Her candidacy could showcase just how much of a hold Trump still has on the GOP. “Trump is simply not a liability here,” said Janine Parry, a political scientist at the University of Arkansas. “At least for the time being, we’re in a state where he remains an asset.” That’s even as the Senate is preparing for an impeachment trial over the Jan. 6 insurrection by Trump supporters that was aimed at halting the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory over Trump. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell rebuked the president last week, saying he “provoked” the siege. Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson told reporters days before Biden’s inauguration he wanted Trump’s administration to end, though he also opposed the president’s impeachment. Sanders’ announcement makes a brief reference to the Capitol siege that left five dead, equating it with violence that occurred at some protests last year over racial injustice and the 2017 shooting at a congressional baseball practice that injured U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise and four others. “This is not who we are as Americans,” Sanders said in the video, but not mentioning Trump’s role in encouraging his supporters who stormed the Capitol. She joins a Republican primary that already includes two statewide elected leaders, Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. The three are running to succeed Hutchinson, who is unable to run next year due to term limits. No Democrats have announced a bid to run for the seat. Griffin and Rutledge had already spent months positioning themselves ahead of Sanders’ entry by lining up endorsements, raising money and trying to stake their claims as the most conservative candidate. Griffin has called for the outright elimination of the state’s income tax, while Rutledge signed on to Texas’ ultimately unsuccessful lawsuit challenging the result of the presidential election. Following the riot, Griffin and Rutledge issued statements condemning the storming of the Capitol but not addressing Trump’s role in stirring up his backers. Combined, the two have raised more than $2.8 million for the race. Griffin on Monday criticized Sanders for promising in her video to cut off funding to so-called sanctuary cities that violate immigration laws. He noted a 2019 measure Hutchinson signed into law already does just that by cutting off funding to cities that don’t co-operate with immigration authorities. “It sounds like she needs to catch up on what’s been going on in Arkansas,” Griffin said in a statement. Rutledge, meanwhile, said in a statement the race was about “who has a proven record and not merely rhetoric.” The race could also get even more crowded. Republican State Sen. Jim Hendren, a nephew of Hutchinson’s, is considering a run for the seat and said he hoped to make a decision within the next three weeks. “Right now we have three announced candidates but they all do represent the far right part of the Republican Party,” said Hendren, who has been much more willing to criticize Trump and hasn’t ruled out an independent bid. “The question I have to decide is, is there room for a more pragmatic, centrist type of approach?” Sanders was already well known in Arkansas politics, going back to when she appeared in ads for her father’s campaign. She managed Sen. John Boozman’s 2010 election and worked as an adviser to Sen. Tom Cotton’s in 2014. During Sanders’ nearly two-year tenure at the White House, daily televised briefings led by the press secretary ended after Sanders repeatedly sparred with reporters who aggressively questioned her. She faced questions about her credibility, but she also earned reporters’ respect working behind the scenes to develop relationships with the media. She remains an unknown on many issues and wasn’t made available for interviews Monday, though she staked out some positions in her introductory video that include reducing the state’s income tax. Her introductory video indicates she’s leaning more on her time with Trump, with it featuring images of or calling out those who frequently drew his ire including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and CNN. Republicans hold a firm grip on Arkansas, with the GOP holding all statewide and federal seats. They also hold a majority in both chambers of the Legislature. Trump in November won the state by nearly 28 percentage points, one of the biggest margins in his ultimate loss to Biden. State Democratic Party Chairman Michael John Gray on Monday called the GOP primary a “race to the bottom.” But national party leaders indicated Sanders’ candidacy may draw more resources and attention to a long-shot race that will coincide with 2022 congressional midterm elections. “As we close the book on a dark chapter in our history, we must make sure Trump’s brand of politics stays in the past," Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison tweeted. “Now, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is running on his record." Hutchinson, who has remained generally popular since taking office in 2015, said he didn't plan on endorsing anyone at this time in the race. “I am a voter, so I will follow the campaign with interest, but I have a job to do for the next two years, and I will devote my energies to bring Arkansas out of the pandemic and to revitalize our economy," he said in a statement. ___ Follow Andrew DeMillo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ademillo Andrew Demillo, The Associated Press
FREDERICTON — Health officials in New Brunswick confirmed Monday that two residents of a long-term care facility in Saint John died last week after testing positive for COVID-19. Only one of those deaths, however, is being attributed to the novel coronavirus, chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell told reporters Monday. The COVID-related death involved a person in their 70s, she said, adding that New Brunswick has reported a total of 14 fatalities linked to the virus. Seniors services company Shannex said Sunday that a resident of Parkland Saint John retirement complex died last Thursday and another died Friday. The company apologized for the delay in reporting the deaths, adding that identifying COVID-related deaths among residents can be complicated. Five of the 14 deaths in New Brunswick attributed to the virus have occurred at Parkland Saint John. New Brunswick health officials reported 27 new infections Monday, including 19 that were identified in the Edmundston region, which entered a 14-day lockdown on Sunday. Officials said the Saint John and Fredericton regions will move to the "orange" pandemic-alert level on Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. after they were at the "red," or highest level, for the past week. The Moncton region — where four new cases were reported Monday — will remain at the red level. Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said the Campbellton, Bathurst and Miramichi regions could soon be moved into a more relaxed alert level because of the few daily reported cases in those areas. "We need to keep these zones in orange for now to ensure the health and safety of those who live there," Shephard said Monday, about those three regions. "But if trends continue to go well in these zones we will move all three to yellow once public health recommends we do so, hopefully later this week." Officials say there are 348 active reported infections in the province and six people in hospital with the disease, including three who are in intensive care. New Brunswick has reported a total of 1,151 infections since the start of the pandemic. Shephard said more than 14,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the province and 2,839 people have received their second dose. "Vaccination clinics are planned for 20 long-term care facilities this week, using the Moderna vaccine to provide the first dose to more than 750 people," Shephard said, adding that "more than 1,600 health-care workers are scheduled to get their second dose of the vaccine this week." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press
A crying fisherman pointing to an illegal fishing trawler on an Algerian dock is forever imprinted in Dyhia Belhabib’s mind. The image is part of what drives her research into illegal fishing and its impact on communities around the world. “He was a small-scale fisherman who was just fishing whenever he could … his shoes were completely destroyed. He was poor,” she said. “I interviewed the captain of the trawler, and he was proud of himself. He used to bribe whoever was monitoring those waters and get away with it.” Belhabib, who has an engineering degree from the Institute of Marine Sciences of Algiers, a master’s in science from the University of Quebec, a PhD in resource management and environmental studies from the University of British Columbia, is now the principal fisheries investigator at Ecotrust Canada. She specializes in illegal fisheries, equity and food security. In B.C., her research focuses on coastal, remote and Indigenous communities' access to fish. “It's very important because those groups have been losing access to their fisheries because of a system that we created that makes it so fish is sold before it’s even caught. A lot of investment came in, and just like real estate prices, the price to fish has gone up,” she said. “We’re working to recapture that for our coastal communities, while working to help diversify the fisheries basket.” Canada’s National Observer spoke with Belhabib about illegal fishing and how it threatens food security. One of your recent papers, Narco‐Fish: Global fisheries and drug trafficking, found that the global trade of illicit drugs relies more and more on fishing vessels, and that this type of trafficking is increasing. How does this affect small-scale fisheries? This is a real story. You can imagine yourself, you’ve been fishing forever — it’s the skill you’ve mastered, it’s all you know how to do and you love it. One day, the government says you can’t fish there anymore after you notice there has been less and less fish. It’s now a marine protected area. Then, a few days later, someone shows up with an AK-47 telling you, "I have this amount of cocaine that I need to transport from this boat to this boat and I’ll give you $500," which is your annual income from fishing. It becomes an alternative livelihood. And how does that affect fish stocks in those areas? Drug cartels operate within those marine protected areas, so they actually hinder conservation efforts because officers or enforcement officers cannot go there, it's too dangerous. You don't want to be killed to protect fish. So by hindering those conservation efforts, you hinder the availability of fish and catch opportunities for the adjacent communities. It’s happening everywhere. There are a few hubs in Latin America, West Africa and East Africa. You launched Spyglass last year, a platform that publishes the criminal records of fishing vessels and seafood companies. It looks like there are about 90 reports in the province. What is the scope of illegal fishing in B.C.? B.C. is one of the major hot spots in the world. I would say Canada comes in second after Japan in terms of numbers. But that doesn’t mean we have a lot of criminals, just that we target them a lot. We have a good coastal monitoring system that catches a lot of recreational sports fishermen that are fishing illegally. Many people I’ve spoken with are ignorant, they don’t know they’re breaking the rules. They didn’t know somewhere was a buffer zone, when the season closed — stuff like that. When you look into the gravity of these offences, they're not as bad as ones you might find in West Africa, for example, but the number is quite high because we criminalize a lot here. I know you also do work and research around food security. Does illegal fishing tie into that? It ties into it directly, because it’s someone taking something away. It takes fish away from the boats of small-scale fishermen, from the plates of people who need it the most. You have management systems that exist to protect fish and then you have illegal fishing that comes and hinders that. It really destroys ecosystems. It especially happens in the most vulnerable countries where illegal fishing threatens food security in a big way (and) where people need fish to survive. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Cloe Logan / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer Cloe Logan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
NEW YORK — In 1963, Sidney Poitier made a film in Arizona, “Lilies of the Field.” The performance led to a huge milestone: He became the first Black winner of a lead-acting Oscar. Now, Arizona is the site of another milestone for the legendary actor and filmmaker. Arizona State University has named its new film school after him. It was to unveil The Sidney Poitier New American Film School at a ceremony on Monday. The decision to name the school after Poitier, 93, is about much more than an emphasis on diversity, said Michael M. Crow, president of the university, in an interview ahead of the unveiling. “You’re looking for an icon, a person that embodies everything you stand for,” Crow said. “With Sidney Poitier, it’s his creative energy, his dynamism, his drive, his ambition, the kinds of projects he worked on, the ways in which he advanced his life.” “Look at his life: It’s a story of a person who found a way,” he said of the actor, who was born in Miami and raised in the Bahamas, the son of tomato farmers, before launching a career that went from small, hard-won theatre parts to eventual Hollywood stardom. “How do we help other young people find their way?” The university, which is expanding its existing film program into its own school, says it has invested millions of dollars in technology to create what’s intended to be one of the largest, most accessible and most diverse film schools. Crow said that much like the broader university, the film school will measure success not by exclusivity but by inclusivity. By expanding both its physical resources and flexible learning options like online study, it hopes to enrol thousands more students, teaching them skills that go far beyond traditional moviemaking. The school will move in the fall of 2022 to a new facility in downtown Mesa, Arizona, 7 miles from the university’s Tempe Campus. It will also occupy the university’s new centre in Los Angeles. The university did not make Poitier, who has been out of the public eye for some time, available for an interview. His daughter Beverly Poitier-Henderson told The Associated Press her father was “doing well and enjoying his family,” and considered it an honour to be the namesake of the new film school. Poitier-Henderson and two of Poitier’s other daughters described in interviews how the film school’s emphasis on inclusivity and access aligned with their father’s long-held ideals. “If it has my Dad’s name on it, it has to be inclusive, because that’s the foundation of who he is and what he stands for,” said Anika Poitier, like her father a filmmaker. “And it’s important to not only have inclusion but to have diversity, and to give people the opportunity to tell their stories. I think it’s imperative to cast a wide net and allow anyone who’s called to tell their story to learn how to do that.” Sydney Poitier Heartsong, the actor’s youngest daughter, noted that the two most important things to her father as she grew up were education and the arts. “Those are the two tracks that run throughout his life, that define what he has contributed and defined what he felt was important to impart to his kids. .... the arts were also a form of education. He wanted to pass that on to all young people but specifically young people of colour." Poitier Heartsong added that the new school had special resonance in a time when “we’ve come to recognize that from a socioeconomic standpoint, a lot of (elite) schools exclude people of colour disproportionately -- and people without the means to go to them. That is the antithesis of what my father would want to be a part of." In his heyday, when he won his Oscar, one of her father's biggest complaints, she said, was that “he was the only one up there, and he wanted others to be up there with him.” The ASU film production programs now enrol 700 students, said Steven Tepper, dean of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts there, but that number is expected to double over three to five years. “I just hope that the students at the Sidney Poitier Film School take up the mantle of responsibility the way our father took up the mantle when he was coming up in his career,” said Poitier-Henderson, “and tell their stories regardless of finances, which is easy for us to say. But you’ve got to be true to yourself. It's a very powerful thing, and I’m looking forward to seeing who comes out of it. I’m not looking for the next Sidney Poitier, but I’m looking for the next person who is true to themself." Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
POMPEII, Italy — Decades after suffering bombing and earthquake damage, Pompeii’s museum has been reborn, showing off exquisite finds from excavations of the ancient Roman city. Officials of the archeological park of the ruins of the city destroyed in 79 A.D. by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius inaugurated the museum on Monday. Known as the Antiquarium, the museum gives Pompeii a permanent exhibition space. Visitors can see sections of frescoed walls from the sprawling city's unearthed villas, examples of some of the graffiti unearthed by archaeologists as well as household objects ranging from silver spoons to a bronze food-warmer, items of the everyday life that was snuffed out by the volcanic explosion. First opened in about 1873, the Antiquarium was damaged by bombing during World War II and again in 1980, when a deadly earthquake rocked the Naples area. Since the quake, the museum had been closed, although it was reopened in 2016 as a space for temporary exhibitions. The Antiquarium's displays also document Pompeii's history as a settlement several centuries before it became a flourishing Roman city. Due to Italy's COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions, currently only visitors from Italy's Campania region, which includes the Naples area and the Pompeii ruins, can see the museum. Pompeii is one of Italy's top tourist attractions, and when mass tourism eventually resumes, entrance tickets to the ruins will also include a visit to the Antiquarium. The re-opening of the museum after so many decades of travail is “a sign of great hope during a very difficult moment,” Pompeii's long time director, Massimo Osanna, said. He was referring to the harsh blow that the pandemic's travel restrictions have dealt to tourism, one of Italy's biggest revenue sources. On display in the last room of the museum are poignant casts made from the remains of some of Pompeii's residents who tried to flee but were overcome by blasts of volcanic gases or battered by a rain of lava stones ejected by Vesuvius. “I find particularly touching the last room, the one dedicated to the eruption, and where on display are the objects deformed by the heat of the eruption, the casts of the victims, the casts of the animals," Osanna said. “Really, one touches with one's hand the incredible drama that the 79 A.D. eruption was.” Large swaths of Pompeii remain to be excavated. While tourism virtually ground to a halt during the pandemic, archaeologists have kept working. Just a month ago, Osanna revealed the discovery of an ancient fast-food eatery at Pompeii. Completely excavated, the find helped to reveal dishes popular with the citizens of the ancient city who apparently were partial to eating out, including what was on the menu the day that Pompeii was destroyed. —- D'Emilio reported from Rome. Andrea Rosa,Frances D'Emilio, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement officials are examining a number of threats aimed at members of Congress as the second trial of former President Donald Trump nears, including ominous chatter about killing legislators or attacking them outside of the U.S. Capitol, a U.S. official told The Associated Press. The threats, and concerns that armed protesters could return to sack the Capitol anew, have prompted the U.S. Capitol Police and other federal law enforcement to insist thousands of National Guard troops remain in Washington as the Senate moves forward with plans for Trump's trial, the official said. The shocking insurrection at the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob prompted federal officials to rethink security in and around its landmarks, resulting in an unprecedented lockdown for Biden's inauguration. Though the event went off without any problems and armed protests around the country did not materialize, the threats to lawmakers ahead of Trump's trial exemplified the continued potential for danger. Similar to those intercepted by investigators ahead of Biden’s inauguration, the threats that law enforcement agents are tracking vary in specificity and credibility, said the official, who had been briefed on the matter. Mainly posted online and in chat groups, the messages have included plots to attack members of Congress during travel to and from the Capitol complex during the trial, according to the official. The official was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation publicly and spoke Sunday to the AP on condition of anonymity. Law enforcement officials are already starting to plan for the possibility of armed protesters returning to the nation's capital when Trump’s Senate trial on a charge of inciting a violent insurrection begins the week of Feb. 8. It would be the first impeachment trial of a former U.S. president. Though much of the security apparatus around Washington set up after the Jan. 6 riot and ahead of Biden’s inauguration — it included scores of military checkpoints and hundreds of additional law enforcement personnel — is no longer in place, about 7,000 members of the National Guard will remain to assist federal law enforcement, officials said. Gen. Dan Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said Monday that about 13,000 Guard members are still deployed in D.C., and that their numbers would shrink to 7,000 by the end of this week. John Whitley, the acting secretary of the Army, told a Pentagon news conference that this number is based on requests for assistance from the Capitol Police, the Park Police, the Secret Service and the Metropolitan Police Department. Whitley said the number is to drop to 5,000 by mid-March. Thousands of Trump’s supporters descended on the Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress met to certify Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential race. More than 800 are believed to have made their way into the Capitol during the violent siege, pushing past overwhelmed police officers. The Capitol police said they planned for a free speech protest, not a riot, and were caught off guard despite intelligence suggesting the rally would descend into a riot. Five people died in the melee, including a Capitol police officer who was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher. At least five people facing federal charges have suggested they believed they were taking orders from Trump when they marched on Capitol Hill to challenge the certification of Biden’s election victory. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. More than 130 people have been charged by federal prosecutors for their roles in the riot. In recent weeks, others have been arrested after posting threats against members of Congress. They include a Proud Boys supporter who authorities said threatened to deploy “three cars full of armed patriots” to Washington, threatened harm against Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., and who is accused of stockpiling military-style combat knives and more than 1,000 rifle rounds in his New York home. A Texas man was arrested this week for taking part in the riot at the Capitol and for posting violent threats, including a call to assassinate Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y ___ Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
The Saint John and Fredericton regions, Zone 2 and 3, will return to the less-restrictive orange phase at midnight on Tuesday night. Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, made the announcement at Monday's live streamed update. She also announced the province's 14th COVID-related death, an individual between the ages of 70 and 79 who was a resident of Parkland Saint John's Lily Court facility. Another Lily Court resident also died last week, but this death is not being recorded as a COVID-related death, Russell said. The spread of COVID-19 has slowed in the Fredericton and Saint John regions, Russell said in announcing the decision to return the two zones to the less-restrictive orange phase. The change will occur at midnight Tuesday night rather than tonight to allow "a full seven days to pass" since the zones were moved to the red-alert level. Under the orange phase, dine-in options are once again available at restaurants; gyms and hair salons can reopen; non-urgent medical procedures and elective surgeries are allowed, and masks remain mandatory in indoor spaces and at drive-thu windows. A full list of orange phase rules can be found on the provincial government's website. The Campbellton, Bathurst and Miramichi regions — Zones 5, 6 and 7 — could see a return to yellow from orange "in the coming days," but the Moncton region will stay in the more restrictive red phase and the Edmundston region will stay in full lockdown, Russell said. Russell shares visuals of how COVID-19 spread The province's cases and outbreaks are playing out differently. But a series of graphics shared by Russell at Monday's COVID-19 update delivered that message in a starkly visual form. The graphics show how COVID-19 spread in Zones 1, 2, 3 and 4, or the Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton and Edmundston regions. In the graphics, each case is represented by a dot, and the lines between the dots show how the cases are connected. That, Russell said, is the work that contact tracers do. "If you see dots that aren't connected, then that illustrates that we're having issues." In the Moncton region graphic, "you see a very large cluster of cases surrounded by several smaller clusters, which may be connected to the larger one," Russell said. For example, if several people attended a holiday gathering where the coronavirus was present, then each passed it on to their family and friends, who then took it to their workplaces, to schools and into vulnerable settings. The graphic of the Saint John region's spread shows two large clusters that overlap. "There were gatherings involved and some of the outbreak is related to the Shannex long-term care facility," Russell said. The Fredericton region graphic shows the coronavirus spread in home gatherings, into workplace settings, then to friends and families of workers in the workplace settings. This is also an illustration of how it spreads in workplaces. "Four cases in a workplaces spread to a cluster of two dozen additional cases among workers, family and friends," Russell said. In Zone 4, where there has been an explosion of cases in the last two weeks, there is a noticeable number of cases not connected by any lines. In this region, cases spread from a series of social gatherings into workplaces, including Nadeau Poultry plant and several long-term care homes. "It's obvious from this image that we don't yet know how a lot of these cases are linked," Russell said. "That's one of the main reasons Zone 4 is now in lockdown." Despite the differences in each of the graphics, Russell said, "They have this in common: the virus will spread at every opportunity if we let it. "Too many of us let our guard down over the holidays, which is why we are where we are today. But on a daily basis, the actions we take can keep the second wave from getting worse." Russell reiterated the importance of monitoring for symptoms, getting tested as quickly as possible, and self-isolating while awaiting test results and if found to be positive for COVID-19. Updates on outbreaks in 3 Zone 4 care homes Three special care homes in the Edmundston region, Zone 4, are currently experiencing outbreaks. Russell provided an update on the situation at each of them. Villa des Jardins: One staff member has tested positive. Testing of the facility's 81 residents and 22 staff began on Sunday and results are expected soon. There will be additional testing on Jan. 27. Manoir Belle Vue: There were two screening test days, with positive cases found both times. In total, 21 residents and 12 staff members have tested positive so far. There will be another round of tests on Tuesday. Le Pavillon Le Royer: There has been one confirmed positive case. Tests were conducted on Jan. 21 and all results were negative. Another round of tests was conducted on Monday and results are expected by Tuesday. Shephard touts success of 'return-to-school' plan New Brunswick has now had five days without a confirmed positive case in any school community, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said Monday. "Since schools reopened after the holidays, 20 schools have been affected by confirmed cases, as well as seven early learning and childcare centres," Shephard said at the COVID-19 update. "Only eight schools are currently impacted, three of which are in the Edmundston region." There are no longer any positive cases affecting child-care centres, and there have been no known cases of student-to-student transmission to date, Shephard said. "Our return-to-school plan has proven to be successful time and time again," she said, adding that New Brunswickers' role in following Public Health measures will be crucial to its continued success. A right and a wrong way to protest A handful of protests over the weekend prompted a response from Health Minister Dorothy Shephard – and a reminder that "we have stepped up enforcement across the province" — at Monday's COVID-19 update. Shephard singled out an anti-mask protest in Moncton on Sunday, where five people were charged with violating the Emergency Measures Act, and a protest in Quispmamsis on Saturday as examples of rule-flouting. "The issue was not the protest," Shephard said. "People have the right to protest, and if they are doing so lawfully, we will support their right to do so ... that was the case in Woodstock this weekend, where protesters wore masks and maintained physical distancing." However, she said, if people are not respecting the mandatory order and are putting the community at risk, "I know the police will take action." 27 new cases reported, most in Edmundston region Public Health reported 27 new cases in four zones on Monday, with 19 of them in the Edmundston region, Zone 4. The cases break down in this way: Moncton region, Zone 1, four cases: an individual 40-49; and three people 50-59. Saint John region, Zone 2, one case: an individual 19 or under. Fredericton region, Zone 3, three cases: two people 20-29; and an individual 30-39. Edmundston region, Zone 4, 19 cases: an individual 30-39; four people 40-49; six people 50-59; an individual 60-69; an individual 70-79; five people 80-89; and an individual 90 or over. All of the individuals are self-isolating and their cases are under investigation. There are currently 348 active cases in the province, with six people in hospital, three of them in intensive care. The number of confirmed cases is 1,151 and 788 have recovered. There have been 14 deaths. As of Monday, 187,710 tests have been conducted, including 1,774 since Sunday's report. Public Health issues public exposure warning Public Health has identified a potential public exposure to the virus at the following location in the Edmundston region, Zone 4: Atlantic Superstore, 577 Victoria St., Edmundston, on Jan. 19 and Jan. 20 between 6 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: A fever above 38 C. A new cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.
A Fort St. John man was sentenced last Tuesday to 20 months probation and 50 hours community service for an illegal cannabis grow-op in June 2017. Edward James Fennell, 51, pleaded guilty to to one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking, and for the production of more than three kilograms of cannabis seized from his home on 99 Avenue. Officers seized 170 plants from three hidden grow rooms inside the home, which RCMP described as a “typical two-stage grow op.” The cannabis had a street value between $60,000 to $95,000, court heard. Fennell previously had a medical licence to grow cannabis, which was expired at the time of his arrest, court heard. He declined an opportunity to speak to the court about his sentencing. He was issued a two-year suspended sentence, and released to serve 20 months probation and the requirement to complete community service. Cannabis became legal in Canada in October 2018. Email reporter Tom Summer at email@example.com Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News
Canada’s Natural Resource Minister Seamus O'Regan rebuffed calls to issue sanctions on the United States over President Joe Biden‘s move to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion. He said the government has a “responsibility to Albertans to safeguard our relationship with the single largest customer for Canadian crude.”
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit says there has been a recent increase in overdoses, almost all involving opioids. The health unit says that between Jan. 18 and 20, there were nine emergency department visits related to the opioid fentanyl. In the same time period there were six opioid overdoses involving fentanyl and one involving methamphetamine. "The overdoses are higher than expected when compared to historical numbers for the same reporting week," the health unit said in a statement issued Friday. According to reports from a community partner that haven't been formally confirmed, some recent doses have involved Carfentanil, the health unit said. Carfentanil is an opioid even stronger than fentanyl that is used to sedate large animals. According to WECHU, there were 249 opioid-related emergency room visits in 2019, and 47 people died of opioid overdoses. Last week, Windsor City Council voted in favour of putting naloxone on fire trucks. Some police officers in Windsor also carry the drug, which temporarily reverses opioid overdoses.
She’s had Dex since he could fit in her hand. As a puppy, Dex had an overbite that made nursing impossible. So Cindi Ilchuk adopted and hand fed the dog until he was able to eat. Now he’s 10 years old, 65 pounds, and the two are inseparable. “Dex is a support dog. He’s not an officially trained support dog, but he fell into the job and he’s filled the role wonderfully,” said Ilchuk’s stepfather Wayne Pierce. “That dog is everything to Cindi. I don’t know what she’d do without him. He’s the one constant in her life.” On Jan. 17, Dex broke his paw in the panic that ensued when a fire engulfed the hallway at Ilchuk’s apartment — the Town Park Apartment C block fire that has displaced everyone who lived in the 15 units. RELATED: ‘Suspicious’ Port Hardy apartment fire could keep tenants out of their homes for months RELATED: Fundraiser started for tenants left hanging after apartment fire In the panic of the fire, Ilchuck slid down the drain pipe to escape the fire and smoke in the hallway. A friend tried to pass Dex down to her. She half-caught, half-broke the dog’s fall, but he landed on one paw breaking it badly. “Everyone heard him yelp when that happened,” Pierce said. If the break had been a few inches higher, a simple cast could have been used. But the paw was broken at a joint, and requires surgery. Dex has been at the North Island Veterinarian Hospital since the fire and is getting anxious for Ilchuk, staff told Pierce. Pierce will take Dex to Campbell River Veterinarian Hospital for surgery on Jan. 25, but isn’t sure how their family will cover the $4,000 bill, plus over $1,000 due to the North Island Veterinarian Hospital. Ilchuk is on disability income for a variety of health challenges, and now faces the imminent challenge of finding new housing. She has been living in Town Park Apartment C-block in Port Hardy for just over a year — the longest home Pierce can remember in the last 20 years. Ilchuk’s mother Ann Ilchuk has started a GoFundMe account to raise funds towards the surgery costs: https://gofund.me/70f1ef35. Staff at both veterinarian hospitals will also accept payments to Dex’s account. RCMP consider the fire suspicious and are investigating. 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
CINCINNATI — Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said Monday that he won’t seek reelection to a third term in 2022, expressing dismay with the deep partisanship and dysfunction in American politics. Portman, an establishment Republican who served in the House and in President George W. Bush's administration before joining the Senate, cited a political climate that has made it “harder to break through the partisan gridlock and make progress." “Our country is very polarized,” Portman said, adding that former President Donald Trump did not help with the polarization. “It’s shirts and skins right now. We need to tone it down.” The decision is one measure of the difficult politics facing many Republicans in Washington as they cede power in President Joe Biden's administration and watch their party split between hard-right Trump supporters and others eager to turn the page. Portman, who turned 65 last month, is among the longtime Republican lawmakers who often backed Trump, though not vociferously. Once dubbed “The Loyal Soldier” in a front-page profile story in his hometown Cincinnati Enquirer, Portman usually defended Trump or avoided criticism of him with carefully worded statements. After Trump called the presidential election rigged, citing no legitimate evidence, Portman said Trump had a right to a probe of any irregularities. But immediately after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by a violent mob of Trump backers, Portman said Trump needed to go on national TV to tell his supporters to refrain from violence. “Both in his words before the attack on the Capitol and in his actions afterward, President Trump bears some responsibility for what happened,” Portman said. Portman’s announcement came the same day that the U.S. Senate is receiving the House impeachment article against Trump for his role in the Capitol riot. While some Republican senators have criticized going ahead with the trial with Trump out of office, Portman said last week that he would listen to the evidence presented by both sides before deciding how to vote. His retirement adds another open seat for the GOP to defend in 2022 as it seeks to regain control of a Senate that Democrats hold by virtue of Vice-President Kamala Harris being the tiebreaking vote. Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania have said they plan to retire. Republicans have 20 seats up for reelection in 2022, compared to 14 for Democrats. Those GOP seats include presidential battlegrounds Wisconsin and Florida. Ohio, a perennial battleground for decades, has become more reliably Republican, carried by Trump by more than 8 percentage points in 2016 and 2020. But Portman, like many mainstream GOP lawmakers viewed as insufficiently supportive of Trump, was considered likely to face a primary challenge from the right. Portman twice won election to the Senate by landslide margins. Still, his departure offers a glimmer of hope for Democrats in the state. Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown was reelected in 2018, but most other statewide officials are Republican. Ohio Democratic Party Chair Liz Walters said Portman should take “a long hard look in the mirror” before complaining about partisan gridlock and the end of civility in Washington. “Over the past four years, Rob Portman has been one of Donald Trump’s biggest defenders, so his attempt today to rewrite that history is ridiculous,” she said in a statement. Portman’s first federal government job started in 1989, when he served as an associate legal counsel in the George H.W. Bush White House. Portman considered Bush a mentor, one whose genteel style was far from that of the abrasive Trump and some of his Republican supporters in Washington Portman was elected to Congress from southern Ohio in a 1993 special election and won six more elections before President George W. Bush tapped him to serve as U.S. trade representative in 2005. He travelled the globe, negotiating dozens of trade agreements. Bush then nominated him to be White House budget director in 2006. Portman stepped down in 2007, then returned to politics in 2010 with a successful U.S. Senate run, and won again in 2016, both times by landslide margins. Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken said in a statement after Portman's announcement that his service has been “invaluable.” Generally voting with his party, Portman broke ranks in 2013 to announce his support for same-sex marriage. He said his son Will had come out as gay. Portman and his wife, Jane, have three children. After a long career, Portman said Monday that he was looking forward to spending more time with his family and in his community. He pledged to focus on legislative work in his last two years, working on pandemic relief — he participated in testing of a new vaccine — and issues he’s long been involved with such as fighting drug misuse. ___ Follow Dan Sewell at https://twitter.com/dansewell By Dan Sewell, The Associated Press
And you better believe Avril Lavigne is also having a pop-punk comeback.
Facebook said on Monday it removed a post and suspended a messenger bot from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's page, after it posted that he wanted phone numbers to call and convince people to get COVID-19 vaccinations. Netanyahu on Thursday posted a video on Twitter encouraging senior citizens to get vaccinated and ended with the line: "If you know someone who is nervous about getting vaccinated, send me their name and phone number, maybe they'll get a surprise phone call from me and I'll convince them." The Facebook bot posted a similar line to the prime minister's page, which was later removed by Facebook over privacy concerns.
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is adding a sign language interpreter to its daily press briefings. White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced the move during Monday’s briefing, and an interpreter could be seen on the White House’s YouTube stream of the event. Psaki said President Joe Biden “is committed to building an America that is more inclusive, more just and more accessible for every American, including Americans with disabilities and their families.” It marks a shift from the Trump administration, which had only sporadic press briefings and didn’t include an interpreter until late in President Donald Trump’s term. Last August, the National Association of the Deaf joined five deaf individuals in suing Trump and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, charging the failure to provide an interpreter undermined the ability of deaf and hard-of-hearing Americans to access key information about the coronavirus pandemic. The next month, a federal judge ordered the White House to include American Sign Language interpretation at all televised briefings on the virus. The ruling said the interpreter could be in the frame physically near the speaker or off-site. It said the White House was required to make the interpreter feeds accessible online and on television using a picture-in-picture format. Alexandra Jaffe, The Associated Press
TORONTO — The trial of Jacob Hoggard, the frontman for the Canadian rock band Hedley, has been pushed back to next year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hoggard, who pleaded not guilty at his preliminary hearing to sexual assault causing bodily harm and sexual interference, was initially set to be tried in Toronto this month. A new trial date was then set for April, but given ongoing court delays and restrictions related to the pandemic, it has now been postponed further to Jan. 3, 2022. Hoggard has opted to be tried by a jury, and new jury trials in Ontario have been put on hold until at least May to limit the spread of the virus. The pre-trial motions that were scheduled to be heard Monday will now take place in April. The singer was arrested and charged in 2018 in connection with alleged incidents involving a woman and a teenager. The complainants cannot be identified due to a publication ban. Earlier that year, allegations surfaced suggesting Hoggard had inappropriate encounters with young fans. Police launched an investigation as a result of those allegations. Hoggard issued a statement months before his arrest, acknowledging he had behaved in a way that "objectified women" but denying engaging in any non-consensual sexual conduct. He also apologized for his actions on Twitter and said he understood the "significant harm'' they had caused. Toronto police said at the time of the musician's arrest that the charges stem from three separate incidents involving two complainants -- an adult woman and a girl under the age of 16. The incidents allegedly took place in the Toronto area in 2016. Meanwhile, Hedley has been on an indefinite hiatus since March 2018. The Vancouver-based band was also dropped by its management team and banned by multiple radio stations following the allegations. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
TUNIS, Tunisia — Clashes in Tunisia between groups of young people and police broke out Monday evening, following the death of a local man in his 20s who participated in last week's protests. He is reportedly the first fatality of the demonstrations that swept the North African nation. Angry residents fired projectiles at police and attempted to enter a security post in Sbeitla in the Kasserine region, after blocking the town’s main road by setting tires on fire, according to state news agency TAP. Law enforcement responded with tear gas canisters to disperse the protesters, and a chase took place through city streets. TAP said that the army was deployed to calm unrest there and protect public buildings. The family of the victim, Haykel Rachdi, claims he was shot in the head by a tear gas canister Wednesday and was transferred to Sousse hospital, where he died Monday. Some reports said that the victim died after sustaining injuries from falling from a ladder near the protests. The death would represent the first fatality recorded since the outbreak of social unrest that rocked the country for a week and which resulted in around 1,200 arrests. More than 30% of those were minors protesting against unemployment and precarious living conditions in the country's poorest regions. The Interior Ministry said Monday that an investigation has been opened to determine the cause of Rachdi's death. The deputy public prosecutor of Kasserine told The Associated Press that investigators from Tunis will interview the doctor who had to treat the victim during his transfer to the hospital, as well as witnesses, pending a forensic autopsy report. The Associated Press
HALIFAX — Delivery was never on the menu at restaurateur Craig Flinn’s neighbourhood eateries. Even when spring lockdowns shuttered restaurants and forced diners to stay home, the chef and proprietor of Two Doors Down offered only curbside pickup, rejecting the sky-high fees charged by food-service delivery companies. “I flat-out refused,” says Flinn, who has two locations in Halifax and Dartmouth. “When you don't have dine-in and then all your business would be reduced by 25 or 30 per cent, it’s completely unsustainable.” With indoor dining banned or significantly reduced in many parts of the country, delivery is one of the few remaining revenue streams for restaurants. But restaurateurs say exorbitant fees of up to 30 per cent charged by online food ordering and delivery apps can make it unprofitable to stay open. A new venture, however, means customers craving smoked pork chops with fried mac and cheese from Two Doors Down can order through a local startup that offers an alternative to bigger players like Uber Eats, SkipTheDishes and DoorDash. HaliHub Food Delivery charges a flat-rate commission of nine per cent, which is among the lowest in the food delivery industry. Co-founder Brian MacDonald says he launched the Halifax company to help keep restaurants alive after realizing some were actually losing money using the larger online order and delivery platforms. “Those fees put a lot of restaurants in a position where they’re not profitable,” says MacDonald, a former food service executive. “They're actually losing on every meal they send out. By offering a lower rate, we’re hoping to give restaurants a chance to survive these uncertain times.” Despite growing frustration with high delivery fees in the restaurant industry, many continue to see it as a "necessary evil,” says Luc Erjavec, vice-president Atlantic Canada with Restaurants Canada. “Customers want it and they’ve got slick marketing, but restaurants aren’t making any money with these third-party delivery apps," he says. "It’s really a love-hate relationship.” But “fear of missing out” and the lack of other options forces restaurants to use the delivery services, Erjavec says. Two provinces have already taken aim at the commissions charged by companies like SkipTheDishes and Uber Eats. The Ontario government ushered in a new provincial law last month capping transaction rates at 20 per cent — with a commission of no more than 15 per cent on food delivery services and an additional five per cent service processing fee. The cap, which came into effect in late December, applies in areas where indoor dining is prohibited. The British Columbia government also brought in a temporary 15 per cent cap on food-service delivery fees, also with an added five per cent fee for processing an order. Back in Halifax, MacDonald says his startup offers more than a cheaper rate. “Our concept is built on three things,” he says. “We wanted to charge lower rates, keep the money local and give control back to restaurants.” With the bigger food delivery apps, if a customer complains about a meal, they are often automatically refunded — leaving the restaurant to cover the entire cost without having a chance to address the problem, MacDonald says. But with HaliHub, the restaurant deals directly with the customer to resolve the issue, he says. “The restaurant has the control to make whatever decision that they want,” MacDonald says. “They don’t just automatically lose the whole thing, they have a chance to make it right.” While the HaliHub business model hinges on personal service — MacDonald says any one of the 30 or so restaurant owners that now use the app can pick up the phone and call him directly — he says there’s also a possibility of growing within Atlantic Canada. “Once all the technology is fully in place and our apps are up and running, there’s the possibility of expanding into different markets,” he says. “We could have a Moncton-Hub or St. John’s-Hub or Charlottetown-Hub.” Back at Two Doors Down, restaurateur Flinn says HaliHub is off to a strong start. “I remember the first Friday that we offered it, especially at our Halifax location, we got a significant number of orders,” he says. “It was enough that even HaliHub was surprised.” Demand for food delivery remains strong and is expected to continue post-pandemic, says Gordon Stewart, executive director of the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia. "Even before the pandemic, people wanted more convenience and delivery was growing," he says. "The lockdowns just accelerated that trend, especially for sit-down restaurants." While restaurants want to accommodate the demand for more delivery options, "they just don't want to pay a 30 per cent delivery cost," Stewart says. "It just wipes out their profit." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press
As Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, the Liberal leader says the province is monitoring an outbreak of the disease in a nearby French territory. On Sunday, media in St-Pierre-Miquelon reported the archipelago is dealing with a COVID-19 cluster at its hospital, after the islands went more than a month without a new case. Three doctors have tested positive, along with a child of one of the doctors, according to those reports. The state services website for the prefecture announced Monday that testing had discovered additional cases, for a total of seven. The prefecture also reported testing 250 hospital employees as of Sunday afternoon. Authorities have ordered all bars, restaurants and cultural spaces to close. Health officials have identified more than 160 close contacts of the positive cases. Premier Andrew Furey touched briefly on the outbreak in a media availability Monday morning. "Well, obviously whenever there's an outbreak in adjacent jurisdictions we're concerned and we monitor," Furey said, directing epidemiology questions to Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, who holds weekly briefings on Wednesdays. "St-Pierre-Miquelon is a foreign country, and as we've seen, the federal government has changed the requirements for travel," he said. "They have to abide by those." Furey was referring to federal rules, introduced Jan. 7, that require air travellers to procure a negative COVID-19 test before boarding a flight to anywhere in Canada. Travellers departing from St-Pierre-Miquelon were exempt from the requirement until Jan. 14. All passengers arriving from the territory must isolate for 14 days. 8 total cases for January so far Last week saw two new cases reported across the province, for a total of eight in 2021. Nobody has recovered since yesterday, according to an update from the Department of Health. One person is in hospital with the virus. Since March, 78,257 people have been tested for the virus. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador