Bad Bunny found a way to perform safely during the pandemic: keep it moving. The Puerto Rican superstar shut down New York streets with a live-streamed mobile concert. (Sept. 21)
Bad Bunny found a way to perform safely during the pandemic: keep it moving. The Puerto Rican superstar shut down New York streets with a live-streamed mobile concert. (Sept. 21)
HALIFAX — Court documents released Monday describe the violence a Nova Scotia mass killer inflicted on his father years before his rampage as well as the gunman's paranoia and suspicious financial transactions ahead of the killings.Fifty-one-year Gabriel Wortman took 22 lives on April 18-19 before police killed him at a service station in Enfield, N.S.In documents that a media consortium, including The Canadian Press, went before a provincial court judge to obtain, Wortman's spouse and cousin both describe how in 2016 he smashed his father's head against the pool during a family vacation in the Caribbean, causing blood to flow in the water.The cousin, a former RCMP officer, said as Wortman was growing up he was a "strange little guy" who later became a career criminal who financed his way through university with illegal alcohol and tobacco smuggling."(The cousin) went to Dominican (Republic) in 2016 with family and could see problems with Gabriel ... While in Dominican he beat up his father," the document states.The document says the witness told police he'd believed Wortman was capable of perhaps killing his parents but hadn't imagined he would go on a mass shooting rampage.The accounts of Wortman's tensions with neighbours are also discussed in the documents, with one witness describing how the 51-year-old denturist had once argued with Aaron Tuck — a Portapique neighbour he would later murder during the rampage — over the price Tuck was asking for his home.The spouse told investigators Wortman disliked police officers and even once mentioned they would be easy to murder.Yet, there is also a description from her of a calm period on the morning of April 18, as the couple drove around the countryside in the area of Debert, N.S., hours before he began his rampage."We were making plans," she's quoted as saying about the night of April 18. "It's like he snapped. I don't know."The documents contain a chilling description of the gunman's attempt to kill RCMP Const. Chad Morrison in Shubenacadie, N.S., on April 19, when the officer was shot and wounded by Wortman.Morrison said as he awaited his partner, Const. Heidi Stevenson, he hadn't been expecting Wortman's arrival, believing the gunman was still 22 kilometres to the northwest.The constable realized Wortman's intent as he pulled alongside him in the replica police cruiser he drove for much of his rampage."Const. Morrison said the suspect looked to have a melancholy expression as he was turning in front of him and then he had a 'grit' look on his face as he started to raise the gun," the document said.The documents released by Judge Laurel Halfpenny MacQuarrie include an account of a federal Finance Department agency looking into allegedly suspicious financial transactions by Wortman and Northumberland Investments Inc., a firm he owned.Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, or FINTRAC, told the RCMP it learned that "Gabriel Wortman used his account to make purchases of vehicle accessories commonly used by police, including items explicitly labelled as being intended for police use via eBay."It's unclear from the document when FINTRAC first started tracking Wortman's financial activities, but the court documents say the reports were prepared April 22 and 30, shortly after his rampage.Erica Constant, a spokesperson for FINTRAC, said in an email the agency is prohibited from disclosing information that may have been provided to it by police, and a RCMP spokesperson wasn't immediately available for comment.The agency looked at transactions on Aug. 10, 2010, when Northumberland made deposits of $200,000 in cash and $46,000 from a term deposit to a Toronto-Dominion bank in Fredericton. There is a also detailed account of how Wortman received $475,000 in $100 bills from a Brinks facility in Dartmouth, N.S., on March 30 this year, as he grew increasingly anxious about COVID-19.Investigators also describe a series of 2019 transactions the gunman made via PayPal as he created his mock police vehicle. The purchases included police cars, light bars, siren light controls, a dashboard camera, vinyl decals and a push bar for the front of the car to create an almost identical replica.In addition, witnesses quoted in the documents cast fresh light on the assistance Wortman received in creating decals for the vehicle. Peter Griffon provided a statement to police describing how he'd made the RCMP decals for Wortman's car, without the knowledge of his employer, using a computer at the back of the shop to research RCMP emblems.The owner of the graphics company is quoted in the documents saying he'd told Griffon not to make the decals, as "he should not be messing around with stuff like that."Griffon, who was on parole from prison, has since had his parole revoked as a result of the work he did for Wortman.The 40-year-old man had been on parole, and living with his parents in Portapique, N.S., doing odd jobs for Wortman, when he completed the decal work.A National Parole Board decision provided to The Canadian Press says Griffon was convicted of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking in 2017, and received parole a year later.The board said in its decision, "the consequences of your (Griffon's) most recent flawed decision-making contributed to a horrific end that touched every life in your province. Those decisions are inconsistent with being on parole."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2020.Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press
Switzerland, which last fought a foreign war more than 200 years ago and has no discernable enemies, wants to spend billions on new fighter jets. Many oppose the idea, saying the neutral country neither can afford nor needs cutting-edge warplanes to defend Alpine territory which a supersonic jet can cross in 10 minutes. Ireland, Malta and Luxembourg don't have jets, they say, making the 6 billion Swiss franc ($6.6 billion) plan a waste of money.
The list of symptoms parents are urged to screen their kids for each morning before they send them to school has gotten shorter.Since the reopening of schools across the province, parents have been asked to monitor their children for symptoms of COVID-19, with districts releasing a daily health checklist. Fever, chills, and shortness of breath are among the 17 symptoms parents were told to screen for.Kids that exhibited any of the symptoms were urged to stay home.But that list of symptoms has been reduced, B.C.'s Ministry of Health has confirmed. Ten symptoms have been removed, including sore throat, runny nose, headache, and fatigue. Districts have since released updated daily health checklists."This was a recommendation from public health to remove some of the symptoms, given the very low probability of these symptoms by themselves indicating COVID," the ministry said in an e-mailed statement."They are also very common in children so there are concerns that it would unnecessarily exclude children," said the ministry.On Monday, Stephanie Higginson, president of the B.C. School Trustees Association, told CBC she will be speaking with the Ministry of Education on Tuesday to learn more."My understanding is that those symptoms were taken off the list because they are not consistent symptoms in children," said Higginson. "What that shows is that our provincial health office is continuing to stay at the forefront of what it knows about this illness."Some parents concernedParents like North Vancouver's Amitis Khorsandi say the sudden change has reignited health concerns she had before sending her five-year-old to kindergarten. She fears some COVID-19-positive students could slip through the cracks."A lot of people made tough decisions to go back to school, and we're all taking a risk to send our kids ... and then within a week, or less than a week, the rules have already changed," she said.Parents are asked to screen children for the following symptoms daily: * Fever * Chills * Cough or worsening of chronic cough * Shortness of breath * Loss of sense of smell or taste * Diarrhea * Nausea and vomitingThe following symptoms have been removed from the daily checklist: * Sore throat * Runny/stuffy nose * Headache * Fatigue * Loss of appetite * Muscle aches * Conjunctivitis (pink eye) * Dizziness, confusion * Abdominal pain * Skin rash or discolouration of fingers and toesThe ministry says it's still important to seek medical assessment if children are exhibiting a combination of symptoms.The bulk of the symptoms removed from the daily health check for students are still included in both B.C.'s self-assessment tool and the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's list of COVID-19 symptoms.
Taiwan said on Monday its armed forces have the right to self-defence and counterattack amid "harassment and threats", in an apparent warning to China, which last week sent numerous jets across the mid-line of the sensitive Taiwan Strait. Tensions have sharply spiked in recent months between Taipei and Beijing, which claims democratically-run Taiwan as its own territory, to be taken by force if needed. Chinese aircraft crossed the mid-line to enter the island's air defence identification zone on Friday and Saturday, prompting Taiwan to scramble jets to intercept them, and President Tsai Ing-wen to call China a threat to the region.
ST-HUBERT, Que. — RCMP raided a residence on Montreal's south shore Monday in connection with envelopes containing the poison ricin that were sent to the White House and to various locations in Texas.The home is tied to a woman arrested Sunday night at the New York-Canada border who authorities suspect is involved in the case, Cpl. Charles Poirier told reporters at the scene."We don't know if she lived here but there is a clear link between her and this residence," Poirier said. The home is located in a multi-unit building on Vauquelin Blvd. in St-Hubert, Que., bordering a forest and not far from an airport.Some of the units in the building were evacuated after police arrived around 10 a.m. Police were still on site as of 5 p.m. The RCMP's Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives team is leading the operation with support from local police and firefighters."We don't know what we're going to find, that's why we've deployed multiple resources," Poirier said. "We also have a specialized unit to make sure that if we find something that is highly toxic inside the residence, we are prepared."The Associated Press reported Sunday that three U.S. law enforcement officials said a woman suspected of sending a toxic envelope to the White House was arrested at the New York-Canada border. They said the letter had been intercepted last week before it reached the official residence of U.S. President Donald Trump.Poirier said Monday that envelopes containing ricin — a toxic substance found naturally in castor beans — had also been sent to various locations in Texas.Contacted by The Canadian Press, the sheriff's office in Hidalgo County, in southern Texas, referred all questions to the Twitter account of Sheriff Eddie Guerra. He posted late Monday afternoon, "I can confirm that envelopes, containing the deadly toxin ricin, was mailed to me and three of my detention staff."At this time due to (an) active federal investigation I cannot make any further comments ... No injuries were sustained."Canadian law enforcement was called in to help the FBI investigate after American authorities found evidence the suspicious letter to the White House had originated in Canada.The woman was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Peace Bridge border crossing in Fort Erie, Ont. She is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday afternoon in Buffalo, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Her name was not immediately released.There have been several prior instances in which U.S. officials have been targeted with ricin sent through the mail.A Navy veteran was arrested in 2018 and confessed to sending envelopes to Trump and members of his administration that contained the substance from which ricin is derived. The letters were intercepted, and no one was hurt.In 2014, a Mississippi man was sentenced to 25 years in prison after sending letters dusted with ricin to President Barack Obama and other officials.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2020.— With files from The Associated Press.Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
It's not only parents who are trying to navigate back to school for their children.Some grandparents are trying to figure out where they fit into the maze of modified classrooms, remote learning and home-schooling while many of their adult children work from home. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Joanne Bakker, 59, provided before- and after-school care for two of her grandchildren in Cooks Creek, Man., about 37 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg. For two weeks each month, she'd also sleep over at her daughter Apryl Schumann's house while she worked overnight shifts as a personal support worker for adults with disabilities. Not seeing her adult children and five grandchildren during the lockdown left Bakker feeling lost and isolated, elevating her anxiety and depression."It was so very hard — really tough because we are all so close, real tight. We would spend so much time together," Bakker said.Dr. David Conn, a geriatric psychiatrist at Baycrest Hospital in Toronto and co-chair of the Canadian Coalition for Seniors' Mental Health, said the return to school and rising COVID-19 numbers are worrying many older adults."If someone is prone to anxiety to begin with, this really heightens it and can push someone perhaps into an anxiety disorder," Conn said. "We have certainly seem some depression with isolation, and I am a bit worried as winter comes we may see higher rates of depression."WATCH | How are students adjusting to new public health protocols?'I'm nervous'Before her grandchildren returned to school, Bakker decided to continue providing care while taking precautions to make sure she and her husband, Ron, are safe. "There is always the chance for her to get infected because she is in contact with my kids, and my kids are in contact with multiple children throughout the day, which connects you to multiple families," said Schumann, Bakker's daughter. "And really it is just a chain." Schumann said it's all about following safety protocols of frequent hand washing, sanitizing and respecting each other's space.Bakker said it's a balancing act."I am nervous for my grandkids. I am nervous for their parents. You don't want to not see your kids and the grandkids. But I don't want to get it, either," she said. "And there is my husband who had a heart attack in 2003. He has to be really careful, too, because if he gets COVID, I worry if he would be able to survive it. I don't want to give it to my husband."'It really creates a dilemma'She isn't alone in her dilemma. It's a common thread for grandparents during the pandemic, according to Bill VanGorder, chief policy officer at the Canadian Association of Retired Persons.He's been hearing from grandparents across the country who are telling him back to school means back to the stress and anxiety that was so evident during the lockdown. "If they aren't able to see their grandkids or have to make decisions based on how they will see their grandkids because of underlying health issues, it's taking an emotional toll. It really creates a dilemma," said VanGorder.VanGorder said CARP is hearing about three different scenarios across the country involving grandparents. The list includes those grandparents, like Bakker, who are continuing to care for grandkids before and after school, those who wish they could but can't because of health issues and those who are living in multi-generational families.Tara Martin's mother-in law, 87, lives with her, her husband and their 10-year-old daughter, Sophie, in Brandon, Man.When cases started to spike there in August, Martin contacted her mother-in-law's doctor and was told her mother-in-law would likely not recover if she contracted the virus. Martin wrote a letter to the school requesting remote learning for Sophie, who is in Grade 5. It was approved, but the family is still waiting for remote learning to start.Martin feels a sense of relief that she made the right decision to protect her mother-in law. The class her daughter was supposed to be in has recorded its first case of COVID-19.At first, Martin said Sophie was upset to find out she wouldn't be going back to school with her friends. But her daughter has come to terms with it."She loves her grandmother and can't imagine the thought of grandma getting sick," Martin said.Roxanne Shuttleworth is relieved for a different reason. The Dauphin, Man., grandmother has two grandsons who will be home-schooled this year. She said while she isn't worried about her own health, she's glad her grandchildren won't run the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 in the classroom."I was very happy with the decision of my son and daughter-in-law, who is also a teacher," Shuttleworth said. "I admit I am biased, but I said when we were chatting I would feel much better if they were home-schooled at grandma's instead of with the rest of the school population."Bakker wouldn't have it any other way."My kids and grandkids are my life. I would do anything for them. They come first, after my husband. They mean the world to us. And I know, just like we are there for them now, one day they will be there for us."
They all self-isolated in advance so that they could celebrate the night together.
China sent numerous aircraft close to Taiwan during two days of drills from Friday, causing the island's air force to scramble, as Beijing expressed anger at the visit of a senior U.S. official to Taipei. China claims democratically-run Taiwan as its own territory, to be taken by force if needed, a threat the island has lived with since 1949, when defeated Kuomintang, or Nationalist, forces fled there after their defeat by the Communists in the Chinese civil war. China has been angered by stepped-up U.S. support for Taiwan, including two visits in as many months by top officials, one in August by Health Secretary Alex Azar and the other last week by Keith Krach, the undersecretary for economic affairs.
Tatiana Maslany, an actress from Regina Sask., has been cast in the leading role of the upcoming Disney Plus series, She-Hulk.Variety reported it had learned from sources of Maslany's casting.It said the series focuses on Jennifer Walters, who is a lawyer and Bruce Banner's cousin, after she gets Banner's Hulk powers through a blood transfusion.Matt Valgardson is the host of Nerdcore Cabaret, a radio show on Regina's community station CJTR which focuses on nerd culture.He said he was very excited to learn of Maslany's casting."Like a lot of people you know, particularly from around here...my eyes just kind of bulged out like 'yes this is wicked good news!'" Valgardson said.Maslany won an Emmy Award in 2016 for her role in Orphan Black. Valgardson said she was able to carry many different cloned characters interacting with each other in the series."You really got to see this incredible range from someone that people you hang out with, went to high school [with]." Valgardson said.Valgardson said he thinks Maslany's casting is huge for Marvel fans everywhere, but especially in Regina."If you think how wild people went in the first Deadpool picture when he announced that [he] is the pride of Regina, Saskatchewan," Valgardson said. "Just the idea that the character might be from there, but now we've got someone who is from our own backyard."Maslany's future on-screen cousin, Mark Ruffalo who plays Banner in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sent out a welcome to her on Twitter when the casting was announced.Valgardson said the fact that Ruffalo Tweeted the welcoming, could be a hint that the She-Hulk series could cross over into the MCU."One of the interesting things they really do with a lot of the more MCU focused [characters] is the way that they tie them into the larger universe, but not always intimately." Valgardson said. "There's this room to tell smaller stories, who maybe either couldn't carry a full motion picture, or ones who might benefit from more of a serialized format."Valgardson said while he has never met Maslany personally, he hopes that when the pandemic is over, he gets the chance to."I'm really hopeful that Sask Expo, one of these years, [could] get Tatiana as a guest," Valgardson said. "It would be a huge glorious homecoming moment.""The party would be off the chains."Maslany was once part of the General Fools improve group in Regina and Valgardson said it's great to see local talent succeed."I just love the idea that someone who started off in, like our home-grown General Fools is just skyrocketing right now."
JERUSALEM — An Israeli court on Monday approved the extradition of a former teacher wanted in Australia on charges of child sex abuse, potentially paving the way for her to stand trial after a six-year legal battle.Malka Leifer, a former educator who is accused of sexually abusing several former students, has been fighting extradition from Israel since 2014. Leifer maintains her innocence and the battle surrounding her extradition has strained relations between Israel and Australia.Earlier this month, Israel's Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Leifer's attorney over a Jerusalem court's ruling that she was mentally fit to stand trial, saying it was “putting an end to the saga that has been drawn out for many years.”On Monday, the Jerusalem District Court ruled that Leifer could be extradited to Australia to stand trial for 74 charges of child sex abuse. The formal extradition now requires an order by Israel's justice minister.Leifer’s attorneys said they would appeal an extradition order to Israel’s Supreme Court, saying it would be a "political decision."“For those who think that this chapter is now closed, I’m sorry, the process will still last quite a few months more,” said Nick Kaufman, one of Leifer’s defence lawyers.Critics, including Leifer’s alleged victims, have accused Israeli authorities of dragging out the case for far too long.State prosecutor Avital Ribner Oron said Leifer had made “every effort to avoid and delay the extradition proceedings” but that “today the court put an end to those efforts and declared her extraditable to Australia.”The ruling “was an important decision for the rule of law, for international co-operation, and most importantly, to the victims of Malka Leifer’s crimes,” Oron said.In Australia, parliament member Josh Burns praised the court ruling."Justice has taken far too long. But finally, justice has won the day," Burn said. "And while we await further appeals, we call on the Israeli judicial system to deal with them as quickly as possible and for the justice minister to give the extradition the final sign off without any further delays.”Earlier this year an Israeli psychiatric panel determined Leifer had lied about suffering a mental condition that made her unfit to stand trial. As a result of the findings, Israel's Justice Ministry said it would move to expedite her extradition.Three sisters — Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper — have accused Leifer of abusing them while they were students at a Melbourne ultra-Orthodox school. There are said to be other victims.“This is a victory for justice! A victory not just for us, but for all survivors. Exhaling years of holding our breath!” Erlich wrote on Facebook following the court's decision.The Associated Press does not usually identify alleged victims of sexual abuse, but the sisters have spoken publicly about their allegations against Leifer.As accusations surfaced in 2008, Israeli-born Leifer left the school and returned to Israel, where she has lived since.Manny Waks, the head of Kol v’Oz, a Jewish group that combats child sex abuse and that has been representing the three sisters, said Monday's ruling marked “a great day for justice.”"It is a day which at times seemed like it would never arrive, but we are thrilled that it is finally here,” Waks said. “It has taken 71 court hearings to get to this point. It has been Israel’s shame.”___Associated Press writer Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, contributed to this report.Ilan Ben Zion, The Associated Press
A hospital in Calgary was working Monday to contain COVID-19 outbreaks that were identified on the weekend in two separate areas that don't appear to be connected to each other. Alberta Health Services said 14 patients and four staff members have tested positive for the novel coronavirus at the Foothills Medical Centre. The outbreaks are in two cardiac care units and one general medicine unit.
TORONTO — The fish-out-of-water Canadian sitcom "Schitt's Creek" made history for its swan song season at the Emmy Awards Sunday night, nabbing all seven categories in which it was nominated, including best comedy series.In posts on Twitter, the CBC and Pop TV said it's the first time a comedy or drama has swept all four acting categories, while the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences declared it's the first time a series has won all seven comedy categories.It's also the first time a Canadian show has won an Emmy for best comedy series, beating out heavyweights including "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Insecure," and "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."All four key cast members also snagged acting trophies, including Hamilton-born Eugene Levy and Toronto-born Catherine O'Hara. They play Johnny and Moira Rose, the parents of a formerly wealthy family adjusting to a humble life in a small town the father once bought as a joke.Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods for playing their children, David and Alexis.Daniel Levy, who is Eugene's son, also won a writing award and a directing trophy he shares with filmmaker Andrew Cividino for the Ontario-shot show, which ended its sixth and final season in April."We're all just walking around in a daze," Daniel Levy said in a phone interview after "Schitt's Creek" steamrolled through the pandemic-adjusted virtual Emmys, snagging the first seven honours, which were handed to the winners by Emmys representatives in hazmat suits."It's absolutely unbelievable, and I am thrilled to have represented Canada tonight."The father-and-son Levys co-created the show, which also got two Emmys earlier this week, for costuming and casting.The two announced last year they would make this past season the final one, wanting to go out on a high note with international accolades for the story's joyful spirit and positive LGBTQ representation through David, who identifies as pansexual (someone who is open to all sexual orientations or gender identities)."Our show at its core is about the transformational effects of love and acceptance and that is something that we need more of now than we've ever needed before," Daniel Levy said in accepting the best comedy series trophy at a private party at Casa Loma in Toronto, where the cast had gathered sitting apart and wearing masks, adhering to COVID-19 safety guidelines."I just wanted to say for any of you who have not registered to vote please do so, and then go out and vote because that is the only way that we are going to have some love and acceptance out there. Please do that. I'm so sorry for making this political but I had to. Dad, do the rest of the fun stuff."Eugene Levy then thanked a slew of supporters, including the CBC and Daniel for taking their story about the Rose family and transforming it "into a celebration of inclusivity, a castigation of homophobia and a declaration of the power of love.""Schitt's Creek" was up for a total of 15 Emmys this year. Last year it had four Emmy nominations but didn't win any."It's actually kind of unimaginable, this experience," Levy said in Sunday's interview with The Canadian Press."I thought at best we would be justly rewarded if Catherine won, if my dad won. I had no expectation for anything else. Obviously, you certainly hope for the best. But I'm an incredibly pragmatic and rational thinker, and the idea of truly believing that we have what it takes to win all major categories was unbelievable."The half-hour program was considered a hidden gem until about two years ago, when it became a cultural phenomenon as the Roses shed their superficiality and accepted their new lifestyle in the town run by Roland Schitt (Chris Elliott).Johnny, a former video store magnate, became co-manager of the motel they lived in. Moira, a former soap star, reignited her acting career. Alexis went from apathetic to ambitious, starting up a public relations career. And David opened a successful boutique shop with his eventual husband, played by Noah Reid.Critics and audiences alike praised the Roses' quirky and amusing ways — from Alexis's catchphrase "Ew, David" to Moira's dramatic elocution and beloved wigs."I will forever be grateful to Eugene and Daniel Levy for bestowing upon me the opportunity to play a woman of a certain age — my age — who gets to fully be her ridiculous self," O'Hara, 66, said Sunday in her acceptance speech."They gathered the most beautiful, fun-loving people in Toronto — cast and crew — and then, by example, led us all to be the best we could be for each other."Murphy called her time on the show the best six years of her life."I am so proud of the cast and the crew and the writers, and I can't believe Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara are my friends," she said in her acceptance speech."I'm so proud to be a part of a show that stands for love and kindness and inclusivity and acceptance, because those four things are things we need more than ever right now."The Los Angeles-based Jimmy Kimmel hosted the live Emmys, which aired on ABC and CTV from a near-empty theatre as winners spoke from their respective locations."You're witnessing a Schitts-krieg," he quipped as the "Schitt's" wins rolled in.Eugene Levy and O'Hara have won Emmys together before, for writing on the sketch comedy series "SCTV Network" in the early 1980s.Levy told The Canadian Press he hoped Sunday's wins will help "open the door a little bit further for other Canadian shows to be seen and respected and recognized on the world stage."The wins add to the pressure the Levys are now facing to one day bring the Roses back, perhaps in film form, he added with a laugh."At this point, the idea better be a damn good one if we're going to top this experience."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 20, 2020.Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press
After nearly five years and thousands of donated gowns, Angela Pauls' Prom Project is coming to an end. Pauls started the project in 2016 to provide young women with prom dresses they might otherwise be unable to afford. Since then, the project has offered an assortment of 2,500 gowns, including wedding dresses, to people across three provinces. But on Saturday, Pauls closed the doors to her Wetaskiwin Mall shop with the COVID-19 pandemic ultimately delivering the final blow to an already struggling charitable venture."We just decided that after COVID happened we would not be able to survive what happened with no graduations," she said. "So we decided it was time to close." The store provided donated gowns at a heavily discounted cost. Pauls never took home a paycheck, she says, with all the proceeds reinvested in the project for rent, dry cleaning and other upkeep purchases. The project had struggled financially since 2018. Pauls moved from a storefront in Millet to the Wetaskiwin Mall location to save on rent that fall. Then two months later, her house burned down. As her family rebuilt their life on a hobby farm west of Millet, she struggled to keep up with donations and fundraising for the project. In all, she estimates her family spent $20,000 to keep the Prom Project afloat in the past four years."We've met an amazing group of people. And those are the people that came together and helped refurnish our house after our fire. It's been amazing and I know people will remember it for a very long time," she said. 'The need was there' The project began when Pauls helped a woman from Calgary collect prom dresses for young women in Fort McMurray who could not afford to buy or replace their gowns destroyed in the devastating 2016 wildfire. They filled a 3,000-square-foot storage space in Leduc with mountains of donated graduation gowns, Paul said. The gowns often included sentimental notes — a brief message from the past graduate to the future owner expressing hope the dress could bring some comfort to an otherwise trying circumstance.After collecting roughly 10,000 dresses, more than what was needed in Fort McMurray, Pauls says she decided to keep up the project. She partnered with schools to get donated dresses to young women in need while running the newly minted Prom Project out of another storage container in Wetaskiwin. "At that point in time, I had kids in high school and a husband who works in the oil fields, so I knew that these families were struggling and the need was there. So we might as well keep it going so all these kids could get these dresses," Pauls said. A single dress at a discounted cost, she said, could be a way of reclaiming a young woman's confidence and living out that time-honoured graduation experience."These girls will try on dresses and you'll see their confidence — they'll stand up straight, they'll be smiling, they won't be looking down," she said.Dean Stauffer's daughter, 12 years old at the time, was captivated by the dresses in the window of the Millet location as they passed by in 2018. > "These girls will try on dresses and you'll see their confidence — they'll stand up straight, they'll be smiling, they won't be looking down." \- Angela Pauls, owner of the Prom ProjectThe yellow dress with puffed sleeves immediately caught his daughter's attention, with its resemblance to Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Stauffer said. The single dad quietly inquired about the price, relieved to know the dress was both affordable and supported a good cause. "She just about tackled me with a hug, she just loved this dress," Stauffer said. Over the years, the two families formed a bond, with Stauffer inviting the Pauls over for Christmas dinner after their house burned down. His daughter volunteered at the store regularly up until the final day. It's a testament, Stauffer said, to the community the project was able to generate. "It was just a wonderful environment to work with her," Stauffer said. "To know that they can help folks out who don't have much money or any money." While the pandemic ultimately spelled the end of the Prom Project, it also heralded the start of Pauls' next chapter. She turned their hobby farm — complete with miniature potbelly pigs, horses and goats — into a business, hosting tours and special events. "We decided, you know what, we're going to make this a business — do it better so it's an actual business and we don't lose our shirt like we did with the prom project," she said. And while she's ready to move on, her voice still wavers as she considers the legacy of the Prom Project. "It's been really fun. We've met a lot of really awesome people, we've worked with a lot of great schools. And I am sorry to see it go and I'm hoping that someone along the way will just do something that's very similar," she said.
A conflict-of-interest investigation into Vancouver Coun. Michael Wiebe's motions and votes concerning the city's temporary patio program has recommended the first-term councillor resign and be disqualified from holding office. In the independent investigation, attorney Raymond E. Young, who was appointed by the mayor following a complaint against Wiebe, found that Wiebe's "conflict of interest actions cannot be viewed as an error in judgment made in good faith."Wiebe, who used to serve on the park board, is the owner of Vancouver's Eight ½ Restaurant, as well as an investor in the Portside Pub.The complaint claimed — and Young agreed — that Wiebe, a Green Party member, failed to declare a conflict of interest and recuse himself from several council meetings, where he and his businesses would benefit from the votes.The investigation focused on motions concerning the city's temporary expedited patio program (TEPP) and the expansion of liquor service areas at two council meetings on May 13 and May 27 where, in both instances, Wiebe failed to declare a conflict of interest.After reviewing the minutes from the first meeting, Young found that Wiebe both amended motions and voted in favour of amendments for motions on TEPP.On May 27, Wiebe both seconded and voted in favour of two motions that would benefit his businesses.Wiebe's Eight ½ Restaurant was one of the first 14 businesses to receive temporary patio permits from the city.Young determined that because of Wiebe's direct and indirect financial interest in the motion, he was obligated to declare his conflict and not permitted to participate in the discussion or vote, according to the Vancouver Charter, which he failed to do."His proposed and passed amendment enabled Councillor Wiebe to wear two hats when dealing with city staff: that of council member and that of business owner," Young wrote in his findings."This was a clear conflict of interest that he set in motion."Councillor apologizesWiebe said he was surprised to learn on Sept. 19 that the investigation had been concluded, saying he did not have an opportunity to give his input.He said he did not step back on the two motions concerning patios because they did not affect one particular area of the city, or increase capacity allowances in restaurants or bars, so he did not believe he was in direct conflict."I went into it with good faith and I still believe that," said Wiebe on The Early Edition on Monday. "Despite my best intentions, I inadvertently made an error in this matter and I'm deeply sorry that I did."Wiebe said he spoke to the city manager ahead of time to ensure the motion would be applied citywide and would not benefit Wiebe more than any other restaurant or pub owner."This is similar to voting for property tax decreases, when, if you're a property owner as a city councillor, you would directly benefit from that," Wiebe said.Wiebe later declared a conflictAt a council meeting on June 11, where council discussed an extension of TEPP to private properties, Wiebe declared a conflict of interest for the first time on an item related to patios.He also declared conflicts at other meetings in 2018, 2019 and 2020, which Young says proves that Wiebe was knowledgeable about conflicts of interest.Young also pointed to the fact that Eight ½ Restaurant was one of the first 87 businesses to apply for TEPP, a process that requires an application that includes measurements, drawings and photographs of the proposed space, plus a provincial COVID-19 temporary extension permit."There is significant planning and preparation involved in submitting an application," wrote Young, who found that Wiebe's actions at the council meetings occurred while he was personally involved in submitting an application to the program being discussed.Recommendation of Wiebe's resignationYoung's report has recommended a number of consequences for contravening the city's charter. * That Wiebe be disqualified from holding office on city council, the park board, other local government, or as a trustee under the Islands Trust Act until the next general election. * That he resign his seat on council.If Wiebe refuses to resign, Young provided a recommendation under the charter where either 10 or more electors or the city may apply to the court for an order.However, for it to come from the city, at least two-thirds of all council members would need to vote in favour.Young also wrote that the recovery of any financial gain by Wiebe is beyond the scope of his investigation and would need to be decided in the Supreme Court of B.C.In a statement, Mayor Kennedy Stewart said he can make recommendations to council about what action to take concerning Wiebe after reviewing the investigation report and cannot comment further.Wiebe said he has sent a letter to Stewart and Young telling them he would like to be more involved in the process.
Chase Claypool didn't wait long to set a Canadian NFL record. In just his second career game with Pittsburgh, the Steelers receiver had an 84-yard touchdown reception — the longest TD from scrimmage in league history by a Canadian-born player — in Sunday's 26-21 victory over the Denver Broncos. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hit the Abbotsford, B.C., product with a rainbow down the left sideline that put the Steelers ahead 13-3 midway through the second quarter.
P.E.I. will become the first in Canada, says the province, to introduce drivers to what traffic engineers call a displaced left turn.More than 45,000 vehicles funnel through the intersection at St. Peters Road and the bypass highway in Charlottetown every day, making it one of the busiest on the Island.Stephen Yeo, chief engineer with the Department of Transportation, says the province had to make changes. "We had traffic backed up in both directions here at times hundreds of meters," Yeo said from the construction site at the busy intersection.'A lot more efficient and it's safer'The province studied many options, including a roundabout, an overpass as well as "jug handle" intersection.Each of these options had various obstacles, but a Halifax consultant recommended the province take a closer look at the displaced left turn — which is widely used in Salt Lake City, Utah, a city of more than 200,000. When Yeo and one of his engineers visited the U.S. city they were sold. "The left turning traffic and the through traffic can go at the same time, so the intersection becomes a lot more efficient," he said. "And it's safer as well, because you don't have that T-bone effect if somebody happened to not pay attention to the lights."The displaced left intersection can handle upwards of 125,000 vehicles, he said, and will allow a lot less idling time and wait times for vehicles. So, how does it work?Yeo said as long as drivers follow the pavement markings, read the overhead signs and obey the lights they "should not have any problem maneuvering through this intersection." Drivers wanting to make a left turn off the bypass onto St. Peters Road will veer into the left turning lane, the same as they always did. As they approach the intersection, they will stop at a set of lights just before the main intersection. Drivers will then crossover to the opposite side of the road into an exclusive left-turn lane. That exclusive left-turn lane, or displaced left turn, will then proceed up to the main intersection. Power outages won't be an issue at the intersection. There is a six-hour battery backup on the lights and dedicated generators on standby. Right turns on red lights no longer allowed But there will be one major change which Yeo said people "will have to get used to" and that is that drivers will no longer be allowed to turn right on a red light at the intersection.The work will cost about $5.3 million, cost-shared between the provincial and federal governments. It will open in mid-October.But not before the province launches a series of educational videos to help Islanders get comfortable with the new intersection. 'You gotta have eyes in the back of your head'A couple residents were split on the idea.Sandra Birt, of Pisquid, is worried about the new intersection. Her local pharmacy is right on the corner. "Oh my, oh my, you gotta have eyes in the back of your head coming in because it's confusing, very confusing," said Birt. "I said to my husband 'You're going to have to take me through this first, so I can get the hang of the new way of going.'"But John Younker of Stratford said the province should have introduced the new intersection years ago to deal with the traffic backlog. "It's progression," said Younker. "I have no issues with it at all. It's going to take a little while to get used to, obviously, but I have no issues with it at all."'We won't be the only ones for long'Next summer, the province plans to expand St. Peters Road to four lanes between the intersection east to MacWilliams Road, with an active transportation trail, and construct three more roundabouts along that section of road.Yeo said the province is seriously considering a second displaced left turning lane at the intersection of the bypass and Malpeque Road, near the old Sears store. He expects displaced left turn intersections to catch on across the country, because they are efficient and cheaper than some of the other options, like overpasses. "I'm sure that the displaced lefts, we won't be the only ones for long." More from CBC P.E.I.
WASHINGTON — A woman suspected of sending an envelope containing the poison ricin, which was addressed to White House, has been arrested at New York-Canada border, three law enforcement officials told The Associated Press on Sunday.The letter had been intercepted last week before it reached the White House. The woman was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Peace Bridge border crossing in Fort Erie, Ont., and is expected to face federal charges, the officials said. Her name was not immediately released.The letter addressed to the White House appeared to have originated in Canada, the RCMP have said. It was intercepted at a government facility that screens mail addressed to the White House and President Donald Trump and a preliminary investigation indicated it tested positive for ricin, according to the officials.The officials were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.A spokesman for the RCMP deferred questions to the FBI, which confirmed an arrest had been made but would not comment further.There have been several prior instances in which U.S. officials have been targeted with ricin sent through the mail.A Navy veteran was arrested in 2018 and confessed to sending envelopes to Trump and members of his administration that contained the substance from which ricin is derived. The letters were intercepted, and no one was hurt.In 2014, a Mississippi man was sentenced to 25 years in prison after sending letters dusted with ricin to President Barack Obama and other officials.Michael Balsamo, Eric Tucker And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
Einstein the parrot loves to perch in his screen porch and watch the squirrels in the backyard. He talks and whistles to them for hours. "Talk to me" he tells the squirrels. Einstein, do squirrels really talk to you? Einstein the Talking Texan Parrot is a silly, smart, and popular parrot who loves to talk and entertain! He knows the names of several animals and likes to make their sounds. In addition to his silly vocalizations, he likes to have conversations with his owners, talking, doing animal sound imitations, and acting silly. He also enjoys singing and dancing in some of his video compilations. With his amazing talking abilities and funny antics, Einstein the talking parrot’s videos will keep you entertained for hours! Einstein parrot is also famous for some of his silly quotes and sayings. Online, Einstein, the talking parrot is popular across many social media platforms. Einstein’s favorite places to talk at home is perched on the shower wall, in the kitchen on his drawer, and on his screened-in back porch. As stated on his website, Einstein’s mission statement: “To entertain and bring joy, to foster the human-parrot bond, and to convey that parrots are deserving of immeasurable amounts of patience, nurturing, and companionship.” Einstein’s website, einsteinparrot.com is designed to inform you about the care of parrots and also entertain you. As previously mentioned, Einstein is popular on many social media sites such as YouTube @einsteinparrot, Instagram @einsteinparrot, Twitter @einsteinparrot, and Facebook @einsteintexanparrot. Living with a parrot is a big commitment. Parrots live a very long time. A parrot such as Einstein can live to be 50 or 60 years old. Many larger parrots like Macaws can live to be 100 years old. They all require a lot of care, proper nutrition, training, time, and patience. Parrots need a lot of attention and lots of toys and activities to keep from being bored. Parrots are also expensive, a large cage is an investment, and plenty of play perches to spend out of cage time. Specialized veterinarian care is also required. Most of all they require your companionship and a forever home. Many people decide after the first few years of parrot ownership that the responsibility is too great and the parrots become neglected and sometimes abandoned. When that happens they are sent to parrot rescue facilities to be adopted by a new family or some spend their lives in sanctuaries. It is often said, “Having a parrot is much like raising a raising a 2 to a 3-year-old child for the rest of your life!”
Since students returned to classrooms around British Columbia less than two weeks ago, there have been 16 exposures of COVID-19 in elementary and secondary schools, according to reports from regional health authorities.Additionally, over the weekend, Surrey school district superintendent Jordan Tinney announced four more exposures. Island Health and Vancouver Coastal Health are the only regional health authorities without current school exposures listed on their websites, though there are unconfirmed reports of exposures at two West Vancouver schools and one Richmond school. Vancouver Coastal Health would not confirm or deny reports of any specific exposures, but did acknowledge exposure events have occurred."We are aware of and will continue to see cases of COVID-19 occurring in staff and students. The robust school safety plans currently in place are designed to minimize the number of people who are exposed in school settings," Vancouver Coastal Health wrote in an email. The email said VCH will notify all people exposed to COVID-19 in the most direct way possible, and when that is not possible, they will issue a letter or public notification. If there is a school exposure in the region and action is required, VCH says a notification will be issued on its website. The regional health authorities remind parents that a notification of an exposure does not mean their child has been exposed to COVID-19, but indicates that a single person with a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 attended school during their infectious period. Public health officials investigate all school cases and conduct contact tracing. Children are advised to continue to attend school unless parents receive a phone call or letter from public health officials. Current school exposures:This is not an exhaustive list. There may be other school exposures that have not been shared widely by the health authorities or school officials.Fraser Health * Delta Secondary, Sept. 11 * Johnston Heights Secondary, Sept. 8, 9, 10 and 11 * Latimer Elementary, Sept. 10 * Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary, Sept. 14, 15 * Morgan Elementary, Sept. 8, 9 and 10 * North Surrey Secondary, Sept. 14 * Panorama Ridge Secondary, Sept. 8 * Princess Margaret Secondary, Sept. 11 * Sullivan Heights Secondary, Sept. 8 * T. E. Scott Elementary, Sept. 14, 15 * William Watson Elementary, Sept. 10 * Khalsa School (Old Yale Road location), Sept.1 and 4 * Khalsa Secondary School, Sept. 9, 10Confirmed by Surrey school district superintendent Jordan Tinney * Tamanawis Secondary, Sept. 14, 15, 16 and 17 * LA Matheson Secondary, Sept. 14, 15 and 16 * Panorama Ridge Secondary (second exposure), Sept. 10 * Queen Elizabeth Secondary, Sept. 14Interior Health * Stanley Humphries Secondary School, Sept. 11Northern Health * Quesnel Junior Secondary School, Sept. 10, 11 * Ecole Frank Ross Elementary, Sept. 10, 11
TORONTO — Under pressure to further respond to escalating rates of COVID-19 in Ontario, Premier Doug Ford said he will unveil his government's plan to deal with a potential second wave of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday.During his daily pandemic media briefing on Monday, Ford defended the delay in releasing the much-anticipated plan, stressing that the situation in the province has changed frequently since the first wave of the virus hit in March.In recent weeks, Ford has promised an updated fall preparedness strategy but pressure to release the document has intensified as daily case rates have steadily increased in recent weeks — with 425 new cases, and two new deaths, reported in Ontario on Monday."Everyone understands what happened in March is different than what happened in July," he said. "What's happening in July is different than September, and we have a solid, solid plan ... but this is fluid. This is moving day-by-day."The new plan comes as Ontario continues to grapple with long line ups at some of its 147 COVID-19 assessment centres and days after Ford announced an Ontario-wide crackdown limiting the number of people permitted at social gatherings.COVID-19 continued to spike in three virus hot spots on Monday, with 175 new cases in Toronto, 84 in Peel Region and 60 in Ottawa. Health Minister Christine Elliott said 67 per cent of the new cases are in people under the age of 40.The province also said it had processed 31,753 tests over the previous day, as it aims to complete 50,000 daily tests over the next few weeks.Elliott said that some elements of the new fall preparedness plan are already being implemented, including the ramp-up in testing. The second wave will be more complicated to respond to because of flu season and the need to address the province's surgery backlog, she added."We have planned for the worst and are ready for it," she said.Elliott said the plan will involve "hundreds of millions" in spending, which has required the government to complete "due diligence" on the strategy."We have to work with the federal government to make sure that they are going to be able to release their funds in a timely manner to support those areas that we have really focused on, testing, lab capacity, and making sure that we're ready for the flu," she said.Meanwhile, Ford said again Monday that he hopes to have a plan to permit pharmacies to conduct COVID-19 testing in place by the end of the week. The province has reached out to university and private laboratories to help process the increasing number of tests, he added."As we go up with testing, we want to make sure that lab capacity keeps up," he said.NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the province has known the potential for a second wave was real for months and should have delivered its fall strategy before the first day of autumn, which is Tuesday."It's pretty rich for the Premier and Minister of Health to suggest they a plan and it's already being implemented," she said. "If that were the case we wouldn't be seeing moms in line ups with sick kids for eight hours ... waiting to get a test."Unions representing more than 75,000 workers in long-term care homes across Ontario held a news conference on Monday morning, calling on the Ford government to address what they called a "broken system" that was struggling before the COVID-19 pandemic even began."We are seeing an uptick in the number of COVID cases across the province and many are saying we are on the verge of a second wave, if we're not in it already," said Candace Rennick, the secretary-treasurer of CUPE Ontario."Sadly, in long-term care, many of us are left questioning if we've learned any lessons from the first wave of this deadly virus."Rennick was joined by Sharleen Stewart the president of SEIU Healthcare and Katha Fortier an executive with Unifor National as well as three personal support workers. Stewart said that all three unions haven't heard or seen anything from the commission that is leading an inquiry into the state of Ontario's long-term care facilities.Meanwhile, the Progressive Conservative government and Opposition politicians have come to an agreement to manage the number of legislators at Queen's Park during sittings to practise physical distancing.The new cohorts will see a set rotation of some government ministers and legislators assigned to sittings of the house this fall, restricting contact between cohorts.Premier Doug Ford, Health Minister Christine Elliott and some other ministers will not be part of the cohorts to allow them to participate in more debate.Government House Leader Paul Calandra said news of federal Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole's positive COVID-19 test influenced the arrangement."I would be lying if I didn't say that what we saw in Ottawa over the last week ... didn't have an impact on us working together to make sure (the legislature) continues in this fashion," he said. Ontario Labour Minister Monte McNaughton, who announced last week that he was in self-isolation after having dinner with O'Toole recently, has subsequently said both he and his family have tested negative for the virus.-with files from John Chidley-Hill.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2020.Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press