The bodies of four dead bowhead whales in Nunavut have locals and researchers wondering what could have caused their deaths.
The bodies of four dead bowhead whales in Nunavut have locals and researchers wondering what could have caused their deaths.
WASHINGTON — Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took their oaths of office on Wednesday using Bibles that are laden with personal meaning, writing new chapters in a long-running American tradition — and one that appears nowhere in the law. The Constitution does not require the use of a specific text for swearing-in ceremonies and specifies only the wording of the president’s oath. That wording does not include the phrase “so help me God,” but every modern president has appended it to their oaths and most have chosen symbolically significant Bibles for their inaugurations. That includes Biden, who used the same family Bible he has used twice when swearing in as vice-president and seven times as senator from Delaware. The book, several inches thick, and which his late son Beau also used when swearing in as Delaware attorney general, has been a “family heirloom” since 1893 and “every important date is in there,” Biden told late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert last month. “Why is your Bible bigger than mine? Do you have more Jesus than I do?” quipped Colbert, who like Biden is a practicing Catholic. Biden’s use of his family Bible underscores the prominent role his faith has played in his personal and professional lives — and will continue to do so as he becomes the second Catholic president in U.S. history. He follows in a tradition of many other presidents who used family-owned scriptures to take their oaths, including Ronald Reagan and Franklin D. Roosevelt, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Some have had their Bibles opened to personally relevant passages during their ceremonies. Bill Clinton, for example, chose Isaiah 58:12 — which urges the devout to be a “repairer of the breach” — for his second inauguration after a first term marked by political schisms with conservatives. Others took their oaths on closed Bibles, like John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president, who in 1961 used his family’s century-old tome with a large cross on the front, similar to Biden’s. The tradition of using a Bible dates as far back as the presidency itself, with the holy book used by George Washington later appearing on exhibit at the Smithsonian on loan from the Masonic lodge that provided it in 1789. Washington’s Bible was later used for the oaths by Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. But not every president has used a Bible. Theodore Roosevelt took his 1901 oath without one after the death of William McKinley, while John Quincy Adams used a law book in 1825, according to his own account. Some have employed multiple Bibles during their ceremonies: Both Barack Obama and Donald Trump chose to use, along with others, the copy that Abraham Lincoln was sworn in on in 1861. Harris did the same for her vice-presidential oath, using a Bible owned by a close family friend and one that belonged to the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Harris has spoken of her admiration of Marshall, a fellow Howard University graduate and trailblazer in government as the high court’s first African American justice. “When I raise my right hand and take the oath of office tomorrow, I carry with me two heroes who’d speak up for the voiceless and help those in need,” Harris tweeted Tuesday, referring to Marshall and friend Regina Shelton, whose Bible she swore on when becoming attorney general of California and later senator. Harris, who attended both Baptist and Hindu services as a child, worships in the Baptist faith as an adult. While U.S. lawmakers have typically used Bibles for their oaths, some have chosen alternatives that reflect their religious diversity. Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim elected to Congress, in 2007 used a Qur’an that belonged to Thomas Jefferson, prompting objections from some Christian conservatives. Jefferson’s Qur’an made a return in 2019 at the oath for Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., chose a Hebrew Bible in 2005 to reflect her Jewish faith. Newly elected Georgia Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff, who is also Jewish and who swears in Wednesday, used Hebrew scripture belonging to Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, an ally of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement. Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, opted for the Bhagavad Gita in 2013 after becoming the first Hindu elected to Congress. And Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., the only member of the current Congress who identifies as “religiously unaffiliated,” took her oath on the Constitution in 2018. ___ Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely responsible for this content. Elana Schor, The Associated Press
COMMUNAUTÉ. C’est finalement un montant de 40 235 $ qui aura été amassé via Gofundme afin de créer une bourse d’études pour Jacob, le fils de l’urgentologue Karine Dion. «Je suis vraiment émue. Je pensais faire une petite campagne pour mon hôpital, mais c’est tout le Québec qui est solidaire pour aider Jacob et honorer la mémoire Karine», constate avec reconnaissance la Dre Geneviève Simard-Racine qui s’était d’abord fixé un objectif de 10 000 $ à recueillir pour créer une bourse d’études pour le fils de son amie. «Il y a eu aussi le 13 janvier, en soirée, un parcours commémoratif dans l’hôpital de Granby. Nos gens pouvaient se recueillir et déposer une étoile dans un cadre. Il y avait également un livre qui sera remis à David, le conjoint de Karine, où l’on pouvait laisser un mot», rapporte-t-elle. À son tour, la Dre Simard-Racine a invité «les aidants à accepter de se faire aider». Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
MANCHESTER, England — Bernardo Silva finally broke Aston Villa’s resistance by scoring off Manchester City’s 36th effort at goal before Ilkay Gundogan’s penalty sealed a 2-0 victory on Wednesday that extended the winning run of the Premier League’s form team to six matches. An end-to-end match in which City lost Kevin De Bruyne and Kyle Walker to injuries looked to be heading for a draw, despite the home team’s dominance, when Silva received a pass from Rodri and smashed home a shot from the edge of the area in the 79th minute. The goal was contentious because Rodri was returning from an offside position when he dispossessed Villa defender Tyrone Mings before releasing Silva. No offside was given, though, with the officials seemingly feeling a new phase of play had started when Mings controlled the ball on his chest before being picked off by Rodri. Villa manager Dean Smith was sent off for protesting against the awarding of a goal he described as “farcical” and “pathetic.” “I said to the fourth official, David Coote, ‘Did you get juggling balls for Christmas?’" Smith said, explaining when he was shown a red card by referee Jonathan Moss. “I don’t think any other manager would get sent off for that.” Gundogan wrapped up the win in the 90th minute by converting a spot kick after Matty Cash raised his hand to block a goalbound header from Gabriel Jesus. City moved above Leicester to the top of the league, although Manchester United can reclaim first place by beating Fulham later Wednesday. It was Villa’s first league match since Jan. 1, after which there was a coronavirus outbreak in the squad that led to the training ground being closed. Villa reported that nine players contracted COVID-19 in that period but Smith was able to field a full-strength lineup against City, with the squad only back in training since Sunday. Villa, however, was on the back foot for the entire match, which was played in driving rain, only holding on thanks to a series of last-ditch blocks and some fine goalkeeping from Emi Martinez. City is in its best form of the season, having won nine straight games in all competitions. Pep Guardiola's team in unbeaten in 15. “No one else has won five, six in a row but it’s still the first leg of the season," Guardiola said. "A lot of games to do but the important thing is that the feeling is good.” Walker was substituted with an apparent leg muscle injury in the 27th minute, while De Bruyne hobbled off in the 59th shortly after being fouled by Jack Grealish. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
People's Alliance Leader Kris Austin says he's rethinking his role on an all-party COVID-19 committee because of inconsistent pandemic guidelines that he is finding hard to justify to New Brunswickers. Austin said the recent watering down of red-phase restrictions, and the lack of information being provided to opposition party leaders, causes him to question the value of the committee. "That is something that frankly I have thought about," he said. "At what point do you throw up your hands and walk away?" The Alliance leader said he's not ready to quit yet but his support for the committee is "waning." And he said that's in part because it's difficult for opposition parties to both have a role in recommendations and at the same oppose COVID-19 policies they disagree with. "I'm honoured to be on the committee, and to be able to speak and to be a part of the discussion that happens … but at the same time, as opposition parties we have to have the flexibility to speak when we don't agree." He is also questioning whether moving four health zones to the red phase of restrictions this week was necessary. "I think we should have stuck it out in orange for a bit longer and see where we can go from there." Premier Blaine Higgs struck the all-party committee last March, the same week the first case of COVID-19 appeared in New Brunswick. It includes Higgs, key ministers and the leaders of the three opposition parties in the legislature. I was under the understanding that red meant lockdown, that there was no extra lockdown. - Kris Austin, People's Alliance leader Higgs had a minority government at the time and the committee was a way for the government to present a unified public health message to New Brunswickers that would not be undermined by partisan bickering. The premier kept the committee in place even after he won a majority in last September's election and told CBC News he hopes Austin won't break from the consensus. "It's important that we stay together as a team in our cabinet committee," he said. "This is no time after a successful 10 months to have diverse opinions in the public." But Austin said he's increasingly disenchanted with how the body works and is calling for "a real reset of this committee to determine how it's going to be done better." It has no decision-making power but gives feedback and advice on various COVID-19 measures. Only the actual Progressive Conservative cabinet has the power to approve pandemic measures. Higgs says though that the three opposition parties are getting "all the information" that he is given as premier by Public Health officials. "There's nothing new or different from what I'm presented." Consensus not always reached This isn't the first time cracks have appeared in the consensus. Last spring Green Party Leader David Coon broke ranks with Higgs over restrictions on temporary foreign workers that were later rescinded. At the time, Coon complained that the confidentiality oath taken by him and the other party leaders prevented him from discussing publicly what concerns he raised about the decision in the committee. And this week Liberal Leader Roger Melanson said the committee was given little notice of the change to red-phase rules to allow schools to stay open, a shift that Education Minister Dominic Cardy said had been in the works for some time. Austin said he supports schools staying open but questioned why the red-phase rules were being changed now. Consistency is the key to giving New Brunswickers confidence in COVID-19 measures, he said. But now the government is talking for the first time this week about a new, stricter lockdown phase beyond red. "I was under the understanding that red meant lockdown, that there was no extra lockdown. But now red seems to be another version of orange. Schools are remaining open, and yet we're targeting churches and hair salons." Among other rules in the red phase, only drive-in religious services are allowed, salons, gyms and entertainment centres must close, and restaurants are not allowed to provide in-housing dining. Higgs said keeping schools open is the only change to the red rules and described it as "a bridge" between red and orange restrictions. "The challenge becomes that we're all a bit frustrated with where we are now .. and how far do we go to shut this down?" The Alliance leader said he gets calls from New Brunswickers asking him, as a member of the committee, to explain certain decisions, but without "relevant, specific information" it's often hard to justify them. Austin's riding is part of Zone 3, which saw one new case on Tuesday when it was put in the red phase. The zone had a single new case again Wednesday. "People can't grasp that," he said, and it's made more difficult when he isn't even told where in the zone — which stretches from Minto and Chipman all the way to Perth-Andover and Plaster Rock — the cases are located. Higgs says he understands Austin is getting pushback and believes it's a reflection of rising case numbers. "In two weeks time, if this absolutely turns around, everybody's going to be thankful we made the moves we did. And if it doesn't turn around, people are going be saying 'do more.'"
The COVID-19 pandemic has been rough for many local businesses, with some entrepreneurs contemplating whether they can get through 2021. For others, it’s been a different story: Sales remained stable, or even grew. Businesses negatively affected include hair salons and personal services which were shuttered in mid-December. The order forcing the closures of these businesses lifted a few days ahead of the planned review Jan. 21, and personal services were allowed to re-open Monday. Callie Balderston, Beaverlodge and District Chamber of Commerce president, welcomed the Alberta government’s decision last week to reverse the closures. “Hopefully that is a telltale for what’s to come - more and more businesses can get up and running,” Balderston said. While hardware and grocery stores have been busy, restaurants have taken a hit and the government disallowed in-person dining in mid-December. Anna’s Pizza in Beaverlodge had closed its dining area long before, focusing on takeout since last March, said co-owner Wael Ammar. Ammar said Anna’s is doing the best it can. The closure of the diner, which could hold up to 50 people, caused “disturbance to the business.” “We had busy lunches we were depending on, which now we don’t have,” he said. Keeping dine-in service wasn’t financially viable, and Ammar said he didn’t want to risk exposing employees or customers to the virus. Currently, Anna’s has two full-time and one-part-time staff members; usually there are three and four respectively, Ammar said. He said he doesn’t oppose current restrictions because he supports their purpose. “They’re tough, but I think they’re necessary in order to get past this pandemic,” Ammar said. In comparison, Robyn Young, co-owner of Sexsmith’s Hippy Strings, said the business catering to knitters and crocheters is faring as well as it typically would at this time of year. “We’re lucky enough to have products people are using right now - they’re stuck at home and this gives them something to do,” Young said. Yarn, needles and kits have been popular items during the pandemic, she said. Customers are still able to come into the store without an appointment, but the restrictions have meant a limit of six at a time, she said. She said it was unlikely before the pandemic that Hippy Strings would have more than six customers at a time anyway. Young said Hippy Strings doesn’t have any issue with current restrictions, and even during the lockdown last spring the store could rely on its online offerings and deliveries. The store actually saw its business pick up during the lockdown, as she said January and February are slow months for Hippy Strings. Others stuck at home have turned their attention to renovations - something Del Wiebe, Beaverlodge Home Building Centre store manager, said has helped business. “People have been doing more work at home, and being insde those four walls, they’re seeing things they want to do,” Wiebe said. The most popular product is paint. Decking, fencing and roofing supplies have also been strong sellers, he said Traffic into the store doubled starting in April and continuing though the summer, Wiebe said. The store is also large enough that staff haven’t needed to enforce the 15 per cent capacity limit, he added. In January business has dropped a little but there’s been “a steady stream of walk-in,” he said. He believes locals have begun to contemplate the lengthy nature of the pandemic and whether they have the budget for more renos. Beaverlodge’s cannabis store Level 420 is on the “right” side of the pandemic as her sales have increased, said owner Dawn Jolin. “We’ve definitely seen an increase in business,” Jolin said. During the lockdown last spring sales didn’t increase dramatically, but as the pandemic wore on, Jolin said people began “looking for other things to pass the time” Space restrictions haven’t been a consideraton since the capacity limit has never been exceeded. “The mask mandate is kind of a pain because it’s hard to hear what people are saying,” she said. Last spring the Alberta government designated cannabis retail as an essential service. “As an independent businessowner, if we had not been considered essential, I probably would have lost my business,” Jolin said. She said the supports changes to restrictions to see hair salons and personal services re-open, more to benefit neighbouring businesses than Level 420. Liquor stores were also declared essential last spring and Robyn Wadsworth, manager of Sexsmith’s What Ales You, said business is good. Wadsworth said she can’t be certain why the business is performing well but speculated the pandemic may be a factor. “Everybody is staying home and the only thing they have to do is drink,” she said. The restrictions have had little impact on What Ales You, but the limited capacity of five customers at a time has meant there have been more lineups outside the door, she said. Lineups happen about once a week at most, Wadsworth said. That said, it was rare to have more than five customers in the store at a time before the pandemic, and the reduced capacity hasn’t been a problem, she said. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
WASHINGTON — Three new senators were sworn into office Wednesday after President Joe Biden's inauguration, securing the majority for Democrats in the Senate and across a unified government to tackle the new president's agenda at a time of unprecedented national challenges. In a first vote, the Senate confirmed Biden's nominee for Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines. Senators worked into the evening and overcame some Republican opposition to approve his first Cabinet member, in what's traditionally a show of good faith on Inauguration Day to confirm at least some nominees for a new president's administration. Haines, a former CIA deputy director, will become a core member of Biden’s security team, overseeing the agencies that make up the nation’s intelligence community. She was confirmed 84-10. The new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., urged colleagues to turn the spirit of the new president’s call for unity into action. “President Biden, we heard you loud and clear,” Schumer said in his first speech as majority leader. “We have a lengthy agenda. And we need to get it done together.” Vice-President Kamala Harris drew applause as she entered the chamber to deliver the oath of office to the new Democratic senators — Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock and Alex Padilla — just hours after taking her own oath at the Capitol alongside Biden. The three Democrats join a Senate narrowly split 50-50 between the parties, but giving Democrats the majority with Harris able to cast the tie-breaking vote. Ossoff, a former congressional aide and investigative journalist, and Warnock, a pastor from the late Martin Luther King Jr.'s church in Atlanta, won run-off elections in Georgia this month, defeating two Republicans. Padilla was tapped by California’s governor to finish the remainder of Harris’ term. “Today, America is turning over a new leaf. We are turning the page on the last four years, we’re going to reunite the country, defeat COVID-19, rush economic relief to the people,” Ossoff told reporters earlier at the Capitol. “That’s what they sent us here to do.” Taken together, their arrival gives Democrats for the first time in a decade control of the Senate, the House and the White House, as Biden faces the unparalleled challenges of the COVID-19 crisis and its economic fallout, and the nation's painful political divisions from the deadly Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol by a mob loyal to Donald Trump. Congress is being called on to consider Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion COVID recovery package, to distribute vaccines and shore up an economy as more than 400,000 Americans have died from the virus. At the same time, the Senate is about to launch an impeachment trial of Trump, charged by the House of inciting the insurrection at the Capitol as rioters tried to interrupt the Electoral College tally and overturn Biden’s election. The Senate will need to confirm other Biden Cabinet nominees. To “restore the soul” of the country, Biden said in his inaugural speech, requires “unity.” Yet as Washington looks to turn the page from Trump to the Biden administration, Republican leader Mitch McConnell is not relinquishing power without a fight. Haines' nomination was temporarily blocked by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Okla., as he sought information about the CIA's enhanced interrogation program. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is holding back the Homeland Security nominee Alejandro Mayorkas over Biden's proposed immigration changes. And McConnell is refusing to enter a power-sharing agreement with Senate Democrats unless they meet his demands, chiefly to preserve the Senate filibuster — the procedural tool often used by the minority party to block bills under rules that require 60 votes to advance legislation. McConnell, in his first speech as the minority party leader, said the election results with narrow Democratic control of the House and Senate showed that Americans “intentionally entrusted both political parties with significant power.” The Republican leader said he looked forward working with the new president “wherever possible.” At her first White House briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden’s desire to have his Cabinet confirmed and in place is “front and centre for the president,” and she said he was hoping to have his national security nominees in place Thursday or Friday. Psaki said the president will be “quite involved” in negotiations over the COVID relief package, but left the details of the upcoming impeachment trial to Congress. The Senate can “multitask,” she said. That’s a tall order for a Senate under normal circumstances, but even more so now in the post-Trump era, with Republicans badly split between their loyalties to the defeated president and wealthy donors who are distancing themselves from Republicans who back Trump. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to soon transmit to the Senate the House-passed article of impeachment against Trump, charged with incitement of insurrection, a step that will launch the Senate impeachment trial. Meantime, the power-sharing talks between Schumer and McConnell have hit a stalemate. It’s an arcane fight McConnell has inserted into what has traditionally been a more routine organizing resolution over committee assignments and staffing resources, but a power play by the outgoing Republican leader grabbing at tools that can be used to block Biden’s agenda. Progressive and liberal Democrats are eager to do away with the filibuster to more quickly advance Biden’s priorities, but not all rank-and-file Senate Democrats are on board. Schumer has not agreed to any changes but McConnell is taking no chances. For now, it will take unanimous consent among senators to toggle between conducting votes on legislative business and serving as jurors in the impeachment trial. The House last week impeached Trump for having sent the mob to the Capitol to “fight like hell” during the tally of Electoral College votes to overturn Biden’s election. __ Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report. Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
Inmates at the North Slave Correctional Complex in Yellowknife and the Fort Smith Correctional Complex wanting the COVID-19 vaccine were able to receive it Wednesday. Inmates at the South Mackenzie Correctional Centre in Hay River are scheduled to receive their shots Friday. The jail clinics are part of specific vaccine clinics being offered to vulnerable populations in the territory, a spokesperson for the N.W.T. Health Authority told CBC. Teams held vaccine clinics at homeless and day shelters in Yellowknife, Inuvik and Hay River over the weekend and early this week. The Department of Health says people experiencing homelessness in other N.W.T. communities will have access to the public clinics which have been taking place this month. The territory received its first shipment of 7,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine on Dec. 28. On Dec. 31, the N.W.T. immunized 130 residents and staff at two long-term care facilities, one in Yellowknife and one in Behchokǫ̀. According to the territorial government's COVID-19 information website, 1,893 dose of the vaccine have been given in the N.W.T. so far. When the territory gets its final shipment in mid-March, it expects it will have received 51,000 doses, enough to immunize 75 per cent of the adult population.
Two large studies give a much sharper picture of which inherited mutations raise the risk of breast cancer for women without a family history of the disease, and how common these flawed genes are in the general population. Doctors say the results published Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine can help women make better decisions about screening, preventive surgery or other steps. Although this sort of genetic testing isn’t currently recommended for the general population, its use is growing and many people get it from tests sold directly to consumers. The new work shows that the risk conferred by some genes “is very high,” Mary-Claire King wrote in an email. King, a University of Washington scientist, had no role in the new studies but discovered the first breast cancer predisposition gene, BRCA1. “The lives of many women could be saved if all women were offered the opportunity to learn if they carry mutations in these genes before they are diagnosed with cancer,” she wrote. The American Cancer Society estimates that 276,000 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in the United States last year. The new work suggests that at least 13,800 of them occur in women with inherited gene mutations that raise their risk of developing the disease. Until now, what’s been known about inherited risk largely has come from studies of women with a family history of breast cancer or unusual situations such as getting it at a very young age. There also has been little work on specific mutations in these genes and how much each affects the odds of developing disease. The new studies fill some of those gaps. One was led by Fergus Couch, a pathologist at the Mayo Clinic and included researchers from the National Institutes of Health, which sponsored the study with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. They looked for any mutations in 12 genes that have been tied to breast cancer in more than 64,000 women, about half with the disease and half without it, pooling results from studies throughout the United States including some in specific minority groups such as Blacks. They found troublesome mutations in about 5% of women with the disease and in 1.63% of the comparison group. “Now we realize that 2% of the women walking around in the United States might have mutations in these genes,” Couch said. There were no differences among racial groups in the odds of having a mutation overall, but certain mutations were more common in certain groups. For example, Black women were more likely to have ones linked to “triple negative” cancers -- tumors that are not fueled by estrogen or progesterone, or the gene that the drug Herceptin targets. The study also found having a mutation in the BRCA1 gene raised the risk of developing breast cancer nearly eightfold, and in the BRCA2 gene, more than fivefold. Conversely, another gene has been thought to be very concerning but “what we found is that it’s really low risk ... people really shouldn’t be acting on it,” Couch said. Actions could include more frequent mammograms or other screening tests, having breasts or ovaries removed, having family members tested or other steps. With the new work, “we’re providing more accurate risk estimates” to guide such decisions, Couch said. The second study led by researchers at the University of Cambridge in England, looked at 34 genes in women throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia and Asia -- about 60,000 with breast cancer and 53,000 similar ones without it. “They found what we found” -- increased risk from certain genes and a similar prevalence of them in the general population, Couch said. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Marilynn Marchione, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — The head of the Ontario Medical Association says dangerous misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines is spreading on social media among all age groups. The association's analysis of more than 65,000 recent online posts in Ontario shows that conspiracy theories about the origin of the novel coronavirus and fears that vaccines are dangerous and untested run particularly rampant among people under the age of 35. Dr. Samantha Hill says any delay to vaccinating Canadians will cost lives, whether it stems from untruths that dissuade people from getting a shot in the arm or current issues slowing down delivery of doses to Canada. Canada's small supply of vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech will shrink even more over the next four weeks as the company slows production while upgrading its facility in Belgium. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn't doing enough to pressure Pfizer to limit the effect on Canada and is urging him to get company CEO Albert Bourla on the phone right away. A Trudeau spokesman says they will not confirm who Trudeau has spoken to about the matter, and will not negotiate in public. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
In the wake of a COVID-19 outbreak that has already killed four residents, a family member of a resident at Amberwood Suites said staff there did everything they possibly could have to protect residents’ lives. Linda Vlach is the daughter of 94-year-old Amberwood resident Gertrude Phillips, who is doing well right now after coming through her own bout with the virus and having to isolate herself. Vlach said she credits her mom's survival with the intense level of care at the home. "I felt really that Amberwood did everything they possibly could,” she said. “Once it was found out there were positive cases in the building, they just flat out ordered in all the PPE (personal protective equipment) they would need.” Vlach said rolling PPE carts were set up outside each suite so that staff and care givers could get fresh equipment every time they went into a room. Vlach said she is not worried for her mom's safety. She said Amberwood has been especially careful about the virus right from the beginning, and that with so many people being asymptomatic, it was the kind of thing that could have happened anywhere. Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) revealed earlier this month that an outbreak was discovered at the home Jan. 5. As several days passed, PHSD revealed that five staff members and 33 residents of the home were also infected. Several of those who tested positive were transferred to Health Sciences North. Several others were put into self-isolation in their suites. On Jan. 15, PHSD reported one resident had died. On Jan. 18, PHSD reported two more residents had died. Then on Jan. 19, PHSD reported a fourth Amberwood resident had died. Vlach said her mother was one of the residents who had tested positive and was put into isolation. It was an uncertain time for her family, but her mother seemed to adjust well, she said. "Well she is very much a social creature. She is one of the gals that likes to be out for everything, the exercises, or the bingos or anything that was going on. She was always there early, with bells on," Vlach said. "It was almost bizarre for my mom to hear she had tested positive. So we all braced ourselves and expected the worst, maybe. Then for her to have no symptoms; you know she is just baffled by it. At her age, she is diabetic. She has a heart condition. She just managed to be asymptomatic and come through it all." Vlach said as much as residents had to endure complete isolation, she said it has also been difficult for the staff at Amberwood. "I think it has been very hard on the staff,” she said. “I think for them it has been devastating. I think it is very hard really on the staff not just to have lost people they probably feel were friends, I think it is very hard on them going to work everyday to have to worry about COVID itself.” She said that the lockdown has changed the entire atmosphere at the home, but it is something that is so necessary. "It has changed dramatically the way the building functions, you know, as far as people not being able to get together, to people not being able to leave or to go out to things they would normally go out to," Vlach said. She added that she is the only family caregiver that was approved for her mother, as per provincial rules. She had to undergo in-house training and COVID-19 testing for that role. Although there are five siblings in her family, Vlach is the only child allowed to actually go and see her mother on a daily basis. "Yes, they have closed off any visitation in the suites themselves. For family members to go in they were able to visit on the outside patio as long as the weather allowed, or the inside private dining room. And those spaces were sanitized and controlled as far as how many people were allowed in," she explained. That is no longer allowed, but Vlach said her mom is still able to use the phone to stay in contact with family members. "She has plenty of activities in her suite. She has always kept herself busy and with lots to do. She has DVDs and music and digital photo screens, and reading. Once she realized the building was in lockdown and isolation in the suites, she just settled in and made herself comfortable. We have a big family too so we all keep in touch with her, with lots of phone calls and things that perk her day up." In the meantime, the lockdown continues, said Vlach. She said staff and management at the home are doing all they can to make things comfortable, but there's no mistaking the seriousness of the situation. A screener is posted at the main door. Masking is mandatory. Things have even changed at meal time, said Vlach. No one sits four to a table. People sit alone and eat by themselves. "Yes, it's hard, but they felt it was important, and it certainly increased the workload on the staff," said Vlach. "I don't have any concerns. It is certainly so unfortunate that this happened in the building, this outbreak. People lost their lives. That's so tragic. This is devastating for the families," said Vlach. "But today if you ask my mom, she will say, I couldn't be in a better place. I feel safe here." Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
La démocratie a besoin d’être réformée et ce n’est pas seulement en changeant de dirigeant que l’on y arrivera. Il faut aussi repenser le système qu’il défend.
OTTAWA — A majority of Conservative MPs have voted to remove Derek Sloan from the party's caucus, according to sources not authorized to speak publicly about caucus business. The vote follows revelations Sloan accepted a donation to his leadership campaign from a white nationalist. Party leader Erin O'Toole initiated the caucus removal process late Monday after news of the donation surfaced. Sloan did not dispute he received the money but has said he was unaware of it, and it was unfair to expect him to scrutinize the backgrounds of all donors. Sloan was first elected to the Ontario riding of Hastings-Lennox and Addington in 2019 and unsuccessfully ran for leadership of the party last year. His socially conservative views have been a thorn in the party's side and O'Toole had faced pressure for months to kick him out to prove the Tories are the moderate party the leader claims. More Coming... The Canadian Press
Après l’annonce d’une aide financière de Québec pour lancer les travaux du chantier de construction du Port de Contrecoeur, la semaine dernière, on apprend maintenant l’identité des entreprises qualifiées en vue de décrocher ce lucratif contrat. Trois consortiums se feront la lutte dans le cadre d’un appel d’offres. Par voie de communiqué, l'Administration portuaire de Montréal (APM) a annoncé, mercredi, que trois consortiums ont été retenus à la suite d’un appel de qualification. Les trois groupes s’identifient sous les noms Ancre Contrecoeur, CAP Contrecoeur et Kiewit-Pomerleau. Derrière Ancre Contrecoeur, on retrouve un partenariat des entreprises Dragados Canada et AECOM Consultants. Sous CAP Contrecoeur, ce sont Eurovia Québec Grands projets, Janin Atlas, Soletanche Bachy International, VINCI Infrastructure Canada, GHD Consultants, COWI North America et CH2M Hill Canada qui se sont associées. Finalement, le groupe Kiewit-Pomerleau est composé des entreprises Construction Kiewit et Pomerleau ainsi que CIMA+, Englobe, Hatch et Solmatech. D’après le communiqué de l’APM, cinq dossiers ont été reçus et trois ont été retenus. Ces consortiums seront donc invités à participer à l’appel d’offres pour la conception et la construction du futur terminal de Contrecoeur. En entrevue à La Presse Canadienne, la vice-présidente affaires publiques de l'APM, Sophie Roux, a affirmé que l'appel d'offres devrait être lancé «dans les prochains mois» sans pouvoir donner plus de précision. La semaine dernière, le ministre des Transports, François Bonnardel, et la ministre responsable de la région de Montréal, Chantal Rouleau, ont dévoilé une aide financière de 55 millions $ pour appuyer la phase de démarrage du projet. Le chantier n’a cependant pas encore obtenu le feu vert du ministère fédéral de l'Environnement, alors que des inquiétudes persistent au sujet de l'impact sur certaines espèces menacées, dont le chevalier cuivré. Dans l’éventualité où l'APM reçoit l'approbation nécessaire, les travaux devraient débuter dès l'automne, avait fait savoir le président-directeur général Martin Imbleau. Sophie Roux a réitéré, mercredi, que les démarches progressent dans le but de lancer les travaux dès que le gouvernement fédéral donnera son accord final. «On est sur un échéancier critique, a-t-elle soutenu. Nous savons qu'avec nos installations portuaires en manutention de conteneurs sur l'île de Montréal, nous opérons à quasi pleine capacité présentement.» L'APM plaide donc l'urgence d'agir pour bonifier sa capacité d'accueil de conteneurs. À la fin de l'ensemble des travaux, que l'on prévoit pour 2024, le terminal devrait être en mesure d'accueillir 1,15 million de conteneurs afin de permettre au port de Montréal de poursuivre sa croissance. D'après les projections du gouvernement, le terminal devrait permettre la création de 1000 emplois lorsqu'il sera en pleine opération. La facture totale du projet est estimée entre 750 millions $ et 950 millions $.Ugo Giguère, Initiative de journalisme local, La Presse Canadienne
The Nova Scotia Police Review Board is looking into claims from convicted murderer Christopher Garnier's family that accuse Cape Breton Regional Police officers of conducting an illegal arrest and seizure of evidence in 2017. Garnier was taken into custody for breaching bail conditions after failing to present himself to the municipal force at his mother's basement door in Millville, N.S. during a compliance check His mother, Kim Edmunds, said she does not believe police were at her home as they have stated. "I honestly don't think they were," Edmunds told members of the board's three-person panel. "When somebody knocks on the door, it wakes me up." Alleged breach In February 2017, while awaiting trial for murder, Garnier took a trip to Cape Breton, where his mother lives. He was allowed to live at his father's house in Bedford or at his mother's residence in Millville as part of his bail conditions. Garnier was to submit to regular compliance checks from either members of the CBRP and Halifax Regional Police. Before his trip, Garnier called a Halifax police answering service to advise he was going to stay at his mom's place, although he did not leave his cell phone number with the service at that time. A CBRP officer testified under oath at a bail revocation hearing that he went to the Millville home in the early morning hours of Feb. 18, 2017, but Garnier did not present himself at the door. A Supreme Court judge later ruled Garnier did not intentionally breach his conditions, as he was likely asleep. That same year, Garnier was found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of off-duty Truro police officer Catherine Campbell. Complaint launched Christopher Garnier's father, Vincent Garnier, is representing himself as a complainant at the police hearing into the actions of four officers. The men accused of misconduct are Const. Steve Campbell, Const. Gary Fraser, Const. Dennis McQueen and Const. Troy Walker. Each officer is represented by a lawyer, while a member of Cape Breton Regional Municipality's legal team is acting on behalf of the police organization. "We'll dig deep into the practices of the [CBRP] which I believe violate the constitution, violate the charter and violate aspects of the criminal code. Those are the informations I would like to bring forth over the next two weeks," Vincent Garnier said during a break in the proceedings. "The police, without a warrant, and without any consent of the property owners, accessed private property, walked into a private residence and placed a person under arrest." The board heard that photographs of the property were taken without the knowledge of the homeowner. Hearing continues Vincent Garnier said his family incurred more than $35,000 in legal fees as a result alleged breach. After his son's arrest, he filed a complaint with CBRP. An internal investigation found that if a breach had occurred, it was only minor. Members of the police review board, Hon. Simon J. MacDonald, Stephen Johnson and chair Jean McKenna are hearing arguments on both sides of the case at a Sydney hotel. Police will have a chance to explain their actions on the weekend in question once Vincent Garnier finishes calling witnesses. In total, 14 people are expected to testify at the hearing that is slated to run over two weeks. So far, the board has heard from Christopher Garnier's mother and stepmother, his uncle, and his former common-law partner. MORE TOP STORIES
The Nisga’a Lisims Government (NLG) has extended the local state of emergency for the Nass Valley following a unanimous decision from the NLG executive. The state of local emergency was first declared on Jan. 12, as COVID-19 cases continued to climb. The NLG has not yet released the new timeline or said when the extension is set to end. ALSO READ: Nisga’a Lisims Government declares state of local emergency “We should not visit other homes for any reason,” said a Jan. 20 NLG media release. “Doing so jeopardizes the health and well-being of all — especially our elderly population and those that are vulnerable due to other health conditions.” The local state of emergency restricts travel between Nisga’a villages, prohibits any gatherings, implements security monitoring and can result in fines for people found to be in contravention of provincial or Nisga’a orders. As of Jan. 20, there are 21 active COVID-19 cases in the Nisga’a Valley Health Authority, and there have been 90 positive tests since Dec. 28, 2020. Nineteen results are pending and 159 people have tested negative for COVID-19 out of 268 total tests. ALSO READ: Nisga’a Valley Health prepares to roll out COVID-19 vaccines The Nisga’a Valley Health Authority had been expecting to receive a shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine around the start of the week, but was notified Monday morning that the delivery would be delayed due to a province-wide disruption in shipments. READ MORE: B.C. turns to second doses of COVID-19 vaccine as supplies slow Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News
European leaders described the 46th President's inauguration speech as "inspiring" and said it was time to bring "conviction and common sense" to help rejuvenate their relationship with the US.View on euronews
Curiosity about a free newspaper in his mailbox turned into surprise when former St. John's mayor Dennis O'Keefe found his name printed inside — in a story that said he, along with the mayor of Calgary and other officials, was a target of interest for the Chinese Communist Party. "I couldn't believe it," said O'Keefe outside his St. John's home while holding a recent copy of the Epoch Times, which was distributed this month for free to households in the region. "I mean, I've had a lot of surprises in my life, believe me. But this one really takes the cake." The article said O'Keefe's name was found in a 2019 document that came from the Foreign Affairs Office in Daqing, a city in northeastern China. The paper said it obtained the document that included names "spanning a wide range of sectors and countries in which the Chinese regime seeks to cultivate talent." O'Keefe retired as mayor before the 2017 municipal election. "It's just inexplicable," said O'Keefe who called the article "terribly misleading," and said nobody from the Epoch Times contacted him for comment. The Epoch Times has been distributing free copies of its paper throughout Canada over the course of the last year in an effort to grow subscribers. The newspaper has often been controversial for publishing articles that promote unfounded conspiracy theories, some of them embraced by alt-right groups, and many of them about China. The newspaper has, for instance, promoted the belief that the novel coronavirus was produced in a lab in China, and that the American deep state stole November's presidential election from Donald Trump. What is the Epoch Times? The Epoch Times started 20 years ago in what the paper called a "response to communist repression and censorship in China." The paper is headquartered in New York and says it operates in 22 languages in 36 countries. Simon van Zuylen-Wood, a New York based journalist who recently did a deep dive on the paper's embrace of Donald Trump for The Atlantic magazine, said the paper has found favour with the conspiratorial strains of the American right wing. His Atlantic article was called "MAGA-land's Favorite Newspaper," with the subhead, "How the Epoch Times became a pro-Trump propaganda machine in an age of plague and insurrection." In a phone interview with CBC News, Zuylen-Wood called the Epoch Times a fast-growing newspaper that changed tack in the Trump era. He said what makes it unique is that it's backed and run by members of the Falun Gong sect — a spiritual movement that was persecuted and banned by the Chinese government in the late 1990s. The paper's connection to the Falun Gong has been widely reported in mainstream publications, including CBC News. When Trump ran for president, the paper saw that for "the first time in decades a major party's presidential nominee was running an overtly protectionist campaign, with China in his crosshairs." He wrote the "Falun Gong came to see Trump as a kind of killer angel, summoned from heaven to smite the Chinese government." The article goes on to say "The Epoch Times ramped up its spending on Facebook ads and hitched its wagon to the 45th president." That hitch has also proven lucrative. Van Zuylen-Wood said the paper's revenues have quadrupled in the last four years. The paper also has a large online presence. A recent NBC News report said the Epoch Times now has one of the biggest social media followings of any news outlet. Van Zuylen-Wood says the paper has become one the "leading purveyors of content suggesting that the American election was stolen." He noted it also prints recipes, lifestyle stories and wellness tips. "So it's a strange mix of pedestrian and often kind of irrelevant news and then sort of hard right, often sort of conspiratorially laced content," he said. 'Utter nonsense' concerns resident That mix is what worries Lesley Burgess about the paper she found in her St. John's mailbox recently. She is among those who have voiced their concerns on social media about the paper and its content. "It has all these kinds of health and lifestyle stories woven in with all of this misinformation, basically," said Burgess. She said she had heard about the paper before but it wasn't until she looked through that she realized there was "utter nonsense" everywhere. CBC's request for comment from the Epoch Times has gone unanswered. "If you don't know any better, you might think this is a run-of-the-mill paper. And I think that's really dangerous," Burgess said. Kurt Phillips, a board member with the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, has been following the subscription drive of the Epoch Times. He said the paper's content is of concern because it keeps disseminating disinformation about conspiracy theories on the far right such as "Spygate" and QAnon. Phillips said he's seeing stories from the paper shared in some mainstream conservative circles, which has the potential to radicalize people with misinformation. "It is contributing to an ever-growing divide between reality and a fictionalized version of the world that is especially dehumanizing and dangerous," he said. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
La tempête automnale du 1er novembre 2019 restera gravée dans la mémoire de bien des Cowansvillois. Et l’inondation qui l’a suivie laissera des marques permanentes sur le paysage du boulevard des Vétérans et de la rue Bonnette, à Cowansville. Quelques maisons ont disparu tandis que d’autres seront démolies dans les prochains mois en vertu d’un décret provincial qui permet à une municipalité de refuser l’émission d’un permis de rénovations et d’obliger la démolition. « Lorsque les gens de ces zones-là viennent nous voir pour des demandes de permis, on doit vérifier ce qu’ils veulent faire comme travaux et suivre le décret, explique Manon Moreau, inspectrice en bâtiment et règlementation à Cowansville. On a une certaine démarche à suivre et ça peut arriver que les travaux soient trop importants. À ce moment-là, on demande la démolition du bâtiment. » Ensuite, les propriétaires se tournent vers la Sécurité publique du Québec pour obtenir une subvention qui permettra de rembourser la perte de la propriété. Une entente est prise entre la Ville et les propriétaires privés pour que le terrain soit remis à l’administration. Avenir incertain pour les terrains vacants Deux adresses ont déjà été démolies sur le boulevard des Vétérans et la rue Bonnette. Les terrains ont été légués à la Ville. Des demandes sont en cours d’étude pour quelques autres immeubles. « À cause de la COVID-19, le délai a été prolongé. Le ministère a accepté que ça attende jusqu’à l’été, ajoute Mme Moreau, le temps que les gens se retrouvent une maison et se relogent. » Ce secteur est majoritairement composé de résidences unifamiliales, de jumelés et de duplex. Pour l’instant, la Ville n’a pas prévu de nouvelle vocation pour les nouveaux terrains vacants. S’ils étaient tous adjacents, un parc ou un accès à la rivière pourrait être envisagé, mais ces terrains sont éparpillés jusqu’à présent.Cynthia Laflamme, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix de l'Est
Paramedics across B.C. responded to more calls to help someone who had an overdose in 2020 than any other year since record keeping began, according to dispatchers. B.C. Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) on Wednesday said they were called to 27,067 overdoses last year — an average of 74 calls every day, or one call around every 20 minutes. The total is up 12 per cent from 2019, according to a statement. "It's hard for every paramedic who goes to those scenes," wrote Pat Hussey, paramedic unit chief in Penticton, which saw an 87 per cent increase in calls last year. The sobering statistics are further confirmation the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the overdose crisis that has devastated the province for years. The overdose death toll for the year surpassed 1,500 in November, solidifying 2020 as a record-breaking year for lives lost due to a lethally toxic illicit drug supply. A drop in Vancouver BCEHS said every one of B.C.'s five health regions saw an increase in overdoses last year, except one: Vancouver Coastal Health saw calls drop slightly, by four per cent. The Downtown Eastside, which has historically seen more than 5,000 overdose calls in a year, saw about 760 fewer calls last year than the year before. A reason for the drop was not immediately confirmed by the service. Brad Cameron, a paramedic manager with BCEHS, said from anecdotal evidence and his own experience, one reason for the drop could be due to the higher availability of naloxone in the Downtown Eastside. "Pretty everybody down in that particular area knows of somebody who's got naloxone or who carries themselves. It's freely available among the safe consumption sites, harm reduction sites," Cameron said. He also noted that there appears to be greater awareness among drug users in the neighbourhood noting, for example, that many people were becoming more aware that they shouldn't be using opioids alone. "If somebody is with you when you're using and notice that you're going into respiratory distress or into arrest, they're there readily to give the naloxone and call 911 for the presence of an ambulance," he said. Dramatic increases outside Lower Mainland The increases in other rural communities were dramatic, relative to the population. There were 20 calls for an overdose in Fort Nelson, up 233 per cent from last year. Keremeos and Sechelt saw increases of 167 and 112 per cent, respectively. Terrace and Houston also saw double the number of calls compared to previous years. The BC Coroners Service said Wednesday it is not yet finished compiling monthly overdose statistics for December, nor has it finished the yearly data for 2020. Those numbers are expected in February. Even with incomplete annual data, the overdose crisis continues to be deadlier than the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. More than 1,540 people died of an overdose in 2020, compared to 1,090 people who died of COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the existing overdose emergency. The supply of illicit drugs bought and sold across the province became more toxic when the U.S.-Canada border closed in March and forced suppliers to find other sources. Toxicology findings show a larger number of those who died between April and November had extreme concentrations of fentanyl, compared with previous months, according to the coroners service. Public health measures to combat COVID-19 have also hindered access to key harm-reduction services like supervised consumption sites, meaning more people are using alone. More than half of illicit drug toxicity deaths last year — 55 per cent — happened in private residences. Hussey, the paramedic in Penticton, said overdose calls have become more complex with such a high level of drug toxicity. Overdoses require multiple doses of naloxone and patients often have breathing and neurological complications.
Forest areas in Jasper and close to it are being thinned to reduce the risk of wildfire. Crews from Landmark Solutions Ltd. started work in November. This is part of the FireSmart Forest Fuel Reduction Project, a partnership between the Municipality of Jasper and Parks Canada. “It has to be done in the winter because of the impact on the ground and safety in burning piles,” said Greg Van Tighem, director of protective services for the Municipality of Jasper, and a project manager alongside Landon Shepherd with Parks Canada. Van Tighem emphasized it’s important not to disturb the understory, the layer of vegetation beneath the main canopy, as the ground has to be frozen. “(The crews) deal with the understory and the bigger trees,” he said. “They’re targeting the mountain pine beetle-killed trees.” Alan Westhaver, a former Park warden, runs ForestWise Environmental Consulting Ltd. and develops the prescription for each Fire Management Unit (FMU). “Parks Canada provides a surveillance officer, Christine Brown, to monitor the work (including) the criteria of FireSmart prescription on a daily basis and adhering to environmental requirements,” Van Tighem said. “Each unit is different in the prescription.” There are seven units and nine subunits in the project that cover a total of 27.5 hectares. This includes the industrial area, places around the municipality and Parks Canada compounds and the Lake Annette/Lake Edith day-use areas. “Our objective is to provide a higher level of safety to the community in the event of a wildfire, so we reduce the fuel located around the community and the infrastructure that surrounds the community,” Van Tighem said. Portions of some units have been completed. Van Tighem said work will continue until the ground begins to thaw and snow starts to melt in March. The trees cut down in some of the units are used for firewood. With a $10 fire permit, folks can pick up the wood onsite. “It’s a way to reduce waste,” Van Tighem added. Since the early ‘90s, FireSmart Canada has worked to reduce the risk that wildfires present to populated areas by facilitating interagency co-operation to promote education and awareness. Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh