WASHINGTON — Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.Barr's comments, in an interview Tuesday with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month's voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.More to Trump's liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn't said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn't comment Tuesday.Trump has long railed against the investigation into whether his 2016 campaign was co-ordinating with Russia, but he and Republican allies had hoped the results would be delivered before the 2020 election and would help sway voters. So far, there has been only one criminal case, a guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer to a single false statement charge.Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest. An attorney general must document such reasons in writing.Barr went to the White House Tuesday for a previously scheduled meeting that lasted about three hours.Trump didn't directly comment on the attorney general's remarks on the election. But his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, "with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president's complaints.Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump's allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired. But it's not clear whether Barr might suffer the same fate. He maintains a lofty position with Trump, and despite their differences the two see eye-to-eye on quite a lot.Still, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quipped: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud.That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election was certified. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.The Trump campaign team led by Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers didn’t have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened. The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence.But local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims, prompting grave concerns over potential damage to American democracy.Trump himself continues to rail against the election in tweets and in interviews though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever. He recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but he still refuses to admit he lost.The issues they've have pointed to are typical in every election: Problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.But they've gone further. Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” – the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. Powell has since been removed from the legal team after an interview she gave where she threatened to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.Barr didn't name Powell specifically but said: “There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”In the campaign statement, Giuliani claimed there was “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined.”“We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth,” he said.However, Barr said earlier that people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said a remedy for many complaints would be a top-down audit by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all," he said, but first there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. ... And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on."___Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
The remains of a 17-year-old soldier were unearthed four years ago in Belgium — and it turns out they are those of a member of the Newfoundland Regiment, who fought in the First World War and died 103 years ago. The details of the discovery and identity were announced Tuesday at an event at The Rooms in St. John's, with the provincial archivist being acknowledged as having played a major role in the process. Pte. John Lambert died Aug. 16, 1917. He was born July 10, 1900, in St. John's, according to officials with the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. His remains were discovered during an archeological dig near St. Julien, Belgium. There were three other sets of human remains found, but it's not clear if the others have been identified. Lambert's name was memorialized on the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial in Bowring Park, which commemorates soldiers from Newfoundland who died during the First World War and have no known grave. Lambert lied about his age to fight in warAccording to a biography on the federal government's website, Lambert lied about his age and claimed he was 18 years old when, in fact, he was 16. He joined the 2nd Battalion in Scotland, and made his way to France, where he joined the 1st Battalion of the Newfoundland Regiment in June 1917. Members served with the 88th Brigade of the 29th Infantry Division of the British Expeditionary Force.On Aug. 16, 1917, an attack was launched by the Newfoundland Regiment — in what become known as the Battle of Langemarck — with members successfully overtaking the enemy's trenches and bunkers. Lambert suffered wounds during the attack, and later died from them. Another 26 men were killed in that battle. N.L.'s provincial archivist played key roleLambert's remains were found alongside a number of artifacts in 2016. Those included a shoulder title of the Newfoundland Regiment, an Inniskilling Fusiliers cap badge, two Hampshire Regiment shoulder titles, general service buttons, British bullets and a few other small items.DNA samples from the soldier's descendants made it possible to confirm Lambert's identity — making it the first time a Newfoundland Regiment soldier has been identified by this process, according to the provincial government. It was Greg Walsh, the provincial archivist and director of The Rooms' provincial archives, who "provided vital archival research to locate Private Lambert's direct descendants," according to a Newfoundland and Labrador government media release. Walsh, speaking to reporters at Tuesday's event, praised Lambert for being "so courageous."When pressed about the fact that this was the first local case of its kind, Walsh acknowledged the significance, but noted it was a team effort. "I just feel like it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done, I have ever been asked to do, and I'm so proud of the work I did, and the work we did as a team," he said. "I do feel like we have put a name to a face and that's a huge part of what we do as archivists and we don't get to do that everyday."Patience and tenacityHow Walsh got to the point of identifying the remains was a lesson in patience and tenacity. "Military records confirmed there were 16 Newfoundland Regiment soldiers who had fought in the vicinity, with no known grave. Walsh, began his year-long search with this list of 16 soldiers and proceeded to find living descendants for 13 of the 16," reads a statement. Walsh combed through many information sources, including vital statistics registers, census records, newspaper records, phone books and online search engines, to find anything that might help with the process. Ultimately, it was a combination of historical, genealogical, anthropological, and DNA analysis that helped the Casualty Identification Review Board identify Lambert, according to the government's website.Col. Perry Grandy, who is chairman of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Advisory Council, said identifying Lambert, and the process that led to that, are both significant. "This has connected our modern day life with something that happened in history that we only read about," Grandy said. Burial to come at 'earliest opportunity'The Canadian Armed Forces have notified Lambert's surviving next of kin, and are providing them with ongoing support, according to the government. Lambert, who was born to Richard and Elizabeth Lambert, will be buried at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's New Irish Farm Cemetery in West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, as the "earliest opportunity," according to the federal government. It's expected that family members, along with representatives from the Canadian, United Kingdom and Belgian governments will attend, as will representation from the Canadian Armed Forces. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
HARDCOVER FICTION 1. “Rhythm of War” by Brandon Sanderson (Tor) 2. “Daylight” by David Baldacci (Grand Central Publishing) 3. “A Time for Mercy” by John Grisham (Doubleday) 4. “The Law of Innocence” by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown) 5. “All That Glitters” by Danaielle Steel (Delacorte) 6. “The Return” by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central Publishing) 7. “The Sentinel” by Child/Child (Delacorte) 8. “Fortune and Glory” by Janet Evanovich (Atria) 9. “Tom Clancy Shadow of the Dragon” by Marc Cameron (G.P. Putnam's Sons) 10. “Piece of My Heart” by Mary Higgins Clark (Simon & Schuster) 11. “Marauder” by Cussler/Morrison (G.P. Putnam’s Sons) 12. “Batman: Three Jokers” by Johns/Fabok (DC) 13. “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett (Riverhead) 14. “Three Women Disappear” by Patterson/Serafin (Little, Brown) 15. “Anxious People” by Fredrik Backman (Atria) HARDCOVER NONFICTION 1. “A Promised Land” by Barack Obama (Crown) 2. “Dungeons & Dragons: Tasha's Cauldron of Everything” (Wizards of the Coast) 3. “Forgiving What You Can't Forgive” by Lysa TerKeurst (Thomas Nelson) 4. “Greenlights” by Matthew McConaughey (Crown) 5. “Dolly Parton, Songteller” by Dolly Parton (Chronicle) 6. “A Wealth of Pigeons” by Martin/Bliss (Celadon) 7. “Frontier Follies” by Ree Drummond (William Morrow) 8. “Modern Comfort Food” by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter) 9. “No Time Like the Future” by Michael J. Fox (Flatiron) 10. “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson (Random House) 11. “The Answer Is...” by Alex Trebek (Simon & Schuster) 12. “Guinness World Records 2021” (Guinness World Records) 13. “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle (Dial Press) 14. “The Forgiveness Journal” by Lysa TerKeurst (Thomas Nelson) 15. “HHR: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style” by Elizabeth Holmes (Celadon) MASS MARKET PAPERBACKS 1. “Wyoming True” by Diana Palmer (HQN) 2. “Leopard’s Rage” by Christine Feehan (Berkley) 3. “The River Murders” by Patterson/Born (Grand Central Publishing) 4. “When You See Me” by Lisa Gardner (Dutton) 5. “The Night Fire” by Michael Connelly (Grand Central Publishing) 6. “Spy” by Danielle Steel (Dell) 7. “A Christmas Message” by Debbie Macomber (Mira) 8. “Spirit of the Season” by Fern Michaels (Zebra) 9. “A MacGregor Christmas” by Nora Roberts (Silhouette) 10. “The Museum of Desire” by Jonathan Kellerman (Ballantine) 11. “A MacCallister Christmas” by William W. Johnstone (Pinnacle) 12. “The Vanishing” by Jayne Ann Krentz (Berkley) 13. “The Christmas Backup Plan” by Lori Wilde (Avon) 14. “The Devil's Boneyard” by William W. Johnstone (Pinnacle) 15. “One Touch of Moondust” by Sherryl Woods (Harlequin) TRADE PAPERBACKS 1. “Home Body” by Rupi Kaur (Andrew McMeel) 2. “Texas Outlaw” by Patterson/Bourelle (Grand Central Publishing) 3. “Redefining Anxiety” by John Delony (Ramsey) 4. “No One Asked for This” by Cazzie David (Mariner) 5. “The 19th Christmas” by Patterson/Paetro (Grand Central Publishing) 6. “Forgiving What You Can't Forget Study Guide” by Lysa TerKeurst (Thomas Nelson) 7. “The Truths We Hold” by Kamala Harris (Penguin Books) 8. “Una tierra prometida” by Barack Obama (Debate) 9. “Shuggie Bain” by Douglas Stuart (Grove) 10. “Burn After Writing” (pink) by Sharon Jones (TarcherPerigee) 11. “The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook” by Jeffrey Eisner (Voracious) 12. “Air Fryer Cookbook” by Jenson William (Jenson William) 13. “Interesting Stories for Curious People” by Bill O'Neill (LAK) 14. “Circe” by Madeline Miller (Back Bay) 15. “Burnout” by Nagoski/Nagoski (Ballantine) 5. “Circe” by Madeline Miller (Back Bay) The Associated Press
Canada's third quarter annualized growth soared by a record 40.5%, rebounding from a historic plunge in the second quarter, as businesses and stores reopened from COVID-19 lockdowns, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday. "There was a big import drag that knocked almost six percentage points off GDP growth ... it reflects positive developments but in GDP accounting it acts as a drag on top line GDP growth." "The quarterly increase in GDP in Q3 as a whole was a little bit smaller than expected earlier on but it's still pretty large."
Social determinants of health – such as discrimination, proper housing and occupation – are critical factors for public health officials when considering how to target resources at those whose risk of contracting the novel coronavirus is highest. As health interventions aim to address these social liabilities in the short-term, the pandemic is also exposing how environmental determinants of health are often overlooked. Air pollution, for example, produces worse health outcomes and occurs more intensely in areas with poorer social and economic conditions, according to research cited in a study published earlier this month by health data non-profit ICES and the University of Toronto. The paper notes that previous studies “have also implicated environmental pollution as having a biological relationship to the risk and severity of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.” Environmental factors affecting local public health may emerge as a larger discussion in the coming weeks, as Mississauga’s climate plans resurface during budget committee presentations which resumed Monday. Estimated to cost more than $460 million in the next decade, or about $46 million per year, the City is slow to commit funding in its first year of budgeting for a greener future in Mississauga. In June 2019, following the lead of several other Canadian cities, Mississauga’s Council passed a motion to declare a climate change emergency and approved an ambitious Climate Change Action Plan six months later. In the summer, as the 2021 budget document was being considered by City staff, The Pointer asked Mayor Bonnie Crombie about the ambitious goals she championed in the Climate Action Plan just prior to the pandemic, including some $160 million that would be needed in the short term for hybrid and electric buses. "Certainly, the greening of our economy is the right direction to move and I think we all agree with that," she said at the time. "We are very hopeful that the impact of COVID will be contained to the next three-year horizon and that we will still move forward with our Climate Action Plan. It is very dependent on the ICIP money (Ottawa's Invest In Canada Plan for infrastructure) – money coming from the provincial and federal government – to assist us to green our fleet and implement many of the recommendations that you found in that report." Now, implementing the climate plan is a highlight of the City’s 2021 budget. The two-pronged climate change solution universally advocated by scientists – mitigation and adaptation – is reflected in the City’s strategy to promote green energy, and retrofit or build resilient infrastructure. The plan sets out to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent in the next ten years and by 80 percent ahead of 2050, with the long-term goal of reaching zero emissions. The second pillar is to “build resilience” against the effects of climate change, including severe weather damage to City infrastructure. Next year’s ‘pandemic’ budget, has leaned out capital project funding to help weather the City’s major revenue losses in transit and recreation due to the ongoing public health emergency. Parks, Forestry and Environment staff are proposing a net $37.5 million operating budget, or a $1 million increase from last year, to maintain service levels, support higher fleet costs and kick-off climate protection goals. “Now, having a bold plan is very different than action. This is where the City now has to try and follow through on that, and I don't see that in this year's budget yet,” said Marc Johnson, Director of the Centre for Urban Environments at the University of Toronto Mississauga. He cited urbanization data that shows 82 percent of Canadians live in cities, with significant greenhouse-gas emissions and resource extraction linked to oil, lumber and other materials that support urban development. Though projects including infrastructure lifecycle maintenance, tree planting, stormwater drainage, trail upkeep, parks construction and pedestrian bridge replacement may relate to climate change, the budget does not directly connect these developments to the City’s climate strategy. “I want to see earmarked in [the budget] which of these investments in staff, in green technology, and infrastructure refurbishment are aligned with their Climate Action Plan,” he said. Perhaps the clearest funding link to execute the Climate Change Action Plan is the addition of another full-time staffer, a climate change specialist, in next year’s operating budget, with a salary of $92,000, and $121,000 forecast in 2022. No funding has been allocated until 2023 for the Climate Change Plan Implementation in corporate buildings, with budget documents recommending about $216,000 be set aside. In budget presentation documents, staff acknowledged the City requires resources to fulfill its climate plan and parkland growth expansion. However, parkland growth is not funded until 2022, with a recommended $291,000 budget. Capital projects in the Parks, Forestry and Environment departmental budget will also face deferrals, with an overall budget of about $32.3 million for 2021, forecast to more than double in 2022 to $66 million, and drop slightly to $51 million the following year. There is also a modest budget for parkland acquisition in 2021, at $120,000, compared to $26 million forecast for 2022. Corporate building retrofits as part of the climate plan are also being set aside, not being requested in the budget until 2023, with staff forecasting $216,000. More than 40 percent of parks and related infrastructure will need capital funding for replacements and maintenance over the next decade. Funding in other service sectors will affect Mississauga’s climate change goals, most prominently in transit, which accounts for about 70 percent of the City’s emissions. MiWay Director Geoff Marinoff said, during Tuesday’s transit presentation to the committee, that 40 percent of the fleet would be turned over to hybrid energy buses in the next four years. MiWay is proposing $440.6 million to replace 409 buses over the next 10 years. However, staff are proposing only a small fraction of the annual investment needed if 40 percent of a new hybrid fleet is to be acquired in the next four years. The bus replacement budget for 2021 is just $2 million, even though MiWay reaffirmed its commitment to “no longer purchase any conventional diesel buses, and will be required to purchase hybrid-electric and zero emission vehicles.” The budget does not specify if the bus replacement budget will be solely for hybrid-electric vehicles. (The City currently has 36, and the remaining 475 buses run on ultra-refined diesel.) The federal government, as Crombie highlighted in the summer, could provide a significant contribution, as clean energy infrastructure is one of the priorities in its infrastructure investment policy and Ottawa has already approved large sums to municipalities and provinces for clean transportation since the plan was adopted under the Liberals in 2015. The budget also notes the City’s training program for fleet operation will be amended to train drivers in reducing idling and fuel consumption to align with climate goals. Initiatives linked to fighting climate change can also be found in the increased stormwater tax. Mississauga has seen its share of extreme weather in the past decade, with heavy rain and flash floods last spring and fall. Human activity connected to climate change is leading to more extreme rainfalls in North America, according to a study published this June. A stormwater tax raise, which will range from $2.20 to $3.68 per year, is slated to help generate $43.5 million toward the City’s stormwater reserve funds for unpredictable weather caused by changing environmental conditions. Natural disasters and severe weather events demand crucial consideration when making urgent local policy shifts, said Lauren Latour, a coordinator at Climate Action Network Canada. “A lot of the time when we talk about climate policy, we're talking about federal level policy, but the effects are going to have to be dealt with by municipal governments,” Latour said. “They become those frontline protectors for their communities.” Email: email@example.com Twitter: @LaVjosa COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you.Vjosa Isai, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
Two battleground states, Wisconsin and Arizona, certified their presidential election results in favour of Joe Biden, even as President Donald Trump's legal team continued to dispute the results.Biden’s victory in Wisconsin was certified Monday following a partial recount that only added to his 20,600-vote margin over Trump, who has promised to file a lawsuit seeking to undo the results.Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, signed a certificate that completed the process after the canvass report showing Biden as the winner following the recount was approved by the chairwoman of the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission. Evers’ signature was required by law and is typically a procedural step that receives little attention.“Today I carried out my duty to certify the November 3rd election,” Evers said in a statement. “I want to thank our clerks, election administrators, and poll workers across our state for working tirelessly to ensure we had a safe, fair, and efficient election. Thank you for all your good work.”The action Monday now starts a five-day deadline for Trump to file a lawsuit, which he promised would come no later than Tuesday. Trump is mounting a longshot attempt to overturn the results by disqualifying as many as 238,000 ballots. Trump’s attorneys have alleged without evidence that there was widespread fraud and illegal activity.Biden’s campaign has said the recount showed that Biden won Wisconsin decisively and there was no fraud. Even if Trump were successful in Wisconsin, the state’s 10 Electoral College votes would not be enough to undo Biden’s overall victory as states around the country certify results.Earlier Monday, Arizona officials certified Biden’s narrow victory in that state.Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey both vouched for the integrity of the election before signing off on the results.“We do elections well here in Arizona. The system is strong,” Ducey said.He did not directly address Trump’s claims of irregularities but said the state pulled off a successful election with a mix of in-person and mail voting despite the pandemic.Hobbs said Arizona voters should know that the election “was conducted with transparency, accuracy and fairness in accordance with Arizona’s laws and election procedures, despite numerous unfounded claims to the contrary.”Biden is only the second Democrat in 70 years to win Arizona. In the final tally, he beat Trump by 10,457 votes, or 0.3% of the nearly 3.4 million ballots cast.Even as Hobbs, Ducey, the state attorney general and chief justice of the state Supreme Court certified the election results, Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis met in a Phoenix hotel ballroom a few miles away to lay out claims of irregularities in the vote count in Arizona and elsewhere. But they did not provide evidence of widespread fraud.“The officials certifying have made no effort to find out the truth, which to me, gives the state Legislature the perfect reason to take over the conduct of this election because it’s being conducted irresponsibly and unfairly,” Giuliani said.Nine Republican state lawmakers attended the meeting. They had requested permission to hold a formal legislative hearing at the Capitol but were denied by the Republican House speaker and Senate president.Trump berated Ducey on Twitter Monday night, asking, “Why is he rushing to put a Democrat in office, especially when so many horrible things concerning voter fraud are being revealed at the hearing going on right now.”Elections challenges brought by the Trump campaign or his backers in key battleground states have largely been unsuccessful as Trump continues to allege voter fraud while refusing to concede.There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. In fact, election officials from both political parties have stated publicly that the election went well and international observers confirmed there were no serious irregularities.___Bauer reported from Madison, Wis.; Cooper and Tang reported from Phoenix.Scott Bauer, Jonathan J. Cooper And Terry Tang, The Associated Press
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 62 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday as officials warned that sharply increasing case numbers are bringing the public health system to the brink of collapse.The unit's capacity is being stretched to the limit as it also faces a range of outbreaks in schools, long-term care centres, and now hospitals —and tries to monitor a high number of possible contacts from them."We will be on the verge of collapsing the public health capacity and also the acute care system capacity now that we have two outbreaks in the hospital system," said Medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed in reference to outbreaks declared at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare and Windsor Regional Hospital. The health unit is dealing with 14 outbreaks at workplaces, schools and health care facilities.WECHU CEO Theresa Marentette said nurses who are doing contact tracing are following about 1,000 contacts."Every outbreak that we report, every case is a further stretch of our resources," she said.There is also demand placed on public health resources due to cases in schools, Marentette said. There are 25 schools where cohorts of students have been dismissed due to COVID-19, she said.Ahmed said the region is at risk of entering the strongest stage of restrictions — a lockdown — though there is no specific threshold for entering that stage.He said he hopes to avoid further restrictions but action may be needed if cases continue to increase.7 days a weekThe health unit has been running seven days a week since March, adding new staff and trying to use every resource possible -- including from the province -- to handle the pandemic, Marentette said."All of that is helping but it continues to be a lot," she said."Sixty-two new cases in a day is incredible."The new cases of COVID-19 reported Tuesday bring the active case total in Windsor-Essex to 427.The health unit also announced the death of a man in his 90s who was living at a long-term care home. He is the 80th person in Windsor-Essex to die of COVID-19 since March.The figures come a day after Windsor-Essex entered the red "control" zone, the second highest tier in the province's COVID-19 restrictions framework.Testing capacityDespite the surge in new cases, Dr. Ahmed said that, according to the most recent epidemiological data, those tested for COVID-19 are receiving their results in about 24 to 48 hours.Windsor Regional Hospital's Ouellette Assessment Centre, one of two testing sites in the region, has a capacity of nearly 500 tests on weekdays and just over 300 daily on weekends. That capacity has been increased in the last two days by 66 swabs on weekdays and about 40 on Saturdays and Sundays, the hospital said in a statement. 17 cases connected to Hôtel-Dieu outbreakMeanwhile, the COVID-19 outbreak at Windsor's Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare has grown from five to 17 cases, hospital CEO Janice Kaffer told reporters Tuesday.Five of those who tested positive for the novel coronavirus are patients, while 12 are staff members. All of the cases are connected to an outbreak that was declared on Sunday in a section of the hospital's rehab unit. Kaffer said test results for all patients affected have come back and hospital officials don't anticipate more cases.Windsor Mosque closedWindsor Mosque announced Tuesday it is closed temporarily due to a COVID-19 case.The Windsor Islamic Association said in a Facebook post Monday night that someone who attended prayer Friday at the mosque on 1320 Northwood St. has tested positive for the disease.While the mosque is closed, the association said it will undergo a "thorough disinfection." Anyone who attended prayer at the mosque is asked to monitor for symptoms. Snapshot of COVID-19 cases in Windsor-EssexOf the 62 new cases announced region-wide Tuesday, 16 are close contacts of a confirmed case, 11 are local health-care workers, six are community acquired, one is an agri-farm worker and 27 are still under investigation. Overall in Windsor-Essex, there are seven workplace outbreaks: * Three in Leamington's agriculture sector. * One in Lakeshore's health care and social assistance sector. * One in a Leamington place of worship. * One in Leamington's finance and insurance sector. * One in Windsor's manufacturing sector.Two community outbreaks are still active: one at Victoria Manor Supportive Living in Windsor and another at Riverplace Residence in Windsor. Two schools — Frank W. Begley Public School and W. J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School — also remain in outbreak.There are five long-term care and retirement homes in outbreak: * Village of Aspen Lake in Tecumseh with one staff case. * Leamington Mennonite in Leamington with one staff case. * Chartwell Royal Oak Residence in Kingsville with one staff case. * Riverside place in Windsor with 17 resident cases and three staff cases. * Iler Lodge in Essex with 18 resident cases and three staff cases.
Almost exactly three years have passed since the night Mahdi Al-Hasnawi stepped out of a crowd to lift his dying, big brother off the sidewalk. He tried to bring him to the stretcher, he said, "cause the paramedics weren't doing their job." In a landmark case, former Hamilton paramedics Christopher Marchant, 32, and Steven Snively, 55, are charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life for 19-year-old Yosif Al-Hasnawi. On the night of Dec. 2, 2017, the teen was shot with a .22-calibre hollow point bullet. The paramedics thought it was a BB gun, the court has heard. Mahdi Al-Hasnawi, who testified on Tuesday, was 15-years-old back then. He spent that last day with his brother at the mall with a friend, and went to the Main Street E. mosque that night. Al-Hasnawi said his older brother asked him to go outside, but he said no. Later, his other brother Ahmed came and found him."He came inside kind of panicked, and whispered in my ear, 'Yosif got shot,'" he said.'Faking it'Al-Hasnawi found his brother down the street, lying on his back. When he tried to go near him, one of the two police officers who were there put a hand on his chest to stop him. "I know you're panicked and I know you're scared," Al-Hasnawi remembered the officer said. He said they told him, "he'll be okay."When Al-Hasnawi asked his older brother, "are you good?" the teenager mumbled back, "I can't breathe."Al-Hasnawi said he told the officer this, but they repeated he'd be okay.He also remembers them saying that Yosif was "faking it." He didn't say anything back "because they convinced me that he was fine."Patterson asked how it felt to see his brother in that moment."Not good. I don't think there's a way to describe what I felt," Al-Hasnawi said.He said he saw a hole on his brother's stomach, which had dried, brown blood.Mahdi ran to the mosque to get their father, Majed. The defence finished their cross-examination of him earlier on Tuesday.'He should win an Oscar'He went straight to Yosif when he came back. His brother wasn't responding as much as before and was blinking a lot, he said. People in the crowd that gathered were aware he couldn't breathe, Al-Hasnawi said, but there wasn't a paramedic attending to him."They were going around asking questions like they were the cops or something," he said.When a paramedic did examine Yosif, he used two fingers and pressed down on the wound for about 30 seconds. He remembers one of the paramedics said, "he should win an Oscar for how good he was acting."Brother recalls paramedic saying, 'don't touch me'Footage of the scene shows that an officer and paramedic tried to lift Yosif by the arms, but couldn't do it. Al-Hasnawi stepped in and put his arms under his brother, even though he was older, bigger and heavier. In the video, a group assists him, but Al-Hasnawi doesn't remember that. Jeffrey Manishen, who represents Marchant, told Al-Hasnawi that he didn't have to watch that footage, and council could describe it to him. But Al-Hasnawi told him, "play the video."He remembered struggling to get him on the stretcher, and said that's when the paramedics helped. But when one of Yosif's legs came of the stretcher and touched the paramedic, Al-Hasnawi said they replied, 'Don't touch me,' and threw his leg back on. It definitely didn't hit the paramedic hard, he said. It also happened again with an arm. "I don't think someone who's dying can do much damage to someone who's perfectly fine," he said. Al-Hasnawi also said that "the officers were a lot nicer than the paramedics." Even though they said Yosif was faking, Al-Hasnawi remembers them eventually treating it more seriously than the paramedics. The paramedics went into the ambulance with Yosif. Al-Hasnawi tried to join his brother, but they told him no, he said. The ambulance stayed for around 15 minutes, he remembered.The teen was pronounced dead at St. Joseph's Hospital at 9:58 p.m.Defence questions memoryIn their cross-examination, the defence compared Al-Hasnawi's responses on Tuesday with those made in a February 2018 interview with Niagara Regional Police and paramedic one in May 2018.Manishen said Al-Hasnawi had to check some details by reading these in court. He suggested that his memory "might be incomplete" because he didn't mention that the paramedic checked his brother's wound in one interview."Everything that I've remembered, I've remembered it the same way," Al-Hasnawi said. He just would have forgotten to talk about those 30 seconds, he said. Manishen asked whether Al-Hasnawi remembered his brother "thrashing" on the stretcher. He spoke about the paramedic moving Yosif's limbs, and each time the younger brother corrected him by saying the paramedic "threw" them."I don't know what he was doing with his leg, but a paramedic shouldn't do that to a dying person," Al-Hasnawi said.Michael DelGobbo, who represents Snively, asked if someone directed him to lift his big brother, specifically the father. Al-Hasnawi said no one did, and commented that he shouldn't have done it and that it was the paramedic's job.'Please help me'Steve Ryan, who called 911 at a nearby convenience store that night and said he heard a gun shot, also took the stand. He remembered seeing people running, followed by a loud bang like a "firecracker."He said a boy with red hair was telling everyone that night that his brother had been shot. He was saying it "continuously, pleading with the paramedics." Yosif Al-Hasnawi was on the ground, saying "please help me."Ryan said he heard someone say the teen might be "faking," and said it was "disgusting" because paramedics were chuckling.Ryan testified in the trial of the person who shot Al-Hasnawi, Dale King. He was acquitted last year of second-degree murder, and that case is being appealed. He read this transcript to refresh his memory. Both defence lawyers questioned why he told police in a 2017 interview that he didn't think it was a gun shot, and might have been a pellet gun. Ryan said he heard those words from the crowd, and they must have stuck in his mind. But the crack was too loud to be a pellet gun, he said. Regardless of whether it was a gun shot or even a stabbing, Al-Hasnawi should've been transported to hospital immediately, Ryan said, and he wasn't. Father cross-examinedWhen he completed his cross-examination, Manishen showed the father, Majed Al-Hasnawi a video of the scene, which contradicted some of his memories from that night. Among the things that differed, he remembered his son on the ground for 20 to 30 minutes. But it was over two minutes on the video his son was lifted up, and a couple minutes later, Manishen pointed to wheels that rolled by. Al-Hasnawi agreed it seemed to be a stretcher.When Crown Scott Patterson re-examined the father, he noted the defence said on Monday that Al-Hasnawi never brought up the action where a paramedic pressed his son's knees into his own chest up in his 2017 interview with police. Patterson read out a section of that transcript."Yes one arm, hanging him, then close his legs. And imagine when you cross legs, lifting legs, how much pressure will be here on stomach," Al-Hasnawi had told the detective. The father wasn't shown this section in court.Mahdi Al-Hasnawi was also asked by the defence if he saw this pushing action. "It was supposed to help him," he said, but couldn't remember who did it.The court has heard that Yosif Al-Hasnawi was shot at 8:55 p.m. near Main Street East and Sanford Avenue South. The paramedics arrived at 9:09 p.m., and left for the hospital at 9:32 p.m. The trial in Hamilton superior court is expected to last five weeks, and Justice Harrison Arrell will render a verdict.
JEUNESSE. Dans l’attente du dépôt du rapport de la Commission spéciale sur les droits des enfants et la protection de la jeunesse en avril 2021, sa présidente, Régine Laurent a quand même présenté des constats, des orientations ainsi qu’une recommandation qui visant à créer dès maintenant un poste de directeur national de la protection de la jeunesse qui aura pour objectif de rendre cohérente l’action gouvernementale en cette matière. Une recommandation bien accueillie par Lionel Carmant. «Le bien-être de chaque enfant est au centre de nos priorités. La création d’un poste de directeur national de la protection de la jeunesse est intéressante et va dans le sens de ma réflexion. Nous entendons donner suite rapidement à cette recommandation», a déclaré le ministre délégué à la Santé et aux Services sociaux suite à la conférence de presse du 30 novembre. Ainsi, le directeur national de la protection de la jeunesse aurait pour mandat de : · De développer et d’harmoniser les pratiques en protection de la jeunesse; · De promouvoir les besoins des enfants et des familles vulnérables du Québec - rôle social des DPJ - et d’effectuer les représentations nécessaires pour y répondre tant au sein du ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux qu’auprès des ministères concernés par l’enfance en difficulté afin d’assurer une utilisation judicieuse du recours à la LPJ; · De déterminer les orientations et les normes de pratique clinique et de gestion applicables à la protection de la jeunesse; · D’assurer la mise en œuvre et le respect des orientations et normes de pratique dans toutes les régions du Québec; · D’exercer un leadership et de soutenir l’action des DPJ régionaux, des directions de programme jeunesse et des responsables de contentieux à l’égard d’une mise en œuvre cohérente de la LPJ; · D’exercer les contrôles requis pour assurer que les interventions en protection de la jeunesse respectent les plus hauts standards; · D’assurer une concertation efficace des ministères de la Santé et des Services sociaux, de la Justice et de la Sécurité publique, conjointement responsables de l’application des lois particulières - LPJ et la Loi sur le système de justice pénale pour les adolescents - LSJPA; · D’exercer un suivi rigoureux sur les parcours de services aux enfants et aux familles et de voir à mesurer les effets des interventions; · De participer au processus de sélection et de nomination des DPJ régionaux. Rappelons que la Commission Laurent a été créée par le gouvernement du Québec suite au décès d’une fillette de 7 ans à Granby, le 30 avril 2019. Devant cette tragédie, le gouvernement du Québec s’était engagé à entreprendre une réflexion qui porte non seulement sur les services de protection de la jeunesse, mais également sur la loi qui l’encadre, sur le rôle des tribunaux, des services sociaux et des autres acteurs concernés. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Office still doesn't know how a high school student diagnosed with COVID-19 on the weekend caught the disease.Extensive testing has been done on the contacts of the Charlottetown Rural student but no source has been found, according to Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison.At her regular weekly briefing Tuesday morning, Morrison said she believes the student was likely in direct contact with someone who had travelled off P.E.I."I would encourage all teachers and students in P.E.I. schools with smartphones to download the free national COVID Alert app," she said.The student was one of two cases announced on the weekend. The other person had travelled off-Island.There are now a total of 102 people in self-isolation on P.E.I. who have been connected to recent cases.Sharp decrease in travelSince the Atlantic bubble was suspended last Tuesday, personal vehicle traffic has dropped by about 80 per cent, said Morrison.During the first weeks of November an average of 1,120 personal vehicles crossed Confederation Bridge every day. Since the bubble was suspended last week that fell to 220 a day.It is still possible for Islanders to travel to the mainland under some circumstances and not self-isolate when they return.If the travel is for medical, child custody, airport dropoff or student pickup purposes, Islanders can be exempt from self-isolation. They are not allowed to stay overnight and interactions while travelling should be brief, physically distant, and be kept to a minimum. No stops in public places or visits with family or friends are allowed as part of the trip.P.E.I. has had 72 cases of COVID-19, with four currently considered active. There have been no deaths and no hospitalizations.More from CBC P.E.I.
Weather is getting cooler and beards are getting bushier as some Canadian men look to add an extra layer of warmth to their faces this winter.Others, motivated by lockdown measures and extended work-from-home terms, may view this as a perfect time to see how unruly those whiskers can get before a trim is needed.But as long as mask-wearing is encouraged amid the COVID-19 pandemic, should they worry about facial hair interfering with the effectiveness of face coverings?Some experts say men should shave their beards in order to obtain the best mask fit, but others say it depends how long the stubble gets, and if their job requires a tighter-fitting respirator.The CDC has an infographic on facial hair and N-95s on its website, outlining styles that are safe, including handlebar mustaches and soul patches. Other looks — like extended goatees, muttonchops and Van Dykes — cross the seal of the mask and need to go. Dr. Christopher Labos, a Montreal-based physician, says that advice is fine for health-care workers, but when it comes to regular cloth masks, breaking a seal isn't as much of a concern."If it's covering your mouth and nose, it's doing what it's supposed to do," he said. "Whether there's a gap on the side isn't really here or there because there's always a gap." Dr. Jane Wang, a clinical instructor at UBC who has studied face masks extensively, disagrees.Wang's recent research suggests men with beards experience more leakage — droplets expelling through gaps in the mask — than those without. Leaky areas of masks are most prominent around the nose, chin and the cheeks, and pleated masks tend to leak more than other styles.Having facial hair jutting out of a mask increases that leakage zone, she said. So the most effective way to ensure a cloth mask fits around the face is to remove the beard."Having more leaks decreases the filtration," Wang said, adding that research on mask fit and leaks date back to the 1990s. "So the air we breathe will go through the leak and not the filter of the mask."Dr. Lisa Bryski, an emergency-room physician in Winnipeg, has seen many colleagues shave off their beards in order to properly wear masks in the health-care field. While a cloth covering doesn't provide the same level of protection as an N-95, Bryski suggests men outside front-line work settings might want to pick up the razor too."It's a personal choice, but anything you do to increase your own protection and protection of others is appropriate in these times," she said. "Where shaving is not an option, keeping the beard groomed and trimmed may reduce the amount of hair and help with mask seal."Bryski acknowledged that for some men, like those in the Sikh community, beards may be an integral part of religious identity.Sukhmeet Sachal, a second-year medical student at UBC, recognized that and is offering a solution. Sachal is part of a group that has been handing out modified face masks to Sikh men at gurdwaras, or places of assembly and worship. The masks, made by volunteers, wrap around beards and tie over turbans, offering Sikh men a better alternative than a regular face mask they could buy at a store.Sachal said he got the idea when he walked into a gurdwara with his father and saw hardly anyone wearing a mask. While he says there may have been a combination of reasons for that, the beards played a part."We heard from people directly that there were no masks available for them," Sachal said. "When they went to the store, they didn't find any."Sachal says hair, whether it's on your face or head, is seen in Sikhism as a gift from God. Turbans are wrapped around hair to protect it, and most Sikh men refrain from cutting their hair or shaving their beards."That's why these masks are important," Sachal said. "They allow people to practise their religion while being safe."Colin Furness, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, looks at beards as a "variable" in how well a mask fits, but "not a determiner."A mask can be ill-fitting whether you have a beard or not, he explained. And while the length of facial hair will impact fit further, he says mask-wearing is only one safety precaution we should be practising."I don't think beards should be demonized, because it's not just about wearing a mask," he said. "You're also maintaining physical distance, you're also not doing large crowds... "It's when you start thinking that masks protect you completely that beards become more risky."Wang says those keeping their beards should still wear face masks."It'll be less effective, but it's better than nothing," she said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
A mining company says it is questioning a decision by the Yukon government to reject its application to build an exploration road to one of its gold deposits in central Yukon. ATAC Resources Ltd. has, for years, proposed bettering access to its Tiger Gold deposit, which is part of its larger Rackla Gold project north of Mayo.The proposed 65-kilometre-long all-season road would overlap onto two existing trails, as well as 46 creek and river crossings in the Beaver River watershed, all within the traditional territory of the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun. Some Na-Cho Nyäk Dun citizens, as well as conservation groups and outfitters, have opposed the road, while ATAC has previously said the Tiger project would be unsustainable without it. The Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Board (YESAB) recommended in 2018 that the project be allowed to proceed under close monitoring and other conditions. However, ATAC said in a press release Nov. 30 that the Yukon government had recently rejected its construction application."We are extremely disappointed with, and surprised by this decision," ATAC president and CEO Graham Downs said in the press release. "If this road can't be permitted following a positive environmental and socio-economic assessment decision and years of governmental encouragement to invest in the project, then you have to wonder if Yukon is in fact open for business."Among the reasons given for the rejection, according to the press release, was "opposition expressed" by the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun. It adds that the company "does not agree with many aspects of the government's decision and, in consultation with its external legal counsel, is evaluating its options."Na-Cho Nyäk Dun Chief Simon Mervyn Sr. did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 'Significant adverse impacts' not addressed, minister saysQuestioned about the decision in the legislative assembly Monday afternoon, Yukon Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Ranj Pillai said that ATAC's application was rejected for two key reasons. The application, he said, "did not demonstrate" how the company would appropriately mitigate the "significant adverse environmental and socio-economic effects" that had been identified during the YESAB process. The First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun had also identified a number of "significant adverse impacts" that allowing the project to proceed would have on citizens' treaty rights, Pillai said, including being able to use the land for hunting, fishing, trapping and other traditional activities."The Government of Yukon agreed with these concerns and determined the application did not appropriately or sufficiently indicate how these impacts would be mitigated," Pillai said. He added that the government hadn't ruled out the road for good, and that ATAC could improve and re-submit its application. "This is not a full stop on this," he said. Chamber of Mines shocked, conservation organizations pleasedThe Yukon Chamber of Mines, in a press release Monday afternoon, said it was "shocked and disappointed" after learning about the application's rejection.President Ed Peart told CBC that the chamber needed to look at the decision more closely before making further comment. "This has some pretty significant impacts that we have to review," he said. "This decision is extremely important to the mining industry in the Yukon and we have to take the time to be able to research this properly." Some conservation organizations, however, were celebrating the news. CPAWS Yukon conservation manager Randi Newton told CBC she "felt a lot of happy relief" when she saw ATAC's press release in the morning. The organization has led a campaign to protect the Beaver River watershed, describing it on its website as an "unspoiled wilderness" that serves as a pristine habitat for moose, salmon and river otters, among other species, and an area which holds great significance for Na-Cho Nyäk Dun citizens. The First Nation and Yukon government are currently in the process of developing a land use plan for the region."If this road had been built, it really could have opened up the Beaver River watershed, and actually the larger Stewart watershed, to just a network of development and roads," she said. "All of that would have happened without asking if that's what the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun or Yukoners wanted, so this decision really means that land-use planning can come first and people can set out a vision that's right for that region."And then, we can decide if development fits with that vision."Yukon Conservation Society mining analyst Lewis Rifkind also said ATAC's press release came as a welcome surprise. He added that he was still waiting on more details about the decision, but that it appeared to be a victory. "We're obviously quite pleased with the way things have turned out," he said.
Wallaceburg residents got into the Christmas spirit last week with a nighttime market and a Santa food drive by. On Thursday night, the line up to get into the parking lot on James Street was so long, organizers of a night time Christmas Market had to extend its hours to ensure everyone got their chance to support local and do some holiday shopping. The Wallaceburg Christmas Market is an annual event which looked a little different during the pandemic. Normally the entire street is shut down and stores have an open house, but this year it was moved to the parking lot so organizers could control the flow of foot traffic. “It’s been a lovely night with steady customers so much to see and do,” said Kelsey Nydam of the Wallaceburg BIA, who was organizing the event for her first time ever. An hour before the event ended, there were approximately 1,000 residents who had come to the market, and vendors said their stands were running low on products. “Especially this year, markets are important to small communities. For so many local businesses and artisans, it’s been really difficult. When you look at other large corporations who had a record year, it kind of does feel a little unfair. These people are the heart and soul of communities. So it's just really important to support locals.” The Wallaceburg community also supported those in need on Saturday with a food drive by. Kids were lining up on the streets waiting to see Santa Claus – who left his sleigh in the North Pole and opted for a bright red truck – drive by as his helpers picked up food. All the toys and non-perishable food items collected were donated to the local Salvation Army and the St. Vincent de Paul food bank. “It was a very, very successful turnout and we are honestly so overwhelmed with food and toys that came through the doors,” said co-organizer Jay DeBuck, who also owns the Stubby Goat. The idea came about when DeBuck found out there was no Santa Claus parade happening this year because of the pandemic. He wanted to give his daughter a memorable experience on her first Christmas. DeBuck asked resident Mike Salisbury what they could do instead, and the latter decided it would be best to host a parade while collecting food and toys. DeBuck was the one who decided to bring the parade to the people by going through all of Wallaceburg’s subdivisions. The process took five hours with the help of Wallaceburg’s local radio station who broadcast throughout the day, informing residents where Santa would be heading next. One resident, Heather Little Blake said her mom, who has been involved with the local food banks for many decades, claims it is the most collected in 30 years. More than 2,000 pounds of food was collected, an amazing feat especially considering it took place only a week after The Gift, DeBuck said.Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice
WASHINGTON — American factories grew at a slower pace last month and there are concerns that surging coronavirus infections will endanger an economic recovery. The Institute of Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, reported Tuesday that its manufacturing index dipped to 57.5 in November from 59.3 in October. Any reading above 50 signals that manufacturing is expanding. The ISM index plunged in the spring but has since bounced back and now shows factories on a six-month winning streak. New orders and production grew more slowly last month. Hiring actually dropped, reversing a gain in October. New export orders grew faster. Sixteen of 18 industries surveyed reported growth last month, led by apparel and mineral manufacturers. The U.S. economy collapsed from April through June and has since been recovering. But a sharp increase in infections is raising fears that the recovery will lose momentum as state and local governments issue lockdown orders and Americans stay home on their own to avoid infection. “For now, the manufacturing sector appears to be weathering another round of virus outbreaks fairly well,? Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, wrote in a research note. “However, the outlook is uncertain given targeted restrictions and shutdowns, at home and abroad, could disrupt activity and weigh on demand.? Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press
Canada's economy notched record growth in the third quarter, with real GDP expected to climb 0.2% in October, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday, though analysts cautioned the rebound would stagnate in coming months amid renewed COVID-19 restrictions. Canada's Q3 annualized growth soared 40.5%, rebounding from a historic plunge in the second quarter, while September real GDP rose by 0.8%. Despite the gains, total economic activity remains about 5% below February's pre-pandemic levels, Statscan said.
China successfully landed a spacecraft on the moon's surface on Tuesday in a historic mission to retrieve lunar surface samples, Chinese state media reported. China launched its Chang'e-5 probe on Nov. 24. The mission will attempt to collect 2 kg (4-1/2 lbs) of samples in a previously unvisited area in a massive lava plain known as Oceanus Procellarum, or "Ocean of Storms".
“Eddie’s Boy,” by Thomas Perry (Mysterious Press)The hitman known as the butcher’s boy is back, forced out of retirement at age 61 to confront an implacable old enemy who wants him dead.Thomas Perry first introduced him 38 years ago in his Edgar Award-winning debut novel, “The Butcher’s Boy,” but until now, the character has reemerged only twice — in “Sleeping Dogs” in 1992 and “The Informant” in 2011.The new novel, “Eddie’s Boy,” finds him in England, posing as retired American businessman Michael Shaeffer. He’s enjoying life with a charming yet spunky aristocratic British wife until someone discovers his secret and sends a small army of killers to snuff him out.Shaeffer flees to Australia, only to discover that his unknown enemy has managed to track him there. So, he jets to America to find out who has put a contract out on him and to put a stop to it. In his wake, he leaves a trail of dead bodies across much of the English-speaking world. Perry breaks the action-packed narrative with reminiscences about the protagonist’s early life, when a small-town Pennsylvania hit man named Eddie, who spent his off hours operating a fine butcher shop, taught the boy both trades.If fans of Perry’s novels think the plot of “Eddie’s Boy” closely resembles the last two butcher’s boy books, they’d be right, but the saving grace is in the differing details, including how Shaeffer confronts the challenge of engaging in combat with a fit but aging body.Although the butcher’s boy is not — and never been — a likeable character, Perry expects us to admire the skill and meticulous care with which he works. And there is certainly much to admire in the skill with which Perry works, from his flawless plotting to his tight and muscular prose style.___Bruce DeSilva, winner of the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, is the author of the Mulligan crime novels including “The Dread Line.”Bruce Desilva, The Associated Press
The B.C. government has ordered a review of spending after insiders alleged that the province's health authority squandered millions on useless face masks, executive meals and unneeded renovations.
The number of empty units in Toronto community housing has “steadily increased” in the last few months, despite efforts to fill those vacancies rapidly with people living in city shelters. While the agency reached a historically low vacancy rate of 1.78 per cent last November, by this fall it rose to 2.35 per cent. The rate for market rent units was still less than one per cent, but the rate was 2.54 per cent for rent-geared-to-income and 3.04 per cent for seniors housing. Coun. Ana Bailao, Mayor John Tory’s housing advocate, said it was “crucial” to address the swelling vacancies as quickly as possible, given the need for affordable housing in Toronto. “With the situation we have in the city, we can’t afford to have empty units,” Bailao said. Sheila Penny, chief operating officer with Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC), attributes the increase in empty units to a pause in seniors housing rentals during the pandemic, city rules about filling vacancies, and a lack of supports in the city's northwest corner and Scarborough West Hill area for high-needs tenants. “It might be counselling for alcohol addiction, it might be mental health counselling,” Penny said of the missing supports. There was also an issue with “desirability” along the Sherbourne strip, she said, with one building in the downtown area showing a vacancy rate of around six per cent. In one case this summer, before a former Toronto shelter resident was moved into a Sherbourne-area apartment, the unit had sat vacant for a year — in part, because no tenants being relocated from a Regent Park building slated for demolition chose to move there. After COVID-19 hit, the city and TCHC implemented a strategy to move people from shelters into vacant social housing units, and provide various supports like furniture and food. Spokesperson Bruce Malloch said the first phase filled 300 vacant units across their properties. A second phase will target the northwest corner, Scarborough West Hill and Sherbourne areas specifically, Penny said, with the city approving around 300 more units for the program. As for the city rules, Penny said TCHC is usually required to offer empty units to overhoused tenants — those living in too-large homes — before turning to its protracted wait list. For a subsidized bachelor unit, the city warns of seven-plus year waits; for a one-bedroom, it can be 12-plus years. Because of a higher vacancy rate part way through 2019, TCHC was allowed to bypass the over-housed list for several months. That led to the historic low the agency reached last November. Now that the vacancy rate has risen again this fall, the city has agreed to let TCHC bypass the overhoused list once again while working on better processes for filling vacancies, she said. Coun. Paula Fletcher, who sits on TCHC’s tenant services committee, said pausing the priority on moving overhoused tenants was an “emergency response,” but it’s one she doesn’t think can last without jeopardizing access to bigger units. “There’s only so many two-bedroom, three-bedroom or four-bedroom places…If somebody is filling one, (and) they don’t have enough people to live in it, then it’s people on the waitlist who need a three- or four-bedroom place that aren’t going to be able to get it right away.”Victoria Gibson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
Director Julia Hart couldn’t stop thinking about Tuesday Weld. She had just watched Michael Mann’s 1981 thriller “Thief” and Weld’s character Jessie had taken over her imagination. Where did she and the baby go? What was going through her mind? In some ways, Jessie is just the girlfriend. She’s there to up the stakes for the main character and exits the frame when the action begins. It’s not uncommon in the genre. Just think of Michael Corleone closing the door on Kay at the end of “The Godfather.” But, Hart thought, what if we followed the woman instead of the man? It wouldn't be revisionist or corrective, just a different path. And it was the beginning of the yearslong process of creating “I’m Your Woman,” which turns the lens on the suburban housewife who has to go on the run with a new baby when her criminal husband disappears. The film starring Rachel Brosnahan opens in select theatres Friday and will be available on Amazon Prime Video on Dec. 11. “It’s not like I want ‘Thief’ to have followed Jessie,” Hart said. “The movie was so good that I couldn’t stop thinking about this character and the story of all these women. In these crime dramas, even though the women weren’t the main characters, they were amazing characters. They were complex and flawed and interesting and well performed and well written. They just didn’t get their own movie...That’s what inspired me to create Jean.” Hart and her husband, producer Jordan Horowitz, got to work writing the script. And when Amazon Studio heads, who had been impressed with her superhero drama “Fast Color," asked what they wanted to make next, they had this ready to go. And after a meeting with Brosnahan, she knew she’d found her Jean. “She’s such a chameleon,” Hart said. “And she feels like a real woman. I think a lot of the women in the 70s movies did as well — not like someone who had been airbrushed and made to look perfect.” The “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” star was all in. Despite her successes over the past few years, she’d been frustrated by the “one-dimensional” roles that were coming her way. Jean was a refreshing departure from that. “Jean is a quiet woman’s action hero. That’s something that I’ve never seen before,” Brosnahan said. “And it’s a really nontraditional look at motherhood. Motherhood is more often than not, not the picture perfect journey we see on Instagram.” The shoot was going to be hard. Hart knew she’d have her work cut out for herself directing her first car chase and big club scene with hundreds of background actors. But the biggest challenge would be the fact that they’d decided to work with real babies, who in the process of the chronological shoot would go from 6 to 8 months in age. “I am constantly frustrated by how people treat babies like they’re not people both in real life and on film — like it’s fine to have a fake baby or it’s fine to have four different babies playing the same character,” Hart said. “We knew it was a big risk, but we felt like it was one worth taking. We wanted to commit to making the baby a character in the film who you could connect to and know.” It added stress and time restrictions but also beauty and spontaneity to the shoot. “There were times when things happened with those babies that we never could have expected,” Brosnahan said. “And that added a layer of magic to certain scenes.” In one tense scene where Jean’s home is broken into and she has to hide in the closet and make a desperate phone call, the baby unexpectedly fell asleep in her arms. “It added this layer of urgency,” Brosnahan said. And although Hart is proud of the action sequences, the mother of two does not remember feeling more joy and exhilaration than knowing that they got a shot of the baby sleeping. “Getting a baby to fall asleep in its period costume, in its period crib at the time when you’re scheduled to shoot it is a bit of a miracle,” Hart said. There are exactly two of those miracle shots in the finished film. Brosnahan also took on a different kind of role in “I’m Your Woman:" as producer. She’d been thinking about it for some time, “looking for a way to carve out a path for myself.” And she’s immensely grateful to Hart and Horowitz for giving her the opportunity. “This is such a literal example, but most of the time you show up on the set as an actor having never seen what could be your house, the character’s house that they have lived in 30 years. And you’re showing up on day one and trying to pretend you’ve lived there for 30 years,” she said. As a producer, she was involved in everything from script development to location scouting. When she showed up to her character’s house this time, she knew it already. “It made me a better actor,” she said. Hart has spent most of her career as a writer and filmmaker trying to convince studios that stories about women are worth telling. After years of fighting, she's finally starting to see the change. “The studios are starting to really take female filmmakers and filmmakers of colour more seriously,” Hart said. “It’s not just lip service anymore.” —- Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press