With Chris St. Clair.
With Chris St. Clair.
Government and election officials frequently call on shredding companies to dispose of personal and sensitive documents that are no longer needed.But in a suburban county of Atlanta this week, those routine waste removal appointments were twisted into yet another election misinformation story when social media users falsely claimed shredding trucks were destroying ballots and “evidence of voter fraud.”The unfounded allegations continue to spread online as Georgia officials carry out a machine recount of ballots after certified results showed Joe Biden had a 12,670-vote lead over President Donald Trump. Trump requested the recount, which follows a statewide hand tally.L. Lin Wood Jr., a conservative attorney who had unsuccessfully sued in an attempt to block the certification of Georgia’s election results, on Tuesday shared a series of videos taken by a Georgia resident. They showed a shredding truck outside the West Park Government Center in Marietta.“Evidence of voter fraud is being destroyed in Cobb County, GA TODAY,” Wood captioned one of his tweets. “Many people, powerful & not so powerful, are going to PRISON.”The real explanation for the truck’s visit was far less scandalous: a routine shredding of county tax documents.The county tax commissioner’s office, which shares a building with the county’s main elections office, has documents shredded twice a month, according to Ross Cavitt, communications director for the county.“No items from Cobb Elections were involved,” Cavitt told The Associated Press in an email.The false claims built on similar rumours from last week, when the same Georgia resident captured photos and video of a truck destroying election-related waste outside the Jim R. Miller Event Center in Marietta and claimed it was evidence of “ballots being shredded.”After Wood amplified those photos and videos on Friday, Cobb County officials refuted the claim, explaining that the shredding company was summoned to destroy non-relevant election materials, as happens after all elections.“Everything of consequence, including the ballots, absentee ballot applications with signatures, and anything else used in the count or re-tally remains on file,” Janine Eveler, the county’s director of elections and voter registration, said in a statement.Some of the photos shared on Friday appeared to show a trash can with a paper labeled “ABSENTEE BALLOT” inside. But Eveler said that was an inner privacy envelope used by voters to seal absentee ballots, and had “no evidentiary value.” County officials will hold on to the actual absentee ballots, as well as the outer envelopes signed by voters, for two years.Wood did not respond to a telephone call and email seeking comment.Despite the county’s responses, Wood’s tweets with the debunked claims continued to receive massive engagement on Wednesday, collectively amassing more than 200,000 retweets. And a separate Facebook user’s post falsely claiming a shredding company was “hired by Democrats” to destroy evidence was viewed nearly 150,000 times.County officials told the AP they have not seen any evidence of fraud or anomalies in vote tabulation in the 2020 election.“People nowadays, they post stuff immediately without asking any questions and without any proper context, and it spreads like wildfire,” Cavitt said of the false claims.Jude Joffe-Block And Ali Swenson, The Associated Press
The Trump administration on Wednesday granted ByteDance a new seven-day extension of an order directing the Chinese company to sell its TikTok short video-sharing app, according to a court filing. The administration previously had granted ByteDance a 15-day extension of the order issued in August, which was set to expire Friday. President Donald Trump on Aug. 14 had directed ByteDance to divest the app within 90 days.
The Black Cultural Society of P.E.I. is holding a town hall this Friday to ask Black Islanders how it can help them.President Tamara Steele says the group is putting together a strategic plan and wants to make sure it represents the community, whether it's newcomers or people whose families have been here for generations."I think the biggest challenge we have right now is connecting with everyone, so we know that there are people that we're not reaching and just figuring out how to reach them," she said."I don't hesitate any more to just ask people if they've heard about the society and get involved if they want to."Steele said the group has identified three main themes to discuss at the town hall — financial security, mental health and community engagement.The event will be held Friday at 7 p.m. at the Confederation Centre of the Arts. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, there is only room for 100 people. Pre-registration is required.For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.More from CBC P.E.I.
A snowmobiler got more than he bargained for when he ventured away from his friends in search of new terrain while out in the Yanks Peak area two Sundays ago. He took the detour without telling anyone and without a shovel. He paid for it by spending the night and much of the next day out in the wilderness. "He got really stuck," said Dave Merritt of Prince George Search and Rescue. "He got stuck multiple times, he just couldn't get himself out without a shovel." Merritt said search and rescue volunteers were originally called out to look for another member of the party of about 15-20 enthusiasts. By the time the searchers had shown up, that subject had made his way back to the parking lot at the entrance to the popular snowmobiling area south of Wells after spending a few hours extracting his sled from a tree well. But by then, the party had realized one other person remained unaccounted for. Volunteers from three search and rescue organizations plus members of the Wells Snowmobile Club and a couple of the missing man's friends participated in the search. Prince George SAR was called in because it has the skills to search in avalanche terrain. The second man was "cold and tired" but otherwise OK when he was spotted by a helicopter shortly before 3 p.m. on Monday. "We probably would've found him another hour and a half later by sled but the weather had lifted enough that we were able to spot him a little faster and get him home a little quicker," Merritt said. "We had maybe another 20 minutes and the helicopter would've had to go back to Prince George because of the darkness." Cell service in the area is spotty and neither snowmobiler had radios or satellite communication devices, Merritt said. The one who spent the night outside was also without fire starter and material to build a shelter. Merritt urged outdoor enthusiasts to check the AdventureSmart website for advice on being prepared in case something goes wrong. "The group did everything right once they realized somebody was missing," Merritt added. "They initiated all the proper procedures."Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court said Wednesday it will continue to hear arguments by telephone through at least January because of the coronavirus pandemic.The court’s announcement extended telephone arguments by a month.“The Court will continue to closely monitor public health guidance in determining plans for the February argument session,” the court said in a statement.The justices last met in person to hear arguments in February of this year, but they closed the courthouse to the public in March because of the public health crisis and postponed arguments in March and April.The court first held arguments by telephone in May and made the audio available live, also a first for the tradition-bound court. After a summer break, the court resumed hearing arguments by phone and making the audio available live in October.The Associated Press
St. John's city councillors are finally speaking about recent municipal job cuts and a reduction in Metrobus service — both which have put people out of work or will see their shifts reduced. A week ago, the city outlined its plan to eliminate 16 full-time positions within municipal operations, and an additional five full-time jobs at St. John's Sports and Entertainment, in addition to two part-time ones. Few details were provided.One day later, CBC News reported Metrobus was paring back service levels due to an $800,000 budget cut from the City of St. John's. "This decision has me torn up honestly. I don't like that we are doing [this] … but there are a lot of challenging decisions that have to be made," Coun. Dave Lane, who chairs the finance committee, told reporters Wednesday. After the cuts and Metrobus reduction were announced last week, no member of council, including Mayor Danny Breen and Lane, would do an interview or answer questions on ether of those topics, city spokesperson Kelly Maguire told CBC News. Now several are speaking out. Lane said routes, 1, 2, 3 and 10 will be most impacted, with longer wait times between rides, analogous to the usual summer schedule.He said moving to a reduced schedule seemed like a better option than another proposal, which was to raise fares. However, he warned that a network-wide review would be needed next September, to see where ridership levels end up. Coun. Sheilagh O'Leary told The St. John's Morning Show that cuts are necessary, since municipal governments can't run a deficit. "So that means that in every single department, everybody has to look for efficiencies. And I think that that's, you know, a common goal of everybody. Nobody wants to see their taxes raised. However, services are really important, especially at this point in time," she said. Not all councillors support Metrobus service reductionCoun. Maggie Burton also said she doesn't support the changes, particularly because they "will have a real impact on some of the most vulnerable residents in the city."She said retail and food industry jobs are usually shift-based and people will have fewer options to get to and from work, and will have to wait longer for a bus. "I hope that people can use this time before Dec. 7 to let council know whether or not they support a permanent reduction of $800,000 in the annual budget to Metrobus," Burton told CBC News on Wednesday afternoon. Coun. Ian Froude tweeted Tuesday that he doesn't support the cuts to Metrobus service. Lane said he respected dissenting opinions, but ultimately, a financial plan needs to be approved."I don't like everything in the budget, but we need to pull something together that balances the budget, [that] doesn't have undue pressure on the public," he said. Other councillors were asked to comment by CBC Radio's On The Go on the cuts, including Jamie Korab, Debbie Hanlon and Breen. They either didn't respond or said they were not available. Missed money from OttawaIn July, the federal government earmarked $19 billion to assist provinces and territories, including municipalities, with restarting their economies amid COVID-19.At the time, it was stated N.L. would receive $146 million of that amount, to be funnelled into everything from COVID-19 testing to personal protective equipment to child-care spaces, and to municipalities in need.However, there was an exception: provinces and territories could also apply for extra money destined for public transit, to offset pandemic losses.Newfoundland and Labrador did not apply for that money. Though it was a provincial government decision, at the time, Breen said any transit losses it experienced were minimal compared with larger cities."We wouldn't have a significant enough loss to make value of that," he said in July. Breen has not responded to recent interview requests from CBC. In July, the city had collected $18 million less in taxes than in the same month in 2019. The monster blizzard that stalled the city for over a week in January also dealt a massive blow to the city budget, leaving an estimated $7-million bill in its wake.Metrobus ridership downSince September, ridership levels have hovered at about half of what they normally are, according to Metrobus manager Judy Powell, who also refused to do an interview. While regular service was reinstated this past September, a combination of people working from home, plus Memorial University and the College of the North Atlantic moving to online classes, added up to fewer people taking the bus. Uncertainty will persist for drivers. Those who don't have a shift effective Jan. 4 will get a record of employment so they can file for employment insurance."However you will remain on the recall list and called to work on an as needed basis," Powell wrote in a letter to drivers obtained by CBC News.The municipal budget will be tabled Dec. 7. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
BRP Inc. reported an improved outlook for the rest of the year on Wednesday as the company’s third-quarter earnings results beat analysts’ expectations and it raised its guidance for its full financial year.The maker of Ski-Doos and Sea-Doos reported higher third-quarter profit compared with a year ago, buoyed by strong sales worldwide despite COVID-19 lockdowns that hampered inventory and distribution."Given the increased popularity of our product, we feel fortunate to be where we are during this time of international instability," BRP chief executive Jose Boisjoli said on a call with analysts Wednesday. "It has been an exceptional period and it's not over yet."The Valcourt, Que.-based company said it now expects normalized earnings per share between $5.00 and $5.25 for the year, up from earlier guidance of between $3.65 and $3.95.BRP’s sales dropped in the first quarter as lockdowns forced dealerships and production facilities to close. Riding schools and licensing offices were also shut down, further depressing demand for vehicles like side-by-sides and ATVs.In May, the company announced $450 million in cost-cutting measures to prepare for a prolonged economic downturn, when sales of luxury products tend to fare poorly. The bleak outlook also prompted BRP to bolster its cash position with a $600 million loan earlier this year. At the same time, Boisjoli told analysts that “staycations and social distancing” could work to the company's advantage. As fewer people travel to sun destinations this winter, BRP has seen its best start to the snowmobile season in five years, with retail sales of Ski-Doos up more than 20 per cent this season, Boisjoli said Wednesday.Boisjoli added that BRP saw strong sales growth in every region except Europe, the Middle East and Africa, which had a shortage of inventory. Looking ahead to the rest of the year, BRP plans to invest more money in rebuilding its inventory, chief financial officer Sebastian Martel said on the analyst call.BRP's raised guidance came as the company reported net income of $198.7 million or $2.22 per diluted share for its quarter ended Oct. 31, up from $135.3 million or $1.49 per diluted share in the same quarter last year.Revenue totalled $1.67 billion, up from $1.64 billion a year ago.On a normalized basis, BRP says it earned $2.13 per diluted share in its latest quarter, up from a normalized profit of $1.51 per diluted share a year earlier.Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of $1.41 for the quarter and $1.60 billion in revenue, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:DOO)Jon Victor, The Canadian Press
The Town of Bay Roberts has awarded a tender in the amount of $316,277 to CanAm Platforms & Construction Ltd. for new ballfield lighting. There was some discussion on whether that tender price would include new dehumidifiers, as the tender was for ballfield lighting and stadium dehumidifier upgrades. “I’m 99 percent sure that’s just the ballfield lighting,” said councillor Dean Franey, who noted the Town had already awarded the dehumidifier upgrade. “I’ll have to check with the director, but I’m pretty sure councillor Franey is right,” agreed Chief Administrative Officer Nigel Black. “What happens is the project name was called Ballfield Lighting and Stadium Dehumidifier. It was all lumped into one project.” Councillor Silas Badcock raised a concern about the awarding of the tender. “This is the company that put up our building at the recreation complex, where we’re having trouble with the roof?” asked Badcock. Black confirmed it was. Badcock said it didn’t make sense to him to award the contract unless the roof was fixed first. Black replied that the company met all the requirements of the tender, which had been reviewed by Municipal Affairs and the Town’s consultant, Crosbie Engineering. “There’s no way in the world we can say, ‘Fix our roof before you get this contract?’” asked Babcock. Black said the roof is being fixed and there is no outstanding claim against the company. “There was an outstanding problem with the roof, and they’re fixing it,” said Black. Councillor Geoff Seymour asked how much interest there was in the tender, and Franey said that there were 10 bids— including one from a company from Nova Scotia. “There’s not much work out there, I’ll put it to you that way. So people are going after whatever they can get,” said Franey. Council voted to approve the tender for the ballfield lighting.Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
Le feuilleton du redécoupage électoral qui a occupé Rimouski pendant des mois vient de prendre fin, et son épilogue soulagera les résidents du Bic : la Commission de la représentation électorale (CRE) a décidé que ce district conservera ses limites actuelles, qui sont celles de l’ancienne municipalité annexée par Rimouski en 2009. Pour justifier sa décision, la CRE dit avoir considéré « les commentaires émis par les électeurs du district numéro 11 du Bic relatifs au sentiment d’appartenance à leur quartier ainsi qu’au respect et à la préservation de l’identité villageoise et patrimoniale du Bic ». L’éloignement entre Le Bic et le centre-ville de Rimouski a également joué dans la réflexion des deux commissaires Pierre Reid et Serge Courville. Si le caractère villageois du Bic a été largement évoqué tout au long des consultations sur la nouvelle carte électorale, les résidents du district voisin de Sacré-Cœur ont également fait valoir leur sentiment d’appartenance depuis le début de cette saga. Eux aussi peuvent souffler : la CRE considère que les districts de Sacré-Cœur et du Bic forment des communautés naturelles distinctes, et qu’on ne peut donc transférer une partie rurale du premier vers le deuxième. « Il a été démontré que les liens socioéconomiques des citoyennes et des citoyens du district numéro 1 de Sacré-Cœur sont davantage tournés vers les secteurs centraux de la Ville de Rimouski », écrit la CRE dans sa décision. Cette décision porte l’écart de population entre le district du Bic et la moyenne des autres districts de Rimouski à 34,4 %, bien au-delà de la limite de 15 % prescrite par la loi. Du côté de Sainte-Blandine/Mont-Lebel, autre district rural particulièrement affecté par le redécoupage, la CRE a entériné la proposition de la Ville de Rimouski. Celle-ci agrandit le territoire du district tout en lui conférant un statut d’exception, puisque l’écart de population avec la moyenne des autres districts est de 25,8 %. Défaite pour la Ville Avec cette décision, la CRE a infligé ce qui a toutes les apparences d’une défaite cinglante à la Ville de Rimouski, tant celle-ci s’est obstinée pendant des mois à défendre l’agrandissement du district du Bic en dépit de l’opposition des citoyens. De nombreux avis publics et présentations ont été produits pour défendre coûte que coûte ce projet alors qu’il ne s’est jamais trouvé aucun résident de Rimouski pour donner son appui aux différents redécoupages proposés. Cet épisode laisse surtout l’impression d’un gâchis de temps et de ressources, puisqu’on en revient à une situation très proche du statu quo en faveur duquel avaient voté deux conseillers début mai, Grégory Thorez (Sainte-Odile) et Virginie Proulx (Le Bic). La conseillère du Bic s’est réjouie de ce dénouement sur sa page Facebook ce matin, tout en félicitant les citoyens qui se sont mobilisés au cours des derniers mois. « C’est une victoire pour la démocratie, une victoire qui montre encore une fois la pertinence de consulter ses citoyens en amont des décisions au bénéfice de tous », écrit-elle. Mais il est clair que c’est aussi une victoire personnelle pour elle : elle fut la seule à s’opposer au règlement actant le redécoupage et le déplacement de la frontière Bic/Sacré-Cœur, tout comme elle fut la seule à informer de manière proactive les citoyens de son district sur les impacts du redécoupage et sur les manières de le contester. Incidemment, on peut conclure de la décision de la CRE qu’il existe bel et bien une corrélation entre le district électoral et le « district d’appartenance », contrairement à ce que prétendait le maire de Rimouski Marc Parent lors de la consultation publique de la CRE. « Lorsque les conseillers et les conseillères siègent au conseil municipal, c’est d’abord et avant tout pour la Ville de Rimouski qu’ils siègent, et non pas pour les électeurs qu’ils représentent dans leur district », avait même déclaré M. Parent, contredisant ce qui est écrit dans le Guide d’accueil et de référence pour les élues et les élus municipaux du gouvernement du Québec. Finalement, c’est peut-être cela que la saga du redécoupage aura permis de rappeler : le rôle d’un conseiller municipal est avant tout de représenter son quartier et ses habitants, avec leur diversité mais aussi leur histoire commune.Rémy Bourdillon, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Mouton Noir
School divisions were unprepared for the announcement that thousands of Alberta students would be temporarily vacating the classroom in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19, says Trisha Estabrooks, chair of the Edmonton Public School Board. As announced by Premier Jason Kenney during a public briefing on Tuesday, students in Grade 7 to Grade 12 will move to online learning for three weeks starting Monday. Estabrooks said school divisions received "not one inkling" of advance warning. The first time she heard about the measures was on Tuesday night, as the school board paused its regular public meeting to watch Kenney's news conference. Estabrooks said school divisions should have been forewarned about the changes. "We learned about it at the same time the public did," Estabrooks said in an interview Wednesday with CBC Radio's Edmonton AM. "We didn't get a heads up. We didn't get a quick phone call from the minister, saying, 'Hey, this is what's going to happen.'" Kenney described the new restrictions as a "bold and targeted" attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19, as Alberta reported a record 1,115 new cases of the disease and declared a public health emergency. "There's very limited transmission within the schools, but more community transmission is affecting the schools and their ability to operate," Kenney said Tuesday. "Teenagers are much more likely to transmit the virus than younger children. A longer period away from school for these older students will help to reduce broader community transmission." Despite the lack of warning from government officials, Estabrooks said school administrators were quietly bracing for possible restrictions in the classroom. She said the changes ahead are daunting but the school board will be ready to welcome students online on Monday. "I think back to the situation we were in in the spring and ... that was a really quick, and really turbulent, pivot. We learned a lot," she said. "The reality is, we have something like 32,000 students already learning online. In a very short two months, Edmonton Public Schools has got the technology and got our teachers up to speed. "I'm not going to say it's going to be completely smooth, but certainly I know that staff and administration have learned from the experiences of the last few months." I'm supportive of yesterday's decision, as tough as it is going to be. - Trisha Estabrooks The change to online learning for junior-high and high-school students is among a series of new measures that will have an impact on Alberta classrooms. Beginning Nov. 30, all students in Grades 7-12 will immediately transition to online learning until they begin their winter break. In-person learning for all students will be delayed a week until Jan. 11. Diploma exams are now optional for the rest of the school year. Estabrooks said she has no doubt the new measures are the "right decision." Many Alberta schools are already nearing their breaking point. 'A step in the right direction' "I look at the trajectory of the number of cases and the burden that was being put on our teachers, our staff, our entire system over the last couple of weeks. And this absolutely is a step in the right direction. "I'm supportive of yesterday's decision, as tough as it is going to be for all those thousands of junior-high and high-school students." A report from the Edmonton Public School Board on the impact of COVID-19 on the first quarter of the school year showed 10,500 students and 1,075 staff were recommended or required to self-isolate. Cases were found in 111 of the division's 215 schools. Tuesday's public school board meeting was dominated by concerns over the spread of COVID-19 in local classrooms, a lack of detailed data on in-classroom transmission, and an apparent breakdown in the contact-tracing system in Alberta classrooms. School symptoms Estabrooks said school finances are strained. Teachers, students and their families are exhausted. Schools are seeing a "sharp increase" in the number of students and staff in isolation and that's put an added strain on staffing, she said. Last week alone, 3,000 students and 335 staff had been forced into isolation at home, Estabrooks said. On Tuesday, with substitute teachers in high demand, more than 100 teaching positions were left unfilled. "That to me, is one of the one of the symptoms of how COVID-19 is really being reflected in our schools," she said. In a statement to CBC News, the Edmonton Catholic School Division said it supports supports the premier's decision to move older students online and to make diploma exams optional. "In the past few weeks we have seen a steady increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in all levels, including junior and senior high," reads the statement, which will be send to parents later Wednesday. "While this increase mirrors the higher numbers of COVID cases in the community, it places additional pressures on staffing to ensure the continuity of learning for all students. "We agree that elementary students should remain in school as we are better able to serve our youngest learners. "The extension of the Christmas break for students in kindergarten to Grade 12 may provide a necessary break in the transmission of COVID-19." Estabrooks urged Albertans to help contain the spread of the virus. She said community transmission is putting pressure on local classrooms. If the virus continues to escalate, students will continue to face disruptions in their education. "If we have any hope of sending our children back to in-person classes on Jan. 11, let's do our part," she said. "Let's listen to what was announced yesterday so that we can open these schools back up. Because, really, that is the best situation where we can have — students in person, with their friends, with their teachers."
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A mine in the Red Sea off Saudi Arabia's coast near Yemen exploded and damaged an oil tanker Wednesday, authorities said, the latest incident targeting the kingdom amid its long war against Yemen's Houthi rebels. The blast happened before dawn and struck the MT Agrari, a Maltese-flagged, Greek-managed oil tanker near Shuqaiq, Saudi Arabia. “Their vessel was attacked by an unknown source,” a statement from the Agrari's operator, TMS Tankers Ltd., said. “The Agrari was struck about 1 metre above the waterline and has suffered a breach. It has been confirmed that the crew are safe and there have been no injuries.” The ship was still floating off the coast and had been boarded by Saudi officials, the company said. Shuqaiq is some 160 kilometres (100 miles) north by sea from the Yemeni border. Ambrey, a British security firm, reported the blast and attributed it to a mine. It said the Agrari had cargo from Rotterdam, Netherlands, that it had discharged at the Shuqaiq Steam Power Plant. “The explosion took place in port limits and punctured the hull of the vessel,” Ambrey said. The United Kingdom Marine Trade Operations, an information exchange overseen by the British royal navy in the region, acknowledged a ship had “experienced an explosion,” without elaborating. The U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, responsible for patrolling the waterways of the Mideast, said it was aware of the incident. Saudi state television later aired a report claiming a military coalition led by the kingdom destroyed a bomb-laden Houthi drone boat and that a merchant ship sustained light damage. The report offered no details and it wasn't immediately clear if the report was the same incident at Shuqaiq. Saudi-owned channels later aired reports about Houthi mining in the Red Sea. The explosion comes after a cruise missile fired by Yemen's Houthi rebels struck an oil facility early Monday in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. The Saudi-led coalition reported Tuesday that it removed and destroyed five Iranian-made naval mines planted by the Houthis in the southern Red Sea, condemning the attempted attacks as posing “a serious threat to maritime security in the Bab al-Mandab strait.” The strait is some 585 kilometres (363 miles) south of Shuqaiq. The Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Iranian-backed Houthis since March 2015. Houthi military officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but they've been blamed for other mining incidents during the course of the war. A United Nations panel in 2018 found the Houthis used both improvised and what appear to be Iranian-manufactured “bottom” mines, explosives that could be live in the water for as a long as a decade. “Sea mines are low cost, easy to deploy, tactically very effective, difficult to detect and thus are a potent threat to both naval and commercial vessels,” that report warned. "Relatively small quantities present a threat out of proportion to their numbers." Iran repeatedly has denied arming the Houthis, though experts say Iranian weapons ranging from small arms to missiles have been smuggled to the rebels. The Red Sea is a vital shipping lane for both cargo and the global energy supplies, making any mining of the area a danger not only to Saudi Arabia but to the rest of the world. Mines can enter the water and then be carried away by the currents, which changed by the season in the Red Sea. The Red Sea has been mined previously. In 1984, some 19 ships reported striking mines there, with only one ever being recovered and disarmed, the U.N. panel said. ___ Associated Press writer Isabel DeBre contributed to this report. Jon Gambrell, The Associated Press
SAUGERTIES, N.Y. — Rocky the stowaway owl is back in the wild.The tiny Saw-whet owl was named Rockefeller after it was found by a worker setting up the holiday tree Nov. 16 at Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center. The owl was apparently trapped in the 75-foot-tall (23-meter-tall) Norway spruce when it was cut down 170 miles (275 kilometres) north, in upstate New York on Nov. 12.The female owl, initially thought to be male, was uninjured but hadn't eaten for at least three days when she was discovered and sent to Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in the Hudson Valley town of Saugerties. There, a rehabilitator nursed her back to health for a week with plenty of mice before Rocky was cleared to continue her migratory journey south.On Tuesday evening, rehabilitator Ellen Kalish held the winsome raptor aloft in a field against a backdrop of rounded mountains. In a video posted on Ravensbeard's Facebook page, Rocky sits quietly on Kalish's fingers before winging her way over to a nearby grove of pines.“She is a tough little bird and we’re happy to see her back in her natural habitat,” the centre wrote on Facebook. “We are sure that Rocky will feel your love and support through her journey south.”___This story has been corrected to show the Rockefeller Christmas tree is 75 feet (23 metres) tall, not 71 feet (22 metres) tall.The Associated Press
Regina International Airport is coming under review as NAV Canada, Canada's air navigation service provider, considers cost-cutting measures at airports across the country. Regina is one of seven airports where air traffic controller jobs might be eliminated. According to James Bogusz, the CEO of the Regina Airport Authority, NAV Canada looks for a threshold of approximately 60,000 aircraft movements per year to justify having an aircraft control tower. Last year, Regina's airport came close, with 56,000 airport movements.Bogusz said he is concerned about how NAV Canada's decision might impact the community. "I simply cannot [let] our airport, and by extension our community and our whole region — which is all of southern Saskatchewan — diminish any operational capability we have," he said. NAV Canada is able to safely operate without a control tower on site — and does, at many airports — but doing so limits how much activity an airport can accommodate at any one time. With commercial flights, charters, military planes and the flight school all relying on Regina's airport, Bogusz said having a local air traffic control tower makes a major difference. "It's quite obvious that having boots on the ground, or, in this case, eyes in the tower, is far more efficient than trying to advise services from a city that cannot see what's going on in the airfield," he said. Doug McNair, president of the Regina Flying Club, said the NAV Canada air controllers based in Regina are a positive presence in the city's aviation community and have helped local flight students graduate better prepared to take on all sorts of aviation jobs."A lot of our students go on to get their commercial licenses and they move on to the airlines or air ambulance — they have a career in aviation," he said. "A lot of those types of jobs will take them into larger airports, and larger airports and airspace that has more traffic requires a lot more training and experience. "So in Regina here, by having the tower, we have all the benefits for our students of learning advanced procedures, taking direction from the air traffic controllers."Rebecca Hickey, a spokesperson for NAV Canada, said the review process will include a detailed study of the types and patterns of aircraft movement at the airport, as well as consultation with local stakeholders. While the option of closing or reducing the hours of the air traffic control is on the table, at this point in the process that is not a foregone conclusion."The outcome of our study could very well be status quo," Hickey said. "It's not determined, and it will be a number of months before it's concluded."
The Town of Bay Bulls has applied for provincial funding for a number of road upgrades, but Mayor Harold Mullowney is cautioning council not to get its hopes up. “The odds of getting funding are low. I’ve attended the MNL (Municipalities Newfoundland) conference, by Zoom, over the last few days, and the Minister (Municipal Affairs) said they were prioritizing urgent situations requiring water and sewer for the most part,” said Mullowney during the November 1o meeting of council. “They also said they were not funding a huge wish list. They were trying to keep their funding down to amounts below a million dollars, so that they could spread the money further among communities.” Nevertheless, Bay Bulls applied for funding for three different projects. The first was for completion of the Irishtown Road upgrade at a total cost estimate of $955,000, with the province and the town splitting the cost 50/50. A portion of the road is already being upgraded from surplus funds for the St. John's Road project, which was funded under a 90/10 cost share formula with the province paying the bigger share. Next up, was upgrades on Winnonish Drive at a cost of $371,000, at a 50/50 cost share rate. The third and final application was for upgrades to Northside Road and Bread and Cheese at a cost estimate of $1.5 million. The proposed cost sharing formula on that would be 40/50/10 for the federal, provincial, and municipal governments respectively. Mullowney did hold out some hope for the applications for Irish Town Road and Northside Road. “I’m hopeful that we might have a shot at the roadwork we already have under construction, because there are serious water issues on Irish Town Road, and the Northside has some serious issues with the possibility of erosion along that coast there,” he said. Mullowney had introduced the funding request as “probably the most important piece of work on the agenda tonight.”Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
After months of boredom and frustration, two Alaskan girls are excited they can go back to classes just across the border in B.C. — a school run that had until recently been impossible due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.On Oct. 30, Ottawa began to allow cross-border students to attend school on the other side of the Canada-U.S. border, as long as they're taken there and back by the same driver.Monday was the first day in this academic year Nick Korpela drove his daughters Hilma and Ellie from their home in Hyder, Alaska, to Bear Valley School in Stewart, B.C., where Americans' attendance has been approved by School District 82."The kids seemed to be really bouncing around quite a bit. I didn't know how the teacher is going to be able to get them to sit in their chair," Korpela told Dominika Lirette, guest host of CBC's Radio West.Hilma, 10, and eight-year-old Ellie were two of five children in their U.S. hometown, population 63, stuck at home despite their Canadian school being only three kilometres away. Hyder, situated in the Alaskan panhandle, is not connected by road to the rest of the state. Both girls said they were happy and excited to see their classmates and teachers again. "It was nice to play with more friends," Ellie said.The two girls would have been able to return to school earlier but had been denied access by Canadian border officers.Korpela says he tried to take the children to school on Nov. 16 but the Canada Border Services Agency officer in charge, despite knowing their purpose for crossing the border, wouldn't allow it.But Korpela said on Sunday he received a voice message from CBSA telling him he was now permitted to take the two girls to the Stewart school.When CBSA was asked why Korpela and his daughters were initially denied entry, it deferred to the Public Health Agency of Canada. PHAC has been contacted for comment. Tap the link below to listen to the Korpelas' interview on Radio West:
There are now more than 3,000 known active COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan — and more than 7,000 total since the pandemic first hit the province in March — after public health officials announced 164 new cases Wednesday.The total of known active cases is now 3,012 and the total reported since March is up to 7,047.Of Wednesday's new cases, 69 are from the Regina zone and 37 are from the Saskatoon zone.Ten are from the north central area, and nine each were found in the south east and south west. Eight cases were announced in the far north east, while seven more cases of COVID-19 were found in the far north west.Five new cases were found in the north east, three each were found in the far north central and central east regions, and one each were found in the north west and south central zones.Two new cases have pending residence information.Nine more health-care workers in Saskatchewan have tested positive for COVID-19, pushing the total since March to 216. One-hundred forty-three of those positive tests have come since the beginning of October.Of Wednesday's new cases, 49 are people in their 20s and 30s, 48 are people from 40 to 59 years old and 36 are people 19 years old or younger.Six more people have been admitted to hospital since Tuesday, but one patient has been removed from the intensive care unit.There are 111 people in hospital in Saskatchewan with COVID-19, including 19 in ICU.Another 79 people are considered recovered from COVID-19, pushing the total to 3,998. The number of deaths remains at 37.There were 2,811 COVID-19 tests conducted in the province on Tuesday.The seven-day test-positivity rate in Saskatchewan is 17.7 per 100,000 population.Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab are expected to announce further public health measures Wednesday afternoon.They were originally expected to do so Tuesday, but the news conference was postponed in order to review further measures.What's yours? CBC Saskatchewan wants to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you. Share your story with our online questionnaire.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched on Tuesday night from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying on it a new batch of 60 Starlink satellites into orbit for the Starlink internet satellite constellation system. (Nov. 25)
Three men's hockey teams in southern Saskatchewan have had COVID-19 outbreaks, according to the Saskatchewan Health Authority.Two senior hockey teams — the Balcarres Broncs of the Qu'Appelle Valley Hockey League and the Assiniboia Rebels of the Notekeu Hockey League — had outbreaks declared on Nov. 22 and Nov. 23 respectively, the SHA said.While Fort Knox, a team in the Prairie Junior Hockey League based in Fort Qu'Appelle, had an outbreak declared on Nov. 22.Fort Knox has five cases, none of which came from the team's "hockey environment," the team said in a news release."They all live together and the source was determined to be a social event," Kelly McClintock, general manager of the Saskatchewan Hockey Association, said via email.Fort Knox believes all public health precautions were followed from an organizational standpoint, the team said in the news release. On-ice activity is suspended until the end of the month.The Balcarres Broncs have one case of COVID-19, but McClintock said it's "non-hockey related."What's yours? CBC Saskatchewan wants to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you. Share your story with our online questionnaire.
PRISTINA, Kosovo — Kosovo’s foreign minister said on Wednesday that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic would not be allowed to visit the country until he apologized for “genocide” against Kosovo's population.Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla also posted on Twitter that no entry permission would be granted for Serb officials until Serbians are held accountable for “genocide” in an international court.“I repeat once again the only and permanent response to all future demands from Vucic and others: there is no permission for you to visit Kosovo if you do not apologize for the genocide committed on our people and until responsible persons of this genocide are held accountable,” she said.Vucic and other Serb officials have to ask Kosovo's permission before visiting ethnic Serb minority areas in the former Serbian province.Kosovo’s 1998-99 war, which ended after a 78-day NATO air campaign, left more than 10,000 people dead, mostly ethnic Albanians.Haradinaj-Stublla reacted following Vucic' presence at the inauguration of a hospital in Belgrade where a mass grave of 744 ethnic Albanians killed in 1999 has been found.Several mass graves with the bodies of Kosovo Albanians killed by Serb troops during the 1998-99 war have been discovered in various parts of Serbia. Moving victims from Kosovo to Serbia was part of a coverup operation by Serbian authorities at the time to try to hide evidence of war crimes.Last week the European Union’s mission to ensure the rule of law in Kosovo said human remains that appear to be a mass grave of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo have been found in a disused coal mine in Kizevak in southern Serbia.Vucic said on Tuesday that Haradinaj-Stublla had asked to be present at the Kizevak works “in order to create a political show.”Although several of its top military officers have been sentenced by a UN court for war crimes during the 1998-99 war, Serbia has never admitted committing atrocities in its former province.Meanwhile, an international court based in The Hague, Netherlands has indicted and arrested on suspicion of war crimes and crimes against humanity the former Kosovo president and four other top ex-commanders of ethnic Albanian guerillas who fought for independence from Serbia.Last week Vucic asked to visit Kosovo but was denied permission by Pristina.Kosovo-Serbia relations remain tense despite EU-mediated talks on normalization of their ties and efforts from the United States too.Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Serbia has not recognized that.——-Semini reported from Tirana, Albania; Dusan Stojanovic contributed from Belgrade.Zenel Zhinipotoku And Llazar Semini, The Associated Press
In the face of what advocates say is a growing housing crisis that includes ballooning rent costs forcing people out of their homes, the Nova Scotia government is stepping in with a cap on increases and a ban on so-called renovictions."Too many Nova Scotians are struggling to afford a place they call home," Housing Minister Chuck Porter said Wednesday."Now is not the time for people to be worrying about keeping a roof over their heads or being forced to find a new home for their family, but unfortunately that is exactly the situation many people are in."Effective immediately, rent increases are capped at two per cent per year without exception. The change is retroactive to September 2020 and will remain in place until Feb. 1, 2022, or whenever the COVID-19 state of emergency is lifted. Porter said anyone whose rent has already gone up within the defined time period would receive the difference as a future credit.Landlords will be banned from evicting tenants for the purpose of renovating their buildings. Porter said unless an eviction order has been issued by the residential tenancy board, it will not be enforceable, and that includes notices already provided.Marites Sumat was thrilled by the news."I'm so thankful," she said.Sumat recently received six months notice that the Clayton Park apartment she shares with her husband, three children and mother was going to see the monthly rent go up from $850 to $1,250, a 47 per cent increase that would have priced the family out of their home.The new cap is "a big help for renters," she said.COVID-19 has exerted a major toll on many people, said Sumat. While she's been fortunate not to have her hours reduced at work, she said the pandemic has made what was an already difficult situation for many people all the more challenging.She's still waiting to speak with her landlord, but under the rules announced today the increase scheduled for March 2021 would not be permitted.Change in tuneThe rent cap is a stark departure from previous assertions by Premier Stephen McNeil and his government that rent control is not an effective tool for combating housing challenges.For months, there have been a litany of stories about people being forced from their homes due to renovictions or rent increases as high as 90 per cent. Porter acknowledged it took time to arrive at Wednesday's announcement, but said the government was trying to find the most effective way to deal with the situation.Although he said the main problem is one of supply, the minister noted that cannot be addressed quickly."It is incumbent on us as government to enact something in the interim," said Porter.Two of the candidates vying to be the new Liberal leader and premier recently proposed forms of rent control. Porter, who has endorsed candidate Iain Rankin, said those plans had no bearing on Wednesday's announcement.Affordable housing commission struckWednesday's announcement also included the creation of the Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission, which is charged with making recommendations about affordable housing strategies and actions. Their first list of recommendations is due in six months.The commission includes: * Catherine Berliner, Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing (co-chair) * Ren Thomas, Dalhousie University (co-chair) * Chief Sidney Peters, Tawaak Housing Association * Karen Brodeur, Cooperative Housing Federation of Canada * Fred Deveaux, Cape Breton Community Housing Association * Jim Graham, Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia * Mike Dolter, Association of Municipal Administrators Nova Scotia * Jeremy Jackson, Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia * Alex Halef, Urban Development Institute * Gordon Laing, Southwest Properties * Kelly Denty, Halifax Regional Municipality * Michelle MacFarlane, Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services * Joy Knight, Department of Community ServicesRepresentation will also include people to be appointed from the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and the justice and health departments.Another measure Porter announced is $1.7 million to replace 30 beds removed from the homeless shelter system as a result of changes required by Public Health protocols for physical distancing.The minister said meetings are imminent with service providers to determine how to get as many people off the streets as soon as possible. Advocates estimate homelessness numbers in the Halifax Regional Municipality have more than doubled in the last year and Porter said the government is committed to finding ways to address the issue.Should have come soonerOfficials with the housing advocacy group ACORN issued a news release calling the government's decision "an overdue first step" that comes following prolonged lobbying."We would not have seen any movement on rent control if it were not for the tireless work of our members, tenants across Nova Scotia and activists who have been fighting for our communities for years — organizing works," said the release.NDP housing critic Lisa Roberts said her party has put forward multiple pieces of legislation in recent years intended to address the issue, none of which received support from the governing Liberals."This is good, but, frankly, it shouldn't have taken a global pandemic for us to recognize the housing crisis," she said.Roberts said she hopes the new commission spends time looking at rent control on a longer-term basis and helps bring in some kind of permanent check, be it through new legislation proposals or use of the existing Rent Control Act, which was passed in the 1990s.Industry concernsKevin Russell, executive director of the Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia, said the size of the cap is a concern because it falls "well under" the operational cost of rental buildings.He predicted it would have the biggest effect on people who rent in older buildings, which make up the majority of housing stock in Halifax and are nearing "the end of their life cycle.""It will have an impact on operations," he said. "To what degree, that will be up to each individual landlord. It may put off some repairs and maintenance, it may affect other areas of operation."Russell said he's optimistic about the affordable housing commission and what it could do. Whatever changes come must be long term, he said."We've been trying to talk [about] affordable housing with the government for over 10 years and now it takes a crisis for everybody to come to the table. I guess that's how it works."MORE TOP STORIES