A heavy presence of law enforcement officers guarded state capitol grounds across the United States on Sunday in preparation for protests that so far have drawn only a small number of Trump supporters who believe the president's false claim that the 2020 election was rigged. More than a dozen states have activated National Guard troops to help secure their capitol buildings following an FBI warning of armed demonstrations, with right-wing extremists emboldened by the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6. Capitals in battleground states, where Trump has directed his accusations of voter fraud, were on especially high alert.
The debate about the U.S. Electoral College pits those who think the president should be chosen via popular vote versus those who believe the interests of small and large states must be balanced.
LEICESTER, England — Leicester climbed to second place in the English Premier League by beating Southampton 2-0, with James Maddison marking his opening goal with a humorous solo celebration to follow new pandemic protocols urging players to stop hugging and kissing. After running onto Youri Tielemans' pass and smashing home a rising shot into the roof of the net in the 37th minute, Maddison turned to face his approaching teammates and — with a broad smile on his face — waved them away before applauding himself repeatedly. “If little things like that are what we need to keep football going, then so be it,” Maddison said. "We have been told to stop gatherings of people and I tried to make it light-hearted. “Footballers, we get a lot of stick and it’s nice to put a lighter note on it." Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in England because of a new variant, the Premier League has warned clubs that punishments will be handed out for flouting the rules when it comes to celebrations. Some have questioned whether football should continue to be played in the circumstances. Harvey Barnes netted the second goal in the fifth and final minute of second-half stoppage time at King Power Stadium, running in behind Southampton's defence to slot home a finish at the end of a counterattack. Leicester's joint-best 11th victory of the campaign meant Brendan Rodgers' team split leader Manchester United and champion Liverpool ahead of their much-anticipated match at Anfield on Sunday. Leicester again looks like challenging for the Champions League qualification spots like last year when the team fell short in the final weeks after looking like a lock in the top four. “It’s nice to be second in the table," Maddison said, "but last year we petered off in the new year so the next few months will be tough.” Southampton lacked a cutting edge without star striker Danny Ings, who missed the game after only recently returning to training after contracting the coronavirus. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
VICTORIA — A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the province against considering a domestic travel ban, saying restricting travel between provinces to fight COVID-19 would only further harm the sector.The B.C. government should steer away from pursuing an outright ban and work instead with the industry and communities to better educate travelers about pandemic health and safety protocols, said Vivek Sharma, chairman of the Tourism Association of B.C.He said many tourism-related businesses are barely surviving due to the pandemic and a travel ban now would likely mean many won't survive the winter. "Tourism businesses in large and small communities are the glue that binds communities together," Sharma said in an interview. "It runs through the fabric of our province and we need to find solutions as to how we can support them to get into spring and to create an environment in the spring where those businesses can flourish and succeed."He said the tourism sector wants to stress to the government that individual behaviour and not travel is behind the spread of COVID-19."What we are saying is the problem is not happening because of the travel," said Sharma.Premier John Horgan said earlier this week his government is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel.Sharma, speaking on behalf of tourism and accommodations organizations from Vancouver, Richmond and Greater Victoria, said a non-essential travel ban could also heighten unnecessary fears and misperceptions toward visitors to B.C.There were several police reports last year from people driving vehicles with out-of-province licence plates about being confronted by local residents concerned about the spread of COVID-19.Sharma said the association has a legal opinion stating a travel ban would be difficult to implement due to Canada's mobility rights provisions, but the industry is not looking for a legal confrontation with the province."We don't want to talk about conflict," he said. "I don't even want to say we will challenge this in court."Cara Zwibel, a lawyer with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said earlier the B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary.She said it is not clear that B.C. has seen a rise in COVID-19 cases linked to interprovincial travel.The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is appealing an earlier court decision upholding travel restrictions imposed last year by the Newfoundland and Labrador government. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan .16, 2021. Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
LOS ANGELES — Dr. Dre was back at home Saturday after being treated at a Los Angeles hospital for a reported brain aneurysm. Peter Paterno, an attorney for the music mogul, said Dre was home but offered no other details in an email exchange Saturday. The rapper and producer reportedly was released Friday from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. In a Jan. 5 social media post, Dre, 55, said he was “doing great and getting excellent care from my medical team.” TMZ had reported that he suffered a brain aneurysm the day before and was recovering at the medical centre. On Friday, actor and rapper Ice T posted that he had connected with Dre on FaceTime and that he had “just made it home. Safe and looking good.” Born Andre Young in the Southern California city of Compton, Dre broke out on the music scene as a co-founding member of N.W.A., producing the group’s groundbreaking 1988 debut album, “Straight Outta Compton.” He produced his own hits and multiplatinum albums, along with crafting music for many others including Tupac, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent, Jay-Z and Nas. He also found success outside of the rap genre, producing pop hits for Gwen Stefani and Mary J. Blige. Dre founded Beats Electronics in 2008 with Jimmy Iovine, and six years later they launched a streaming subscription service, Beats Music. Apple acquired both in a $3 billion deal in 2014. The Associated Press
FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — Oilpatch giant Suncor says the body of a man whose bulldozer fell through the ice on one of its inactive tailings ponds earlier this week has now been recovered. The company issued a statement saying emergency responders completed their recovery efforts for Patrick Poitras on Friday night. The worker was an employee of Christina River Construction. Crews responded to the accident Wednesday afternoon at the mine site near Fort McMurray, Alta. A Suncor spokeswoman said at the time that occupational health and safety authorities were notified. The company says it's confirming Poitras' death with "great sadness" and "heavy hearts." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021. The Canadian Press
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — An election campaign in a Newfoundland and Labrador winter entails thigh-high snowbanks and winds strong enough to peel back eyelids. But on Saturday, Progressive Conservative leader Ches Crosbie found it does have an upside: knocking on doors is a little easier if people are already out shovelling. "It's been very encouraging here," he said from inside his campaign's SUV, as his team warmed their hands and their phones. Crosbie is flipping the partisan playbook, campaigning on a pledge to spend in order to create jobs. "Our philosophy is that you can't cut your way out of financial mess, you have to grow your way out of it," he said. "Fiscal conservatism is something best practised when you can afford to do it. And we can't afford it at the moment." He sees the stance as a rebuttal to the spending cuts some fear will come from the Liberals, led by surgeon Andrew Furey. Furey pushed back against that narrative at his first official campaign event at the St. John's Farmers' Market Saturday morning. "Now is not the time for cuts," he told reporters. "We need to grow the economy and the cuts are not going to come on the backs of hard-working men and women across the province." Before the legislature was dissolved Friday afternoon ahead of the election call, the Liberals held power with a minority government. Furey was installed as leader of the party in August, inheriting the premiership from Dwight Ball, and had to call an election within a year, according to provincial rules. In the fall, Furey assembled the premier's economic recovery team to address the province's staggering $1.84-billion deficit and $16.4-billion net debt, and to make suggestions on how the government could reorganize operations and build a stronger economy. The team has been controversial, with a major labour leader dramatically resigning. A first draft of the team's suggestions is due in February, but it's not clear if it will be made public before the election on Feb. 13. In his campaign announcement speech on Friday evening, Crosbie said Furey is trying to bury a plan for austerity measures, sending voters to the polls without knowing what they're in for. "Andrew Furey's secret plan will mean fewer jobs," he said in the speech. Crosbie and the Progressive Conservatives are Furey's biggest competition. On Saturday, in the Cowan Heights suburb of St. John's, a few shovellers who stopped to chat with Crosbie seemed impressed — particularly with Kristina Ennis, the PC candidate running in the district. Ennis is a young professional who was laid off in December from her job as a research and development analyst with ExxonMobil. "I loved it, I really miss it," she said on Saturday. "And I am just another of those people who've lost their jobs — the thousands of people — this year." She said she gets asked a lot why she joined the Progressive Conservatives, "especially as a young woman," answering that she was attracted to the party's emphasis on creating jobs through growth. "I don't want my friends to keep moving away, and I don't want to have to move away," she said. "The labour market, there's not a lot out there right now, and the competition to get those jobs is really high. There's so many people unemployed right now." At dissolution, the Liberals held 19 seats, the Progressive Conservatives held 15, the NDP had three and there were three Independents. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021. Sarah Smellie, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — Quebec reported 2,225 new COVID-19 cases and 67 further deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus on Saturday as the province marked one week since instituting a curfew and tougher public health measures. In announcing the most recent tally, Health Minister Christian Dube tweeted Saturday that all Quebecers need to continue to follow public health rules to ensure cases and hospitalizations go down. Quebec has now reported more than 9,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, but hospitalizations dropped for a second day, this time by 22 for a total of 1,474 patients. There were also four fewer patients in intensive care for a total of 227. Among the measures introduced one week ago was a curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. with police dolling out fines to those who are contravening the order. A group braved a snowstorm to gather in east-end Montreal to denounce the province's decision to employ a police solution, saying the curfew has a "symbolic effect" but only serves to create a "climate of fear." Organizers said in a statement the provincewide curfew -- a first in Canada -- is "unacceptable", "absurd" and "dangerous," particularly for the most vulnerable in society. Earlier this week, Dube said it was too early to say whether the new measures, which will last until at least Feb. 8, are having the desired effect. The hard-hit province has now reported 240,970 confirmed infections and 9,005 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, with 210,364 recoveries. Quebec currently has 21,640 active cases. Meanwhile, the province said it was working on an updated vaccine distribution plan after Dube announced Friday that 86,775 of the 176,475 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine won't be delivered as planned between now and Feb. 8. The drugmaker is upgrading its European production facilities to increase the number of doses it can produce, meaning a reduction in output. "This decrease in arriving vaccines implies a revision of the objectives presented in recent days," the province's Health Department said in a statement on Friday. "Teams are actively working to establish a new dose distribution plan in accordance with the vaccination priorities established." On Thursday, Quebec announced its vaccination rollout, which includes waiting between 42 and 90 days to administer a second booster in an effort to vaccinate as many Quebecers as possible amid mounting pressure on the health-care system. "The strategy adopted by the public health authorities is to immunize as many people as possible with priority groups," the department said. "All vaccine doses received will therefore be used for this purpose." Quebec has administered 137,856 doses of COVID-19 vaccine including 62,733 people in the past seven days and 10,783 people on Friday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021. Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
The second wave of COVID-19 continues to put a strain on health resources across the province. New numbers indicate the pandemic has deeply affected people experiencing homelessness. Health agencies and physicians are calling for more to be done to help. Katherine Ward reports.
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):6:45 p.m.Canada's national COVID-19 case count has surpassed 700,000.Seven provinces recorded more than 6,400 new infections today, pushing the country's tally above 702,000 since the onset of the global pandemic.It took less than two weeks for Canada to add 100,000 cases to the overall count, a timeframe that took months during the pandemic's first wave.Canada reached the 600,000-case threshold on Jan. 3. ---6:25 p.m.Alberta is reporting 717 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 additional virus-related deaths today.Chief medical health officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw tweeted that 765 people are in hospital with COVID-19, 122 of whom are in intensive care.Hinshaw says the provincial test positivity rate is 5.6 per cent.---5 p.m.Federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand is urging drugmaker Pfizer-BioNTech to get COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to Canada back on track. She says in a series of tweets that she understands Canadians' concerns about the company's decision to delay international deliveries.She says she's been in touch with Pfizer-BioNTech, and that they've told her they're trying to get things back on schedule. Anand notes that the government does not expect vaccine distribution to be affected in the coming week. --- 2:10 p.m.New Brunswick is reporting 27 new cases of COVID-19 today and now has 267 active cases.Public health says there are seven new cases in both the Moncton and Edmundston regions, four in both the Saint John and Fredericton areas, three in the Campbellton region and two in the Bathurst area.All of the patients are self-isolating and the origin of their infections are under investigation, while there are three patients currently in hospital.New Brunswick has had a total of 911 confirmed cases with 631 recoveries and 12 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.---1:45 p.m.Manitoba is reporting two new COVID-19 deaths.They were included in today's provincial pandemic update, which says there were 180 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba as of this morning.The update says Manitoba's five-day test positivity rate is 10.2 per cent, although Winnipeg's is lower at seven per cent.The total number of people who have died in Manitoba from COVID-19 is 761.---11:30 a.m.Nova Scotia is reporting four new cases of COVID-19 today, including two cases involving university students.Health officials say the one case in the eastern zone is related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada -- a student at Cape Breton University in Sydney who lives off campus and is self-isolating.The three other cases are in the Halifax area, with one a contact of a previously reported case and the other two related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada, including a student at Dalhousie University who lives off campus.The province now has 30 active cases of the virus, with no one currently in hospital.---11:15 a.m.Quebec is reporting 2,225 new COVID-19 cases and 67 further deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.The number of hospitalizations dropped for a second day, this time by 22 for a total of 1,474 patients, and four fewer patients in intensive care for a total of 227.The province added 2,430 more recoveries, for a total of 210,364.The province has now reported 240,970 confirmed infections and 9,005 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.---10:45 a.m.Ontario is reporting 3,056 new cases of COVID-19 today along with 51 new deaths related to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliot says 903 of the latest diagnoses are in Toronto, with 639 in neighbouring Peel region and 283 in York Region. The province says 1,632 COVID-19 patients are currently in hospital, with 397 in intensive care. Elliott says the province had administered 189,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine as of 8 p.m. on Friday.--- 10:30 a.m.Ontario says a shipping delay from Pfizer BioNTech means residents who receive an initial dose of the company's COVID-19 vaccine will have to wait longer than expected to receive their second one.The government says long-term care residents and staff who have been inoculated already will wait up to an extra week before a second dose is administered. Anyone else receiving the Pfizer vaccine were initially supposed to get a econd dose after 21 days, but will now see that timetable extended to a maximum of 42 days. The government says it's on track to ensure all long-term care residents, essential caregivers and staff, the first priority group for the vaccine, receive their first dose by mid-February.---This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021. The Canadian Press
LOS ANGELES — True to form, Betty White has something impish to say about her birthday Sunday. “Since I am turning 99, I can stay up as late as I want without asking permission!” she told The Associated Press in an email. White's low-key plans include feeding a pair of ducks that regularly visit her Los Angeles-area home. Her birthday meal will be a hot dog and French fries brought in — along with a bouquet of roses — by her longtime friend and agent, Jeff Witjas. The actor’s TV credits stretch from 1949’s “Hollywood on Television” to a 2019 voice role in “Forky Asks a Question,” with “The Golden Girls” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” among the enduring highlights. In January alone, White is on screen in reruns including “The Golden Girls” and “Hot in Cleveland”; the 2009 Sandra Bullock movie “The Proposal,” and the 2018 documentary “Betty White: First Lady of Television,” about her life and career. White's devotion to animals will be on display next month with the DVD and digital release of “Betty White's Pet Set," a 1970s series in which she visited with celebrity guests and their pets as well as wild animals. Her work, always marked by top-drawer comedic timing, has earned her five Emmy Awards, including a 2010 trophy for a guest-host appearance on “Saturday Night Live.” A native of Oak Park, Illinois, White was married to game show host and producer Allen Ludden from 1963 until his death in 1981. Lynn Elber, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Latest on the fallout and increased security efforts after the attack of the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump loyalists (all times local): 4:25 p.m. Police have arrested a man with a handgun and 500 rounds of ammunition at a checkpoint in Washington set up ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Wesley Allen Beeler was charged with carrying a pistol without a license after being stopped at the checkpoint near the U.S. Capitol on Friday. Court documents say Beeler approached the checkpoint but did not have a valid credential for that area. An officer noticed he had “firearms-related stickers” on his vehicle and asked him if he had any weapons inside. The papers say Beeler told the officers he had a handgun under the armrest and police detained him at the scene. They searched his car and found a high-capacity magazine in the 9mm handgun, along with more than 500 rounds of ammunition in the vehicle. Authorities said he didn’t have a license to carry the gun in Washington. His attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Associated Press
KAMPALA, Uganda — Uganda’s electoral commission said Saturday that President Yoweri Museveni won a sixth five-year term, extending his rule to four decades, while top opposition challenger Bobi Wine dismissed “cooked-up, fraudulent results” and officials struggled to explain how polling results were compiled amid an internet blackout. In a generational clash watched across the African continent with a booming young population and a host of aging leaders, the 38-year-old singer-turned-lawmaker Wine posed arguably Museveni's greatest challenge yet. The self-described “ghetto president” had strong support in urban centres where frustration with unemployment and corruption is high. He has claimed victory. In a phone interview from his home, which he said was surrounded by soldiers who wouldn't let him leave, Wine urged the international community to “please call Gen. Museveni to order” by withholding aid, imposing sanctions and using Magnitsky legislation to hold alleged human rights users accountable. Wine repeated that all legal options are being considered, including challenging the results in court and calling for peaceful protests. The electoral commission said Museveni received 58% of ballots and Wine 34%, and voter turnout was 52%, in a process that the top United States diplomat to Africa called “fundamentally flawed.” The commission advised people celebrating to remember COVID-19 precautions, but reaction in the capital, Kampala, was muted. At one point, hundreds of Museveni supporters on motorcycles sped by, honking and chanting. The military remained in the streets. AP journalists who tried to reach Wine's home on Kampala's outskirts were turned away by police. Wine has said he is alone with his wife, Barbie, and a single security guard after police told a private security company to withdraw its protection ahead of Thursday's election. “I'm alive,” Wine said. After declaring “the world is watching” on the eve of the vote, he said “I don’t know what will happen to me and my wife" now. He said he won't leave Uganda and abandon its 45 million people to the kind of treatment he has faced. The vote followed the East African country’s worst pre-election violence since the 76-year-old Museveni took office in 1986. Wine and other candidates were beaten or harassed, and more than 50 people were killed when security forces put down riots in November over his arrest. Wine, whose real name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, was detained several times while campaigning but never convicted. He said he feared for his life. This month, Wine petitioned the International Criminal Court over alleged torture and other abuses by security forces and named several officials including Museveni. In response to his allegations of vote-rigging, Uganda’s electoral commission said Wine should prove it. Wine says he has video evidence and will share it once internet access is restored. Museveni said in a national address that “I think this may turn out to be the most cheating-free election since 1962,” or independence from Britain. The electoral commission deflected questions about how countrywide voting results were transmitted during the internet blackout by saying “we designed our own system.” “We did not receive any orders from above during this election,” commission chair Simon Byabakama told reporters, adding his team was “neither intimidated nor threatened.” While the president holds on to power, at least nine of his Cabinet ministers, including the vice-president, were voted out in parliamentary elections, many losing to candidates from Wine’s party, local media reported. Tracking the vote was further complicated by the arrests of independent monitors and the denial of accreditation to most members of the U.S. observer mission, leading the U.S. to call it off. The European Union said its offer to deploy electoral experts “was not taken up.” “Uganda’s electoral process has been fundamentally flawed,” the top U.S. diplomat for Africa, Tibor Nagy, tweeted, warning that “the U.S. response hinges on what the Ugandan government does now.” The U.S. State Department urged “independent, credible, impartial, and thorough investigations” into reports of irregularities. It condemned “the continuing attacks on political candidates” and called for the immediate restoration of the internet and social media. “We reiterate our intention to pursue action against those responsible for the undermining of democracy and human rights in Uganda,” it said. Museveni, once praised as part of a new generation of African leaders and a longtime U.S. security ally, still has support in Uganda for bringing stability. He once criticized African leaders who refused to step aside but has since overseen the removal of term limits and an age limit on the presidency. He alleged repeatedly that foreign groups were trying to meddle in this election, without providing evidence. He accused Wine of being “an agent of foreign interests.” Wine denies it. The head of the African Union observer team, Samuel Azuu Fonkam, told reporters he could not say whether the election was free and fair, noting the “limited” mission which largely focused on Kampala. Asked about Wine’s allegations of rigging, he said he could not “speak about things we did not see or observe.” The East African Community observer team noted “disproportionate use of force in some instances” by security forces, the internet shutdown, some late-opening polling stations and isolated cases of failure in biometric kits to verify voters. But it called the vote largely peaceful and said it “demonstrated the level of maturity expected of a democracy.” Uganda’s elections are often marred by allegations of fraud and abuses by security forces. ___ Associated Press writer Cara Anna in Nairobi, Kenya contributed to this report. The Associated Press
ROCKY MOUNTAIN HOUSE, Alta. — A 28-year-old man is in hospital in Calgary after police say he fell while ice climbing in the Rocky Mountains. RCMP say members from their Rocky Mountain House detachment responded to a dispatch on Friday afternoon that a climber had fallen and needed medical assistance. Police say an SOS beacon was received that indicated the climber was at the south end of Abraham Lake, about 200 km northwest of Calgary. They say reports indicate he fell 12 metres. The man was long-line rescued from his location by Ahlstrom Helicopters with the help of Rocky Mountain House Search and Rescue, and was then transferred to a STARS air ambulance helicopter. Police say his injuries were serious but not life-threatening. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021. The Canadian Press
Canada's procurement minister urged drugmaker Pfizer-BioNTech to get the country's COVID-19 vaccine delivery schedule back on track as soon as possible as cases of the novel coronavirus surged past the 700,000 mark on Saturday. The country hit the milestone less than two weeks after recording 600,000 cases of the virus on Jan. 3 -- a feat that took months during the pandemic's first wave. Seven provinces recorded 6,479 cases on Saturday, pushing the national tally over 702,000. Nationwide inoculation efforts had resulted in more than half a million residents receiving a vaccine dose as of Friday night, though the pace of immunizations is set to decrease as Pfizer-BioNTech upgrades its production facilities in Europe. Procurement Minister Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians' concerns about the drug company's decision to delay international vaccine shipments for four weeks during the upgrades. "We are once again in touch with representatives from Pfizer to reiterate firmly the importance for Canada to return to our regular delivery schedule as soon as possible," she said on Twitter Saturday. "Pfizer assured us that it is deploying all efforts to do just that."She noted that shipments for the upcoming week will be largely unaffected, and said Ottawa will provide updates as they become available. Ontario became the latest province to adjust its vaccination rollout plans in light of Pfizer's announcement.Dr. David Williams, the province's Chief Medical Officer of Health, issued a statement on Saturday saying officials do not yet know the full impact the delay will have on Ontario's immunization strategy. "We understand that this change in supply could see deliveries reduced by at least half for Canada in the coming weeks," Williams said in a statement Saturday."We will assess and take appropriate action to ensure we can continue providing our most vulnerable with vaccines."In Ontario, long-term care residents, caregivers and staff who already received their first dose of Pfizer's vaccine will get their second dose between 21 and 27 days later, no more than a week beyond what was originally planned. But that time frame will be longer for anyone else receiving the Pfizer vaccine, with second doses being delivered anywhere from 21 to 42 days after the initial shot.Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube said Friday the reduced shipments mean that 86,775 of the 176,475 doses of the vaccine expected by Feb. 8 won't be delivered on schedule.Officials are establishing a new distribution plan, but the Quebec Health Department said it still intends to immunize as many people as possible within priority groups, with a delay of up to 90 days for the second dose.Officials in Saskatchewan said COVID-19 vaccinations will continue as doses are received, with Premier Scott Moe telling reporters Friday that the province's strategy for the two-dose regime depends on steady shipments.Canada's top doctor continued her push for strict adherance to public health guidelines as Saturday's case count inched closer to levels forecasted in bleak federal projections released earlier in the week. Modeling released on Thursday indicated Canada could see 10,000 daily cases by the end of January if current infection rates continue. "If we ease measures too soon, the epidemic will resurge even stronger," Dr. Theresa Tam said in a tweet. "This is double-down time!!"Tam said Hospitalizations and deaths across the country, which tend to lag one to several weeks behind a spike in cases, are still on the rise.Canada averaged 4,705 hospitalizations across the country with 875 patients requiring intensive care treatment For the seven-day period ending Jan. 14. During the same period, an average of 137 deaths were reported daily.Ontario topped 3,000 cases in a 24-hour period once again on Saturday and added another 51 deaths linked to the virus.In Quebec, 2,225 new infections were reported along with 67 deaths attributed to the virus, pushing the province over the 9,000 death mark since the beginning of the pandemic.New Brunswick continued to report the highest daily COVID-19 case counts in Atlantic Canada, with 27 new diagnoses reported Saturday. Nova Scotia, by contrast, reported just four.Saskatchewan reported 270 new COVID-19 cases and two further deaths on Saturday. Alberta logged 717 new infections, while Manitoba reported 180.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021. Sidhartha Banerjee and Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
Many Manitobans are struggling to make sure their blood sugars are in range as they are unable to access continuous glucose monitors (CGMs). CGMs are small wearable monitors that send current blood-sugar readings to devices automatically. The monitors can provide warning of unpredictable events such as life-threatening lows during sleep. Currently, CGMs are not covered in the provincial formulary, so patients have to pay to access this device. Some families have even lost their private coverage they formerly had through their work due to COVID-19. “All Manitobans living with diabetes, including those in First Nations communities, deserve to have CGMs and insulin pumps covered so they can manage their diabetes without financial stress,” said provincial NDP leader Wab Kinew on Thursday. Emergency Diabetes Support for Manitobans, a grassroots advocacy group, is trying to address this issue and has created the “Great Manitoban Fingerprick Challenge,” to raise awareness about diabetes and the lack of coverage on CGMs. Several MLAs have agreed to take part in this challenge, including Kinew who believes that CGMs should be covered. The challenge calls for insulin, pumps, pump supplies, and CGMs to be made readily available to all insulin-dependent patients in Manitoba. “For me, this challenge is a chance, in a small way, to get an idea of what it is like to live with diabetes. This is such a huge issue in our society across our healthcare system. I want to show my solidarity and compassion for the people living in this situation,” said Kinew. In a few days, Kinew will receive a kit which he will use to draw blood and monitor his blood-sugar level. He will then go to social media and talk more about his experience during the challenge and to bring awareness about diabetes. Hollie Kirkness is a parent of a 10-year-old child with Type 1 Diabetes. Both her husband and son, Nikolai, are First Nations. She mentioned that the CGM has been a major help for her family. “One of the things he had to adapt to originally was doing finger pokes. People with Type 1 Diabetes have to check their sugar constantly, so at least four times a day we are poking his fingers. At times, the tissue at his fingers hardens, so it becomes harder to draw blood,” she said. However, the monitor that her son uses is a Dexcom G6 CGM system, which is a water-resistant sensor that can show the glucose number in real-time. “The sensor goes into the fatty tissue and transmits all his glucose readings to his phone. So, he would only need one poke every ten days. It has cheered him up so much,” said Kirkness. “The biggest advantage I found is that the CGM can show his blood sugar trends. The pokes are essentially a picture, you take it, and you can see where the blood sugar is in the moment, but you don’t know whether his blood sugar will go up or if it is minutes away from it being low.” With finger pokes, Kirkness would need to wake up a few times in the middle of the night to get Nikolai’s blood sugar reading because if her son’s readings go lower than normal, he may slip into a coma. The CGM has not only helped Kirkness and her family gain some sleep but has also enabled her son to perform physical activities without worrying about his sugar levels. Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun
The Manitoba Métis Community and the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) have been shut out of critical participation in Manitoba’s rollout of the vaccine and of yet, has not participated in any kind of token engagement with the province, the MMF says. While the Manitoba Government has invited the federation to participate in discussions of limited scope, it has failed to involve the MMF in any meaningful way. There has also been no data-sharing agreement with the provincial government despite numerous requests by the MMF. “Despite what Pallister’s officials suggest, we haven’t been engaged in a plan to deliver any vaccines to the Manitoba Métis,” said the MMF President David Chartrand in a news release. “How can we provide support to communication and infrastructure for a vaccine rollout to our people when we don’t know the basics? Where are the vaccines for the Métis people? How many are there? When will they be delivered? How will our population be identified? The province has no data on our Citizens and has long refused to sign a data-sharing agreement with us.” The federation believes that the current province’s vaccination plan does not address the lack of priority for the Métis Nation’s vulnerable Citizens and Elders. With no concrete plan in place, the Manitoba Métis Community feels as though they have been abandoned by the provincial government. “The Province of Manitoba has missed its mark on the Métis Citizens. Our Elders and our vulnerable have been calling our office to find out what the plan is from the Métis government,” said MMF Minister of Health and Wellness Frances Chartrand on Friday. “However, the province presently holds the strings regarding the vaccine, and until they start working with us, we have no plan. Because of this, we have to keep reassuring our citizens that we are still trying to get Manitoba to recognize that the Métis should be included in the rollout plan.” Frances noted that as there is no data-sharing agreement between the province and the Métis, most of the information they received about their people’s COVID-19 rates is through word of mouth. Last Friday, Frances was invited to a communications meeting with the province. During the meeting, the province wanted to know how the MMF will roll out the vaccine to its community. “When we went in the meeting, we thought that it was a foot in the door for us to work together, but all they wanted was to know our vaccination plan,” said Frances. “The province did not provide any information on how many vaccines will be allocated to the Métis citizens or the number of positive cases within our community. It was just a ploy to prove that they had consulted with the Métis government.” A spokesperson from the Department of Indigenous and Northern Relations said that invitations were extended to the MMF regarding access to Manitoba’s vaccination sites and participation with the Indigenous Vaccination Communications Working Group. “The province has also reached out to encourage the development of an information-sharing agreement, and provincial officials have been regularly engaged with staff from the MMF regarding COVID-19,” said the spokesperson. “MMF staffs have been regular and active participants of weekly meetings at the provincial Indigenous COVID-19 collaboration table to address specific to First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. Although the MMF has declined to participate in an information-sharing agreement, their engagement with provincial health officials regarding the response to COVID-19 is demonstrable.” Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun
SAN DIEGO — President-elect Joe Biden's decision to immediately ask Congress to offer legal status to an estimated 11 million people in the country has surprised advocates given how the issue has long divided Democrats and Republicans, even within their own parties. Biden will announce legislation his first day in office to provide a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants in the United States illegally, according to four people briefed on his plans. The president-elect campaigned on a path to citizenship for the roughly 11 million people in the U.S. illegally, but it was unclear how quickly he would move while wrestling with the coronavirus pandemic, the economy and other priorities. For advocates, memories were fresh of presidential candidate Barack Obama pledging an immigration bill his first year in office, in 2009, but not tackling the issue until his second term. Biden's plan is the polar opposite of Donald Trump, whose successful 2016 presidential campaign rested in part on curbing or stopping illegal immigration. “This really does represent a historic shift from Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda that recognizes that all of the undocumented immigrants that are currently in the United States should be placed on a path to citizenship,” said Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, who was briefed on the bill. If successful, the legislation would be the biggest move toward granting status to people in the country illegally since President Ronald Reagan bestowed amnesty on nearly 3 million people in 1986. Legislative efforts to overhaul immigration policy failed in 2007 and 2013. Ron Klain, Biden’s incoming chief of staff, said Saturday that Biden will send an immigration bill to Congress “on his first day in office.” He didn’t elaborate and Biden’s office declined to comment on specifics. Advocates were briefed in recent days on the bill's broad outlines by Esther Olivarria, deputy director for immigration on the White House Domestic Policy Council. Domingo Garcia, former president of the League of Latin American Citizens, said Biden told advocates on a call Thursday that Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate may delay consideration of the bill and that they shouldn’t count on passage within 100 days. “I was pleasantly surprised that they were going to take quick action because we got the same promises from Obama, who got elected in ’08, and he totally failed,” Garcia said. Ali Noorani, president of the National Immigration Forum and among those briefed Thursday night, said immigrants would be put on an eight-year path to citizenship. There would be a faster track for those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields people from deportation who came to the country as young children, and Temporary Protected Status, which gives temporary status to hundreds of thousands of people from strife-torn countries, many from El Salvador. Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris offered similar remarks in an interview with Univision that aired Tuesday, saying DACA and TPS recipients will “automatically get green cards” while others would be on an eight-year path to citizenship. More favourable attitudes toward immigration — especially among Democrats — may weigh in Biden's favour this time. A Gallup survey last year found that 34% of those polled favoured more immigration, up from 21% in 2016 and higher than any time since it began asking the question in 1965. The survey found 77% felt immigration was good for the country on the whole, up slightly from 72% in 2016. Noorani said the separation of more than 5,000 children from the parents at the border, which peaked in 2018, alienated voters from Trump's policies, particularly conservatives and evangelicals. He believes a constantly shifting outlook for DACA recipients also hurt Trump among people who felt he was using them as “political pawns.” “What was seared in their mind was family separation. They took it out on the Republican Party in 2018 and they took it out on Trump in 2020," Noorani said. "To put a really fine point on it, they want to end the cruelty of the Trump administration.” It is impossible to know precisely how many people are in the country illegally. Pew Research Center estimates there were 10.5 million in 2017, down from an all-time high of 12.2 million in 2007. The Homeland Security Department estimates there were 12 million people in the country illegally in 2015, nearly 80% of them for more than 10 years. More than half were Mexican. ___ Associated Press writer Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report. Elliot Spagat, The Associated Press
BARCELONA, Spain — Lower-division Spanish sides took out three more top-flight teams from the Copa del Rey on Saturday, taking advantage of playing the one-match elimination rounds on their home turf. Coach Abelardo Fernández had a nightmare debut in his second stint at Alavés after it was routed 5-0 by second-tier side Almería. Cádiz lost at Girona 2-0, and Elche fell at Rayo Vallecano 2-0 also in the round of 16. The three losers joined fellow top-flight clubs Atlético Madrid, Getafe, Celta Vigo and Huesca, which all lost in the round of 32. The three other first-division teams in action on Saturday needed to go to added time to see off their lower-tier rivals. Spain's football federation overhauled the domestic cup competition two seasons ago, getting rid of home-and-away legs for all rounds except for the semifinals. The move has succeeded in giving more modest sides a better chance to go deeper in the tournament. Almería’s Sadiq Umar already had the opener by the half hour when Alavés midfielder Tomás Pina was sent off for headbutting an opponent after they apparently exchanged heated words. More mistakes by the visitors turned into goals for Almería. Goalkeeper Antonio Sivera let a long shot by Ager Agetxe slip through his grasp to make it 2-0 before halftime. Sadiq used the back of his heel to claim a brace after Sivera and a defender bungled each other’s efforts to stop the striker. Rodrigo Battaglia headed a cross into his own net in an inept attempt to clear the ball in the 52nd, and a penalty conceded by Xima Navarro sent Almería’s Juan Villar to the spot for the fifth goal. Abelardo, a former Barcelona defender, coached Alavés from December 2017 to May 2019. After an unsuccessful stint at Espanyol last season, he was rehired by the Basque club on Tuesday to replace Pablo Machín with the club two points above the relegation zone in the Spanish league. “The first thing I want to do is to ask our fans for forgiveness,” Abelardo said after his team’s defeat. “We played very poorly. We play better or worse, but we must compete, and we did not even do that. I am very disappointed. We hope that this blow will force us to turn this around.” Cádiz was unable to create a single shot on goal at Girona, which got two goals from Valery Fernández early in the second half to advance to the final eight. Sevilla substitute Lucas Ocampos scored in added time to edge Leganés 1-0. Levante had to go to a penalty shootout to better Fuenlabrada after added time ended 1-1. Valladolid needed added time to avoid an upset at third-tier Peña Deportiva on the island of Ibiza. Roque Mesa scored twice in added time to help Valladolid win 4-1. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Joseph Wilson, The Associated Press
The City of Duncanwill be voting Monday on whether to include a number of Indigenous-language translations to street signs in the downtown core. Amanda Vance, executive director of the Downtown Duncan Business Improvement Area Society, said she's been leading the signage project since late 2019, but it was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that the city has "kind of adjusted to the new normal," they're looking at ways to revitalize the downtown area, she said. Vance, in partnership with the City of Duncan and Cowichan Tribes, was given a BC Rural Dividend grant to create and install the seven signs. In November 2019, she brought together a small committee of Cowichan Tribes elders and youth to research the history of the downtown and brainstorm culturally relevant translations in Hul'q'umi'num — the traditional language of the Cowichan people and other First Nations in the region. "We think that this is a way to kind of put downtown Duncan on the map while also beautifying the city in a really inclusive way," Vance said. Some of the street signs, like First and Fourth streets, did not have direct translations in Hul'q'umi'num because there are different ways of counting in the language. The committee therefore decided to name a few of the streets with things that have "great significance in Cowichan Tribes culture," like Ladybug Street, and Forest Street, Vance explained. The proposed design for the signs are to include the Indigenous names underneath their English titles. Project 'might open up some eyes,' elder says Council's vote comes as the Cowichan Valley faces criticism for a number racist online posts toward the Cowichan Tribes community, which has seen a high number of COVID-19 cases in the last few weeks. Lucy Thomas, a Cowichan Tribes elder who worked with the youth in the committee group to learn about the downtown's history and name the signs, said she doesn't think it'll do away with racism, but believes "it might open up some eyes." Thomas explained that these signs would bring Indigenous people a sense of belonging in the community and would also raise awareness among non-Indigenous people of the region's original language. Vance said this project is "hugely important" in language revitalization and helping to address racism in the community. "There are also people in this community who want [it] to be really inclusive," she said. "I think that this project is a really good opportunity for us to not only learn a little bit more about Cowichan Tribes ... but to think about what kind of community we want to be, and can be." Duncan City council will vote on the project on Monday evening.