A shaken Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined the dire situation of Britain's death toll from the coronavirus at a London news conference Tuesday.
A shaken Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined the dire situation of Britain's death toll from the coronavirus at a London news conference Tuesday.
LOS ANGELES — Tiger Woods was seriously injured Tuesday when his SUV crashed into a median, rolled over and ended up on its side on a steep roadway in suburban Los Angeles known for wrecks, authorities said. The golf superstar had to be pulled out through the windshield, and his agent said he was undergoing leg surgery. Woods was alone in the SUV when it crashed into a raised median shortly before 7:15 a.m., crossed two oncoming lanes and rolled several times, authorities said at a news conference. No other cars were involved. The 45-year-old was alert and able to communicate as firefighters pried open the front windshield to get him out. The airbags deployed, and the inside of the car stayed basically intact and that “gave him a cushion to survive the crash,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. Both of his legs were seriously injured, county Fire Chief Daryl Osby said. They said there was no immediate evidence that Woods was impaired. Authorities said they checked for any odor of alcohol or other signs he was under the influence of a substance and did not find any. They did not say how fast he was driving. The crash happened on a sweeping, downhill stretch of a two-lane road through upscale Los Angeles suburbs. Sheriff’s Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who was the first to arrive at the wreck, told reporters that he sometimes catches people topping 80 mph in the 45 mph zone and has seen fatal crashes there. “I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive,” Gonzalez said. Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend as the tournament host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, where he presented the trophy on Sunday. He was to spend Monday and Tuesday filming with Discovery-owned GOLFTV, with whom he has an endorsement. A tweet Monday showed Woods in a cart smiling with comedian David Spade. According to Golf Digest, also owned by Discovery, the TV shoot was on-course lessons for celebrities, such as Spade and Dwyane Wade, at Rolling Hills Country Club. Woods, a 15-time major champion who shares with Sam Snead the PGA Tour record of 82 career victories, has been recovering from Dec. 23 surgery on his lower back. It was his fifth back surgery and first since his lower spine was fused in April 2017, allowing him to stage a remarkable comeback that culminated with his fifth Masters title in 2019. He has carried the sport since his record-setting Masters victory in 1997 when he was 21, winning at the most prolific rate in modern PGA Tour history. He is singularly responsible for TV ratings spiking, which has led to enormous increases in prize money during his career. Even at 45, he remains the biggest draw in the sport. The SUV he was driving Tuesday had tournament logos on the side door, indicating it was a courtesy car for players at the Genesis Invitational. Tournament director Mike Antolini did not immediately respond to a text message, though it is not unusual for players to keep courtesy cars a few days after the event. Woods feared he would never play again until the 2017 fusion surgery. He returned to win the Tour Championship to close out the 2018 season and won the Masters in April 2019 for the fifth time. He last played Dec. 20 in the PNC Championship in Orlando, Florida, an unofficial event where players are paired with parents or children. He played with his son, Charlie, who is now 12. Woods also has a 13-year-old daughter. During the Sunday telecast on CBS from the golf tournament, Woods was asked about playing the Masters on April 8-11 and said, “God, I hope so.” He said he was feeling a little stiff and had one more test to see if he was ready for more activities. He was not sure when he would play again. Athletes from Mike Tyson to Magic Johnson and others offered hopes that Woods would make a quick recovery. “I’m sick to my stomach,” Justin Thomas, the No. 3 golf player in the world, said from the Workday Championship in Bradenton, Florida. “It hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident. Man, I just hope he’s all right.” Crews used a crane to lift the damaged SUV out of the hillside brush. The vehicle was placed upright on the street and sheriff’s investigators inspected it and took photos. Then it was loaded onto a flatbed truck and hauled away Tuesday afternoon. This is the third time Woods has been involved in a car investigation. The most notorious was the early morning after Thanksgiving in 2009, when his SUV ran over a fire hydrant and hit a tree. That was the start of shocking revelations that he had been cheating on his wife with multiple women. Woods lost major corporate sponsorships, went to a rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi and did not return to golf for five months. In May 2017, Florida police found him asleep behind the wheel of a car parked awkwardly on the side of the road. He was arrested on a DUI charge and said later he had an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine for his back pain. Woods later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and checked into a clinic to get help with prescription medication and a sleep disorder. Woods has not won since the Zozo Championship in Japan in fall 2019, and he has reduced his playing schedule in recent years because of injuries. The surgery Tuesday would be his 10th. He has had four previous surgeries on his left knee, including a major reconstruction after he won the 2008 U.S. Open, and five surgeries on his back. ___ Ferguson reported from Jacksonville, Florida. Stefanie Dazio And Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press
ATLANTA — Fueled by Black turnout, Democrats scored stunning wins in Georgia in the presidential and U.S. Senate races. Now, Republicans are trying to make sure it doesn't happen again. GOP lawmakers in the once reliably red state are rolling out an aggressive slate of voting legislation that critics argue is tailored to curtail the power of Black voters and undo years of work by Stacey Abrams and others to increase engagement among people of colour, including Latino and Asian American communities. The proposals are similar to those pushed by Republicans in other battleground states: adding barriers to mail-in and early voting, major factors in helping Joe Biden win Georgia's 16 Electoral College votes and Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff take the two Senate seats that gave Democrats control of the chamber. But one aspect of their plans, a proposal to eliminate early voting on Sundays, seems specifically targeted at a traditional get-out-the-vote campaign used by Black churches, referred to as “souls to the polls." It's led many to suggest Republicans are trying to stop a successful effort to boost Black voter turnout in Georgia, where they make up about a third of the population and have faced a dark history of attempts to silence their voices in elections. “It's a new form of voter suppression, the Klan in three-piece suits rather than white hoods,” said the Rev. Timothy McDonald III of the First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, which has participated in souls to the polls events. “They know the power of the Black vote, and their goal is to suppress that power.” In previous elections, souls to the polls campaigns were festive, with vehicles and people parading to election offices during early voting windows. Churches would sometimes playfully compete to see which could bring the most voters, said McDonald, who described the GOP legislation as “spiteful.” In Georgia and elsewhere, Republicans say proposals to tighten voting access are meant to bolster confidence in elections, though they have been some of the loudest proponents of meritless claims that the election was fraudulent. The Brennan Center for Justice, a public policy group, has counted 165 bills in 33 states this year meant to limit access to voting. In Georgia, Republicans control state government and have introduced dozens of legislative measures that would restrict voting access. GOP state Rep. Barry Fleming is chief sponsor of a wide-ranging proposal that would ban Sunday early voting, require a photo ID for absentee voting, limit the time when an absentee ballot could be requested, restrict where ballot drop boxes could be placed and curb the use of mobile voting units, among other changes. In committee hearings, Fleming has cast the legislation as “an attempt to restore the confidence of our public in our election system.” He didn’t respond to an email or phone message requesting comment. Nse Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project that Abrams founded in 2014, called the GOP measures a backlash “to our multiracial, multilingual progressive majority that is winning elections." Biden beat former President Donald Trump by roughly 12,000 votes, becoming the first Democrat to win a presidential contest in Georgia since 1992. Biden received nearly double the number of absentee votes as Trump in a state that became a major target of Trump’s baseless claims of fraud. Biden's win there was confirmed in three separate counts, including one by hand. "These measures, in our opinion, are not based on any objective, data-driven, evidence-based assessment of the issue but solely with the intention to undermine Black voters and other communities of concern,” said Democratic state Rep. Michael Smith, chairman of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus Policy Committee. Because Republicans control both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s office, at least some form of their proposals are likely to become law. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, also a Republican, has called for a photo ID requirement for absentee voting but has yet to back a specific proposal. His office said it was still reviewing the legislation. Republicans are trying to limit ways to vote that have been wildly popular. After states expanded access to mail-in and early voting during the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 70% of all ballots cast nationwide came before Election Day. An estimated 108 million people voted by mail, early in person or by dropping off absentee ballots. In Georgia, over 4 million voters cast early or absentee ballots. “They realize if they continue to allow individuals to vote by mail, it is going to be an uphill battle for Republicans to win at the polls and maintain their position,” Democratic state Rep. Debra Bazemore said. At the federal level, Democrats are pushing for a sweeping overhaul of how Americans vote. House Democrats are expected to vote next week on a measure that would establish federal election standards like early voting periods, same-day voter registration and other policies that Republicans have dismissed as federal overreach. And they are expected to introduce another bill to restore a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that had triggered federal scrutiny of election changes in certain states and counties with histories of discrimination. Georgia was among the states that previously had to get approval for voting changes. “If left to their own devices, Republicans will try to limit the ability of minority voters to exercise their fundamental right to vote,” said U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, a Georgia Democrat co-sponsoring the bill on federal election standards. “It's open season on voting rights in Georgia,” he said. ___ Izaguirre reported from Lindenhurst, New York. ___ Associated Press coverage of voting rights receives support in part from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The AP is solely responsible for this content. Anthony Izaguirre And Ben Nadler, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is moving slowly but surely toward reengaging with the Palestinians after a near total absence of official contact during former President Donald Trump’s four years in office. As American officials plan steps to restore direct ties with the Palestinian leadership, Biden’s national security team is taking steps to restore relations that had been severed while Trump pursued a Mideast policy focused largely around Israel, America's closest partner in the region. On Tuesday, for the second time in two days, Biden's administration categorically embraced a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something that Trump had been purposefully vague about while slashing aid to the Palestinians and taking steps to support Israel’s claims to land that the Palestinians want for an independent state. The State Department said Tuesday that a U.S. delegation attended a meeting of a Norwegian-run committee that serves as a clearinghouse for assistance to the Palestinians. Although little-known outside foreign policy circles, the so-called Ad Hoc Liaison Committee has been influential in the peace process since Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. “During the discussion, the United States reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to advancing prosperity, security, and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians and to preserve the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state,” the State Department said in a statement. “The United States underscored the commitment to supporting economic and humanitarian assistance and the need to see progress on outstanding projects that will improve the lives of the Palestinian people, while urging all parties to avoid unilateral steps that make a two-state solution more difficult to achieve,” it said. U.S. participation in the meeting followed a Monday call between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israel’s foreign minister in which Blinken stressed that the new U.S. administration unambiguously supports a two-state solution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is close to Trump, has eschewed the two-state solution. Biden spoke to Netanyahu last week for the first time as president after a delay that many found suspicious and suggestive of a major realignment in U.S. policy. Blinken, however, has spoken to Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi twice amid ongoing concern in Israel about Biden's intentions in the region, particularly his desire to reenter the Iran nuclear deal. In Monday's call, Blinken “emphasized the Biden administration’s belief that the two-state solution is the best way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace alongside a viable and democratic Palestinian state,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. The Trump administration had presented its own version of a two-state peace plan, though it would have required significant Palestinian concessions on territory and sovereignty. The Palestinians, however, rejected it out of hand and accused the U.S. of no longer being an honest peace broker after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, moved the U.S. embassy to the city from Tel Aviv, cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority, closed the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington and rescinded a long-standing legal opinion that Israeli settlement activity is illegitimate under international law, Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
More than 250 COVID-19 tests were performed over two days as the Nova Scotia Health Public Health Mobile Units rolled into Liverpool. “It was a great weekend. We had a huge community response, which was awesome, and we were really, really happy with everything,” commented Holly Gillis, public health manager, public health mobile units. “We had a great location and the legion was a fabulous host.” The testing took place February 13 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and February 14 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 38 on Henry Hensey Drive. Those wanting tests could pre-book appointments or simply drop in. The Public Health Mobile Unit project hit the ground with a fleet of 10 vans in December 2020, with the goal of reaching out to communities across the province and thereby increasing the number of people getting tested for the coronavirus. “We know in Nova Scotia that getting tested is fast, easy and free, and it’s a good way to protect ourselves and our communities from the spread of COVID-19,” said Gillis. The mobile clinics offer another option for Nova Scotians in addition to the primary assessment centres that exist across the province and the rapid pop-up testing clinics that are also being held in various locations across Nova Scotia. Gillis conceded the different options may be a bit confusing, but their goal is the same – to get as many people tested as possible. “Some people may find it tricky to go online or call 811 to book an appointment,” she said, explaining that she’s been advised seniors in particular find it difficult. Whereas the idea of the mobile clinics is that people can just show up and get the test done. While all Nova Scotians are encouraged to review the screening tool located on the Nova Scotia Health website and check for symptoms regularly, Public Health Mobile Units offer support for outbreak, contact tracing and testing for people without symptoms. At the mobile clinics, Nova Scotia Health staff use the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test administering a nasopharyngeal (NP) swab, or gargle/swish option for those under 18 years of age. According to Gillis, NP swabbing is the optimal specimen collection method for COVID-19 PCR testing because it pulls from deeper in the nasopharynx and has been proven to have a high viral concentration. This is why the NP swab is the standard for reliable testing, she explained, adding that all samples collected through the Public Health Mobile Units go to the lab. The rapid (Antigen) test detects protein fragments specific to the coronavirus. This allows the results to be obtained quickly, however it is not considered to be as accurate as the PCR alternative. To do a self-assessment or book a test, call 811 or go to: www.covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca. For testing locations go to www.nshealth.ca/coronavirustesting. Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
MILTON, Ont. — Police say they're investigating after someone falsely claimed a murder had taken place in Milton, Ont., prompting officers to rush to a home in the city. Halton Region police say they received a call Tuesday morning from a man saying he had shot and killed another man. Two nearby elementary schools were put in a precautionary hold and secure as police responded to the alleged incident. However, after police arrived at the address they said the call was unsubstantiated and that it was an example of “swatting”. "Swatting" is a criminal offence involving a dangerous prank call to the police, when a caller makes a false report with the express purpose of having emergency resources dispatched. Police say that false reports can affect a community's safety and well-being. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem says the central bank is seeing early signs that people may be purchasing homes solely because they believe prices may go up. Macklem says rising prices in particular for single-family homes are still a long way from the heated market the country observed about five years ago. Fuelling the increase has been a combination of demand for more space as millions of workers do their jobs remotely, constrained supply and rock-bottom interest rates driven low by central bank actions. The bank's key policy rate has been at 0.25 per cent for about 11 months, and its quantitative easing program is trying to reduce the rates paid on things like mortgages to drive spending. Macklem says the central bank is surprised by the rebound in the housing market. He adds there are early signs of what he called "excess exuberance," with people maybe expecting the recent increases in prices to go on indefinitely. "What we get worried about is when we start to see extrapolated expectations, when we start to see people expecting the kind of unsustainable price increases we've seen recently go on indefinitely," Macklem said during a question-and-answer session with chambers of commerce in Edmonton and Calgary. "We are starting to see some early signs of excess exuberance, but we're a long way from where we were in 2016-2017 when things were really hot." The central bank plans to keep its key rate low until the economy recovers, expected sometime in 2023, and adjust its bond-buying program over time. Macklem says there is still a need for considerable monetary policy support to generate a complete recovery. In the meantime, the bank will keep an eye on debt levels, as mortgage debt rises as households pay down other debt like credit cards and personal loans, Macklem says. "We are acutely aware that in a world of very low interest rates, there is a risk that housing prices could get stretched, households could get stretched, and certainly that's a risk we want to guard against," Macklem told reporters following the speech. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
Le bilan lavallois pointe désormais à 739 cas actifs selon les données émises par le Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) de Laval. Cela représente une baisse de 39 cas actifs par rapport à la veille. On décompte toutefois 66 nouveaux cas confirmés en date du 23 février. Ils s'ajoutent au total lavallois et portent celui à 24 212 cas confirmés depuis le début de la pandémie. Le nombre de décès augmente à 866 (+2). Parmi les personnes porteuses du virus, 34 sont hospitalisées, dont 13 aux soins intensifs. Le CISSS de Laval confirme que 15 employés de son réseau sont présentement absents du travail en raison de la COVID-19. Il y a maintenant trois secteurs de l'île Jésus qui comptent moins de 100 cas actifs sur leur territoire respectif. Sainte-Dorothée/Laval-Ouest/Laval-Les Îles/Fabreville-Ouest/Laval-sur-le-Lac (-10) rejoint Duvernay/Saint-François/Saint-Vincent-de-Paul (-7) et Fabreville-Est/Sainte-Rose (-3). Les trois secteurs ont respectivement 95, 86 et 96 cas actifs. Ce dernier présente d'ailleurs le plus bas taux d'infection du territoire avec 127 cas actifs par 100 000 habitants. Ce sont toutefois les secteurs Pont-Viau/Renaud-Coursol/Laval-des-Rapides (-15) et Chomedey (-11) qui présentent les baisses les plus importantes du jour. De son côté, Vimont/Auteuil est le seul en augmentation avec sept nouvelles personnes porteuses du virus, ce qui porte son total à 120 cas actifs. *** Prendre note que tel qu’indiqué sur le site Web du CISSS de Laval, ces données par secteur incluent l’ensemble des cas des citoyens testés positifs à la COVID-19, qu’ils résident dans des milieux fermés ou ailleurs dans la communauté. Les milieux fermés incluent des milieux de vie comme les centres d’hébergement et de soins de longue durée (CHSLD), les résidences privées pour aînés (RPA), les ressources intermédiaires (RI), ainsi que les centres correctionnels. Les données présentées sont calculées en fonction du lieu de résidence. Le CISSS tarde à déterminer le foyer de 48 cas jusqu’ici, dont 5 actifs. Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
NEW YORK — One of the world's better known fans of mystery novels, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is now writing one. Clinton is teaming up with her friend, the Canadian novelist Louise Penny, on “State of Terror,” which has a plot that might occur to someone of Clinton's background: A “novice” secretary of state, working in the administration of a rival politician, tries to solve a wave of terrorist attacks. The novel comes out Oct. 12, and will be jointly released by Clinton's publisher, Simon & Schuster, and Penny's, St. Martin's Press. “Writing a thriller with Louise is a dream come true," Clinton, who has expressed admiration for Penny and other mystery writers in the past, said in a statement Tuesday. "I’ve relished every one of her books and their characters as well as her friendship. Now we’re joining our experiences to explore the complex world of high stakes diplomacy and treachery. All is not as it first appears.” Penny, an award-winning author from Quebec whose novels include “The Cruelest Month” and “The Brutal Telling,” said in a statement that she could not “say yes fast enough” to the chance of working with Clinton. “What an incredible experience, to get inside the State Department. Inside the White House. Inside the mind of the Secretary of State as high stake crises explode," she said. "Before we started, we talked about her time as Secretary of State. What was her worst nightmare? ‘State of Terror’ is the answer.” Fiction writing and worst-case scenarios have become a favourite pastime for Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton. He collaborated with James Patterson on the million-selling cyber thriller “The President is Missing,” and on a new novel, “The President's Daughter,” which comes out in June. Hillary Clinton, secretary of state during Barack Obama's first term, has written a handful of nonfiction works. They include the memoir “Living History"; “Hard Choices,” which covered her time with Obama, who defeated her in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary; and “What Happened,” which focuses on her stunning loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 election. “State of Terror” appears to draw not just on her years as secretary of state, but on her thoughts about the Trump administration's “America First” foreign policy. According to Simon & Schuster and St. Martin's, the main character is “tasked with assembling a team to unravel the deadly conspiracy, a scheme carefully designed to take advantage of an American government dangerously out of touch and out of power in the places where it counts the most.” Financial terms were not disclosed. Clinton was represented by the Washington attorney Robert Barnett, whose other clients include Obama and Bill Clinton. Penny was represented by David Gernert, whose New York-based Gernert Company has worked with, among others, John Grisham, Stewart O'Nan and Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
Residents of Liverpool likely will be watching the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary with keen interest since a curler originally hailing from the Queens County town is competing in the national curling championship. It’s the fifth appearance at the Scotties for Jill Brothers (nee Mouzar), who now lives in Bedford. Going into the competition, which runs from February 19 to 28, Team Nova Scotia seemed to have a broom up on some of the competition, thanks to fewer pandemic health restrictions in the province. Some teams haven’t practised or played together since October. Whereas Brothers’s team was able to play 21 competitive games from September to the beginning of November, when the restrictions tightened again. The team competed in an opening spiel which it won. It competed and lost in the semifinals at the Lakeshore Curling Club, then won the next two tournaments at Mayflower Curling Club in Halifax and in Windsor. “We have been very fortunate. If we didn’t have the advantage of having ice time, I don’t know if I would have made the decision to come,” said Brothers. Born and raised as Jill Mouzar, Brothers attended school in the town and graduated from Liverpool Regional High School. She then moved to Halifax, where she lived until she was 26. Brothers skipped at the event in 2007, 2016 and most recently in 2019, when the event was held in Sydney. She also played third for skip Heather Smith in 2014. Along with Brothers, Team Nova Scotia consists of vice-skip Erin Carmody, second Jennifer Brine, lead Emily Logan and alternate Kim Kelly. The Nova Scotia team, curling out of Halifax’s Mayflower Curling Club, is among 17 in the competition “bubble,” where health protocols are strictly regulated. As in several other provinces, there were no provincial playdowns in Nova Scotia because of the pandemic. The Mayflower team was given the opportunity to attend the championships in Calgary based on its provincial point rankings for the 2020 season. LighthouseNOW caught up with the skip the day after the team arrived in Calgary, on February 18. Curling amid COVID The players were isolated in their own hotel rooms waiting for COVID-19 test results that were taken upon their arrival the day before. Arriving on a “pretty full” plane, Brothers admitted to initially being anxious about potential crowding. “The airports were very empty. I felt a little more at ease,” she recalled. Team members took extra precautions during their flight, including wearing masks and face shields. Coach Daryell Nowlan, who had arrived in Calgary earlier, picked up the team members in a rented van, marking the beginning of bubble protocols. Any player not adhering to the health regulations would be sent home immediately, at the player’s cost, and suspended from play until July 2022. Throughout the tournament, players have been subjected to COVID wellness checks. During practice times on February 18 and 19, for example, players wore masks and were not allowed to huddle. In-person team meetings were equally regulated. Family and friends have been very supportive, according to Brothers, as has Nowlan, who is from Moncton. This is his second Scotties with the team. “Our schedule changes every day, not as far as the games go, but COVID-19 tests, temperature tests, you can’t do this, stay in your room, don’t stay in your room. It’s just constantly changing,” said Brothers. “Daryell just told us that he would take care of everything and ‘you just think about curling, relaxing and whatever.’” Brothers could expect some tough competition in Pool A including Team Canada’s Kerri Einarson and Ontario’s Rachel Homan. She maintained that the key to success at the event is to “just stay in the moment and not get ahead of ourselves. Just do what we have discussed and not get sucked into someone else’s game plan.” Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
CAIRO — Rescue workers searched a second day Tuesday for at least five people missing after a tour boat capsized on a lake near Egypt’s Mediterranean city of Alexandria. Officials said nine passengers, including three children, were dead. The boat was carrying at least 20 people and capsized late Monday in the Lake of Mariut, while returning from a tour to an island in the lake, they said. Rescue workers retrieved nine bodies, including children ages 1, 1 1/2 and 4, and were searching for others, ambulance officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The top prosecutor's office said in a statement at least six people survived the mishap, and rescue workers were still searching for at least five others. Authorities arrested the boat owner, who was also the voyage captain, the statement said. Any survivors still in the lake, located west of Alexandria, could go into shock as temperatures fell Tuesday in the already cold waters. Relatives spent the night on the shoreline, hoping their loved ones could be rescued or their bodies retrieved. Calls for volunteer divers to help in the search were circulated on social media. Citing relatives, local media reported that the victims, all from the same family, were returning from a voyage to an island in the lake. The passengers arrived on the island in two groups but they were all packed on a single boat for their return, the privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm daily reported. Alexandria’s governor, Mohammed el-Sharif, said in comments late Monday the boat was small and overcrowded, suggesting a possible cause of the capsizing. Most boats on the lake work without licenses, he said. Samy Magdy, The Associated Press
THUNDER BAY — A new website launched this week features various services and tools to support victims and survivors of local human trafficking, says the co-chair of the Thunder Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking. Thunder Bay has been identified as one of the top six hubs in Ontario for human trafficking says Kristal Carlson, human trafficking youth and transition worker at Thunder Bay Counselling and co-chair of the Thunder Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking. “This crime is rampant in Thunder Bay,” she said Monday, Feb. 22. The website was created to provide victims and survivors of human trafficking with access to free services and to also spread awareness and education in the community about the crime. “The Thunder Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking created the website to help community members, potential survivors and business people alike to be able to acknowledge, identify and potentially intervene if they should see human trafficking in young peoples’ lives,” Carlson said, adding the crime is often under-reported. For women, only one in 10 will report and for men only one in 20 will report to police, Carlson said. “It is such an under-reported crime so any sex-based crime we know that only six per cent will ever end in conviction so it is really hard to convince people to come forward when there is not the likelihood that something will happen,” she said. And while groups such as the Thunder Bay Coalition To End Human Trafficking exist to support victims of the crime, it is important to note they do not classify themselves as a “rescuing people” group, Carlson said. “We support individuals to move forward when they are ready in the way that is going to best suit them in their current situation,” she said. Last year alone, through various programs across the Coalition more than 60 people were successful in leaving their current situation, Carlson said. The creators of the new website also hope to address misconceptions around human traffickers that are often presented in media and movies. “Human trafficking, more times than not, is somebody being exploited by the person they identify as their boyfriend, their best friend or somebody that they know so that happens in more than 85 per cent of cases,” she said. The other most common form of trafficking is the exploitation of young people by family members, extended family members, caretakers or guardians. “More times than not it’s happening by the person they believe to be their boyfriend, girlfriend or best friend,” Carlson said. The website also teaches individuals how to identify signs and risk factors of human trafficking. “We also want to raise the education in the city of Thunder bay because we are identified as one of the top six hubs in the province of Ontario and Ontario makes up two-thirds of all human trafficking that takes place in our country,” Carlson said. Carlson also points out that coming forward doesn’t mean individuals have to report to the police. “The Thunder Bay Police have started to do some really amazing work in being able to meet survivors exactly where they are at and not needing to move forward with charges but to support them for when they are ready to do that if they are ever ready to do that,” she said. “We just want [survivors] to know they are not alone and that there are people to support you no matter where you are, whether you are currently at risk, entrenched, or you looking to exit, there are people here to support you.” For more information, visit Thunder Bay Coalition’s new website by clicking here. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
SAN FRANCISCO — Poet, publisher and bookseller Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who helped launch and perpetuate the Beat movement, has died. He was 101. Ferlinghetti died at his San Francisco home Monday, his son Lorenzo Ferlinghetti told The Associated Press Tuesday. The cause was lung disease. His father died “in his own room,” holding their hands "as he took his last breath, his son said. Lorenzo Ferlinghetti said his father loved Italian food and the restaurants in the North Beach neighbourhood where he made his home and founded his famous bookstore. He had received the first dose of the COVID vaccine last week and was a month shy of turning 102. Ferlinghetti was known for his City Lights bookstore in San Francisco, an essential meeting place for the Beats and other bohemians in the 1950s and beyond. Its publishing arm released books by Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and many others. The most famous release was Ginsberg’s anthemic poem, “Howl." It led to a 1957 obscenity trial that broke new ground for freedom of expression. The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Judges peppered a federal lawyer with questions Tuesday as the Canadian government argued a refugee pact between Ottawa and Washington is consistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Canada's lawyers contend the Federal Court misinterpreted the law when it declared in July that the Safe Third Country Agreement breaches constitutional guarantees of life, liberty and security. The court's declaration of invalidity was suspended for six months and later extended, leaving the law in place while a three-judge panel of the Federal Court of Appeal examines the issue. The two-day hearing is slated to proceed through Wednesday. Under the bilateral refugee agreement, which took effect in 2004, Canada and the U.S. recognize each other as safe places to seek protection. It means Canada can turn back a potential refugee who arrives at a land port of entry along the Canada-U.S. border on the basis the person must pursue their claim in the U.S., the country where they first arrived. Canadian refugee advocates have steadfastly fought the asylum agreement, arguing the U.S. is not always a safe country for people fleeing persecution. Several refugee claimants took the case to court along with the Canadian Council for Refugees, the Canadian Council of Churches and Amnesty International, who participated in the proceedings as public interest parties. In each case the applicants, who are citizens of El Salvador, Ethiopia and Syria, arrived at a Canadian land entry port from the U.S. and sought refugee protection. They argued in court that by returning ineligible refugee claimants to the U.S., Canada exposes them to risks in the form of detention and other rights violations. In her decision last year, Federal Court Justice Ann Marie McDonald concluded the Safe Third Country Agreement results in ineligible claimants being imprisoned by U.S. authorities. Detention and the consequences flowing from it are "inconsistent with the spirit and objective" of the refugee agreement and amount to a violation of the rights guaranteed by Section 7 of the charter, she wrote. "The evidence clearly demonstrates that those returned to the U.S. by Canadian officials are detained as a penalty." In a written submission filed in advance of the appeal hearing, the government says the court's decision should be overturned because the refugee agreement does not breach the principles of fundamental justice. The government argues McDonald made serious legal mistakes in striking down the pact. Federal lawyers say that in finding detention makes it more difficult for asylum claimants in the U.S. to access legal counsel, McDonald ignored evidence that about 85 per cent of asylum claimants in the U.S. are represented. During the appeal hearing Tuesday, Justice David Stratas questioned the notion the judge's findings were in error. "You would admit, wouldn't you that there is a risk that someone is turned back at the Canadian border and encounters the U.S. system, including detention, without counsel. That's a possibility?" he asked Martin Anderson, a lawyer for the government. Anderson replied that when one looks at the "totality of the evidence," it tends to support the notion more people have access to counsel in detention than not. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
Golf superstar Tiger Woods needed surgery after a car crash in Los Angeles on Tuesday that left him with multiple leg injuries. Officials say he was conscious when pulled from the wrecked SUV and the injuries are not life threatening.
Deux écoles primaires du Centre de services scolaire de (CSS) de Laval ont été complétement fermées en raison de la possible présence de variants de la COVID-19. En effet, la direction de santé publique de Laval a informé l'organisation scolaire de la suspicions de variants dans ces établissements. L'école primaire Eurêka, située dans Pont-Viau, sera fermée du 23 au 26 février pour l'ensemble des élèves. L'un des groupes, qui était déjà en isolement, retournera plutôt sur les bancs d'école à la suite de la relâche scolaire. De son côté, l'école Père-Vimont sera inaccessible jusqu'au 7 mars. Celle-ci est déjà fermée depuis le 18 février en raison du portrait épidémiologique. Notons que la direction de santé publique de Laval a recommandé à l'ensemble des élèves et du personnel de ces écoles de procéder à un dépistage préventif. Il est aussi demandé que les membres de la bulle familiale de ces personnes demeurent en isolement à la maison jusqu'à ce que l'élève ou l'employé obtienne un résultat négatif. Bien qu'un risque de transmission d'un variant ait été rapporté à l'école primaire de l'Équinoxe, dans Sainte-Rose, seuls les deux groupes touchés ont été mis en isolement préventif. Ils ne retourneront pas dans les installations de l'établissement avant la relâche scolaire. L'édifice principal de l'école secondaire Saint-Maxime, dans Chomedey, a aussi été fermé jusqu'au 7 mars, ce qui touche 63 groupes de l'établissement. Deux groupes avaient préalablement été placés en isolement du 16 au 18 février. 18 classes additionnelles ont aussi été fermées le 21 février en raison d'un risque de transmission d'un variant. La dernière étape, qui implique la fermeture complète de l'édifice principal, est une «mesure d'extrême prudence». L'édifice annexe, qui accueille 14 groupes de secondaires 1 et 2, demeurera quant à lui ouvert. L'édifice 2 de l'école primaire de l'Arc-en-ciel, dans Laval-des-Rapides, sera également fermé jusqu'au 28 février. Aucun risque de transmission d'un variant n'a toutefois été détecté à cette école. Par ailleurs, François Legault a annoncé que la vaccination de masse débutera la semaine prochaine à l'échelle de la province. Les personnes de 85 ans et plus, ou née en 1936, pourront prendre rendez-vous dès jeudi en ligne ou via téléphone au 1 877 644-4545. Le premier ministre a mentionné que cette opération débutera à Montréal et s'étendra aux autres régions au fil des prochaines semaines. Rappelons que trois centres de vaccination devraient être ouverts prochainement sur le territoire lavallois et qu'ils permettront de vacciner au moins 3000 personnes par jour. Avec un bilan de 24 212 personnes testées positives à la COVID-19, Laval a connu une hausse de 66 cas en 24 heures. Le total de décès augmente à 866 depuis le début de la pandémie. Le CISSS de Laval cumule également 22 607 guérisons, ce qui signifie qu’il y a désormais 739 cas actifs (-39) confirmés sur le territoire lavallois. Parmi les personnes touchées, 34 sont hospitalisées, dont 13 aux soins intensifs. 15 employés de l’organisation de santé sont toujours absents du travail en raison de la COVID-19. Trois résidence privée pour aînés (RPA) de Laval sont présentement touchées par la COVID-19. Voici la liste complète de celles-ci : Au Québec, le bilan est maintenant de 283 666 cas et 10 330 décès. Au total, 680 personnes sont toujours hospitalisées, dont 120 aux soins intensifs. Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
The Township of Perry does not support looking into changes for the regional fire training funding model. After its Feb. 17 meeting, council discussed a resolution put forward by the Township of McMurrich/Monteith to the seven municipalities involved in the regional fire training. On Dec. 12, the regional fire services committee met to discuss and agreed upon a one-fifth funding model to secure the training services of Gary Courtice. This is the third three-year term that Perry, Kearney, McMurrich/Monteith, Magnetawan, Burk’s Falls, Armour and Ryerson have signed on for. Perry’s mayor Norm Hofstetter said that he had no intention of going back and trying to renegotiate the funding model. Here are key quotes from the conversation: “ … It seems to me that the wrench that’s thrown into this is (McMurrich/Monteith) gets a little upset that Ryerson, Armour and Burk’s Falls are sharing a fire department and (McMurrich/Monteith) seems to think they’re getting a benefit from it, but I don’t look at it as that,” said Hofstetter. “I’m not interested in going back and renegotiating — as far as they want to see invoices before an invoice is paid … they seem to think that the training officer has an open agenda to order whatever he wants but he works withing his budget the same as all other departments do and at the end of the year it’s all reconciled the same way we do with our budgets. So, where I’m coming from you kind of get tired of doing the same thing over and over and if we do this, we’re taking huge steps backwards in training our firefighters,” said Hofstetter. “I do know it was a huge challenge to get where we’re at and I think all of the councils thought it was finalized at that committee meeting,” said Beth Morton, clerk-administrator. “ … McMurrich/Monteith is behind the eight ball here. Some of their councillors are just not up to speed as to where we’re at with this regional fire (committee) they’re just behind and they refuse to be educated so Reeve MacPhail is going to their meeting in March to set the record straight, so to speak, because it’s the fire chiefs’ realm now and they’re working to get a resolution together for the final thing,” said Coun. Margaret Ann MacPhail. “As one of the councillors here, I would like to see us stay the course.” “It looks like a lot of time has been put in and I don’t understand how they’d see that of Mr. Courtice because I’ve seen nothing but professionalism and that’s why we chose him … I agree with Coun. MacPhail and stay the course,” said Coun. Joe Lumley. “I don’t want to play these games anymore, we have a system that’s working and this all boils down to saving $2,000 to $3,000 is what they’d save if we move to another funding model,” said Hofstetter. The Township of Perry said it would not support looking into changes in the regional fire training funding model and would prefer remain status quo with what was decided at the Dec. 12 regional fire services committee meeting. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
(Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit) With the B.C. government's vaccine rollout plan now underway, an expert in virus modelling says there may be a better way to protect more people faster. The B.C. government plans to vaccinate residents against COVID-19 starting with the most elderly and working its way down to younger age groups. But Caroline Colijn, a COVID-19 modeller and mathematics professor at Simon Fraser University, says the province should be prioritizing essential workers — people who have to have contact with others while on the job — over seniors when it comes to getting a shot. "By protecting those people in the communities around [seniors] who have to have contact, you actually reduce the exposure in the elderly themselves," said Colijn, speaking Tuesday morning on CBC's The Early Edition. "You can end up protecting more people per vaccine dose by vaccinating people at risk of exposure and transmission, because it stops the chain before they take off," she added. Kim Novak, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1518, which represents grocery store and pharmacy workers, said her union has been advocating for front-line workers to have priority for the vaccine, once the province finishes vaccinating all seniors. "I think it's really important that we still follow through that the most vulnerable group needs to be vaccinated first," she said. "What we've been advocating for, when we look at Phase 3 and more vaccinations becoming available, is ensuring that the people we all interact with when we go to grocery stores and pharmacies be protected for themselves and for their families, but also that they be protected for the public that they're interacting with every day." Novak said grocery store and pharmacy workers, along with people who work in food processing plants, have been on the front line of the pandemic for nearly a year, and anxieties are running high now that the more infectious variants have been discovered in B.C. "We have seen an uptick in cases and especially with a more aggressive variant — the more that we are doing to protect these workers and therefore the rest of the public is really important," she said. Why now? Colijn said this approach is plausible for B.C. right now because case numbers are holding somewhat steady. "If we had really high transmission, so that people were going to be kind of exposed anyway, then it becomes better to vaccinate the oldest first," said Colijn. B.C. recorded 1,428 new cases of COVID-19 and eight more deaths over the past three days. Colijn defined high transmission as tens of thousands of cases a day. SFU professor and COVID-19 modeller Caroline Colijn seen here in 2017 receiving the Canada 150 Research Chair in Mathematics for Infection, Evolution and Public Health, says time is of the essence with variants of the virus on the rise. However, Colijn is worried about newly circulating variants of the virus in Canada, saying research on the B117 variant from the United Kingdom shows the variant is "very transmissible" and that if it takes off in B.C. it could have devastating consequences. It was a concerning weekend on the COVID-19 front as health officials confirmed seven exposures of the B117 coronavirus variant at Lower Mainland schools. But in a news conference Monday, Deputy Provincial Health Officer Reka Gustafson's message was to stay the course. "There is no indication right now that in British Columbia we need to change our approach," said Gustafson, responding to a question about testing protocols. Colijn suggests the province start vaccinating essential workers now to get ahead of what could be a spike in cases because of these variants. "If we don't vaccinate transmitters, or people at risk of exposure and transmitting to others, then we're not going to be as robust and we're going to have to use other measures like lockdowns to control higher transmission variants." LISTEN | Caroline Colijn explains why she wants the B.C. government to change its vaccine rollout plan: CBC British Columbia is hosting a town hall on March 10 to answer your COVID-19 vaccine questions. You can find the details at cbc.ca/ourshot, as well as opportunities to participate in two community conversations on March 3, focused on outreach to Indigenous and multicultural communities. Have a question about the vaccine, or the rollout plan in B.C.? Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
(CBC News file photo - image credit) New Brunswick's auditor general says the province has failed to address the increased demand for nursing homes. Kim Adair-MacPherson outlined her concerns Tuesday morning when she presented her report to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. "My biggest concern is the lack of progress since we last did work on this area back in 2016," she told reporters after her report. And ready or not, she said, the province's "aging demographic is going to continue and double in New Brunswick." She told the committee that the number of seniors over the age of 75 would double by 2036 — something she warned the government about in her last report. "I was disappointed to find significant delays in the implementation of nursing home plans since our 2016 report," she said. This graph from the auditor general shows about half of all seniors on the waiting list for a nursing home are waiting in a hospital. "In my view, the province is failing to address the nursing home capacity demand. The province is not ready for the increase in seniors requiring placement in a residential facility." Although some beds have been added in the last few years, Adair-MacPherson said it's nowhere near enough. She said there continues to be long wait time for nursing home placements, which is causing added pressure and costs for hospitals, since about half of those seniors are waiting in hospitals. Adair-MacPherson was also critical in her report of the province's accountability. She called out the Department of Social Development on the accuracy of its status report on recommendations she made in 2016. Adair-MacPherson drew attention to three recommendations the department reported were "implemented." "But when we went in to examine the evidence to determine whether or not they had been implemented, we found something quite different … two have not been implemented and one has been partially implemented." Failing to implement nursing home plans and obtain the needed services for seniors will result in a crisis. - Kim Adair-MacPherson She told the standing committee on public accounts that "this is a concern." After presenting her report, Adair-MacPherson said it's now up to the committee to hold the government to account. Social Development Minister Bruce Fitch said 2036 is a long way off, but "we're doing everything we can do today to answer the needs of the present and future 75-year-olds plus." He said his department plans to add another 600 nursing home beds over the next five years. It's also looking at a number of things "to answer those alarm bells that have been rung," including taking "advantage of the special care home beds that may be available," and working with other groups to try to keep seniors in their homes longer. The executive director of the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents' Rights said she was angry when she heard today's report from the Auditor General. "This is alarming," said Cecile Cassista. Cecile Cassista of the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents' Rights says the province's lack of progress on a nursing home strategy is "alarming." "Governments day after day — and it's not just one government, it's all of them — basically, they make all these promises, but they don't have a vision to move the senior care forward." Cassista said there's been no progress since the Auditor General's last report in 2016. She said there were 72 on waiting lists in 2000 and now it's 817. "Nothing has changed. And the longer you languish in a hospital bed, you are depriving people opportunities to have their surgery, their other care, and you're also depriving these seniors from having a quality of life." Long-term strategy needed Adair-MacPherson said that while the Department of Social Development created a 10-year aging strategy in consultation with the Department of Health, it failed to develop an appropriate implementation plan. "Failing to implement nursing home plans and obtain the needed services for seniors will result in a crisis," she said. "A severe shortage of available placements will occur. Growing pressure on hospitals and related costs, and inadequate care for a growing number of vulnerable seniors will result." That, too, was mentioned in 2016, Adair-MacPherson reminded the committee. She said the plan isn't just about adding more beds. It should also include a comprehensive plan to address the needs of the increasing seniors population. While the department did develop two five-year plans — one from 2011-2016 and one from 2018-2023 — Adair-MacPherson said there hasn't been enough progress on either one of them. "Essentially," she said, "the province is failing to address nursing home capacity demand." PPP vs. traditional model She also said the province still hasn't done a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether public-private partnerships are more economical than the traditional non-profit model. It surfaced in her 2016 report as a recommendation after the province entered into a public-private partnership in 2008 to open 216 new nursing home beds. "That's a recommendation that we made quite some time ago and it has not yet been done," she said, even though the department reported that it was complete. Fitch said that analysis has been done, although maybe "not in the way the A.G. wanted it done." This slide from the auditor general's report shows how well the government has delivered on nursing home beds. And the answers may not be as clear as the Auditor General may have wanted either. She wants to know which approach is more efficient. Fitch said it depends. He said there are a lot of factors to consider and it's not as easy as picking one over the other without doing an analysis each time. "The scrutiny was done," said Fitch. "The A.G. didn't like the form that was put in. So we're saying, 'OK, if we need to formalize that some and put it into a form that, you know, satisfies the A.G., we're more than happy to do that." Some of the Auditor General's other findings, include: Millions of dollars in additional costs every year due to individuals waiting in hospital for a nursing home bed Percentage of acute care hospital days used by patients awaiting alternate care is higher than national average Only 428 of 704 new memory care beds under 2011-2016 plan completed Significant delays and potential additional costs in relation to Miramichi nursing homes. After 10 years and $11 million spent on repairs and financial assistance, two homes replaced in Miramichi, with 28 additional beds 2018-2023 Nursing Home Plan behind in adding new beds by at least two years Significant ongoing delays — system is failing to address nursing home capacity demand No targets to address services to growing numbers of seniors No implementation plan for Aging Strategy
TORONTO — An isolation centre where migrant farm workers in southwestern Ontario recover from COVID-19 may have to close next month due to a funding shortfall created by a shift in federal support. In a letter to federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu, the mayor of Windsor, Ont., says a decision by Ottawa to shift responsibility for the centre's funding from one government department to another resulted in $2 million in costs not being covered. That means the city, which already pays to staff the centre located at a local hotel would have to take on additional costs it can't afford as pandemic expenses continue to mount. "The City of Windsor has been forced to consider if we are able to continue with this temporary foreign worker isolation and recovery centre," Mayor Drew Dilkens said in his letter on Feb. 17. When the centre first opened in November, the program was funded through Public Safety Canada, and administered by the Canadian Red Cross. In December, the federal government notified the city it would shift funding to the Public Health Agency of Canada, and required the local officials to complete a new application form. During the lengthy application process, Dilkens said it became clear that a 12 per cent fee paid to the Red Cross to administer the centre would not be covered and the city would be on the hook for it. He said additional new criteria from the public health agency would require the centre to shift its mandate and make its services available to the general public. Dilkens said the city already maintains a second centre for the homeless and people in vulnerable communities and adding new "complexities" of an additional open site would require further resources. In his letter to Hajdu, he proposes a compromise - grandfathering the current agreement and conditions into the new terms with Public Health Canada. "Should (public health) reject these modest amendments, included in our application, then the City of Windsor will not be in a position to accept any grant funding and the (isolation centre) will close at the end of March 2021," he wrote. The city's chief administrative officer also wrote the federal public health agency last week to make the case for maintaining the current funding arrangement. Onorio Colucci said the city is projecting a $38-million budget shortfall this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that does not include the additional costs for the isolation centre. "The current funding for the isolation and recovery centre will end on March 31, 2021, but the need for this site remains," Colucci said. "We expect site usage to grow in the coming weeks as the region welcomes thousands of temporary foreign agri-farm workers ... this spring." He said the isolation centre has been used by 490 farm workers who have contracted COVID-19. Health Canada did not immediately provide comment. Thousands of migrant workers take up jobs at Ontario farms and greenhouses every spring. During the first wave of the pandemic, dozens of farm outbreaks were reported across the province. More than 1,780 temporary foreign workers in Ontario tested positive for COVID-19 in 2020, and three died of the virus. NDP MP Brian Masse, who represents a Windsor riding, said he can't understand why the previous arrangement needs to change. "It seems like an incredible amount of effort to sabotage something that was really working well," he said. Masse said if the federal government allows the centre to close it will likely have to set up some kind of alternative in the months ahead, and that will cost time, money and possibly lives. "We had people die by themselves in hotel rooms," he said. "So, we know we have a record of heartbreak, sorrow and regret. .... I think we're going to be liable in different ways." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press
A pre-trial conference will be held next month for a man charged in connection with a downtown stabbing death last summer. Last week, lawyers for the Crown and defence set March 8 for a pre-trial conference that will determine the length of a forthcoming preliminary inquiry in the case of Jason Holm. Holm, 37, is charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of 39-year-old Paul Samuel Whitten, who was stabbed to death on Aug. 1, 2020. Police said they were called to a home on Clarke Street in the West End, where Whitten was found with serious injuries. He later died and Holm was arrested a short time later. The Independent Investigations Office, B.C.’s arm’s-length police watchdog, is looking into the circumstances that led to Whitten’s death because Mounties had been looking for Holm before Whitten was killed. “On July 31, Kamloops RCMP received a call from a woman who was concerned about the mental health of a male relative,” the IIO said in a news release issued last summer. “Officers visited the man’s home, but reported being unable to locate him.” A preliminary inquiry lasting at least a week is expected, as it will also address issues with some of the witnesses raised by the defence, Crown prosecutor Tim Livingston told court. Holm had been expected to attend court via video conference last week to elect a mode of trial, but he refused to leave his cell. Michael Potestio, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kamloops This Week