The first Southern California health care worker to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine lined up again to receive her second dose despite a slow nationwide start to vaccination efforts. (Jan. 4)
The first Southern California health care worker to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine lined up again to receive her second dose despite a slow nationwide start to vaccination efforts. (Jan. 4)
The A-list is back. How A-list? Try Lady Gaga and J. Lo. Inauguration officials announced on Thursday that the glittery duo would appear in person on Jan. 20, with Gaga singing the national anthem as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are sworn in on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, and Jennifer Lopez giving a musical performance. Foo Fighters, John Legend and Bruce Springsteen will offer remote performances, and Eva Longoria and and Kerry Washington will introduce segments of the event. Later that day, Tom Hanks will host a 90-minute primetime TV special celebrating Biden’s inauguration. Other performers include Justin Timberlake, Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato and Ant Clemons. Despite a raging pandemic that is forcing most inaugural events online, it was a sign that Hollywood was back and eager to embrace the new president-elect four years after many big names stayed away from the inauguration of President Donald Trump, hugely unpopular in Hollywood. The question: How would the star wattage play across the country as Biden seeks to unite a bruised nation? Eric Dezenhall, a Washington crisis management consultant and former Reagan administration official, predicted reaction would fall “along tribal lines.” “I think it all comes down to the reinforcement of pre-existing beliefs,” Dezenhall said. “If you’re a Biden supporter, it’s nice to see Lady Gaga perform.” But, he added, “what rallied Trump supporters was the notion of an uber-elite that had nothing to do at all with them and that they couldn’t relate to.” Presidential historian Tevi Troy quipped that the starry Gaga-J. Lo lineup was not A-list, but D-list — "for Democratic.” "When Democrats win you get the more standard celebrities,” said Troy, author of “What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House.” “With Republicans you tend to get country music stars and race-car drivers." Referring to Lady Gaga’s outspoken support for the Biden-Harris ticket, he said he was nostalgic for the days when celebrities were not so political. “Call me a hopeless romantic, but I liked the old days when Bob Hope or Frank Sinatra would come to these events and they were not overtly political,” he said. Still, he said, Biden’s unity message won’t be derailed. “In the end, I don’t think having Lady Gaga or J. Lo is all that divisive,” he said. Attendance at the inauguration will be severely limited, due to both the pandemic and fears of continued violence, following last week’s storming of the Capitol. Outside the official events, one of the more prominent galas each inauguration is The Creative Coalition's quadrennial ball, a benefit for arts education. This year, the ball is entirely virtual. But it is star-studded nonetheless: The event, which will involve food being delivered simultaneously to attendees in multiple cities, will boast celebrity hosts including Jason Alexander, David Arquette, Matt Bomer, Christopher Jackson, Ted Danson, Lea DeLaria, Keegan Michael-Key, Chrissy Metz, Mandy Patinkin and many others. Robin Bronk, CEO of the non-partisan arts advocacy group, said she's been deluged with celebrities eager to participate in some way. The event typically brings in anywhere from $500,000 to $2.5 million, and this year the arts community is struggling like never before. Bronk noted that planning has been a challenge, given not only the recent political upheaval in the country but also the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic. Given all that, did a celebration make sense? “I was thinking about this when we were trying to phrase the invitation,” Bronk said. “Do we celebrate? This is the most serious time of our lives.” But, she said, especially at a time when the arts community is suffering, it’s crucial to shine a spotlight and recognize that “the right to bear arts is not a red or blue issue. One of the reasons we have this ball is that we have to ensure the arts are not forgotten." The Presidential Inaugural Committee also announced Thursday that the invocation will be given by the Rev. Leo O’Donovan, a former Georgetown University president, and the Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Andrea Hall, a firefighter from Georgia. There will be a poetry reading from Amanda Gorman, the first national youth poet laureate, and the benediction will be given by Rev. Silvester Beaman of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Wilmington, Delaware. On the same platform, Biden sat in 2013 behind pop star Beyoncé as she sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at President Barack Obama's second inauguration. James Taylor sang “America the Beautiful,” and Kelly Clarkson sang “My Country, ’Tis of Thee.” At Trump’s inauguration in 2017, the anthem was performed by 16-year-old singer Jackie Evancho. A number of top artists declined the opportunity to perform at the festivities, and one Broadway star, Jennifer Holliday, even said she’d received death threats before she pulled out of her planned appearance. There was indeed star power in 2017, but most of it was centred at the Women’s March on Washington, where attendees included Madonna, Julia Roberts, Scarlett Johansson, Cher, Alicia Keys, Katy Perry, Emma Watson and many others. This year, signs are that Obama-era celebrities are returning. Dezenhall said that in the end, it's logical for organizers to go with the biggest talent. “Lady Gaga is as big as you can get, and she is very talented,” he said. “If I were being inaugurated and I could have Lady Gaga, I would take it.” Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
MILAN — Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi was released Friday from a hospital in the French Riviera city-state of Monaco where he underwent medical tests for heart problems, his press office said. The 84-year-old three-time premier said in a message to supporters that his health was good and that he entered the hospital to carry out some tests that were “a little more than routine” and ordered by his personal physician out of caution. “I am not worried about my condition,’’ Berlusconi wrote. “I am worried for the many Italian victims of COVID and other illnesses, and for the many other Italians who are suffering from the consequences of a very serious crisis.” Berlusconi was hospitalized for COVID-19 for about 10 days in September and underwent heart surgery to replace an aortic valve in 2016. He has had a pacemaker for years, and also has overcome prostate cancer and a series of other ailments. . Berlusconi described his bout with COVID-19 as “insidious,” calling it the most dangerous challenge he ever faced. The media mogul no longer holds public office, but remains the head of his Forza Italia party and is vocal in national politics. On Friday, he sent a message of solidarity for the opening of the Christian Democratic Party’s national convention this weekend. Last week, he issued a strong condemnation of the siege of the U.S. Capitol, saying President Trump’s refusal to accept his election defeat had created “a very dangerous laceration in American society.” The Associated Press
Hong Kong's 180,000 civil servants were told on Friday they had four weeks to sign a document pledging their loyalty to the Chinese-ruled city's mini-constitution and dedication to the government. More than 4,000 civil servants in the global financial hub have already made the declaration since Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law in June, which punishes anything China considers to be subversion, secessionism, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison. Authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing say the law is necessary to bring stability to the semi-autonomous former British colony after a year of anti-government demonstrations.
Between 15 and 30 centimetres of snow could fall during a messy weekend storm in the Ottawa-Gatineau area. Environment Canada has issued snowfall warnings for an area roughly covering Brockville, Hawkesbury, Maniwaki and Arnprior, including Ottawa and Gatineau. The capital's snow should start around midnight, with 10 centimetres by morning and another 10 to 15 on Saturday. Morning wind gusts could touch 40 kilometres per hour. Ottawa has had just over 11 centimetres of snow this month and about 26 centimetres since Dec. 1. It hasn't had 15 or more centimetres of snow in a day since late February 2020. In the Maniwaki area, most of the snow should fall during the day Saturday, though it could stretch into Saturday night. It could be more messy around Brockville, when that 10 to 15 centimetres of snow may fall on a bed of overnight ice pellets. The Belleville, Kingston, Pembroke and Pontiac areas don't have a warning. Kingston could get about 5 centimetres of snow mixed with ran and Pembroke is forecast to get snowfall amounts just short of what would trigger a warning. Saturday's daytime high is expected to be around freezing across the region. Sunday's high is a few degrees below zero before that night returns to more seasonable lows in the low teens.
Recent heavy rainfall and flooding have caused rubbish and debris to be carried into Bulgaria's waterways.View on euronews
It may be many years before turbines jut out of the Atlantic Ocean around Nova Scotia to spin wind into energy for the electric grid, but the growth of the offshore wind industry in other parts of the world has sparked the province's interest. "In Nova Scotia we are blessed with a long coastline. We're blessed with a tremendous wind resource," said Alisdair McLean, executive director of the Offshore Energy Research Association, which is using $50,000 from the provincial government to commission a report on offshore wind potential. The association wants to find out how Nova Scotia might use government policy to attract the offshore wind industry to build wind farms off the province's coasts, where winds are typically stronger than over land. "The purpose of our work is to try to understand whether it could be viable in Nova Scotia or not," McLean said in a recent interview. "Although it is viable in other jurisdictions, clearly, every jurisdiction has its own peculiarities. And so our role here is to evaluate whether or not it could be useful and productive and affordable in Nova Scotia." Nova Scotia already has hundreds of turbines at dozens of wind farms across the province. They generate about 20 per cent of the electricity on Nova Scotia's grid, and make up the single largest renewable energy source, but they're all onshore. Offshore wind energy farms were established in parts of Europe in the 1990s and the industry is still growing. The European Union released an offshore renewable energy strategy last fall that includes a goal of increasing offshore wind capacity five-fold by 2030, and five-fold again by 2050. The offshore wind industry started developing in the U.S. more recently, particularly along the Eastern Seaboard. According to the American Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the country's first offshore wind farm started operating off Rhode Island in 2016. Targets difficult to meet All the while, Nova Scotia has renewable energy targets that are proving difficult to meet. In 2020, renewable energy sources made up about 30 per cent of electricity on the grid — 10 per cent shy of what the province had hoped to achieve by last year. After the already-troubled Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project faced further delays in 2020, Nova Scotia's 40 per cent renewable energy target has been pushed back to 2022. McLean said "there's no way" any offshore wind projects would develop quickly enough to help achieve that goal, but offshore could fit in with the province's longer-term goals, like reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050. Dan Roscoe said he expects to see more onshore wind farms built in Nova Scotia before any offshore development begins. Roscoe, an engineer and lead of renewable energy at Cape Breton University's Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment, said jurisdictions where offshore wind has taken off typically have space constraints on land, which is not currently a problem in Nova Scotia. "I think what it comes down to is what are we going to use that offshore wind energy for? And how can we get it to a spot where it's going to be cost-competitive?" Roscoe said. According to Nova Scotia Power's latest resource plan, released last fall, the cost of generating offshore wind in Nova Scotia in 2021 would be about double the cost of onshore wind — $113 per megawatt hour versus $56 per megawatt hour. The utility has forecast the cost of generating energy from both sources will drop, and the gap between them will tighten. By 2045, NSP's plan predicts onshore wind will cost $44 per megawatt hour and offshore will cost $59 per megawatt hour. Roscoe said wind energy costs are coming down in part because of the economies of scale. Wind turbines are getting bigger, with some recent offshore projects boasting capacities as high as one gigawatt — "which would be more than half the demand and roughly half of the needs of Nova Scotia, all in one project." In order to make projects of that size viable in Nova Scotia, Roscoe said some of the power generated would likely have to be sold for export. Researchers pinpoint best locations for wind energy Two researchers at Dalhousie University's Renewable Energy Storage Lab just published some findings that they think might help with the cost of wind energy. Mechanical engineering professor Lukas Swan and research engineer Nathaniel Pearre mapped out the best places around the Maritime provinces for wind farms, with an eye to mitigating one of the resource's major drawbacks: variability. Because wind speed and strength are constantly changing, the amount of energy generated through wind turbines is also constantly changing. At peak, there can be congestion on the grid. At base, wind power needs to be backed up by other energy sources. Swan and Pearre's mapping study shows potential wind farm locations around the Maritimes that could naturally balance what's already on the grid. "To put it into a bullet point … if you build out more resources towards the periphery of the area, the better," Pearre said in an interview. In Nova Scotia, the offshore area around Sable Island scored well, according to the researchers, as did parts of the Bay of Fundy, on the New Brunswick side. Onshore, they found potential in parts of Cape Breton and northwestern New Brunswick. Swan said he thinks offshore wind's potential deserves more exploration in Nova Scotia, but he isn't counting on the industry exploding any time soon. "Everything is harder than it looks and probably takes a little bit longer than you'd think." MORE TOP STORIES
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped nine of her most trusted allies in the House to argue the case for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. The Democrats, all of whom are lawyers and many of whom have deep experience investigating the president, face the arduous task of convincing skeptical Senate Republicans to convict Trump. A single article of impeachment — for “incitement of insurrection” — was approved by the House on Wednesday, one week after a violent mob of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol. At the time, lawmakers were counting the votes that cemented Trump’s election defeat. As members of the House who were in the Capitol when it was attacked — several hiding under seats as rioters beat on the doors of the chamber — the Democrats are also witnesses to what they charge is a crime. So are the Senate jurors. “This is a case where the jurors were also victims, and so whether it was those who voted in the House last night or those in the Senate who will have to weigh in on this, you don’t have to tell anyone who was in the building twice what it was like to be terrorized,” said California Rep. Eric Swalwell, one of the managers. It is unclear when the trial will start. Pelosi hasn’t yet said when she will send the article of impeachment to the Senate. It could be as soon as next week, on President-elect Joe Biden’s first day in office. The managers plan to argue at trial that Trump incited the riot, delaying the congressional certification of the electoral vote count by inciting an angry mob to harm members of Congress. Some of the rioters were recorded saying they wanted to find Pelosi and Vice-President Mike Pence, who presided over the count. Others had zip ties that could be used as handcuffs hanging on their clothes. “The American people witnessed that,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., one of the managers. “That amounts to high crimes and misdemeanours.” None of the impeachment managers argued the case in Trump’s first impeachment trial last year, when the Senate acquitted the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The House impeached Trump in 2019 after he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden’s family while withholding military aid to the country. Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, another manager, says the nine prosecutors plan to present a serious case and “finish the job” that the House started. A look at Pelosi’s prosecution team in Trump’s historic second impeachment: REP. JAMIE RASKIN, MARYLAND Pelosi appointed Raskin, a former constitutional law professor and prominent member of the House Judiciary Committee, as lead manager. In a week of dramatic events and stories, Raskin’s stands out: The day before the Capitol riots, Raskin buried his 25-year-old son, Tommy, after he killed himself on New Year’s Eve. “You would be hard pressed to find a more beloved figure in the Congress” than Raskin, says House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who was the lead manager during Trump’s first trial. He worked closely with Raskin on that impeachment investigation. “I know that part of what gives him strength to take on this burden that he now carries is knowing that this is something that would be enormously meaningful to his son.” REP. DIANA DEGETTE, COLORADO DeGette, who is serving her 13th term representing Denver, is a former civil rights attorney and one of Pelosi’s go-to allies. The speaker picked her to preside over the House during the first impeachment vote in 2019. DeGette said Pelosi trusted her to do it because she is “able to to control the passions on the floor.” She says she was surprised when Pelosi called to offer her the prosecutorial position but quickly accepted. “The monstrosity of this offence is not lost on anybody,” she says. REP. DAVID CICILLINE, RHODE ISLAND Cicilline, the former mayor of Providence and public defender, is in his sixth term in Congress and is a senior member of the Judiciary panel. He was heavily involved in Trump’s first impeachment and was one of three original authors of the article that the House approved on Wednesday. He and California Rep. Ted Lieu began writing the article together, in hiding, as the rioters were still ransacking the Capitol. He tweeted out a draft the next morning, writing that “I have prepared to remove the President from office following yesterday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.” REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO, TEXAS Castro is a member of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs panels, where he has been an outspoken critic of Trump's handling of Russia. He was a litigator in private practice before he was elected to the Texas legislature and came to Congress, where he is in his fifth term. Castro’s twin brother, Julian Castro, is the former mayor of San Antonio and served as former President Barack Obama’s secretary of housing and urban development. Julian Castro ran in the Democratic primary for president last year. REP. ERIC SWALWELL, CALIFORNIA Swalwell also serves on the Intelligence and Judiciary panels and was deeply involved in congressional probes of Trump’s Russian ties. A former prosecutor, he briefly ran for president in 2019. “The case that I think resonates the most with the American people and hopefully the Senate is that our American president incited our fellow citizens to attack our Capitol on a day where we were counting electoral votes, and that this was not a spontaneous call to action by the president at the rally,” Swalwell said. REP. TED LIEU, CALIFORNIA Lieu, who authored the article of impeachment with Cicilline and Raskin, is on the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs panels. The Los Angeles-area lawmaker is a former active-duty officer in the U.S. Air Force and military prosecutor. “We cannot begin to heal the soul of this country without first delivering swift justice to all its enemies — foreign and domestic,” he said. DEL. STACEY PLASKETT, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS Because she represents a U.S. territory, not a state, Plaskett does not have voting rights and was not able to cast a vote for impeachment. But she will bring her legal experience as a former district attorney in New York and senior counsel at the Justice Department — and as one of Raskin's former law students. “As an African American, as a woman, seeing individuals storming our most sacred place of democracy, wearing anti-Semitic, racist, neo-Nazi, white supremacy logos on their bodies and wreaking the most vile and hateful things left not just those people of colour who were in the room traumatized, but so many people of colour around this country," she said Friday. REP. JOE NEGUSE, COLORADO Neguse, in his second term, is a rising star in the Democratic caucus who was elected to Pelosi’s leadership team his freshman year in Congress. A former litigator, he sits on the House Judiciary Committee and consulted with Raskin, Cicilline and Lieu as they drafted the article the day of the attack. At 36, he will be the youngest impeachment manager in history, according to his office. “This armed mob did not storm the Capitol on any given day, they did so during the most solemn of proceedings that the United States Congress is engaged in,” Neguse said Thursday. “Clearly the attack was done to stop us from finishing our work.” REP. MADELEINE DEAN, PENNSYLVANIA Like Neguse, Dean was first elected when Democrats recaptured the House in 2018. She is also a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and is a former lawyer and member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She says she hopes the prosecutors can convince the Senate and the American people “to mark this moment" with a conviction. “I think I bring to it just the simple fact that I’m a citizen, that I’m a mom and I’m a grandma," Dean said. "And I want my children, my grandchildren, to remember what we did here.” Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
A Summerside councillor is pushing for permanent measures to stop speeders on one problematic street in the city. Coun. Greg Campbell says he continually hears concerns about drivers speeding down Craig Avenue, behind the County Fair Mall. He worries a major 170-unit housing development going up nearby will make the street busier, and the problem worse. "There certainly has to be something done to look after this," said Campbell, who raised his concerns with Summerside City Council this week. "There's a lot of young families with pets and children, and they're a little nervous." Study confirmed problem The city carried out a speed study on the street in September. Over a two-day period, 20 per cent of vehicles were recorded driving at least 20 km/h over the speed limit. While the posted speed limit is 40 km/h, the average car drove 53 km/h. Campbell said he's flagged the problem with city police in the past, and temporary fixes like increased patrols helped "for a month or two." He'd like a more permanent solution, such as installing speed bumps, or turning Craig Avenue into a one-way street. Campbell said he'd also like to see sidewalks installed. ""There's a beautiful trailer park here, and a lot of people walk now," he said. "So my real wish would be they put a sidewalk along here to get them up off the road." According to Campbell, Summerside City Council plans to have a further discussion, before voting on any potential solutions. More from CBC P.E.I.
The Township of Seguin and the other six municipalities that make up west Parry Sound have signed off on a letter, dated Dec. 1, to Ontario’s minister of the environment, conservation and parks. The letter states that they would like the ministry to reconsider the transition of the blue box from 2025 to 2024. What exactly is the blue box transition program? The Blue Box Transition program is being legislated by the Province of Ontario and means the responsibility of collecting and processing recyclable products will be on the manufacturers who make the items. What that means is the duty of recycling is being shifted to the manufacturers who produce the material rather than society. Will this effect how I put out my recycling? The government says there shouldn’t be any change of service. You may have to go to a different location to drop off your recycling, if rural, or you may have a new company that picks up your curbside blue box materials. When is this supposed to come into effect? For the municipalities that make up west Parry Sound — Parry Sound, Archipelago, Seguin, McKellar, McDougall, Carling and Whitestone — the change is supposed to come into effect in 2025; however, all seven municipalities have signed a letter to Minister Jeff Yurek requesting the transition take place in 2024. Why? The District of Muskoka is transitioning in 2024 and, currently, the west Parry Sound municipalities process blue box materials in Bracebridge. They are concerned about issues that may happen if the transition happens at a different time than Muskoka. Another concern is the fact the Greater Toronto Area is transitioning in 2023 and the expanded list of recyclables there will differ from what is offered in west Parry Sound for a time. Residents who migrate north for the summer may expect to recycle the same list of items, which may cause contamination in waste systems. Will this transition raise my taxes? Once the producers and manufacturers take over the recycling process, it’s going to save the taxpayers; however, prices for products may go up to pay for the manufacturers’ cost of processing the recycling. The Township of Seguin said at its Jan. 11 council meeting that the mayors from the seven municipalities would follow up on the letter once a response was received. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
CANBERRA, Australia — A pigeon that Australia declared a biosecurity risk has received a reprieve after a U.S. bird organization declared its identifying leg band was fake. The band suggested the bird found in a Melbourne backyard on Dec. 26 was a racing pigeon that had left the U.S. state of Oregon, 13,000 kilometres (8,000 miles) away, two months earlier. On that basis, Australian authorities on Thursday said they considered the bird a disease risk and planned to kill it. But Deone Roberts, sport development manager for the Oklahoma-based American Racing Pigeon Union, said on Friday the band was fake. The band number belongs to a blue bar pigeon in the United States which is not the bird pictured in Australia, she said. “The bird band in Australia is counterfeit and not traceable,” Roberts said. “They do not need to kill him.” Australia's Agriculture Department, which is responsible for biosecurity, agreed that the pigeon dubbed Joe, after U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, was wearing a “fraudulent copy” leg band. “Following an investigation, the department has concluded that Joe the Pigeon is highly likely to be Australian and does not present a biosecurity risk,” it said in a statement. The department said it will take no further action. Acting Australian Prime Minister Michael McCormack had earlier said there would be no mercy if the pigeon was from the United States. “If Joe has come in a way that has not met our strict biosecurity measures, then bad luck Joe, either fly home or face the consequences,” McCormack said. Martin Foley, health minister for Victoria state where Joe is living, had called for the federal government to spare the bird even if it posed a disease risk. “I would urge the Commonwealth’s quarantine officials to show a little bit of compassion,” Foley said. Andy Meddick, a Victorian lawmaker for the minor Animal Justice Party, called for a “pigeon pardon for Joe.” “Should the federal government allow Joe to live, I am happy to seek assurances that he is not a flight risk,” Meddick said. Melbourne resident Kevin Celli-Bird, who found the emaciated bird in his backyard, was surprised by the change of nationality but pleased that the bird he named Joe would not be destroyed. “I thought this is just a feel-good story and now you guys want to put this pigeon away and I thought it’s not on, you know, you can’t do that, there has got to be other options,” Celli-Bird said of the threat to euthanize. Celli-Bird had contacted the American Racing Pigeon Union to find the bird’s owner based on the number on the leg band. The bands have both a number and a symbol, but Celli-Bird didn’t remember the symbol and said he can no longer catch the bird since it has recovered from its initial weakness. The bird with the genuine leg band had disappeared from a 560-kilometre (350-mile) race in Oregon on Oct. 29, Crooked River Challenge owner Lucas Cramer said. That bird did not have a racing record that would make it valuable enough to steal its identity, he said. “That bird didn’t finish the race series, it didn’t make any money and so its worthless, really,” Cramer said. He said it was possible a pigeon could cross the Pacific on a ship from Oregon to Australia. “In reality, it could potentially happen, but this isn’t the same pigeon. It’s not even a racing pigeon,” Cramer said. The bird spends every day in the backyard, sometimes with a native dove on a pergola. “I might have to change him to Aussie Joe, but he’s just the same pigeon,” Celli-Bird said. Lars Scott, a carer at Pigeon Rescue Melbourne, a bird welfare group, said pigeons with American leg bands were not uncommon around the city. A number of Melbourne breeders bought them online and used them for their own record keeping, Scott said. Australian quarantine authorities are notoriously strict. In 2015, the government threatened to euthanize two Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, after they were smuggled into the country by Hollywood star Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard. Faced with a 50-hour deadline to leave Australia, the dogs made it out in a chartered jet. Rod McGuirk, The Associated Press
A local area plan is in the works for a 460-square-kilometre regions near Łu Zil Män—known in English as Fish Lake—west of Whitehorse. Much of the area is comprised of Kwanlin Dun First Nation settlement lands. The First Nation and the Yukon government are partnering to come up with a vision meant to designate certain uses for certain lands, and identify areas for growth. KDFN land resource planner Roy Neilson said the plan has been a priority for the First Nation for many years. "What we're hearing from Kwanlin Dun citizens is they're very concerned that lands and waters in the Fish Lake area are not being respected," he said. Neilson said activity in the area is increasing and KDFN citizens are concerned. "Some of those activities can have detrimental effects on the landscape by disturbing fish and wildlife and habitat," he said. "There are also a number of important cultural sites and heritage sites in the area that can potentially be disturbed from these types of activities if they're taking place in an unmanaged way." First area to undergo new planning process of KDFN's Lands Act Fish Lake is the first area to undergo the planning process laid out in KDFN's Lands Act, which took effect last October. A joint news release from the Yukon government and First Nation says KDFN has a "large amount" of settlement land in the area. The Ta'an Kwächän Council also has a parcel of land within the plan boundary. Indigenous use of the area dates back as much as 8,000 years. Michelle Sicotte, a community land use planning manager with the Yukon government, said the plan will be an advisory document and, ideally, zoning regulations will follow. Sicotte said the local area planning process will involve looking at the issues and coming up with options. "Basically, the steering committee and the government will work together to really understand what the issues are in the area and come up with options and eventually draw up the plan." The two governments are recruiting members for a steering committee until Feb. 15. The aim is to finish the plan within two years.
Iran's Revolutionary Guards fired "abundant" surface-to-surface ballistic missiles and tested locally manufactured new drones in a military exercise on Friday, state television reported. The drill, which it said was overseen by Guards commander Major General Hossein Salami in the central desert region, came in the waning days of high tensions with U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration. "Also, an abundant number of a new generation of ballistic missiles were fired at selected targets, inflicting deadly blows to the hypothetical enemy bases."
A former head of the United States' nuclear regulator is raising questions about the molten-salt technology that would be used in one model of proposed New Brunswick-made nuclear reactors. The technology pitched by Saint John's Moltex Energy is key to its business case because, the company argues, it would reuse some of the nuclear waste from Point Lepreau and lower the long-term cost and radioactivity of storing the remainder. But Allison Macfarlane, the former chairperson of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a specialist in the storage of nuclear waste, said no one has yet proven that it's possible or viable to reprocess nuclear waste and lower the cost and risks of storage. "Nobody knows what the numbers are, and anybody who gives you numbers is selling you a bridge to nowhere because they don't know," said Macfarlane, now the director of the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia. "Nobody's really doing this right now. … Nobody has ever set up a molten salt reactor and used it to produce electricity." Macfarlane said she couldn't comment specifically on Moltex, calling information about the company's technology "very vague." But she said the general selling point for molten-salt technology is dubious. "Nobody's been able to answer my questions yet on what all these wastes are and how much of them there are, and how heat-producing they are and what their compositions are," she said. "My sense is that all of these reactor folks have not really paid a lot of attention to the back end of these fuel cycles," she said, referring to the long-term risks and costs of securely storing nuclear waste. Moltex is one of two Saint John-based companies pitching small nuclear reactors as the next step for nuclear power in the province and as a non-carbon-dioxide emitting alternative to fossil fuel electricity generation. Moltex North America CEO Rory O'Sullivan said the company's technology will allow it to affordably extract the most radioactive parts of the existing nuclear waste from the Point Lepreau Generating Station. The waste is now stored in pellet form in silos near the plant and is inspected regularly. The process would remove less than one per cent of the material to fuel the Moltex reactor and O'Sullivan said that would make the remainder less radioactive for a much shorter amount of time. Existing plans for nuclear waste in Canada are to store it in an eventual permanent repository deep underground, where it would be secure for the hundreds of thousands of years it remained radioactive. Reduced storage time and expense O'Sullivan said extracting and removing the most radioactive parts would reduce the needed storage time to only hundreds of years, and therefore lower the long-term expense. "The vast majority will have decayed within a couple of hundred years back down to regular natural levels," he said in an interview. Estimates for storing what's called intermediate radioactive material are from a hundred to a thousandfold cheaper, he said. "It's very different in cost, complexity, depth underground. … That's obviously a very big, very appealing factor." There is no permanent repository for storing spent nuclear fuel deep underground. The Nuclear Waste Management Organization, a national agency, is looking at two sites in Ontario but there's been no decision on a location. Shorter-term radioactivity complicates storage Macfarlane said a shorter-term radioactivity life for waste would actually complicate its storage underground because it might lead to a facility that has to be funded and secured rather than sealed up and abandoned. "That means that you believe that the institutions that exist to keep monitoring that ... will exist for hundreds of years, and I think that is a ridiculous assumption," she said. "I'm looking at the United States, I'm seeing institutions crumbling in a matter of a few years. I have no faith that institutions can last that long and that there will be streams of money to maintain the safety and security of these facilities. That's why you will need a deep geologic repository for this material." My response is: prove it. - Allison Macfarlane, nuclear waste expert And she said that's assuming the technology will successfully extract all of the most radioactive material. "They are assuming that they remove one hundred per cent of the difficult, radionuclides, the difficult isotopes, that complicate the waste," she said. "My response is: prove it. Because if you leave five per cent, you have high-level waste that you're going to be dealing with. If you leave one per cent, you're going to have high-level waste that you're going to be dealing with. So sorry, that one doesn't fly with me." Macfarlane, a geologist by training, raised doubts about molten-salt technology and waste issues in a 2018 paper she co-authored for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. In the U.S., she questioned plans for a long-term nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nev. 'Baffled' by environmental backlash A New Brunswick group opposed to small modular reactors, or SMRs, the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development, has been pointing to her research as another reason to doubt their viability. O'Sullivan said he is "personally very baffled and frustrated" by opposition to SMRs by anti-nuclear activists. He said such activists have long complained about nuclear waste as a key concern "and we think we've finally got a solution that's cost effective to deal with it, and we're still getting this backlash. … We're environmentalists and we have this backlash." ARC Nuclear, the other Saint John-based company working on SMRs, also plans to use some existing nuclear waste in its reactor design. The company said in a statement Thursday that its technology "has successfully been demonstrated, therefore proven, at the engineering scale," but no one was available for an interview. Nuclear power essential to reduced emissions NB Power has predicted the creation of thousands of job and a $1 billion boost to the provincial economy if SMRs are built here. The utility did not respond to a request for comment on Moltex's plan for Point Lepreau's nuclear waste. The previous Liberal government handed Moltex and ARC a total of $10 million to support their research and development. The federal government said nuclear power is essential to Canada reducing its emissions but has not provided funding to the two Saint John companies.
It all started with a class trip for the grade 7/8 class at Immanuel Christian School to learn more about dune ecology and the sensitive habitat along the shore with staff from Island Nature Trust. It was an eye-opening experience for the young students who learned to see the beach area in a whole new light. "I learned that the sand dunes are really delicate and if you step on them, then that clump of grass where you step on will die and that affects the whole entire beach," said Grade 7 student Emika Jorritsma. The lessons — modified to follow local public health guidelines at the time — fit in with what the students were learning in the classroom. "Our first unit in science focuses a lot on how we can make a positive or negative influence on ecosystems around us," said teacher Becky Rogers. "I think anytime that you can get the kids outside of the classroom and just see first-hand how they can make an impact on their environment, it just enriches the learning experience so much more." Nature as the classroom The Island Nature Trust curriculum for Grade 7 P.E.I. students was developed in 2016. The idea began with four watershed groups — Roseville/Miminegash Watersheds Inc., West Point and Area Watersheds Inc., Cascumpec Bay Watershed Association Inc. and Tignish Watershed Management Group — which partnered with Island Nature Trust to help develop the lessons. They wanted to raise awareness on how human activities were damaging the dune ecosystems. Some weathering and erosion is normal for the beach shoreline, said Lyndsay MacWilliams, a land stewardship technician with Island Nature Trust. "With climate change, the erosion and weathering rates have definitely increased and we have seen that around the Island," said MacWilliams. "But we're also getting the damage coming from humans, so it's kind of like cutting down this system from both ways." She was one of the instructors during the field trip — teaching lessons around the different ecosystems of the dune's life cycle, exploring the shore's high-tide line and invertebrate sampling. The lesson made an impression on the students, who began work on art posters to share some of what they learned. They were split into seven groups, creating posters with messages about not disturbing the wildlife, staying off the dunes and not littering. "My poster was about sensitive habitat, like, make sure that you're being careful whenever you are on the beach — watch where you're stepping," said Grade 8 student Graham Armstrong. "Because there are some birds, they lay eggs in the sand and they're small so you can't really see them that well." Rogers reached back out to Island Nature Trust and wondered if it would be possible to get the posters put up somehow, to share what the students had learned. MacWilliams said they brainstormed for a bit, and decided the students work could be displayed on Barachois Beach near Rustico, P.E.I. The designs were then put on proper sign material to be able to handle the beach weather. A plan was put together to go back out with the students in the spring to put the signs up. This thrilled the students, eager to share the message they learned with others out enjoying the beach. "I hope that they learn that there's sensitive habitat on the beach and that there are shorebirds that they need to look out for," said Grade 7 student Brayden Bootsma. "Because they deserve a habitat too so that is why we should stay off the dunes." Rogers said it was a wonderful partnership with Island Nature Trust to help make it happen and get the kids so engaged in the project. "I know that they've worked so hard on these posters and they're just really excited to be able to help other people go to the beach," Rogers said. "I know they're really excited to be able to see what they made when they go to the beaches with their families." MacWilliams said they were able to get out to deliver the presentation with five different Island schools in the fall and hope to reach more during the new year — while following all current public health guidance. For MacWilliams, she hopes the excitement and engagement around dune ecology with the students continues. "If they feel a certain way, like that they want to conserve the dunes, then if they voiced that, then maybe it will influence other youth that are the same age," MacWilliams said. "It's also kind of good because you can kind of instill an interest in conservation at that age too if there is an interest in a future career or something like that." More from CBC P.E.I.
The companies behind the White Rose offshore oil project are taking the Newfoundland and Labrador government to court, saying they have overpaid royalties. Husky Oil Operations and Suncor Energy are seeking a ruling from a judge that their interpretation of the regulations is correct, and would apply to "all past, current and future royalties payable" for White Rose. The application does not specify an exact amount being sought by the oil companies. However, affidavits from Husky and Suncor officials contend that they overpaid more than $32 million, in total, from 2014 through 2017. Those amounts apply to both the original White Rose field, and the White Rose expansion. In a nutshell, the oil companies say the intent of the royalty regulations is for them to pay the greater of two royalty levels in a certain period, but not both. They say that is sometimes happening, even though it's not the way the system is supposed to work. Husky spokeswoman Colleen McConnell said that is the unintended result of an "an anomaly" in the royalty regulations. "We have been working to address this with the province over the past three years; however, it remains unresolved," McConnell said in an email to CBC News. "As a result, we have referred it to court for a decision, which is a mechanism is available to the parties to resolve matters in dispute." The province had not yet filed any documents in reply as of midweek, and the Energy Department declined comment, saying it would be inappropriate to do so while the case is before the courts. Similar issues with Terra Nova settled in the past In court documents, Husky and Suncor pointed to past disputes involving similar issues with the Terra Nova oilfield. The owners of Terra Nova filed court actions in 2010 and again in 2015 over comparable concerns about royalty calculations. Both cases were settled before a judge could issue a final ruling. The second dispute was resolved by both sides essentially deciding to split the difference. The White Rose case is due to be called at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in early February. Husky is the operator of White Rose, owning a 72.5-per-cent share, with Suncor holding the remaining 27.5 per cent. Husky owns 68.875 per cent of the White Rose expansion. Suncor has 26.125 per cent, with Newfoundland and Labrador taxpayers holding the remaining five per cent through a Crown-owned corporation. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Eleven adult male deer, or bucks, were harvested by hunters from the Shawanaga and Wasauksing First Nations during last month’s controlled harvest inside Killbear Provincial Park west of Parry Sound. The figures were released Jan. 11, by Shawanaga band manager Adam Good. It was the first time since the park opened in 1964 that Indigenous hunters were allowed inside the park boundary in order to harvest deer on their traditional and treaty hunting grounds. It was held from Dec. 15 to 18 and the park was closed to the public for the hunt for safety reasons. Hunters were restricted to shotguns only. Good said that 15 hunters in total from the two territories took part in the event. There had been concerns that protesters, who had expressed opposition to the harvest on social media, might also try to invade the park for the harvest but Good said that never materialized. “We were thinking that there could’ve been some sort of petition or a protest but that never occurred. It wasn’t a huge hunt. The number of hunters was low … there were some COVID scares but it was good for the first start. It was more about awareness,” Good said. He added that the harvest was the culmination of years of negotiations between park staff, other officials and the two First Nations. Good said that it is not yet clear if the harvest will become an annual event. He said they may look at making it a bow hunt in the future. He added that youngsters and Elders also accompanied the hunters with a goal of educating the young people about responsible harvesting on land that had used been used by Indigenous hunters for hundreds of years. Good said that the two First Nations will work with the park on just exactly what future hunts might look like. Prior to the hunt getting underway, Good said that a prayer and smudging ceremony was held. Both chiefs, Shawanaga’s Wayne Pamajewon and Warren Tabobondung, took part, he added. Good said that some hunters also brought their families with them for the historic harvest. “The (kids) were amazed. It’s a learning experience and they loved being outdoors. It’s something you can’t teach in the classroom. It’s being outdoors and experiencing it first hand. It was a life lesson that the youth won’t soon forget,” Good said. “They now understand that this is traditional territory where they can exercise their rights whether that be hunting, fishing or picking berries.” Good said the venison from the harvest has been shared with community members, particularly Elders. He added that the food was appreciated by all, especially during the global pandemic when getting out of the home to shop has been more complicated. “The meat was delivered to the Elders’ homes. They were very thankful. The Elders always enjoy receiving venison or moose,” Good said. Kenton Otterbein, education leader for the park, stated in an email that the harvest went off without a hitch. John McFadden is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering Indigenous issues for MuskokaRegion.com, ParrySound.com and Simcoe.com. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. John McFadden, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
NUR-SULTAN (Reuters) - Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev nominated Askar Mamin as prime minister on Friday, and the newly elected lower house of parliament swiftly approved his appointment after ruling party leader Nursultan Nazarbayev asked his lawmakers to back Mamin. Mamin had stepped down after a Jan. 10 parliamentary election, as required by the constitution, after almost two years in office. Nazarbayev's Nur Otan party swept this month's vote to retain control over the lower house.
OTTAWA — Harvest Meats is recalling a brand of Polish sausages due to undercooking that may make them unsafe to eat. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the recall affects customers in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Ontario and Saskatchewan. It covers Harvest brand Polish sausages in 675-gram packages with a March 15 best before date. Customers are advised to throw away or return the product. The agency says no illnesses have been reported. A food safety investigation is ongoing. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
Pension fund managers and religious investors on Friday asked top social media companies to step up their content control efforts to reduce the threat of violence ahead of the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden next week. The effort is the latest pressure on Facebook Inc, Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc over extreme rhetoric after the storming of the U.S. Capitol last week by supporters of President Donald Trump.
A special facility to treat those in psychiatric emergencies in that opened in Charlottetown during the pandemic won't be reopening, despite earlier assurances from the health minister that the closure was temporary. The pandemic is having a big impact on fundraising efforts for the 2023 Canada Games in P.E.I. The new head of the P.E.I. Nurses Union, Barbara Brookins, says there is a continuing and ongoing concern over a shortage of nurses on the Island. Student well-being teams in Prince Edward Island's schools are seeing an increase in referrals for help, perhaps in part because of the pandemic. The final audited statements for P.E.I. Premier Dennis King's first year in government are in, and they contain a rare bit of budgetary good news. The government believed its planned surplus would be erased by the few weeks of pandemic that fell into the fiscal year, but statements released Friday show P.E.I. ended up with a $22-million surplus. The pandemic has cut into volunteer numbers, and the Canadian Red Cross on P.E.I. is looking for volunteers to help out both on the Island and across the country. P.E.I. did not see a spike in cases as a result of holiday gatherings, said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison in an interview with CBC News: Compass, but Morrison said she is concerned about rising case numbers in neighbouring New Brunswick. P.E.I. will not look at an Atlantic bubble again for at least two weeks. There was one new case of COVID-19 in the province Thursday, a man in his 50s who returned from travel outside Atlantic Canada. Allowing Islanders access to government-sanctioned high-limit online betting, especially during a pandemic, is a bad idea, says Liberal Finance critic Heath MacDonald. He's referring to a new online casino planned for P.E.I. by Atlantic Lotto. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases reported on P.E.I. is 104, with eight still active. There have been no deaths or hospitalizations. Also in the news Further resources Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.