Talk about great timing, this meteor was captured flashing across the sky, leaving a bright trail
Talk about great timing, this meteor was captured flashing across the sky, leaving a bright trail
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump has lost his social media megaphone, the power of government and the unequivocal support of his party's elected leaders. But a week after leaving the White House in disgrace, a large-scale Republican defection that would ultimately purge him from the party appears unlikely. Many Republicans refuse to publicly defend Trump's role in sparking the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But as the Senate prepares for an impeachment trial for Trump's incitement of the riot, few seem willing to hold the former president accountable. After House Republicans who backed his impeachment found themselves facing intense backlash — and Trump’s lieutenants signalled the same fate would meet others who joined them — Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly Tuesday for an attempt to dismiss his second impeachment trial. Only five Republican senators rejected the challenge to the trial. Trump's conviction was considered a real possibility just days ago after lawmakers whose lives were threatened by the mob weighed the appropriate consequences — and the future of their party. But the Senate vote on Tuesday is a sign that while Trump may be held in low regard in Washington following the riots, a large swath of Republicans is leery of crossing his supporters, who remain the majority of the party’s voters. “The political winds within the Republican Party have blown in the opposite direction,” said Ralph Reed, chair of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a Trump ally. “Republicans have decided that even if one believes he made mistakes after the November election and on Jan. 6, the policies Trump championed and victories he won from judges to regulatory rollback to life to tax cuts were too great to allow the party to leave him on the battlefield.” The vote came after Trump, who decamped last week to his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, began wading back into politics between rounds of golf. He took an early step into the Arkansas governor’s race by endorsing former White House aide Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and backed Kelli Ward, an ally who won reelection as chair of Arizona’s Republican Party after his endorsement. At the same time, Trump’s team has given allies an informal blessing to campaign against the 10 House Republicans who voted in favour of impeachment. After Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer backed impeachment, Republican Tom Norton announced a primary challenge. Norton appeared on longtime Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast in a bid to raise campaign contributions. On Thursday, another Trump loyalist, Rep. Matt Gaetz, plans to travel to Wyoming to condemn home-state Rep. Liz Cheney, a House GOP leader who said after the Capitol riot that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. — a star with Trump’s loyal base —- has encouraged Gaetz on social media and embraced calls for Cheney’s removal from House leadership. Trump remains livid with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who refused to support Trump's false charges that Georgia's elections were fraudulent. Kemp is up for reelection in 2022, and Trump has suggested former Rep. Doug Collins run against him. Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s decision not to seek reelection in 2022 opens the door for Rep. Jim Jordan, one of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters, to seek the seat. Several other Republicans, some far less supportive of the former president, are also considering running. Trump’s continued involvement in national politics so soon after his departure marks a dramatic break from past presidents, who typically stepped out of the spotlight, at least temporarily. Former President Barack Obama was famously seen kitesurfing on vacation with billionaire Richard Branson shortly after he left office, and former President George W. Bush took up painting. Trump, who craves the media spotlight, was never expected to burrow out of public view. “We will be back in some form,” he told supporters at a farewell event before he left for Florida. But exactly what form that will take is a work in progress. Trump remains deeply popular among Republican voters and is sitting on a huge pot of cash — well over $50 million — that he could use to prop up primary challenges against Republicans who backed his impeachment or refused to support his failed efforts to challenge the election results using bogus allegations of mass voter fraud in states like Georgia. “POTUS told me after the election that he’s going to be very involved,” said Matt Schlapp, the chair of the American Conservative Union. “I think he’s going to stay engaged. He’s going to keep communicating. He’s going to keep expressing his opinions. I, for one, think that’s great, and I encouraged him to do that.” Aides say he also intends to dedicate himself to winning back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022. But for now, they say their sights are on the trial. “We’re getting ready for an impeachment trial — that’s really the focus,” said Trump adviser Jason Miller. Trump aides have also spent recent days trying to assure Republicans that he is not currently planning to launch a third party — an idea he has floated — and will instead focus on using his clout in the Republican Party. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he received a call from Brian Jack, the former White House political director, on Saturday at home to assure him that Trump had no plans for defection. “The main reason for the call was to make sure I knew from him that he’s not starting a third party and if I would be helpful in squashing any rumours that he was starting a third party. And that his political activism or whatever role he would play going forward would be with the Republican Party, not as a third party,” Cramer said. The calls were first reported by Politico. But the stakes remain high for Trump, whose legacy is a point of fierce contention in a Republican Party that is grappling with its identity after losing the White House and both chambers of Congress. Just three weeks after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, Trump’s political standing among Republican leaders in Washington remains low. “I don’t know whether he incited it, but he was part of the problem, put it that way,” said Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a strong Trump supporter, when asked about the Capitol siege and the related impeachment trial. Tuberville did not say whether he would personally defend Trump in the trial, but he downplayed the prospect of negative consequences for those Republican senators who ultimately vote to convict him. “I don’t think there’ll be any repercussions,” Tuberville said. “People are going to vote how they feel anyway.” Trump maintains a strong base of support within the Republican National Committee and in state party leadership, but even there, Republican officials have dared to speak out against him in recent days in ways they did not before. In Arizona, Ward, who had Trump’s backing, was only narrowly reelected over the weekend, even as the party voted to censure a handful of Trump’s Republican critics, including former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain. At the same time, Trump’s prospective impeachment sparked a bitter feud within the RNC. In a private email exchange obtained by The Associated Press, RNC member Demetra DeMonte of Illinois proposed a resolution calling on every Republican senator to oppose what she called an “unconstitutional sham impeachment trial, motivated by a radical and reckless Democrat majority.” Bill Palatucci, a Republican committeeman from New Jersey, slapped back. “His act of insurrection was an attack on our very democracy and deserves impeachment,” Palatucci wrote. ___ Peoples reported from New York. Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this report. Steve Peoples And Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
Local internet company Eh!Tel will be applying for a share of federal money aimed at building up internet through a program called “Rapid Response.” Both Southgate and Melancthon township agreed last week to write letters of support. All rural municipalities have been hearing from residents about the need for more reliable internet over the past year, with so many jobs services pivoting online. The company has projects underway using SWIFT funding in Melancthon in the Horning’s Mills-Redickville areas and in Southgate in the Dromore-Holstein-Varney. The company, based in Holstein, is proposing to put fibre in the ground from Dromore to Dundalk. The route hasn’t been determined, Southgate CAO Dave Milliner told council, but would likely go along County Road 9. Other projects could then be done to take the fibre down sideroads. Eh-Tel has a project in the Badjeros area and has fibre in the ground in Dundalk itself, including the main Flato subdivision site. “Rapid Response Funding” is a federal first come-first serve program with $150M. Applications have since closed and the projects must be completed by mid-October. Being federal, the grant doesn’t use the same mapping as SWIFT, which now has that area marked as served. Another local provider satisfied the municipal-based body that it could supply internet on request. M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
New Brunswick prosecutors will not lay criminal charges against police officers involved in the shooting death of Rodney Levi of Metepenagiag First Nation. Levi, 48, was shot and killed by RCMP on June 12, 2020, when they responded to a call for assistance on Boom Road, about 30 kilometres southwest of Miramichi. "In our opinion, the peace officers in question were acting lawfully to protect the residents of the home on that fateful evening," the New Brunswick Office of the Attorney General said in a statement Tuesday. Levi was the second Indigenous person killed by police in New Brunswick within a two-week period. The first was Chantel Moore, a 26-year-old woman of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation in British Columbia, who was living in Edmundston. She was shot by an Edmundston police officer. Quebec's police watchdog, which was asked to investigate both killings, released its report on the Moore case around the same time as its report on Levi's. The Crown decided not to pursue charges in the Levi case after it reviewed the report from the Bureau des Enquêtes indépendantes du Québec (BEI). It has not said whether charges will be laid in the Moore case. The two deaths sparked an outcry from the community, including calls for charges and an inquiry into systemic racism in the justice system in New Brunswick. 'This is not over' Alisa Lombard, the lawyer for the Levi family, said Tuesday that family members are considering their legal options and would not comment for now. "This is not over. Far from it," she said. "But for the moment, I think they just need some time to process before going out there and saying anything." Lombard said the family met with the BEI and the director of prosecutions on Tuesday to learn details of the investigation. "They're processing the information that was shared today and they did receive a lot of answers that they did not have prior," she said. Tasered 3 times In Levi's case, the BEI sent eight investigators to the Miramichi area and interviewed 11 witnesses. The Crown prepared a legal opinion, and shared it publicly Tuesday. The opinion includes a summary of each witness account. The legal opinion says one of the witnesses, a close relative of Levi, describes him as "being severely depressed," in the days before he was killed. "He kept talking about suicide and more specifically about 'suicide by RCMP' and was wondering if he would go to Heaven," the legal opinion says. "She [the witness] states that this is all he was talking about." The opinion says Levi was living with this witness at the time. "According to her, Mr. Levi left her place in the afternoon of June 12. She never saw him after that." Other witnesses who were at the house where Levi was shot describe him holding two knives and refusing to let go. Witnesses said he was Tasered three times. He dropped one of the knives after the second or third time but bent down to pick it up immediately, the summary says. Multiple witnesses also describe Levi moving toward one of the police officers with the knife, and that's when he was shot twice. "Some describe his move as a 'step,' other as 'lunging' with one witness describing the move as a 'charge,'" the summary says. The attorney general's media release said the BEI investigation also looked at a short video taken by one of the witnesses "that shows part of the actual event," and expert reports. The media release said in order to lay charges, the Crown must be able to see "evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction." The Crown prosecutor's office did not see such evidence after reviewing the BEI report, the release said. The release said the officer opened fire after "repeated attempts to engage with Mr. Levi peacefully, and followed several applications of a Taser to disarm him from the dangerous weapons (knives) he refused to yield." Inquest planned Regardless of charges, New Brunswick's Office of the Chief Coroner will be conducting an inquest into Levi's death on Oct. 4. The exact location and who will preside has not yet been announced. During the inquest, the coroner and a jury will hear evidence and "make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances in the future," a provincial news release said. New Brunswick RCMP Commanding Officer Larry Tremblay said in a statement the RCMP "respect the decision made by the Public Prosecutions Services," and will not be offering any further comment related to the BEI investigation.
Weekend service will be added to the Grey Transit route to Orangeville thanks to funding from the Town of Shelburne. Council members endorsed the plan and the $25,000 cost at its Jan. 11 meeting. The service will begin sometime after restrictions on movement are lifted, perhaps March or April, council was told by CAO Denyse Morrissey. The money will pay for five months, which will be a pilot to see if uptake is as great as was suggested by a survey of rider interest in the service. To support the service, another $8,000 will be spent on marketing and promotion. Shelburne Mayor Wade Mills supported the move, saying the delayed start means that “we’re not eating into that five-month trial period with a time when people aren’t really able to take advantage of the service we’re providing.” Deputy-Mayor Steve Anderson said he believes the pilot will be successful and asked about how to fund the rest of the year. The five-month service is being funded by re-assigning money that was in the budget to provide transit shelters and snow-clearing. The CAO said that staff plans to check in with Grey County on the program’s success at the two-month point, and then would look for potential room in the budget or possible grants. The cost of a full year of the weekend service would be $60,000, she said. Ridership is not covering the cost of operating the Grey County Transit, which were funded by provincial grant money. In fact, the portion that connects the rapidly-growing village of Dundalk to Orangeville - for shopping, college and GO commuter service was financed from a separate $500,000 provinicial grant. Implementation was delayed by shut-downs, and is still being affected. While the weekday service is timed to coincide with the GO leaving Orangeville for employment, the weekend times will not likely be as early. They are expected to serve different needs than the weekday. Another factor that will have to be taken into account in determining the stops is that Orangeville Transit does not run on the weekends, Ms Morrissey said. The weekend service could likely start within 10 to 14 days of lockdown ending, she added. M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Tuesday rescinded a Trump-era memo that established a “zero tolerance” enforcement policy for migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, which resulted in thousands of family separations. Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson issued the new memo to federal prosecutors across the nation, saying the department would return to its longstanding previous policy and instructing prosecutors to act on the merits of individual cases. “Consistent with this longstanding principle of making individualized assessments in criminal cases, I am rescinding — effective immediately — the policy directive,” Wilkinson wrote. Wilkinson said the department’s principles have “long emphasized that decisions about bringing criminal charges should involve not only a determination that a federal offence has been committed and that the admissible evidence will probably be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction, but should also take into account other individualized factors, including personal circumstances and criminal history, the seriousness of the offence, and the probable sentence or other consequences that would result from a conviction.” The “zero tolerance” policy meant that any adult caught crossing the border illegally would be prosecuted for illegal entry. Because children cannot be jailed with their family members, families were separated and children were taken into custody by Health and Human Services, which manages unaccompanied children at the border. While the rescinding of “zero tolerance” is in part symbolic, it undoes the Trump administration’s massively unpopular policy responsible for the separation of more than 5,500 children from their parents at the U.S-Mexico border. Most families have not been prosecuted under zero tolerance since 2018, when the separations were halted, though separations have continued on a smaller scale. Practically, the ending of the policy will affect mostly single men who have entered the country illegally. “While policies may change, our mission always remains the same: to seek justice under the law," Wilkinson wrote in the memo. President Joe Biden has issued an executive order to undo some of Trump’s restrictive policies, but the previous administration has so altered the immigration landscape that it will take quite a while to untangle all the major changes. Some of the parents separated from their children were deported. Advocates for the families have called on Biden to allow those families to reunite in the United States. Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, along with Trump and other top leaders in his administration, were bent on curbing immigration. The “zero tolerance” policy was one of several increasingly restrictive policies aimed at discouraging migrants from coming to the Southern border. Trump’s administration also vastly reduced the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. and all but halted asylum at the border, through a combination of executive orders and regulation changes. The policy was a disaster; there was no system created to reunite children with their families. A report from the Justice Department’s inspector general, released earlier this month, found that the policy led to a $227 million funding shortfall. Children suffered lasting emotional damage from the separations and the policy was criticized as grossly inhumane by world leaders. The policy began April 6, 2018, under an executive order that was issued without warning to other federal agencies that would have to manage the policy, including the U.S. Marshals Service and Health and Human Services. It was halted June 20, 2018. A federal judge ordered the families to be reunited and is still working to do so. The watchdog report also found that Sessions and other top officials knew the children would be separated under the policy and encouraged it. Justice officials ignored concerns from staff about the rollout and did not bother to set up a system to track families in order to reunite them. Some children are still separated. ___ Follow Balsamo and Long on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeBalsamo1 and https://twitter.com/ctlong1. Michael Balsamo And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
RALEIGH, N.C. — A North Carolina state senator announced Tuesday that he's running for the U.S. Senate in 2022, hoping to flip fortunes for Democrats from his state to serve in the chamber after a string of defeats. Jeff Jackson, a Charlotte business attorney, Afghan war veteran and National Guard soldier, unveiled his bid, saying he is committed to “honesty and decency” in politics and helping working people and working families. Jackson, 38, is the second high-profile Democrat to enter the race to succeed three-term Republican Sen. Richard Burr, who is not seeking reelection. Erica Smith, a former state senator who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in 2020 and to challenge Republican incumbent Thom Tillis, is in again. Tillis ultimately narrowly defeated Democrat Cal Cunningham in November. Those two campaigns and outside groups spent $287 million combined, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That was a record before the two Georgia Senate elections that went to Jan. 5 runoffs swamped that total. In contrast with North Carolina's hyper-nationalized Senate race in 2020, Jackson said he'll attempt to turn his campaign inward by pledging to visit all 100 counties as the coronavirus pandemic has subsided. He said he'll hold town halls in each to “build an agenda that’s actually tailored to our state, not an agenda that’s imported from D.C. or from donors.” In a campaign announcement video featuring his wife and three young children, Jackson said voters want a different approach to win their support. “The idea is just to do a good job and this is what a good job would look like,” Jackson told The Associated Press in a phone interview. “The idea is not to run a super clever political campaign. The idea is just to be very straightforward and surprise people by how real it is.” North Carolina Republicans have now won four consecutive Senate races dating to 2010. Cunningham’s bid for U.S. Senate was derailed in the campaign's final weeks by his acknowledgement of a recent extramarital affair. But Democrats nationally are heartened by victories elsewhere, capped by both Georgia wins. That caused a 50-50 split in the chamber that gave Democrats control because Vice-President Kamala Harris, a Democrat, breaks ties. Other Democrats are weighing whether to enter the contest, which will still require massive fundraising even in the coming months to gain the attention of voters in the March 2022 primaries. Jackson, who sat next to Smith on the state Senate floor the past two years, said he considers her a friend and would endorse her immediately if she won the primary. On the Republican side, former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker of Greensboro announced he's running last month. North Carolina native Lara Trump, the daughter-in-law of former President Donald Trump, is also considering a bid. Jackson decided against running for Senate in 2020 after meeting with then-Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Schumer ultimately backed Cunningham's bid, and Smith accused party leaders of stacking the deck against her as a Black woman in the March 2020 primary. Jackson and Cunningham are white. Jackson said in 2019 that Schumer had wanted him to spend all hours “in a windowless basement" raising campaign money to defeat Tillis. Jackson told the AP on Tuesday he had not spoken to Schumer about 2022 but “I'm going to run this campaign the way I think it needs to be run.” Jackson's military career evokes Cunningham's. While in college, Jackson enlisted in the Army Reserve after the Sept. 11 attacks. He served in Afghanistan for nearly a year in the mid-2000s. He remains a military attorney in a North Carolina National Guard unit and is a former local prosecutor. Jackson's file of legislative accomplishments in Raleigh is relatively thin — largely the result of serving in the minority party. He did advocate successfully for a 2019 law that undid a 40-year-old court decision that had made North Carolina the only state where women could not revoke consent once a sex act had begun. Jackson also has made splashes with recorded floor speeches and social media posts that have gone viral. State Republicans already tried to link Jackson to Cunningham on Tuesday, calling him “Cal Jr.” “North Carolina needs leaders who get results and Cal Jr. believes success equals retweets,” state GOP spokesman Tim Wigginton said in a news release. Gary D. Robertson, The Associated Press
Construction on Place des Arts began in earnest, then a pandemic set back. Work resumes once again, then a second lockdown — then the announcement of a sort-of third lockdown. The construction was supposed to continue, but then everything was shut down once again last week, with the building work ceasing on Friday. But then Monday it started again. There was an amendment to the legislation. It’s just another part of the journey, says Léo Therrien, executive director of the new Francophone arts and culture centre in downtown Sudbury. “The construction is expected to be done at the end of the summer, give or take, and again COVID willing,” said Therrien. “And then our hope is to open later in the fall. Even once the work is finished, everyone has to move in, we have to test all the equipment, you have to do a few shows, too.” But he’s pleased this timeline should coincide with the vaccination process in Sudbury. “I think everyone will be ready to get back to shows,” he said. It is also this specific, pandemic-related journey that has revealed an interesting way for the seven organisations behind ROCS (Regroupement des organismes culturels de Sudbury) to offer planning and programming that is not only accessible in the pandemic world, but in the post-pandemic world as well: streaming. “Our hope is with streaming that we'll be able to stream internally to the various venues inside,” said Therrien. That includes the ability to watch a performance from anywhere in the building. “There's a performance in La Grande Salle (main theatre),” he said. “We can send it to the studio, we can send it to the Bistro, we can send it to other venues. We could split people in various places internally. “But we can also Zoom it, stream it externally, too, for conferences, for performances, and so on.” Whether you love a live show, or your life is more conducive to enjoying it in your pyjamas, there will be options for you. There will even be recordings, something in the works for La Nuit sur l'étang music festival. “Right now, they're planning the shows in March,” said Therrien, “But they might be able to get only 50 people right now because of COVID. So, their plan is to have various cameras and record the whole show and sell it later on at another date – present it as a recorded show.” And because of the occasional pause in the construction, there is the opportunity to consider these aspects: when you can’t build, you have the advantage of time while you work out the kinks of closed-circuit television. Silver Linings, as they say. “It's the right time for us to put the equipment in place because the walls aren't done yet. It would be too hard to do it if it was all finished,” said Therrien. “That's one of the only bonuses from COVID, is that we were able to adapt.” But also, they are not open. That means they are not bringing in revenue as of yet. Still, that may again be fortuitous (to be generous with the interpretation). Therrien said that while they wish the building was finished, it also prevented them from having to cancel or postpone. “We didn't have to stop any shows because we didn't have any shows planned,” he said. “So many of our partners had to cancel their season, then restart it and cancel it again. And it's been that nightmare for them.” He said that they hope the opening of the Place des arts will allow community arts and culture groups — both Anglophone and Francophone — to come together and pool resources, to use the knowledge and experience from every corner of the city to create programming to enrich Francophone culture and, by extension, Sudbury culture, as well as offer a home to Anglophone groups, like YES Theatre, which is currently in negotiations with the Place des arts team. There will not only be the headquarters of the seven founding Francophone organisations, as well as a gift shop, bookstore, bistro and multi-purpose studio space, but also a grand theatre and office space and rehearsal space. And there has never been a better time for art, said Therrien. Movies, television, books, puzzles, art galleries tours and musicals on Zoom — you name the medium, the world consumed content on it — and he’s hopeful this trend will continue. “Art and culture is healthy to our wellbeing, the health of ourselves,” said Therrien. “That’s why a place like this is essential to our community and to everyone in it.” Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
QUEBEC — The 24-year-old man accused in the Quebec City Halloween night sword attack appeared briefly before a judge Tuesday. Carl Girouard appeared by video conference in a Quebec City courtroom as the Crown continued to disclose more evidence in his case. He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder after a man dressed in a medieval costume and wielding a Japanese-style sword went on a rampage Oct. 31 in Quebec City's historic district. Two local residents, Francois Duchesne, 56, and Suzanne Clermont, 61, were killed, and five others were seriously injured in the attack. Duchesne was the director of communications for the Musee national des beaux-arts du Quebec while Clermont worked as a hairdresser in the neighbourhood where she lived. Four of the five people injured have also been identified after the court lifted a publication ban on their identities: Remy Belanger, Gilberto Porras, Lisa Mahmoud and Pierre Lagrevol. Prosecutor Francois Godin told the court the Crown had almost completed disclosure, adding that some laboratory test results were pending. Girouard, from Ste-Therese, a suburb north of Montreal, remains in detention and is scheduled to return to court March 12. He is now represented by Pierre Gagnon, a defence lawyer who primarily practises in the Chicoutimi judicial district north of the provincial capital. On Tuesday, the court authorized the release of Girouard's seized vehicle as well as a cellphone belonging to a victim. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Caroline Plante, The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the cellphone released belonged to the accused.
Advanced Micro Devices on Tuesday beat quarterly revenue estimates and forecast robust 2021 sales on strong demand for its chips used in PCs, data centers and gaming consoles from companies and customers adapting to remote working. The company also supplies chips for gaming consoles, which boosted its fourth-quarter sales as new devices from Microsoft and Sony debuted during the holiday season quarter. The company projected first-quarter revenue to be about $3.2 billion, plus or minus $100 million, compared to analysts' average estimate of $2.74 billion, according to Refinitiv.
Midhurst residents did not attend a public meeting to show their displeasure at a new development on Old Second South, Monday (Jan. 25). Springwater council hosted a public meeting to discuss the engineering specifics of the proposed five lots, which will see single-dwelling homes developed by First Elm Holding Inc. They will be located minutes north of Midhurst, backing onto environmentally-protected land. There were no residents to query the requested zone change from A for agricultural to RIXX zoning for the small residential builds. “No commentors care to make deputations,” Clerk Renee Ainsworth told councillors midway through the 40-minute meeting. After spending almost 12 years fighting the township against more subdivisions near their small village 10 minutes north of Barrie, the Midhurst Ratepayers Association was not present and the virtual meeting was only attended by council and township staff. Coun. Jack Hanna queried the placement of septic beds on the five proposed properties that would lie on the west end of 43 hectares adjacent to the Old Second South. “Water courses are fairly well removed,” said Brian Goodreid of Goodreid Planning Group, which is responsible for the engineering report presented to council. Hanna also questioned the regulations of a maximum of 15 persons per the five lots allotted to, but Brent Spagnol, director of planning services, allayed those concerns. “There are no people police monitoring to ensure we only have three persons per home. There’s no limitations on the number of people per home,” Spagnol said, noting the single-dwelling detached homes meet the provincial settlement population allotment requirements. Further input from the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority is expected. The application was reviewed and returned to staff for further investigation. Cheryl Browne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
OTTAWA — Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet is standing by comments he made about Transport Minister Omar Alghabra earlier this month that sparked criticism he was trying to tar the new cabinet member with Islamophobic innuendo. Blanchet addressed the blowback nearly two weeks after Alghabra expressed disappointment in what he dubbed a harmful and "dangerous game" of insinuation by the Bloc. Blanchet says his earlier statement that questions over Alghabra's association with what the Bloc called "the political Islamic movement" were made politely and as part of a "normal process" of scrutiny. He says those questions were rooted in previous stories by national and provincial media outlets, and that the government should respond to ongoing questions from Quebecers about Alghabra's former role as head of the Canadian Arab Federation. On Tuesday afternoon, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland called on Blanchet during the daily question period to apologize to his fellow MP across the virtual aisle. Alghabra has faced attempts to sow doubt in his background before, with Conservative Sen. Denise Batters apologizing to the Saudi Arabia-born parliamentarian after she wondered aloud why media hadn't questioned the then-parliamentary secretary to the foreign minister about his place of birth. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
L’histoire se répète en Tunisie. En ce mois de janvier, de nouvelles manifestations, violemment réprimées, ont lieu dans tout le pays. La jeunesse en particulier réclame une démocratie durable.
SAINT JOHN, N.B. — A parking enforcement official in Saint John, N.B., has been fired after he allegedly told a woman who tried to contest a ticket that she should return when she could speak English. Mayor Don Darling confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the official, who had been hired by a federal agency that gives jobs to veterans, is no longer working for the city. "They are technically employed by the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires, so we've informed them that the individual won't have any role with the city," Darling said. The mayor called the incident an act of racism. "It's very important for any organization, whether it be public sector or private sector, to act swiftly when it comes to acts of racism," he said. Yamama Zein Alabdin received a $100 ticket Monday after parking her car in a loading zone before delivering inventory to the family restaurant on Germain Street in the city's uptown. A bystander who witnessed a confrontation between Zein Alabdin and the parking employee posted a letter to social media describing the incident. Mishelle Carson-Roy wrote that the woman tried speaking French but was told to come back when she could speak English. Zein Alabdin and her family are originally from Syria. They arrived in Canada from Egypt five years ago. "These wonderfully hard-working newcomers are doing their best to build a life here while investing in the city, by giving the people of Saint John their goods and service and in return, a member of your team degraded her with their ignorance," Carson-Roy said. In an interview Tuesday, with her husband serving as interpreter, Zein Alabdin said she was surprised when her son told her she was getting a ticket. "As usual, every day we brought our inventory to our restaurant," she said. "The zone loading is not for personal cars. We have been in business for three years and always we have used this zone for unloading." Zein Alabdin said she tried to argue her case to the parking official, in French. "He said when you can speak English you can speak to me." Yamama's husband, Zein Alabdin, said his wife cried most of the day and was upset that other cars parked in the loading zone were allowed to move but she was given a ticket. He said she was overwhelmed by the support online from the public and by the fact the city cancelled the fine. Darling said it was important to have the incident investigated and dealt with promptly. "It is unacceptable, disappointing, sad and from one perspective, an opportunity," he said. "I am very passionate about rooting out racism and systemic racism. I'd love to tell you we're perfect, but we're not, no one is. "I think this gives us the opportunity to recognize that we have more work to do and that we can do better." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press
Haisla Nation duo Snotty Nose Rez Kids are leading nominees at the first-ever International Indigenous Hip Hop Awards Show. The celebration will stream online on May 23 from Winnipeg, this year's host city, with the winners of all 20 categories selected by the public. The Rez Kids are contending for four awards, including hip hop single of the year for "Where They At" and album of the year for "Born Deadly." David Strickland, a Mi’kmaw and Cree producer, is up for three awards, among them single of the year for "Turtle Island," featuring Supaman, Artson, Spade, JRDN and Whitey. Other categories span an array of elements tied to hip hop music. Two are devoted to R&B songs, while music videos, DJs and clothing lines all have their own awards. An international hip hop single category includes artists hailing from the United States, Australia and India. Organizers say nominees were narrowed down by a group of music judges and industry players, such as DJs, producers and other professionals. The winners will be selected through a public vote running until April 30 on the event's website. The Indigenous hip hop awards are being led by four organizers: MCs Miss Christie Lee and Jon C, as well as Indigenous artist and motivational speaker Paul Sawan and entertainment marketer Chris Sharpe. The idea came about when Sawan and Sharpe began discussing their excitement around the burgeoning Indigenous hip hop community. "I really do consider it to be the new underground," Sharpe said in a phone interview. "We would love (the awards) to be one of the premier events that really showcases the Indigenous artists across Canada, with the hope that a lot more investment will go into helping artists develop in these communities." The awards will be preceded by a virtual music industry trade show on May 22. Follow @dfriend on Twitter. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. David Friend, The Canadian Press
Cette initiative est lancée par les agents de découvrabilité territoriale (ADT) qui sont en poste depuis l’automne dernier. Les ADT, qui sont présents dans différentes régions comme l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue, le Nord-du-Québec et le Nord-Est de l’Ontario, ont pour mission d’améliorer la visibilité et la quantité de l’information sur nos territoires qui se retrouvent sur la plateforme Wikipédia. Au départ, les ADT ont dû se familiariser avec le site Wikipédia pour ensuite répertorier tout ce qui s’y trouvait et ayant rapport aux régions concernées avant de débuter le travail de terrain. « Il a fallu effectuer un travail de terrain pour débroussailler ce qui se trouvait déjà sur Wiki. Pour ensuite modifier quelques informations, améliorer quelques pages. Il faut aussi créer du nouveau matériel », de nous mentionner Émélie Rivard-Boudreau, ADT Qu’est-ce qu’un Wiki club? Un Wiki club, c’est un regroupement de passionnés où chacun contribue, selon ses forces et compétences, à mettre en lumière différents aspects de son territoire dans la grande encyclopédie libre Wikipédia. Plusieurs manières de participer ont déjà été identifiées, soit à titre de rédacteur, de photographe amateur, de sourceur. La combinaison de ces formes variées de contribution permet ultimement de rehausser la représentativité des territoires de chacun sur Wikipédia. « L’un des objectifs visés est de recruter des ambassadeurs ou wikipédiens dans chaque territoire compris dans le Croissant boréal, c’est-à-dire l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue, le Nord-Est ontarien francophone et la Baie-James », a précisé Edma-Annie Wheelhouse, agente de développement culturel numérique au Conseil de la culture de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue. « Nous partageons déjà de nombreux points communs en matière de territoire, d’économie, d’identité et de culture. En nous unissant, nous augmentons notre pouvoir d’attraction et favorisons notre déploiement à l’échelle nationale et internationale de la francophonie.» Pourquoi Wikipédia ? C’est parce qu’il n’y pas de limite avec Wikipédia. On peut y entrer des textes, bien sûr, mais aussi des photos, des graphiques, des diagrammes, des vidéos et chacun peut ajouter son grain de sel, peu importe quand il le fait. « Si on prend une personnalité X du Nord-du-Québec, il se peut qu’aujourd’hui nous n’ayons pas assez de matériel pour faire un article complet sur cette personnalité. Mais pourquoi ne pas commencer tout de suite? On peut créer sa page et mettre sa date de naissance. » C’est l’exemple que nous a donné Émélie Rivard-Boudreau. « L’initiative est de faire rayonner des gens de chez nous. Par exemple, au début du projet, il y a une page qui a été créée sur Godefroy de Billy qui a été un maire important de la ville de Chibougamau dans les années 1970. L’artiste peintre, Stéphanie Thompson de Matagami, a vu sa page créée », de renchérir Frédérique Brais-Chaput, ADT pour le Nord-du-Québec.» « Présentement, je travaille sur les pages des radios », de nous mentionner l’ADT du Nord-du-Québec. Il n’y avait pas de pages ou simplement des ébauches incomplètes et en anglais. C’est une vitrine importante pour eux. Un autre exemple, la page de Romeo Saganash est incomplète, selon Mme Brais-Chaput. C’est lui aussi un personnage important. Il faut que l’information que l’on y retrouve soit complète et exacte. » Selon les responsables du projet : « Ce n’est pas normal que les principales entreprises de la région soient absentes de la plateforme Wikipédia. » Au dire de Mme Brais-Chaput, les entreprises comme Chantiers-Chibougamau, Barrette-Chapais, Chapais Énergie et tout récemment, les Serres bleues, sont absentes. Elles se doivent d’être présentes pour que le monde puisse les découvrir. Ouvert à tous Le recrutement de personnes de chaque territoire intéressées à joindre les rangs du Wiki club Croissant boréal est déjà amorcé. « Les passionnés de la langue française, de l’histoire, de la politique, de l’actualité, de la culture, du sport ou des technologies peuvent tous trouver de l’intérêt à contribuer à Wikipédia », a-t-elle constaté. En consultant la page Wikipédia du projet « Croissant boréal », les nouveaux contributeurs pourront rapidement repérer comment ils peuvent y exploiter leurs intérêts et leurs forces. »René Martel, Initiative de journalisme local, La Sentinelle
Months-long protests in India escalated on Tuesday as thousands of farmers clashed with police in New Delhi over new laws that they say will push small farmers out of the market and let private corporations exploit them.
TUNIS, Tunisia — Hundreds of Tunisians protested out outside their country's heavily guarded parliament Tuesday as lawmakers prepared to vote late into the night on a new government after a week of youth protests and riots over poverty and a lack of jobs that left one young demonstrator dead and hundreds jailed. Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi announced a government reshuffle last week in the midst of the unrest. He promised Tuesday that the new team would concentrate on deep reforms to create jobs and improve living conditions in the North African country, which has been mired in economic crisis deepened by the coronavirus pandemic. But four of his 11 proposed new Cabinet members are facing investigations or suspicions of corruption, which threatens to further undermine Tunisians’ faith in a leadership accused of failing to live up to the promises of the country’s democratic revolution 10 years ago that unleashed the Arab Spring. Security was so tight in the streets around the parliament building that several lawmakers were unable to access the grounds, according to independent parliamentary deputy Mabrouk Korchid. Security forces drove arriving demonstrators back some 500 metres (yards) from the vicinity of the building. More than two dozen human rights organizations and other groups marched Tuesday afternoon through central Tunis to the parliament building to demand the release of hundreds of people who were arrested in this month’s unrest and to denounce repressive measures by police. A protester in his 20s died in a hospital Monday, becoming the first apparent fatality amid the unrest. The young man's death produced a new outpouring of anger in his hometown of Sbeitla that the army was sent in to quell. His family said he was hit in the head by a tear gas canister during a protest, the state news agency reported. The Interior Ministry said an investigation has been opened. During the parliamentary debate on the new Cabinet, legislator Ali Hermassi denounced the failure of four successive governments to improve the economy, noting that unemployment has risen, as has inflation, while investment has fallen. He also deplored the handling of the recent protests. “The country needs political and social stability to emerge from the crisis,” he said. The head of one faction, Souhair Maghzaoui, told the prime minister: “If you intend to return to police repression, you are deluding yourself,” referring to heavy-handed tactics under the authoritarian regime thrown out by Tunisia’s 2010-2011 uprising. Meanwhile, President Kais Saied insisted the government reshuffle is unconstitutional because the prime minister didn’t follow the procedures for informing the president first. “The Presidency of the Republic is not a mailbox that signs decrees and organizes oath-taking ceremonies,” Saied said during a security council meeting. He also questioned the wisdom of naming the four proposed ministers who are suspected of conflict of interest or embezzlement. I-Watch, the Tunisian arm of anti-corruption group Transparency International, sent a letter to lawmakers urging them not to approve the four proposed ministers. The president also criticized the reduction of the number of women in the new government from six to four. “Women are not cosmetic powder” but crucial players in the government, he argued. The confidence vote was scheduled for the end of the day, with lawmakers voting on the new members of the government one-by-one. Bouazza Ben Bouazza, The Associated Press
TORONTO — Like their Canadian counterparts in Major League Soccer, the Toronto Arrows are wondering where they will be able to play this year. The when is also up in the air for the Major League Rugby team, in the wake of the decision by the expansion Dallas Jackals to delay their debut until 2022. That has required a revised schedule, yet to be released. The Arrows say they are ready for whatever comes their way in terms of guidance from local government and health authorities. "We do have a fully formed Plan B," said Mark Winokur, the Arrows' chief operating officer and GM. "We've been working with the league and partner teams. And we have a solid Plan B that kind of piggybacks on another MLR city. "But our first priority is to play in Canada. So we're going to give it as much time as we need to see if that can happen. And if it can't, then we'll revert to a U.S. spot for as long as we need to be there. And as soon as we can come back to Canada, we'll come back to Canada." Moving south of the border will not be cheap. "There's no way around that," said Winokur. "It's going to cost us more money to do that than stay here. But we're working on every possible way to mitigate it. We're committed to playing and we're going to make it work." On Monday, the San Diego Legion announced it will play its 2021 home games in Las Vegas due to the level of COVID-19 in California. The league plans a dispersal draft "for potential redistribution" of Jackals players for the 2021 season. Dallas put the brakes on its entry into the pro rugby league last week. “The pandemic has obviously had a far-reaching impact on many businesses," Jackals president Scott Sonju said in a statement. "For an expansion sports team it presents very specific challenges, from properly cultivating community and business relationships, to securing visas for international players — there are many challenges in a normal climate, let alone in the unusual climate of this past year. "We know this organization is going to be highly successful. We know DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth) is an important market for the league. But we also know that you only get one chance to make a first impression." The league's 2020 season shut down in March with each of the 12 teams having played five games. The Colorado Raptors announced soon after they were withdrawing from the league. MLR, with 12 teams including the expansion Los Angeles Giltinis, was slated to kick off its fourth season on March 20. Toronto was due to open March 28 in San Diego. Winokur expects the new schedule to start about the same time. Toronto played its first eight games on the road in its inaugural 2019 campaign to avoid winter before opening at home April 7. In 2020, the Arrows were set to play their first seven games on the road, only to see the league shut down after five. This season starts later — kickoff was Feb. 8 last year — with the league looking for more time for COVID-19 to subside. Toronto has split games between York University and Lamport Stadium in the past. The league is an important training ground for Rugby Canada, with some 50 players scattered around the league last season. Many were at the Arrows, who expect to open training camp in early February. Winokur said the club's seven foreign players abroad will serve quarantine before starting pre-season. Two other imports are already here. The other 27 payers are Canadian. The team will work within a bubble with testing protocols laid down by the league. Winokur has experience with such, having been part of Rugby Canada's high-performance camp in November in Langford, B.C. "The fun quotient is pretty low but it can be safely done," he said. --- Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
Southgate staff reports and budgets for a few years have been forecasting municipal investment to make stores on the west side of Proton St. North accessible, and also to create an open event space. Council recently gave staff the go-ahead to apply for a grant from OMAFRA rural economic development to support a project. CAO Dave Milliner was not optimistic about the application succeeding, saying that RED is not overly supportive of capital projects. He included a map showing the middle of Proton Street closed off to create space in the centre of the block to address accessibility. This would also tie in to creating space for events. A traffic loop into the parking lot would allow for through traffic. The vision portrayed in the sketch is in “very early stages,” he said adding that the township would have to engage with the community. With the new building coming on Proton Street, he said the proposal “starts a conversation about what downtown should look like in five or 10 years. Coun. Martin Shipston said the township should get the business people involved. He said parking is a big issue, although he didn’t think much would be lost. Mr. Milliner said that the township owns most of the new medical centre parking lot, which could be an option. Council raised the fact that there were concept drawings done by Joan Burt Architect in 2010. The CAO agreed that if people were interested they could dig those back out. M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
Municipal leaders who sit on the Grey Bruce health board expressed their frustration with the lack of vaccine at Friday’s meeting. Medical officer of Health Dr. Arra said that we have been “the victim of our own success” in keeping COVID numbers down, because high-risk areas have been the main priority. He said a plan for using three mass vaccination hubs has been submitted. “If we don’t get a response about piloting this hub and getting enough vaccine for high-risk task force, I plan to turn to advocacy,” he said. “It shouldn’t be a matter of advocacy… but it seems there is disparity in the distribution to some degree,” he said. Brian Milne, Southgate deputy-mayor, said that it is frustrating that Grey-Bruce had received only 200 doses at that time, and many frontline staff members were left waiting to be inoculated, while in other areas the cafeteria staff at facilities had received the vaccine. Dr. Arra said he heard the frustration and shared the concern. But he added that there is a fine line that needs to be walked, so that public health is to be seen to be working with the province, at the same time as advocating for the local area. It’s important that the public perceives that there is a united approach, Dr. Arra said. And it’s not a matter of if the vaccines come, it’s when, he said. “And we will be ready whenever that happens.” On Monday, Public Health informed the public that it had received 600 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and expected delivery of another 700 doses of the vaccine next week, which will be enough to complete first dose vaccine coverage for all long-term care residents in Grey Bruce. The latest international news is that shipments that were expected are not confirmed, and that has affected many areas in the province. Health board members were happier about the return to school on Monday for Grey-Bruce students. Many parents will be relieved from the burden of making home learning work, but others are still cautions, said Selwyn Hicks, deputy-mayor of Hanover. He said that the health unit had done a good job of communication, explaining that the data shows that transmission is not taking place in schools. Members praised the outreach and media releases. Dr. Arra said that when he meets weekly with the mayors, he learns about issues in the community quickly and the health unit can address them. A standing item on the Board of Health agenda is the opioid crises, and Dr. Arra reported that there have been more than 10 overdoses in the last two weeks in Grey-Bruce – “not deaths, thankfully, overdoses.” Anecdotally, there were 13 deaths in Grey-Bruce in 2020 from opioids, zero from COVID. It’s a difficult crisis to address, Dr. Arra commented, with many complex issues, social, technical, ethical. When the pandemic ends, he said that the health unit, with credibility gained during COVID, will have an opportunity to address opioid like never before. Other partners are doing good work right now, he said, and the pandemic is the public health priority. M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald