Health Canada has approved the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for use, doubling the vaccines available for Canadians, and up to 168,000 doses are expected to arrive by the end of the year.
Health Canada has approved the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for use, doubling the vaccines available for Canadians, and up to 168,000 doses are expected to arrive by the end of the year.
WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers and conservative groups opposed President-elect Joe Biden's forthcoming immigration plan Tuesday as massive amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally, underscoring that the measure faces an uphill fight in a Congress that Democrats control just narrowly. In a further complication, several pro-immigration groups said they would press Biden to go even further and take steps such as immediate moratoriums on deportations, detentions and new arrests. Coupled with the discomfort an immigration push could cause for moderate Democrats, liberals' demands illustrated the pressures facing Biden as four years of President Donald Trump's restrictive and often harsh immigration policies come to an end. “It simply wouldn't have happened without us," Lorella Praeli, co-president of the liberal group Community Change, said of Biden's victory. “So we are now in a powerful position." Biden plans to introduce the legislation shortly after being inaugurated Wednesday, a move he hopes will spotlight his emphasis on an issue that's defied major congressional action since 1986. Its fate, as written, seemed in doubt. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who will become Senate majority leader this week, said Trump's impeachment trial, confirmation of Biden's Cabinet nominees and more COVID-19 relief will be the chamber's top initial priorities. “I look forward to working together with him" on the measure, Schumer said — a choice of words that might suggest changes could be needed for it to pass Congress. Biden's proposal would create an eight-year pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants, set up a processing program abroad for refugees seeking admission to the U.S. and push toward using technology to monitor the border. The measure was described by an official from Biden's transition team who described the plan on condition of anonymity. With an eye toward discouraging a surge of immigrants toward the U.S.-Mexico boundary, the package's route to citizenship would only apply to people already in the U.S. by this past Jan. 1. But it omits the traditional trade-off of dramatically enhanced border security that's helped attract some GOP support in the past, which drew criticism on Tuesday. “A mass amnesty with no safeguards and no strings attached is a nonstarter,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "There are many issues I think we can work co-operatively with President-elect Biden, but a blanket amnesty for people who are here unlawfully isn’t going to be one of them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., often a central player in Senate immigration battles. “Total amnesty, no regard for the health or security of Americans, and zero enforcement," Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who like Rubio is a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender, said in a Monday tweet. That view was shared by Mark Krikorian, executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, which favours curbing immigration. “Past proposals at least accepted the concept of turning off the faucet and mopping up the overflow. This is nothing but mopping up and letting the faucet continue to run," Krikorian said. Rosemary Jenks, top lobbyist for NumbersUSA, which also wants to limit immigration, said the measure seems likely to fail in the Senate. It would need at least 10 Republicans to join all 50 Democrats to overcome a filibuster that would kill the measure. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said, “Moving an immigration reform bill won’t be easy, but I think it’s possible." He cited a 2013 massive overhaul that narrowly passed the Senate, only to die in the GOP-run House. Menendez and Rubio were part of a bipartisan “Gang of 8" senators that helped win Senate approval. Under Biden's legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfil other requirements. From there, it’s a three-year path to naturalization if they pursue citizenship. For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements. Biden is also expected to take swift executive actions, which require no congressional action, to reverse other Trump immigration actions. These include ending to the prohibition on arrivals from predominantly Muslim countries. The legislation represents Biden's bid to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of Trump's restrictive policies and mass deportations. It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years. Biden allies and even some Republicans have identified immigration as a major issue where the new administration could find common ground with the GOP to avoid the stalemate that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades. That kind of major win, even if it involves compromise, could be critical for Biden. He'll be seeking legislative victories in a Congress where Republicans are certain to oppose other Biden priorities, like rolling back some of the GOP’s 2017 tax cuts and increasing federal spending. Democrats will control the 50-50 Senate with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. Democrats currently control the House 222-211, with two vacancies. ___ Barrow reported from Wilmington, Delaware. AP writer Elliot Spagat in San Diego also contributed to this report. Alan Fram, Lisa Mascaro And Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
The Blue Jays have signed star free agent outfielder George Springer, with Toronto and the three-time All Star agreeing to a deal on Tuesday pending a physical. ESPN was first to confirm the two sides reached an agreement on a deal, while adding Springer was heading to Toronto's spring training facility in Dunedin, Fla., for the physical. MLB Network reports the deal to be for six years and US$150 million. The Blue Jays confirmed the deal was for six years pending a physical when reached for comment by The Canadian Press. No further details were provided. The 31-year-old Springer was considered one of the premier players available after declining his qualifying offer from the Houston Astros — the team he has spent his entire seven-year career with — in October to become a free agent. The New York Mets and Blue Jays were reportedly the two frontrunners for Springer, with his name being linked to both clubs for weeks. The centre fielder was named an All Star for the first time in 2017, and went on to become World Series MVP that season when Houston beat the L.A. Dodgers in seven games for a championship, now tainted by the Astros sign-stealing scandal that became public in 2019, and confirmed by MLB in January 2020. He was also named an All Star in 2018 and '19, and took home the AL Silver Slugger Award in both seasons. Springer brings Toronto plenty of playoff experience after reaching the American League Championship Series four seasons in a row, falling just one win shy in 2020 from reaching the World Series for the third time in four campaigns. Springer, from New Britain, Conn., was selected by Houston 11th overall in 2011, and made his debut in 2014. He has 174 home runs and 458 RBIs, with a .270/.361/.491 slash line in his career. This report by The Canadian Press was first published January 19, 2021. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Canada is not getting any COVID-19 vaccine doses from Pfizer-BioNTech next week and the federal government says it can't tell provinces exactly how many doses to expect over the next month. While there are some signs the relentless second wave of the pandemic may be easing in the biggest provinces, with numbers trending down in Quebec and Ontario, chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the number of people in hospital and critical care is rising. Canada also passed 18,000 deaths on Monday. Tam said as the infections go up and down, Canadians are constantly being hit with the reality that our "actions have consequences." "Every time we get a little too tired or a little too excited about holidays or think that vaccines could give us a quick shortcut, we are met with a new spike in activity as COVID-19 tries to take the lead again," Tam told a news conference Tuesday. More than half a million Canadians have now been given at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but the rollout of the vaccines is slowing down. U.S. drugmaker Pfizer told Canada on Friday it's cutting deliveries in half over the next four weeks, as it slows production at its facility in Belgium for upgrades that will eventually allow it to produce more doses. Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander co-ordinating the vaccine rollout for the Public Health Agency of Canada, said Tuesday this means Canada will be getting 82 per cent of expected doses this week and nothing at all next week. "Our entire shipment is deferred," said Fortin. Canada was to get 417,000 doses over the next two weeks, and will now get about 171,000. Fortin said Canada's shipments will "pick back up again" the first week of February but he doesn't expect details until Thursday. The news prompted Ontario Premier Doug Ford to lash out at Pfizer and appeal to U.S. president-elect Joe Biden, who will be sworn into office Wednesday, to help Canada out. Pfizer is also producing its vaccine in Michigan, but doses made in the U.S. are only being shipped within that country. Every other country, including Canada, is getting doses from the facility in Belgium. Ford is asking Biden to share one million doses with Canada. He also said he's not angry at the federal government for the delivery delays, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to put pressure on Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. "If I was in (Trudeau's) shoes … I'd be on that phone call every single day," Ford said. "I'd be up that guy's yin-yang so far with a firecracker he wouldn't know what hit him … I would not stop until we get these vaccines." Ontario is among the provinces retooling their vaccine programs to account for getting fewer doses than expected, with some cancelling or halting new appointments and others looking at delaying second doses. Trudeau said federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand has been on the phone with the company every day. He was less specific about which phone calls he has made himself or whether he has attempted to contact Bourla directly. Trudeau said this temporary slowdown in deliveries will not affect Canada's goal to vaccinate every Canadian who wants a shot in the arm by the end of September. B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said the interruption would mean the province will use the vaccine it is getting this week to complete first doses for long-term care residents and to start second doses for those who got their first shot in December. He said second doses are crucial to the strength of the program, and B.C. remains committed to a 35-day interval between doses. Other provinces have chosen to extend their second-dose time frames. Pfizer Canada spokeswoman Christina Antoniou told The Canadian Press "multiple countries around the world will be impacted in the short term" but cannot say which countries or what the effect outside Canada will be. The United Kingdom is expecting some slowdowns as well. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was on the phone to Bourla on Friday when Europe was informed it would also be getting fewer doses. Europe's dose delays were reduced to one week after that. Anand said she told Pfizer on the weekend she expects Canada to be treated equitably in the shipment slowdowns, and she got assurances that would happen. Fortin said the cutbacks will affect some provinces more than others because of the way the vaccines are packaged, but that deliveries will even out eventually. Quebec and Ontario both reported significant declines in cases Tuesday, with Quebec at 1,386 new cases and Ontario at below 2,000 for the first time in weeks. Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott cautioned a technical glitch likely undercounted new cases in Toronto. Manitoba, which recorded 111 new cases, is also looking at easing restrictions on gatherings and businesses by the end of the week, including allowing non-essential stores and hair salons to reopen for the first time since mid-November. Saskatchewan, with both the highest rate of active cases and new daily cases per capita in the country, was preparing to get tougher on restaurants and bars flouting COVID-19 rules. But Premier Scott Moe said he's not ready to shut down all businesses. Meanwhile, Trudeau urged Canadians to cancel near-future plans for international trips. Trudeau said Canadians have the right to travel but the government could at any time, and without warning, enforce new restrictions on those returning to Canada. New variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 add a level of uncertainty that could affect decisions about how to handle international arrivals. Potentially worrisome variants have been detected in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil. Quebec Premier Francois Legault urged Trudeau to ban non-essential international flights entirely. The Public Health Agency of Canada has documented 183 flights arriving in Canada from abroad since Jan. 4, on which at least one passenger had COVID-19. Sixty-three of those flights arrived from the U.S. That includes 78 flights from popular winter resort destinations and U.S. cities, and four flights from London since a temporary ban on incoming flights from the U.K. was lifted Jan. 6. Trudeau would not say what other measures he is considering, but noted travellers must present negative COVID-19 tests before boarding planes and must quarantine for two weeks after arriving in Canada. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
PORTLAND, Ore. — Plans for a major West Coast liquified natural gas pipeline and export terminal hit a snag Tuesday with federal regulators after a years-long legal battle that has united tribes, environmentalists and a coalition of residents on Oregon's rural southern coast against the proposal. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that energy company Pembina could not move forward with the proposal without a key clean water permit from the state of Oregon. The U.S. regulatory agency gave its tentative approval to the pipeline last March as long as it secured the necessary state permits, but the Canadian pipeline company has been unable to do so. It had appealed to the commission over the state's clean water permit, arguing that Oregon had waived its authority to issue a clean water certification for the project and therefore its denial of the permit was irrelevant. But the commission found instead that Pembina had never requested the certification and that the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality "could not have waived its authority to issue certification for a request it never received.” The ruling was hailed as a major victory by opponents of Jordan Cove, which would be the first such LNG overseas export terminal in the lower 48 states. The proposed 230-mile (370-kilometre) feeder pipeline would begin in Malin, in southwest Oregon, and end at the city of Coos Bay on the rural Oregon coast. Jordan Cove did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment and it was unclear what next steps the project would take. Opposition to the pipeline has brought together southern Oregon tribes, environmentalists, anglers and coastal residents since 2006. "Thousands of southern Oregonians have raised their voices to stop this project for years and will continue to until the threat of Jordan Cove LNG is gone for good,” said Hannah Sohl, executive director of Rogue Climate. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, who has opposed the project, said in a statement on Twitter that she was pleased with the ruling. “At every stage of the regulatory process, I have insisted that the Jordan Cove LNG project must meet Oregon’s rigorous standards for protecting the environment, or it cannot move forward,” she wrote. The outgoing Trump administration has supported energy export projects and in particular Jordan Cove. It had proposed streamlining approval of gas pipelines and other energy projects by limiting states’ certification authorities under the U.S. Clean Water Act. Gillian Flaccus, The Associated Press
WINNIPEG — Federal lawyers told a bail hearing Tuesday that they have serious concerns about two of Peter Nygard's former employees who have offered to ensure the fashion mogul follows the rules if he is released. Nygard was arrested in Winnipeg in December and is facing extradition to New York on nine charges, including sex trafficking and racketeering. The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges that for 25 years Nygard targeted women and underage girls from disadvantaged economic backgrounds and forcibly sexually assaulted them.The charges have not been tested in court and Nygard denies them. He is seeking release in Winnipeg, where he founded his fashion company, while the issue of his extradition is dealt with by the court.One of Nygard's former executives and a director of construction have offered to ensure he follows bail conditions if he is released while awaiting a hearing.But Scott Farlinger, a lawyer for the Attorney General of Canada, told court his office is opposing release. He has said the 79-year-old Nygard has the means to flee and a history of not showing up to court.Former Nygard executive Greg Fenske, who is still involved in the receivership of Nygard's clothing companies, was the first to take the stand Tuesday. Fenske doesn’t work directly for Nygard now, he testified, but pays himself through a numbered company that does consulting work for Nygard. That company purchased a $989,000 home suggested for Nygard if he is released on bail.Fenske described his relationship with Nygard as mutually respectful, but said they never associated outside of business. “He was my boss,” Fenske told court.When asked about his continued support for his former employer, Fenske responded, “I believe in Mr. Nygard’s innocence.” Farlinger asked about allegations by U.S. authorities that Fenske played a role in facilitating payments between Nygard and women who were allegedly abused. “I wholeheartedly disagree with it,” Fenske responded. He said Nygard would sometimes pay for dental or health treatments for assistants and models, but denied the recipients were girlfriends. “Mr. Nygard was very generous though the years,” Fenske said.Lawyers questioned why money meant for payroll moved into a separate consulting company that employs former Nygard staff, as well as a $60,000 overpayment to a utility company on the day before receivership. Fenske denied any malice in the action and said both situations have been rectified.Lawyers also questioned Steve Mager, a former director of construction for Nygard International. He has put up his home as a surety for Nygard. Mager testified he has two drug-related convictions. The last in 2012, for trafficking cocaine, resulted in a five-year sentence.Court heard Mager met Nygard playing poker and was hired to do work on a Winnipeg property. He moved up in Nygard's company and was quickly making $130,000 a year with full benefits until he lost the job in April.Mager told court he still talks to Nygard daily.“We are friends,” Mager said. Nygard appeared in court by video and his face was projected on a large screen in the corner of the room. His long grey and white hair was tied up in a bun and he wore a blue mask, grey shirt and had a grey sweater draped over his shoulders. Lawyer Jay Prober told court his client is an old man and should be released on bail because keeping him in jail where there are COVID-19 cases could be a “death sentence.” Prober asked Mager to look at Nygard on the video screen in court. “He looks like crap,” Mager said. The bail hearing continues Wednesday.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press
Jessica Henwick may be known to fantasy and sci-fi nerds, but she's about to breakout onto the mainstream.
The United States swore in its 46th President on Jan. 20, 2021. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris attended their inauguration in Washington, D.C. with a slew of distinguished guests, but few onlookers as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a need for social distancing.Several past presidents were in attendance, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr., however the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, did not attend. Trump flew to his golf club in Florida earlier in the day. Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence did attend the ceremony with his wife.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
WASHINGTON — Troops in riot gear lined the sidewalks, but there were no crowds. Armored vehicles and concrete barriers blocked empty streets. Miles of fencing cordoned off many of the nation's most familiar landmarks. Joe Biden was safely sworn in as president in a Washington on edge, two weeks after rioters loyal to former President Donald Trump besieged the Capitol. Law enforcement officials contended not only with the potential for outside threats but also with rising concerns about an insider attack. Officials monitored members of far-right extremist and militia groups, increasingly concerned about the risk they could stream into Washington and spark violent confrontations, a law enforcement official said. There were a few scattered arrests but no major protests or serious disruptions in the city during Biden's inauguration ceremony. As Biden put it in his address: “Here we stand just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen. It will never happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Not ever.” After the deadly attack that killed five on Jan. 6, the Secret Service stepped up security for the inauguration early, essentially locking down the nation's capital. More than 25,000 troops and police were called to duty. The National Mall was closed. Checkpoints were set up at intersections. In the hours before the event, federal agents monitored “concerning online chatter,” which included an array of threats against elected officials and discussions about ways to infiltrate the inauguration, the official said. In right-wing online chat groups, believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory expressed disappointment that top Democrats were not arrested for sex trafficking and that Trump did not seize a second term. Twelve National Guard members were removed from the security operation a day earlier after vetting by the FBI, including two who had made extremist statements in posts or texts about Wednesday's event. Pentagon officials would not give details on the statements. The FBI vetted all 25,000 members in an extraordinary security effort in part over the presence of some ex-military in the riot. Two other U.S. officials told The Associated Press that all 12 were found to have ties with right-wing militia groups or to have posted extremist views online. The officials, a senior intelligence official and an Army official briefed on the matter, did not say which fringe groups the Guard members belonged to or what unit they served in. The officials told the AP they had all been removed because of “security liabilities.” The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, confirmed that Guard members had been removed and sent home, but said only two cases were related to inappropriate comments or texts related to the inauguration. He said the other 10 cases were for issues that may involve previous criminal behaviour or activities but were not directly related to the inaugural event. The FBI also warned law enforcement officials about the possibility that members of right-wing fringe groups could pose as National Guard troops, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the matter. Investigators in Washington were particularly worried that members of right-wing extremist groups and militias, like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, would descend on Washington to spark violence, the law enforcement officials said. Some of the groups are known to recruit former military personnel, to train extensively and to have frequented anti-government and political protests. In addition to the thousands of National Guard troops, hundreds of law enforcement officers from agencies around the country were also brought into Washington. The increased security is likely to remain in the nation's capital for at least a few more days. ___ Associated Press writers Lolita Baldor in Washington and James LaPorta in Delray Beach, Florida, contributed to this report. Ben Fox, Colleen Long And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
When the current lockdown here in Ontario came into effect on Dec. 26, not much changed for some of the libraries in the area, specifically the South Algonquin Public Library with branches in Whitney and Madawaska, the Gilmour Library in Tudor and Cashel Township, and the Carlow Mayo Public Library in Hermon. The head librarians of these libraries give updates on how the lockdown has affected their operations. With the exception of the South Algonquin library branches, which have closed for the duration of the lockdown, they are continuing to offer curbside pickup of their materials for patrons to enjoy as they try to navigate this current lockdown due to COVID-19. Charlene Alexander is the CEO and head librarian at the South Algonquin Public Library and supervises both branches in Whitney and Madawaska. She gives an update on what’s going on there with the lockdown. “Both branches will be closing and staff are moving to work from home until the restrictions are lifted. We had been [before the lockdown] working towards providing in person services in addition to curbside pickup. This includes policy planning, barriers installed at the circulation desks, a maximum of three people at a time in the library, one public computer in use at a time, and one work area where patrons could use their own devices. During lockdown, library staff will focus on professional development and any projects that can be completed at home,” she says. Leanne Golan is the CEO and head librarian at the Gilmour Library in Tudor and Cashel Township and gives the following update on their lockdown status. “With the new lockdown, we are continuing to offer contactless curbside pickup only. There are no new initiatives at this time,” she says. Carrie McKenzie is the CEO and head librarian at the Carlow Mayo Public Library, and says that they are still operating curbside, and that nothing is changing for them in that regard. “Our hours are Tuesday and Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,” she says. While continuing to operate their curbside pickup, they have some new items in their inventory for patrons to check out. “We are updating our adult non-fiction with personal hobbies such as free motion quilting and macrame hangers. We are also adding more non-fiction about becoming more self-sufficient by homesteading. Lots of canning and gardening,” she says. “If we are going to be at home we might as well enjoy it with healthy and engaging activities!” Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times
EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says residents in long-term care and supportive living facilities will remain the priority as the province grapples with a looming slowdown in COVID-19 vaccine supply. Dr. Deena Hinshaw says health officials may also have to rebook vaccination appointments for those getting the required second dose. Hinshaw made the announcement just hours after the federal government said there will be no shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine next week and reduced shipments for about three weeks after that. The slowdown is due to Pfizer retrofitting its Belgium-based plant in order to ramp up production down the road. Hinshaw says Alberta has 456 new cases of COVID-19, with 740 patients in hospital. There are 119 patients in intensive care and 1,463 people have died. “This is frustrating, but the factory issues in Belgium are out of our control," Health Minister Tyler Shandro said in a release Tuesday. "We will continue to use what we have to protect as many Albertans as possible. And we will continue to inform Albertans of any changes to our vaccination plans.” Alberta recently finished giving first doses of vaccine to all residents in its 357 long-term care and supportive living facilities. “These are absolutely the highest-risk locations, and people who live in these facilities are the most vulnerable to severe outcomes,” Hinshaw told a virtual news conference. “Two-thirds of all our (COVID-19) deaths have been in long-term care and supportive living facilities.” Alberta has given 90,000 first doses of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to those in the high priority cohort: those in the care homes and front-line health-care workers. Canada was to get more than 417,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week and next, but will now get just over 171,000 this week and nothing the following week. Both vaccines require two doses weeks apart for full effectiveness. The delay has also forced the province to put off implementing the next phase of priority cases: Indigenous seniors over 65 and other seniors 75 and older. Alberta remains under strict lockdown measures, which include a ban on indoor gatherings. Bars, restaurants and lounges can offer takeout or pickup service only. Retailers are limited to 15 per cent customer capacity, while entertainment venues like casinos and movie theatres remain shuttered. The province relaxed some measure slightly on Monday. Outdoor gatherings can have 10 people maximum. Personal care services, like hair salons, manicure and pedicure salons and tattoo shops, can open by appointment only. Hinshaw said it’s not clear when further restrictions can be lifted. “Our health system is still under severe strain,” she said. “This continues to impact our ability to deliver care, not only for COVID-19 but all the other health needs Albertans have.” There were 11,096 active COVID cases Tuesday, about half the number recorded at its peak in mid-December. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
ATLANTA — Paul McDonough has returned to Atlanta United as vice-president of soccer operations. The MLS team announced the rehiring of McDonough on Tuesday after he spent two years as Inter Miami's sporting director. McDonough returns to the role he held in Atlanta from 2016-18, becoming a key player in the club's dynamic entry into MLS. United set numerous attendance records and captured the MLS Cup championship in just its second season in 2018. McDonough left after the championship to lead Inter Miami's entry into MLS as an expansion team this past year. The club went 7-13-3 and made the MLS playoffs in its pandemic-affected debut season. Atlanta United, meanwhile, fell on hard times in 2020. The club fired coach Frank de Boer and missed the playoffs for the first time. “Paul was a key part of our team as we built Atlanta United and we’re delighted to have him back in the organization,” Atlanta United president Darren Eales said in a statement. “Paul brings a vast knowledge of the game, but more importantly he is a great cultural fit who complements our front office." McDonough will report to technical director Carlos Bocanegra and take a leading role in managing the salary cap. McDonough previously worked with Orlando City, helping the club transition to its inaugural season in MLS. He began his career in college coaching, serving as an assistant at Wake Forest, South Carolina and UConn. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
CALGARY — A Crown prosecutor says he will seek an adult sentence for an accused teen if he is convicted in a Calgary police officer's death.Doug Taylor made the comment at the start of a bail hearing Tuesday for the 18-year-old suspect.The accused was 17 when he was charged earlier this month with first-degree murder in the death of Sgt. Andrew Harnett, so he cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.Harnett was hit and dragged while attempting to stop an SUV on New Year's Eve, after noticing plates on the vehicle did not match its registered description. Paramedics and fellow officers hastened to the scene in minutes and tried to revive the 37-year-old but he died in hospital nearly an hour later. Police said a second unrelated vehicle was also involved and may have come into contact with Harnett on the road. But that driver stayed at the scene and helped with the investigation.Investigators allege the youth was driving the SUV and a 19-year-old, who also faces a charge of first-degree murder, was a passenger."I, of course on behalf of the attorney general, have just filed a notice of intention by the attorney general to apply for an adult sentence," Taylor told court.An adult sentence for a young offender convicted of first-degree murder is life in prison with no parole eligibility for 10 years. Under the Canadian Criminal Code, an adult convicted of first-degree murder would serve a life sentence without any possibility of parole for 25 years.Taylor said the Crown is also opposing the young man's release from custody.A publication ban prohibits publishing evidence from the bail hearing, which is to continue Wednesday.The co-accused in the case, Amir Abdulrahman is to appear in court Feb. 4. His lawyer, Balfour Der, has said he intends to seek bail on Feb. 12.Court documents indicate that, at the time Harnett was killed, Adbulrahman was wanted on outstanding warrants on several charges, including assault and failing to appear in court.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
À la suite des critiques sur les systèmes de surveillance aux frontières, le premier ministre Justin Trudeau implore la compréhension de tous ceux qui envisagent de voyager et annonce la mise en place sans préavis de nouvelles mesures. «Quand je dis que tout le monde doit faire sa part, je m’adresse aussi aux voyageurs. Ce n’est pas le temps de voyager à l’étranger. Si vous aviez prévu de quitter le pays, s’il vous plaît, au nom de tous les Canadiens, annulez!», a-t-il imploré en conférence de presse. Justin Trudeau a sensibilisé sur les risques et les changements brusques qui pourraient intervenir avec les mutations du virus ces dernières heures, arguant qu’Ottawa «pourrait imposer de nouvelles mesures sans préavis». Il n’a pas donné davantage de détails sur les idées en gestation. «Ça ne vaut pas la peine d’attraper la COVID-19 et de la ramener au Canada pour un voyage dans le Sud ou ailleurs», a-t-il illustré, tout en rappelant que le gouvernement fédéral reconnait que les voyages sont un droit constitutionnel au Canada. Plusieurs témoignages dans la presse ont récemment établi des légèretés dans les systèmes de contrôle des passagers qui arrivent dans les aéroports canadiens. Selon la Loi sur la mise en quarantaine, ils doivent s’isoler pendant 14 jours, mais certains ont déclaré qu’ils se contentaient des appels et des répondeurs automatiques. Ottawa a mis des entreprises privées de sécurité à contribution. Justin Trudeau a indiqué mardi que le fédéral était «en conversation avec les premiers ministres des provinces» au sujet d’éventuelles mesures supplémentaires, mais la démarche semble insuffisante. Québec demande la suspension des vols internationaux Le premier ministre François Legault s’est dit «ouvert à la discussion pour déterminer ce qui est essentiel ou non», mais il menace d’évoluer en cavalier solitaire si Ottawa n’accède pas à sa revendication. «Je demande à M. Trudeau, au gouvernement fédéral, d’interdire rapidement tous les vols internationaux qui sont non essentiels», a plaidé le premier ministre François Legault en conférence de presse, révélant le contenu d’une discussion qu’il aurait entreprise en privé avec le fédéral. Le premier ministre québécois s’appuie sur les dispositions prises au printemps et les précédentes mesures concernant les vols en provenance du Royaume-Uni pour pousser Ottawa à aller plus loin. M. Legault redoute les conséquences de la période de relâche scolaire avec la confirmation d’un nouveau cas de la variante du coronavirus découvert au Royaume-Uni. Ces pressions interviennent au moment où les firmes pharmaceutiques annoncent l’interruption des livraisons de vaccins au Canada pendant la semaine du 25 janvier. Godlove Kamwa, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français
JOHANNESBURG — South Africa's trailblazing Black food writer Dorah Sitole's latest cookbook was widely hailed in December as a moving chronicle of her journey from humble township cook to famous, well-travelled author. The country's new Black celebrity chefs lined up to praise her as a mentor who encouraged them to succeed by highlighting what they knew best: tasty African food. Now they are mourning Sitole's death this month from COVID-19. She was 65. In “40 Years of Iconic Food,” Sitole engagingly described how she quietly battled South Africa's racist apartheid system to find appreciation, and a market, for African cuisine. Her book became a holiday bestseller, purchased by Blacks and whites alike. Sitole's career started in 1980 at the height of apartheid when she was hired by a canned foods company to promote sales of their products by giving cooking classes in Black townships. She found that she loved the work. In 1987, Sitole became the country's first Black food writer when she was appointed food editor for True Love, one of the few publications for the country's Black majority. The magazine, and its competitor Drum, were known for giving Black writers, photographers and editors the freedom to write about the Black condition and experience. With stories that were about much more than food, Sitole described how traditional African dishes brought pleasure to families and communities in troubled times. She was known for her distinctive takes on well-known recipes and tips on how to make them on a budget. She won an avid readership and became a household name, even as South Africa's townships were roiled by anti-apartheid violence. When apartheid ended and Nelson Mandela became president in 1994, Sitole found new opportunities. She trained as a Cordon Bleu chef and got a diploma in marketing. She travelled across Africa to learn about the continent's cuisine, producing the book “Cooking from Cape to Cairo.” In interviews, she pointed out her East African fish dish with basmati rice that she developed while travelling through that region, and the seafood samp recipe, which is basically a paella using chopped corn kernels instead of the traditional rice. In 2008, Sitole's success was acknowledged when she was appointed True Love's editor-in-chief. Sitole's warmth and generosity is credited with opening doors for many Black chefs, food writers and influencers who are thriving in South Africa today. “Mam (mother) Dorah’s approach to food was a mixture of things. First, it was something that was driven by her background, she was very true to who she was," said Siba Mtongana, one of South Africa's brightest new chefs, who started out as food editor for Drum magazine and now has a television series and cookbooks. “She would take what we grew up eating and add a twist to them, and add flavours that we would not ordinarily have thought of putting together,” said Mtongana who has opened a restaurant in Cape Town, featuring food from all over Africa. She said Sitole imbued her with a passion for exposing the world to Africa's many cuisines saying she loved describing to her readers what others enjoy eating across Africa, and around the world. Another chef who credits Sitole for assisting her is Khanya Mzongwana, a contributing editor for food retailer Woolworths’ Taste magazine. “Mam Dorah wore so many hats — she was a writer, a creator, a mother, a friend, a real artist. I remember just how awesome it was to see a Black woman blazing trails in food media. Nobody was doing that," said Mzongwana. “What made Mam Dorah the best was definitely how she could fill a space with pleasantness," said Mzongwana. “She was so generous with her resources and wanted to see all of us — her daughters — win. Paying it forward in meaningful ways is something I saw Mam Dorah do first," she said. “She loved and respected everybody and made what seemed like such a wild dream appear so reachable and normal. She was one of the most impactful Black women in the food world.” Sitole received numerous awards for her contribution to South African culture. In one of her last interviews, Sitole said the highlight of her four-decade career was her trip across the continent. “I had always wanted to travel through Africa and I had no clue what to expect," she said on Radio 702. "It was almost like you don’t know what you are going into, and then you find it. I loved every moment and every country that I went to, I loved the food and the experience." Sitole is survived by her children Nonhlanhla, Phumzile and Ayanda. Mogomotsi Magome, The Associated Press
TORONTO — Another Ontario COVID-19 official has resigned over foreign travel. Premier Doug Ford's office says he has accepted the resignation of Linda Hasenfratz as a member of Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution Task Force.Ford's office says she stepped down after it was brought to his attention that she travelled outside the country in December.No other details were released other than that she has apologized.Earlier this month, Dr. Tom Stewart resigned from a group of experts that help guide the provincial government's response to COVID-19 after travelling to the Dominican Republic over the holidays.At the time, Stewart said he regretted the non-essential travel and recognized that everyone should be avoiding non-essential trips.Stewart later stepped down as chief executive officer of the Niagara Health System and the St. Joseph's Health System.Ford's office gave a brief statement Tuesday about Hasenfratz's resignation."Thanks to the efforts of all Ontarians, we are starting to see early signs of progress in bending the curve," reads the statement. "Now is not the time to let up. We continue to urge everyone to stay home." Last week, Dr. Paul Woods, the CEO of a hospital network in London, Ont., was ousted from his post after concerns were raised about his international travel during the pandemic.Woods travelled to the U.S. five times since March, including during the December holidays, the London Health Sciences Centre said.Last month, Rod Phillips, Ontario's former finance minister, resigned from his post after it was revealed he travelled to St. Barts for a December vacation. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021 The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Online storytelling company Wattpad Corp. says it will be acquired by South Korean internet conglomerate Naver for US$600 million. The Toronto-based company says the acquisition is a cash and stock transaction that was unanimously approved by its board of directors earlier today. Under the terms of the deal, Wattpad will keep its Canadian headquarters and remain under the leadership of co-founders Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen. Wattpad has been running a self-publishing platform since it was founded in 2006, but in recent years managed to reach deals to get some users' books printed or made into movies. Wattpad says the acquisition will accelerate the company's international growth and expand its audience because Naver owns digital comics platform Webtoon. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of the company's fiscal year and is subject to regulatory approvals. This report by The Canadian Press was first published January 19, 2020. The Canadian Press
The City of Toronto has closed its new COVID-19 immunization clinic downtown after it was told to do so by the Ontario government due to a shortage of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. In a news release on Tuesday, the city said it was ordered to "pause" the clinic, located at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, when appointments on Tuesday came to an end at 8 p.m. The clinic has now shut its doors. The province had originally directed the city to close the clinic on Friday. It opened on Monday and was in operation only two days. The city said the closure follows a federal announcement on Tuesday that Canada has COVID-19 vaccine supply shortages. "Everyone is disappointed at the vaccine supply chain issues. The City looks forward to re-establishing vaccine clinics once supply becomes available," Alex Burke, city spokesperson, said in an email on Tuesday. Burke said the clinic administered the Moderna vaccine and the province is reallocating the Moderna supply. Earlier this week, the city said the clinic had been established with the aim of vaccinating up to 250 people a day. It was not open to the public, but was set up to provide vaccinations for select health-care workers "directly involved in the front-line response to COVID-19." Those workers included shelter, harm-reduction and Streets to Homes staff who work with some of Toronto's most vulnerable residents. All appointments made for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week have now been cancelled. In an email later on Tuesday, the city said eight health-care workers, who were not supposed to get vaccinated as part of an initial group of workers, did get doses because they registered. "It was confirmed today that eight health-care workers outside that group received vaccine. We took immediate measures to course correct and everyone vaccinated today met the criteria," the city said. The city noted that the federal government is responsible for securing the supply of COVID-19 vaccines, while the provincial government is responsible for distributing them and identifying which groups get them first under its framework. As for the city, it is responsible for supporting the administration of the vaccine in keeping with provincial priority lists and scheduling. "The City's Immunization Task Force is continuing to plan for city-wide immunization clinic roll-out and will continue to work with the province to determine next steps once vaccine supply is re-established," the city said. When the city opened the clinic on Monday, it lit the Toronto sign in pink, the colour of the bandaids that are emblematic of the city's immunization campaign. Toronto residents told to be patient Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city's medical officer of health, told reporters on Monday that vaccination plans often don't roll out smoothly, but she urged Toronto residents to be patient and optimistic. "While we want the flow of vaccine to be swift, uninterrupted and high volume, the fact of the matter is this is the first time a vaccination campaign on this scale has ever been designed and implemented — and the whole world needs their share of vaccines," she said. "Public health has years of experience in the delivery of mass vaccination programs. And from experience, I can tell you that even with the best plans there are bumps in the road." De Villa noted that the province has decided it's best to reallocate the available supply of vaccine to ensure it is administered to residents in long-term care facilities and high-risk retirement homes and to deliver second doses to people who have received their first dose. "My understanding is that deliveries of Pfizer vaccine are expected to catch up through February and March," she added. Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to resume this month Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander leading vaccine logistics for the federal government, said Canadians should expect only 50 per cent of the promised Pfizer-BioNTech doses the government was promised for the remainder of January. Fortin said Canada will get only 82 per cent of the vaccine doses it expected this week, and no deliveries at all from Pfizer-BioNTech next week, before shipments resume in the last week of January.
BANGKOK — A court in Thailand on Tuesday sentenced a former civil servant to a record prison term of 43 years and six months for breaching the country's strict law on insulting or defaming the monarchy, lawyers said. The Bangkok Criminal Court found the woman guilty on 29 counts of violating the country’s lese majeste law for posting audio clips to Facebook and YouTube with comments deemed critical of the monarchy, the group Thai Lawyers for Human Rights said. The court initially announced her sentence as 87 years, but reduced it by half because she pleaded guilty to the offences, the group said. The sentence, which comes amid an ongoing protest movement that has seen unprecedented public criticism of the monarchy, was swiftly condemned by rights groups. “Today’s court verdict is shocking and sends a spine-chilling signal that not only criticisms of the monarchy won’t be tolerated, but they will also be severely punished,” said Sunai Phasuk, a senior researcher for the group Human Rights Watch. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres believes “it’s very important that people be allowed to express their right to speak freely," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Tuesday. Violating Thailand's lese majeste law — known widely as Article 112 — is punishable by three to 15 years’ imprisonment per count. The law is controversial not only because it has been used to punish things as simple as liking a post on Facebook but also because anyone — not just royals or authorities — can lodge a complaint that can tie up the person accused in legal proceedings for years. During Thailand's last 15 years of political unrest, the law has frequently been used as a political weapon as well as in personal vendettas. Actual public criticism of the monarchy, however, had until recently been extremely rare. That changed during the past year, when young protesters calling for democratic reforms also issued calls for the reform of the monarchy, which has long been regarded as an almost sacred institution by many Thais. The protesters have said the institution is unaccountable and holds too much power in what is supposed to be a democratic constitutional monarchy. Authorities at first let much of the commentary and criticism go without charge, but since November have arrested about 50 people and charged them with lese majeste. Sunai said Tuesday's sentence was likely meant to send a message. “It can be seen that Thai authorities are using lese majeste prosecution as their last resort measure in response to the youth-led democracy uprising that seeks to curb the king’s powers and keep him within the bound of constitutional rule. Thailand’s political tensions will now go from bad to worse,” he said. After King Maha Vajralongkorn took the throne in 2016 following his father's death, he informed the government that he did not wish to see the lese majeste law used. But as the protests grew last year, and the criticism of the monarchy got harsher, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha warned a line had been crossed and the law would be used. The protest movement has lost steam since the arrests and since new restrictions on public gatherings were implemented following a surge in coronavirus cases. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights identified the woman sentenced Tuesday only by her first name Anchan and said she was in her mid-60s. Her case dates back six years, when anti-establishment sentiment was growing after a 2014 military coup led by Prayuth. She was held in jail from January 2015 to November 2018. She denied the charges when her case was first heard in military court, where lese majeste offences were prosecuted for a period after the coup. When her case was transferred to criminal court, she pleaded guilty with the hope that the court would have sympathy for her actions, because she had only shared the audio, not posted or commented on it, she told local media Tuesday on her arrival at court. “I thought it was nothing. There were so many people who shared this content and listened to it. The guy (who made the content) had done it for so many years," Anchan said. “So I didn’t really think this through and was too confident and not being careful enough to realize at the time that it wasn’t appropriate.” She said she had worked as a civil servant for 40 years and was arrested one year before retirement, and with a conviction would lose her pension. What is believed to have previously been the longest lese majeste sentence was issued in 2017, when a military court sentenced a man to 35 years in prison for social media posts deemed defamatory to the monarchy. The man, a salesman, had initially been sentenced to 70 years, but had his sentence halved after pleading guilty. ___ Associated Press video journalist Tassanee Vejpongsa contributed to this report. Chalida Ekvitthayavechnukul, The Associated Press
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Officials in Washington state denied a key permit for a large proposed methanol plant Tuesday, saying the project that aims to send the chemical to China to be used in everything from fabrics and contact lenses to iPhones and medical equipment would pump out too much pollution. A significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions and inconsistencies with the Shoreline Management Act were the main reasons the permit was rejected for the project planned on the Columbia River, the state Department of Ecology said in a news release. The $2 billion Northwest Innovation Works plant proposed in Kalama would take natural gas from Canada and convert it into methanol. It would then be shipped to China to make olefins — compounds used in many everyday products. An environmental analysis done by the state agency found that the facility would be one of the largest sources of carbon pollution in Washington, emitting nearly 1 million metric tons a year within the state, and millions of tons more from extracting natural gas, shipping the product to Asia and final uses of the methanol, officials said. “I believe we were left with no other choice than to deny the permit for the Kalama project," Ecology Director Laura Watson said in a written statement. "The known and verifiable emissions from the facility would be extremely large and their effects on Washington’s environment would be significant and detrimental.” The Department of Ecology last year had demanded additional environmental analysis, saying after five years of planning, its backers had failed to provide enough information about the greenhouse gas emissions and how they would be offset. The company has 21 days to appeal the permit decision. “While we are disappointed by this ruling and evaluating our options for an immediate appeal, we feel confident that science and reason will prevail,” Kent Caputo, attorney for Northwest Innovation Works, said in a news release. The company is backed by the Chinese government and has said the project will create 1,000 jobs and generate up to $40 million in annual tax revenue. The company also has said it would offset any emissions produced directly or indirectly in Washington state. “We volunteered to set mitigation standards that will make Washington state the national leader,” Northwest Innovation Works CEO Simon Zhang said in the news release. “We want to create a model project for Kalama, the state, and the nation.” Gov. Jay Inslee, who once backed the project as a boost to the economy, changed his stance in May 2019 as he signed a bill banning fracking, The Seattle Times reported. Inslee said at the time that he couldn't in good conscience support the methanol plant, along with a Tacoma liquified natural gas project, because they wouldn't accomplish what's necessary to combat climate change. He also said the withdrawal of his support would not affect the regulatory decision-making process. Conservation groups, including Columbia Riverkeeper, the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity, have been steadfast in their opposition. “We can’t keep pretending these dirty fossil fuel projects don’t jeopardize our continued existence by accelerating the climate crisis and destroying essential habitat," Jared Margolis, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a news release. "Thankfully, Washington has stepped up and rejected this monstrosity.” The Associated Press
At the Limerick Township planning meeting on Dec. 21, an update was provided by Councillor Jan MacKillican on the letters sent out to the residents occupying the boathouses located on public lands at the St. Ola boat launch. In addition to the new Licence to Occupy bylaw and a current map of the area showing the location of the boathouses, a second letter was sent out with a correction on the application to state that the application cost is $2,500 over 25 years versus $1,500 as was originally stated within the application. This whole process with the boathouses on the public lands at the St. Ola boat launch began when the township had wanted, under the authority of the Municipal Act 2001 S.O. Ministry of Natural Resources Policy Number PL 4.11.07, to implement a licencing structure for the boathouses in question. Back in April, the council had sent out a public notice to identify the occupants of these boathouses to register with the municipality to make sure they are represented in the licencing process. Ultimately, the cost to licence these boathouses is $2,500 for 25 years. The exception to this process is boathouse #3, as it is included within the owner’s roll number and taxes are paid on it. MacKillican stated during the Dec. 21 meeting that the letters to the boathouse occupants were sent out on Nov. 30 with the bylaw via email and was also posted on the township’s website. This had been brought forth as a motion and passed at the last planning meeting on Nov. 16. “Basically, the letters have gone out to the owners that we identified with the map and the bylaw. We did get an email within the last couple of days saying that there were issues with what we sent out and I’ll work with Victoria [Tisdale, clerk and treasurer of Limerick Township] on that. I think we need to just reissue the bylaw one more time, get rid of the section that refers to insurance from the township. We just need to check to make sure we have the right bylaw and the right map. There are two maps. An original one and then there’s two boathouses that aren’t on shore, number 15 and 16, so there was a second map done so we should make sure that final map gets out and we can send it out and say we’re still on track here. There’s been some revisions, and perhaps you didn’t get the right version but here it is once and for all.” According to Mayor Carl Stefanski, no replies to the boathouse letters had been received as of Jan. 15, and the issue should be the first on the agenda at their next planning meeting, date and time to be decided soon. Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times