The Canadian passport lost some of its power when it comes to international mobility in 2021 and the global pandemic is mostly to blame.
The Canadian passport lost some of its power when it comes to international mobility in 2021 and the global pandemic is mostly to blame.
From a global perspective, there was nothing unique about the recent raid on the U.S. Capitol. Both Republican and Democratic administrations have backed military coups around the world for decades.
LONDON — Crystal Palace signed French striker Jean-Philippe Mateta on an 18-month loan from relegation-threatened German club Mainz on Thursday. Mateta has scored 10 goals in 17 appearances for Mainz in the Bundesliga and German Cup this season. Mainz said the loan deal runs through the end of the 2021-22 season and includes an option to buy. Mateta's arrival adds depth to a Palace attack which has relied heavily on winger Wilfried Zaha's eight Premier League goals this season. Palace's centre forwards have struggled for goals, with three for Christian Benteke, one for Jordan Ayew and none for Michy Batshuayi. Mainz, which is in 17th place in the 18-team standings and faces relegation after 12 years in the first division, will be without its top scorer for the second half of the Bundesliga season. No other player in the squad has scored more than three goals this season. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
PARIS — Just like the leaves of its gilded fans, France’s storied fan-making museum could fold and vanish. The splendid Musee de l’Eventail in Paris, classed as a historical monument, is the cultural world’s latest coronavirus victim. It has until Jan. 23 to pay up over 117,000 euros ($142,000) in rent arrears — stemming mainly from losses during lockdowns, otherwise it will close. And with it will go the savoir-faire of its workshop. The studio that teaches design and restoration to a new generation of fan-makers was placed on France’s intangible heritage list last year. “It is a tragedy. I can’t believe Parisians will let a part of their heritage die. I have a problem, because I always believed there would be a miracle,” the museum's 74-year-old director, Anne Hoguet, told the AP. There may be some surprise that France, a country that famously prizes its culture, has not done more to save the museum, especially given that the French public was so eager to help other cultural sites in danger, such as its burned-out Notre Dame cathedral. It might be a question of size. Hoguet said she was “exhausted” by the fight for survival that has hit smaller institutions but spared larger ones, such as Florence’s Uffizi which re-opens this week. “Like all small museums, we had troubles before, but the health crisis has been a catastrophe," she said. Bailiffs are even threatening to seize the museum's artefacts from next Monday, numbering 2,500 original pieces — including historic fans made from turtle shell, lace and silk and adorned with diamonds and rubies. Like many of Paris' 130 museums, Hoguet said her institution — which charges just 7 euros entry and is located in the French capital’s popular 10th district — was forced to close for most of 2020 because of government virus restrictions. On top of that, money coming from the workshop’s fan restorations also evaporated because of the tightening of spending during the pandemic. “The aristocratic families who send me their fans to restore all fled to their country homes in lockdown, so I had no more commissions. They wanted to save their money.” She said she would previously have charged between 500 and 600 euros per fan to restore them to their original state using traditional materials, and she used the income from that to pay the rent. Even when the museum briefly re-opened last September, Hoguet had trouble getting the same levels of footfall as before. “Because people were preoccupied with the virus, culture and heritage got forgotten — and dangerously,” she said. Hoguet is the fourth generation in charge of what is Paris’ last original fan-making workshop. She has trained directly or indirectly five young fan-makers, whom she hopes will carry the torch of the storied craft. The making of fans, traditionally with wooden sticks and painted paper leaves, has been considered sacred in many ancient cultures. But in France, its golden age was in the French court of 18th-century Versailles, where women used fan as forms of communication to flirt expertly or to hide modestly behind. The images painted on them would often chronicle the current affairs of the world around them. To this day, they remain part of France's fashion heritage DNA, featuring elaborately in couture collections by Chanel, Dior and Jean Paul Gaultier. Hoguet's father bought the museum’s impressive collection of fans in 1960. It spans the period from the Renaissance to the 20th century, including “advertising” or “illustrated” pieces, as well as vellum, kidskin and feathered fans. She is very much an eccentric of the old school. A staff of one, she has no cohesive fundraising tool set up other than email, but her efforts to rally support since 2019 have been valiant. She says that she has been so failed by French authorities that she now has trouble sleeping. She had rallied the French Culture Ministry and been in talks with Paris City Hall, but it has, she said, made no difference. “What is the point of marking us out as intangible heritage if they will not protect us?” she asked. Paris City Hall did not immediately respond when contacted by AP. “The problem with savoir-faire, is that it can very quickly die," Hoguet said. ___ Adamson reported from Leeds, England Thomas Adamson And Michel Euler, The Associated Press
Le président de la Corporation de développement de l’Étang Burbank, Alain Caron, ne se représentera pas à ce titre. Un nouveau président sera donc choisi lors de la prochaine assemblée générale annuelle le 13 mars 2021 à 10 h. Alain Caron était en poste depuis le mois de novembre 2018. « Je veux faire autre chose, souligne celui qui est également président du CA du Canal Info +. J’ai aussi joint une autre organisation que je ne peux pas nommer pour l’instant. » M. Caron note le festival des oiseaux migrateurs qui se tient sur trois fins de semaine comme apport majeur durant sa gouverne. Il est entre autres l’instigateur des concours de photos. « Ce dont je suis le plus fier, c’est d’avoir un bel exécutif avec des jeunes, mentionne-t-il. Il n’y a pas de chicane. Quand je suis arrivé, on était en chicane avec la Ville, mais on est sorti de ça et on est réconcilié. Je suis vraiment fier de ça et c’est le moment de partir. » En plus du président, trois administrateurs ne reviendront pas : Gaëlle Satre, Élizabeth de Lanauze et Michel Pruneau. Ce dernier a œuvré à titre d’administrateur et de bénévole près d’une quinzaine d’années au profit de la Corporation. « C’est un grand bénévole, explique M. Caron. Il a toujours été là pour l’entretien et c’est grâce à lui que les sentiers sont ouverts l’hiver. » Comme l’assemblée générale se tiendra en virtuel, les personnes intéressées à soumettre leur candidature devront le faire à l’avance. La Corporation rappelle qu’il faut être membre 30 jours avant l’AGA pour mettre sa candidature et pour voter. Les gens ont donc jusqu’au 10 février pour prendre leur carte de membre. Il est possible de le faire au EtangBurbank.com. Bioblitz Malgré la pandémie, la Corporation prépare plusieurs événements pour la saison estivale et l’automne. C’est notamment le cas pour un bioblitz. « Les scientifiques se mélangent avec les gens de la place pour faire un inventaire de tout ce qui est vivant aux alentours, résume Alain Caron. Toutes les plantes, les insectes, les oiseaux, les poissons et les mammifères qui sont à l’étang sont inventoriés. C’est une grande aventure avec les gens de la place. »Simon Roberge, Initiative de journalisme local, La Tribune
As Ontario approaches the end of its fourth week under a province-wide lockdown, epidemiologists say declining new infections prove the measures are working, but they warn we are still far from ready to reopen non-essential businesses, schools, and other heavily restricted activities. Ontario reported 2,655 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. The seven-day average fell to 2,850, marking 10 consecutive days of decreases from a high of 3,555. Ashleigh Tuite, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health, says the declining average is a "positive sign," but only part of the picture officials are looking at when considering the province's next steps. 'Small victories' "I think it's important to look at those numbers and, you know, celebrate the small victories, but also recognize that we're going to be at this for a while longer," Tuite said in an interview. On Wednesday, the province reported 1,598 COVID-19 patients in Ontario hospitals. 395 COVID-19 were admitted to intensive care units and 89 additional deaths were reported, matching a previous record. Tuite and other experts say that those indicators remain far too high to consider easing lockdown measures. Getting to that point will require weeks, not days, of progress. "What we want to see is that every week that goes on, there's a steady decline," Tuite said. "I would say you probably want to see about a 25-per-cent decline week-over-week. When you see that trend, then you can start talking about opening things up again." No magic number Earlier this week, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said easing lockdown restrictions will require reducing new infections to "around or below" 1,000 per day. However, other infectious disease experts tell CBC News reopening won't be such a simple calculation. "There's not necessarily a magic number in terms of number of cases," Tuite said. Dr. Jeff Kwong, a senior scientist and infectious disease specialist at University of Toronto, says 1,000 cases per day is too high to consider lifting restrictions. "I'm not sure where Dr. Williams got a thousand cases per day. I've heard we should be aiming for one [new daily infection] per million people. Ontario has a population of about 15 million people. So that would be 15 cases per day," Kwong said in an interview. "Fifteen and 1,000 is quite a big difference.". Williams also singled out reducing the number of ICU admissions to 150 as another threshold for reopening. On Wednesday, Ontario reported 395 COVID-19 patients in the province's ICUs. As for reopening schools, Kwong says it's a "really tricky call." Keeping them closed may help reduce the spread of COVID-19, but it's harmful to children. Kwong says more time is needed before returning to in-person learning, but in the meantime, he'd like to know what criteria the province is considering for reopening schools. "We haven't identified any targets," he said. Avoiding another lockdown Even if infection, hospitalization and mortality rates can all be reduced to the point of reopening, is it just a matter of time until that very reopening causes them to shoot up again? Pretty much, according to experts. But a vicious lockdown loop can be avoided with proper supports in place to test for, trace and isolate COVID-19 cases. Tuite says rolling out more rapid testing will be key for a safe reopening, as well as ensuring employees have paid leave to stay home while they're sick. Isolation hotels should also be maintained so COVID-19 patients won't infect other people at home. "We have to do everything we can to ensure that once we get case numbers down, they stay down, and we have all of these other supports in place so that we can keep cases at a manageable level," Tuite said.
BEIJING — China on Thursday expressed hope the Biden administration will improve prospects for people of both countries and give a boost to relations after an especially rocky patch, while getting in a few final digs at former Trump officials. “I think after this very difficult and extraordinary time, both the Chinese and American people deserve a better future,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters at a daily briefing. She said China and the U.S. need to relaunch co-operation in a number of areas. She particularly welcomed the new administration’s decision to remain in the World Health Organization and return to the Paris Agreement on climate change. “Many people of insight in the international community are looking forward to the early return of Sino-U.S. relations to the correct track in making due contributions to jointly address the major and urgent challenges facing the world today,” Hua said. She also criticized ex-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other former officials, a day after Beijing imposed travel and business sanctions on 30 of them, including Trump's national security adviser Robert O’Brien and U.N. Ambassador Kelly Craft. “Over the past few years, the Trump administration, especially Pompeo, has buried too many mines in Sino-U.S. relations that need to be eliminated, burned too many bridges that need to be rebuilt and wrecked too many roads that need to be repaired,” Hua said. Hua on Wednesday described Pompeo as a “doomsday clown” and said his designation of China as a perpetrator of genocide and crimes against humanity was merely “a piece of wastepaper.” Hua's markedly more friendly tone Thursday appeared to signal Chinese hopes to cool the rhetoric on both sides and give the relationship a chance to heal over some of the worst divisions. “I think both China and the United States need to show courage, show wisdom, listen to each other, face up to each other and respect each other," Hua said. “I think this is the responsibility of the two major countries of China and the United States, and it is also the expectation of the international community.” Also Thursday, China’s Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai offered his congratulations to Biden on Twitter, which is widely used by the Chinese government despite being blocked in the country. “Congratulations to President Biden on his inauguration! China looks forward to working with the new administration to promote sound & steady development of China-U.S. relations and jointly address global challenges in public health, climate change & growth,” Cui tweeted. Chinese President and Communist Party leader Xi Jinping congratulated Biden on his election but had no immediate comment on Wednesday’s inauguration. While Biden’s administration is expected to seek to put relations with China back on an even keel, he is unlikely to significantly alter U.S. policies on trade, Taiwan, human rights and the South China Sea that have angered Xi’s increasingly assertive government. The Associated Press
Indonesian authorities said on Thursday the search for victims of a plane crash that killed all 62 people on board had been halted, but the hunt would continue for the Sriwijaya Air jet's cockpit voice recorder (CVR). "Search operations have been closed, but we will continue to search for the CVR," said Bagus Puruhito, who heads the country's search and rescue agency. Divers last week retrieved from the seabed the other so-called black box, the flight data recorder, of the 26-year-old Boeing Co 737-500 jet.
Fredericton's City Motel on Regent Street is one step closer to becoming affordable and supportive housing. The City's Planning Advisory Committee approved the project, put forward by the John Howard Society, at Wednesday night's meeting. The plan will see the hotel suites on the third floor of the building converted into 20 affordable, or Housing First, units. The second floor will be converted into 12 peer-supported units, for people who require more help, said Jason LeJeune, the project manager for the proposal. "Peer supported housing would be for people that require a lot of supervision and help and support. There would be two people with lived experience -- the peer supports that live on that floor with the 12 residents -- they're provided salary and free housing to live on-site," LeJeune said. There will also be addiction offices, mental health offices and social work offices on that floor, said LeJeune. The lower floor will initially become a 24-bed emergency homeless shelter. "The long term ambition of the John Howard Society is to continue to monitor the needs of the community in terms of shelter use and convert that over to affordable housing that is unsupported over time," said LeJeune. When the shelter is operational, it's possible it will replace the out of the cold shelter run by the John Howard Society at 332 Brunswick Street, which will then be converted into office space and longer-term housing. The John Howard Society applied for federal funding for the project through the Rapid Housing Initiative. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation has $500 million available for projects such as this across the country. The application deadline was Dec. 31. John Howard should know next month if it was successful. At a previous council meeting the City waived building fees for the project and promised bus passes for tenants.
It's time-out for sports in red zones of New Brunswick. According to the province's red phase of recovery, all organized sports have been cancelled and gyms and fitness centres are closed. For minor hockey players, for example, that means no games, no practices, and no off-ice training, explained Nic Jansen, the executive director of Hockey New Brunswick. And at this point in the season, Jansen said tournaments are probably not going to happen. "Yeah, I think that's certainly a possibility," he said. "In the end, I think it'll be a decision that Public Health makes, but I think that's definitely a possibility." Jansen said Hockey New Brunswick had been waiting on direction from Public Health officials about whether tournaments could resume in yellow. With most of the province now in red, and only a few weeks left in the regular season, it's looking less and less likely, he said. Meanwhile, hockey continues in Zones 5, 6 and 7, under orange restrictions, which means teams can continue to practice together, but there are no games. That's only allowed in the yellow phase. Jansen encourages young players to stay active and do what they can to keep up their skills. "I think if you're fortunate enough to have access to a backyard rink, by all means, get out, use it." In a season that's been unusually mild, backyard rinks and ponds are a little hard to come by, but Jansen said players can continue to work on their skills in their basement or driveway. "And it doesn't have to be hockey. It can be any type of physical activity. Just get outside and play and enjoy the outdoors," he said. Basketball Things have "pretty much shut down everywhere," said Tyler Slipp, Basketball New Brunswick's director of operations. Red restrictions have meant an end to all basketball activity, and those regions still in orange are operating under strict rules that prohibit games and impose physical distancing restrictions on players. So although players in Zones 5, 6 and 7 can continue to practice together, they have to stay two metres apart. Slipp said that means no scrimmages and no defensive drills — leaving a lot of shooting and dribbling practice. He said it's not ideal, especially in a season already hard-hit by COVID restrictions. Since schools haven't allowed outside organizations to use their gyms since the pandemic began, minor basketball leagues across the province had a hard time finding space to run their programs. "I'm still just really sad for all the kids that didn't get a chance to play because of the lack of facilities this year," said Slipp. Last summer, Basketball New Brunswick started working on a project that would help players train on their own through an online program that will launch this Saturday, said Slipp. It was announced less than two weeks ago and 90 young people have already signed up, he said. While it was developed to address the historical short-comings identified in New Brunswick's provincial teams, Slipp said the program can help young players continue to work on their individual skills during the pandemic. He said the Gold Medal Performance Program includes strength and conditioning, nutrition, and sports psychology. Soccer While normally thought of as a warmer-weather sport, soccer continues year-round for many elite players, said Younes Bouida, the executive director of Soccer New Brunswick. But for those in red zones, winter soccer has come to an end. Bouida said many of the elite programs have switched to online tools to keep teams connected and give players at-home programs to stay active and work on their skills. Those in orange zones, meanwhile, continue to be able to practice together, although they have to stay two metres away from each other, which is definitely better than the options available to teams in red zones, said Bouida. School sports and activities All school sports, including intramural sports, are cancelled in red zones. So, too, are all after-school clubs and activities. "Masks are required to be worn during physical education and only activities that are conducive to physical distancing, such as yoga, dancing and moderate walking, are permitted in high school and strongly recommended for K-8 students," explained Education Department spokesperson Tara Chislett in an email Wednesday afternoon. What orange will bring Under the orange phase of recovery, teams are permitted to practice as a group, but the activities are limited to "skills and drills." Scrimmages are prohibited and players are expected to stay two metres apart at all times. Gym, fitness facilities, and yoga studios may operate under a COVID-19 operational plan with additional public health measures, including: Two metres of physical distancing, with masks, in low-intensity fitness classes such as yoga, tai chi, and stretching; and three metres of physical distancing for high-intensity activities such as spin, aerobics and boot camp. active screening and record keeping of patrons. closed locker rooms/common areas. Yellow Sports teams can continue to play, following their operational plan, and tournaments or larger events may be permitted, subject to the approval of a plan. For most teams in yellow, it was business-almost-as-usual, but with added COVID precautions like screening and proper hand hygiene. Red The only activity encouraged in the public health messages is "Exercising alone or with persons in your bubble." Maritime Junior Hockey League On Monday, the Maritime Junior Hockey League announced that seven games would be postponed as a result of Zone 4 going into the red phase of recovery. In a press release, the league said the postponed games would affect the Edmundston Blizzard and Grand Falls Rapids. No further releases have been issued since Zones 1, 2 and 3 went red, but the league's director of communications James Faulkner confirmed by email Wednesday that teams in the orange zones can continue to practice together. All activity has stopped for those in red, said Faulkner. National Basketball League of Canada The National Basketball League of Canada announced in November that it would postpone its season. According to the league's website, the tentative start date is now March 12. Quebec Major Junior Hockey League The league announced Monday that it would postpone regular season games "following meetings with government and Public Health officials of the three provinces of the Maritimes Division." Those in red zones, however, will not be allowed to practice together.
A Kelowna man who lied about his qualifications as a social worker is facing a new proposed class-action lawsuit for allegedly failing to inform a former client about the existence of a program designed to help young adults age out of the foster care system. In a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court earlier this week, Zachary Alphonse claims Robert Riley Saunders and a colleague at the Ministry of Children and Family Development were required to tell him about the Young Adults Program when he turned 19. Instead, Alphonse, who is now 29, claims he only learned about the program's existence when the ministry contacted him last summer. But by then, he was too old to collect benefits that could have provided him with up to 48 months of financial support a decade earlier. "If [Alphonse] had been informed of the existence of and his eligibility for the Young Adults Program and had been provided with assistance in applying for the program, [he] would have started his adult education and advanced his work goals at a better pace," the lawsuit reads. 'Kind of languished aimlessly' Saunders has already been the subject of one successful class action, filed on behalf of dozens of former foster children who accused him of isolating them in order to siphon funds meant for their care into his own pocket. Last summer, the ministry agreed to a multimillion dollar settlement that will see at least 102 former foster children, the majority of them Indigenous, collect thousands of dollars intended to cover both their financial loss and trauma they suffered as a result of Saunders' actions. According to court documents filed in relation to the settled claim, Saunders faked a social work degree. The Kelowna man is also facing multiple criminal charges of fraud and breach of trust for the same alleged behaviour. Jason Gratl, the lawyer who represented the first group of claimants, also represents Alphonse. He says the target of the latest lawsuit is primarily the government. "It turns out the Ministry of Children and Family Development hasn't been telling children about the existence of this adult education program at or near the time they age out, so lots of foster children are falling between the cracks," Gratl told the CBC. "Not knowing about the program, they kind of languished aimlessly." 'Thousands of former children' Alphonse claims he became homeless after turning 19 in August 2010. At that point, he says he had only completed Grade 9 and lacked the resources to work on a graduate equivalency degree. "For a period of approximately one year, [he] could see no future for himself, felt hopeless and unable to advance his interests," the lawsuit reads. Alphonse claims he began working part-time jobs but was held back by his lack of education. He says he got a technical certification in computer repair at age 27, while working full time. He now needs only three courses to complete his Grade 12 equivalency in order to graduate from high school. "We do know there are thousands of former children in care who did not enter the adult education program to which they were entitled, but we don't know exactly the proportion of those who weren't notified of the existence of the program," Gratl says. "But the general idea of the class action is to encourage the Province of British Columbia by means of a court order to restart the clock on those benefits." Alphonse is seeking damages which include the cost of future education as well as aggravated and punitive damages. The ministry has not filed a response to the lawsuit and neither has Saunders.
Like 8,000 flying trapeze artists passing in midair, the Biden and Trump administrations swapped out senior leadership of the federal government on the fly as Joe Biden was inaugurated as the nation's 46th president. Biden announced the dozens of career civil servants who would be leading federal agencies, pending Senate approval of his permanent nominees. Acting heads of Cabinet agencies raised their right hands Wednesday afternoon for oaths of office. Emails went out briefing federal employees on just which career employee would be serving as their acting boss. It’s a painstakingly executed exchange of Cabinet agency senior staffing with inherent risk of bad goof-ups in the best of years, former agency officials and scholars of the federal bureaucracy say. And this year, when Biden’s administration was starting work amid fears that President Donald Trump’s followers would launch more attacks like the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, had added challenges. “Day One is always going to be the riskiest” when it comes to uncertainty about who's in charge, or the new people missing news of some critical event during an agency transition, said Paul C. Light, a professor of public service at New York University. One example, he said, would be scientists in the ranks learning of some vital development in the spread of the coronavirus pandemic or development of vaccines. “As sure as we’re talking here, these things happen,” Light said. “It’s a very dense hierarchy and there are no alarm bells." There was no immediate word of any trouble Wednesday in the first hours of the change in leadership. Biden supporters earlier had accused Trump security agencies of failing to share vital information in the weeks leading up to the handoff. Trump’s false insistence that he, not Biden, won the presidential election raised the level of worries over Wednesday’s transition. U.S. officials this month made a point of specifying in advance who would be the acting head of the Defence Department at 12:01 p.m. Wednesday, the minute after Biden became president. Deputy Defence Secretary David Norquist became acting head of the Defence Department between the resignation of Trump appointee Christopher C. Miller and Senate confirmation of Biden’s nominee to replace him, retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin. Across Cabinet-level agencies, most political appointees of the old administration turned in resignations by Inauguration Day, following tradition. Before leaving office, Trump had tweaked the orders of succession at some agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, in ways that changed which career staffer was in charge when all the political appointees go away. Environmental advocates and other opponents of the Trump administration, and scholars of government, expressed suspicion of some of Trump’s succession changes in his last weeks, fearing he might plant loyalists as acting heads to make trouble for Biden. But Barack Obama’s White House and others before him in their finals weeks also made adjustments to who’s left in charge in agencies, said Anne Joseph O’Connell, a Stanford Law School professor and expert in government process. That's usually “not because of party preferences but to help with good governance,” O’Connell said. “To the extent you care about government, you care about transition.” However, with Trump’s reluctance after Election Day to yield power, “you could see why many would question the need for changes to succession now,” she added. In any case, federal law on vacancies gives incoming presidents wide choice in picking their own acting agency heads from among employees, regardless of succession plans. Biden by Wednesday afternoon announced his own selections of acting agency heads, from the State Department to the Social Security Administration to the National Endowment for the Arts. “My expectation is that the incoming Biden administration will be relying very heavily on the vacancies act to staff their administration until their nominations are confirmed,” O’Connell said. Another Trump-era complication for this election cycle's power swap: Trump added more layers and senior staffers to federal government, Light said. Researchers have crunched the federal government’s annual directory of executive-level Cabinet staffers — the associates to the chiefs of staff, the deputies to the deputies — each year since the Kennedy administration. There were 451 of them, then. There were 3,265 of those senior Cabinet employees when Obama left town — and 4,886 at last count under Trump, Light said, in research that Brookings published in October. The thicker bureaucracy adds to the risk of vital communications not making it up to new leaders, Light said. The rule for any acting heads remaining from past administrations is simple, Light said: Do no harm. The understanding over the years is “acting appointees are not going to do anything significant” without warning, he said. “We just cross our fingers and hope that people will behave.” Ellen Knickmeyer, The Associated Press
If there was proof that the snowstorm slamming into eastern Newfoundland was serious, it came Thursday afternoon when the Avalon Mall announced it was shutting down. As the first flurries fell in the St. John's area just after noon Thursday, schools and other facilities in the St. John's area began closing ahead of the incoming storm that would blast the Avalon and Bonavista peninsulas. Both regions remain under a winter storm warning, with 20 to 35 centimetres expected by Friday morning. As of 6:30 p.m., Environment Canada meteorologist Rodney Barney reported 15 centimetres at St. John's International Airport. Some backyard observations from residents — and CBC's Ashley Brauweiler — marked higher totals. The Department of Transportation said on Twitter after 6 p.m. that it took plows off the Witless Bay Line and Route 100, among other Avalon highways, due to whiteout conditions and over concerns about the safety of plow operators. A number of travel warnings are in effect for highways throughout the region as of Thursday evening. The Department of Public Safety has asked all residents to remain indoors where possible and avoid unnecessary travel. Rash of closures The storm prompted all St. John's area schools in the English school district to dismiss their students at least three hours before regular dismissal Thursday, with a decision on Friday's classes to be made at 6 a.m. the following morning. In the French school district, Ecole Rocher-du-Nord closed at noon. The City of St. John's closed its facilities at 2 p.m. ahead of the snow storm. Memorial University closed its St. John's campus buildings at noon. The College of the North Atlantic also closed its St. John's campuses and its Placentia campus. Metrobus halted service as of 5 p.m. Thursday due to the forecast. The Avalon Mall closed its doors at 3:30 p.m., adding it will provide an update Friday morning on whether or not the building will be open. Liquor stores in St. John's, Mount Pearl, Paradise, Conception Bay South, Bay Roberts, Carbonear and Placentia shut their doors at 5 p.m. Plows will be clearing major arteries throughout the night, said City of St. John's Coun. Sandy Hickman. Other streets will be cleared tomorrow as the snow tapers off, he said, adding crews and equipment were well prepared. "We are ready to roll with the full complement," he said. The city is also bringing in a 24-hour parking restriction as of 6 p.m. Thursday evening, outside of downtown and the business district. Hickman said the restriction will continue through Friday, and the city added it won't know when the restriction will be lifted until public works makes the decision. The reasoning is to allow easy and effective snow removal for equipment operators. Vehicles parked on roads during this time may be ticketed or towed, the city said, and an update will be issued when restriction is over. As for sidewalks, Hickman said new equipment with "drop spreaders" for sand and salt will continue to make way for pedestrians. "I think people will see an improvement," he said. "It won't be, likely, a small snowfall, so it will take a little longer of course." Winds are expected to gust up around 80 km/h, and in some places, like Cape Race, top 100 km/h, creating poor visibility. "It will be blizzard-like visibilities this evening and into the overnight periods, but the storm's moving through fairly quickly, so it's not going to be a long-lasting event," said Environment Canada Meteorologist Dale Foote. The storm marks the first major winter weather event for the St. John's area, with Foote calling the storm was a proper nor'easter, "a typical January storm that we'd expect in a normal year." A special weather statement is in effect for a swath of the northeast coast, central Newfoundland and Northern Peninsula, which could see between 10 to 15 centimetres of snow. On the Avalon, Boudreau said, the storm's winds and snow will ease slightly but continue overnight, but the snow should taper off by Friday morning, with gusts continuing until noon. A second weather system anticipated for Saturday probably won't materialize, as it's tracking east of Newfoundland at the moment, the meteorologists said. "If that works out, Saturday should be a nice day for the entire island," said Foote. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Toronto police are warning the public as they investigate a report of a man trying to enter a woman’s apartment while threatening her. Toronto Police Service issued an alert Thursday morning about the incident reported Wednesday in the city’s west end. The male suspect allegedly entered an apartment building and tried to open an apartment door. When a woman started to open her door, police say the man tried to force his way inside and threatened to sexually assault her. The woman shut the door and phoned 911, while the man ran away. Police describe suspect as in his 30s with a medium build and black moustache, wearing a navy blue toque, a black and white checkered scarf and a brown leather jacket. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
Timmins' Indigenous Advisory Committee is moving ahead with taking Indigenous relations training. At the virtual committee meeting Wednesday, members voted in favour of taking training offered by Bob Joseph, the author of 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act and the founder of Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. The committee’s interim chair Kristin Murray said it’s more of a self-guided training that can be entered in groups of up to 30 people and that can be completed at an individual pace. The previously suggested training, The San’yas: Indigenous Cultural Safety (ICS) Training Program, was off the table because some elements of the training weren’t always offered, Murray said. “Not all of our staff could jump on board and get that training at once, which was the downside,” said Murray. During the committee’s last meeting in December, members agreed to take a training program before deciding whether they want to recommend the training for city employees. “There’s racism in the city. Even before we do all this training ourselves, we have to try get out there and try to educate the public,” committee member Irene Camillo said during Wednesday’s meeting. Stacey Vincent Cress of Waubetek Business Development Corporation, who attended the meeting as a guest, said taking online training shouldn’t be “a tick box exercise”. “Something is better than nothing," he said. "However, if we’re going to have some Indigenous awareness and competency training … if you’re going to train 500 members of the community plus the committee, plus the general population, you need to be able to sit and speak with some people on some of the issues that you can’t get from a computer program.” Murray noted the discussions about taking the training have been going on for two years, and there has also been a discussion about taking localized training. “But that’s going to take time. By the time we put these things together, it will be years, it will be after our term as a committee,” she said. “Some of these training opportunities are not click-through, you have to be able to engage.” If approved by council, this will be the first cultural awareness training for city employees since the Ontario Human Rights Commission's visit to Timmins in 2018. Murray said the hope would be to have the members complete the training by the next committee meeting in March. Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com
Angelo Caloia's lawyer and son were also found guilty and handed prison sentences.View on euronews
Turkey and the European Union have started the year positively and steps to restart talks with Greece over hydrocarbons in the Mediterranean are welcome, but the EU remains concerned about human rights, the bloc's top envoy said on Thursday. "We have seen an improvement in the overall atmosphere ... we strongly wish to see a sustainable de-escalation in the eastern Mediterranean," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters alongside Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu before their meeting. "We remain concerned about the (human rights) situation in Turkey," Borrell said.
In preparing for her first election run, Kristina Ennis never expected what would be called into question during her first days of door knocking. At least a couple of times a day, her age has been brought up at the door, Ennis, the Progressive Conservative candidate for St. John's West, told CBC News. "Comments around, even straight up asking, 'How old are you? Are you old enough to be running in this election?'" said Ennis. Ennis — who, for the record, is 30 — said she tries her best to brush off such remarks and focus on her skills, like a near-decade of experience in the oil and gas sector. But the comments on her appearance nag at her at night, especially so after talking to male counterparts to find none of them had similar experiences. "I don't think my age has anything to do with my credibility. And when I get questions like that, I feel as if my credibility and my skills and my qualifications are being called into question simply because I am a female in politics," she said. Ennis's experience hasn't been an aberration since Newfoundland and Labrador's general election was called Friday evening. Female candidates have been sharing encounters of sexism and misogyny, from casual comments to online trolling, that aren't limited to political newcomers. "I've had some harassing behaviour against me. I'm seeing that on the campaign trail. In the third day. So it's a bit of an interesting experience," said Sarah Stoodley, the Liberal incumbent candidate in the midst of her second campaign for Mt. Scio's seat. Most of the comments come via email, Stoodley said, continuing a trolling trend she saw when she was an MHA. One tactic? Don't engage much with the senders, she said. "They're not really interested in having a conversation, like around policy." Still, the emails have prompted her team to ensure Stoodley never enters or leaves her campaign office unaccompanied, she said, with even some women on her team — unelected employees or volunteers — having been targets. Alison Coffin, running for the NDP in St. John's East-Quidi Vidi in her third election, credits her campaign team for insulating her from the nastiest online snipes. But despite trying to abide by what should be the internet's golden rule — don't read the comments — sexism seeps through. "I certainly have had lots and lots of comments about how I look, what my hair is like. And people don't talk to you about your message — they say, 'Well, oh, that outfit didn't quite fit right,'" said Coffin, who is also the party's leader. Even for a seasoned politician, Coffin said, such jabs can be setbacks, and she knows it keeps others with political aspirations on the sidelines. "That's a real unfortunate barrier for a lot of women. A lot of people don't appreciate that type of criticism, and it really is a deterrent to bring good, strong women candidates who are smart and have good ideas," she said. A non-partisan push Despite their political differences Ennis, Coffin and Stoodley share an uncommon unity in this campaign in the face of discrimination. And they're not the only ones. "Females from all parties are coming together to support one another, and I really love that spirit of teamwork. I'm really big on teamwork as it is, and I think a collaborative approach to problem-solving is what's best in most situations," Ennis said. There's weight to that energy. The nomination deadline for candidates is Saturday, but so far, percentage-wise, there are more women running in the 2021 election than ever before at 33 per cent, or 37 out of the 112 candidates declared as of Wednesday. Female candidates are contributing uplifting songs to a non-partisan playlist to help power them through any campaign trail problems — Ennis's pick is Grown Woman by Beyoncé — and giving advice; Stoodley recommends brushing off negative comments, while Coffin said it helps to shut off social media. To effect larger change, Ennis said education is key. She credits Equal Voice NL — the provincial chapter of the Canada-wide non-profit that promotes women in office — as raising the issue's profile. On a personal level, a tool she's used in the past has been to make people aware of unconscious bias, and she hopes this campaign incorporates that tactic. "A lot of people don't necessarily realize how their words hurt and impact another person. And I think the campaign happening right now, and the number of comments women are getting, I think it's important that … that the awareness can get out there, that this is inappropriate, and this is why it's inappropriate, so that people hopefully understand and this attitude stops," she said. The 'old boys' club' — in 2021 It's a big ask, and bigger than a month-long campaign, where addressing sexist comments takes time away from the issues and policies the politicians are trying to discuss. Gender parity among all parties remains elusive, and prior to the election, only 22.5 per cent of MHAs were women. Coffin said sexism continues to dog and deter female candidates in part because it isn't getting fully addressed within the larger political sphere. "I certainly see that in the House of Assembly, that semblance of that old boys' club is still there. It's a lot of token words about women's issues, but it doesn't seem to be a real fulsome understanding," she said. Case in point: in October, Lisa Dempster, a Liberal cabinet minister at the time, was called "a schoolgirl" by Opposition MHA Barry Petten, who later apologized for those remarks. For progress to be made, Coffin said, sexism needs to be called out wherever it's seen. "We need to address it directly and it needs to be embodied by all politicians," she said. For her part, Stoodley is working to embody change. Being visible, she said, is key, and her past months in politics show that commitment. She was sworn in as a cabinet minister in her third trimester in August, with her pregnancy bringing about Confederation Building changes from adding change tables in washrooms to permitting babies on the legislature's floor. In less high-profile work, Stoodley said she has tried to give political tours and, in pandemic times, Zoomed with schoolchildren to talk about what being an MHA is like. "If they see themselves as that, hopefully they can aspire to be that," Stoodley said. Stoodley notes female candidates often are able to fundraise less than male counterparts — a CBC/Radio Canada investigation found an average gap between genders of about $5,000 in the last federal election — and she hopes there's room for further, systemic electoral change. "In terms of the system we're working in, where we run and we're candidates and we have parties, can we tweak the system to help encourage more women to run, so that we move closer to the 50/50 split that reflects the general population?" she said. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
GENEVA — The United States will resume funding for the World Health Organization and join its consortium aimed at sharing coronavirus vaccines fairly around the globe, President Joe Biden’s top adviser on the pandemic said Thursday, renewing support for an agency that the Trump administration had pulled back from. Dr. Anthony Fauci’s quick commitment to the WHO — whose response to the pandemic has been criticized by many, but most vociferously by the Trump administration — marks a dramatic and vocal shift toward a more co-operative approach to fighting the pandemic. “I am honoured to announce that the United States will remain a member of the World Health Organization,” Fauci told a virtual meeting of the WHO from the United States, where it was 4:10 a.m. in Washington. It was the first public statement by a member of Biden’s administration to an international audience — and a sign of the priority that the new president has made of fighting COVID-19 both at home and with world partners. Just hours after Biden’s inauguration Wednesday, he wrote a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres saying the U.S. had reversed the planned pullout from the WHO that was expected to take effect in July. The withdrawal from the WHO was rich with symbolism — another instance of America's go-it-alone strategy under Trump. But it also had practical ramifications: The U.S. halted funding for the U.N. health agency — stripping it of cash from the country that has long been its biggest donor just as the agency was battling the health crisis that has killed more than 2 million people worldwide. The U.S. had also pulled back staff from the organization. Fauci said the Biden administration will resume “regular engagement” with WHO and will “fulfil its financial obligations to the organization.” The WHO chief and others jumped in to welcome the U.S. announcements. “This is a good day for WHO and a good day for global health,” Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “The role of the United States, its role, global role is very, very crucial.” The two men hinted at a warm relationship between them, with Fauci calling Tedros his “dear friend” and Tedros referring to Fauci as “my brother Tony.” John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called it “great news” in an email. “The world has always been a better place when the U.S. plays a leadership role in solving global health problems including the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria, polio and other diseases,” he said. Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke wrote on Facebook: “This is going to have a huge impact on the world’s ability to fight the pandemic. It is decisive that the United States is involved as a driving force and not a country that is looking for the exit when a global catastrophe rages.” Fauci also said Biden will issue a directive Thursday that shows the United States’ intent to join the COVAX Facility, a project to deploy COVID-19 vaccines to people in need around the world — whether in rich or poor countries. Under Trump, the U.S. had been the highest-profile — and most deep-pocketed — holdout from the COVAX Facility, which has struggled to meet its goals of distributing millions of vaccines both because of financial and logistic difficulties. WHO and leaders in many developing countries have repeatedly expressed concerns that poorer places could be the last to get COVID-19 vaccines, while noting that leaving vast swaths of the global population unvaccinated puts everyone at risk. While vowing U.S. support, Fauci also pointed to some key challenges facing WHO. He said the U.S. was committed to “transparency, including those events surrounding the early days of the pandemic.” One of the Trump administration’s biggest criticisms was that the WHO reacted too slowly to the outbreak in Wuhan, China, and was too accepting of and too effusive about the Chinese government’s response to it. Others have also shared those criticisms — but public health experts and many countries have argued that, while the organization needs reform, it remains vital. Referring to a WHO-led probe looking for the origins of the coronavirus by a team that is currently in China, Fauci said: “The international investigation should be robust and clear, and we look forward to evaluating it.” He said the U.S. would work with WHO and partner countries to “strengthen and reform” the agency, without providing specifics. ___ Associated Press writers Cara Anna in Nairobi, Kenya, and Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report. Jamey Keaten, The Associated Press
B.C. is seeing a rise in radicalization and extremist views spurred by COVID-19 and an increasingly tense political atmosphere, experts say. White nationalism and extreme-right and incel ideologies are of particular concern, says Garth Davies, an associate professor of criminology at Simon Fraser University. He says B.C. is not immune to the kind of radicalization that has led to violence like the riot at the U.S. Capitol. "I worry about exactly what they worry about down in the States," Davies said. "For us to believe we don't have the same problems, we are incorrect. We have right-wing extremists up here, we have incel extremists up here. And we've seen upticks in that during the COVID pandemic." Davies is an executive board member with Shift, a B.C. risk-reduction and violence prevention program that seeks to provide support to those at risk of radicalization. He says the pandemic has created a perfect storm for radicalization: people are spending more time online while facing mental, physical and financial difficulties. They're searching for ways to cope and feel connected to others and finding a barrage of misinformation online, like QAnon, anti-mask and anti-vaccine conspiracy theories. "People are afraid, they're scared, they're nervous," he said. "Originally, they were out there looking for information. Now they're looking for explanations." New research from Canada's Department of National Defence suggests the longer the pandemic continues, the stronger right-wing extremism and other threats are likely to become. The federal Liberal government has identified the rise of right-wing extremism and hate as a major threat to Canada. There are at least 130 active far-right extremist groups in Canada, a 30 per cent increase since 2015, according to Barbara Perry, director of the Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism at Ontario Tech University. Social media playing on people's vulnerabilities Former white supremacist Tony McAleer says an alienated sense of self made him susceptible to radicalization. The B.C. man and his racist former allies at one point fought for the West Coast to be a whites-only enclave. He is now an author and co-founder of Life After Hate, an organization focused on helping people abandon far-right extremist views. He says a person's vulnerabilities can lead them to intertwine ideology with identity. "When I came across the skinheads and later these neo-Nazi groups, I got acceptance when I felt unlovable, I got power when I felt powerless, and I got attention when I felt invisible. And with these things lacking in my life, it sure felt fantastic," he said. McAleer left the white supremacist movement in the late 1990s, but says social media in the 21st century is being used in the same ways that drew him toward hatred: playing on people's fears and insecurities to weave a false narrative, and whipping up feelings of loss and aggrievement in the face of a changing, more inclusive society. "Things like ... diversity and inclusion get spun into, 'you're being excluded, you're losing a place at university to someone who's more diverse than you ... somebody is taking your jobs," he said. Increase in hate crimes during pandemic Cpl. Anthony Statham, who works with the B.C. RCMP's hate crimes unit, says there has been a "significant" increase in such crimes since the pandemic began. When it comes to online radicalization, he says police cannot act unless the material meets the threshold for a criminal investigation, otherwise they could be violating a person's right to free speech. Asked whether this means police have to wait for violence to happen before acting on hate speech, he was not specific on what exactly would compel police to act. He said it's a "legally complex" area, with radicalization being legally "impossible to define," but they can act if someone's words show a clear threat to public safety. "We can't go scanning the Internet and looking for things that we think are offensive ... we're potentially inhibiting people's charter rights," he said. "If something is very obviously violent, we can conduct an investigation into that simultaneous with [a social media] platform taking some kind of action." Kasari Govendor, B.C.'s human rights commissioner, says there are no laws in B.C. or Canada that deal with hate speech in a human rights context, and there is no "easy fix" when it comes to extremism. She says British Columbians can play a personal role in reducing violence by acknowledging Canada is not immune to racism and by looking inward. "When we see the impacts of these stereotypes, we have an obligation to ask ourselves what biases do we hold and how can we become actively anti-racist," she said. Censorship not the answer Both Davies and McAleer say social media censorship is not necessarily the solution to getting a handle on extremism in Canada. McAleer says pushing misinformation off Facebook or Twitter doesn't make radicalized ideas go away — instead, they'll find their way to smaller platforms with less moderation. They also say telling people their views are wrong can make them lean further into extremist beliefs. Davies believes the problem of extremism will get worse before it gets better, and it will take "years of conversation" to re-establish basic ideas of what constitutes truth, fact, and validity. "As long as the really harsh political divides are going on … this conversation isn't going to get any better. Because right now, we're not talking to each other. We're talking past each other," he said.
Birdtail Sioux First Nation and the Ojibway First Nation have both seen COVID-19 vaccine roll out in their communities this week. Elders in both communities are at the top of the list. But Birdtail Chief Ken Chalmers did say vaccine fear is real. He said at least one person is waiting to see how it works out for others. "But we’re campaigning to get that done," he said, but that vaccine wasn’t wasted as someone further down the list, according to age, took it. Social media, Chalmers said, is the main root of vaccine fear. Chalmers said the community has had a few scares. "We had one case that we isolated. We’re back down to zero," he said, adding the person had travelled to a hospital and that’s likely where the virus was contracted. Everyone in contact with that person was isolated. All tests came back negative and that person is now doing well. Keeseekoowenin Chief Norman Bone said, so far, his community hasn’t seen a case. "We’ve been fortunate to not have any cases, here," Bone said. "We’ve done fairly well since last spring." Bone said the community is observing the fundamentals, as dictated by provincial public health officials — and leadership has communicated those to community members. "We’ve tried to make all the people aware to take all the precautions, in terms of self-isolation, wearing masks, shopping for essentials only," he said. "Whatever it is we’ve done, is working for us." While Birdtail has barriers blocking visitors from entering the community, such is not the case at Keeseekoowenin, due to the community having multiple entry points. Bone has previously said it is simply not possible to blockade the community. At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Indigenous Services Canada associate deputy minister Valerie Gideon said the highest funding requests her department received are for perimeter security. "For communities to be able to try and control that to-and-from traffic into community. We’re close to 350 communities that have closed their borders to non-essential travel, and are really maintaining their resolve in order to protect their community members," she said. However, Chalmers wonders which communities received those funds because he does not have certainty that his community will see reimbursement for roadblocks. While Gideon said those measures are critical, Chalmers said he’s getting mixed messages on that matter, and so far the First Nation is using its own dollars. "We got zero," Chalmers said. "Security costs $90,000 a month. And they won’t tell us who got that money." Chalmers references Shamattawa First Nation, which required an emergency response, which likely cost the federal government millions of dollars. He acknowledges Northern reserves are getting hit hard, but he’s also very concerned about protecting his own reserve. The feds, said Chalmers, told Birdtail is in a low-risk area. But due to the same reasons any reserve is vulnerable, so is Birdtail. "That was a surprise to me. The whole province is in code red," he said. Food security is an issue, and both Chalmers and Bone said that’s being handled. Birdtail has its own store, and is providing vouchers for those who need them. At Keeseekoowenin, fishing and hunting continues to provide additional support. "Last year, we started fishing, doing our own process of getting food to the people that would need. We’re still doing that," Bone said. The community also benefitted from the Fisher River Cree Nation receiving $11 million from the Surplus Food Rescue Program to rescue up to 2.9 million pounds of freshwater fish, which was distributed to more than 75 Indigenous communities throughout Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the North. "We took part in that and we’re still distributing some of that fish," Bone said. The area sees mostly deer, and hunting parties have been out to add that to the community’s food source. "The guys have been going out and providing some of that as a food source for some of the people that require it here in the community," Bone said. "Some of the stuff we’d been doing before. We also making sure potatoes and some basic stuff … We’ve been doing some of this stuff over the years, already. We just carried on with that." But Bone added distribution was increased over previous years. School children are also being protected, as both communities have been going the remote learning route. Bone said that has been working well for Keeseekoowenin. What’s hardest for on-reserve members? Funerals. Gathering to grieve and celebrate the life of a loved one is impossible in these times. Public health orders have limited these gatherings. A funeral may have been the site of some viral spread at Sioux Valley Dakota Nation — the community put out a notice that anyone who attended a particular funeral, and showed signs of symptoms, should get tested. Chief Jennifer Bone did not return a call from The Brandon Sun. Chalmers plans to organize a memorial for all those the community has lost during these many long pandemic months. For now, he just wants to keep all children and elders safe to the fall of 2021. As for Bone, he’s just grateful things have worked out the way they have for his community so far. Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun