The new, more infectious strain of COVID-19 has spread to Canada, where scientists are racing to track its path. Ross Lord explains.
The new, more infectious strain of COVID-19 has spread to Canada, where scientists are racing to track its path. Ross Lord explains.
There was no distribution plan for the coronavirus vaccine set up by the Trump administration as the virus raged in its last months in office, new President Joe Biden's chief of staff, Ron Klain, said on Sunday. "The process to distribute the vaccine, particularly outside of nursing homes and hospitals out into the community as a whole, did not really exist when we came into the White House," Klain said on NBC's "Meet the Press." Biden, a Democrat who took over from Republican President Donald Trump on Wednesday, has promised a fierce fight against the pandemic that killed 400,000 people in the United States under Trump’s watch.
Guyana said late on Saturday that a Venezuelan navy vessel detained two vessels that were fishing in Guyana's exclusive economic zone, the latest dispute in a long-running border conflict between the two South American nations. Caracas says much of eastern Guyana is its own territory, a claim that is rejected by Georgetown. The conflict has flared up in recent years as Guyana has started developing oil reserves near the disputed area.
ATLANTA — Six months after his death, the late civil rights leader and longtime Georgia congressman John Lewis will retain a palpable influence in Congress: The state’s two new Democratic U.S. senators — both personal friends and admirers — promise to carry on his legacy. Sen. Raphael Warnock was Lewis’ pastor and stood at his bedside before Lewis died. Sen. Jon Ossoff, the Senate’s youngest current member, served as an intern in Lewis’ Washington office years ago. Both were sworn into office Wednesday. Their victories have already brought about significant change. Warnock is Georgia’s first Black senator, and Ossoff is the first Jewish senator from the state. Together, their election victories swung control of the Senate to Democrats. Stacey Abrams, a Democrat who narrowly lost the nationally watched race for Georgia governor in 2018, said in a statement to The Associated Press that Warnock and Ossoff represent Lewis’ legacy in the Senate “as champions of civil rights, human rights and voting rights." “Congressman Lewis is irreplaceable,” Abrams wrote. "However, Georgians gave America the opportunity to pass sweeping reforms that will strengthen our democracy and commemorate his fight for all.” Both of the newly minted senators have pledged to pursue legislation to expand and protect voting rights, a cause that Lewis championed for most of his life. Democrats and their supporters are hopeful that their newfound control of the White House and Congress could mean voting protections previously stalled by a GOP-led Senate could receive quick passage. Chief among those is a bill passed by the House in 2019 that has since been renamed after Lewis. It seeks to restore portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013. The ruling in Shelby County v. Holder ended a requirement that jurisdictions with a history of discriminatory voting practices receive preclearance from the federal government for any changes to voting procedures. Democrats and voting rights groups argue that the ruling has led to a cascade of changes in many states that have disenfranchised voters, including polling place closures. In a news conference Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi identified the legislation as a top priority and said she was optimistic about its prospects. That said, the Senate could have its hands full with the impending impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, as well as consideration of appointments by President Joe Biden and his early legislative proposals, including a $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan. Lewis died in July at the age of 80 after battling pancreatic cancer. He served in the House for 33 years representing Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, which includes most of Atlanta. Lewis became a key player in the civil rights movement as a young man in the 1960s. He helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, was among the original Freedom Riders who challenged segregated bus terminals in the South, and was the youngest person to speak at the March on Washington in 1963. Most associated with the pursuit to secure and protect voting rights, Lewis led protesters in the 1965 Bloody Sunday march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where he had his skull fractured by police, and was a driving force behind voting rights laws in the U.S. for decades. Lewis was a parishioner of Warnock's for years at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached and Warnock remains pastor. Warnock was called to Lewis' bedside days before his death and presided over his funeral service. “Today the world lost a giant. I lost a mentor, a church member and a friend," Warnock said in a tweet shortly after Lewis' death. “In his youth, John Lewis wrestled with a call to ministry. But instead of preaching sermons, he became a sermon for all the world to see.” Ossoff first met Lewis when, as a teenager, he was inspired by Lewis' book “Walking With the Wind” and wrote him a letter. “I was so inspired by how a person so young had taken a leadership role in the pursuit of justice and confronting the abuse of power, and was just in awe of his life,” Ossoff said in an interview with The Associated Press in December. Lewis wrote back and invited Ossoff to come work in his office for a few months, spawning a yearslong relationship between the two. Lewis' early endorsement of Ossoff helped him defeat a challenger with far more experience in elected office to clinch the Democratic nomination for Senate. Warnock and Ossoff defeated Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who both ran on fealty to Trump, in a runoff election on Jan. 5. They are the first Democrats to win a U.S. Senate election in Georgia since 2000. On the night of the election, as the Democrats’ leads became clear, members of Congress who worked alongside Lewis paid tribute to the late congressman, saying he laid the groundwork for the victories. “My friend John Lewis planted the foundation of this Georgia over his career,” Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey said in a tweet. “I wish he were here tonight to watch this.” Ben Nadler, The Associated Press
TORONTO — The patient, when he came into the hospital ER with what seemed to be mild pneumonia, wasn't that sick and might otherwise have been sent home. Except the man had just returned from China, where a new viral disease was spreading like a brush fire. His chest X-rays were also unusual. "We'd never seen a case like this before," says Dr. Jerome Leis. "I'd never seen an X-ray quite like that one." It was the evening of Jan. 23, 2020, when the team at Toronto's Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre decided to admit the 56-year-old patient. That same day, Canada's chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, told the country: "The risk of an outbreak in Canada remains low," Tam said in a refrain she and other officials would repeat for weeks on end. Less than two days after admission to Sunnybrook, the man would become "Patient Zero" — the first COVID-19 case in Canada. For several weeks, Leis, the hospital's medical director of infection prevention and control, had been anticipating just such a moment. He had known since the end of December about the outbreak in Wuhan, China, and he'd been following Chinese authorities as they published information about the new pathogen and its effects. Drawing on lessons learned from the SARS epidemic years earlier, Sunnybrook's screening staff were already asking new specific questions of incoming patients. Protocols were sharpened. Just that morning, in fact, internal-medicine residents and faculty had done a refresher around protective gear. "We were extremely suspicious that this was the novel coronavirus that had been described," Leis says. "It does feel like a lifetime ago and yet it does just seem like yesterday." Dr. Lynfa Stroud, on-call general internist and division head of general internal medicine at Sunnybrook, was notified the new patient needed to be admitted. "We didn't know what exactly we were dealing with," Stroud says. "We had early reports of presentations and how people evolved. We were a bit nervous but we felt very well prepared." The following day, as China was locking down Hubei province, Dr. Peter Donnelly, then head of Public Health Ontario, was asked about lockdowns in Canada. "Absolutely not," he declared: "If a case comes here, and it is probably likely that we will have a case here, it will still be business as normal.'' Confirmation of the clinicians' suspicions at Sunnybrook would come from the agency's laboratory, which had been working furiously to develop and validate a suitable test for the novel coronavirus based on information from China. The agency's lab had been testing samples for two weeks when the Sunnybrook call came in. "They sent a sample to us in a cab," says Dr. Vanessa Allen, chief of microbiology and laboratory science at Public Health Ontario. It would be the start of a round-the-clock effort to test and retest the new samples. "The last thing you need is a false signal or some kind of misunderstanding," says Allen, who had been a resident during the SARS outbreak. By about midday of Saturday, Jan. 25, the lab was sure it had identified the new organism that would soon take over the world and become a household name. "It wasn't called COVID at the time," Allen says of the disease. Over at Sunnybrook, Leis received the confirmation without much surprise. "It was consistent with what we were seeing and what we suspected," he says. "I was actually happy that the lab was able to confirm it." Within hours, public health authorities would let the country know that Canada had its first case of the "Wuhan novel coronavirus," although further confirmation from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg was pending. "I want Ontarians to know that the province is prepared to actively identify, prevent and control the spread of this serious infectious disease in Ontario," Health Minister Christine Elliott declared as the province announced a new "dedicated web page" for latest information. The wife of "Patient Zero" would also soon be confirmed as COVID-19 positive but was able to self-isolate at home. "This (man) was one of the first cases to report on the more milder spectrum of disease, which was not something we were aware of," Leis says. "It helped to teach us about the larger spectrum in disease severity that we see with COVID-19, which is very different from SARS." Looking back now at their roles in a small piece of Canadian pandemic history, those involved talk about how much we didn't know about a virus that has since infected three-quarters of a million people in Canada, killing more than 18,800 of them. "The initial detection, in some ways, was the easy part," Allen says. "This virus and the implications are extremely humbling, and just the prolonged nature and impact of this was certainly not on my radar in January of last year." Yet treating "Patient Zero" and his wife afforded valuable lessons about what was then a poorly understood disease. For one thing, it became apparent that most of those afflicted don't need hospital admission — hugely important given the massive number of infections and resulting stresses on critical-care systems. "To be honest: We would have sent this patient home from the emergency room," Stroud says. "We admitted him because, at that time, it wasn't known very well what the course of illness was." Sunnybrook alone has now assessed more than 4,000 COVID-19 patients. To survive the onslaught, the hospital developed a program in which patients are screened and, if possible, sent to self-isolate under remote medical supervision. Both "Patient Zero" and his wife recovered. Their cases would mark Canada's first minor health-care skirmish of what was to become an all-out global defensive war against COVID-19. It also marked the beginning of relentless work hours for those on the front lines of health care. For health-care workers, it's been a long year since those first energized, if anxious, days one year ago. There's a weariness in their voices, a recognition the war is still raging, even as vaccines developed with stunning alacrity offer some hope of a truce. "We have been working essentially non-stop since last January and it's not slowing down now," Leis says. "Health-care teams are tired. There's a lot of concern about burnout. It's been challenging for sure." Despite COVID-19's deadly toll, the vast majority of COVID-19 patients, like "Patient Zero," recover. Still, even for some of those, their battle might never be over. "These people just don't get magically better," Stroud says. "Some will have lifelong lung scarring and damage to their lungs." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
An Ontario teenager who worked as a cleaner at a long-term care home and died after being diagnosed with COVID-19 was a Syrian refugee who moved to Canada with his family in 2016, according to the CEO of Paramount Fine Foods, Mohamad Fakih. Yassin Dabeh, 19, of London, Ont., worked at Middlesex Terrace, a long-term care home in nearby Delaware, Ont. "The family had four boys and one daughter, and now they've lost Yassin," said Fakih, a philanthropist and businessman, who spoke with Yassin's father to offer his condolences. "He said [Yassin] wanted to study, to do something more for his life, and he joined this company that does the cleaning for LTCs," he explained. Fakih said he offered to organize a fundraiser to cover the costs of a funeral for the young man but was told that it was already taken care of. "[The father] was very emotional about it. He told me how the community came together for the funeral costs and how he's very appreciative of how the community is coming together to help them." Youngest in the region with COVID-19 to die In an interview with CBC News on Saturday, Dr. Alex Summers, the Middlesex-London Health Unit's associate medical officer of health, said the teen is the youngest person in the region diagnosed with the virus to die. "It's certainly a very sad day and a reminder of how the impact of this pandemic can be felt," he said. The health unit has not confirmed Dabeh's identity or workplace, only that he was a male teenager who was a staff member at a long-term care home. Summers said the diagnosis came within the last four weeks, and that the teen's infectious period had actually ended. An investigation into his death is underway he said. He could not say whether the teen had underlying health conditions. Summers previously said the teen was not working at a long-term care home while infectious, but the health unit now says the teen did work at the home for a short period of time, early on in the infectious period, before going into isolation. Mary Raithby, CEO of APANS Health Services, the parent company of Middlesex Terrace, said in a statement that "we extend our deep sympathies to the family and friends of Yassin Dabeh." "Out of respect for their loss, we are declining to make any comments at this time." Fakih said Dabeh was buried on Friday. He also said the entire family has been diagnosed with the coronavirus "because of the son coming back home every time after work." Fakih, who was born in Lebanon and now lives in Toronto, said he and some friends are cooking 500 meals to give out to those in need in their community. They've decided to hold the event in Yassin's honour, he said. "It's an Islamic tradition when somebody dies. It's good to do food and gifts for people in need. We believe that helps in the blessing of their soul."
For two Virginia police officers who posed for a photo during the deadly U.S. Capitol insurrection, the reckoning has been swift and public: They were identified, charged with crimes and arrested. But for five Seattle officers the outcome is less clear. Their identities still secret, two are on leave and three continue to work while a police watchdog investigates whether their actions in the nation's capital on Jan. 6 crossed the line from protected political speech to lawbreaking. The contrasting cases highlight the dilemma faced by police departments nationwide as they review the behaviour of dozens of officers who were in Washington the day of the riot by supporters of President Donald Trump. Officials and experts agree that officers who were involved in the melee should be fired and charged for their role. But what about those officers who attended only the Trump rally before the riot? How does a department balance an officer's free speech rights with the blow to public trust that comes from the attendance of law enforcement at an event with far-right militants and white nationalists who went on to assault the seat of American democracy? An Associated Press survey of law enforcement agencies nationwide found that at least 31 officers in 12 states are being scrutinized by their supervisors for their behaviour in the District of Columbia or face criminal charges for participating in the riot. Officials are looking into whether the officers violated any laws or policies or participated in the violence while in Washington. A Capitol Police officer died after he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher as rioters descended on the building and many other officers were injured. A woman was shot to death by Capitol Police and three other people died after medical emergencies during the chaos. Most of the officers have not been publicly identified; only a few have been charged. Some were identified by online sleuths. Others were reported by their colleagues or turned themselves in. They come from some of the country’s largest cities — three Los Angeles officers and a sheriff’s deputy, for instance — as well as state agencies and a Pennsylvania police department with nine officers. Among them are an Oklahoma sheriff and New Hampshire police chief who have acknowledged being at the rally, but denied entering the Capitol or breaking the law. “If they were off-duty, it’s totally free speech,” said Will Aitchison, a lawyer in Portland, Oregon, who represents law enforcement officers. “People have the right to express their political views regardless of who’s standing next to them. You just don’t get guilt by association.” But Ayesha Bell Hardaway, a professor at Case Western Reserve University law school, said an officer’s presence at the rally creates a credibility issue as law enforcement agencies work to repair community trust, especially after last summer's of protests against police brutality sparked by the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Communities will question the integrity of officers who attended the rally along with “individuals who proudly profess racist and divisive viewpoints,” she said. “It calls into question whether those officers are interested in engaging in policing in a way that builds trust and legitimacy in all communities, including communities of colour.” In Rocky Mount, a Virginia town of about 1,000, Sgt. Thomas Robertson and Officer Jacob Fracker were suspended without pay and face criminal charges after posting a photo of themselves inside the Capitol during the riot. According to court records, Robertson wrote on social media that the “Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem … The right IN ONE DAY took the f(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk) U.S. Capitol. Keep poking us.” Attempts to contact the pair were unsuccessful and court records do not list lawyers. Leaders in Rocky Mount declined to be interviewed. In a statement, they said the events at the Capitol were tragic. “We stand with and add our support to those who have denounced the violence and illegal activity that took place that day,” said Police Chief Ken Criner, Capt. Mark Lovern and Town Manager James Ervin. “Our town and our police department absolutely does not condone illegal or unethical behaviour by anyone, including our officers and staff.” On the other side of the county, five Seattle officers are under investigation by the city’s Office of Police Accountability. Two officers posted photos of themselves on social media while in the district and officials are investigating to determine where they were and what they were doing. Three others told supervisors that they went to Washington for the events and are being investigated for what they did while there. Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz said his department supports officers’ freedom of speech and that those who were in the nation's capital will be fired if they “were directly involved in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.” But police leaders need to evaluate more than just clear criminal behaviour, according to Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a policing research and policy group. They must also consider how their actions affect the department credibility, he said. Officers' First Amendment rights “don’t extend to expressing words that may be violent or maybe express some prejudice,” Wexler said, “because that’s going to reflect on what they do when they’re working, when they’re testifying in court.” Through the summer and fall, Seattle police — along with officers elsewhere — came under criticism for their handling of mass protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd. The city received more than 19,000 complaints against officers, most for excessive use of force and improper use of pepper spray. Andrew Myerberg, director of the Seattle Office of Police Accountability, said none of the officers now under investigation were involved in those cases. But Sakara Remmu, cofounder of Black Lives Matter Seattle/King County, said the officers should be fired regardless. Their public declarations of solidarity with Trump fosters not just community distrust, but terror of the entire department, she said. “It absolutely does matter when the decorum of racial peace cracks and racial hatred comes through, because we already have a documented history and legacy of what that means in this country,” Remmu said. In Houston, the police chief decried an officer who resigned and was later charged in the riot. A lawyer for Officer Tam Pham said the 18-year veteran of the force "very much regrets” being at the rally and was “deeply remorseful.” But many chiefs have said their officers committed no crimes. “The Arkansas State Police respects the rights and freedom of an employee to use their leave time as the employee may choose,” department spokesman Bill Sadler said of two officers who attended the Trump rally. Malik Aziz, the former chair and executive director of the National Black Police Association, compared condemning all officers who were in Washington to tarring all the protesters who took to streets after the killing of George Floyd with the violent and destructive acts of some. A major with the Dallas Police Department, Aziz said police acting privately have the same rights as other Americans, but that knowingly going to a bigoted event should be disqualifying for an officer. “There’s no place in law enforcement for that individual,” Aziz said. Martha Bellisle And Jake Bleiberg, The Associated Press
Saskatchewan's premier says the fight over the Keystone XL pipeline isn't over yet. In a recent interview with CBC's Rosemary Barton, Premier Scott Moe says conversations around the TC Energy project are ongoing, despite U.S. President Joe Biden's recent cancellation of the pipeline's permit by executive order. "I wouldn't say this project is over by any stretch. There is a lot of conversation to have on KXL," Moe said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live. The 1,897-kilometre pipeline would have carried 830,000 barrels of crude oil daily from oilsands in Hardisty, Alta., to Nebraska, connecting to the original Keystone pipeline running to the U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. A portion of the project would have crossed into southern Saskatchewan. Moe, along with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, has pushed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government to take action against the pipeline's halt. That could include economic sanctions, Moe suggested — a possibility also raised by Kenney. "I haven't said that we should go to sanctions and sanctions should be utilized first," Moe said in his interview with Barton. "But sanctions are always on the table in any conversation or any challenge that we may have with our trading relationship with our largest partner." The project, originally blocked by U.S. President Barack Obama, was then approved by President Donald Trump, who wanted to negotiate the terms of the project, before ultimately being blocked again by Biden in the first days of his presidency. Federal Opposition leader Erin O'Toole has also expressed frustration over the cancellation of the project, saying in a statement it "will devastate thousands of Canadian families who have already been badly hurt by the economic crisis." Trudeau's government has repeatedly said that it supports the project and has made that clear to the new U.S. administration, but both the prime minister and Canada's ambassador to the U.S. have said it is time to respect the decision and move on. Speaking on Friday morning, Trudeau reiterated his disappointment with the cancellation and said he would raise the issue during his phone call with Biden scheduled for later in the day. "Obviously the decision on Keystone XL is a very difficult one for workers in Alberta and Saskatchewan who've had many difficult hits," he said. "Over the past years we have been there for them and we will continue to be there for them and I will express my concern for jobs and livelihoods in Canada, particularly in the West, directly in my conversation with President Biden." Trudeau stressed he and the new president are on the same wavelength on fighting climate change and middle-class job creation, as well as the "values of Canadians." Moe called the cancellation a "devastating blow to North American energy security," and said in the interview with Barton he'll continue to advocate for the pipeline, which he says has both economic and environmental benefits for Canada.
LONDON — Mesut Ozil has thanked Arsenal for an “amazing journey” after his departure to Fenerbahce was confirmed, saying he goes with no grudges despite not playing for nearly a year. Ozil said goodbye to his Arsenal teammates a week ago and his move to Turkey has now been wrapped up. “I’d like to thank the club for this amazing journey over the past seven-and-a-half years,” Ozil said Sunday. The former Germany international has not played for Arsenal since March and his contract was due to expire at the end of the current season. “The support I have felt from the team and fans during my time here has been truly incredible and something I will always be grateful for," Ozil said. “Together we won trophies for the first time in years and created memories that will last a lifetime. The Arsenal fans will forever remain in my heart. “I’d like to thank Edu Gaspar for helping bring about a professional and dignified solution in the past few days, and I wish everyone at the club the best in their attempt to continue to bring Arsenal back to the top, where we belong.” Having started the first 10 games under Mikel Arteta following his appointment in December 2019, Ozil has not featured since a 1-0 win over West Ham before the coronavirus pandemic saw football halted. He was omitted from Arsenal’s Premier League and Europa League squads. “As I said, the past few months haven’t been the easiest,” Ozil said. “Like every player, I want to play every minute of football for my team. In life, however, things don’t always play out how we want or expect them to. “But it is important to look for the positives in life and not negatives, which is why I try to live life with no regrets and holding no grudges. Being at Arsenal was more than just football, it was about community.” Manager Mikel Arteta said he would be remembered for playing in three of the four FA Cup finals Arsenal won during his time at the club. “Mesut’s achievements at Arsenal are undisputed,” Arteta said. “It was a privilege to play alongside him and, more recently, coach him. “His creativity and vision led to many goals during his time in the Arsenal shirt. Mesut was at the heart of many great moments for this club over the years, including those three FA Cup final wins. These successes will always be part of our history. We thank Mesut and wish him all the best with Fenerbahce.” ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Severe winds and heavy rains wrecked thousands of buildings, ruined crops and displaced almost 7,000 people in Mozambique over the weekend, officials said in their first detailed report on the disaster. Tropical cyclone Eloise hit Mozambique's Sofala coastal province on Saturday morning before weakening and heading inland to dump rain on Zimbabwe, eSwatini - formerly known as Swaziland - and South Africa. Authorities initially said Eloise had only caused minor damage in Mozambique's port city of Beira but that it was too early to gauge the full extent of the damage across the rest of the region.
A new app has been created to bring awareness and support to those impacted by gun violence in Toronto. The Enough is Enough app was launched by music producer Dub J. Global News Weekend Host Mike Arsenault has more.
The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary have charged a 24-year-old man for failing to self-isolate after he was picked up during a traffic stop on Regent Square in Corner Brook Sunday morning. Police say officers stopped a vehicle at 3:54 a.m. Sunday, and as the vehicle stopped, the man driving fled on foot. He was quickly apprehended, according to an RNC media release. As a result of the stop, the man, a resident of Fort McMurray, Alta., was arrested and charged with impaired operation of a vehicle, refusal and obstructing a peace officer. The RNC said the man arrived in the province on Friday. Anyone coming into the province must self-isolate for 14 days, unless given an amended exemption — for work, for example — whereby they can travel to and from work during their two weeks of isolation. He's the second person reportedly arrested by the RNC under the province's special measures order since it came into effect in March. A woman in Corner Brook was arrested — twice — for failing to self-isolate in late March. The 24-year-old man remains in custody and will appear in Provincial Court on Sunday. He was also issued a 90 day driving suspension and the vehicle was impounded. The RNC, as well as the provincial Department of Health, did not respond to requests from CBC News for more information Sunday. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
WASHINGTON — As the House prepares to bring the impeachment charge against Donald Trump to the Senate for trial, a growing number of Republican senators say they are opposed to the proceeding, dimming the chances that former president will be convicted on the charge that he incited a siege of the U.S. Capitol. House Democrats will carry the sole impeachment charge of “incitement of insurrection” across the Capitol late Monday evening, a rare and ceremonial walk to the Senate by the prosecutors who will argue their case. They are hoping that strong Republican denunciations of Trump after the Jan. 6 riot will translate into a conviction and a separate vote to bar Trump from holding office again. But instead, GOP passions appear to have cooled since the insurrection. Now that Trump's presidency is over, Republican senators who will serve as jurors in the trial are rallying to his legal defence, as they did during his first impeachment trial last year. “I think the trial is stupid, I think it’s counterproductive,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.. He said that "the first chance I get to vote to end this trial, I’ll do it” because he believes it would be bad for the country and further inflame partisan divisions. Trump is the first former president to face impeachment trial, and it will test his grip on the Republican Party as well as the legacy of his tenure, which came to a close as a mob of loyal supporters heeded his rally cry by storming the Capitol and trying to overturn Joe Biden's election. The proceedings will also force Democrats, who have a full sweep of party control of the White House and Congress, to balance their promise to hold the former president accountable while also rushing to deliver on Biden's priorities. Arguments in the Senate trial will begin the week of Feb. 8. Leaders in both parties agreed to the short delay to give Trump's team and House prosecutors time to prepare and the Senate the chance to confirm some of Biden’s Cabinet nominees. Democrats say the extra days will allow for more evidence to come out about the rioting by Trump supporters, while Republicans hope to craft a unified defence for Trump. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said in an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday that he hopes that evolving clarity on the details of what happened Jan. 6 “will make it clearer to my colleagues and the American people that we need some accountability.” Coons questioned how his colleagues who were in the Capitol that day could see the insurrection as anything other than a “stunning violation” of tradition of peaceful transfers of power. “It is a critical moment in American history and we have to look at it and look at it hard,” Coons said. An early vote to dismiss the trial probably would not succeed, given that Democrats now control the Senate. Still, the mounting Republican opposition indicates that many GOP senators would eventually vote to acquit Trump. Democrats would need the support of 17 Republicans — a high bar — to convict him. When the House impeached Trump on Jan. 13, exactly one week after the siege, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said he didn’t believe the Senate had the constitutional authority to convict Trump after he had left office. On Sunday, Cotton said “the more I talk to other Republican senators, the more they’re beginning to line up” behind that argument. “I think a lot of Americans are going to think it’s strange that the Senate is spending its time trying to convict and remove from office a man who left office a week ago,” Cotton said. Democrats reject that argument, pointing to a 1876 impeachment of a secretary of war who had already resigned and to opinions by many legal scholars. Democrats also say that a reckoning of the first invasion of the Capitol since the War of 1812, perpetrated by rioters egged on by a president who told them to “fight like hell” against election results that were being counted at the time, is necessary so the country can move forward and ensure such a siege never happens again. A few GOP senators have agreed with Democrats, though not close to the number that will be needed to convict Trump. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said he believes there is a “preponderance of opinion” that an impeachment trial is appropriate after someone leaves office. “I believe that what is being alleged and what we saw, which is incitement to insurrection, is an impeachable offence,” Romney said. “If not, what is?” But Romney, the lone Republican to vote to convict Trump when the Senate acquitted the then-president in last year’s trial, appears to be an outlier. Sen. Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota, said he believes a trial is a “moot point” after a president's term is over, “and I think it’s one that they would have a very difficult time in trying to get done within the Senate.” On Friday, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a close Trump ally who has been helping him build a legal team, urged the Senate to reject the idea of a post-presidency trial — potentially with a vote to dismiss the charge — and suggested Republicans will scrutinize whether Trump’s words on Jan. 6 were legally “incitement.” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who said last week that Trump “provoked” his supporters before the riot, has not said how he will vote or argued any legal strategies. The Kentucky senator has told his GOP colleagues that it will be a vote of conscience. One of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s nine impeachment managers said Trump’s encouragement of his loyalists before the riot was "an extraordinarily heinous presidential crime." Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pennsylvania., said "I mean, think back. It was just two-and-a-half weeks ago that the president assembled a mob on the Ellipse of the White House. He incited them with his words. And then he lit the match.” Trump’s supporters invaded the Capitol and interrupted the electoral count as he falsely claimed there was massive fraud in the election and that it was stolen by Biden. Trump’s claims were roundly rejected in the courts, including by judges appointed by Trump, and by state election officials. Rubio and Romney were on “Fox News Sunday,” Cotton appeared on Fox News Channel's “Sunday Morning Futures” and Romney also was on CNN's “State of the Union,” as was Dean. Rounds was interviewed on NBC's “Meet the Press.” ___ Associated Press writer Hope Yen contributed to this report. Mary Clare Jalonick And Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
Here's a timeline of key developments in the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada since the first presumptive case was reported on Jan. 25, 2020: Jan. 25: A Toronto man in his 50s who returned from the Chinese city of Wuhan — the initial epicentre of the outbreak — becomes the first presumptive case of the novel coronavirus in Canada. The man is placed in isolation in Toronto's Sunnybrook Hospital. Jan. 26: The man's wife, who had travelled with him from Wuhan, also tests positive, becoming the country's second presumptive case. The woman is allowed to self-isolate at home. Jan. 27: The National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg confirms that the Toronto man being treated at Sunnybrook Hospital is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Canada. Jan. 28: The Toronto man's wife is declared the second confirmed case of COVID-19. Health officials in British Columbia say a man in his 40s who travels to China for work is presumed to have COVID-19. The man is in self-isolation at his Vancouver home. Feb. 4: There is another presumptive case reported in B.C. — a woman who had family visiting from China's Hubei province. She is in isolation at her home. Feb. 7: A plane carrying more than 200 Canadians from Wuhan arrives at CFB Trenton in eastern Ontario, where they start a 14-day quarantine. Feb. 20: A woman who returned from Iran becomes B.C.'s sixth case of COVID-19 and the first person in Canada diagnosed with the illness who did not recently visit China or have close contact with someone who did. The Toronto man who was the country's first confirmed case is cleared after testing negative for the virus. Feb. 27: Quebec public health officials report the province's first presumptive case, a woman from the Montreal region who recently returned from Iran. March 5: B.C. announces eight new cases, including Canada's first-ever case possibly contracted within the community, rather than through travel or contact with other cases. March 8: Canada records its first death from COVID-19. A man in his 80s died in a North Vancouver nursing home. March 11: The World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a pandemic. Canada has more than 100 cases. A Utah Jazz player tests positive two days after a game against the Toronto Raptors, causing the NBA to suspend its season. March 12: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau self-isolates after his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau tests positive for COVID-19. The NHL and most other sports leagues suspend seasons. The Juno Awards are shelved. Minor hockey across the country is cancelled. The Ontario government announces schools across the province will be closed for two weeks after March break. Manitoba and Saskatchewan report their first cases. March 13: The federal government announces Parliament will go on break. March 14: The federal government urges Canadians currently abroad to return home as soon as possible March 15: Nova Scotia reports its first three cases. March 16: Canada announces it is closing its borders to non-Canadians, apart from Americans and a few other exceptions. March 17: Ontario and Alberta declare states of emergency. March 18: Canada and the United States announce they will close their shared border to non-essential traffic. B.C. and Saskatchewan declare states of emergency. March 19: New Brunswick declares a state of emergency. March 20: COVID-19 cases pass 1,000 across the country. Manitoba declares state of emergency. March 22: Canada says it won't compete in the Tokyo Olympics or Paralympics. March 23: Ottawa announces repatriation flights for Canadians stranded in foreign countries. March 24: Olympics officially postponed until 2021. March 25: Emergency aid bill passes. Canada makes it mandatory for all travelers arriving in the country to quarantine for 14 days. March 30: Trudeau says a new wage subsidy program will cover all businesses whose revenue has dropped by at least 30 per cent because of COVID-19. April 2: COVID-19 death toll passes 100 in Canada. April 3: Ontario projects COVID-19 death toll could reach 15,000. April 4: U.S. company 3M told by the White House to stop exporting N95 respirators to Canada. April 6: 3M makes a deal with the White House to provide N95 masks to Canada. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, says wearing masks is a way for people who might have COVID-19 without realizing it to keep from spreading the illness. April 9: Ottawa projects 4,400 to 44,000 Canadians could die of COVID-19. Government announces more than one million people lost their jobs in March. April 13: Federal government announces nearly 5.4 million Canadians are receiving emergency aid. April 15: Canada passes 1,000 virus-related deaths. April 22: Ontario and Quebec, the hardest-hit provinces, call on the military to help out in long-term care homes. April 23: Canadian death toll passes 2,000 as country announces it will pour $1.1 billion into vaccine testing. April 25: New Brunswick introduces a two-household bubble, allowing people to interact with others. April 28: Canada hits 50,000 cases. May 4: Restrictions begin to lift in several provinces including Quebec and Manitoba. May 8: The unemployment rate rockets up to 13 per cent, the second-highest figure on record in Canada. May 11: Some Quebec schools reopen and Ontario stores start offering curbside pickup. May 12: Death toll passes 5,000. May 13: The country's top doctor says Canadians in communities where COVID-19 is still spreading should wear non-medical masks when they can't stay physically distant from others. May 14: Many stores, child-care centres and hair salons open in Alberta. May 19: Many stores reopen in Ontario, B.C. and Saskatchewan. May 23: Thousands pack a park on a sunny day in Toronto, creating fears of a new outbreak. May 26: A new report from the military helping battle COVID-19 in five long-term care facilities in Ontario reveals extreme neglect and exposes the extent of the horrific conditions facing residents. May 29: At least 41 staff and students test positive for COVID-19 in the first two weeks after elementary schools outside the Montreal area reopen. June 12: Ontario enters Stage 2 of its reopening, except for Toronto, Windsor-Essex and Peel region. June 18: Canada officially records more than 100,000 cases of COVID-19 over the length of the pandemic. June 26: The Canadian Red Cross sends 900 people to work in Quebec's long-term care homes until mid-September, replacing Canadian Armed Forces members. June 26: The Nova Scotia government announces all bars and restaurants can operate at full capacity after more than two weeks without a single new case of COVID-19. July 3: P.E.I., Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia begin allowing their Atlantic neighbours to visit without self-isolating for 14 days after entering. The so-called "Atlantic bubble" as a way to boost struggling local economies. July 16: Trudeau says the federal, provincial and territorial governments reached a deal on billions of dollars in transfers to continue reopening economies amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Trudeau says the federal government will contribute $19 billion to the effort. July 18: The Blue Jays are denied approval to play in Toronto due to the COVID-19 pandemic. July 18: Quebec becomes the first province in Canada to require mask-wearing in all indoor public places. July 28: Remdesivir becomes the first drug to be approved by Health Canada for treatment of patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms. July 31: COVID Alert, A voluntary smartphone app that can warn you if you've come into close proximity to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, becomes available to download. Aug. 3: Quebec increases the limits on indoor and outdoor public gatherings from 50 people to 250 people. The province's health minister says despite the relaxed rules, COVID-19 continues to circulate in Quebec, especially among young people. Aug. 17: The Canadian Football League cancels its 2020 season, making it the first year since 1919 that the Grey Cup won't be awarded. Sept. 8: Hundreds of thousands of children and teenagers across Canada re-enter classrooms for the first time in six months. Alberta and Quebec are among the first to report new cases of COVID-19 related to the reopening of schools. Sept. 14: The Bloc Quebecois caucus, including leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, enters self-isolation after a member of Blanchet's staff tested positive for COVID-19. Sept. 16: Federal Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole says he, his family and some party workers are in self-isolation after an aide tested positive for COVID-19. Sept. 19: Nunavut reports its first confirmed cases of COVID-19. The territory's chief public health officer says there are two cases at the Hope Bay gold mine 125 kilometres southwest of Cambridge Bay. Top public health official Dr. Michael Patterson says both miners were exposed in their home jurisdictions. Sept. 22: Rebecca O'Toole, the wife of Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole, tests positive for COVID-19. Sept. 23: In an address to the country, Trudeau says the second wave of COVID-19 is underway. He says families won't likely be able to gather for Thanksgiving, but it is not too late to save Christmas. Sept. 25: Tougher COVID-19 restrictions are also reimposed in Winnipeg due to a spike in cases. In Ontario, Ford says bars and restaurants will have to stop serving booze at 11 p.m. Sept. 30: Parliamentarians unanimously pass Bill C-4 to usher in a new batch of COVID-19 benefits. For Canadians left jobless or underemployed because of the pandemic, the legislation supplants the CERB support program with a more flexible and generous employment insurance regime. Oct. 1: Stringent new rules take effect in three Quebec regions at the heart of rising COVID-19 case counts in the province. Bars, cinemas and restaurant dining rooms are ordered closed for at least 28 days in Montreal, Quebec City and Chaudiere-Appalaches. Restaurants are still allowed to offer takeout. The strictest of the new measures include prohibiting private gatherings. Oct. 19: Canada's COVID-19 case count surpasses the 200,000 mark. The development comes just over four months after Canada reached the 100,000-case threshold. Oct. 28: A report from Canada's chief public health officer focusing on the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic says Canada ranks 26th in the world for total deaths per million population. Nov. 10: The Manitoba government forces non-essential stores to close and bans social gatherings in an effort to stop a surge of COVID-19 cases. Nov. 16: Canada's COVID-19 case count tops 300,000 less than a month after it crossed the 200,000 threshold. Nov. 23: The premiers of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador announce they will temporarily pull out of the so-called "Atlantic Bubble" for two weeks due to a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Atlantic Canada. Nov. 26: Federal health officials say Canada has purchase agreements with seven COVID-19 vaccine producers. Nov. 26: New Brunswick becomes the latest Atlantic province to opt out of the so-called bubble and demand anyone entering the province self-isolate for 14 days. The province also introduces heightened public health measures in the Fredericton area. Nov. 27: Trudeau says most Canadians should receive the COVID-19 vaccine by September 2021. The prime minister says Canada's vaccine distribution program would be led by former NATO commander Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin. Dec. 2: Johnson & Johnson begins the process of applying for emergency approval of its COVID-19 vaccine from Health Canada and the European Medicines Agency, while Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine is given permission for emergency use in the U.K. Dec. 4: Canada records more than 400,000 cases of COVID-19, just 18 days after it hits the 300,000 mark. Dec. 7: Trudeau says Canada will receive up to 249,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine in December. Dec. 8: Partial results published in the medical journal Lancet suggest the COVID-19 vaccine candidate from Oxford University and AstraZeneca is safe and about 70 per cent effective. Dec. 9: Health Canada approves national use of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine. Dec. 14: The first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are administered to people in Quebec and Ontario. Dec. 20: Canada surpasses 500,000 total cases of COVID-19 as Nunavut reports its first two deaths. The federal government restricts travel from the U.K. for 72 hours in an effort to keep a contagious new strain out of Canada. Dec. 23: Health Canada says the COVID-19 vaccine from U.S. biotech firm Moderna is safe for use in Canada. Dec. 26: Ontario confirms its two first Canadian cases of a more contagious variant of COVID-19 first identified in the United Kingdom. The province also re-enters a lockdown that shutters non-essential businesses and closes schools to in-person learning for at least two weeks. Dec. 28: Canada surpasses 15,000 deaths related to COVID-19. Dec. 30: The federal government announces plans to require air travellers to test negative for COVID-19 before landing in Canada. Jan. 3, 2021: Canada surpasses 600,000 total cases of COVID-19. Jan. 6: Quebec becomes the first province to announce a curfew to curb soaring COVID-19 infections. The provincial government says it's to be enforced for four weeks. Jan. 8: A new variant of COVID-19 that first surfaced in South Africa is reported in Alberta. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick tighten their boundaries, requiring people entering the provinces to quarantine for 14 days. Jan. 9: The Quebec curfew comes into effect, barring most residents from leaving their homes between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. Jan. 11: Ontario's death toll surpasses 5,000. Jan. 14: A stay-at-home order takes effect in Ontario days after the daily case tally nearly hit 4,000. Among the added measures is a requirement for people to wear a mask inside businesses and restrictions on the size of gatherings. All non-essential retail stores may only open between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Jan. 15: Pfizer says it will temporarily cut vaccine delivery to Canada because of issues with its European production lines. Jan. 16: Canada surpasses 700,000 cases of COVID-19. Jan. 23: Health Canada confirms it's approved a rapid COVID-19 test from Spartan Bioscience for use across the country. The company had previously recalled its rapid testing technology last spring over concerns expressed by the federal agency. Jan. 24: New Brunswick's Edmundston region enters lockdown in a bid to quash a rise in local COVID-19 case numbers. The Canadian Press
BERLIN — Hertha Berlin fired coach Bruno Labbadia and general manager Michael Preetz on Sunday after a poor run of form left the big-spending club near the Bundesliga relegation zone. Labbadia spent nine months in charge and becomes the fourth permanent Hertha coach to leave the post in the last two years after Saturday's 4-1 defeat to Werder Bremen. Preetz departs after nearly 12 years as general manager, with former sporting director and former German national team player Arne Friedrich taking over his duties. Hertha is 14th in the Bundesliga, two points above the relegation playoff place, and has won only one of its last eight league games. “With 17 points from 18 games we are in a very serious situation,” chairman Carsten Schmidt said in a statement. “Therefore we have decided after due consideration to provide new impetus with a change of coach. We will clarify the successor for the coach position in the coming days.” Schmidt told broadcaster Sky that candidates to succeed Labbadia include Pal Dardai, who coached Hertha from 2015 to 2019. “We have a clear plan," Schmidt said. “We are not going into this task unprepared.” Labbadia was initially appointed in April 2020 to steady the ship after a turbulent 10-game spell under former Germany and United States national team coach Jürgen Klinsmann, but failed to make progress toward the top half of the table in his second season. The poor form comes despite Hertha being among Europe's biggest spenders on transfers in 2020. It is particularly troubling for Hertha given the club's stated aim of establishing itself as a Champions League regular and also the success of rival Union Berlin, eighth in the standings, on a much smaller budget. With funding from investor Lars Windhorst, Hertha spent large sums last year on signing forwards Krzysztof Piatek from Milan and Matheus Cunha from Leipzig, defensive midfielder Lucas Tousart from Lyon and midfielder Matteo Guendouzi on loan from Arsenal. None has consistently hit strong form in Berlin. ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
IQALUIT, Nunavut — In Nunavut, it's not unusual for the internet to cut out, slow down or stop working altogether. Unlike most jurisdictions in Canada, there is no option for unlimited internet. Instead, residents are faced with high prices and heavy fees for higher monthly data caps. Amy Matychuk, who lives in Iqaluit, says each month she and her fiancé wait for the notice from their internet service provider telling them they've reached their data limit. Matychuk says the couple spends about $250 a month on internet. Her fiancé is completing his masters, which requires him to be on Zoom nearly eight hours a day. "He's at the maximum data he can have on his phone, so once we run out of internet at home he can hot-spot to his phone," she said. Nunavut’s internet problems aren’t new, but the territory's senator, Dennis Patterson, says the pandemic has made a bad situation even worse. "Internet continues to be of crucial importance to remote communities in Nunavut. The situation has sadly not changed," Patterson said in an interview. A report commissioned by Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the land-claim body that represents Inuit in the territory, says the fastest possible internet speed in Nunavut is eight times slower than the national average. The report states Nunavut is the only jurisdiction in Canada without residential access to internet speeds over 25 megabits per second. The highest possible speed in Nunavut is 15 megabits per second. Some 86 per cent of Canadian households have access to unlimited data packages and 94 per cent have access to broadband speeds of at least 25 megabits, the report says. It would cost a single Nunavut household at least $7,000 annually to reach the average level of data usage in Canadian households. Nunavut is also the only Canadian province or territory without access to fibre internet. There are three proposals that could bring it to Nunavut through lines connected to other provinces, but those are still a few years away from completion. Patterson says one reason internet hasn’t improved in the territory is a lack of competition for service providers. Northwestel, which is owned by Bell, serves all of Nunavut’s 25 communities. Qiniq, its main competitor, also offers internet and mobile phone service but runs off a different network because it doesn't have access to Northwestel's. “It's like an airport being owned by one airline and other airlines needed to either build their own airport or pay premium rates to access that airport," Patterson said. Another reason internet hasn't improved in the territory is because previously announced federal funding has not been distributed, he added. "There's been no action. It’s deeply disturbing to me." Last summer, projects in Yukon and the Northwest Territories received $72 million from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to improve broadband internet service. Nunavut did not receive any money. In a news release at the time, the CRTC said Nunavut projects were deferred to a second round of funding. "We need immediate relief during the height of the pandemic when all these services in health and education and working at home are so critical," Patterson said. The CRTC said in an email that it "is continuing to evaluate the applications submitted to the second call for applications." "Further funding announcements will be made as additional projects are approved." The CRTC said it could not disclose how many Nunavut projects had applied for funding. Andrew Anderson, communications director with Northwestel, said the company's proposal to the CRTC seeks to bring internet speeds up to 50 megabits per second with an option for unlimited internet. Right now, the company's highest internet package for home users is 150 gigabytes a month and costs $129. “We’re hopeful that our proposal brings good value to Nunavut and will help meet that standard, but we’re waiting to hear back on that," Anderson said. For his part, Patterson will continue to push the federal government to make immediate investments for faster, more affordable internet as the pandemic rages on. "People still need to work and do schooling remotely. It’s no secret that Nunavut has been subject to internet blackouts." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021 ___ This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship Emma Tranter, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week: Business openings and closings Statistics Canada will release its monthly estimates of business openings and closures for October 2020 on Monday. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said Thursday that one in six — or about 181,000 Canadian small business owners — are now seriously contemplating closing as a result of the recession or lockdown measures. Metro results Metro Inc. will release its first-quarter fiscal 2021 results. The retailer said in November that it was expediting its push into online food ordering and home delivery as fourth-quarter profits rose by more than 10 per cent compared with a year ago, with its online grocery sales growing 160 per cent. Railroad earnings Canada’s largest railroad operators will issue fourth-quarter results this week, with CN Rail reporting on Tuesday and Canadian Pacific on Wednesday. Both companies posted record levels of grain shipments in 2020 as they continued to add high-capacity grain hopper cars. Rogers results Rogers Communications Inc. will release its fourth-quarter and full-year financial results on Thursday. The phone and internet giant reported in October of last year that third-quarter earnings had posted a healthy recovery from the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, although the results remained lower than 2019 as its advertisers and consumers continued to grapple with the virus' economic fallout. November GDP figures Statistics Canada to release gross domestic product by industry figures for November on Friday. The agency reported in December that real gross domestic product grew 0.4 per cent in October, its sixth consecutive month of growth. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is confronting the political risk that comes with grand ambition. As one of his first acts, Biden offered a sweeping immigration overhaul last week that would provide a path to U.S. citizenship for the estimated 11 million people who are in the United States illegally. It would also codify provisions wiping out some of President Donald Trump's signature hard-line policies, including trying to end existing, protected legal status for many immigrants brought to the U.S. as children and crackdowns on asylum rules. It's precisely the type of measure that many Latino activists have longed for, particularly after the tough approach of the Trump era. But it must compete with Biden's other marquee legislative goals, including a $1.9 trillion plan to combat the coronavirus, an infrastructure package that promotes green energy initiatives and a “public option” to expand health insurance. In the best of circumstances, enacting such a broad range of legislation would be difficult. But in a narrowly divided Congress, it could be impossible. And that has Latinos, the nation's fastest growing voting bloc, worried that Biden and congressional leaders could cut deals that weaken the finished product too much — or fail to pass anything at all. “This cannot be a situation where simply a visionary bill — a message bill — gets sent to Congress and nothing happens with it,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, which advocates for low-income immigrants. “There’s an expectation that they will deliver and that there is a mandate now for Biden to be unapologetically pro-immigrant and have a political imperative to do so, and the Democrats do as well.” If Latinos ultimately feel betrayed, the political consequences for Democrats could be long-lasting. The 2020 election provided several warning signs that, despite Democratic efforts to build a multiracial coalition, Latino support could be at risk. Biden already was viewed skeptically by some Latino activists for his association with former President Barack Obama, who was called the “deporter in chief” for the record number of immigrants who were removed from the country during his administration. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont defeated Biden in last year's Nevada caucuses and California primary, which served as early barometers of the Latino vote. In his race against Trump, Biden won the support of 63% of Latino voters compared with Trump's 35%, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of more than 110,000 voters nationwide. But Trump narrowed the margin somewhat in some swing states such as Nevada and also got a bump from Latino men, 39% of whom backed him compared with 33% of Latino women. Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate since 1996 to carry Arizona, in part because of strong grassroots backing from Mexican American groups opposed to strict GOP immigration policies going back decades. But he lost Florida by underperforming in its largest Hispanic county, Miami-Dade, where the Trump campaign's anti-socialism message resonated with Cuban- and some Venezuelan Americans. Biden also fell short in Texas even though running mate Kamala Harris devoted valuable, late campaign time there. The ticket lost some sparsely populated but heavily Mexican American counties along the Mexican border, where law enforcement agencies are major employers and the GOP's zero-tolerance immigration policy resonated. There were more warning signs for House Democrats, who lost four California seats and two in South Florida while failing to pick up any in Texas. Booming Hispanic populations reflected in new U.S. census figures may see Texas and Florida gain congressional districts before 2022's midterm elections, which could make correcting the problem all the more pressing for Democrats. The urgency isn't lost on Biden. He privately spent months telling immigration advocates that major overhauls would be at the top of his to-do list. As vice-president, he watched while the Obama administration used larger congressional majorities to speed passage of a financial crisis stimulus bill and its signature health care law while letting an immigration overhaul languish. “It means so much to us to have a new president propose bold, visionary immigration reform on Day 1. Not Day 2. Not Day 3. Not a year later,” said New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, his chamber's lead sponsor of the Biden package. Menendez was part of a bipartisan immigration plan championed by the “Gang of Eight” senators that collapsed in 2013. Obama then resorted to executive action to offer legal status to millions of young immigrants. President George W. Bush also pushed an immigration package — with an eye toward boosting Latino support for Republicans before the 2008 election — only to see it fail in Congress. Menendez acknowledged that the latest bill will have to find at least 10 Republican senators' support to clear the 60-vote hurdle to reach the floor, and that he's “under no illusions" how difficult that will be. Former Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a moderate Republican from Florida, said Biden may find some GOP support but probably will have to settle for far less than what’s in his original proposal. “Many Republicans are worried about primary challenges,” Curbelo said, adding that Trump and his supporters’ championing of immigration crackdowns means there's “political peril there for Republicans.” But he also said Democrats could alienate some of their own base by appearing to prioritize the needs of people in the country illegally over those of struggling U.S. citizens and thus “appearing to overreach from the perspective of swing and independent voters.” Indeed, Democrats haven't always universally lined up behind an immigration overhaul, arguing that it could lead to an influx of cheap labour that hurts U.S. workers. Some of the party's senators joined Republicans in sinking Bush's bill. Still, Latinos haven't forgotten past immigration failures and have often blamed Democrats more than Republicans. Chuck Roca, head of Nuestro PAC, which spent $4 million on ads boosting Biden in Arizona, said that while Hispanics have traditionally tended to support Democrats, he has begun to see trends in the past decade where more are registering as independent or without party affiliation. Those voters can still be won back, he said, but only if Latinos see real change on major issues such as immigration “even if it's piecemeal.” “They have to get something done if they want to start to turn around the loss of Latino voters,” said Rocha, who headed Latino voter outreach for Sanders’ presidential campaign. “They have to do everything in their power now to get Latinos back.” ___ Associated Press writer Alan Fram contributed to this report. Will Weissert, The Associated Press
Les longues files au bas des pistes des stations de ski ont récemment fait le tour du web. En Gaspésie, ces images laissent perplexes plusieurs acteurs du milieu, alors que les activités en petits groupes guidées sont interdites en raison des mesures sanitaires, coupant l’herbe sous le pied de nombreuses entreprises de plein air. Les images d’interminables files d’attente au bas des pistes de plusieurs stations de ski du Québec ont fait le tour des réseaux sociaux au cours des derniers jours. Montrant de nombreux amateurs sans masque, avec peu (ou pas) de distanciation sociale, ces images font sourciller en Gaspésie, où l’industrie du plein air guidé est sur pause en raison des mesures sanitaires. «Jusqu’au 8 février, on ne peut pas offrir une partie du service, tout ce qui est guidé a dû être annulé ou reporté avec les mesures annoncées», explique le directeur marketing du Chic-Chac, Félix Rioux. Pour lui, comme pour plusieurs autres acteurs du milieu, cette décision d’interdire les activités guidées semble contradictoire avec la décision de garder les montagnes de ski ouvertes. «Le ski hors-piste, c’est le gros morceau de nos revenus. On ne peut pas offrir une grande partie de nos services [...] et les grosses stations accueillent des centaines de gens. C’est spécial, surtout qu’avec l’espace qu’on a, on peut facilement respecter la distanciation de deux mètres», ajoute M. Rioux. Afin d’essayer de profiter le plus possible de la saison, malgré les mesures sanitaires, le Chic-Chac ouvrira le mont Miller tous les jours d’ici le printemps. «On était en position pour avoir une année record, mais avec la météo pendant les fêtes et l’interdiction des activités guidées jusqu’au 8 février, on doit oublier ça», conclut-il. L’auberge de montagne des Chic-Chocs, un établissement de la SEPAQ, a également dû interrompre l’entièreté de ses activités en raison des mesures mises en place par le gouvernement. «Normalement, on a un guide par groupe de huit personnes, et comme on ne peut pas guider, on a dû fermer. La majorité de nos clients en sont à leur première expérience en ski de haute route, ça ne serait pas prudent de les laisser partir seuls», explique le directeur, Guy Laroche. L’interdiction des activités guidées s’entend aussi du côté des expéditions en motoneiges. L’entreprise de Sainte-Anne-des-Monts Aventure Chic-Chocs a donc dû se mettre sur pause. «On n’a pas le choix de respecter les règles, mais c’est sûr que ça donne un choc parce qu’on investit beaucoup dans nos équipements», explique le propriétaire, Jonathan Lefebvre. «Il me semble qu’on aurait pu continuer en respectant les mesures. Les gens restent en bulle de toute façon, et avec l’espace qu’on a, on peut facilement respecter le deux mètres. C’est beaucoup plus facile à respecter pour nous que dans de grosses stations de ski», soutient-il. Des mesures claires avant tout Le directeur régional de la Santé publique gaspésienne, le Dr Yv Bonnier-Viger, admet que l’interdiction des activités guidées peut ne pas sembler logique à première vue. Selon lui, le gouvernement a préféré y aller de mesures simples et claires plutôt que dans les interventions adaptées à tous les secteurs d’activité. «Ça aurait été assez facile de respecter le deux mètres de distance entre les participants et les guides, et le virus se transmet beaucoup moins bien à l’air libre, c’est sûr, mais la facilité et la clarté ont primé», conclut le Dr. Bonnier-Viger. De retour le 8 février Avec les bilans encourageants qui s’accumulent en Gaspésie, les trois entreprises ont bien confiance de pouvoir reprendre leurs activités dès le 8 février. «On va avoir de la neige, et on a presque plus de cas. C’est une année particulière, mais on croit que la clientèle va être au rendez-vous, surtout les locaux», note le directeur marketing du Chic-Chac. À l’auberge de montagne et chez Aventure Chic-Chocs, les prochains mois promettent d’être particulièrement occupés, puisque la majorité des clients ont décidé de déplacer leurs réservations plus tard en saison. «On était sold out pour toute la saison, maintenant on doit déplacer les réservations, ça va se faire sentir sur plusieurs années», explique Jonathan Lefebvre. Sur le retour de la Gaspésie et des Îles en zone jaune ou orange, le directeur de la santé publique régionale s’est contenté d’affirmer que «des discussions pour revenir à la vie normale sont en cours» et que «le retour aux paliers d’alerte est intéressant».Simon Carmichael, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Soleil
Reece Howden made it back-to-back ski cross victories on the World Cup Tour in Sunday's big final at Idre Fjäll, Sweden. The 22-year-old from Cultus Lake, B.C., was back to his usual self, leading from start to finish after choosing to sit back and charge late in Saturday's win. "The draft wasn't as big of an issue today so as I got into the start gate one of my coaches said, '100 per cent from top to bottom,'" the six-foot-plus Howden told Alpine Canada of his third win in four races. "I skied as fast as I could today [and] it worked out. I'm so happy, this is unbelievable. "I'll keep trying my best. I'm super proud of these last few races, so I'll try to carry it through the rest of the season, stay safe, stay injury-free, and keep it going." WATCH | Reece Howden posts 3rd win in a little over a month: Howden's Canadian teammate, Marielle Thompson reached the podium for a fifth time this season, placing third in the women's race. The Whistler, B.C., skier fought poor visibility as blowing snow made conditions tough on the lower part of the track. "I'm a lot happier with how I skied today," the 28-year-old Thompson said. "I think I brought some good skiing to each heat and I'm happy to land on the podium." WATCH | Marielle Thompson happy with 5th podium finish of season: The Canadian squad will compete in Feldberg, Germany before returning to Idre Fjäll for the world championships in February. Sunday's other Canadian results: Men: Jared Schmidt (33rd), Kris Mahler (36th), Brady Leman (40th), Chris Del Bosco (48th) and Carson Cook (53rd). Women: Courtney Hoffos (7th), Hannah Schmidt (14th), Tiana Gairns (15th) and Zoe Chore (16th).
The days may be cold and short for us humans at this time of year, but for some migratory birds, British Columbia's South Coast is like a tropical refuge that keeps them coming back each winter. Catherine Jardine, a data analyst and ornithologist with Birds Canada, says the Lower Mainland offers rich opportunities for amateur and professional birders alike. "It's literally a lot of really great winter birding to be had in B.C.," Jardine said from her office in Delta. "We're where a lot of birds come to over-winter." Jardine says several types of waterfowl, shorebirds and raptors make their way to the South Coast for winter. There are also birds that migrate to lower altitudes for winter, like dark-eyed juncos and fox sparrows. It doesn't take much to get started as a birdwatcher, Jardine says. She recommends heading out with a decent pair of binoculars and a free app to help identify different species, like Merlin Bird ID. "I didn't really get into birding until I was in my early 20s and then it shocked me how much I've been walking past my whole life," she said. Jardine says you don't have to travel far to go birding — she often likes to look out the window of her third-floor apartment to watch for Anna's hummingbirds, bright green little birds that are out defending territory at this time of year to get access to prime nesting spots. Some of Jardine's top recommendations for birding locations include: Iona Beach, Richmond. Boundary Bay Regional Park, Delta. Dyke Trails and Terra Nova Park, Richmond. Stanley Park Seawall, Vancouver. Westham Island, Delta. If you can't make it that far, don't worry. Jardine says there's a fair number of migratory birds that like to hang out in the ponds at Queen Elizabeth Park and at Trout Lake. "The wonderful thing about birds is that they're everywhere," she said. To find more locations, she recommends checking out the B.C. Bird Trail website, or the Tourism Richmond website. Linda Bakker, executive director with the B.C. Wildlife Rescue Association, agrees that your neighbourhood or favourite park are good places to start birding. Some of Bakker's favourite migratory birds are the waterfowl that make their way to the South Coast, like Buffleheads. "They're really cute," Bakker says. Unfortunately, Bakker says, some of them do end up in her care. She says that not all injured birds require human intervention, but if you spot one that obviously does need care, you can place it in a box and take it to the wildlife rescue hospital in Burnaby. Some of Jardine and Bakker's favourite birds to watch for on the South Coast include: Horned grebes. Surf scoters. Dunlins. Northern harriers. Snow geese. Buffleheads. Fox sparrows. Dark-eyed juncos. American wigeons.