As the new COVID-19 variant spreads across the U.K., Canadians in that country are increasingly confused about how to get home or if they should even try.
As the new COVID-19 variant spreads across the U.K., Canadians in that country are increasingly confused about how to get home or if they should even try.
The debate about the U.S. Electoral College pits those who think the president should be chosen via popular vote versus those who believe the interests of small and large states must be balanced.
The past week has been challenging for the Cowichan Tribes on Vancouver Island. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases within the community started off at 73 on Monday and continued to climb all week. Then, after a barrage of racist comments were posted online in reaction to the reported cases, the First Nation decided to stop publicly sharing its COVID-19 data. "It was a lot all at once," said Councillor Stephanie Atleo. "It left us tired and a bit overwhelmed." Cowichan leaders say new cases continue to emerge. But there was a glimmer of hope, in the form of 600 vaccine doses that were delivered to the community. Atleo was one of the people tasked with coordinating the response and said while getting vaccines was clearly positive, it led to its own challenges. "We were informed Monday and we had the clinic up Wednesday," said Atleo. Using the model the community developed for administering the flu shot last fall, the nation set up tents and checkpoints in parking lots. Atleo said they had originally planned to offer vaccinations over three days with the addition of a possible fourth day. But demand from community members forced them to change their plans yet again. "I was shocked that we ended up doing it in just two days. But I was so happy for all the people who got vaccinated," said Atleo. Being able to administer the vaccines so quickly was a result of hard work and dedication on the part of health-care staff and band workers, many of whom had to work overtime or in staggered shifts, Atleo said. It's not clear when the next round of vaccines will arrive, but Atleo is happy that a tough week had at least a little silver lining. "I feel pretty confident that everybody we wanted to vaccinate first came out," she said.
Ahuntsic-Cartierville - Aux prises avec trois éclosions à l’hôpital Fleury, le Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS) du Nord-de-l’Île-de-Montréal demande à la population d’éviter cet établissement « pour quelques jours ». Emboitant le pas à certains hôpitaux de l’Est de l’île, le CIUSSS restreint par ailleurs les visites. Les seuls motifs qui permettent à une personne non hospitalisée d’accéder à l’établissement sont pour accompagner une personne en fin de vie, à raison d’une personne à la fois, des visites pour motifs humanitaires ou l’accompagnement du père, de la mère ou du tuteur légal d’une personne mineure. Le CIUSSS du Nord invite les personnes qui ont des problèmes de santé mineurs « à choisir une alternative pour obtenir une consultation médicale » et à privilégier une visite dans une clinique médicale ou à consulter son médecin de famille. Plus tôt cette semaine, le CIUSSS avait confirmé au Journaldesvoisins.com qu’une éclosion était en cours à l’unité de chirurgie de l’hôpital Fleury, mais avait assuré qu’aucune éclosion ne touchait l’urgence de cet hôpital. Le JDV suivra de près la situation.Simon Van Vliet, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal des voisins
Montreal police say they have arrested a 23-year-old man after his mother was fatally stabbed early Sunday morning. Const. Jean-Pierre Brabant said police were called to an apartment on Gilford Street in the city's Plateau neighbourhood just after 1:30 a.m. That is where they found the 49-year-old woman, who was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries but later died. The man was arrested at the scene. He was taken to hospital to undergo a psychological evaluation. Members of the Montreal police forensic identification unit were dispatched to the scene.
Deemed consent organ donation means that everyone is assumed to be an organ donor unless they opt out, but assuming consent raises some ethical issues.
WASHINGTON — The Latest on President Donald Trump's impeachment, President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration and the fallout from the Jan. 6 attack of the Capitol by pro-Trump loyalists (all times local): 9:05 a.m. Actor-playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda and rockers Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen are among the stars who will highlight a prime-time virtual celebration televised Wednesday night after Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th president. Biden’s inaugural committee announced the lineup Sunday for “Celebrating America,” a multinetwork broadcast that the committee bills as a mix of stars and everyday citizens. Miranda, who wrote and starred in Broadway’s “Hamilton,” will appear for a classical recitation. Musicians John Legend, Demi Lovato and Justin Timberlake, among others, will join Springsteen and Bon Jovi. Actresses Kerry Washington and Eva Longoria will act as hostesses, with former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also scheduled to appear. The segments will include tributes to a UPS driver, a kindergarten teacher and Sandra Lindsey, the first American to receive the COVID-19 vaccine outside a clinical trial. The broadcast is in lieu of traditional inaugural balls. Biden plans still to be sworn in on the Capitol's West Front, but with a scaled-down ceremony because of the coronavirus and tight security after the Jan. 6 violent insurrection on the Capitol as Congress convened to certify his victory. ___ HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IMPEACHMENT, THE INAUGURATION AND THE FALLOUT FROM THE JAN. 6 RIOTING AT THE CAPITOL: Across the country, some statehouses are closed, fences are up and extra police are in place as authorities brace for potentially violent demonstrations over the coming days. The safeguards will remain in place leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. Biden plans to roll back some of President Donald Trump’s most controversial policies and take steps to address the coronavirus pandemic hours after taking office. Read more: — Deceptions in the time of the ‘alternative facts’ president — Biden outlines ‘Day One’ agenda of executive actions — Gen. Milley key to military continuity as Biden takes office — Guard troops pour into Washington as states answer the call — Harris to be sworn in by Justice Sotomayor at inauguration — Biden to prioritize legal status for millions of immigrants — Will Trump’s mishandling of records leave a hole in history? — Biden says his advisers will lead with ‘science and truth’ — More backlash for GOP’s Hawley as Loews Hotel cancels event ___ HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON: 8 a.m. Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris will resign her Senate seat on Monday, two days before she and President-elect Joe Biden are inaugurated. Aides to the California Democrat confirm the timing and say Gov. Gavin Newsom is aware of her decision. That clears the way for Newsom to appoint fellow Democrat Alex Padilla, now California’s secretary of state, to serve the final two years of Harris’ term. Padilla will be the first Latino senator from California, where about 40% of residents are Hispanic. Harris will give no farewell Senate floor speech. The Senate isn’t scheduled to reconvene until Tuesday, the eve of Inauguration Day. ___ 3 a.m. The threat of extremist groups descending on state capitals in a series of demonstrations Sunday prompted governors to roll out a massive show of force and implement tight security measures at statehouses across the country. Fencing, boarded-up windows and lines of police and National Guard troops have transformed statehouse grounds ahead of expected demonstrations leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. The stepped-up security measures were intended to safeguard seats of government from the type of violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, when a mob supporting President Donald Trump overran the building while Congress was certifying the Electoral College vote. The FBI has warned of the potential for armed protests in the nation’s capital and all 50 state capitals. Some social media messages had targeted Sunday for demonstrations, though it remained unclear how many people might show up. The Associated Press
Alberta security companies say they're busier than ever, largely due to COVID-19 protocols and a rise in crime. "When COVID hit, there's been an increase in crime, an increase in vandalism, property damage," said Moe Hadayat, operations manager at Optimum Security. "Property owners reached out to us and they said, 'Look, we have never seen this kind of increase ... so we need to have security monitor these properties to make sure that nothing is escalated.'" Hadayat said crime is largely rooted in unemployment and a lack of things to do, thanks to business and social restrictions that are in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Paladin Security has seen an increase in patrols going out as a result of so many Albertans working from home, said operations manager Damian Radcliffe. "That opens up more opportunities for criminal activity," Radcliffe said. Radcliffe emphasized that an empathetic approach is proving valuable in dealing with people who are under pressure as a result of the pandemic. "If we lead with that sort of compassion-first type mentality, I think that we can have most of those interactions go well and still do the job that we need to do," Radcliffe said. Paladin has also worked with clients who have seen their revenues drop — hotel operators, for example — to come up with cost-effective security plans. Backwoods Security Services traditionally serves the oil and gas industry but since the pandemic has expanded its work to include homeless shelters and health-care facilities. "In some of our northern facilities and camps that we're in, the guards are mainly there just to ensure that COVID protocols are being followed, people aren't congregating together — just those gentle reminders to keep their distancing and sanitize and wear their masks," said Kyle Applejohn, the director of security at Backwoods. Backwoods, which is owned by Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation and Enoch Cree Nation, also does mass temperature screenings in high-density workplaces using thermal imaging technology launched in May. The company provided security for the NHL playoff bubble and the 2021 world junior men's hockey championship.
New Brunswick officials announced 36 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, a single-day high since the start of the pandemic. The cases include 24 in the Edmundston and Grand Falls region, or Zone 4, which will roll back to the more restrictive red phase effective at midnight. There are now 292 active cases in the province and one person is in the hospital. Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer, said the Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton regions could move to red within days if the situation doesn't improve. "We're at the maximum of what we can deal with in the short term," she said at a media briefing on Sunday. Russell said 11 cases in the Edmundston region are linked to an outbreak at Nadeau Poultry in Saint-François de Madawaska, where mass testing was conducted. The community is near the Maine border, about 42 kilometres west of Edmundston. Some businesses must close under red restrictions, including movie theatres, barbershops and hair salons. Restaurants can only operate with takeout and delivery. The new cases include: Moncton region, five cases: two individuals 19 and under. an individual 20-29. an individual 40-49. an individual 70-79. Saint John region, four cases: an individual 19 and under. an individual 20-29. two people 40-49. Fredericton region, two cases: two people 20-29. Edmundston region, 24 cases: three people 19 and under. three people 30-39. four people 40-49. 10 people 50-59. four people 60-69. Bathurst region, one case: an individual 20-29. Russell said 2,101 people are self-isolating across the province. Schools to remain open Education Minister Dominic Cardy said evidence has shown the safest place for students to be is school. "We're working to keep students in school as much as possible to help support our public health goals," he said. "When students are at school, they are in a supervised environment with strict health and safety protocols in place." Changes are being made to the red-phase rules to allow for schools to remain open. Students and staff will be actively screened each day and those with one symptom will be asked to stay home. Extracurricular activities will also be reduced. If a case is confirmed at a red-level school, it will close for three days. This will allow time for contact tracing and turning the building into a testing site. It has been almost two weeks since all regions of the province were moved back to the orange recovery phase. Premier Blaine Higgs said the Moncton, Saint John, and Fredericton regions are "on the cusp" of a return to red. "We need to take this seriously because the next step, after the red phase, is a total lockdown," he said. Russell urged New Brunswickers to stay home as much as possible. "If you have to go out to obtain food and other essentials, keep your outings brief and return home as soon as you can," she said. 4 schools report cases of COVID-19 Four more New Brunswick schools have confirmed cases of COVID-19. Belleisle Elementary School in Springfield and Millidgeville North School in Saint John each have one case, according to Anglophone South superintendent Zoë Watson. The schools will be open and operational Monday except for students and staff reached by contact tracers. Both communities were notified in an email on Saturday. In the Moncton region, Riverview East School also confirmed one case. Families will be contacted about any impacts to learning this week. Caledonia Regional High School in Hillsborough has notified the community about one case. All students and staff have been asked to staff home on Sunday while contact tracing is underway. New Brunswick has confirmed 947 total cases and 642 recoveries. The province has recorded 12 deaths. The death of a 13th person with COVID-19 was not related to the disease. Public Health has conducted a total of 172,708 tests since the start of the pandemic, including 1,723 since Saturday's update. What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: A fever above 38 C. A new cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.
A bundle of nerves atop an imposing giant slalom course ahead of Sunday's second run, 19-year-old Cassidy Gray went to work and earned points for a 26th-place performance at the women's World Cup event in Slovenia. Her combined time of two minutes 24.25 seconds is considered one of the best starts to a World Cup career for a Canadian in recent memory. "It's been a goal of mine for a long time to start a World Cup and to get to do it here, with this team was amazing," Cassidy, who hails from Panorama, B.C., tolf Alpine Canada after her second run in Kranjska Gora. "Today was a crazy first run and I was so nervous for the second run. "I'm overall really happy with how it went. Now that I see what I can do I have a lot more confidence going into the next races." Gray, who also skis with the University of Colorado Buffaloes, qualified for a second run in Saturday's race but didn't finish. Canadian teammate Val Grenier of St. Isidore, Ont., moved up one spot from Saturday to finish 15th in 2:22.05 in her fifth race back from injury. Marta Bassino won her second World Cup giant slalom in two days after first-run leader Mikaela Shiffrin dropped to sixth. The Italian skier has won four of the five races in the discipline this season, with Shiffrin winning the only other event, in Courchevel in December. WATCH | Bassino posts fastest final run time on way to victory: "It's so amazing, I am so emotional. It's like a dream, I can't believe it," Bassino said from Kranjska Gora, Slovenia while fighting back tears in a TV interview. The result saw Bassino closing in on a 13-year-old record: No Italian skier won more than four giant slaloms in a single season since Denise Karbon won a record five events in the 2007-08 campaign. Shiffrin loses speed, rhythm on 2nd run Bassino trailed Shiffrin by three-tenths of a second after the American's near-perfect opening run, but the Italian posted the fastest time in the final in one minute 7.34 seconds for a two-run time of 2:18.06. The last racer on course, Shiffrin was still in the lead at the first split time. However, the Olympic GS champion was late on a turn after the first steep part, lost speed and never regained her rhythm. Shiffrin finished 1.27 back in sixth in 2:19.33, matching her result in Saturday's race. Bassino won the race 0.66 ahead of Michelle Gisin (2:18.72), a day after the Swiss skier earned her first career podium in GS. Local favourite Meta Hrovat, daughter of the village's mayor, Janez Hrovat, finished third, 0.73 off the lead. Vlhova's overall lead shrinks The rest of the field trailed Bassino by more than a second. This weekend's races were moved from Maribor because of a lack of snow. Petra Vlhova was 2.41 seconds behind in 10th and the overall World Cup leader from Slovakia saw her advantage over runner-up Gisin reduced to just 60 points. Federica Brignone, the defending overall champion who led the GS standings coming into the weekend, was 12th after the opening leg before sliding off the track in her final run. The women's World Cup continues with two downhills and a super-G in Crans Montana, Switzerland, from Friday through Sunday.
Prince George RCMP saw a small dip in crime in 2020, as measured by files opened, thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, Insp. Shawn Wright told city council. Files opened in 2020 added up to 46,668, down by 1,036 from 2019. With many businesses shut down and more people working from home, Wright said shoplifting dropped to "virtually nil" for a time while break and enters also declined noticeably. If the pandemic sparked an spike in domestic violence, Wright said it was not reflected in the count as the number of such files grew by only nine from 2019, to 487. Looking at the downtown, calls for service stood at 6,816, up by 118 from 2019. Wright said the "vast, vast majority" were non-criminal in nature. At nearly 1,200, calls related to mischief led the way and Wright said they typically related to someone sleeping in a doorway and causing a disturbance. Next highest were calls for causing a disturbance, which Wright said usually involves someone with a mental health issue. "I know there is a lot of apprehensions from a lot of the citizens that they don't feel safe downtown, that they think they're going to get robbed, that they're going to get assaulted but statistically speaking, we don't see those numbers being a large part of what we deal with down there," he said. Wright noted businesses in the vicinity of Canada Games Plaza, where public washrooms have been in place, reported a lot of nuisance activity during the summer. But he later also agreed with Coun. Murry Krause that the washrooms meet a need. "I don't dispute that at all," Wright said. Wright also suggested the storage facilities for street people in the downtown has enabled a "downtown camping lifestyle" but later added they also serve a need. "Sometimes there are unintended consequences and sometimes the intended consequences outweigh those, for sure," Wright said. He commended Carrier Sekani Family Services for opening the Sk'ai Zeh Yah Youth Centre at 1575 Second Ave. in late 2020. He said it has given people as old as 29 years a place to "hang out" and access services while also lessening the distress on area businesses. "I have been very pleasantly surprised," Wright said. Open use of illicit drugs downtown emerged as a theme when Wright fielded questions from city council members. He called the activity a "thorn in our side" but added pursuing prosecutions against individuals who insist on shooting up "not realistic" in today's legal climate. He said police have relied on patrols to move users along to areas where they can use while out of sight, such as a rooming house or, preferably, the safe injection site at the needle exchange. He said the 100 units of social housing planned for the corner of First Avenue and Ontario Street and the recently-announced conversion of the National Hotel at First and Dominion to social housing makes him optimistic. "Nothing is a magic bullet, nothing is going to change overnight, but I think they are very large steps in the right direction," Wright said. He said people who get their own place also get a sense of responsibility, accomplishment and dignity. "A lot of these people don't have a place to go, so it'll provide them that opportunity and I think the biggest key to those proposed developments is the fact that it's not just housing, it's supportive housing," Wright said. Looking ahead, Wright said RCMP are working to get a sobering centre established in Prince George. Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen
WASHINGTON — The lead prosecutor for President Donald Trump's historic second impeachment began building his case for conviction at trial, asserting on Sunday that Trump's incitement of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol was “the most dangerous crime" ever committed by a president against the United States. A Senate trial could begin as soon as this week, just as Democrat Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., did not say when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will send the single article of impeachment against Trump — for “incitement of insurrection” — to the Senate, which will trigger the beginning of the trial. But Raskin said “it should be coming up soon” as Pelosi organizes the formal transfer. The House voted to impeach Trump last Wednesday, one week after the violent insurrection that interrupted the official count of electoral votes, ransacked the Capitol and left Congress deeply shaken. Before the mob overpowered police and entered the building, Trump told them to “fight like hell” against the certification of Biden's election win. “We're going to be able to tell the story of this attack on America and all of the events that led up to it,” Raskin said. “This president set out to dismantle and overturn the election results from the 2020 presidential election. He was perfectly clear about that.” Democrats and the incoming administration are facing the challenge of reckoning with the Capitol attack at the same time that Biden takes office and tries to move the country forward. They say the Congress can do both, balancing a trial with confirmations of the new president's Cabinet and consideration of his legislative priorities. Raskin said Congress cannot establish a precedent where “we just want to let bygones be bygones” just because Trump has left office. Yet it's clear that Democrats do not want the Senate trial to dominate Biden's opening days. Pelosi on Friday said that Democrats intend to move quickly on Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID aid and economic recovery package to speed up vaccinations and send Americans relief, calling it “matter of complete urgency.” Ron Klain, Biden's incoming White House chief of staff, said he hopes Senate leaders, on a bipartisan basis, “find a way to move forward on all of their responsibilities. This impeachment trial is one of them, but getting people into the government and getting action on coronavirus is another one of those responsibilities.” It is unclear how many Senate Republicans — if any — would vote to convict Trump. Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is telling his caucus that their decision on whether to convict the outgoing president will be a “vote of conscience.” His stance, first reported by Business Insider, means the GOP leadership team will not work to hold senators in line one way or the other. McConnell is open to considering impeachment, but said he is undecided on how he would vote. He continues to hold great sway in his party, even though convening the trial this week could be among his last acts as majority leader as Democrats prepare to take control of the Senate with the seating of two new Democratic senators from Georgia. For Republican senators, the trial will be perhaps a final test of their loyalty to the defeated president and his legions of supporters in their states back home. It will force a further reevaluation of their relationship with Trump, who lost not only the White House but majority control of the Senate, and a broader discussion about the future of the Republican Party as he leaves office. Some GOP senators are already standing by Trump, despite their criticism of his behaviour. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the president's most loyal allies, said impeachment was a "bad, rushed, emotional move” that puts the presidency at risk and will cause further division. He said he hopes every Senate Republican rejects impeachment. “Please do not justify and legitimize what the House did,” Graham said. A handful of Republican senators have suggested they will consider conviction. Two of them, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, have said he should resign. Murkowski said the House responded “appropriately” with impeachment and she will consider the trial arguments. No president has ever been convicted in the Senate, and it would take a two-thirds vote against Trump, a high hurdle. But conviction is not out of the realm of possibility, especially as corporations and wealthy political donors distance themselves from Trump's brand of politics and the Republicans who stood by his attempts to overturn the election. Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney, was spotted at the White House Saturday and told ABC he was likely going to join Trump’s impeachment defence team. He suggested he would continue to spread baseless claims of election fraud on the Senate floor. Trump campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley moved to distance Trump from Giuliani’s comments, tweeting: “President Trump has not yet made a determination as to which lawyer or law firm will represent him for the disgraceful attack on our Constitution and democracy, known as the 'impeachment hoax.' We will keep you informed.” There was not widespread fraud in the election, as has been confirmed by a range of election officials and by William Barr, who stepped down as attorney general last month. Nearly all of the legal challenges put forth by Trump and his allies have been dismissed by judges. Trump is the only president to be twice impeached, and the first to be prosecuted as he leaves the White House, an ever-more-extraordinary end to his tenure. A precedent set by the Senate in the 1800s established that a trial can proceed even after a federal official leaves office. Trump was first impeached by the House in 2019 over his dealings with Ukraine, but the Senate voted last year to acquit. Ten Republicans joined all Democrats in the 232-197 impeachment vote on Wednesday, the most bipartisan modern presidential impeachment. When his second trial does begin, House impeachment managers say they will be making the case that Trump’s incendiary rhetoric hours before the attack on the Capitol was not isolated, but directly intended to interrupt the electoral count as part of his escalating campaign to overturn the November election. A Capitol Police officer died from injuries suffered in the attack, and police shot and killed a woman. Three other people died in what authorities said were medical emergencies. Raskin and Klain were on CNN's “State of the Union,” and Graham appeared on Fox News Channel's “Sunday Morning Futures.” ___ Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report. Lisa Mascaro And Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
First Nations, ranchers, municipal officials and environmentalists hope to persuade a judge this week to force Alberta to revisit its decision to open one of the province's most important and best-loved landscapes to open-pit coal mining. At least nine interveners will seek to join a southern Alberta rancher's request for a judicial review of the province's decision to rescind a coal-mining policy that had protected the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains — and the headwaters that flow from them — for almost 45 years. "You talk about the Alberta identity," said Ian Urquhart of the Alberta Wilderness Association, one of the parties looking for standing. "The eastern slopes, the Rocky Mountains and the foothills, are at the heart of what the Alberta identity is. This policy change threatens that." The eastern slopes are the source of three major rivers — the Red Deer, the Oldman and the South Saskatchewan. Everyone in southern Alberta and many in Saskatchewan depend on those rivers for drinking water, irrigation and industry. The water is heavily allocated. Endangered species, including cutthroat trout and grizzly bears, live there. The region's beauty is universally acknowledged. A 1976 policy brought in by Peter Lougheed's government laid out how and where coal development could go ahead, forbade open-pit mines over a large area and banned any mining at all in the most sensitive spots. It came after years of work and dozens of public consultations, said David Luff, a retired civil servant and consultant who worked on the policy. "Albertans overwhelmingly said the eastern slopes should be devoted to watershed protection, recreation and tourism. Lougheed had a very compelling vision based on input he received from extensive public consultation." Over the years, the policy informed the Alberta Land Stewardship Act and was written into legally binding land-use plans. Last spring, the policy was quietly revoked by Energy Minister Sonya Savage with no consultation. It was done on the Friday of the May long weekend, during the height of COVID-19's first wave, through an information letter on the department's website. "It's morally and ethically wrong," said Luff. But legally wrong? The province doesn't think so. The hearing in Calgary Court of Queen's Bench is to begin Tuesday with Alberta arguing that there was no duty to consult because the coal policy was just that — a policy. "The 1976 coal policy was not enacted using a legislative tool, so it can be rescinded unilaterally by Alberta Energy at any time," says a provincial briefing note entered in the court record. The province plans to ask the court to rule that the change is a political decision, not a legal matter, and the review request should be dismissed. Nigel Bankes, chair of natural resources law at the University of Calgary, notes land-use plans and the land stewardship act both promise consultation before major change. "This is effectively an amendment to the plan and therefore triggers the consultation obligations," he said. "There's certainly case law to suggest that high-level policy changes may trigger the duty to consult." As well, Bankes said, First Nations are owed a duty to consult. Three of them — the Bearspaw, Ermineskin and Whitefish — are asking to intervene. He suggests there's a good chance the court will turn down the provincial request for dismissal. Other hopeful interveners include the Municipal District of Ranchland, which is concerned about the impact that coal development could have on municipal services and infrastructure. Environmental groups seeking to intervene want to ensure water quality and ecological degradation are taken into account. One coal company — Cabin Ridge Coal — has asked for standing as well. It says it's already invested substantial money in exploration leases. "Restoration of the coal policy will create uncertainty in circumstances where the (Alberta Energy Regulator) presently has clear standards and processes for considering proposed exploration and development activities in Alberta," it says in a court filing. Alberta officials have said mining will create hundreds of jobs and generate millions of tax dollars at a time when the province really needs them. They say any proposed mines would still be reviewed by the provincial regulator. Prominent and popular Alberta country musicians Corb Lund and Paul Brandt have publicly opposed the mines. A petition to the federal government opposing one development already in the review stage had more than 25,000 signatures as of Friday morning. The government has sold leases on about 1.4 million hectares of land for coal exploration since the policy was revoked. At least one provincial recreation area is partly covered by a coal lease and four others are surrounded by them. The province has also reopened water allocation agreements. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2021. — Follow @row1960 on Twitter Bob Weber, The Canadian Press
Ever wanted to know what it was like to lay down in the forest and look up at the stars? Check your resolutions settings, sit back and enjoy. Thanks for watching!
Some beetles go to great — and disgusting — lengths for their children. They scout for a dead mouse or bird, dig a hole and bury it, pluck its fur or feathers, roll its flesh into a ball and cover it in goop — all to feed their future offspring. Now scientists think that goo might do more than just slow decay. It also appears to hide the scent of the decomposing bounty and boosts another odor that repels competitors. “It helps them to hide their resource from others," said Stephen Trumbo, who studies animal behaviour at the University of Connecticut and led the new research, published Thursday in The American Naturalist. “They try to keep everyone away." The beetles — called burying beetles — aren't the only creatures who try to deceive their competitors or prey with subtle, sneaky tactics. Large blue butterflies, for example, will imitate certain sounds to manipulate ants. Corpse flowers produce rotting odours to attract insect pollinators that feed on decomposing matter. The importance of these interactions are being recognized more and more, said Alexandre Figueiredo, a biologist at University of Zurich, who was not involved in the new study. Burying beetles and other things that feed on dead animals — including vultures, opossums and maggots — race each other to track down carcasses. Competition is stiff even among burying beetles, which use special antennae to detect the remains from afar. Burying beetles are relatively large, about an inch long, and black with orange markings. The gut secretions they spread on a carcass are antibacterial, and slow down decomposition. Trumbo and his colleagues wondered whether they also prevented rivals from picking up the scent. To find out, they collected the gases wafting off dead hairless mice preserved by a kind of burying beetle that is found in forests across North America. The researchers then compared the gases to those from untouched carcasses. The beetle-prepped ones gave off much less of an onion-smelling compound that usually attracts burying beetles to fresh remains. They also discovered an increase in another gas from decay that's known to deter other insects that feed on dead animals. Next, they dropped off the dead mice in a Connecticut forest. They found the beetle's rivals were less likely to discover the ones covered in goop. “If you can deter other scavengers, even for a little bit of time, it can buy you a lot,” said Daniel Rozen, a biologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands who was not involved in the new study. ___ Follow at @MarionRenault on Twitter ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Marion Renault, The Associated Press
ISTANBUL — A cargo ship sank off Turkey's Black Sea coast on Sunday, leaving at least three people dead, Turkish authorities said. Six others were rescued. The transport ministry said the Palau-flagged ship named Arvin had anchored off the port of Bartin in northern Turkey due to bad weather, before breaking into two pieces and sinking. Emergency workers saved at least six crew members and reached the bodies of two others, the ministry's naval branch said on Twitter. Bartin's Gov. Sinan Guner said a third person had died, according to the official Anadolu news agency. The navy sent a frigate to assist rescue efforts. The transport ministry said the ship had 12 crew members, including two Russians and 10 Ukrainians. The cargo ship was en route to Bulgaria from Georgia but the Black Sea region has been buffeted by heavy rains, snow and strong winds. The Associated Press
Joyce Miller and her husband have lived in their 9100-block North Kelly Road home for 50 years and for 45 of them, Canada Post has delivered mail to their door. But depending on the outcome of a review in answer to concerns about safety for carriers working in that area, the service could soon come to an end. On Dec. 18, the Millers and 29 other households received notices saying door-to-door delivery will be put on hold starting the next day while the review is carried out. Since then, they have had to go to the post office on Fifth Avenue downtown, a 15 to 20 minute drive one-way, to collect their mail. With both Miller and her husband well into their 70s, they have been housebound due to the COVID pandemic and have relied on a neighbour to pick up their mail. And at their ages, Miller said they have yet to learn how to pay their bills online. "All my bills are always mailed to me and then I phone the bank and I pay them," Miller said. Traffic congestion, vehicle speed, and the street width were raised as the points of trouble in the notice. Miller conceded speeding along the stretch, where the limit is 50 km/h, has been a problem, but also noted children walk along the road to attend nearby Springwood elementary school. Miller suspects much of the problem lies with some changes she maintains were made between the time Springwood was closed in 2010 and reopened in 2018, namely that signs warning drivers they were entering a 30 km/h school zone were taken down. "When they reopened Springwood and I questioned why there were no school signs there, they said there never were and we don't need them there," Miller said. "And I said, 'well, my youngest daughter went to Grade One in Springwood school and she's 50, so if you go back and look you'll see that there were school signs on North Kelly." Miller prefers to see a return of service but if that doesn't happen, she noted that there are superboxes on Zral Road just a two-minute walk away from where she lives. "We could go across and get our mail," Miller said. Either way, Miller hopes something better than having to go downtown will be in place sooner than later. In an email, Canada Post spokesperson Nicole Lecompte said it's expected the review will be completed shortly. "We apologize to our customers for this inconvenience and thank them for their patience while we finalize our review," Lecompte said. Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen
Small groups of right-wing protesters — some of them carrying rifles — gathered outside heavily fortified statehouses around the country Sunday, outnumbered by National Guard troops and police brought in to prevent a repeat of the violence that erupted at the U.S. Capitol. As darkness fell, there were no reports of any clashes. Security was stepped up in recent days after the FBI warned of the potential for armed protests in Washington and at all 50 state capitol buildings ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday. Crowds of only a dozen or two demonstrated at some boarded-up, cordoned-off statehouses, while the streets in many other capital cities remained empty. Some protesters said they were there to back President Donald Trump. Others said they had instead come to voice their support for gun rights or decry government overreach. “I don’t trust the results of the election,” said Michigan protester Martin Szelag, a 67-year-old semi-retired window salesman from Dearborn Heights. He wore a sign around his neck that read, in part, “We will support Joe Biden as our President if you can convince us he won legally. Show us the proof! Then the healing can begin.” As the day wore on with no bloodshed around the U.S., a sense of relief spread among officials, though they were not ready to let their guard down. The heavy law enforcement presence may have kept turnout down. In the past few days, some extremists had warned others against falling into what they called a law enforcement trap. Washington State Patrol spokesman Chris Loftis said he hoped the apparently peaceful day reflected some soul-searching among Americans. “I would love to say that it’s because we’ve all taken a sober look in the mirror and have decided that we are a more unified people than certain moments in time would indicate,” he said. The security measures were intended to safeguard seats of government from the type of violence that broke out at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, when far-right Trump supporters galvanized by his false claims that the election had been stolen from him overran the police and bashed their way into the building while Congress was certifying the Electoral College vote. The attack left a Capitol police officer and four others dead. More than 125 people have been arrested over the insurrection. Dozens of courts, election officials and Trump’s own attorney general have all said there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the presidential race. On Sunday, some statehouses were surrounded by new security fences, their windows were boarded up, and extra officers were on patrol. Legislatures generally were not in session over the weekend. Tall fences also surrounded the U.S. Capitol. The National Mall was closed to the public, and the mayor of Washington asked people not to visit. Some 25,000 National Guard troops from around the country are expected to arrive in the city in the coming days. U.S. defence officials told The Associated Press those troops would be vetted by the FBI to ward off any threat of an insider attack on the inauguration. The roughly 20 protesters who showed up at Michigan’s Capitol, including some who were armed, were significantly outnumbered by law enforcement officers and members of the media. Tensions have been running high in the state since authorities foiled a plot to kidnap Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last year. At the Ohio Statehouse, about two dozen people, including several carrying long guns, protested outside under the watchful eyes of state troopers before dispersing as it began to snow. Kathy Sherman, who was wearing a visor with “Trump” printed on it, said she supports the president but distanced herself from the mob that breached the U.S. Capitol. "I’m here to support the right to voice a political view or opinion without fear of censorship, harassment or the threat of losing my job or being physically assaulted,” she said. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, said he was pleased with the outcome but stressed that authorities "continue to have concerns for potential violence in the coming days, which is why I intend to maintain security levels at the Statehouse as we approach the presidential inauguration.” Utah's new governor, Republican Spencer Cox, shared photos on his Twitter account showing him with what appeared to be hundreds of National Guard troops and law enforcement officers standing behind him, all wearing masks. Cox called the quiet protests a best-case scenario and said many ”agitating groups" had cancelled their plans for the day. At Oregon's Capitol, fewer than a dozen men wearing military-style outfits, black ski masks and helmets stood nearby with semiautomatic weapons slung across their bodies. Some had upside-down American flags and signs reading such things as “Disarm the government.” At the Texas Capitol, Ben Hawk walked with about a dozen demonstrators up to the locked gates carrying a bullhorn and an AR-15 rifle hanging at the side of his camouflage pants. He condemned the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and said he did not support Trump. “All we came down here to do today was to discuss, gather, network and hang out. And it got blown and twisted completely out of proportion,” Hawk said. At Nevada's Capitol, where demonstrators supporting Trump have flocked most weekends in recent months, all was quiet except for a lone protester with a sign. “Trump Lost. Be Adults. Go Home,” it read. More than a third of governors had called out the National Guard to help protect their capitols and assist local law enforcement. Several governors declared states of emergency, and others closed their capitols to the public until after Biden's inauguration. Some legislatures also cancelled sessions or pared back their work for the coming week. Even before the violence at the Capitol, some statehouses had been the target of vandals and angry protesters during the past year. Last spring, armed protesters entered the Michigan Capitol to object to coronavirus lockdowns. People angry over the death of George Floyd under a Minneapolis police officer's knee vandalized capitols in several states, including Colorado, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin. Last last month, crowds in Oregon forced their way into the Capitol in Salem to protest its closure to the public during a special legislative session on coronavirus measures. Amid the potential for violence in the coming days, the building's first-floor windows were boarded up and the National Guard was brought in. "The state capitol has become a fortress,” said Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney, a Democrat. “I never thought I’d see that. It breaks my heart.” ___ Associated Press writers Farnoush Amiri in Columbus, Ohio; Gillian Flaccus in Salem, Oregon; Mike Householder and David Eggert in Lansing, Michigan; Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina; Rachel La Corte in Olympia, Washington; Sam Metz in Carson City, Nevada; Marc Scolforo in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Paul Weber in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report. David A. Lieb And Adam Geller, The Associated Press
FRANKFURT — Germany does not expect fans to be allowed back into Bundesliga matches until next season. Games in all major European football leagues have to be played in empty stadiums due to the second wave of coronavirus cases leading to a tightening of pandemic restrictions across the continent. Christian Seifert, CEO of the the top two men's leagues in Germany, said he presumes there will be no change to the policy before the end of the season. “In any case (of a fan return), not in a significant number. If we had ruled out games without fans from the start as some people demanded, the system would have collapsed,” Seifert said in comments published Sunday by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper. “And no one at (the league) or the clubs wants to have games without fans either. However, we still have them because they are the only permitted option for hosting games, and presumably we will have them until the end of the season.” Germany started the 2020-21 season with a six-week trial in September and October of limited numbers of fans allowed at games, up to 20% of the stadium capacity depending on the local coronavirus case numbers. The trial was part of a wide-ranging deal between German state and federal politicians and was not extended after the number of virus cases soared across the country. The last major soccer nation to bring back fans was England, which allowed small numbers of supporters at some games last month in a scheme that was shut down weeks later as the country entered a renewed lockdown. “The focus now is on completing the season,” Premier League chief executive Richard Masters told broadcaster Sky on Friday. “We don’t know when fans are going to be allowed back. It’s difficult to guess. “Obviously we’re hugely optimistic that by the start of next season the vaccination programme will have returned this country to some sense of normality and we can have fans back from the start of next season." Games in Italy, Spain and France are also being played without spectators. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
The Atlantic bubble was not only a good idea, but a blueprint for dramatic change, a novelist writes in an opinion article for CBC. Adam McQuaid of Cornwall, P.E.I., has announced his retirement from the NHL and hopes to visit the Island with his wife and newborn son when it's safe to travel. More people have been spending time at home during the pandemic and some shared pictures of their home-renovation projects with CBC. How's this for a pandemic project? A dairy farmer on P.E.I. has turned his manure pit into a skating rink. Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park in Brookvale, P.E.I., has opened after delays due to a lack of snow. COVID-19 health measures will be in place for skiers, such as mandatory face coverings and physical distancing at the lifts. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases reported on P.E.I. is 104, with eight still active. There have been no deaths or hospitalizations. New Brunswick announced 36 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, a single-day high since the start of the pandemic. There are now 292 active cases in the province. Nova Scotia reported four new cases, with 29 active. Also in the news Further resources Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
Two doctors who study COVID-19 say that when it comes to reducing the spread of the virus, Canadian health officials should focus more on tactics to help high-risk populations instead of imposing blanket restrictions on everyone. Dr. Sharmistha Mishra, the Canada Research Chair in mathematical modelling and program science, will be sharing her findings at an upcoming talk on equity and epidemics at B.C.'s Centre for Gender and Sexual Health Equity. "We talk about equity in a social science sort of framework, but it's actually fundamental to epidemic theory," Dr. Mishra said. Mishra says all diseases spread more among some groups than others, so the job of epidemiologists like her is to find out which groups are the most affected and work from there. The data that Mishra has been working with shows that people at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19 include essential and low-wage workers, people living in multi-generational or crowded homes, and those experiencing homelessness. The virus can spill over to other demographics, Mishra adds, so reducing the numbers for those most at-risk will reduce transmission overall. Mishra's talk will be a continuation of the talk her colleague Dr. Stefan Baral gave as part of the same series in December. Both doctors are based in Toronto. Baral, an associate professor at the John Hopkins School of Public Health's Department of Epidemiology, says there are strategies that will specifically help at-risk populations. These include providing more testing sites in neighbourhoods where those who are the most at risk are likely to live, as well as keeping those sites open longer so they can accommodate shift workers. Baral also recommends offering more financial support for low-income workers so they will be more likely to take time off work if they have any COVID-19 symptoms or are awaiting test results. "We need to alleviate the pressures that people face when making the decision about whether they're going to stay home from work," Baral said. Another strategy he suggests is to provide self-isolation sites for those who live in crowded homes. Systemic inequities vs. individual choices Baral says it can be easy, and satisfying, to blame the spread of COVID-19 on people's individual choices rather than systemic inequities that put certain people at risk more than others. Some physicians in Canada have advocated for COVID Zero, or COVID Near Zero — to lock down and restrict movement as much as possible in order to reduce transmission to more manageable levels. But Baral and Mishra say they believe it would instead be more effective to address the needs of those at most risk of getting infected and passing it on to others. Any type of lockdown will involve some form of essential workers, they argue. "Restrictions have a tendency to increase disparities because they don't address people's underlying needs," Baral said. "We still have Amazon, we still have Uber. We still have all of these folks that are serving the needs of society." Community-based approach Mishra and Baral say an important element in developing these strategies is to work with at-risk communities to figure out what works best for them. Dr. Birinder Narang, a physician and member of the newly-formed South Asian COVID Task Force in Metro Vancouver, says a community-based and culturally-appropriate approach is what has helped to greatly reduce COVID-19 transmission in the Fraser Health region. "There's been a lot of work happening behind the scenes with the community and with health care leaders," Narang said. In November, the region was the epicentre of COVID-19 in British Columbia — in particular, the City of Surrey, which is home to many essential workers who live in multi-generational households. But in the past few weeks the level of transmission there has dropped sharply. Dr. Narang says the task force came together to address the increase in cases in their community. Members have created culturally relevant information in multiple languages and gathered information about what barriers people in the region are facing. "We knew that the majority of people were trying the hardest, but that there were systemic and societal factors that were making it more difficult," he said. "One of the challenges of the public health orders is as they change, we don't know how accessible they are to every community."