Airlines are still in crisis mode because of the massive drop in passengers but the pandemic has created an opportunity for cargo flights, which have seen a massive boost in business.
Airlines are still in crisis mode because of the massive drop in passengers but the pandemic has created an opportunity for cargo flights, which have seen a massive boost in business.
WASHINGTON — The patter of paws is being heard in the White House again following the arrival of President Joe Biden's dogs Champ and Major. The two German shepherds are the first pets to live at the executive mansion since the Obama administration. Major burst onto the national scene late last year after Biden, then president-elect, broke his right foot while playing with the dog at their home in Wilmington, Delaware. The Bidens adopted Major in 2018 from the Delaware Humane Association. Champ joined the family after the 2008 presidential election that made Joe Biden vice-president. The dogs moved into the White House on Sunday, following Biden's inauguration last week. “The first family wanted to get settled before bringing the dogs down to Washington from Delaware,” said Michael LaRosa, spokesperson for first lady Jill Biden. “Champ is enjoying his new dog bed by the fireplace and Major loved running around on the South Lawn.” The dogs were heard barking outside near the Oval Office on Monday as Biden signed an executive order lifting the previous administration's ban on transgender people serving in the military. Last week, the Delaware Humane Association cosponsored an “indoguration” virtual fundraiser to celebrate Major's journey from shelter pup to first dog. More than $200,000 was raised. Major is the first shelter dog to ever live in the White House and “barking proof that every dog can live the American dream," the association said. The Bidens had promised to bring the dogs with them to the White House. They plan to add a cat, though no update on the feline's arrival was shared on Monday. White House press secretary Jen Psaki predicted, while on video answering questions from members of the public, that the cat will “dominate the internet” when it arrives. Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, a self-described germaphobe, does not own any pets and had none with him at the White House. Just like they do for ordinary people, pets owned by the most powerful people in the world provide their owners with comfort, entertainment, occasional drama and generally good PR. “Pets have played an important role in the White House throughout the decades, not only by providing companionship to the presidents and their families, but also by humanizing and softening their political images,” said Jennifer Pickens, author of a book about pets at the White House. Pets also serve as ambassadors to the White House, she said. Pickens added that she hoped the Bidens' decision to bring a rescue dog to the White House might inspire others to adopt. President Theodore Roosevelt had Skip, who is described by the White House Historical Association as a “short-legged Black and Tan mongrel terrier brought home from a Colorado bear hunt.” Warren G. Harding had Laddie Boy, who sat in on meetings and had his own Cabinet chair. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had his beloved terrier Fala. At night, Fala slept in a special chair at the foot of the president’s bed. More recently, George H.W. Bush’s English springer spaniel Millie was featured on “The Simpsons” and starred in a bestseller, “Millie’s Book: As dictated to Barbara Bush.” Hillary Clinton followed Bush’s lead with a children’s book about family dog Buddy and cat Socks: “Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to the First Pets.” When he declared victory in the 2008 presidential race, Barack Obama told his daughters: “You have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House.” Several months later, Bo joined the family, a gift from Sen. Ted Kennedy. A few years later, fellow Portuguese water dog Sunny arrived. Among the stranger White House pets was Calvin Coolidge and first lady Grace Coolidge’s raccoon Rebecca. She was given to the Coolidge family by a supporter who suggested the raccoon be served for Thanksgiving dinner, according to the White House Historical Association. But instead she got an embroidered collar with the title “White House Raccoon” and entertained children at the White House Easter Egg Roll. Some notable pets belonged to first kids, including Amy Carter’s Siamese cat, Misty Malarky Ying Yang, and Caroline Kennedy’s pony Macaroni. The Kennedy family had a veritable menagerie, complete with dogs, cats, birds, hamsters and a rabbit named Zsa Zsa. President Harry Truman famously said that “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog” — and many successors have followed Truman's advice. The first President Bush once said, “There is nothing like the unconditional love of a dog to help you get through the rough spots.” ___ Associated Press writer Kevin Freking contributed to this report. Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Sarah Sanders, Donald Trump's former chief spokeswoman, announced she's running for Arkansas governor at a time other Republicans are distancing themselves from the former president facing an impeachment charge that he incited the deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol. But the former White House press secretary, who left the job in 2019 to return to her home state, ran the other direction with an announcement Monday that embraced Trump as much as his rhetoric. “With the radical left now in control of Washington, your governor is your last line of defence,” Sanders said in a nearly eight-minute video announcing her 2022 bid that prominently featured pictures of the president as well as some of his favourite targets. Trump, who publicly encouraged Sanders to run, wasted no time putting his seal of approval on her bid. The former president on Monday night backed Sanders' candidacy — his first official, public endorsement since leaving office — and called her a “warrior who will always fight for the people of Arkansas and do what is right, not what is politically correct." The daughter of former Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sanders is the most high-profile Trump official to seek major office and is doing so less than a week after the tumultuous end of his presidency. Her candidacy could showcase just how much of a hold Trump still has on the GOP. “Trump is simply not a liability here,” said Janine Parry, a political scientist at the University of Arkansas. “At least for the time being, we’re in a state where he remains an asset.” That’s even as the Senate is preparing for an impeachment trial over the Jan. 6 insurrection by Trump supporters that was aimed at halting the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory over Trump. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell rebuked the president last week, saying he “provoked” the siege. Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson told reporters days before Biden’s inauguration he wanted Trump’s administration to end, though he also opposed the president’s impeachment. Sanders’ announcement makes a brief reference to the Capitol siege that left five dead, equating it with violence that occurred at some protests last year over racial injustice and the 2017 shooting at a congressional baseball practice that injured U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise and four others. “This is not who we are as Americans,” Sanders said in the video, but not mentioning Trump’s role in encouraging his supporters who stormed the Capitol. She joins a Republican primary that already includes two statewide elected leaders, Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. The three are running to succeed Hutchinson, who is unable to run next year due to term limits. No Democrats have announced a bid to run for the seat. Griffin and Rutledge had already spent months positioning themselves ahead of Sanders’ entry by lining up endorsements, raising money and trying to stake their claims as the most conservative candidate. Griffin has called for the outright elimination of the state’s income tax, while Rutledge signed on to Texas’ ultimately unsuccessful lawsuit challenging the result of the presidential election. Following the riot, Griffin and Rutledge issued statements condemning the storming of the Capitol but not addressing Trump’s role in stirring up his backers. Combined, the two have raised more than $2.8 million for the race. Griffin on Monday criticized Sanders for promising in her video to cut off funding to so-called sanctuary cities that violate immigration laws. He noted a 2019 measure Hutchinson signed into law already does just that by cutting off funding to cities that don’t co-operate with immigration authorities. “It sounds like she needs to catch up on what’s been going on in Arkansas,” Griffin said in a statement. Rutledge, meanwhile, said in a statement the race was about “who has a proven record and not merely rhetoric.” The race could also get even more crowded. Republican State Sen. Jim Hendren, a nephew of Hutchinson’s, is considering a run for the seat and said he hoped to make a decision within the next three weeks. “Right now we have three announced candidates but they all do represent the far right part of the Republican Party,” said Hendren, who has been much more willing to criticize Trump and hasn’t ruled out an independent bid. “The question I have to decide is, is there room for a more pragmatic, centrist type of approach?” Sanders was already well known in Arkansas politics, going back to when she appeared in ads for her father’s campaign. She managed Sen. John Boozman’s 2010 election and worked as an adviser to Sen. Tom Cotton’s in 2014. During Sanders’ nearly two-year tenure at the White House, daily televised briefings led by the press secretary ended after Sanders repeatedly sparred with reporters who aggressively questioned her. She faced questions about her credibility, but she also earned reporters’ respect working behind the scenes to develop relationships with the media. She remains an unknown on many issues and wasn’t made available for interviews Monday, though she staked out some positions in her introductory video that include reducing the state’s income tax. Her introductory video indicates she’s leaning more on her time with Trump, with it featuring images of or calling out those who frequently drew his ire including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and CNN. Republicans hold a firm grip on Arkansas, with the GOP holding all statewide and federal seats. They also hold a majority in both chambers of the Legislature. Trump in November won the state by nearly 28 percentage points, one of the biggest margins in his ultimate loss to Biden. State Democratic Party Chairman Michael John Gray on Monday called the GOP primary a “race to the bottom.” But national party leaders indicated Sanders’ candidacy may draw more resources and attention to a long-shot race that will coincide with 2022 congressional midterm elections. “As we close the book on a dark chapter in our history, we must make sure Trump’s brand of politics stays in the past," Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison tweeted. “Now, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is running on his record." Hutchinson, who has remained generally popular since taking office in 2015, said he didn't plan on endorsing anyone at this time in the race. “I am a voter, so I will follow the campaign with interest, but I have a job to do for the next two years, and I will devote my energies to bring Arkansas out of the pandemic and to revitalize our economy," he said in a statement. ___ Follow Andrew DeMillo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ademillo Andrew Demillo, The Associated Press
Canada's natural resources minister accused the Opposition of beating their chests in a show of support for the oil and gas industry, during an emergency debate in the House of Commons regarding the Keystone XL pipeline expansion project Monday evening. "Do we, as some are suggesting, start a trade war with our closest ally and largest trading partner, with the single largest customer for Canadian crude? ... I have not yet heard a single argument that would convince me a trade war is in the best interests of our oil and gas workers," Seamus O'Regan said. O'Regan said the new U.S. administration represents an opportunity to work together with a government aligned with Canada's priorities on clean energy, pointing to TC Energy — the Calgary-based company behind the Keystone project — committing to buying renewable energy to achieve net zero emissions. Last week, on his first day in office, U.S. President Joe Biden scrapped the pipeline's permit as one of multiple actions intended to fight climate change, effectively killing the $8-billion US project. If completed, the 1,897-kilometre pipeline expansion project, first announced in 2005, would have carried 830,000 barrels of oilsands crude from Hardisty, Alta., to Nebraska, where it would then connect with the original Keystone pipeline that runs to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. Opposition Leader Erin O'Toole called for the debate earlier on Monday, accusing the government of not doing enough to advocate for the expansion. During the evening's debate, which stretched until just past midnight in Ottawa, O'Toole described empty office towers and job losses in Calgary. "Canada has been dealt a serious blow … these are Canadians, thousands of them, being totally forgotten and left behind by this government," he said. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government has repeatedly said it supports the project, and Trudeau expressed his disappointment with Biden during a call between the two nations' leaders on Friday. "We will stand up and have our workers' backs.… Let's talk TMX. We approved it, we bought it, we're building it," O'Regan said, referring to the federal purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which is under construction. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has called for sanctions against the U.S. in response to the permit's cancellation. Kenney's government invested $1.5 billion Cdn in equity in the project alongside billions in loan guarantees.The provincial opposition NDP is calling on the Alberta government to release documents containing details of that deal, calling it a risky one. The project had been rejected under former president Barack Obama's government. It was later approved under former president Donald Trump, but Biden had repeatedly stated he intended to rescind that permit once elected. Canada's ambassador to the U.S. has said it's time to respect that decision, however disappointing it may be to proponents, and move forward. WATCH | Keystone XL pipeline project 'appears to be dead,' says Rachel Notley Edmonton-Strathcona NDP MP Heather McPherson said Biden's decision should have come as no surprise given Biden's opposition and legal challenges of the project. "Remember when Jason Kenney gambled on Donald Trump. He didn't gamble his money — he gambled ours … that was his plan to get jobs for workers in my province," she said. "Now, he wants to start a trade war with the U.S., the customer for 95 per cent of our energy exports." Lakeland Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs said while the decision did not come as a shock, it underlines that Canada is in a vulnerable position when it comes to its energy industry as the U.S. has increased domestic production. "With the stroke of a pen thousands of people are out of work in the middle of a global crisis ... Canadians whose livelihoods depend on the oil and gas sector are rightfully anxious about their future," she said. O'Regan referred to climate change as an "existential crisis." "The market has an important role here. It is the leading role in determining how investment decisions should be made, but it is our government's duty to set the parameters on that and to incent what we believe to be extraordinarily important goals, namely net-zero emissions by 2050. That is the goal we have set for ourselves, and many of our friends, colleagues and competitors around the world have also set that goal for themselves. This is an existential crisis, there is no question." It's also an economic crisis for the many people across the country who worry they may be left behind, he said. "We cannot allow that to happen." Former Green Party Leader and Saanich-Gulf Islands MP Elizabeth May said it would be extremely unfair to say those who think the Keystone expansion cancellation was a good decision don't care about workers losing their jobs. "I would no more say that people who are supporting the oilsands are deliberately and consciously threatening my grandchildrens' future than I would say it's right to be celebrating when people suffer an immediate downturn in their economic prospects."
POMPEII, Italy — Decades after suffering bombing and earthquake damage, Pompeii’s museum has been reborn, showing off exquisite finds from excavations of the ancient Roman city. Officials of the archeological park of the ruins of the city destroyed in 79 A.D. by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius inaugurated the museum on Monday. Known as the Antiquarium, the museum gives Pompeii a permanent exhibition space. Visitors can see sections of frescoed walls from the sprawling city's unearthed villas, examples of some of the graffiti unearthed by archaeologists as well as household objects ranging from silver spoons to a bronze food-warmer, items of the everyday life that was snuffed out by the volcanic explosion. First opened in about 1873, the Antiquarium was damaged by bombing during World War II and again in 1980, when a deadly earthquake rocked the Naples area. Since the quake, the museum had been closed, although it was reopened in 2016 as a space for temporary exhibitions. The Antiquarium's displays also document Pompeii's history as a settlement several centuries before it became a flourishing Roman city. Due to Italy's COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions, currently only visitors from Italy's Campania region, which includes the Naples area and the Pompeii ruins, can see the museum. Pompeii is one of Italy's top tourist attractions, and when mass tourism eventually resumes, entrance tickets to the ruins will also include a visit to the Antiquarium. The re-opening of the museum after so many decades of travail is “a sign of great hope during a very difficult moment,” Pompeii's long time director, Massimo Osanna, said. He was referring to the harsh blow that the pandemic's travel restrictions have dealt to tourism, one of Italy's biggest revenue sources. On display in the last room of the museum are poignant casts made from the remains of some of Pompeii's residents who tried to flee but were overcome by blasts of volcanic gases or battered by a rain of lava stones ejected by Vesuvius. “I find particularly touching the last room, the one dedicated to the eruption, and where on display are the objects deformed by the heat of the eruption, the casts of the victims, the casts of the animals," Osanna said. “Really, one touches with one's hand the incredible drama that the 79 A.D. eruption was.” Large swaths of Pompeii remain to be excavated. While tourism virtually ground to a halt during the pandemic, archaeologists have kept working. Just a month ago, Osanna revealed the discovery of an ancient fast-food eatery at Pompeii. Completely excavated, the find helped to reveal dishes popular with the citizens of the ancient city who apparently were partial to eating out, including what was on the menu the day that Pompeii was destroyed. —- D'Emilio reported from Rome. Andrea Rosa,Frances D'Emilio, The Associated Press
EDMONTON — Microsoft founder Bill Gates did not create the virus that causes COVID-19 and he is not forcing microchips into your body through vaccinations. Those pieces of misinformation are examples of what a group of Canadian scientists and health professionals is trying to discredit through a new campaign tackling inaccurate theories about the pandemic. About 40 misinformation debunkers are using the hashtag #ScienceUpFirst to provide science-based evidence on social media. "There's been misinformation about all kinds of things that you can do to treat COVID with crazy treatments like cow urine and bleach," said Prof. Timothy Caulfield, Canadian research chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta. Caulfield is spearheading the #ScienceUpFirst movement. "And now we're in the middle of trying to roll out the vaccine and we know that misinformation is having an adverse impact on vaccination. "Things like the vaccine will change your DNA. No, it won't. The idea that the vaccine is associated with infertility. No, it's not," Caulfield said Monday in a phone interview. "There is just an incredible amount of misinformation out there about COVID. I've been studying misinformation for decades. I've never seen anything like this." He said the campaign was already trending on Twitter on Monday, the day of its launch. Caulfield is known for taking actor Gwyneth Paltrow's wellness brand Goop to task in his book "Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong about Everything?'' as well as for a Netflix series called "A User's Guide to Cheating Death." The initiative is in collaboration with the Canadian Association of Science Centres, COVID-19 Resources Canada, and the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta. "There's been research that has shown that the spread of misinformation is having an adverse impact on health and science policy, it's led to increased stigma and discrimination, and it's just added to the chaotic information environment that we all have to deal with," Caufield said. "The evidence tells us that debunking does work if you do it well, so we're trying to do it well. We're trying to listen. We're trying to be empathetic in our approach. We're trying to be creative in our messaging and, hopefully, even if we move the needle a little bit, we can make a difference." A spokesperson for #ScienceUpFirst says the campaign is pushing to involve Canadian athletes and celebrities to get the word out about tackling misinformation. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. ——— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press
Cases in Fort Frances and the region have decreased which is a good sign for the area but Dr. Kit Young Hoon, medical officer of health at the Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU), said if cases rise again schools may have to return to online learning. It was announced on Thursday that schools in Fort Frances will open up to in-person learning on Jan.25. With the help of The Ministry of Education, additional safety measures will be implemented to help schools decrease the transmission of COVID-19. All school staff and visitors in both elementary and secondary schools must complete an on-site validation of COVID-19 screening before entering school property. The same on-site validation will be required by all secondary students beginning Feb. 10th, 2021 Young Hoon reminds parents and students of the new prevention measures which include mandatory masking in grades 1-3 in schools, on buses, in school board vehicles, and in before and after school programs, encouragement for masking in kindergarten students and masking outside when a physical distance of 2 meters or more cannot be maintained. As well, all students must be screened at home on a daily basis before going to school. This will be the first time Fort Frances students are back in the classroom since the holiday break. There were seven new cases reported in the region over the weekend, with three in the Kenora area, and four in the Rainy River District. There are now 19 active cases in the region. Since March there has been a total of 247 confirmed cases. Two people are currently hospitalized and there has been a total of 13 hospitalizations during the pandemic. Young Hoon is continuing to remind the public to continue practicing COVID-19 prevention measures and to avoid getting in contact with those outside of your household which is how COVID is often spread. “It’s really important for everyone to continue following public health measures because that helps to prevent a sudden increase in case numbers,” Young Hoon said. Restrictions are still in place in Manitoba, but some are slowly beginning to be loosened. Ontario remains under stay at home orders until at least Feb. 11 and Young Hoon said no one should be travelling to Manitoba unless for essential reasons like medical appointments. Young Hoon said it is normal for COVID-19 case numbers to fluctuate but it is important to look at the trend of how individuals are contracting the disease. She adds that the decrease in numbers has been a joint effort between the public follow prevention measures and contact tracing. Natali Trivuncic, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort Frances Times
The Bradley Barton manslaughter jury trial came to an abrupt halt on Monday morning, when the proceedings were paused while the accused finds out if he has COVID-19. Barton is accused of killing Cindy Gladue in June 2011. The retrial was ordered by the Supreme Court of Canada and was about to begin a third week of testimony in Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench. Defence lawyer Dino Bottos told the court his client began to exhibit COVID-19 symptoms after court ended on Friday. He was tested Monday morning. The jurors were notified early Sunday evening not to report to court until further notice. A positive test result could delay the trial for two weeks or longer. "If he's positive and symptomatic, I know that Alberta Health Services will give him guidance directly on how long the quarantine should last for," Justice Stephen Hillier said. "We've got to anticipate some risk that he may need hospitalization." Bottos told the court that if Barton does test positive, he and all staff at his law firm would undergo testing for COVID-19. "The worst case scenario would require my whole firm — lawyers, students and staff to be tested," Bottos told CBC News. "If that were the case, if one of us tested positive, then that would cause another at least 10-day delay before we could proceed. If Barton's test comes back negative, the trial could resume as early as Thursday morning, according to Bottos and Hillier. Bottos said his client was beginning to feel better on Monday morning as he copes with the dual stress of being on trial and illness. "It is difficult," Bottos said. "He's having to relive and be prepared to retell a story that occurred over nine-and-a-half years ago. He's no longer 42. He's now 52 and that's going to be difficult." The trial is scheduled to last up to seven weeks.
WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement officials are examining a number of threats aimed at members of Congress as the second trial of former President Donald Trump nears, including ominous chatter about killing legislators or attacking them outside of the U.S. Capitol, a U.S. official told The Associated Press. The threats, and concerns that armed protesters could return to sack the Capitol anew, have prompted the U.S. Capitol Police and other federal law enforcement to insist thousands of National Guard troops remain in Washington as the Senate moves forward with plans for Trump's trial, the official said. The shocking insurrection at the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob prompted federal officials to rethink security in and around its landmarks, resulting in an unprecedented lockdown for Biden's inauguration. Though the event went off without any problems and armed protests around the country did not materialize, the threats to lawmakers ahead of Trump's trial exemplified the continued potential for danger. Similar to those intercepted by investigators ahead of Biden’s inauguration, the threats that law enforcement agents are tracking vary in specificity and credibility, said the official, who had been briefed on the matter. Mainly posted online and in chat groups, the messages have included plots to attack members of Congress during travel to and from the Capitol complex during the trial, according to the official. The official was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation publicly and spoke Sunday to the AP on condition of anonymity. Law enforcement officials are already starting to plan for the possibility of armed protesters returning to the nation's capital when Trump’s Senate trial on a charge of inciting a violent insurrection begins the week of Feb. 8. It would be the first impeachment trial of a former U.S. president. Though much of the security apparatus around Washington set up after the Jan. 6 riot and ahead of Biden’s inauguration — it included scores of military checkpoints and hundreds of additional law enforcement personnel — is no longer in place, about 7,000 members of the National Guard will remain to assist federal law enforcement, officials said. Gen. Dan Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said Monday that about 13,000 Guard members are still deployed in D.C., and that their numbers would shrink to 7,000 by the end of this week. John Whitley, the acting secretary of the Army, told a Pentagon news conference that this number is based on requests for assistance from the Capitol Police, the Park Police, the Secret Service and the Metropolitan Police Department. Whitley said the number is to drop to 5,000 by mid-March. Thousands of Trump’s supporters descended on the Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress met to certify Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential race. More than 800 are believed to have made their way into the Capitol during the violent siege, pushing past overwhelmed police officers. The Capitol police said they planned for a free speech protest, not a riot, and were caught off guard despite intelligence suggesting the rally would descend into a riot. Five people died in the melee, including a Capitol police officer who was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher. At least five people facing federal charges have suggested they believed they were taking orders from Trump when they marched on Capitol Hill to challenge the certification of Biden’s election victory. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. More than 130 people have been charged by federal prosecutors for their roles in the riot. In recent weeks, others have been arrested after posting threats against members of Congress. They include a Proud Boys supporter who authorities said threatened to deploy “three cars full of armed patriots” to Washington, threatened harm against Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., and who is accused of stockpiling military-style combat knives and more than 1,000 rifle rounds in his New York home. A Texas man was arrested this week for taking part in the riot at the Capitol and for posting violent threats, including a call to assassinate Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y ___ Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
FREDERICTON — Bertha Higgs, the mother of New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs, passed away Monday at the age of 100. The news was made public on Twitter by Higgs's chief of staff, Louis Leger. Mrs. Higgs celebrated her 100th birthday on Dec. 31, 2020, at her home in Forest City, N.B., close to the border with Maine. The premier has said his mother was a school teacher and that up until Grade 6, his teachers were either his mother or his aunt. Higgs has said his mother was very inquisitive and would always ask him about what was happening in the province. Details on funeral arrangements will be forthcoming. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
WHITEHORSE — Yukon Premier Sandy Silver says a federal government decision to refer a proposed mining development back to a territorial assessment board sends a "troubling signal." A statement from Silver's office says the referral creates "unreasonable and unnecessary uncertainty" for developer BMC Minerals. The Kudz Ze Kayah project is a proposed open pit and underground zinc, silver, copper, gold and lead mine east of Whitehorse, and Silver says the territory's assessment board had already issued recommendations about it. He says Yukon was prepared to accept the recommendations and proceed, but the federal referral derails any action. The project has undergone four years of review since BMC Minerals took it over in January 2015. Natural Resources Canada did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Silver says his government opposes the referral and believes the territory's assessment board was reasonable to allow work to proceed with added improvements and monitoring. "The Government of Canada absolutely needs to take steps to streamline these processes going forward to ensure greater clarity and certainty for the mining industry," Silver says in the release issued Monday. A statement on the Kudz Ze Kayah website says the project should have annual production of just under 107,000 tonnes of zinc and smaller amounts of lead and copper over its nine-year life span, with all the ore shipped overseas through the port of Stewart in northwestern B.C. BMC Minerals, an offshoot of United Kingdom-based BMC Ltd., says the project will provide jobs and business opportunities for Kaska First Nation citizens and local communities, supporting the territory and the rest of Canada. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
A Timmins singer is “thrilled” to win third place in a national singing competition. Maggie Gignac, who was raised in Gogama, made it to the Top 3 at the virtual KI's Our Voices 2021 competition. “I was thrilled when I found out I’d placed in third,” she said. “I spent the day and evening before announcements convincing myself that I’d be placed in third and that’s exactly what happened. I couldn’t have been any happier. I just had this gut feeling.” The virtual competition kicked off Jan. 19 with the final results announced Jan. 24. Before the pandemic, the singing competition took place at Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation, also known as Big Trout Lake. Gignac is not new to this contest. This is her third time competing and each time she has climbed up in ranking. Last year, she won fourth place. “I’m really happy with the way things played out and grateful to have been a part of the experience for the third time,” she said. “It’s a really great competition run solo by a man with a passion for music, so a huge thank you to Noah Chapman for continuously putting on these amazing shows.” There were about 45 participants this year who were split into two groups. Gignac had to submit four videos of her singing plus an audition video and a showcase video. The scoring criteria were based on five categories such as audience likes, vocal talent, originality, stage presence and overall impression/preparedness. For each category, a contestant could receive a maximum of 10 points. “The contestant with the most likes receives 10/10, the second most likes 9/10 and so on,” Gignac said. “In that category, I received 4/10, even after accumulating 700 plus likes on my videos, for both of my top ten performances. So I’m really proud to say with what I lacked, I made up in other categories to have climbed up to the third place.” For Gignac, the challenge this year was the number of well-known singers and their big fanbase. “The Facebook group grew from around 22,000 to over 29,000 within those few days of competition,” she said. “Unfortunately, in the virtual competition, likes play a role in your final scoring, giving well-known artists a bit of an advantage.” The top 10 winners also received cash prizes. For third place, Gignac won $3,000. “With all the uncertainties during this pandemic, I’m sure the cash prizes are most definitely going to help some people out greatly,” Gignac said. Gignac’s work can be viewed on her Facebook page and Instagram. Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com
B.C. health officials say they are extending the gap between shots to 42 days from 35 after learning fewer doses are on their way. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says B.C. is at a critical juncture.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Monday reinstated COVID-19 travel restrictions on most non-U.S. travellers from Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom and 26 other European countries that allow travel across open borders. He also added South Africa to the list. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said South Africa was added to the restricted list because of concerns about a variant of the virus that has spread beyond that nation. “This isn’t the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel,” Psaki said. The prohibition Biden is reinstating suspends entry to nearly all foreign nationals who have been in any of the countries on the restricted list at any point during the 14 days before their scheduled travel to the U.S. The new requirements go into effect on Tuesday. Top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci called Biden's decision to reinstate the travel restrictions—and add South Africa to the list— “prudent” in a round of television interviews Monday. “We have concern about the mutation that’s in South Africa," Fauci told "CBS This Morning." "We’re looking at it very actively. It is clearly a different and more ominous than the one in the U.K., and I think it’s very prudent to restrict travel of noncitizens.” Biden revered an order from President Donald Trump in his final days in office that called for the relaxation of the travel restrictions as of Tuesday. Trump's move was made in conjunction with a new requirement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that all international travellers to the U.S. obtain a negative test for COVID-19 within three days of boarding their flight. Last week, Biden expanded on the CDC requirement and directed that federal agencies require international travellers to quarantine upon arrival in the U.S. and obtain another negative test to slow the spread of the virus. Those requirements also go into effect Tuesday. The 26 European countries impacted by reinstatement of the ban are part of the border-free Schengen zone. They include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Biden's team had announced that he would reimpose the travel restrictions, but the addition of South Africa to the restricted travel list highlights the new administration’s concern about mutations in the virus. The South Africa variant has not been discovered in the United States, but another variant — originating in the United Kingdom — has been detected in several states. Fauci said there is “a very slight, modest diminution” of the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against those variants but “there’s enough cushion with the vaccines that we have that we still consider them to be effective against both the UK strain and the South Africa strain.” But he warned that more mutations are possible and said scientists are preparing to adapt the vaccines if necessary. “We really need to make sure that we begin, and we already have, to prepare if it’s necessary to upgrade the vaccines,” Fauci said. “We’re already taking steps in that direction despite the fact that the vaccines we have now do work.” Aamer Madhani And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
KAMPALA, Uganda — A judge ruled on Monday that Ugandan security forces cannot detain presidential challenger Bobi Wine inside his home, rebuking authorities for holding the candidate under house arrest following a disputed election. Wine, whose real name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, has been unable to leave his home since Jan. 14, when Ugandans voted in an election in which the singer-turned-politician was the main challenger to President Yoweri Museveni. Ugandan authorities have said Wine can only leave his home on the outskirts of the capital, Kampala, under military escort because they fear his presence in public could incite rioting. But the judge said in his ruling that Wine's home is not a proper detention facility and noted that authorities should criminally charge him if he threatens public order. The U.S. Embassy in a Twitter post said the judge's ruling “underscores the role of an impartial judiciary,” adding that Washington “calls on security forces to honour the decision.” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said: “It’s very important that the security forces do show restraint and also obey ... the order." Wine’s associates welcomed the courtroom victory, but it remains to be seen if authorities will respect the judge’s order in this East African country where similar orders have been ignored in many cases. Ugandan police told reporters on Monday that they would pull away from Wine’s residence but keep surveilling the area. But Wine said hours after the court's decision that soldiers still surrounded his home, “blocking access to all.” “Perhaps (as always) waiting for Gen. Museveni's orders on the next course of action,” he tweeted. Museveni won the election with 58% of the vote while Wine had 34%, according to official results. Wine insists he won and has said he can prove that the military was stuffing ballot boxes, casting ballots for people and chasing voters away from polling stations. Wine has accused Museveni of staging a “coup” in last week’s election and is urging his supporters to protest his loss through nonviolent means. But he suggested in a statement Friday he might not go to court to challenge the official results because of concerns a possible loss there would validate Museveni’s win. He said he would announce a decision “in a few days.” Despite failing in his bid to unseat Museveni, the 38-year-old Wine has emerged as the country’s most powerful opposition figure. He is set to name the official leader of the opposition in the National Assembly after his National Unity Platform party won at least 56 seats, the most of any opposition group in the legislative body. That number could rise to 61 when final results are announced. Museveni's National Resistance Movement party has more than 300 seats, an absolute majority that allows it to move ahead with his agenda without negotiating with the opposition. Museveni, 76, has dismissed allegations of vote-rigging, calling the election “the most cheating-free” since independence from Britain in 1962. Uganda’s election was marred by violence ahead of polling day as well as an internet shutdown that remained in force until four days after the election. Social media sites remain restricted. Uganda has never witnessed a peaceful transfer of power — one reason why even some within Museveni's party urge him to preside over an orderly transition. Rodney Muhumuza, The Associated Press
Charges have been laid against several people at an anti-mask protest held in Moncton on Sunday. Codiac Regional RCMP arrested at least five people who appeared in Moncton provincial court Monday by phone from police holding cells. The arrests followed Codiac Regional RCMP telling Moncton council last week that officers would take action regarding anti-mask protesters flouting provincial rules meant to limit the spread of COVID-19. 2 people face criminal charges All five were issued tickets for alleged violations of New Brunswick's Emergency Measures Act. It's alleged they attended an outdoor gathering of more than five people while not wearing a mask. Jonathan Rossiter, 29, of Nackawic, and Dawn Teakles, 49, of Moncton, face charges of assaulting police officers and obstructing police officers. Crown prosecutor Remi Allard told provincial court Judge Lucie Mathurin he was objecting to their release from custody but wanted time to review their files in more detail. Later in the day, he told the judge the Crown would consent to their release on various conditions, including staying away from Moncton City Hall, where protests have been held. They are scheduled to return to court to enter a plea on Feb. 22. "We can no longer gather peacefully?" Teakles asked the judge Monday afternoon. "I'm not here to give you a legal opinion," Mathurin said, telling her she'd have to consult with a lawyer. Earlier in the day, Allard said he was seeking to have all five held pending bail hearings. "At this point it is repetition of the offence," Allard said. 'This is false imprisonment' Rossiter in a boisterous appearance told the judge he had a medical exemption that allows him not to wear a mask. Others charged also alleged they have medical exemptions that allow them not to wear masks. Rossiter, appearing by phone, yelled that he wasn't part of the protest and was only there filming. "This is false imprisonment," Rossiter said. After the judge outlined the ticket involving the alleged violation of the province's emergency order, Rossiter said "there is no emergency." "Everything you just said is fraudulent, it's pathetic," he said, going on to say he would charge all of the police officers involved." "Everything you're doing is illegal, you criminals," he said. David West, 54, of Riverview, Nicholas DeAngelis, 34, of Bathurst, and Britney Green, 31, of Bathurst, were issued tickets for violations of the Emergency Measures Act. Mathurin appeared skeptical when the Crown objected to their release earlier in the day. "This is the 10th such occasion that the RCMP have dealt with her," Allard said of Green, noting she had also been ticketed by the Kennebecasis Regional Police Force on Saturday. The judge noted that would have involved travelling between two health zones, something that's discouraged under COVID-19 rules. West, DeAngelis and Green remain in custody with a bail hearing scheduled for Thursday.
She’s had Dex since he could fit in her hand. As a puppy, Dex had an overbite that made nursing impossible. So Cindi Ilchuk adopted and hand fed the dog until he was able to eat. Now he’s 10 years old, 65 pounds, and the two are inseparable. “Dex is a support dog. He’s not an officially trained support dog, but he fell into the job and he’s filled the role wonderfully,” said Ilchuk’s stepfather Wayne Pierce. “That dog is everything to Cindi. I don’t know what she’d do without him. He’s the one constant in her life.” On Jan. 17, Dex broke his paw in the panic that ensued when a fire engulfed the hallway at Ilchuk’s apartment — the Town Park Apartment C block fire that has displaced everyone who lived in the 15 units. RELATED: ‘Suspicious’ Port Hardy apartment fire could keep tenants out of their homes for months RELATED: Fundraiser started for tenants left hanging after apartment fire In the panic of the fire, Ilchuck slid down the drain pipe to escape the fire and smoke in the hallway. A friend tried to pass Dex down to her. She half-caught, half-broke the dog’s fall, but he landed on one paw breaking it badly. “Everyone heard him yelp when that happened,” Pierce said. If the break had been a few inches higher, a simple cast could have been used. But the paw was broken at a joint, and requires surgery. Dex has been at the North Island Veterinarian Hospital since the fire and is getting anxious for Ilchuk, staff told Pierce. Pierce will take Dex to Campbell River Veterinarian Hospital for surgery on Jan. 25, but isn’t sure how their family will cover the $4,000 bill, plus over $1,000 due to the North Island Veterinarian Hospital. Ilchuk is on disability income for a variety of health challenges, and now faces the imminent challenge of finding new housing. She has been living in Town Park Apartment C-block in Port Hardy for just over a year — the longest home Pierce can remember in the last 20 years. Ilchuk’s mother Ann Ilchuk has started a GoFundMe account to raise funds towards the surgery costs: https://gofund.me/70f1ef35. Staff at both veterinarian hospitals will also accept payments to Dex’s account. RCMP consider the fire suspicious and are investigating. Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
FREDERICTON — Health officials in New Brunswick confirmed Monday that two residents of a long-term care facility in Saint John died last week after testing positive for COVID-19. Only one of those deaths, however, is being attributed to the novel coronavirus, chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell told reporters Monday. The COVID-related death involved a person in their 70s, she said, adding that New Brunswick has reported a total of 14 fatalities linked to the virus. Seniors services company Shannex said Sunday that a resident of Parkland Saint John retirement complex died last Thursday and another died Friday. The company apologized for the delay in reporting the deaths, adding that identifying COVID-related deaths among residents can be complicated. Five of the 14 deaths in New Brunswick attributed to the virus have occurred at Parkland Saint John. New Brunswick health officials reported 27 new infections Monday, including 19 that were identified in the Edmundston region, which entered a 14-day lockdown on Sunday. Officials said the Saint John and Fredericton regions will move to the "orange" pandemic-alert level on Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. after they were at the "red," or highest level, for the past week. The Moncton region — where four new cases were reported Monday — will remain at the red level. Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said the Campbellton, Bathurst and Miramichi regions could soon be moved into a more relaxed alert level because of the few daily reported cases in those areas. "We need to keep these zones in orange for now to ensure the health and safety of those who live there," Shephard said Monday, about those three regions. "But if trends continue to go well in these zones we will move all three to yellow once public health recommends we do so, hopefully later this week." Officials say there are 348 active reported infections in the province and six people in hospital with the disease, including three who are in intensive care. New Brunswick has reported a total of 1,151 infections since the start of the pandemic. Shephard said more than 14,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the province and 2,839 people have received their second dose. "Vaccination clinics are planned for 20 long-term care facilities this week, using the Moderna vaccine to provide the first dose to more than 750 people," Shephard said, adding that "more than 1,600 health-care workers are scheduled to get their second dose of the vaccine this week." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press
Le conseil municipal de la Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts a remis à plus tard les démarches visant l’édification d’un projet immobilier dans le secteur du Mont-Habitant. « Nous avons dû remettre à plus tard les consultations publiques pour l’évaluation de ce projet. Nous devons attendre après la Santé publique, afin de pouvoir réunir de 50 à 75 citoyens en un même endroit, à cause de la Covid. On préfère prendre notre temps, agir en toute transparence et voir ce que le promoteur voudra faire. Il est question de possiblement baisser le nombre de maisons mises en chantier », a décrit le maire de Saint-Sauveur, M. Jacques Gariépy. « J’aimerais rassurer les gens, qui me disent que l’on va perdre une belle montagne. Rassurez-vous, il n’est pas question de toucher à la station de ski. C’est un projet à part ». Le premier citoyen sauverien a tenu à souligner l’envoi à Québec d’une résolution de son conseil, demandant à la SQ d’exercer un contrôle plus serré auprès des personnes en provenance des zones rouges, vers la MRC des Pays-d’en-Haut. « Nous l’avons acheminé à la ministre de la sécurité publique, au premier-ministre Legault, au préfêt de la MRC, à notre députée/ministre Marguerite Blais, etc. On veut que tous les moyens soient pris pour garder notre taux de contamination bas ». Enfin, M. Garipéy espère conclure avant la période des fêtes une entente avec la MRC des PDH, afin que les résidents de Saint-Sauveur puissent utiliser gratuitement les sentiers du territoire de la MRC. Il y aura une collecte des encombrants les 3 et 4 novembre prochains. Les citoyens qui souhaitent utiliser ce service doivent s’inscrire en ligne sur le site de la municipalité avant le 30 octobre à midi. Le port du masque est maintenant obligatoire à l’écocentre, dès votre arrivée, pour protéger le personnel et les utilisateurs du site.Ève Ménard, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
A semiconductor industry group on Monday called for a review of the Trump administration's export control policy, and urged the incoming U.S. Commerce Secretary to work with allies when curbing sales of U.S. technology to China for national security. SEMI, which represents semiconductor equipment makers and device manufacturers worldwide, said the prior administration’s unilateral rules had made any potential benefit likely to be less effective over time, had unnecessarily hurt American industry, and had left U.S. exporters vulnerable to retaliation. In a letter to Gina Raimondo, secretary-designate of the U.S. Commerce Department, SEMI President Ajit Manocha said the United States should coordinate with allies whose companies compete in the global market.
The Chatham-Kent Police’s Intelligence Unit has taken down four large-scale illegal cannabis grow operations, all within the past six months. Since September, police have seized more than 25,000 pot plants in the community, worth an estimated $25.5 million. According to police, the first of the three operations was found when officers with the service’s Intelligence Unit executed a search warrant at a property on Richmond Street in Chatham on January 8, 2021. At that time, officers seized a little more than 9,000 illegal plants with an estimated street value of $9 million, along with a large amount of Canadian cash. A second illegal grow op was busted on the same day on Grand Avenue East in Chatham. Police said they learned about that operation after emergency crews were called to the building for a fire. Officers said they then obtained and executed a warrant and seized 489 illegal plants with an estimated street value of $489,000. The third grow op was busted a week later, on January 15, at another property on Richmond Street in Chatham. A total of 8580 illegal plants were seized with a total street value of $8.6 million. They were all arrested and charged with cultivating and possession of cannabis for the purposes of selling and were all later released pending a future court date. “This past year, a significant amount of cannabis associated with illegal drug operations has been found in Chatham-Kent,” said Chief Gary Conn. “These operations will not be tolerated here in our community as we know their actions may lead to violent behaviour, property crimes and organized crime. Our officers have and will continue to investigate reports of illegal drug activity to ensure the safety of everyone here in our community.” The three busts in January come after another significant investigation that took down an illegal $7.3 million grow op at a greenhouse facility on Maynard Line in September 2020. Chatham-Kent police said by seizing the marijuana plants and shutting down the operations, they have removed the illegal cannabis from the streets and kept it “out of the hands of our youth.” “The goal of locating and dismantling these illegal production sites is to safeguard our community from the dangers that inherently come with the illegal cannabis industry, such as; violent criminal activity, human trafficking and public health concerns due to a lack of regulatory oversight in the illicit market,” said Const. Renee Cowell. Police have stressed they are not targeting those who grow cannabis legally for their own personal use or storefronts that have legally obtained a permit. Instead, they are focusing on cutting off the illegal supply in order to “reduce the criminality that results from these lucrative criminal networks.” To report suspicious activity, please call us at 519-352-1234 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News