SHERBROOKE – Historic Sherbrooke Village has asked municipal council for a letter supporting its application to the federal Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) for a grant that could be worth as much as $1 million. The money would be used to kickstart the Rural Institute for Cultural Heritage and Environmental Sustainability (RICHES), a program designed to expand cultural tourism and stimulate community economic development in the area. Earlier this year, the living museum received nearly $1 million from the provincial department of Culture and Heritage both to repair many of its historic buildings and leverage matching funds from ACOA under an existing economic development formula. Sherbrooke Village’s Executive Director Stephen Flemming was not available for comment, but Marvin MacDonald, Chief Administrative Officer of the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s, confirmed the museum head issued the request during a presentation to the committee of the whole meeting (COTW) on Nov. 18. “His ask to council was just a letter,” he said. “There was no specific funding request [that] night.” In an interview earlier this month, the village’s Director of Visitor Experience Robin Anderson said the funding application, “has been put across the desk of ACOA for final review and recommendation. All indicators are that they are encouraged.” She added that the initiative will also require a municipal and/or private sector component. “Certainly, the top priority now is the development of some sort of fundraising committee,” she said. In other business, the COTW also heard from Whale Sanctuary Project (WSP) Executive Director Charles Vinick, who recently completed a two-week stint in self-isolation at a Halifax hotel after arriving from his California headquarters late last month. “His presentation was great,” MacDonald said. “It was just an opportunity for him to report on where the project is and address a few questions from council.” Vinick represents a multinational effort to relocate beluga whales – rescued from marine captivity across North America – at a special coastal refuge near Port Hilford. Over the past several months, the initiative has generated extensive international coverage and broad support within the local community. “They (WSP) are going to be moving into the permitting stage and there’s going to be some investigation into what permits are required and that type of thing,” MacDonald said. Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Toronto police say they have identified a person of interest in the high-profile 2017 homicides of a billionaire philanthropist couple.However, the force says no arrest has been made related to the murders of Barry and Honey Sherman.The founder of generic pharmaceutical company Apotex and his wife were killed inside their Toronto mansion in December 2017.Autopsy results revealed the couple died by "ligature neck compression" and police have said there were no signs of forced entry. The killings shocked the city and made international headlines.The family offered up to $10 million for information that would help solve the case, and hired its own team of private investigators.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2020.The Canadian Press
After announcing 349 new cases Wednesday, the province’s chief public health officer said there have been reports of Manitobans travelling out of province to shop. "It’s disappointing to hear about people driving outside the province to do non-essential shopping. We’ve heard reports of driving to Yorkton (Sask.) or to Kenora (Ont.) to do some shopping," said Dr. Brent Roussin, after which he sighed heavily. "Again, our messaging has been really clear. and the reasoning behind our messaging is really clear. There’s a purpose beyond all these orders — it’s to save Manitobans’ lives. Going around those orders puts Manitobans at risk." He strongly advises the public against travel for non-essential reasons. Meanwhile, according to a CTV news story, such shopping expeditions are welcome. A headline from Nov. 24 reads: "Out-of-province shoppers welcome in Yorkton following increased Manitoba COVID-19 restrictions." Yorkton’s mayor, Mitch Hippsley, said the community of 18,000 is very lucky to have shoppers come to town. "We just hope that they will follow the code of health law as in social distancing and masks and hand sanitizing and that goes without saying," Hippsley is quoted as saying. Further, according to the CTV story, some business owners in Yorkton are not worried about the potential influx of out-of-province shoppers Manitoba’s restrictions may bring. The Yorkton Business Improvement District (YBID) even echoed the city on its stance by encouraging Manitoba residents to shop local and follow health guidelines. But Roussin repeated, as he does every day, that Manitobans are advised to stay home. "Right now, non-essential travel … we’re advising strongly against it. We advise people to stay home. We have limits on essential items. We need to ensure Manitobans have access to essential items. But we don’t want in-person, non-essential shopping." Roussin said there are options besides travelling out of province: online shopping and curbside pickup. "But right now, we need to stay home as much as possible, which means not going out for non-essential reasons. Not travelling for non-essential reasons," he said. "It’s really important to get this message, we have 303 people in hospital, 50 of which are in intensive care. We’re asking people not to travel unnecessarily." He said, again, the purpose is to save lives. Similarly, Roussin said that, where possible, people should work from home. "If that’s not possible, then take every step possible to reduce the risk of transmission in your employment setting — decreased crowding, wear masks, hand hygiene, ensure people are screening every day for symptoms," he said. "Employers should also be looking at ways to assist their employees who need to stay home when they’re sick, or a person they care for is home sick, or when those individuals are required to self-isolate." Roussin said public health continues to hear reports of cases and contacts being told they need to get to work or their job is at risk. "I certainly don’t understand why an employer wants somebody who’s infectious for COVID at the workplace, or somebody who’s high risk of becoming infectious, such as a contact. You need to work with your employees to find ways to allow people to self-isolate when they’ve been directed to," he said. Finally, Roussin sent the message people need to stop getting angry at public health nurses on the phone. "We’re hearing reports from public health, contact tracers, public health nurses, of very angry people on the other end of the telephone line when they’re advising them that they’re contacts and/or cases and need to self-isolate," he said. "They are more angry when we delve into what self-isolation means." He reminded Manitobans that the purpose of self-isolation is one of the biggest tools at hand to limit the spread of COVID-19. "It’s the most important tool we have, outside of the public health restrictions. If we want to be able to get these restrictions lifted, we have to have very active case finding and isolation and contact finding and isolation. Without that, it’s going to be very difficult to lift the restricted." Roussin asked Manitobans to be respectful.Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
SHEET HARBOUR – As president of the Sheet Harbour Heritage Society, Wendy MacKenzie, possesses a natural curiosity and a love for treasured artifacts. Give her a mystery and she gets to work. At MacPhee House Museum, MacKenzie was presented with a small Yardley soap box and the treasures inside, dated 1945, incited her curiosity as to who the rightful owner of the objects may be. She was surprised to discover they were descendants of Joseph Howe, the renown Nova Scotian journalist and premier for the colony of Nova Scotia from 1860 to1863. The first item inside was a smaller box containing a WWII King George VI war medal presented to citizens of the British and Canadian Commonwealth who served full time in the Armed Forces and Merchant Navy 1939-1945. The medal had a ribbon attached in the colours of the Union Jack and the note included read Carl A. Crowell. The second item, loose in the larger box, was a mosaic broach. Folded beside the broach was a handwritten note – “Mosaic broach given to Lillian Crowell by her mother’s cousin - Dorothy Howe Wilson, Weymouth, England in 1945.” There was an antique appraisal for $65 – which MacKenzie surmised may have been for insurance purposes. The investigator got to work by googling Carl A. Crowell and then looking for him under Nova Scotia historical vital statistics, but found nothing. She turned her attention to Lillian Crowell and when finding her obituary Mackenzie says, “…she was my link and was listed as Alice Lillian Crowell – who went by Lillian.” Lillian, MacKenzie discovered, was the daughter of Elizabeth Howe and great-great-great-granddaughter of Joseph Howe. This extraordinary lineage made the find even more interesting and intriguing for the president of the heritage society. The connection with Howe … “made me even more curious and determined to return the items to who I felt were the proper owners.” Through Lillian’s obituary, MacKenzie found Carl’s middle initial should have been an ‘E’ for Ensley – not Ainsley as written in the note with the medal. The medal owner was Carl Ensley McLaughlin Crowell. His parents, Ensley and Sara (who was from Scotland), had met in London during WWI and after the war they married and returned to his hometown of Ellershouse, Nova Scotia. Carl served during the Second World War and earned the medal. “Lillian’s obituary stated she was survived by a brother, Lloyd. I Googled his name and got a phone number. I called and left a message about the broach and the medal and mentioned Carl Crowell and Lillian Crowell and asked if Lloyd was related. An hour and a half later Lloyd’s wife, Pat, returned my call,” MacKenzie says. “I knew I had them then! Pat explained that Lloyd was Lillian’s only surviving sibling out of eight children.” MacKenzie related the story of the mosaic broach and the note and offered it to Lloyd and Pat as she felt they were the rightful owners. “They were grateful to accept it. I asked them if they knew of Lillian and Carl’s children as I’d like to return Carl’s medal.” Pat momentarily left the phone and returned with a civic address for Earl Crowell – Lillian and Carl’s son. “He lives on the 224,” Pat said. Mackenzie, taken aback, replied that she too lived on the 224. As Pat had provided the address, MacKenzie visited Earl Crowell – his father’s war medal in hand. “Earl was both pleased and astounded to see the medal and broach,” MacKenzie said. “During our conversation I told him I had found the Howe connection and he said to me, ‘Oh, yes, I am the great-great-great-great grandson of Joseph Howe.’ “He offered the medal to our Sheet Harbour Heritage Museum but together we decided it was more appropriate to donate it to the legion in Windsor where Carl E. Crowell and his wife, Lillian, had lived in nearby Ellershouse,” MacKenzie said. “I contacted Carrie, the manager of the Hantz County Branch 9 Windsor Legion and Earl and I offered it to them for display.” The legion was pleased to accept this piece of history connected to one of their veterans. The next day the medal was sent for permanent public display and the mosaic broach was sent by courier to the descendants of the original owners. Pieces of history are written by those who take the time to ask the questions and find and record the answers. Janice Christie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
The Regina Fire Department responded to a fire at a vacant house near the Brandt Centre on Wednesday afternoon. The fire started just after three o'clock, and by the time fire crews arrived at the 1800 block of York Street, they say the house was already engulfed in flames.No one was injured in the blaze, but the building was significantly damaged. Currently, firefighters believe the fire started on the main floor, but investigators will be returning to the house today to determine the cause.
Some New Brunswickers can expect light snow and freezing rain on Thursday.Environment Canada issued a special weather statement earlier this morning for central and northwestern parts of the province. They include: * Campbellton and Restigouche County * Edmundston and Madawaska County * Grand Falls and Victoria County * Mount Carleton * Stanley, Doaktown and Blackville area * Woodstock and Carleton CountyIn central New Brunswick, periods of light freezing rain or rain will start this afternoon and continue overnight."Although amounts are expected to be light, over high terrain, the freezing rain could last several hours," the national weather agency said in a statement.Meanwhile, the northwestern regions will see light snow or freezing rain in the afternoon. This will change to light freezing rain or rain in the evening. "Precipitation is expected to change to showers after midnight," Environment Canada said."In some localities, especially over high terrain, several hours of freezing rain is likely.
Women from First Nations communities in New Brunswick have a new online store to help find a bigger audience for their art and to make up for sales lost to COVID-19.The site is called Nujintuisga'tijig E'pijig, which means "Indigenous women salespeople or vendors" in the Mi'kmaq language, and currently features 16 artists — but there is room for up to 30.Leona Newkinga, a Mi'kmaw and Inuit woman who lives in Elsipogtog, has her bead work featured on the site. She hopes it can bring a bigger audience to her work."My goal is to reach more people," said Newkinga.She already has pieces with Buffy Sainte-Marie and Jeremy Dutcher, but she'd like her work to go all over the globe."I was thinking to myself, 'Wouldn't that be amazing if, like, one of my pieces were like further than I have ever been?" she said.No negotiations Newkinga started beading about five years ago and said she wasn't very good at first, "so the prices were really cheap."But she honed her skills after a disappointing exchange with a potential customer who was inspecting something Newkinga had for sale at a craft sale."This woman, she says 'Your work is only worth five bucks' and that devastated me because I put hours into it," said Newkinga."I knew I wanted to be at a point where nobody can negotiate prices," and she accomplished that.Newkinga said people seem to have a new respect for Indigenous art in the last few years. "From when I first started out to now, it's the big difference," she said.Newkinga said COVID-19 hurt her income because she runs a business selling Indian tacos at pow wows over the summer, and those haven't happened this year. COVID-19 also put a damper on her creative output."I try not to bead if I'm not feeling good or anything like that, because everything, your energy, is woven into your pieces," she said.But, Newkinga said she's back at it and recently received a sparkling new shipment of beads. She hopes the website will help sell her newest creations.Tahnee Simon started beading after her grandmother showed her how to make a flower when she was in grade school.Over the years, Simon would put her beading aside, but she always came back to it."I could drown in it for like three to four hours and not realize how much time went by," she said."It's relaxing for me."Simon has a full-time job with Mi'kmaq Child and Family Services but decided to bead professionally as a 'side-gig' after a co-worker suggested it. "I was super nervous because, I'm not the one to be the centre of attention or, like, have my name out there," said Simon."It was a big step for me but I'm happy I did it because I love seeing customers wearing my work and it still feels awesome."Simon is happy to be part of the pilot project and hopes people enjoy her work."I thought it was such a great idea to get all Indigenous women names out there and give the public an idea of what we can do," said Simon.If the site takes off, Katherine Lanteigne, director of Women in Business New Brunswick said the project could be opened up to other Indigenous women in Atlantic Canada.
Brandon Sun readers are requesting specific questions be asked of health officials related to COVID-19. QUESTION: If I’m allergic to the flu shot — I almost died — can I take the COVID-19 vaccine? As it is now, I’m scared. MANITOBA HEALTH: Questions about vaccine safety can be answered by the federal government, at this point. Manitobans can check with their family doctor or primary care provider if they have concerns about vaccines and their health. QUESTION: Why are results for COVID tests done in Brandon last Wednesday, Nov. 18, have no results and Health Links is unable to give answers as to where the tests are? MANITOBA HEALTH: While I can’t speak to this case specifically, in general we have expanded testing capacity over the last month. Timelines for COVID-19 test results may vary due to current testing volumes and the testing location. It takes a matter of days for COVID-19 test results to become available. Health Links – Info Santé experienced technical difficulties and they were working on a quick resolution, and is back online. Updates are available at twitter.com/MisericordiaMB. QUESTION: Is it true that cases in nursing homes in Dauphin, Gilbert Plains, Grandview, Winnipegosis, etc. are directly linked to an agency nurse that was recently working at Maples Long Term Care Home in Winnipeg and was not pretested for COVID before being sent to these facilities to expedite a workers shortage? PRAIRIE MOUNTAIN HEALTH: We could not find anything to substantiate or support that. Do you have a question about something in your community? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Readers Ask.Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
Four more witnesses provided testimony Wednesday in the trial of Selena Lomen, who is accused of second-degree murder in the Oct. 28, 2018, death of her common-law partner, Danny Klondike.Two of the witnesses discussed how angry Lomen was with Klondike at the Halloween party they attended in Fort Liard, N.W.T., during the evening leading up to his death.At the beginning of the trial earlier this month, Lomen, 23, admitted to stabbing Klondike, 34. She tried to plead guilty to manslaughter, but the prosecutor refused to accept the plea. The trial is being held in N.W.T. Supreme Court in Yellowknife.The testimony of most witnesses so far has focused on what happened leading up to and immediately after Klondike's death, but has skirted the central issue in the trial: whether Lomen intended to kill Klondike when she stabbed him.Crystal Deneyoua said she was with Lomen at that Halloween party, and Lomen was angry at Klondike."Selena started getting mad at him because he wouldn't give her a drink and he was giving everyone else drinks," Deneyoua said.She said Lomen eventually lashed out at Klondike verbally, swearing at him in front of others. "Danny told her to be nice," Deneyoua added.Klondike was having a good timeLike other witnesses who testified, Deneyoua said Klondike was having a great time, dancing, playing pool, socializing and getting very intoxicated. Lomen was sitting in a corner looking on.At some point, Lomen discarded the nurse costume she had arrived in. Deneyoua said she and Lomen then went for a walk around town and that Lomen had a mickey of vodka with her. Deneyoua said that as they were walking by Lomen's house, Lomen said she had three 1.18-litre bottles of vodka and suggested they get one. Deneyoua said they decided to walk back to the party instead.Another witness, Grace Berreault, was outside having a cigarette when Deneyoua and Lomen got back to the party. > He kept saying he just wanted to go home to his son and go to sleep. \- Grace Berreault, witness"She walked up to the party looking angry," said Berreault, referring to Lomen.Berreault said Klondike was part of a group of people she left the party with about 40 minutes later. "He kept saying he just wanted to go home to his son and go to sleep," she said.Host told Lomen to leave party Deneyoua said that after they returned, she counted Lomen consuming five large cups from a tub of home brew that had been brought to the party. She said Lomen was also drinking shots of vodka.Deneyoua said one of the hosts of the party eventually told Lomen she had to leave because she was not in costume. She said someone else at the party told Lomen she could borrow a costume if she wanted to stay. Deneyoua said she went after Lomen and told her, but Lomen just threw up her arms and kept walking away.Connie Bertrand said she was out for a walk between 3 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. when she crossed paths with Lomen on Valley Main Street in front of the health centre. Bertrand said Lomen had a 1.18-litre bottle of vodka that was about half full, and she was staggering and slurring her speech. They spoke for a while about who was at the party."We went to my house and sat on the balcony and had a few shots," said Bertrand. "I told her I was tired. Then she told me to walk with her to her house, but I said I was too tired."Bertrand said she walked Lomen to the door and locked it after she left.Lomen seen 'crying a lot'Denelee Bertrand, the guard who was working at the Fort Liard RCMP detachment that morning, also testified.Earlier, the court heard that Lomen walked in on her own and said, "I killed him. I need to come inside."Bertrand said Lomen "was crying a lot. She was laying down for a while, crying, covering her face.""She asked if he was dead and [Cst. Terry] Boutcher said, 'Yes,'" Bertrand added.
Alberta is about to adopt a new law that would make sweeping changes to the way automobile insurance works, but privacy advocates say a critical aspect of the legislation has so far slipped by with little public attention or scrutiny — the expansion of "usage-based insurance." Among many other changes, Bill 41 would make it easier for insurance companies to monitor drivers' behaviour by collecting detailed data through devices embedded in their vehicles or software installed on their smartphones. The implications of this are little known and poorly understood by many Canadians, says Privacy and Access Council of Canada president Sharon Polsky. She believes the Alberta legislation, which could pave the way for similar laws in other provinces, ought to be more fully considered before changes are made that will be hard to undo. "This bill should be halted in its tracks," she said. "The Government of Alberta and other governments across the country need to update the access and privacy legislation to meet current needs, to genuinely give us a right of privacy and to put us in control of our information." Insurance companies, however, say the legislation is long overdue and would put Alberta more in line with practices that have been in place for years in the United States, allowing drivers to prove their safe behaviour through technological means and thereby save money on their insurance premiums. Government says law will 'increase fairness' United Conservative Party MLAs say the new law would create more options for consumers, especially those who want insurance products tailored to their driving needs. "This is expected to increase fairness in the marketplace and further ensure that consumer costs adequately reflect individual risks and driving habits," Finance Minister Travis Toews said during second reading of Bill 41 in the legislature. To that end, he said the new law "will allow greater ability for industry to provide innovative insurance options … and greater flexibility in applying usage-based insurance." Ron Orr, the UCP MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka, said the legislation means "Alberta drivers will have more choice and control over their own insurance costs." Polsky, however, says many people don't fully understand what they're signing up for when they agree to hand over so much data from their vehicles and smartphones to insurance companies, or where that data could ultimately end up. She also worries the monitoring devices, while voluntary in theory, could be made effectively mandatory through pricing, if drivers who refuse to be tracked face exorbitant premiums. Alberta 'the first' to go this route Some insurance companies already offer discounts to drivers who are willing to allow themselves to be monitored. But so far they are not allowed to sell usage-based insurance in other ways. The new law will allow usage-based insurance "however insurers wish to use it, so long as they can meet the regulatory requirements," said Celyeste Power with the Insurance Bureau of Canada. "Alberta was the first to announce full use of usage-based insurance," she said. "And just afterward, Ontario announced that they were sort of getting rid of restrictions around it, as well. In other jurisdictions, it's not available for use in that kind of broad way." She believes the new law presents an "opportunity for some really cool ideas and cool technology to come to Alberta." For example, she says drivers could opt for a pay-per-kilometre insurance option, where they would have a "way lower" base premium and then pay incrementally for the amount they actually drive. That option, she says, would be especially appealing to younger people who don't drive a lot but drive responsibly. Currently, young drivers face higher premiums as a group, due to the fact that their age demographic is considered to be higher risk by the actuaries who set insurance rates. Power says usage-based insurance is a fairer way to set individual rates. How the tracking works If you agree to the tracking, your driving habits would be monitored either through a device installed in your vehicle or software that uses the GPS, accelerometer and other bits of hardware built in to your smartphone. Power says different companies would track you in different ways, but basically they would keep an eye on things like how fast you drive, how quickly you accelerate, how hard you brake, how often you drive, what time of day you drive, where you drive, and so on. Less driving and better driving behaviour would be rewarded with lower premiums. More driving and unsafe behaviour would be punished with increased costs. She says most companies offer an online dashboard so you can track your own driving data, and even push notifications if you're racking up too many charges, similar to data-overage warnings on your cellphone. In the United States, she says, usage-based insurance has been correlated with safer roads, as it makes drivers more aware of their habits and provides a financial incentive to drive safely — or drive less. But, she says, it's not a product for everyone. "If you don't feel you're a good driver or you're speeding too much down the (Highway) 2 between Calgary and Edmonton, usage-based insurance is not for you," Power said. It also takes some getting used to. "If you think you're an amazing driver and the technology is telling you you're not, yeah, you might be a little bit resistant to it," Power said. "I think it just depends on the person." Data use, privacy and regulation Power says the use of personal data would be directly regulated by Alberta's Automobile Insurance Rate Board (AIRB) and be subject to oversight from the privacy commissioner. But Polsky, with the Privacy and Access Council of Canada, says most people don't understand just how much information is being harvested by these types of monitoring devices. She says some smartphone apps that insurance companies use to track drivers in other jurisdictions require users to keep them running 24 hours a day, even when they sleep. "They want all of it monitored so that we can enjoy more affordable rates based on relinquishing our privacy?" she said. "That is a very, very high price to pay." She also believes privacy laws, both in Alberta and nationwide, are outdated or lack the regulatory teeth to deal with international companies that collect data in Canada but store it in other countries. Alberta's Opposition NDP has also criticized the legislation, saying it gives too much power to the AIRB, which they say is too close with the government and the insurance industry. Numerous people on the AIRB board of directors either work in or previously worked in insurance, and the NDP have also pointed out that Jason Kenney's former chief of staff is now a registered lobbyist on behalf of the insurance industry, among other clients. "Bill 41 is giving the industry more control, giving the lobbyists more control," Edmonton-South West NDP MLA Thomas Dang said during second reading of the legislation. What's next The bill has passed second reading and is at the committee of the whole stage in the legislature, where MLAs can propose and vote on amendments. Additional debate was scheduled for Tuesday evening. It still needs to pass third and final reading to ultimately become law. If that happens, Polsky says, other provinces will likely look at similar laws. "We are now living in a monkey-see, monkey-do political era and the danger is if it's good enough for one jurisdiction, well it must be good enough for another jurisdiction," she said. "So if this is allowed to become 'mandatorily voluntary' in Alberta, it's just a matter of time before it proliferates across the country, at our peril. So it's up to us to understand what's at stake and voice our views to our elected representatives." Power, meanwhile, believes Alberta is leading the way in modernizing Canada's insurance-regulatory system, which she says has lagged behind the United States, where some form of usage-based insurance has been around for the past decade. She also says concerns over privacy and price hikes for people who don't agree to be monitored are overblown. "We haven't seen any examples in the U.S. or any other jurisdictions around the world where the usage-based insurance product essentially became almost mandatory just by the way it's priced," Power said. "It is sort of funny when you think about it," she added. "People are like, 'I don't want something tracking my movement or tracking this or that.' And yet, we carry around our phones all the time and they're tracking absolutely everything we do. "So it's kind of getting to a world now where everything is being tracked, anyway."
A police officer overseeing enforcement at the Vancouver airport testified in court on Thursday that he had concerns about a plan by Canadian federal police to arrest Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on the plane she arrived on two years ago. Meng's nearly three-hour interrogation by Canadian border agents prior to her December 2018 arrest by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on a U.S. warrant has become a flash point in her ongoing extradition hearing.
Although the Italian government says it won't make a COVID-19 vaccine compulsory - there is growing hesitation among Italians over its safety.View on euronews
BANGKOK — Thailand said Thursday it transferred three Iranians involved in a botched 2012 bomb plot back to Tehran, as Iran released an Australian academic who was imprisoned for more than two years on spying charges. While Thai officials declined to call it a swap and Iran referred to the men as “economic activists,” the arrangement freed academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert and saw the three men linked to a wider bomb plot targeting Israeli diplomats return home to a hero's welcome. The bombers wore Iranian flags draped over their shoulders, their faces largely obscured by black baseball caps and surgical masks. It was a sharp contrast to other prisoner exchanges Iran has trumpeted in the past, in which television anchors repeatedly said their names and broadcasters aired images of them reuniting with their families. The reason for Iran's refusal to name those freed remains unclear. However, Tehran has long denied being behind the bomb plot and likely hopes to leverage the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to ease American sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump. Israeli officials declined to immediately comment on the release. In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was “thrilled and relieved” that Moore-Gilbert, 33, had been released but added that it would take time for her to process her “horrible” ordeal. “The tone of her voice was very uplifting, particularly given what she has been through,” Morrison told Australia’s Network Nine. Chatchom Akapin, Thailand’s deputy attorney general, told The Associated Press that Thai authorities had approved the transfer of the prisoners under an agreement with Iran. “These types of transfers aren’t unusual,” he said. “We transfer prisoners to other countries and at the same time receive Thais back under this type of agreement all the time.” A Thai Corrections Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as no approval had been granted to speak publicly on the issue with journalists, said only two of the Iranians were sent home Wednesday under the prison transfer agreement, while one received a pardon in September. Under transfer agreements, returnees are supposed to serve the remainder of their sentences in their home country. Thailand has such agreements with about three dozen countries. However, Iranian state television video of the men's arrival suggested that a return to prison seemed unlikely as officials showered them with flowers and offered shouted praise to God and the Prophet Muhammad. The plane that carried the men from Bangkok to Iran had a tail number linking it to an Australian private air carrier called Skytraders, which describes itself as a “principal provider of air services to government.” An employee at the company declined to comment when reached by the AP. The plane had flown twice this week from Bangkok to Tehran, and then on to Doha, Qatar, flight data obtained by the AP showed. Authorities declined to say where Moore-Gilbert was Thursday, though she thanked Australia’s government and diplomats in a statement for securing her release, as well as supporters who campaigned for her freedom. Despite her ordeal, Moore-Gilbert said she had “nothing but respect, love and admiration for the great nation of Iran and its warm-hearted, generous and brave people.” Asked about the swap, Australia's prime minister said he “wouldn’t go into those details, confirm them one way or the other.” However, Morrison said he could assure Australians there had been nothing done to prejudice their safety and no prisoners were released in Australia. Thai police discovered the three Iranians' plot in 2012 when an accidental explosion blew apart their rented Bangkok villa. At the time, Iran was suspected in two bombing attempts in India and the former Soviet republic of Georgia targeting Israeli diplomats amid heightened tensions over its nuclear program. Its own nuclear scientists, meanwhile, had been killed in attacks long suspected to have been carried out by Israel. Police say one of the Iranians, Saeid Moradi, threw a grenade at officers that bounced backed and exploded, shearing away his legs. Moradi was sentenced to life for attempting to murder a police officer. Another man, Mohammad Kharzei, received a 15-year sentence for possessing explosives. The sentence of the third man, Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, wasn't immediately known. Kharzei was the Iranian who was said to have been pardoned this past September, the Thai corrections official said. Their release along with Moore-Gilbert's represents another case in which Iran held a Westerner on widely criticized espionage charges. Activists and U.N. investigators believe Iran systematically leverages their imprisonment for money or influence in negotiations with the West. Tehran denies it, though there have been similar exchanges in the past. Moore-Gilbert was a Melbourne University lecturer on Middle Eastern studies when she was picked up at the Tehran airport as she tried to leave the country after attending an academic conference in 2018. She was sent to Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, convicted of spying and sentenced to 10 years. She vehemently denied the charges and maintained her innocence. Moore-Gilbert wrote in letters to Morrison that she had been imprisoned “to extort” the Australian government. Her detention had strained relations between Iran and the West at a time of already escalating tensions, which reached a fever pitch earlier this year following the American killing of a top Iranian general in Baghdad and retaliatory Iranian strikes on a U.S. military base. International pressure had been building on Iran to release Moore-Gilbert. She had gone on repeated hunger strikes and her health had deteriorated during long stretches in solitary confinement. She also alleged Iran subjected her to “grievous violations” of her rights, including psychological torture. ___ Perry reported from Wellington, New Zealand. Associated Press writers Isabel DeBre and Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report. Tassanee Vejpongsa And Nick Perry, The Associated Press
The Ministry of Highways said some major roads in Saskatchewan were treacherous early Thursday morning.Bands of snow and freezing rain travelled across the province on Wednesday, leaving several sections of highway unsafe to travel.Highway Hotline said travel was not recommended on Highway 16 around North Battleford, between Maymont to Maidstone, as well as other roads in the area.As well, travel was not recommended on Highway 11 from Osler to MacDowall due to zero visibility in the area, as well as icy roads.Drivers were also asked to stay off Highway 7 from Delisle to Fiske, running through Rosetown.In southern Saskatchewan, drivers were asked to avoid Highway 21 near Cypress Hills Provincial Park due to drifting snow and icy conditions.The travel advisories were later expanded to include Highway 2 and Highway 41 around Wakaw.The Ministry of Highways warned drivers conditions can change rapidly and drivers should remain cautious.
Air Canada has offered concessions related to its proposed acquisition of Canadian tour operator Transat to address EU antitrust concerns, a European Commission filing showed on Thursday. The Commission, which oversees competition policy in the 27-nation European Union, said the commitments had been submitted on Nov. 25. The Commission opened an investigation in May on concerns that the deal could push up prices and reduce choice for flights between Europe and Canada.
EASTERN SHORE – While no public announcement has yet been made, funding is available to establish something called a Well-being Hub in each of the two long-term care facilities located in Sheet Harbour and Middle Musquodoboit. Once up and running, the hubs provide the community with a professional, cohesive and relatively stress-free process for families navigating the long-term care process. Harbourview Lodge Continuing Care Centre in Sheet Harbour and Musquodoboit Valley Home for Special Care (known as Braeside) in Middle Musquodoboit will get Well-being Hubs for their current and future residents. The hubs will offer support when a loved one is experiencing deteriorating physical or mental health and help with the detailed and often complicated process of decision-making and/or placement. The hubs will focus on providing transition support and services for individuals – as well as their family and caregivers – who are likely to enter long-term care, those in long-term care and for those after long-term care has ended. The hub model will integrate existing community services such as adult day clinic, continuing care services, long-term care services and future services to provide all- encompassing wrap-around supports during this life transition. “Personally, as a rural community member I am excited about the creation of a Well-being Hub,” says Board Chair Patty Henley, Harbourview Lodge Continuing Care Centre. “When a family member or loved one is in crisis and the individual or family member must navigate a multi-faceted system to find the necessary support,” Henley said, “it often creates an increased burden of valuable time, finances, and unnecessary mental anguish often due to the unknowns of accessing the system. “The funding has been approved and the announcement will be made in the near future,” Henley told The Journal. The hubs “will provide the necessary support to allow a smooth and supportive transition through the long-term care process. Our objective is to generate interest in this project. The project advisory committee is requesting proposals from an individual(s), business or non-profit group to undertake the coordination and implementation of this project.” The Project Advisory Committee consists of representatives from the boards of the two long-term care facilities; community representatives of Sheet Harbour, Musquodoboit Harbour and Musquodoboit Valley; and the Eastern Shore Community Health Board. The committee’s immediate objective is to hire a project co-ordinator with a mandate to facilitate the two Well-being Hubs. “While I am not at liberty to divulge the funding and grant details at this time, pertinent information will be provided to the successful coordinator when the hiring process comes to fruition,” Henley said. Candidates and those seeking more information may contact Denise VanWychen, Coordinator Eastern Shore Musquodoboit Community Health Board at email@example.com.Janice Christie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Europe's drugs watchdog said on Thursday it expects to receive the first application for conditional marketing approval for a COVID-19 vaccine "in the coming days", the latest step towards making a shot available outside the United States. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) did not name the company it expects to file the application, but Pfizer Inc and BioNTEch are the most advanced in the regulatory process among the three companies that have published late-stage trial data for their vaccines. The companies applied on Nov. 20 for U.S. approval and the UK said it has asked its medical regulator to assess the vaccine for its suitability.
ATHENS, Greece — Greece said Thursday that neighbour Turkey has so far refused to take action requested by the European Union to avoid sanctions from the bloc.Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said ongoing Turkish offshore gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean has undermined efforts to restart talks on a longstanding sea boundary dispute, which has escalated military tension between the two NATO members and regional rivals.“Europe is not naive,” Petsas said Thursday. “Turkey received the opportunity and the time to change course. It chose not to do so.”EU leaders on Dec. 10-11 will meet to discuss a range of issues, including external relations and the ongoing dispute between Turkey and EU member states Greece and Cyprus.Athens says a warship-escorted survey ship that Turkey has sent into waters between the three countries is operating in areas where Greece has offshore exploitation rights. Greece sent its own naval vessels to monitor the Turkish ships' movements. Cyprus is also angry with Turkish offshore prospecting and drilling in waters round the island where Nicosia claims exclusive economic rights.Ankara says it has every right to engage in its activities.On Oct. 1, EU leaders said they would consider sanctions at the December meeting “in case of renewed unilateral actions or provocations in breach of international law.”Turkey argues that the EU has unfairly sided with Greece and Cyprus in the dispute. A senior aide to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with top EU officials in Brussels last week, maintaining that his government remained willing to restart talks with Greece.The Associated Press
ST. MARY’S – The Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s’ newest councillors have asked staff to explore making pension plans available to elected officials. The move would be a first for St. Mary’s, where councillors have been responsible for looking after their own retirement savings. But, said district one Councillor Courtney Mailman, “It’s kind of nice to be breaking new ground.” Mailman, district two Councillor Charlene Zinck and district three/five councillor, Warden Greg Wier – all newcomers to council – spearheaded the notion at the committee of the whole meeting on Nov. 18. “Because myself, Warden Wier and Councillor Zinck are all under retirement age and we all have full-time jobs, we wanted to look at the possibility of investing back into a retirement plan,” Mailman said. “Warden Wier had mentioned it to me and I expressed an interest, and he had mentioned it to Councillor Zinck and she expressed an interest, and then the other councillors were on board with looking into it.” Still, she added, “the sole responsibility for this would fall on us. We are not expecting, you know, a 50/50 split or a matching from the municipality. This is just something that we thought we would look into. We may all go ahead, or one of us may, but it would set a precedent for the future, for full-time working councillors to have that option.” Chief Administrative Officer Marvin MacDonald confirmed that staff are now working on the initiative. “We just got direction to go ahead and pursue it,” he said. “It [a pension plan] would just be through a bank. It would basically be an RRSP kind of thing.” It’s not clear what, if any, management costs the municipality might incur as a result of such a scheme. Currently, the Municipal Government Act in Nova Scotia does not require elected representatives to “buy in” to the one or more types of pension plans that are mandatory for, and administered on behalf of, town and city staff. In St. Mary’s, councillors, the warden and deputy warden don’t receive salaries, per se, but active “remunerations” set in each year’s operating budget. In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, each St. Mary’s councillor will earn $13,043; the warden, an additional $8,300; and the deputy warden, a further $5,929. Regarding any future pensions, Mailman said, “It would be taken off our income as councillors and then just go out into some form of investment for us to have down the road.” Before that, MacDonald said, “We’re going to get somebody in to talk to us about it. The councillors can ask questions directly then.”Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
SHERBROOKE – If a good deal of politics is learning how to soothe savage breasts, then a background in music wouldn’t be the worst thing a budding municipal councillor could offer. Courtney Mailman, the new district one councillor in the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s, says staff and colleagues could not have been more accommodating. “I have a lot to learn, but I’ve really enjoyed it so far. I’ve been doing some municipal training, and the councillors who were already there have been very helpful and willing to share their knowledge.” That’s a good thing for the music therapy graduate from Acadian University and current Recreation Director at High-Crest Sherbrooke nursing home. Otherwise, she might have had to pull out her guitar or roll in her piano. “I also sing,” she laughs. Mailman is one of four rookie councillors who were either acclaimed (as she, Greg Wier and James Fuller were) or elected (as Charlene Zinck was) into office in the October municipal election. Her reasons for throwing her hat into the ring are clear. “Being a municipal councillor is a new role for me and I am excited and eager to take on this new challenge,” she says. “My main priority is to get to know the people and businesses in my district, to hear their ideas and concerns and to represent them to the best of my ability. Integrity and transparency are important to me and I plan to work hard for my community. I look forward to partnering with other committees and agencies for the betterment of the Municipality of St. Mary’s.” She comes by these commitments honestly enough. Born in Halifax and raised in towns and communities across the province, the 37-year-old’s parents emphasized the importance of giving back. “My dad always told me not to complain about something if I’m not going to do anything about it,” she says. “He always said that if I wanted change, I should jump in and be a part of that.” To this end, perhaps, she’s worked for The Salvation Army as a community services liaison in Kentville, where a big part of her job was advocating for clients and building community partnerships. She also administered its food bank and Christmas hamper programs. “Plus, my family has fostered children since I was 15 and I had always been very involved and invested in the children who came to stay in our home,” she says. Sure, but why local politics now? Between her job and volunteering, her husband Kyle and their dog Tillie, it’s not as if she hasn’t enough to do. “Believe it or not, I wanted to take a more active role,” she says. “I want to be a voice for the people in my district, in the development of our community.” And in these fractured times just about everywhere, that might be music to many ears. Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal