New Zealand's workplace regulator has filed charges against 13 organizations or individuals over safety issues a year after a volcanic explosion killed 22 people.
New Zealand's workplace regulator has filed charges against 13 organizations or individuals over safety issues a year after a volcanic explosion killed 22 people.
WASHINGTON — Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took their oaths of office on Wednesday using Bibles that are laden with personal meaning, writing new chapters in a long-running American tradition — and one that appears nowhere in the law. The Constitution does not require the use of a specific text for swearing-in ceremonies and specifies only the wording of the president’s oath. That wording does not include the phrase “so help me God,” but every modern president has appended it to their oaths and most have chosen symbolically significant Bibles for their inaugurations. That includes Biden, who used the same family Bible he has used twice when swearing in as vice-president and seven times as senator from Delaware. The book, several inches thick, and which his late son Beau also used when swearing in as Delaware attorney general, has been a “family heirloom” since 1893 and “every important date is in there,” Biden told late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert last month. “Why is your Bible bigger than mine? Do you have more Jesus than I do?” quipped Colbert, who like Biden is a practicing Catholic. Biden’s use of his family Bible underscores the prominent role his faith has played in his personal and professional lives — and will continue to do so as he becomes the second Catholic president in U.S. history. He follows in a tradition of many other presidents who used family-owned scriptures to take their oaths, including Ronald Reagan and Franklin D. Roosevelt, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Some have had their Bibles opened to personally relevant passages during their ceremonies. Bill Clinton, for example, chose Isaiah 58:12 — which urges the devout to be a “repairer of the breach” — for his second inauguration after a first term marked by political schisms with conservatives. Others took their oaths on closed Bibles, like John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president, who in 1961 used his family’s century-old tome with a large cross on the front, similar to Biden’s. The tradition of using a Bible dates as far back as the presidency itself, with the holy book used by George Washington later appearing on exhibit at the Smithsonian on loan from the Masonic lodge that provided it in 1789. Washington’s Bible was later used for the oaths by Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. But not every president has used a Bible. Theodore Roosevelt took his 1901 oath without one after the death of William McKinley, while John Quincy Adams used a law book in 1825, according to his own account. Some have employed multiple Bibles during their ceremonies: Both Barack Obama and Donald Trump chose to use, along with others, the copy that Abraham Lincoln was sworn in on in 1861. Harris did the same for her vice-presidential oath, using a Bible owned by a close family friend and one that belonged to the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Harris has spoken of her admiration of Marshall, a fellow Howard University graduate and trailblazer in government as the high court’s first African American justice. “When I raise my right hand and take the oath of office tomorrow, I carry with me two heroes who’d speak up for the voiceless and help those in need,” Harris tweeted Tuesday, referring to Marshall and friend Regina Shelton, whose Bible she swore on when becoming attorney general of California and later senator. Harris, who attended both Baptist and Hindu services as a child, worships in the Baptist faith as an adult. While U.S. lawmakers have typically used Bibles for their oaths, some have chosen alternatives that reflect their religious diversity. Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim elected to Congress, in 2007 used a Qur’an that belonged to Thomas Jefferson, prompting objections from some Christian conservatives. Jefferson’s Qur’an made a return in 2019 at the oath for Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., chose a Hebrew Bible in 2005 to reflect her Jewish faith. Newly elected Georgia Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff, who is also Jewish and who swears in Wednesday, used Hebrew scripture belonging to Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, an ally of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement. Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, opted for the Bhagavad Gita in 2013 after becoming the first Hindu elected to Congress. And Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., the only member of the current Congress who identifies as “religiously unaffiliated,” took her oath on the Constitution in 2018. ___ Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely responsible for this content. Elana Schor, The Associated Press
A draft 2020 operating and capital budget for Aylmer, presented to town councillors on Monday, Jan. 18, calls for a 2.8% increase in the municipality’s property tax levy. This would increase the tax bill by about $49 for the average home in Aylmer. This estimate was calculated using the assessed value of the average single detached residential property ($212,728) and the planned 4.4% increase in the municipality’s operating budget levy. “This estimate is provided at this early stage just for indicative purposes for council,” noted Corporate Services Director Kale Brown at a Jan. 18 virtual meeting. The number does not include any impacts of County of Elgin tax rates or education levies. It also assumes that no substantial projects need to be funded directly from the levy, and that they would all be funded through existing reserves. Final tax rates and billing impacts will be brought to council at a future meeting. On Jan. 18, the third presentation in the budget process was made to council, which detailed five-year project plans from each department, including operations, water/sewer, corporate services and reserve transfers. Operations projects The town plans to undergo about six operational projects in 2021, including the Clarence Street reconstruction (in related story on page 10), a surface treatment program, and vehicle replacement. Aylmer Mayor Mary French asked about the surface treatment program, expected to cost about $120,000. Operations Director Rob Johnson described it as a maintenance program for the roadways, such as a microsurfacing treatment or surface treatment. “This is one that probably should go every year to make sure we maintain our road system,” he said. Councillor Pete Barbour pointed to a line items listed as “vehicle”, costing about $50,000. “What kind of vehicle are we talking about?” Mr. Johnson said this would be a pickup truck. A major water/sewer project is the filter sand replacement listed for $125,000. It was scheduled for 2020 but unable to be completed. “That’s the actual sand itself in the sand filters as part of our filtration system of our lagoons,” explained Mr. Brown. Another major water/sewer project is the water tower shell refurbishment and SCADA update, listed for $350,000. Council had no questions about the water/sewer projects. Corporate services Several corporate services projects are carried forward from 2020. Repainting the clock tower roof and small repairs to the face of the clock will cost $55,000. “I didn’t actually think at the time it would be that expensive to repaint or reshingle the roof of the clock tower. We were mistaken. That was exceptionally more expensive than anticipated,” said Mr. Brown. There is $10,000 allocated to addresses a long-time police station roof leak. Mr. Brown said, “It’s difficult with that roof design to identify where that problem is occurring.” Cr. Barbour suggested constructing a roof overtop of the existing police roof. Mr. Brown said this was the intent last year – to create a peak in the middle and a new path for the water to run. Cr. Oslach asked about the composition of the clock tower roof. Mr. Brown said the current clock tower roof is sheet metal, painted black. Discolouration comes from the paint coming off. One option is sand blasting or removing the paint, and putting a fresh coat of paint on the steel. The second option is replacing the sheet steel with a steel-slate looking roof. Reserves The budget presentation also included the annual planned transfers to reserves. This included money set aside for the 2022 election ($3,524), East Elgin Community Complex ($50,000), accessibility for buildings ($10,000), park trails expansion ($20,000), asset management plan ($650,000), computer replacement ($15,000), contribution for a future police cruiser ($25,000), and replenishment of development charges reserve ($61,000). Mayor French asked how often the police department gets a new vehicle. Mr. Brown said it was scheduled that they had a “capital project” in their project list, which is every second year at $40,000 allocated. Veronica Reiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Aylmer Express
In an effort to limit outbreaks on campus, Bishop's University has hired a private firm to perform COVID-19 tests for students living in residence. The tests are voluntary. Students provide saliva samples, which are pooled and sent to a laboratory in the United States. If the coronavirus is detected in one of the pool samples, the test results won't identify the student who tested positive. Instead, everyone in that group will be encouraged to get a nasal swab test. Last fall, Bishop's University had to suspend the majority of on-campus activities after at least 15 people tested positive for COVID-19 on campus. "So far, the students are very willing to do it. It's not a painful test or anything, and it's quite easily done," said Stine Linden-Andersen, who is the dean of student affairs at Bishop's, and the chair of the university's COVID-19 taskforce. "I think some of the strategies we've taken, including this pool saliva testing, is going to help everyone more comfortable getting back." For most students, the winter semester began Monday, with the school offering online classes, except for some classes which offer a mix of virtual and in-person learning. Students who want to be tested are encouraged to stop by the campus dining hall, part of which has been turned into a temporary testing clinic. "We asked them to take a sip of water. They'll gargle for a minute, then they swallow the water," said Kendra Brock, the university's manager of health services. "They have to wait five minutes at least, and then they have to put at least five millilitres of saliva [in the container]." The university is hoping to expand the voluntary testing throughout the campus, including sports teams. Starting with students in residence was the right call, according to the university's communications director. "It's a strategic clientele," said Olivier Bouffard. "They live here, they eat here."
A trend towards including more diverse characters has changed children's television, but there's still work to be done, especially when it comes to gender and representation.
Last week, 345 COVID-19 vaccines were administered in local long term care homes experiencing outbreaks in Elgin and Oxford counties. The Pfizer BioNtech vaccinations were administered to residents at Extendicare in Port Stanley, PeopleCare in Tavistock, and Maple Manor in Tillsonburg. Southwestern Public Health (SPH) is on track to administer another 550 first doses this week. “This is a hopeful time in public health, and in the pandemic overall,” said SPH spokesperson Natalie Rowe. The health unit is continuing to focus on first-dose vaccinations to residents at long-term care homes. Their next focus will be on retirement home residents. Second doses of the Pfizer vaccine take place between 21 and 28 days from the initial dose. “Our timeline is to begin administering second doses during the week of February 1, pending vaccine availability,” said Ms. Rowe. Due to a limited supply of the vaccine, the initial allocation was prioritized for individuals who have not yet tested positive for COVID-19. Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 are expected to have a level of natural immunity upon recovery. The province of Ontario has sequenced its immunization rollout into three phases, with timelines subject to vaccine supply. Phase 1 is dedicated to high-risk community members, such as long-term care and retirement home staff, residents and caregivers, followed by hospital-based care workers, First nations, Metis, and Inuit communities. This phase is expected to last until the end of March. Phase 2 will see broader vaccination of essential workers, adults aged over 75, adults aged 60-75, at-risk populations, and eventually adults aged 16-60 through vaccination clinics. This begins in April and will last until the end of July. Phase 3 will continue mass immunization once a steady supply of vaccine is available. These will be in immunization clinics at public health and pharmacies. This starts in August. 30 Veronica Reiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Aylmer Express
WASHINGTON — Three new senators were sworn into office Wednesday after President Joe Biden's inauguration, securing the majority for Democrats in the Senate and across a unified government to tackle the new president's agenda at a time of unprecedented national challenges. In a first vote, the Senate confirmed Biden's nominee for Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines. Senators worked into the evening and overcame some Republican opposition to approve his first Cabinet member, in what's traditionally a show of good faith on Inauguration Day to confirm at least some nominees for a new president's administration. Haines, a former CIA deputy director, will become a core member of Biden’s security team, overseeing the agencies that make up the nation’s intelligence community. She was confirmed 84-10. The new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., urged colleagues to turn the spirit of the new president’s call for unity into action. “President Biden, we heard you loud and clear,” Schumer said in his first speech as majority leader. “We have a lengthy agenda. And we need to get it done together.” Vice-President Kamala Harris drew applause as she entered the chamber to deliver the oath of office to the new Democratic senators — Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock and Alex Padilla — just hours after taking her own oath at the Capitol alongside Biden. The three Democrats join a Senate narrowly split 50-50 between the parties, but giving Democrats the majority with Harris able to cast the tie-breaking vote. Ossoff, a former congressional aide and investigative journalist, and Warnock, a pastor from the late Martin Luther King Jr.'s church in Atlanta, won run-off elections in Georgia this month, defeating two Republicans. Padilla was tapped by California’s governor to finish the remainder of Harris’ term. “Today, America is turning over a new leaf. We are turning the page on the last four years, we’re going to reunite the country, defeat COVID-19, rush economic relief to the people,” Ossoff told reporters earlier at the Capitol. “That’s what they sent us here to do.” Taken together, their arrival gives Democrats for the first time in a decade control of the Senate, the House and the White House, as Biden faces the unparalleled challenges of the COVID-19 crisis and its economic fallout, and the nation's painful political divisions from the deadly Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol by a mob loyal to Donald Trump. Congress is being called on to consider Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion COVID recovery package, to distribute vaccines and shore up an economy as more than 400,000 Americans have died from the virus. At the same time, the Senate is about to launch an impeachment trial of Trump, charged by the House of inciting the insurrection at the Capitol as rioters tried to interrupt the Electoral College tally and overturn Biden’s election. The Senate will need to confirm other Biden Cabinet nominees. To “restore the soul” of the country, Biden said in his inaugural speech, requires “unity.” Yet as Washington looks to turn the page from Trump to the Biden administration, Republican leader Mitch McConnell is not relinquishing power without a fight. Haines' nomination was temporarily blocked by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Okla., as he sought information about the CIA's enhanced interrogation program. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is holding back the Homeland Security nominee Alejandro Mayorkas over Biden's proposed immigration changes. And McConnell is refusing to enter a power-sharing agreement with Senate Democrats unless they meet his demands, chiefly to preserve the Senate filibuster — the procedural tool often used by the minority party to block bills under rules that require 60 votes to advance legislation. McConnell, in his first speech as the minority party leader, said the election results with narrow Democratic control of the House and Senate showed that Americans “intentionally entrusted both political parties with significant power.” The Republican leader said he looked forward working with the new president “wherever possible.” At her first White House briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden’s desire to have his Cabinet confirmed and in place is “front and centre for the president,” and she said he was hoping to have his national security nominees in place Thursday or Friday. Psaki said the president will be “quite involved” in negotiations over the COVID relief package, but left the details of the upcoming impeachment trial to Congress. The Senate can “multitask,” she said. That’s a tall order for a Senate under normal circumstances, but even more so now in the post-Trump era, with Republicans badly split between their loyalties to the defeated president and wealthy donors who are distancing themselves from Republicans who back Trump. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to soon transmit to the Senate the House-passed article of impeachment against Trump, charged with incitement of insurrection, a step that will launch the Senate impeachment trial. Meantime, the power-sharing talks between Schumer and McConnell have hit a stalemate. It’s an arcane fight McConnell has inserted into what has traditionally been a more routine organizing resolution over committee assignments and staffing resources, but a power play by the outgoing Republican leader grabbing at tools that can be used to block Biden’s agenda. Progressive and liberal Democrats are eager to do away with the filibuster to more quickly advance Biden’s priorities, but not all rank-and-file Senate Democrats are on board. Schumer has not agreed to any changes but McConnell is taking no chances. For now, it will take unanimous consent among senators to toggle between conducting votes on legislative business and serving as jurors in the impeachment trial. The House last week impeached Trump for having sent the mob to the Capitol to “fight like hell” during the tally of Electoral College votes to overturn Biden’s election. __ Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report. Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
Widespread compliance with the new stay-at-home order is being credited for the low number of tickets issued in Peel over the weekend, a shift in behaviour from the illegal parties that thrust the community into the spotlight in the summer. Peel’s police chief and politicians say the low number of tickets issued over the weekend speaks to the community now understanding the severity of the threat posed by COVID-19. “Hopefully, it’s an indication of compliance. We did not receive a lot of complaints from the public over the last few days,” Peel police Chief Nishan Duraiappah told the Star Tuesday. Peel Regional Police confirmed that it had issued five tickets and one warning since the stay-at-home order came into effect, but was unable to clarify the exact breach the fines were issued for. In the past week, Mississauga’s bylaw enforcement team issued fines for 14 violations, which included 11 to businesses and three for gatherings. Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said she’s pleased with how residents and businesses have been obeying the rules. She attributed the levels of compliance in Mississauga to the fact that Peel Region has been in varying degrees of lockdown for close to two months, and residents have adjusted their habits over time. “The message has been and continues to be the same: stay at home, only leave for essential activities and limit close in-person contacts to just your immediate household,” she said Monday. Brampton officials laid five charges related to COVID-19 rule violations over the weekend. Three of those tickets were due to a violation of the stay-at-home order after a small group was caught gathering in a parking lot. The other two charges, laid under the Reopening Ontario Act, were people visiting a resident that was not part of their own household, Brampton officials confirmed Monday. Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said most residents now grasp the severity of the situation. “We have seen a high level of compliance in response to the stay-at-home order announced last week,” Brown said Monday. Each of the fines issued in Brampton over the weekend were $880, for a total of $4,400 in fines. Mississauga enforcement officers, inspectors from the labour ministry and local public health officials conducted inspections of six big-box store locations in Mississauga over the weekend and found that all were complying. Solicitor General Sylvia Jones told the Star the Mississauga enforcement of large outlets was part of a provincial blitz of big-box operations that started on the weekend. “They are going on site to both manufacturing and businesses that continue to operate to make sure they’re doing so in a safe manner,” said Jones. Brampton was thrust into the spotlight in the summer when it became the hotbed for large parties, one of which attracted an estimated 200 people in July and another where police ended up being called to a shooting. Brampton officials said that between March 31 and early November, officers laid 940 charges, including 66 summonses, for violation of the relevant provincial rules and city bylaws targeting large residential gatherings and other emergency measures violations. In Mississauga, 424 tickets and or fines were handed out over the same time. In both cities, people hosting residential gatherings accounted for most of the fines. Cases against people fined for hosting illegal parties in the summer are trickling through the courts." Jason Miller is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering crime and justice in the Peel Region. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him on email: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @millermotionpic Jason Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
CANSO – Maritime Launch Services (MLS) will not get liftoff as early as the company had hoped. Just more than four years ago, in Oct. 2016, MLS was formed in Nova Scotia to create a spaceport in Canso. In some of the earliest press releases about the proposed project, MLS stated the estimated timeline for first launch capability was 2020. And, although COVID-19 has created a Groundhog Day effect, time has continued to move forward – the calendar has turned to a new year, and MLS has yet to break ground on the Canso Spaceport facility. MLS CEO Steve Matier told The Journal on Monday (Jan. 18) that the delay could be attributed to several causes including, most recently, the wrench the global pandemic has put in every plan – be it business or personal. In addition, Matier said the original 2020 launch date was based on getting shovels in the ground in 2018. That wasn’t possible, as it took until June of 2019 to get the Environmental Assessment (EA) approved by the Department of Environment. And, he said, “There’s the whole land lease issue working with [Nova Scotia] Lands and Forestry; that takes time as well.” At this point, the company is working to meet the terms and conditions in the 2019 EA document, which include associated activities involved with designs for roads and buildings; plans for erosion and settlement control; analysis of potential impacts to watercourses and existing water users; environmental monitoring plans and more. “Within that approval (EA) was the rather lengthy list of compliance pieces that we need to get to them to review,” Matier told The Journal, adding that no construction could take place until the information supplied by the company was accepted by the Nova Scotia Department of Environment. Matier said he hoped they could move to breaking ground on the project in six months’ time, but “it’s hard to predict exact dates,” due to the time it takes for review and approval. Given that the Department of Lands and Forestry accepted the company’s draft survey for the lease of Crown land required for the project just before Christmas, the wheels of government can be seen to move forward. Once the project moves past approvals, and on to groundbreaking, Matier said it could be another two years before the first launch. “We require about 18 months of construction activities and six of commissioning before you can get to an actual launch.” While there have been delays, Matier told The Journal the company has potential clients lined up and waiting. “We have a fairly extensive set of letters of intent and MOUs with satellite developers and aggregators already, but these don’t turn into formal launch contracts until the point when we can tell them what that actual launch date is. Once we break ground, we’ll be in a much better position to project what the launch date is and start to turn those letters of intent into launch contracts.” Progress on the project has been slow this past year, and there has been little to report, which may have pleased some people in the Canso/Hazel Hill area who are opposed to the spaceport. Matier said, while the company is aware of the opposition, MLS would not have selected the site without support from the majority of community members. “We really started this initiative by working with the community, first and foremost,” he said, adding that the company has held open information sessions and met with stakeholder groups like the Municipality of the District of Guysborough and the Fishermen’s Association. “We have sought input and will continue to do so. We’re not about to ram this through … we have been open and honest about everything we are planning to do,” Matier said. The Environmental Assessment Approval, dated June 4, 2019 states that work must commence on the project within two years of the approval date; beyond that time, a written extension must be granted by the provincial environment minister. Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Representatives of the religious faiths recognized in Belgium have joined forces to urge federal authorities to increase the number of people admitted inside places of worship during the coronavirus pandemic. Under the current COVID-19 rules, such places can accommodate up to 15 people. In a letter to Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne, the religious representatives argued that the number of people allowed should instead be linked to the space available. They proposed a return to the “one person per 10 square meters" rule which applied in June last year when Belgium exited the spring lockdown. “The use of this standard proved to be less restrictive for religious practice and at the same time very protective for public health,” they said in a statement on Wednesday. The letter was signed by representatives from the Roman Catholic, Protestant-Evangelical, Jewish, Anglican, Muslim and Orthodox faiths. “In these difficult and uncertain times, the need for meaning and spirituality is felt more than ever," they said. “For months now, a maximum of 15 people at a time have been able to gather in churches, mosques and synagogues in our country. Even if the life of a believer does not take place exclusively in the place of worship, many feel this measure in the long run as a drastic restriction of the latter." The government introduced the 15-person limit in December after the country’s highest court said the ban of services — with the exception of weddings and funerals in restricted company — which was introduced in October was disproportionate and impeded constitutional conditions on freedom of religion. ___ Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
THE LATEST: As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 465 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 more deaths. There are currently 4,331 active cases of the coronavirus in B.C. 329 people are in hospital, with 70 in the ICU. 92,369 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C. There are no new health-care facility outbreaks. The number of cases linked to the Big White Mountain community cluster has grown by 28. B.C. health officials confirmed 465 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday and said 12 more people had died of the disease. In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix put the number of hospitalized patients at 329 people, 70 of whom are in intensive care. A total of 1,090 people in B.C. have lost their lives due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. B.C. recorded no new outbreaks in health-care facilities. Interior Health also confirmed there are now 28 additional cases of COVID-19 linked to the Big White Mountain community cluster — bringing the total to 203 since the cluster was declared. Of the 28 new cases, 22 reside and work at Big White. B.C.'s current health restrictions are in effect until at least Feb. 5 at midnight. The current orders include a ban on gatherings with people outside of one's immediate household. Henry said in a news conference on Monday that if B.C.'s case count continues to trend downward, there is a possibility some restrictions could be lifted by the Family Day weekend in mid-February. A non-existent flu season Health officials in B.C. have not detected a single case of influenza circulating in the community since flu season began, continuing an "exceptional" nationwide trend. The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) confirmed the non-existent seasonal flu numbers to CBC News on Monday. "It's still a big goose egg in terms of influenza detection provincially. It's really quite exceptional how low the influenza activity is," said Dr. Danuta Skowronski, the lead for influenza and emerging respiratory virus monitoring at the BCCDC. B.C. 'prepared' for vaccine delays The federal government on Friday announced Pfizer is temporarily reducing shipments of its vaccine in order to expand manufacturing capacity at a facility in Belgium. The move means there will be fewer shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccing coming to Canada until at least March. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday he's still confident the country is on track to vaccinate every Canadian who wants a shot by September. Henry called the delay a "setback" that will temporarily slow the province's delivery of the vaccine to at-risk people. But she said the province is working to ensure the highest number of people are immunized. READ MORE: What's happening elsewhere in Canada As of 9 p.m. PT on Tuesday, Canada had reported 719,465 cases of COVID-19, and 18,266 total deaths. A total of 71,055 cases are considered active. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Common symptoms include: Fever. Cough. Tiredness. Shortness of breath. Loss of taste or smell. Headache. But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia. What should I do if I feel sick? Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911. What can I do to protect myself? Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean. Keep your distance from people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wear a mask in indoor public spaces. More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.
BEIJING — China’s Foreign Ministry described outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday as a “doomsday clown” and said his designation of China as a perpetrator of genocide and crimes against humanity was merely “a piece of wastepaper.” The allegations of abuses against Muslim minority groups in China's Xinjiang region are “outright sensational pseudo-propositions and a malicious farce concocted by individual anti-China and anti-Communist forces represented by Pompeo,” spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters at a daily briefing. “In our view, Pompeo’s so-called designation is a piece of wastepaper. This American politician, who is notorious for lying and deceiving, is turning himself into a doomsday clown and joke of the century with his last madness and lies of the century," Hua said. Pompeo’s announcement Tuesday doesn’t require any immediate actions, although the U.S. must take the designation into account in formulating policy toward China. China says its policies in Xinjiang aim only to promote economic growth and social stability. The U.S. has previously spoken out and taken action on Xinjiang, implementing a range of sanctions against senior Chinese Communist Party leaders and state-run enterprises that fund repressive policies in the vast, resource-rich region. Last week, the Trump administration announced it would halt imports of cotton and tomatoes from Xinjiang, with Customs and Border Protection officials saying they would block products from there suspected of being produced with forced labour. Many of the Chinese officials accused of having taken part in repression are already under U.S. sanctions. The “genocide” designation means new measures will be easier to impose. Tuesday’s move is the latest in a series of steps the outgoing Trump administration has taken to ramp up pressure on China over issues from human rights and the coronavirus pandemic to Taiwan, Tibet, Hong Kong and the South China Sea. China has responded with its own sanctions and tough rhetoric. China has imprisoned more than 1 million people, including Uighurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic groups, in a vast network of prison-like political indoctrination camps, according to U.S. officials and human rights groups. People have been subjected to torture, sterilization and political indoctrination in addition to forced labour as part of an assimilation campaign in a region whose inhabitants are ethnically and culturally distinct from the Han Chinese majority. The Associated Press reported on widespread forced birth control among the Uighurs last year, including the mass sterilization of Muslim women, even while family planning restrictions are loosened on members of China's dominant Han ethnic group. China has denied all the charges, but Uighur forced labour has been linked by reporting by the AP to various products imported to the U.S., including clothing and electronic goods such as cameras and computer monitors. James Leibold, a specialist in Chinese ethnic policy at La Trobe in Melbourne, Australia, said international pressure appears to have had some effect on Chinese policies in Xinjiang, particularly in prompting the government to release information about the camps and possibly reducing mass detentions. “So hopefully we’ll see a continued continuity with regards to the new (Joe Biden) administration on holding China to account," Leibold said in an interview. “And hopefully the Biden administration can bring its allies along to continue to put pressure on the Chinese government," he said. ___ Associated Press journalist Dake Kang contributed to this report. The Associated Press
PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron wants to take further steps to reckon with France’s colonial-era wrongs in Algeria but is not considering an official apology, his office said. A report commissioned by Macron, to be published later Wednesday, submits proposals to improve the complex relationship between the two countries, from opening up war archives to holding commemorations. Macron's office said there will be “no apologies” but that Macron intends instead to make “symbolic acts” aimed at emphasizing recognition of the harsh colonial reality and helping reconciliation between the two countries. Macron will take part in three commemoration days by next year, which will mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the eight-year war with France that resulted in the North African country gaining independence in 1962 — after 132 years of French rule. France will “pursue and broaden” the opening of its archives on the war as work is under way to allow the release of classified secret documents, Macron's office added. Amid other actions, Macron wants to honour Gisele Halimi, a French feminist who supported Algeria’s independence and denounced the use of torture by the French military during the war. He will launch the process aiming at burying her at the Pantheon monument in Paris, a resting place for some of France’s most distinguished citizens. The first French president to be born after Algerian independence, Macron promised to open a new chapter in France’s relationship with Algeria during his term, including facing the countries’ painful history. In 2018, Macron formally recognized the responsibility of the French state in the death of a dissident in Algeria in 1957, admitting for the first time the military's systematic use of torture during the war. He commissioned historian Benjamin Stora last year to assess France’s relation with the memory of Algeria’s colonization and the independence war. Algeria's President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said last year that his country was awaiting an official apology for France's colonial occupation. Sylvie Corbet, The Associated Press
A Saskatoon woman says she's honouring her sister's dying wish. Regina mom Cheryl Kay was admitted to a Regina hospital in December following a series of seizures related to low electrolytes. She was eventually placed on life support, and died Christmas Eve. In the days before she fell into the coma, she asked her sister Rachel Smith to care for her children if she didn't survive. Kay's youngest child is now with their birth father. Smith has welcomed the other six into her Saskatoon home. They joined Smith, her husband and their own five kids. Smith said the first priority was to let the kids know they are loved, and that they have a home. Then she called all her friends and family, who came together to buy Christmas presents for the children. Smith, a graduate of Nutana Collegiate who's worked at both the University of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies, is also busy running her own take-out restaurant, Bannock Express. Smith said she never considered turning the kids away. "I didn't think twice. Being the way I grew up, I was a ward of the government since I was 13 years old. I grew up in residential schools, group homes, foster homes. I just couldn't let this happen to the children. They've been through so much already," she said. An online fundraising campaign has been set up for Kay's funeral expenses and for the children. Smith said they need everything from diapers to laptop computers for school work. The campaign has raised nearly $5,000. "Basically, everyone rallying and coming together has meant so much to my family in the memory of my sister. I feel her spirit is strong right now," Smith said. She and her husband are planning to home-school the kids until the end of this year to minimize the chance of bringing COVID-19 into their expanded household. She's in the process of applying for permanent guardianship.
TORONTO — Shareholders of West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. and Norbord Inc. have approved a $4-billion all-stock deal that will marry two of Canada's big wood product producers. Norbord chief executive Peter Wijnbergen, who will join West Fraser as president of of engineered wood, said in November that the combined company aims to be a “one-stop shop” for construction customers. The combined company says it will operate as West Fraser with headquarters in Vancouver and a regional office in Toronto, with West Fraser shareholders owning 56 per cent of the company, and Norbord shareholders owning about 44 per cent. Executives said when the deal was announced that the new West Fraser will have 10,000 employees. The deal comes as lumber prices have hit record highs twice in the past six months, according to lumber statistics from RBC Dominion Securities Inc. analyst Paul Quinn. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:WFT, TSX:OSB) The Canadian Press
The United States swore in its 46th President on Jan. 20, 2021. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris attended their inauguration in Washington, D.C. with a slew of distinguished guests, but few onlookers as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a need for social distancing.Several past presidents were in attendance, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr., however the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, did not attend. Trump flew to his golf club in Florida earlier in the day. Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence did attend the ceremony with his wife.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
The building is flanked by a school and a nursing home in Spain's capital. Residents from the latter were being evacuated shortly after the blast, according to eyewitnesses.View on euronews
THUNDER BAY — The Thunder Police Services Board received a progress report on the 44 recommendations handed out by the Office of the Independent Police Review during Tuesday’s board meeting. Legal counsel for the Thunder Bay Police Service, Holly Walbourne, presented the second yearly report to the board on Tuesday, Jan. 19, and outlined the service’s progress on all 44 recommendations. In December 2018, a 300-plus page report by the OIPRD detailed failings on the part of the Thunder Bay Police Service to address the policing needs of Indigenous people in the community. One of the most significant recommendations in the report recommended the reinvestigation of nine sudden deaths involving indigenous people by a multi-discipline team. The OIPRD recommended the cases be reopened because the initial investigations lacked quality. On Tuesday, Walbourne informed the board the re-investigations are still ongoing and further updates will come from the executive governance committee. Other completed recommendations reported on Tuesday included the recommendation of the police force to make the wearing of name tags on the front of police uniforms mandatory for all officers. According to the report, as of August 2020, all name tags were ordered and are now considered a permanent part of an officer’s uniform. After the presentation by Walbourne, board member Michael Power stated he would advocate for updates on the report to be reviewed at every board meeting rather than an annual review. “We as a board own this report,” Power said, adding transferring the written report to a grid format where recommendations can be labelled as completed or not completed in terms of progress could also be beneficial to share with Indigenous leaders and communities to evaluate the police force's progress on the report. "We can get into more significant conversation about what has been done as a result of implementation, what needs to be done and improve the level of understanding," he said. Also on Tuesday, the board discussed the implementation of in-car and body-worn cameras. Police said in their report capital funding has been secured to actualize the project and the service will be announcing the rollout of the project by the end of the first quarter of 2021. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Superintendent Dan Taddeo said providing the board with a solid timeline for the implementation of the program is difficult. For the full progress report presented during Tuesday’s meeting go to the Thunder Bay Police Services Board website by clicking here. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
MOSCOW — Chechnya's Kremlin-backed leader said Wednesday that his forces have killed six suspected militants, including a warlord accused of organizing a 2011 suicide attack at a Moscow airport. Ramzan Kadyrov, the regional leader of Chechnya, said that troops under his command had tracked down the suspects in the village of Katar-Yurt and killed all of them on the spot. Kadyrov claimed that the raid marked the elimination of the last group of militants that remained in the region. “All underground bands in Chechnya have now been eliminated,” Kadyrov said on his blog. He added that the security sweep had been planned long ago and followed two previous unsuccessful attempts to hunt down the militants. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russian President Vladimir Putin called to congratulate Kadyrov, who personally took part in the security sweep. Kadyrov said that those killed included warlord Aslan Byutukayev, whom Russian authorities accused of involvement in the January 2011 suicide bombing at the arrivals area of Moscow's Domodedovo airport that killed 37. Byutukayev appeared in a video alongside top Chechen warlord Doku Umarov and the suicide bomber. Umarov, who also claimed responsibility for several other attacks in Russia, was killed in a security raid in 2013. After Umarov's death, Byutukayev became the leader of militants in Chechnya and swore allegiance to the Islamic State group. He has been on the Russian wanted list for his involvement in the 2011 airport bombing and other attacks. The Kremlin has relied on Kadyrov to stabilize Chechnya after two separatist wars in the 1990s and the early 2000s and has provided generous subsidies to help rebuild the region. International human rights groups have accused Kadyrov of rampant rights abuses, including arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial killings by his feared security forces. Despite Kadyrov’s relentless crackdown on suspected extremists, some of whom have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State group, militants have continued to launch sporadic attacks in Chechnya and other regions in Russia’s North Caucasus. The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Ontario’s police watchdog is investigating the death of a man who lost vital signs while in custody at an Ottawa police station. The Special Investigations Unit says an autopsy is scheduled for today after the 49-year-old died Tuesday night. It says the Ottawa Police Service arrested the man on a drug warrant late Tuesday afternoon. The man was taken to a police station and placed in a cell. He was found unresponsive mid-evening and emergency medical services found him without vital signs. The agency says the man died in hospital soon after. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. The Canadian Press
Saint-Félix-d’Otis entend donner un nouveau souffle au site de la Nouvelle-France avec l’installation d’une tyrolienne unique au Canada fabriquée par la compagnie Zip Liner qui permettrait des descentes rocambolesques sur un parcours de 1000 mètres en direction du fjord du Saguenay. Le projet de 1,4 M$ a été dévoilé par le maire de la municipalité, Pierre Deslauriers, en prévision de la mise en service pour la saison touristique 2022. En entrevue, M. Deslauriers a déclaré que le financement du projet était très avancé et qu’il ne restait que 200 000 $ à attacher pour aller de l’avant. Le maire Deslauriers a expliqué que l’idée d’installer une tyrolienne avec chaise et harnais a été inspirée de la directrice générale de la municipalité, Hélène Gagnon, qui a visité le village de Hoonah en Alaska, où a été aménagé le Icy Strait Point destiné à recevoir une clientèle de bateaux de croisière. Le Icy Strait Point est constitué de plusieurs tyroliennes qui permettent de parcourir à une vitesse maximale de 80 km/h une distance de 5300 pieds, sur une dénivellation de 1300 pieds devant le Pacifique, offrant un point de vue extraordinaire. Les passagers sont installés sur des chaises et retenus avec des harnais. « Lorsque je me suis rendue sur place, je n’ai aperçu que des têtes grises dans la tyrolienne. Il s’agit d’une belle aventure douce », témoigne Mme Gagnon. Le projet caressé par Saint-Félix-d’Otis serait plus modeste, puisqu’il permettrait de parcourir une distance d’un peu moins de 1000 mètres à partir du poste d’accueil pour une descente jusqu’à la maison de Champlain, près des rives du Saguenay. M. Deslauriers a mentionné qu’avant les Fêtes, des représentants de la firme Zip Liner, de Colombie-Britannique, sont venus repérer le site envisagé et ont constaté que le projet pourrait profiter d’une belle dénivellation de la montagne. Les tyroliennes permettraient une descente à faible hauteur du sol à une vitesse raisonnable. Plusieurs engagements Selon les informations transmises, le projet serait passablement avancé au niveau du financement puisque la MRC du Fjord-du-Saguenay s’est engagée pour un montant de 100 000 $ auquel s’ajouterait une enveloppe semblable provenant du programme des projets de grande envergure. Le site de la Nouvelle-France contribuerait pour 200 0000 $ tandis que la municipalité avancerait un demi million $. Québec se serait engagé pour un montant variant entre 150 000 $ à 200 000 $. Ne reste plus que l’engagement du fédéral à confirmer. « On travaille avec Développement économique Canada (DEC). On a discuté avec notre agent de projet. On complète le pro forma et on va tomber dans la phase d’analyse », explique M. Deslauriers. Au départ, il était question de mettre en place un système de visite virtuelle en 3D pour le site de la Nouvelle-France, mais ce projet a été remplacé le projet de tyrolienne, lequel s’inscrit dans le cadre d’un programme de développement du site qui vise à attirer les familles, les grands-parents, dans un cadre où l’histoire serait au centre des activités. La direction souhaite bonifier l’offre de sentiers pour la randonnée pédestre afin d’attirer un plus grand nombre de visiteurs. Pierre Deslauriers ne cache pas que le site a déjà vécu de meilleurs jours alors qu’à une certaine époque, environ 25 000 visiteurs le fréquentaient annuellement, comparativement à 5000 à 6000 présentement.Denis Villeneuve, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien