PHILADELPHIA — President Donald Trump’s legal team suffered yet another defeat in court Friday as a federal appeals court in Philadelphia roundly rejected the campaign's latest effort to challenge the state’s election results.Trump’s lawyers vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court despite the judges' assessment that the “campaign’s claims have no merit.”“Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here,” 3rd Circuit Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump appointee, wrote for the three-judge panel, all appointed by Republican presidents.The case had been argued last week in a lower court by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who insisted during five hours of oral arguments that the 2020 presidential election had been marred by widespread fraud in Pennsylvania. However, Giuliani failed to offer any tangible proof of that in court.U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann, another Republican, had said the campaign's error-filled complaint, “like Frankenstein’s Monster, has been haphazardly stitched together” and denied Giuliani the right to amend it for a second time.The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals called any revisions “futile.” Chief Judge D. Brooks Smith and Judge Michael Chagares were on the panel with Bibas, a former University of Pennsylvania law professor. Trump’s sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, sat on the court for 20 years, retiring in 2019.“Voters, not lawyers, choose the president. Ballots, not briefs, decide elections,” Bibas said in the opinion, which also denied the campaign's request to stop the state from certifying its results, a demand he called “breathtaking.”In fact, Pennsylvania officials had announced Tuesday that they had certified their vote count for President-elect Joe Biden, who defeated Trump by more than 80,000 votes in the state. Nationally, Biden and running mate Kamala Harris garnered nearly 80 million votes, a record in U.S. presidential elections.Trump has said he hopes the Supreme Court will intervene in the race as it did in 2000, when its decision to stop the recount in Florida gave the election to Republican George W. Bush. On Nov. 5, as the vote count continued, Trump posted a tweet saying the “U.S. Supreme Court should decide!”Ever since, Trump and his surrogates have attacked the election as flawed and filed a flurry of lawsuits to try to block the results in six battleground states. But they’ve found little sympathy from judges, nearly all of whom dismissed their complaints about the security of mail-in ballots, which millions of people used to vote from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.Trump perhaps hopes a Supreme Court he helped steer toward a conservative 6-3 majority would be more open to his pleas, especially since the high court upheld Pennsylvania’s decision to accept mail-in ballots through Nov. 6 by only a 4-4 vote last month. Since then, Trump nominee Amy Coney Barrett has joined the court.“The activist judicial machinery in Pennsylvania continues to cover up the allegations of massive fraud,” Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis tweeted after Friday's ruling. “On to SCOTUS!”In the case at hand, the Trump campaign asked to disenfranchise the state’s 6.8 million voters or at least “cherry-pick” the 1.5 million who voted by mail in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and other Democratic-leaning areas, the appeals court said.“One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption,” Brann, a member of the conservative Federalist Society, wrote in his scathing ruling on Nov. 21. “That has not happened.”A separate Republican challenge that reached the Pennsylvania Supreme Court this week seeks to stop the state from further certifying any races on the ballot. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration is fighting that effort, saying it would prevent the state’s legislature and congressional delegation from being seated in the coming weeks.On Thursday, Trump said the Nov. 3 election was still far from over. Yet he said for the first time he would leave the White House on Jan. 20 if the Electoral College formalizes Biden’s win.“Certainly I will. But you know that,” Trump said at the White House, taking questions from reporters for the first time since Election Day.On Twitter Friday, however, he continued to baselessly attack Detroit, Atlanta and other Democratic cities with large Black populations as the source of “massive voter fraud.” And he claimed, without evidence, that a Pennsylvania poll watcher had uncovered computer memory drives that “gave Biden 50,000 votes” apiece.All 50 states must certify their results before the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14, and any challenge to the results must be resolved by Dec. 8. Biden won both the Electoral College and popular vote by wide margins.___Follow Maryclaire Dale on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MaryclairedaleMaryclaire Dale, The Associated Press
The federal government is laying plans for the procurement and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, inking contracts with seven potential manufacturers and saying six million doses could arrive in the country in the first quarter of 2021. The most recent development from Ottawa came Friday when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tapped former NATO commander Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin to lead the national distribution effort. But various provinces have started spelling out their plans as well. Here's a look at what they've said so far: —Nova ScotiaThe province's chief medical officer of health says he will release a detailed plan for the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine once Ottawa shares more information. Dr. Robert Strang said Friday there is no certainty yet about the availability of a vaccine, but expressed hopes an initial supply will trickle into Nova Scotia early in the new year.Strang said a detailed provincial plan, to be released once the federal government has shared more specifics on its end, will include tight control of the supply and clear rules dictating who can be first in line for immunization. He said he's waiting for more federal guidance on issues ranging from priority groups to transportation and storage logistics. —QuebecThe province will be ready to start rolling out its vaccine plan as of Jan. 1, say senior politicians. Premier Francois Legault said Thursday that public health officials have already settled on the list of priority vaccine recipients, but did not release details. Legault said the province is also working to put the necessary infrastructure in place to support a vaccine rollout. That includes obtaining fridges capable of maintaining the extremely low temperatures needed by one of the most promising potential vaccine options, currently in development through pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.Quebec has also tasked assistant deputy health minister Jerome Gagnon, and former provincial public health director Dr. Richard Masse to oversee the province's vaccination effort. —OntarioPremier Doug Ford is among those leaders calling on Ottawa to provide more clarity as officials scramble to develop a provincewide vaccination strategy.Early speculation on the number of doses the province could receive was put to rest earlier this week when federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said such details were still in the works. But Ford has forged ahead, naming former chief of national defence Gen. Rick Hillier to oversee the province's vaccine rollout. Hillier said on Friday he hopes to have a plan developed by year's end, while Ford urged Ottawa to provide detailed information on potential vaccine delivery. "We need a clear line of sight into the timelines of the shipments," Ford said.—AlbertaThe province's top medical official has said she expects to receive 680,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine early in the new year, a figure not yet confirmed by the federal government. Dr. Deena Hinshaw has also said a number of hurdles and unknowns remain as the province works to devise its vaccination scheme. "These (vaccine) numbers, of course, depend on many factors,'' Hinshaw said on Nov. 18. "They depend on the final pieces of the trials that are underway going well. They depend on ensuring that the safety and the effectiveness of the early vaccines can be assured. All of those checks and balances must be cleared."On Friday, Hinshaw said the province is working with Ottawa to get vaccine, but it is "a bit of a moving target" on when vaccines might be available."But our goal is that whenever vaccine is available, we will be ready to start immunizing individuals on that highest priority list."—British ColumbiaProvincial health officials announced on Wednesday that a vaccine strategy for the province is already in the works. Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province's top doctor, said Dr. Ross Brown of Vancouver Coastal Health will join the group working to organize the logistics around the distribution of vaccines.Henry said front-line workers as well as those in long-term care homes will likely have priority for vaccinations.She cautioned that while the province has contracts with vaccine makers, there can be challenges with offshore manufacturing."It's very much focused on who is most at risk and how do we protect them best," Henry said. "There's a lot of discussion that needs to happen."Henry said the province hopes to have vaccines in hand by January.—YukonPremier Sandy Silver told the legislature on Wednesday that the territory has been in discussions with various levels of government on a vaccine rollout plan. He said the goal will be to provide vaccines to elderly people and health-care providers.Silver said rural and remote communities should also get priority status in northern regions, a fact he said he's emphasized with federal authorities. The premier said he has joined the other provincial and territorial leaders in pushing for a national strategy to distribute the vaccine. “How confusing would it be for 13 different strategies right across the nation?” he said. Silver said the Pfizer vaccine could cause logistical problems for remote communities because of its cold-storage requirements, but those issues may not apply to other vaccines under development. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.The Canadian Press
SÉCURITÉ. Avec les premières bordées de neige qui tombent, les Québécois ajustent leur conduite. Il demeure que des accidents peuvent survenir. À ce sujet, sauriez-vous quoi faire en cas de collision avec un poteau électrique? Grande règle de base: restez dans votre véhicule et signalez le 911. Cependant, si le fait de rester dans votre véhicule mettait votre vie en danger, voici les étapes à suivre suggérées par Hydro-Québec : 1\. Ouvrez grand la portière en restant dans le véhicule et en ne touchant qu’à la poignée. 2\. Collez vos deux pieds ensemble et placez-les sur le pas de la portière. Gardez les bras près du corps. 3\. Sautez à pieds joints hors du véhicule de manière à ne jamais entrer en contact en même temps avec le véhicule et le sol. 4\. Éloignez-vous en faisant des petits bonds, en gardant toujours les pieds joints, jusqu’à ce que vous ayez atteint une distance d’au moins 10 mètres du véhicule ou des fils au sol. De même, si vous êtes témoin d’une collision avec un poteau électrique et que vous devez porter secours aux victimes, composez d’abord le 911 pour signaler et décrire l’accident. En tout temps, tenez-vous à une distance d’au moins 10 mètres du véhicule et des fils au sol. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Concerns are growing about the number of hospitals dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks in Alberta.According to information published by Alberta Health Services, there are more than 160 COVID cases connected to active hospital outbreaks right now — and at least 20 deaths.Dr. Leyla Asadi, an infectious disease specialist in Edmonton, says such trends are a sad inevitability when it comes to a virus that has such widespread community transmission."It's just such a sneaky virus, and that's why you can try your best to protect those who are vulnerable," Asadi said. "You can try your best to keep areas safe from it. But it just hasn't worked."Hospitals with outbreaks or on watchIn Calgary, every hospital aside from the South Health Campus is either battling COVID outbreaks or has units on watch. Being on watch means there is evidence a confirmed case had recently interacted or stayed in the unit."Essentially, if there's an exposure that's concerning, you would call that a unit on watch," said Dr. Ash Sonpar, an infection prevention and control physician in Edmonton. "If there's a case that was acquired on the unit, then you would call that an outbreak. So as you see more community cases, you are going to have units on watch."As of Friday, AHS said Calgary hospitals with COVID-19 outbreaks or units on watch included: * Foothills Medical Centre has two units on outbreak. Two units at Foothills are now under watch. * Peter Lougheed Centre has four units on outbreak. One unit is currently under watch. * Rockyview General Hospital has four units on outbreak. One unit is currently under watch. * Alberta Children's Hospital has one unit currently under watch.In addition, a single site order is in place for Unit 59, a transition unit at Rockyview General Hospital, with at least 19 cases. That means staff, such as nurses, health-care aides and administration, cannot work on any other unit.AHS said in a memo to staff that there may be ongoing transmission on the ward, but the source isn't yet known. The possibility of worker-to-worker transmission has not been ruled out.Susan Slade, a vice-president with the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, said many health-care workers are exhausted, with many working double shifts when colleagues go into isolation."It's a scary world in health-care right now, and it's just a tragedy what's happening in the health-care system right now," Slade said.
TORONTO — Some of the most active companies traded Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange: Toronto Stock Exchange (17,396.56, up 45.22 points.) Bombardier Inc. (TSX: BBD.B). Industrials. Up 6.5 cents, or 15.12 per cent, to 49.5 cents on 21.98 million shares.Score Media and Gaming Inc. (TSX: SCR). Communications. Up 44 cents, or 44.9 per cent, to $1.42 on 18.53 million shares.Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX: ACB). Health care. Up $2.09, or 17.94 per cent, to $13.74 on 16.88 million shares.Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX: SU). Energy. Down 23 cents, or 1.02 per cent, to $22.41 on 12.36 million shares.Air Canada (TSX: AC). Industrials. Up $1.04, or 4.37 per cent, to $24.86 on 9.62 million shares.Aphria Inc. (TSX: APHA). Health care. Up 73 cents, or 7.76 per cent, to $10.14 on 8.67 million shares. Companies in the news: Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX: RCI). Up 12 cents, or 0.2 per cent, to $60.90. Rogers Communications Inc. says it was exploring the future of its Toronto stadium before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but the virus has caused it to put those plans on hold. The Globe and Mail reported Friday that Rogers and Brookfield Asset Management Inc. were looking to tear down the stadium as part of a larger development project. Empire Company Ltd. (TSX:EMP). Up nine cents, or 0.25 per cent, to $35.66. Sobeys says it is bringing back pay premiums for staff in locations where COVID-19 lockdowns are in effect. Parent company Empire Company Ltd. says it has reinstated so-called hero pay in Manitoba and Toronto and Peel Region in Ontario as rising cases of the virus in those areas have prompted the shutdown of non-essential businesses.Air Canada. Air Canada pilots have ratified changes to their contract that will help the carrier grow its cargo business, as airlines scramble to minimize the pandemic’s toll on their bottom lines. The Montreal-based airline said in a statement Friday that it would convert several of its retired Boeing 767 aircraft to carry freight and that it had appointed a new executive, Jason Berry, to oversee its cargo division.Calfrac Well Services Ltd. (TSX:CFW). Up one cent, or 4.08 per cent, to 26 cents. Calfrac Well Services says the Alberta Court of Appeal has rejected an attempt by Wilks Brothers LLC to block the approval of the company's recapitalization plan. The company says it has been advised by the court that the Wilks Brothers' appeal of the final order approving the plan has been dismissed.TMAC Resources Inc. (TSX:TMR). Down two cents, or 1.64 per cent, to $1.20. Canadian miner TMAC Resources Inc. says a national security review under the Investment Canada Act of its sale to China's Shandong Gold Mining Co., Ltd., has been extended by 45 days. Shandong announced a deal in May to buy TMAC, owner of the Hope Bay gold mining project in Nunavut, for $230 million.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.The Canadian Press
Port Hardy has its first publicly confirmed case of COVID-19. Lawrence O’Connor shared in a Facebook post that he tested positive for the disease while in quarantine after a trip to the U.S. “There’s nothing pleasant about this painful illness; I feel like I’ve been eaten by wolves, and s**t off a cliff,” he wrote. The good news, if there is any, is that O’Connor has self-isolated since arriving at the Vancouver Airport Nov. 16, so there’s been no one for the B.C. Health Authority to do contact tracing with. “I was lucky enough that I didn’t stumble around in public, not knowing I was carrying it,” he told the Gazette over the phone. O’Connor travelled to Las Vegas to participate in a charity stock car race for Amnesty International. Planning ahead for the required 14-day traveller quarantine, he’d enlisted friends to drop off food and supplies at his door. After a few days of hanging around the house, he started to feel body aches. By Saturday (Nov. 21) it was full on sickness. He contacted B.C. Health and scheduled a drive-through COVID-19 test for Sunday. We’ll call within 48 hours if it’s positive, they told him. Two days passed. I’m in the clear, he thought until at hour 48-and-a-half, he got the call. O’Connor is determined to keep the virus contained to himself, and plans to stay home even though his quarantine is technically over this weekend. “Hopefully this particular strain will die inside of me. That’s the only way this thing will be defeated, is contact tracing and isolation.” He was surprised to learn from the B.C. Health officer who called with the positive test news that for someone at his level of viral load, he’s only contagious for two days before and 10 days after symptoms start to show. B.C. Health confirmed that this is generally the case, but recommendations are adjusted on a case-by-case basis. O’Connor sat beside one person on the plane from Las Vegas to Vancouver, but felt he had to insist that the CDC take his flight and seat numbers. They said they’d post it on their website, but he didn’t get the impression they were going to contact other passengers. B.C. Health does not have purview over flight contact tracing, but confirmed that 48-hours before symptom onset is the standard for regular contact tracing. As for the stock car race, it wasn’t his best, but he’s glad that the event raised a lot of money for Amnesty International. Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgZoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's attempt to call out the Conservative Party for promoting misinformation about COVID-19 stumbled tonight when PMO staff sent out a draft statement that itself contained misinformation.Trudeau and Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole had a call scheduled for this evening. The usual practice after these calls is for both parties to put out a statement — a "readout" — describing what was discussed during the call.Shortly after 4:30 p.m. this evening, the Prime Minister's Office issued just such a note saying Trudeau "raised concerns around COVID-19 misinformation being promoted by Conservative members of Parliament, given Conservative MPs recently downplayed the deaths of Canadians in Alberta due to COVID-19 and compared COVID-19 to the flu."The call with O'Toole was not scheduled to take place until 5:15 p.m. Peter MacKay's former director of communications director Michael Diamond saw the message and was quick to retweet out an image of part of the statement with the caption, "Why is the PMO pushing out misinformation? This is very concerning."The premature press statement also said the pair spoke about U.S. president-elect Joe Biden's incoming administration, the fight against COVID-19, climate change, trade, NATO, support for Canadian detainees Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in China, the Keystone XL project and the Buy America policy. A spokesperson for the PMO told CBC that staff typically draft a readout before the call to act as a placeholder, updating it once the meeting is over.The spokesperson said a member of the prime minister's staff accidentally sent out the draft readout early.Later in the evening, the PMO sent out an edited readout saying the two leaders talked about the issues mentioned in the premature statement. It made no mention of Trudeau chastising O'Toole over misinformation, however.After the call, O'Toole's office put out a statement describing the discussion — which touched on many of the subjects the PMO mentioned in its premature statement earlier in the evening.O'Toole's statement also mentioned a call for Trudeau to work harder to counteract China's recent acts of aggression and the Conservatives' disappointment with the prime minister's efforts to date.On the climate front, the Conservative leader's readout expressed a willingness to support "net zero legislation" providing it supports Canada's energy industry.
Andrea Bolitho discusses this week's arts and entertainment news.View on euronews
Peterborough County politicians are shocked by the tragic death of a one-year-old baby boy who was fatally shot on Thursday after being abducted by his father from a home in Trent Lakes. “There’s now a mother out there without a little boy and I would expect grandparents without a grandson … it’s just a tragic series of events,” said Joe Taylor, former warden of Peterborough County and mayor of Otonabee-South Monaghan Township. The incident began at about 8:48 a.m. Thursday when Peterborough County OPP officers were called to a location northeast of Bobcaygeon in Trent Lakes after a 33-year-old father abducted his son in what police called a domestic dispute involving a firearm. The baby was found dead of a gunshot wound in his father’s pickup truck after it collided with an OPP cruiser on Pigeon Lake Road, east of Lindsay, which was followed by altercation in which three officers shot at the man. Emily Poulin, executive director at Victim Services of Peterborough Northumberland (VSPN), said since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a huge increase in the need to help high-risk victims of domestic violence. While there are many tools the agency offers, as well as several service providers that do work in tandem to try and support these high-risk individuals in both Peterborough city and county, Poulin said there also needs to be prevention of domestic violence. “With COVID, we’re seeing a lot of differences in the way people are arrested and released, because they don’t want to overcrowd the jails, but when you’re talking high-risk offenders, more has to be done on that end,” she said. “It can’t all be on the victim to try and stay safe. There should be more measures put in place to try and keep offenders from doing this in the first place.” Lisa Clarke, executive director at the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre, said in just six months of the pandemic, their crisis services at the centre have doubled those of the MeToo movement in 2017 and 2018. “There are alarming rates of sexual and gender-based and internet-partner violence happening in this community, and the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre encourages all families and friends to check in and support and listen without judgment, to those who may be experiencing family violence in the home,” she said. There are many barriers for people living in rural areas to seek services, Clarke said. “Everybody knows everybody and so it can feel like reaching out means that family and friends will know what’s happening in the home. Our services are confidential and can be anonymous. We recognize that those are the types of services needed for people in rural areas to reach out and we have many survivors each year reaching out from more rural areas of our region,” she said. What happened is incomprehensible, Poulin said. “I mean it’s an absolute tragedy what happened and my heart goes out to the family and friends,” she said. The loss of a life, but particularly the loss of a young life, is heartbreaking, said Andy Mitchell, deputy warden of Peterborough County. “It’s a really, really tragic event and my heart is heavy and sorrowful for all of the folks that are being impacted by this,” he said. Trent Lakes Mayor Janet Clarkson said the outcome of Thursday’s incident is extremely unfortunate. “It’s hard to say when it all comes out, just exactly what happened,” she said. Taylor said he believes the community is going to do what they can to support the family in this time of need. “There’s no point in trying to understand it, or rationalize it, or explain it, or make any sense out of it,” he said. “It’s just really, really sad.” The Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre’s 24/7 crisis phone line is 1-866-298-7778. Their new 24/7 crisis text line is 705-710-5234. VSPN’s toll-free number is 1-888-822-7729 and its website is at victimservicespn.ca/. Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: email@example.comMarissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
EDMONTON — A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths on railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed was one of the biggest factors. The research, published earlier this week in Nature's Scientific Reports, studied animals killed by trains between 1995 and 2018: 59 bears; 27 wolves, coyotes, cougars and lynx; and 560 deer, elk, moose and sheep. "The top predictor was train speed," said lead author Colleen Cassady St. Clair, a biological sciences professor at the University of Alberta. "More animals died where trains were travelling faster. "Next was distance to water, then the (amount of) water near the site and then curvature in the tracks." Train speed and track curvature, she said, make it difficult for wildlife to detect trains, while being close to water — particularly a lot of water — hinders their ability to get off the tracks before being hit. The study builds on a five-year research project funded by Parks Canada and Canadian Pacific Railway from 2010 to 2015 that focused on grizzly bears being struck by trains in the same two parks. It concluded that giving grizzlies better travel paths and sightlines along the railway was the best way to keep them safe. Cassady St. Clair said she hopes the latest study "will make it possible to identify types and locations for mitigations that will reduce the problems for all wildlife, not just grizzly bears." The research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and the ability of wildlife to see trains, especially at curves in tracks near water. Canadian Pacific noted in a statement Friday that the company has worked with Parks Canada for the last decade to learn more about how wildlife interacts with the railway. "CP has engaged with Parks Canada and the University of Alberta throughout this program to ensure the mitigation measures CP implemented were based on science," it said. The statement didn't address whether the company would consider reducing train speeds. Co-author Jesse Whittington, a wildlife ecologist for Banff National Park, said trains are one of the leading causes of death for animals in the two parks. "The trains (that) travel through Banff and Yoho national parks kill almost 30 animals a year," said Whittington, who added that animals use rail lines for travel and access to food. The latest study, he said, helps Parks Canada understand where wildlife are getting killed, why they are getting hit in that location and the time of year when they are most likely to get hit. "Mortality risk was highest in areas where animals had difficulty detecting trains and where they had difficulty escaping trains," he said. "Animals had challenges detecting trains where trains were travelling fast and in areas with high curvature. "Trains can be surprisingly quiet when they are travelling downhill or coming around a corner." Whittington gave as an example an adult female grizzly bear killed by a train in September. She was in an area with a steep slope next to the Bow River. "There were few places for her to get off the tracks." The latest study also found that grizzly bears were more likely to be killed in late spring when, Whittington noted, water in the Bow River is often higher. Other carnivores and ungulates were more likely to get hit by trains in the winter. "When we have deep snows, we'll often find elk and deer along the tracks." Whittington said some of his Parks Canada colleagues have been working to enhance travel routes for animals away from the rail line by creating more trails through the forest. The agency's fire crews have also been working to create better wildlife habitat throughout the park with prescribed fires. "We have a lot of thick shrubs and deadfall that has accumulated over the years that makes it difficult for animals to travel across the landscape," he said. "To date, we've cleared over 50 kilometres of wildlife trails throughout Banff — both in areas around these hot spots and in other areas that are pinch points. "We're hopeful that will help." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020. Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press
Selwyn Township council members unanimously decided they want to create more parking spaces as part of the planned project to reconstruct Water Street in Lakefield. Angela Chittick, the township’s manager of community and corporate services, told councillors Tuesday that they have two options to consider for the street which runs along the Otonabee River. “One is to extend the trail from the dam to the bridge, that would create about 16 parking spaces. The other option would be there would be no bridge extension, and with that you would be creating about 21 parking spaces there,” she said. Some residents that provided feedback were interested in the trail connection, while other individuals, particularly from of the business community, were more concerned about parking spaces, Chittick said. Coun. Gerry Herron said he’s all for having additional parking spaces. “We need as much traffic down in the economic engine of Selwyn as we can get. I’ll give you a quick example; when Sears was in operation in Peterborough, each parking spot was about $200 an hour. So, if we factor that down to these five spots, if we’re gaining say $20 an hour and it’s an eight-hour day, it’s $800 per parking spot put into the local economy there,” he said. “We’ve set out on a mission to support our local businesses and I think we need to continue that trend.” Deputy Mayor Sherry Senis said lack of parking in Lakefield has been a perennial issue, so now that there’s the opportunity to add space, they should jump on it. “The parking spaces on Water are invaluable,” she said. “I also presented the options to the economic development business committee last night and their consensus was more is better. So, they also favour option two.” Adding more parking spaces isn’t leaving out the trail connection, Senis added. “There’s still the connection to the trail at the bridge, and it will still accommodate the concrete pad to do any bike repairs that we had heard about,” she said. Chittick said council’s decision will get incorporated into the final design for Water Street. “Then, moving forward from there, we’ll get the concept tidied up, sent back out to the residents and those that provided feedback on the design concepts, and we would post it online,” she said. “That would allow us to get the final engineered drawings prepared and ready for tendering and the hope would be that we could get this tendered in the new year and bring that price proposal back to council with some funding options as well as some staging options, depending on what the quoted amount is.” Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: firstname.lastname@example.orgMarissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
The New Brunswick Legislature could be holding virtual sittings within the next two weeks.MLAs from four parties sitting on the legislative administration committee agreed Friday to get equipment and technology installed quickly so the assembly can resume its business.It adjourned on Tuesday because almost half of the MLAs are from the two zones that were under COVID-19 orange phase restrictions at the time. The province is discouraging travel into and out of those zones.Since then, a third zone, which includes the legislature itself, has been put into the orange phase.MLAs from the Green Party complained Tuesday that there was still no set-up for virtual sittings eight months after COVID-19 first appeared in New Brunswick.Liberal Leader Roger Melanson said in a statement that a service provider will start installing the system on Monday."The legislature must keep on working through COVID-19 outbreaks and beyond," he said. "This system will allow us to do just that."The new hybrid system could be up and running in time for committee hearings on legislation scheduled for next week.MLAs are scheduled to return for full sittings Dec. 8. Speaker Bill Oliver said he hopes the system will be ready for then, though that date could be pushed back if necessary.
Vancouver’s council made history this week by asking the federal government for an exemption from Canadian drug laws to decriminalize possession of drugs for personal use. Council voted on the motion the same day the BC Coroners Service reported 1,386 people have died so far this year of an overdose, with deaths increasing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. So what happens now? The day after the vote, Mayor Kennedy Stewart met with Dr. Patricia Daly, the chief medical health officer for Vancouver Coastal Health, and Adam Palmer, Vancouver’s police chief. In both meetings, the mayor spoke about “next steps on decriminalization and how we would begin to gather critical local input into our request for the federal government,” Alvin Singh, the mayor’s chief of staff, told The Tyee via email. When the motion was being discussed Wednesday, people who use or have used drugs told council over and over again “nothing for us without us,” emphasizing that people who use drugs need to be part of the conversation. “This input is critical both now, before we send the official request, and afterwards if we get a positive answer,” Singh said. Stewart plans to “touch base” with Patty Hajdu, the federal health minister, sometime in the next few days. But getting federal approval could be a tough sell. In September, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he doesn’t support decriminalization as a solution to the overdose crisis. Hajdu took a similar position earlier this year. The city will ask the ministers of health and public safety and the attorney general for an exemption to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act’s provisions on possession of drugs for personal use within the city. Section 56 of the act grants the health minister the power to issue an exemption from any part of the legislation “for a medical or scientific purpose or is otherwise in the public interest.” It is the same mechanism the city used to establish North America’s first supervised injection site in 2003 and, more recently, to allow health-care providers to prescribe alternatives to street drugs as a part of safer supply measures. Guy Felicella spent 30 years in the Downtown Eastside addicted to heroin before entering recovery in 2013. He’s now a drug policy advocate and a peer clinical advisor for the BC Centre on Substance Use. He said decriminalization has “been pushed for decades, but to actually have some momentum — it’s a powerful moment in Canadian history.” For decades, Canadian society has been moving towards treating drug use as a health issue instead of a criminal justice issue. But despite that shift, people who use drugs are still being charged with offences like possession or possession for the purposes of trafficking — even for relatively small amounts of drugs — and serving jail time. The Vancouver Police Department says officers now rarely charge people for possession, and the force’s chief, Adam Palmer, has publicly supported decriminalization. However, people who use drugs say police continue to regularly confiscate illicit substances. Felicella said it all has to stop. As Vancouver moves forward on getting an exemption, Felicella warned of “criminalization by another process,” such as fines, alternative charges like possession for the purposes of trafficking, or drug confiscation. “Maybe they don’t arrest people for simple possession 97 per cent of the time, but they sure take their drugs,” Felicella said. “They’ve been doing this for decades.” The Vancouver Police Department says it is not “general practice to seize drugs from people using them,” but officers must confiscate drugs if they find them during a search for an investigation. However, people who use drugs and advocates who work with drug users say police constantly take drugs away from people. To replace the drugs, people are making risky choices, like sex work or committing petty crimes like shoplifting or car break-ins. Criminalizing people also pushes drug use into the shadows, Felicella said, and with a poisoned drug supply, that’s putting people’s lives at risk. “It’s so freaking stressful when you’re down there and you have cops following you around,” Felicella said. “It’s just a mental toll, physically, emotionally and mentally.” An option known as drug court — where people charged with drug-related crimes can avoid jail time by entering a drug treatment program — also needs to stop, Felicella said. “Having a judge sentence you to go to drug court is really putting treatment in the [category] of punishment,” Felicella said. “When that fails, and the treatment fails as well, it sure doesn’t make you want to go back the second time to try it again.” In opposing decriminalization, Trudeau has said it’s not “a silver bullet” and his government is prioritizing other interventions, like expanding safe supply — prescribing drugs to people to replace tainted illicit drugs. Felicella said decriminalization needs to go hand in hand with more access to safe supply and treatment options for people who want to stop using drugs. Currently in B.C., there’s a six- to eight-week wait to get into a treatment program if you or your family can’t afford to pay tens of thousands of dollars, Felicella said. He said his own journey to recovery only happened after he was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, and was able to get therapy to deal with trauma. Felicella still goes to a therapist regularly, but he said it’s not an option available to people who can’t pay out of pocket. Karen Ward, a drug policy advocate who works with the City of Vancouver, told council that decriminalizing drug possession could also help break down barriers that still exist with prescribing safe supply. “Doctors... are going to feel a little bit more able to prescribe [safe supply],” Ward said. “There’s hesitation there, despite all the power they have in society — they’re hesitant to be associated with drug users.” Felicella said safe supply takes people out of the constant grind of having to hustle to find the money to buy illicit drugs. The relationship between the police and Downtown Eastside residents is as bad as it’s ever been, said Felicella. He called on police to “stand down” in the neighbourhood, where many residents use illicit drugs regularly while also living in poverty and with chronic health conditions. “People still feel the same fear of the police,” he said. “Police show up in the alleys and people are like, ‘Oh, my God. What’s gonna happen?’” The VPD says it devotes special resources to keep people safe in the neighbourhood, connect homeless people with housing and provide support to sex workers. “There continue to be calls for service from citizens and businesses for police help for violent crime and property crime,” spokesperson Simi Heer wrote to The Tyee in an email. “We expect officers to deal with property crime, street disorder and violence.” While the department supports decriminalization and chief Palmer wrote a message of support for the mayor’s motion, Felicella said he is at times confused by the force’s decisions. “One minute they’re creating a task force to make sure people are safe, and then the next thing they’re harassing people on the street and moving them along. And then the next thing, they wanted to decriminalize drugs,” he said. “Hopefully, if this passes at a federal level, we can change the direction for many people.”Jen St. Denis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee
All of Fort Chipewyan’s stop signs are now in Cree, Dénesųłiné and English. Mayor Don Scott says similar traffic signs will be put up across the region next year, including in Fort McMurray. The signs are part of an effort to promote the Indigenous languages of the Wood Buffalo region. In a video announcing the news, Scott said boosting Indigenous languages is part of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. “This has always been a diverse region, and our rich culture and heritage make it truly a special place to call home,” he said. This is the first municipal initiative promoting Indigenous languages, although they are not the first Cree and Dénesųłiné signs in Fort Chipewyan. The community has welcome and grocery signs in the three major languages at the K’ai Tailé Market and outside the Athabasca Delta Community School. “Our languages are slowly disappearing because of the effects of residential schools,” said Teri Villebrun, councillor for Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN), in an interview. Fort Chipewyan was the site of the Holy Angels Residential School, which closed 1974. Between 1880 and 1953, 89 students died at the school. “These signs recognize the needs of promoting our Indigenous languages.” Villebrun said people are excited about the new signs in a community that has centuries of history to share. Founded in 1788, Fort Chipewyan is Alberta’s first European settlement. It was established as a trading post and named after the Chipewyan people already living in the area. “We do really have a sense of pride in our community,” she said. “It’s our traditional land of the Dene, Cree and Métis and we are so proud of our culture.” According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), three-quarters of Indigenous languages in Canada are “definitely,” “severely” or “critically” endangered. The most recent data on languages spoken in Canada comes from the 2016 census, which found only 20 per cent of First Nations people could converse in an Indigenous language. This is a six per cent drop from 2006. “If we continue down the current path, First Nations languages, like many Indigenous languages around the world, may be lost,” states a 2019 report from the Assembly of First Nations. “It is essential that drastic actions are taken to offset the erosion and loss of First Nations languages.” The municipality has posted to its website its own efforts and resources on meeting the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. An October 2019 report commissioned by the municipality also surveyed the attitudes First Nation and Métis leaders had towards their place in the region. At the time, the report found the administration of the day was “proactive” in incorporating the calls to action into its organizational structure, but was lagging on delivering, or lobbying for, basic services in rural communities. email@example.comSarah Williscraft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort McMurray Today
OTTAWA — New research suggests a bump in the number of fathers who planned to take time off with a new baby under a nascent national leave program could be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.It has been just over a year since the government started offering the use-it-or-lose-it extra weeks of paid time off work for non-birthing parents. The program was designed to mostly target fathers, who don't take paternity leave in large numbers.It was modelled after a program adopted over a decade ago in Quebec, which has the highest paternity leave rates in the country.A study published this month in the Journal of European Social Policy noted a five per cent rise in mothers' labour force participation rates after the Quebec policy came into effect, compared to Ontario where parents had no such policy at the time.The authors also noted Quebec mothers were less likely to work part-time or be unemployed than they would have been absent the paternity leave policy. The authors of the study also found the benefits were largest within the first three years of the new program being available to fathers, but fizzled out thereafter.Sample size could have played a role, but one of the authors said another explanation was timing: The period under review overlapped with the last big recession in 2008-2009.That raises questions about whether the impact of the Canada-wide version of the program could be shaped by an even sharper recession caused by COVID-19."It's a bit of a crystal ball in terms of will more fathers take it, will (fewer) fathers take it," said Andrea Doucet, an expert on parental leave policies from Brock University. She was not involved in the recently published study."But there's a whole part of this which is about social norms around gender and gender equality. The conversation (on paternity leave) has just changed enormously."The federal program, which launched in March 2019, includes five to eight weeks of extra paid leave for the second parent, with the length depending on whether a family chooses standard or extended benefits. It was designed to incentivize new fathers to take some time off work to care for their children, even if their partner stays home for much longer.The difference between the federal employment insurance program and the Quebec version lies in the income-replacement rate. Quebec's is about 70 per cent, while EI is 55 per cent, up to a limit. There are also differences in who can qualify, with individuals eligible in Quebec while EI depends on the eligibility of the mother, or first parent.Allison Dunatchik, one of the study's authors from the University of Pennsylvania, said the size of the take-up now depends on how many parents qualify and whether they can afford the drop in income."There's some question about whether that's really enough incentive to get men to change their leave-taking behaviour, particularly when we're in this context of greater economic uncertainty," she said."There is a lot we don't know about how these policies play out in the context of a recession." A report this month from Statistics Canada said the proportion of spouses or partners of recent mothers who claimed, or intended to claim, the EI leave increased to 35.4 per cent last year from 31.3 per cent in 2018 and 29.1 per cent in 2017.Employment and Social Development Canada, which oversees EI, couldn't say many parents used the sharing benefit last year and so far this year.Doucet said rates could actually go up as more fathers work remotely and take care of children at home because of school or daycare closures. Research suggests the more fathers are home, the more they want to get involved in care."They want to be involved. They don't just want to go to work the next day," she said. "All that could have some benefit. There could be some implications for fathers working from home, or their take up of leave."But, she added, the policy has to change.Doucet and two co-authors recently called on the government to boost the income-replacement rate and ease access, particularly in light of an economic downturn disproportionately affecting women.As is, about one-third of women don't qualify for EI parental benefits, Doucet said, noting many are mothers from low-income, racialized or new immigrant families."Parental leave is critical to shifting those gender equality patterns, so that if we ever get into another pandemic … things could be different," Doucet said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) released a ruling on Nov. 25, which impacts how First Nations children can access funding for services. The ruling says that First Nations children who live on or off-reserve, who do not have Indian Act Status, but who are recognized by their respective Nations for the purpose of applying for funding through Jordan’s Principle, can now apply for support. The ruling also opens up funding for children living on or off reserve who “are not eligible for, Indian Act status, but who have a parent or guardian with, or eligible for, Indian Act status.” The ruling comes after years of pressure from the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society (the Caring Society) and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) to address health service inequities, including delays or denial of services, that First Nations children experience. In memory of the late Jordan River Anderson, of Norway House Cree Nation, Jordan’s Principle is a principle that ensures “First Nations children get the services they need when they need them,” according to the Caring Society. Anderson, who was born with complex medical needs, spent more than two years in hospital while both the federal and provincial governments argued over who should finance his home care. Jordan died at the age of five, never having spent a day at home with his family. Jordan’s Principle calls on the government to pay for a child’s services and seek reimbursement later, so the child does not get caught in the middle of a similar dispute. Beginning in 2007, the Caring Society and the AFN filed an official complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) saying Canada was “racially discriminating against First Nations children.” According to a timeline by the Caring Society, the Tribunal case found that the inequitable funding for First Nations child welfare was insufficient and ‘amounts to discrimination.’ In 2016, the Tribunal found that the Government of Canada was “racially discriminating against 165,00 First Nations children and their families,” and that Canada was “failing to implement the full scope of Jordan’s Principle.” In this recent ruling, the Tribunal emphasized its “commitment to respecting First Nations self government,” saying that recognition of the right to self-determination is consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.Anna McKenzie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse
Rankin Inlet RCMP say a 32-year-old man wanted on several charges, including assault and arson, was located and arrested without incident Friday night.Police had asked Friday for the public's help in finding Donovan Akerlolik, who was wanted on two counts of assault causing bodily harm, arson, mischief under $5,000, and several breaches of court orders.In a Saturday morning release, the RCMP thanked the public for their assistance.
MIAMI — SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois has risen above 12,000 deaths from COVID-19, while also surpassing the 700,000 mark for confirmed coronavirus infections.The latest 1,000 deaths were recorded in just nine days — matching the state’s deadliest period previously in the pandemic in late April and early May, according to an Associated Press review of the data.After a quiet summer, the virus aggressively returned in October. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases jumped from 500,000 to 700,000 over the past 17 days.___HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:— Black Friday offers beacon of hope to struggling stores— Empty seats, delivered feasts as virus changes Thanksgiving— UK asks regulator to assess AZ-Oxford vaccine amid questions— The pandemic is turning this into a holiday shopping season like no other. Toy companies are targeting stuck-at-home grown-ups with latte-smelling Play-Doh and Legos that turn into Warhols.— The deluge of “Dear Santa” letters pouring into a French post office that sorts and responds to Kris Kringle’s mail offers a glimpse into the worries and hopes of children around the world awaiting a pandemic-hit Christmas.— Greece has moved all school and university classes to a remote format. State television is making and broadcasting lessons, while teachers speak to students online from empty classrooms.___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak___HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:MEXICO CITY — Mexico reported a record daily increase in the number of coronavirus cases Friday, with 12,081 more infections reported.The Health Department said the situation constituted an “alert,” and said that nationwide, infections had risen by over 8% last week.Most of the newly-reported infections occurred in previous weeks, but tests results were reported Friday. The rise was greatest in Mexico City, where detected infections rose by over 34% last week.City authorities have increased testing in the capital, including the use of antigen tests, and said that the larger number of tests may account for the rise.In most parts of Mexico, only people with serious symptoms are tested, leading to an undercount of infections.___ATLANTA — A panel of U.S. advisers will meet Tuesday to vote on how scarce, initial supplies of a COVID-19 vaccine will be given out once one has been approved.Experts have proposed giving the vaccine to health workers first. High priority also may be given to workers in essential industries, people with certain medical conditions and people age 65 and older.Tuesday’s meeting is for the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a group established by the CDC. The panel of experts recommends who to vaccinate and when -- advice the government almost always follows.Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have asked the FDA to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Moderna Inc. is expected to also seek emergency use of its vaccine soon.___LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County has announced a new stay-home order amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the nation’s most populous county.The three-week order takes effect Monday. It was announced Friday as the county confirmed 24 new deaths from COVID-19 and 4,544 new virus infections. Nearly 2,000 people in the county are hospitalized.The order advises people to stay home “as much as possible” and to wear face coverings when they go out. It bans people from gathering with others who aren’t in their households, publicly or privately. Church services and protests are exempted as “constitutionally protected rights.”Businesses can remain open but with limited capacity. Beaches, trails, and parks also will remain open.___MIAMI — South Florida Congressman-elect Carlos Gimenez has tested positive for coronavirus.His campaigned announced Friday that the former Miami-Dade County mayor and his wife, Lourdes, tested positive Thursday for COVID-19 after having mild symptoms.They said they’re self-isolating at home, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and advice from medical professionals.“I will continue attending New Member Orientation virtually and preparing our office to serve the people of Florida’s 26th Congressional District from Westchester to Key West until I can resume my normal schedule,” Gimenez said in a statement. “I am extremely grateful for all of the incredible health care workers who are tirelessly dedicated to their patients.”Gimenez served as Miami-Dade mayor from 2011 until this month. The Republican won his congressional race in the Nov. 3 general election and is set to assume office Jan. 3.___BRUSSELS — Belgium has relaxed some rules imposed to contain the coronavirus resurgence but is remaining strict on family gatherings over Christmas.Now that all the virus indicators are declining, the government said Friday that non-essential shops could open under restricted conditions next week. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said that beyond containing the virus, everyone had to make sure that loneliness did not strike.“We must also be sure that during Christmas and New Year people are not alone, so that is why on the evening of December 24 or 25 isolated people, people living alone, will have the possibility to invite up to two people inside their home,” De Croo said.One of the hardest-hit countries in Europe, Belgium has reported more than 16,000 deaths linked to the coronavirus.___LAWRENCE, Kan. — Holiday traditions have been upended across Kansas due to the coronavirus, forcing Santa to stay firmly on the ground in one city and transforming parades elsewhere.In Lawrence, hundreds usually turn out on the Friday after Thanksgiving to watch firefighters use a ladder truck to rescue Santa from the top of Weaver’s Department Store.But that’s not happening this year as the pandemic strains hospitals.Instead, Santa will appear on the first three Saturdays of December atop a truck decked out in garlands, poinsettias and pine cones, the Lawrence Journal-World reports.The city’s hospital, Lawrence Memorial, has been converting more rooms for COVID-19 patients and 26 coronavirus patients were being treated there on Friday.___SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota on Friday reported 39 deaths from COVID-19, pushing the state to record more deaths in November than all other months of the pandemic combined.The state’s tally of COVID-19 deaths stands at 888 after the Department of Health reported the death records from a two-day period stretching over the Thanksgiving holiday. The total number of deaths has more than doubled since November began, with 463 reported this month.The state currently has a death rate of about 100.7 deaths per 100,000 people.___MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Department of Health has reported 101 more COVID-19 deaths, the first time the state has topped 100 single-day deaths since the start of the pandemic.The state health department reported 5,704 new cases on Friday, putting the state at 3,476 deaths and 295,001 cases since March.More than 1,800 patients are hospitalized, including more than 380 in intensive care, as dramatic case growth over the past month has led to increasing hospitalizations and deaths.The figures reported on Friday reflect data acquired by the health department as of Wednesday.___DES MOINES, Iowa -- Iowa has reported that 37 people died of the coronavirus in the past day.The state Department of Public Health on Friday said the additional deaths bring the total to 2,349.In the past 24 hours as of Friday morning, there were 1,266 new confirmed cases.Iowa has long had some of the nation’s highest coronavirus infection rates, but in the past week its numbers have improved slightly.___LONDON — The World Health Organization’s top scientist says more data is needed to determine if the coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca works.Oxford and AstraZeneca reported Monday that their vaccine appeared 62% effective in people who received two doses and 90% effective when volunteers were given a half dose followed by a full dose. They later acknowledged a manufacturing issue had resulted in a half dose mistakenly being administered as the first dose to some participants.Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, WHO’s chief scientist, said at a Friday news conference that “the numbers are still too small to really come to any definitive conclusions.”In the study, 2,741 people got a half dose followed by a full dose while 8,895 people got two full doses. None of the people in the half-dose regimen were over age 55.“It’s very hard to compare these two groups,” Swaminathan said.Swaminathan said the agency had heard AstraZeneca would like to conduct a full study testing the half dose followed by a full-dose regimen, noting that the other ongoing research evaluating the vaccine uses two full doses.___LONDON — Ireland is easing its coronavirus restrictions, with most businesses allowed to reopen next week.For six weeks, Ireland has been under tight restrictions, with many businesses shut and people restricted to a 3-mile (5-kilometre) radius of their home.The government says shops, hairdressers, gyms, cinemas, museums and galleries will be allowed to open starting Tuesday, and religious services can resume. Restaurants and pubs that serve food will be able to open from Dec. 4, though bars that only serve drinks have to stay shut.Ireland plans to ease restrictions further over Christmas, allowing people to travel and up to three households to gather between Dec 18 and Jan. 6.Ireland, with a population of almost 5 million, has recorded more than 2,000 coronavirus-related deaths.Prime Minister Micheal Martin acknowledged the hardship many faced, but said the nation’s “sacrifices” were working and had driven down the infection rate to one of the lowest in Europe.___TORONTO — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he expects more than half of Canadians to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by next September.Trudeau’s government is facing criticism after he said Canada will have to wait for a vaccine because the first ones that roll off assembly lines are likely to be given to citizens of the country they are made in. He noted earlier this week that the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany have mass vaccine-production facilities but Canada does not.Trudeau says Canada has signed deals that could give it the most per capita vaccines in the world. But when Canadians will get the first doses remains an open question. Toronto is on lockdown and the country’s largest province of Ontario is reporting a record 1,855 cases on Friday.__GENEVA — Scientists at the World Health Organization estimate that about 60 to 70% of people in countries will need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus to achieve any type of herd immunity.At a press briefing on Friday, WHO vaccines expert Dr. Kate O’Brien said it was still unclear if vaccines against COVID-19 might reduce the amount of time people are infectious or their ability to spread the virus. But she said modelling studies suggest up to 70% of the population will need to be immunized so that people are protected from the disease.“It’s really important that we actually start to get more information about what the vaccines do, not just for preventing disease, but for actually preventing the acquisition of the virus,” said O’Brien, director of the U.N. health agency’s department of immunization, vaccines and biologicals.Dr. Michael Ryan, WHO’s emergencies chief, noted that in some situations, targeting certain groups for vaccination may be more important than immunizing the entire population.“We’ve seen in many clusters that only 20% of the cases go on to transmit to others, 80% don’t transmit to anybody else,” he said. “I think we’ll need to be much more surgical and precise in exactly who we target for vaccination. It may be much more important to target certain sections of the community.”__PHOENIX — Arizona has reported more than 4,000 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases for the third time in a week as related hospitalizations continued to increase during the current surge in the pandemic.The Department of Health Services’ coronavirus dashboard Friday reported 4,314 additional cases and 20 deaths, increasing the state’s totals to 318,638 cases and 6,588 deaths.The dashboard reported that 2,301 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Thursday, including 532 in beds in intensive-care units.Rep. Andrés Cano, a Democrat, announced on social media Wednesday that he is in isolation but is not symptomatic. Cano was reelected this month.Last week, Democratic Rep. Arlando Teller of Chinle announced he also tested positive and was isolating. The most serious case involved Rep. Lorenzo Sierra, who spent several days on a ventilator after becoming ill in October. He has now recovered.The Associated Press
Derek Mueller, a senior researcher at Carleton University, cut his scientific teeth studying mats of microbes on some of Canada's oldest, thickest and most remote sea ice. "They have some very interesting pigments in their cells to fend off harmful UV radiation," Mueller said in an interview. "It's kind of a tricky thing to do, physiologically. You never know. It could very well be that someday we discover something useful out of that life." That's one reason why he, along with colleagues and Inuit groups, are calling for stronger protections for Canada's northernmost waters as the so-called Last Ice Area rapidly lives up to its name. "It's so poorly understood," said Mueller, co-author of an article in the journal Science that urges the federal government to expand and make permanent the conservation of Tuvaijuittuq, 320,000 square kilometres of frozen ocean off the northern coast of Ellesmere Island. Tuvaijuittuq, which means "the place where ice never melts" in Inuktut, has the thickest and oldest ice in the Arctic. Because of how ice moves in ocean currents, Tuvaijuittuq is likely to be the last place it remains. The region is provisionally protected until 2024. But Mueller said the pace of Arctic warming argues for permanent status as a Marine Protected Area connected to Quttinirpaaq National Park on Ellesmere's north coast. Just last July, 40 per cent of the area's Milne Ice Shelf collapsed within two days -- 80 square kilometres of ice that had been stable for millennia now adrift. It happened so quickly an uninhabited research camp was lost. "(The area's) under threat and we're hoping for conservation measures to mitigate that," Mueller said. The Qikiqtani Inuit Association is working with the federal and Nunavut governments to determine if Tuvaijuittuuq should be permanently protected and, if so, how. "QIA is leading an Inuit knowledge study which will really try to tackle what is current and historical Inuit use of the area," said Andrew Randall, the association's director of marine and wildlife stewardship. "(We're) looking at cultural sites, some of the impacts associated with climate change." Inuit want to understand what resources might lie in the area, Randall said. They also want to ensure Inuit play a role in managing and studying it, he added. "(Research) doesn't only mean bringing in more western scientists," he said. The Arctic sea ice ecosystem may seem desolate, but it's anything but, said Mueller. The ice supports a whole range of life important to humans and animals a long way away. As the rest of the circumpolar world shifts under climate change, ensuring that a piece of the frozen Arctic remains free of human disturbance is key to understanding both how things used to be and what they are becoming, said Mueller. Just this year, scientists discovered a whole ecosystem of shellfish, anemones, starfish and brittle stars living on shelves in pockets within the ice. "What a wonderful surprise!" said Mueller. "We are now just beginning to understand this environment." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020. Bob Weber, The Canadian Press
On Day 8 of his second-degree murder trial, Justin Breau took the stand and admitted to shooting Mark Shatford on Nov. 17, 2019. While the Crown has painted a picture of a "drug ripoff" gone bad, Breau told the court that he went to buy drugs from Shatford and his fiancée, Melissa Daley, when he was suddenly attacked by Shatford. Breau said he thought Shatford was going to kill him when he pulled the trigger. His testimony differed from that of four other people who were in the apartment at 321 Duke St. West at the time of the incident. Breau, 37, said he was at home with his mother and daughter on Nov. 16, 2019 and had fallen asleep in his room. He said he was awakened by a woman he had been seeing and the two of them drove to Rockwood Park before going to a "drug house" on Peter Street. He said the "establishment", which he compared to an after-hours bar, ran out of drugs. He said they waited around with several other people for the stock to be replenished, when he got a message from Daley's Facebook account through Messenger. It was a hand-wave emoji. Breau texted back asking if they had any "raw" — slang for pure cocaine. She responded by saying she only had "cut," which Breau described as a weaker form of cocaine, as a result of other substances added to it. The two texted back and forth and eventually settled on two grams of "cut" in exchange for 15 zopiclone pills and $70 cash. When she testified earlier this week, Daley said it wasn't her sending the messages from her account. She said it must have been Shatford. She said the two were both in bed watching a movie together at the time. One of the last messages sent from Daley's Facebook account was that the door was open. Breau said he had gone to 321 Duke St. West 30 or 40 times since the summer of 2018 — specifically to buy drugs. He said his preference was pure cocaine. Sometimes he paid cash, sometimes he traded zopiclone pills — often referred to as zops — and sometimes he didn't pay at all. Breau told the court that he had racked up a drug debt to Daley and Shatford of about $1,000, but had managed to get it down to $700 at the time of the shooting. Breau said he arrived at 4:20 a.m., made his way through the apartment, and knocked on the door of the master bedroom. Breau said he heard the chain lock being slid across and when the door opened, Shatford was standing there with Daley a few feet behind him. He said Shatford grabbed his $100 bill, reminded him of the money owed, and said Breau wasn't going to get anything that night. Breau testified that when he tried to grab the money back, Shatford hit him in the head with a long, shiny metal object. He said Shatford hit him two more times before he managed to get away. He said he fled the apartment, but that Shatford caught up to him on the stairs and hit him again in the back, causing him to fall down the stairs. Breau said he went as quickly as he could to the car he borrowed from his friend, who he identified as Angie Snodgrass. Breau said he dropped the keys as he got to the vehicle. He said he thought about opening the first door he came to and just jumping in and locking the doors, but he said he knew Shatford had a temper and worried that the would smash his way into the vehicle, drag him into the street "and beat me to death." So, instead, he reached in and grabbed a shotgun that he said he hadn't known was there until he opened the door. He said Shatford was in the midpoint of swinging the long metal object, described by other witnesses as a torque or socket wrench, when he pulled the trigger. Breau said the wrench "went ting, ting, ting on the ground" as it fell from Shatford's hand. He said Shatford took a few steps back and slowly fell to the ground. That's when he grabbed the car keys he had dropped, jumped in and drove away. He said one of the two men who went with him was in the vehicle, but he doesn't know what happened to the other man. Under cross-examination, Crown prosecutor Joanne Park asked Breau if he knew what a "drug rip off" is. Breau laughed and said he didn't really know. Park explained that it's when someone sets up a drug deal, but then, instead of going through with the deal when they meet up, the prospective buyer robs the dealer. Breau interrupted Park's explanation and said he "never heard of that." At the end of her questioning, Park suggested to Breau that it was a drug rip off and that Shatford "was just trying to get you out of the house." Breau didn't answer directly but said, "You're trying to put words in my mouth." Breau was the only witness called by defence lawyer Brian Munro before he closed his case on Friday afternoon. The jury will be back in court on Tuesday afternoon for final arguments from the Crown and defence. Mr. Justice Thomas Christie told the jurors to expect to receive final instructions from him Wednesday morning. Before they start deliberating, however, one of the 13 jurors will be selected at random and dismissed. The law only allows 12 jurors to deliberate.