Ontario Health is warning hospital CEOs to be ready to accept patients outside of their region as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to surge. Shallima Maharaj reports.
Ontario Health is warning hospital CEOs to be ready to accept patients outside of their region as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to surge. Shallima Maharaj reports.
From a global perspective, there was nothing unique about the recent raid on the U.S. Capitol. Both Republican and Democratic administrations have backed military coups around the world for decades.
When Diogo Dalot signed for Manchester United, the excitement was mixed with regret at missing out on the chance to play with Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The veteran striker had departed for what appeared to be a career swan song at the Los Angeles Galaxy just before a teenage Dalot arrived at Old Trafford three years ago. “It was a little bit of a sad moment for me,” Dalot recalls in an interview with The Associated Press. “When you play football, you always want to play with the best players and, of course, Zlatan was a reference.” The opportunity had been missed, or so the Portuguese defender wrongly assumed. As the right back struggled for game time in Manchester, a loan move was needed at the start of this season. Now the 21-year-old Dalot is at the heart of the defence of an AC Milan side which has been propelled to the top of the Italian league by the 39-year-old Ibrahimovic. With 12 goals in eight league games, the Swede’s enduring quality is undisputed — and inspirational for a teammate giving his career a lift in Italy. “He’s very demanding on ourselves,” Dalot said in a video call from Milan. “He’s always one of the first to come in to training ground. So these kind of things help us to see that maybe we need to be as professional as him because, if you want to win as much as he won, you need to be doing this for a long time. “And this is a very good way to see how you want be a success in football, how you want to be in 10 years or in 15 years. And it’s been a very good surprise to work with him.” Surprising because Dalot had not envisaged leaving United — even temporarily — so soon after being acclaimed as the “best young fullback in Europe” when Jose Mourinho brought him to United from Porto in 2018. “It was one of the sentences that I keep with me until this day,” Dalot said. “Coming from him was even more special because we all know that is a fantastic coach, one of the best ever, and it gave me a little bit more responsibility.” A change in manager produced a change in circumstances and Dalot fell down the pecking order under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Ibrahimovic is helping Dalot believe in himself again and improve his game. “He can give you the confidence when he thinks you need (it),” Dalot said. That sometimes means being brutally honest. “'You’re not doing good enough to be at this level'” Dalot says Ibrahimovic will tell players in training or games. "Coming from him we need to listen.” Especially about what it takes to win titles, something Milan has not done in Serie A since Ibrahimovic lifted the trophy in 2011 before eventually moving on to PSG, United and the LA Galaxy. Almost halfway through the season, a resurgent Milan enjoys a three-point lead over city rival Inter and has an unexpected 10-point advantage on Juventus, which has slumped to fifth after eight successive titles. “It will be more special (winning the title), not just because of beating Juve or Inter ... but to put Milan back on the top again, winning titles after so many years,” Dalot said. “We like this kind of pressure. We like to have people down there pushing us and paying attention to us to see, ‘OK, if you lose, we are there.’ So we like these kind of challenges.” Dalot’s focus is on the Serie A prize. But there will be some uncertainty when the season-long loan expires whether he returns to United or secures a longer stay with Stefano Pioli’s Milan. United is also going strongly this season, sitting top of the Premier League and looking to end its own title drought stretching back to 2013. “I am completely focused on what is going on here,” Dalot said. “When I go home and I can rest, I can see Manchester games, Porto games and be happy with them, because they are winning and they are doing fantastic.” Dalot is delighted to be back on the field regularly again, playing 15 times since October and being a key part of a defence that has not conceded in four of the last five games. “I’m a confident person. I know my qualities. I know what I can do, but then if you don’t play that’s not enough," Dalot said. "Feeling the grass again, feeling the games again, winning games and playing 90 minutes ... it’s been fantastic.” ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Rob Harris, The Associated Press
Timmins' Indigenous Advisory Committee is moving ahead with taking Indigenous relations training. At the virtual committee meeting Wednesday, members voted in favour of taking training offered by Bob Joseph, the author of 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act and the founder of Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. The committee’s interim chair Kristin Murray said it’s more of a self-guided training that can be entered in groups of up to 30 people and that can be completed at an individual pace. The previously suggested training, The San’yas: Indigenous Cultural Safety (ICS) Training Program, was off the table because some elements of the training weren’t always offered, Murray said. “Not all of our staff could jump on board and get that training at once, which was the downside,” said Murray. During the committee’s last meeting in December, members agreed to take a training program before deciding whether they want to recommend the training for city employees. “There’s racism in the city. Even before we do all this training ourselves, we have to try get out there and try to educate the public,” committee member Irene Camillo said during Wednesday’s meeting. Stacey Vincent Cress of Waubetek Business Development Corporation, who attended the meeting as a guest, said taking online training shouldn’t be “a tick box exercise”. “Something is better than nothing," he said. "However, if we’re going to have some Indigenous awareness and competency training … if you’re going to train 500 members of the community plus the committee, plus the general population, you need to be able to sit and speak with some people on some of the issues that you can’t get from a computer program.” Murray noted the discussions about taking the training have been going on for two years, and there has also been a discussion about taking localized training. “But that’s going to take time. By the time we put these things together, it will be years, it will be after our term as a committee,” she said. “Some of these training opportunities are not click-through, you have to be able to engage.” If approved by council, this will be the first cultural awareness training for city employees since the Ontario Human Rights Commission's visit to Timmins in 2018. Murray said the hope would be to have the members complete the training by the next committee meeting in March. Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com
PARIS — Just like the leaves of its gilded fans, France’s storied fan-making museum could fold and vanish. The splendid Musee de l’Eventail in Paris, classed as a historical monument, is the cultural world’s latest coronavirus victim. It has until Jan. 23 to pay up over 117,000 euros ($142,000) in rent arrears — stemming mainly from losses during lockdowns, otherwise it will close. And with it will go the savoir-faire of its workshop. The studio that teaches design and restoration to a new generation of fan-makers was placed on France’s intangible heritage list last year. “It is a tragedy. I can’t believe Parisians will let a part of their heritage die. I have a problem, because I always believed there would be a miracle,” the museum's 74-year-old director, Anne Hoguet, told the AP. There may be some surprise that France, a country that famously prizes its culture, has not done more to save the museum, especially given that the French public was so eager to help other cultural sites in danger, such as its burned-out Notre Dame cathedral. It might be a question of size. Hoguet said she was “exhausted” by the fight for survival that has hit smaller institutions but spared larger ones, such as Florence’s Uffizi which re-opens this week. “Like all small museums, we had troubles before, but the health crisis has been a catastrophe," she said. Bailiffs are even threatening to seize the museum's artefacts from next Monday, numbering 2,500 original pieces — including historic fans made from turtle shell, lace and silk and adorned with diamonds and rubies. Like many of Paris' 130 museums, Hoguet said her institution — which charges just 7 euros entry and is located in the French capital’s popular 10th district — was forced to close for most of 2020 because of government virus restrictions. On top of that, money coming from the workshop’s fan restorations also evaporated because of the tightening of spending during the pandemic. “The aristocratic families who send me their fans to restore all fled to their country homes in lockdown, so I had no more commissions. They wanted to save their money.” She said she would previously have charged between 500 and 600 euros per fan to restore them to their original state using traditional materials, and she used the income from that to pay the rent. Even when the museum briefly re-opened last September, Hoguet had trouble getting the same levels of footfall as before. “Because people were preoccupied with the virus, culture and heritage got forgotten — and dangerously,” she said. Hoguet is the fourth generation in charge of what is Paris’ last original fan-making workshop. She has trained directly or indirectly five young fan-makers, whom she hopes will carry the torch of the storied craft. The making of fans, traditionally with wooden sticks and painted paper leaves, has been considered sacred in many ancient cultures. But in France, its golden age was in the French court of 18th-century Versailles, where women used fan as forms of communication to flirt expertly or to hide modestly behind. The images painted on them would often chronicle the current affairs of the world around them. To this day, they remain part of France's fashion heritage DNA, featuring elaborately in couture collections by Chanel, Dior and Jean Paul Gaultier. Hoguet's father bought the museum’s impressive collection of fans in 1960. It spans the period from the Renaissance to the 20th century, including “advertising” or “illustrated” pieces, as well as vellum, kidskin and feathered fans. She is very much an eccentric of the old school. A staff of one, she has no cohesive fundraising tool set up other than email, but her efforts to rally support since 2019 have been valiant. She says that she has been so failed by French authorities that she now has trouble sleeping. She had rallied the French Culture Ministry and been in talks with Paris City Hall, but it has, she said, made no difference. “What is the point of marking us out as intangible heritage if they will not protect us?” she asked. Paris City Hall did not immediately respond when contacted by AP. “The problem with savoir-faire, is that it can very quickly die," Hoguet said. ___ Adamson reported from Leeds, England Thomas Adamson And Michel Euler, The Associated Press
Mongolia's Prime Minister Khurelsukh Ukhnaa submitted his resignation to parliament on Thursday after protests in the capital Ulaanbaatar over the government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state news agency Montsame reported. Khurelsukh said in his resignation statement that he should "assume the responsibility upon himself and accept the demand of the public." The protests erupted on Wednesday over what some Mongolians saw as the inhumane treatment of a COVID-19 patient and her newborn baby, Montsame said.
In preparing for her first election run, Kristina Ennis never expected what would be called into question during her first days of door knocking. At least a couple of times a day, her age has been brought up at the door, Ennis, the Progressive Conservative candidate for St. John's West, told CBC News. "Comments around, even straight up asking, 'How old are you? Are you old enough to be running in this election?'" said Ennis. Ennis — who, for the record, is 30 — said she tries her best to brush off such remarks and focus on her skills, like a near-decade of experience in the oil and gas sector. But the comments on her appearance nag at her at night, especially so after talking to male counterparts to find none of them had similar experiences. "I don't think my age has anything to do with my credibility. And when I get questions like that, I feel as if my credibility and my skills and my qualifications are being called into question simply because I am a female in politics," she said. Ennis's experience hasn't been an aberration since Newfoundland and Labrador's general election was called Friday evening. Female candidates have been sharing encounters of sexism and misogyny, from casual comments to online trolling, that aren't limited to political newcomers. "I've had some harassing behaviour against me. I'm seeing that on the campaign trail. In the third day. So it's a bit of an interesting experience," said Sarah Stoodley, the Liberal incumbent candidate in the midst of her second campaign for Mt. Scio's seat. Most of the comments come via email, Stoodley said, continuing a trolling trend she saw when she was an MHA. One tactic? Don't engage much with the senders, she said. "They're not really interested in having a conversation, like around policy." Still, the emails have prompted her team to ensure Stoodley never enters or leaves her campaign office unaccompanied, she said, with even some women on her team — unelected employees or volunteers — having been targets. Alison Coffin, running for the NDP in St. John's East-Quidi Vidi in her third election, credits her campaign team for insulating her from the nastiest online snipes. But despite trying to abide by what should be the internet's golden rule — don't read the comments — sexism seeps through. "I certainly have had lots and lots of comments about how I look, what my hair is like. And people don't talk to you about your message — they say, 'Well, oh, that outfit didn't quite fit right,'" said Coffin, who is also the party's leader. Even for a seasoned politician, Coffin said, such jabs can be setbacks, and she knows it keeps others with political aspirations on the sidelines. "That's a real unfortunate barrier for a lot of women. A lot of people don't appreciate that type of criticism, and it really is a deterrent to bring good, strong women candidates who are smart and have good ideas," she said. A non-partisan push Despite their political differences Ennis, Coffin and Stoodley share an uncommon unity in this campaign in the face of discrimination. And they're not the only ones. "Females from all parties are coming together to support one another, and I really love that spirit of teamwork. I'm really big on teamwork as it is, and I think a collaborative approach to problem-solving is what's best in most situations," Ennis said. There's weight to that energy. The nomination deadline for candidates is Saturday, but so far, percentage-wise, there are more women running in the 2021 election than ever before at 33 per cent, or 37 out of the 112 candidates declared as of Wednesday. Female candidates are contributing uplifting songs to a non-partisan playlist to help power them through any campaign trail problems — Ennis's pick is Grown Woman by Beyoncé — and giving advice; Stoodley recommends brushing off negative comments, while Coffin said it helps to shut off social media. To effect larger change, Ennis said education is key. She credits Equal Voice NL — the provincial chapter of the Canada-wide non-profit that promotes women in office — as raising the issue's profile. On a personal level, a tool she's used in the past has been to make people aware of unconscious bias, and she hopes this campaign incorporates that tactic. "A lot of people don't necessarily realize how their words hurt and impact another person. And I think the campaign happening right now, and the number of comments women are getting, I think it's important that … that the awareness can get out there, that this is inappropriate, and this is why it's inappropriate, so that people hopefully understand and this attitude stops," she said. The 'old boys' club' — in 2021 It's a big ask, and bigger than a month-long campaign, where addressing sexist comments takes time away from the issues and policies the politicians are trying to discuss. Gender parity among all parties remains elusive, and prior to the election, only 22.5 per cent of MHAs were women. Coffin said sexism continues to dog and deter female candidates in part because it isn't getting fully addressed within the larger political sphere. "I certainly see that in the House of Assembly, that semblance of that old boys' club is still there. It's a lot of token words about women's issues, but it doesn't seem to be a real fulsome understanding," she said. Case in point: in October, Lisa Dempster, a Liberal cabinet minister at the time, was called "a schoolgirl" by Opposition MHA Barry Petten, who later apologized for those remarks. For progress to be made, Coffin said, sexism needs to be called out wherever it's seen. "We need to address it directly and it needs to be embodied by all politicians," she said. For her part, Stoodley is working to embody change. Being visible, she said, is key, and her past months in politics show that commitment. She was sworn in as a cabinet minister in her third trimester in August, with her pregnancy bringing about Confederation Building changes from adding change tables in washrooms to permitting babies on the legislature's floor. In less high-profile work, Stoodley said she has tried to give political tours and, in pandemic times, Zoomed with schoolchildren to talk about what being an MHA is like. "If they see themselves as that, hopefully they can aspire to be that," Stoodley said. Stoodley notes female candidates often are able to fundraise less than male counterparts — a CBC/Radio Canada investigation found an average gap between genders of about $5,000 in the last federal election — and she hopes there's room for further, systemic electoral change. "In terms of the system we're working in, where we run and we're candidates and we have parties, can we tweak the system to help encourage more women to run, so that we move closer to the 50/50 split that reflects the general population?" she said. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Bitcoin slumped 10% to a 10-day low before paring some of its losses Thursday as traders feared tighter U.S. regulations. The world's most popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin was last down 10.6% at $31,724. The pullback comes amid growing concerns that bitcoin is one of a number of financial market price bubbles.
LONDON — Crystal Palace signed French striker Jean-Philippe Mateta on an 18-month loan from relegation-threatened German club Mainz on Thursday. Mateta has scored 10 goals in 17 appearances for Mainz in the Bundesliga and German Cup this season. Mainz said the loan deal runs through the end of the 2021-22 season and includes an option to buy. Mateta's arrival adds depth to a Palace attack which has relied heavily on winger Wilfried Zaha's eight Premier League goals this season. Palace's centre forwards have struggled for goals, with three for Christian Benteke, one for Jordan Ayew and none for Michy Batshuayi. Mainz, which is in 17th place in the 18-team standings and faces relegation after 12 years in the first division, will be without its top scorer for the second half of the Bundesliga season. No other player in the squad has scored more than three goals this season. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Last week's windstorm swept away some potential profits for Habitat for Humanity's Regina ReStore. The home and building supply store, which sells donated building materials and furniture to raise money for Habitat, had appliances in its outdoor compound that were tossed around by the wind, and are now unusable. "It was kind of an array of items," Amanda Partridge, manager of Regina's ReStore, said in an interview. "Quite a few stoves were tossed around through the parking lot and washing machines — we had a few of those that seem to be in high demand right now, so we don't even have access to those anymore so it was kind of a hit," she said in an interview. Along with the appliances, the store's sign was completely destroyed in the storm, Partridge said. Now, the store, located at 1740 Broder St., is asking the public to help replenish its stock. "We just aren't getting all the donations that we would hope for," she said. Partridge wanted people to know the ReStore is open and taking donations, as some people have been confused about that. She said the store has implemented more cleaning measures for safety. In addition to appliances, the ReStore also takes furniture and building supplies.
With more than a third of Oujé-Bougoumou's entire population of 980 people currently in mandatory self-isolation, Chief Curtis Bosum has had a very busy start to 2021. Since Jan. 7, there have been 27 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in this tight-knit Cree community, located more than 730 kilometres north of Montreal. Many of the people self-isolating are close enough contacts of the 27 positive cases to be put in precautionary self-isolation by Cree public health. "That's why the contact tracing is so huge. We're such a small community ... we're very close to one another, not only in the family, but [also as] friends," said Bosum. Bosum said the vast majority of residents are doing a great job of controlling the outbreak, respecting the self-isolation and following the protocols. He stressed how important it is to continue to do so. I think this really scared the community. - Curtis Bosum, Chief Oujé-Bougoumou "I'm very grateful that they are responding in a positive way. Theyunderstand the importance. I think this really scared the community," said Bosum. The outbreak in Oujé-Bougoumou is linked to gatherings and parties over the new year that has also led to 33 cases so far in the nearby Cree community of Mistissini. It has also led to a vast and ongoing contract tracing exercise by Cree public health, which at last count, included 727 contacts and more than 597 COVID-19 tests. All of the Cree communities, including Oujé-Bougoumou, are currently in the most restrictive phase of the Cree Nation's deconfinement plan, in wihch indoor and outdoor gatherings are forbidden, and community access and businesses are restricted to essential services only. Oujé-Bougoumou, along with some other communities, have also put in place a curfew. "When we increase restrictions and measures, this helps the contact tracing team to do its work to track further transmission," said Bertie Wapachee, Chairperson of the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay, in one of his regular addresses to the Cree communities. For Bosum, the outbreak has also been a confirmation of the warnings Cree leadership have been giving since March, that if the virus got into the communities, it would spread like wildfire. "It's kind of sad that the outbreak was so devastating ... so big right now," said Bosum. No grocery store a challenge It's also complicated by the fact that Oujé-Bougoumou is one of the only Cree communities without a grocery store. That means at the beginning of the outbreak, many residents were regularly traveling to nearby non-Cree towns to buy food. Early on in the pandemic, community leadership fast-tracked renovations to an old fire hall to give the residents access to basics like bread, butter, flour and frozen goods such as vegetables without needing to leave Oujé-Bougoumou, according to Bosum. They are also working with a grocery store of a major chain about an hour away for food deliveries. Building a local grocery store was already in the works before the pandemic, but is now even more of a priority according to Bosum. "Oujé has faced so many challenges during this pandemic," he said. Signs of hope Now two weeks into the outbreak, Bosum said he's starting to see some signs of hope. On Wednesday, there were no new names added to the list of positive cases in Oujé-Bougoumou, and six of the 27 positive cases who are now considered recovered, according to Bosum. "So 14 days of people being isolated ... if we continue with the trend right now, this will slow down," he said, adding there are no signs of community transmission in Oujé-Bougoumou. "So, some hope," said Bosum, adding the community knows and appreciates that other Cree communities are keeping Oujé-Bougoumou in their prayers.
WASHINGTON — Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, lowering claims to 900,000, still a historically high level that points to further job cuts in a raging pandemic. The Labor Department's report Thursday underscored that President Joe Biden has inherited an economy that faltered this winter as virus cases spiked, cold weather restricted dining and federal rescue aid expired. The government said that 5.1 million Americans are continuing to receive state jobless benefits, down from 5.2 million in the previous week. That signals that fewer people who are out of work are finding jobs. New viral infections have begun to slow after months of relentless increases, though they remain high and are averaging about 200,000 a day. The number of deaths in the United States from the pandemic that erupted 10 months ago has surpassed 400,000. Economists say one factor that likely increased jobless claims in the past two weeks is a government financial aid package that was signed into law in late December. Among other things, it provided a $300-a-week federal unemployment benefit on top of regular state jobless aid. The new benefit, which runs through mid-March, may be encouraging more Americans to apply for jobless benefits. Once vaccines become more widely distributed, economists expect growth to accelerate in the second half of the year as Americans unleash pent-up demand for travel, dining out and visiting movie theatres and concert halls. Such spending should, in theory, boost hiring and start to regain the nearly 10 million jobs lost to the pandemic. But for now, the economy is losing ground. Retail sales have fallen for three straight months. Restrictions on restaurants, bars and some stores, along with a reluctance of most Americans to shop, travel and eat out, have led to sharp spending cutbacks. Revenue at restaurants and bars plunged 21% in 2020. Christopher Rugaber, The Associated Press
Canadian pension funds are seeking to boost their real estate investments, betting the slumping property market will recover as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes and office workers and city dwellers return to downtown properties. In a world of slower economic growth, very low interest rates, volatility in equity markets, real estate offers an attractive opportunity for pension funds, which take a long-term investment horizon, say market participants.
A cold chain break during the transportation of a COVID-19 vaccine recently is causing Central Health to make changes to its procedures. The break occurred earlier this month when 160 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were being transported from the distribution centre in Gander to the Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre in Grand Falls-Windsor. The break came when the Pfizer vaccine, which must be kept at a temperature between –60 C and –80 C, went to a temperature that was between two and eight degrees outside what is recommended. Central Health has made changes to ensure it doesn’t happen again. “What we do when a situation like this happens, or any situation that happens, we follow a continuous quality improvement approach,” said Joanne Pelley, vice-president of integrated health and chief nursing executive with Central Health. “With that, we would review all processes that occurred and look at anything that we need to do differently.” One of those changes is to have the shipments of the vaccine transported on the day of the clinic instead of the day before. In the days that followed the break, there were no transportation issues and they were able to deliver vaccines to priority health-care workers. “We’ve reviewed the process, we’ve implemented new approaches and we certainly do not want this to happen again,” said Pelley. Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, the province's chief medical officer of health, said the vaccine is transported with a specialized temperature recorder in each box, which indicated the doses had been above that for 15 minutes. “It’s my understanding that it has to do with just the way that the shipping container was conditioned — and the TempTale, the temperature recording device that we use — were conditioned prior to being placed in the … shipping container, and so that can sometimes result in a higher reading,” Fitzgerald said Wednesday. While there was no damage to the vaccine, it became paramount that those doses be administered as quickly as possible. Because of this, officials with Central Health pulled their health-care teams together and quickly started assessing the situation, while determining the best choice of action. None of the doses went to waste, and were delivered to the people who needed them in the six hours when they had to be delivered. “Central looked at this and tried to determine what the reason for that cold chain break was, and to the best of my knowledge at this point, they have figured that out and they have put safeguards in place to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” said Fitzgerald. — With files from Peter Jackson Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
Birdtail Sioux First Nation and the Ojibway First Nation have both seen COVID-19 vaccine roll out in their communities this week. Elders in both communities are at the top of the list. But Birdtail Chief Ken Chalmers did say vaccine fear is real. He said at least one person is waiting to see how it works out for others. "But we’re campaigning to get that done," he said, but that vaccine wasn’t wasted as someone further down the list, according to age, took it. Social media, Chalmers said, is the main root of vaccine fear. Chalmers said the community has had a few scares. "We had one case that we isolated. We’re back down to zero," he said, adding the person had travelled to a hospital and that’s likely where the virus was contracted. Everyone in contact with that person was isolated. All tests came back negative and that person is now doing well. Keeseekoowenin Chief Norman Bone said, so far, his community hasn’t seen a case. "We’ve been fortunate to not have any cases, here," Bone said. "We’ve done fairly well since last spring." Bone said the community is observing the fundamentals, as dictated by provincial public health officials — and leadership has communicated those to community members. "We’ve tried to make all the people aware to take all the precautions, in terms of self-isolation, wearing masks, shopping for essentials only," he said. "Whatever it is we’ve done, is working for us." While Birdtail has barriers blocking visitors from entering the community, such is not the case at Keeseekoowenin, due to the community having multiple entry points. Bone has previously said it is simply not possible to blockade the community. At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Indigenous Services Canada associate deputy minister Valerie Gideon said the highest funding requests her department received are for perimeter security. "For communities to be able to try and control that to-and-from traffic into community. We’re close to 350 communities that have closed their borders to non-essential travel, and are really maintaining their resolve in order to protect their community members," she said. However, Chalmers wonders which communities received those funds because he does not have certainty that his community will see reimbursement for roadblocks. While Gideon said those measures are critical, Chalmers said he’s getting mixed messages on that matter, and so far the First Nation is using its own dollars. "We got zero," Chalmers said. "Security costs $90,000 a month. And they won’t tell us who got that money." Chalmers references Shamattawa First Nation, which required an emergency response, which likely cost the federal government millions of dollars. He acknowledges Northern reserves are getting hit hard, but he’s also very concerned about protecting his own reserve. The feds, said Chalmers, told Birdtail is in a low-risk area. But due to the same reasons any reserve is vulnerable, so is Birdtail. "That was a surprise to me. The whole province is in code red," he said. Food security is an issue, and both Chalmers and Bone said that’s being handled. Birdtail has its own store, and is providing vouchers for those who need them. At Keeseekoowenin, fishing and hunting continues to provide additional support. "Last year, we started fishing, doing our own process of getting food to the people that would need. We’re still doing that," Bone said. The community also benefitted from the Fisher River Cree Nation receiving $11 million from the Surplus Food Rescue Program to rescue up to 2.9 million pounds of freshwater fish, which was distributed to more than 75 Indigenous communities throughout Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the North. "We took part in that and we’re still distributing some of that fish," Bone said. The area sees mostly deer, and hunting parties have been out to add that to the community’s food source. "The guys have been going out and providing some of that as a food source for some of the people that require it here in the community," Bone said. "Some of the stuff we’d been doing before. We also making sure potatoes and some basic stuff … We’ve been doing some of this stuff over the years, already. We just carried on with that." But Bone added distribution was increased over previous years. School children are also being protected, as both communities have been going the remote learning route. Bone said that has been working well for Keeseekoowenin. What’s hardest for on-reserve members? Funerals. Gathering to grieve and celebrate the life of a loved one is impossible in these times. Public health orders have limited these gatherings. A funeral may have been the site of some viral spread at Sioux Valley Dakota Nation — the community put out a notice that anyone who attended a particular funeral, and showed signs of symptoms, should get tested. Chief Jennifer Bone did not return a call from The Brandon Sun. Chalmers plans to organize a memorial for all those the community has lost during these many long pandemic months. For now, he just wants to keep all children and elders safe to the fall of 2021. As for Bone, he’s just grateful things have worked out the way they have for his community so far. Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
The N.W.T. Housing Corporation has loosened rules for seniors trying to access its housing repair programming. Changes announced on Wednesday remove the need for home insurance and formal land tenure, and the GNWT will now only assess the incomes of seniors who own their homes. “These changes will put an end to situations where seniors cannot access assistance for repairs in smaller communities and allow them to remain in their homes and communities, where they are surrounded by the support of their families and friends,” said housing minister Paulie Chinna. Previously, the territory assessed the income of all income-earners in the household. Now, only the income of the applicant and co-applicant will be considered. Home insurance and land tenure are difficult to get in some communities. From now on, all residents – including seniors – in smaller communities can access home repair programs without either. The N.W.T. Housing Corporation said it would continue to help people to get home insurance and land tenure, to ensure their homes are protected. Residents in Fort Simpson, Fort Smith, Inuvik, Hay River, Norman Wells and Yellowknife are still required to have land tenure and insurance when applying for the major stream of the Contributing Assistance for Repairs and Enhancement program. Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio
Like 8,000 flying trapeze artists passing in midair, the Biden and Trump administrations swapped out senior leadership of the federal government on the fly as Joe Biden was inaugurated as the nation's 46th president. Biden announced the dozens of career civil servants who would be leading federal agencies, pending Senate approval of his permanent nominees. Acting heads of Cabinet agencies raised their right hands Wednesday afternoon for oaths of office. Emails went out briefing federal employees on just which career employee would be serving as their acting boss. It’s a painstakingly executed exchange of Cabinet agency senior staffing with inherent risk of bad goof-ups in the best of years, former agency officials and scholars of the federal bureaucracy say. And this year, when Biden’s administration was starting work amid fears that President Donald Trump’s followers would launch more attacks like the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, had added challenges. “Day One is always going to be the riskiest” when it comes to uncertainty about who's in charge, or the new people missing news of some critical event during an agency transition, said Paul C. Light, a professor of public service at New York University. One example, he said, would be scientists in the ranks learning of some vital development in the spread of the coronavirus pandemic or development of vaccines. “As sure as we’re talking here, these things happen,” Light said. “It’s a very dense hierarchy and there are no alarm bells." There was no immediate word of any trouble Wednesday in the first hours of the change in leadership. Biden supporters earlier had accused Trump security agencies of failing to share vital information in the weeks leading up to the handoff. Trump’s false insistence that he, not Biden, won the presidential election raised the level of worries over Wednesday’s transition. U.S. officials this month made a point of specifying in advance who would be the acting head of the Defence Department at 12:01 p.m. Wednesday, the minute after Biden became president. Deputy Defence Secretary David Norquist became acting head of the Defence Department between the resignation of Trump appointee Christopher C. Miller and Senate confirmation of Biden’s nominee to replace him, retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin. Across Cabinet-level agencies, most political appointees of the old administration turned in resignations by Inauguration Day, following tradition. Before leaving office, Trump had tweaked the orders of succession at some agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, in ways that changed which career staffer was in charge when all the political appointees go away. Environmental advocates and other opponents of the Trump administration, and scholars of government, expressed suspicion of some of Trump’s succession changes in his last weeks, fearing he might plant loyalists as acting heads to make trouble for Biden. But Barack Obama’s White House and others before him in their finals weeks also made adjustments to who’s left in charge in agencies, said Anne Joseph O’Connell, a Stanford Law School professor and expert in government process. That's usually “not because of party preferences but to help with good governance,” O’Connell said. “To the extent you care about government, you care about transition.” However, with Trump’s reluctance after Election Day to yield power, “you could see why many would question the need for changes to succession now,” she added. In any case, federal law on vacancies gives incoming presidents wide choice in picking their own acting agency heads from among employees, regardless of succession plans. Biden by Wednesday afternoon announced his own selections of acting agency heads, from the State Department to the Social Security Administration to the National Endowment for the Arts. “My expectation is that the incoming Biden administration will be relying very heavily on the vacancies act to staff their administration until their nominations are confirmed,” O’Connell said. Another Trump-era complication for this election cycle's power swap: Trump added more layers and senior staffers to federal government, Light said. Researchers have crunched the federal government’s annual directory of executive-level Cabinet staffers — the associates to the chiefs of staff, the deputies to the deputies — each year since the Kennedy administration. There were 451 of them, then. There were 3,265 of those senior Cabinet employees when Obama left town — and 4,886 at last count under Trump, Light said, in research that Brookings published in October. The thicker bureaucracy adds to the risk of vital communications not making it up to new leaders, Light said. The rule for any acting heads remaining from past administrations is simple, Light said: Do no harm. The understanding over the years is “acting appointees are not going to do anything significant” without warning, he said. “We just cross our fingers and hope that people will behave.” Ellen Knickmeyer, The Associated Press
More than a week into the work stoppage at the Burleigh Falls dam project, Parks Canada has issued a statement regarding the land defenders and their rights to the land within their treaty territory. “The Government of Canada is working to advance reconciliation and renew the relationships with Indigenous Peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, collaboration, and partnership,” says David Britton, director of Ontario waterways. Kawartha Nishnawbe land defenders in Burleigh Falls blocked work on the dam project on Jan. 13 after they say they were not consulted about the project. Parks Canada did consult with Curve Lake First Nation in previous meetings, and recently at a Jan 6, 2021 online virtual meeting stated the organization did consult with Kawartha Nishnawbe in 2016. “Parks Canada has offered to meet with Kawartha Nishnawbe,” adds Britton. “Not to my knowledge has there been any consultation with Kawartha Nishnawbe in 2016 regarding the replacement of the dam,” said Nodin Webb, spokesperson for Kawartha Nishnawbe. He went on to say Parks Canada is falsely claiming they consulted with the community as a whole in 2016. “I also do not believe Parks Canada is respecting us, if anything, they’ve ignored us,” adds Webb. Parks Canada says they remain available and hope to connect in a meaningful way through this process. “Parks Canada continues to meet with Curve Lake First Nation and other Williams Treaty First Nations on the upcoming phases of work for the Burleigh Falls dam replacement project and are working together to develop fisheries monitoring and mitigation plans,” says Britton. “We are fully aware of the litigation in court and we will not comment on the issue at this time. The part of the court litigation lies with Crown Indigenous Relations Services Canada,” added Britton. Curve Lake Chief Emily Whetung issued an official statement on the blockade. “Many of our members harvest in or near Burleigh Falls Dam area, and our goal through our consultation process with Parks Canada has been to protect the impacts on the species that our members harvest,” says Chief Whetung. The statement also says while Curve Lake First Nation recognizes the complicated history of the Kawartha Nishnawbe, their relationship to the land at Burleigh Falls, and their assertion with the Federal Government and Curve Lake respect that they have an independent perspective. “The Burleigh Falls Dam is located within the recognized pre-confederation and Williams Treaties Territory and we feel a responsibility to protect the environment and species in the area as the reconstruction project moves forward.” Parks Canada says there are do not know the full cost of the stoppage, but did say there is no impact on the spawning season. Natalie Hamilton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Peterborough This Week
Portugal will head to the polls on Sunday to choose a new President, despite pandemic lockdown measures still in place. We take a look at Chega!, a right-wing party pushing to get through to the second round.
A mother from Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., is urging people to take COVID-19 — and the health measures in place — seriously, as her son fights for his life. Myrine Kakfwi, 30, has been in an intensive care unit in an Edmonton hospital for the last three weeks. Every day his mother Dolly Pierrot rubs lotion on her son's feet and hands, and massages his legs as he lies on his back in his hospital bed. "We have been talking to him, telling him not to give up and telling him how many people are praying for him. His dad plays music for him and we pray with him," she said in a Facebook post. Not just a bad flu It was over a month ago, on Dec. 5, when Kakfwi told his mom from his home in Edmonton that he thought he had COVID-19 — he was coughing and felt he had a bad flu, Pierrot told CBC News. "I was immediately worried and I was really concerned for him," she said. Just a few days later, on Dec. 7 she heard from her eldest son that Kakfwi was taken by ambulance to the University of Alberta Hospital. Pierrot says that was the same day Kakfwi was diagnosed with COVID-19. "I just wanted to know how serious it was, if he was OK," she said. "My oldest son said that Myrine was coughing up blood." Pierrot says she was also concerned for her eldest, since he was in contact with Kakfwi and was taken to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton to be put in isolation. Luckily, his COVID-19 test came back negative, she said. Pierrot says the hospital then told her that Kakfwi was admitted and being treated in isolation. "He came in with a collapsed right lung and they said that he had ... double pneumonia," Pierrot said. It wasn't until about a week before Christmas that Kakfwi seemed to be recovering. "He was FaceTiming us, he was talking to us," Pierrot said. "He was really regretful that he didn't take COVID-19 seriously. He said he was just not being careful." Suddenly offline But as the days and hours passed, Pierrot said her son's health seemed to deteriorate again. "He was just not making sense," she said of Kakfwi when he was speaking to the family. "And then all of a sudden, he just went offline and we couldn't get ahold of him." They tried calling on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day but still no answer from her son. "I kept calling U of A and nobody seemed to know where he went," Pierrot said. By Dec. 27 she was in contact with the intensive care unit and found her answer. A doctor called Pierrot and told her Kakfwi was "seriously" ill. "He said that he was admitted into ICU … and he had double pneumonia and he had a couple of bacteria in both lungs and he was placed on a ventilator." 'You need to come down' She asked the doctor if she and Kakfwi's dad should travel from Fort Good Hope down to Edmonton. The doctor said they should come immediately. Pierrot said her local MLA, Paulie Chinna, and the Yamoga Land Corporation helped her make travel arrangements. They landed in Edmonton the next morning. When they arrived at the hospital, they were allowed to see Kakfwi right away, she said, and were given 24-hour access to him. The doctors told them Kakfwi no longer had COVID-19, but the after effects were keeping him unwell. Kakfwi had a CT scan on Monday, where doctors found another infection in one of his lungs. One of his lungs has also been leaking air, so a specialist is going to see if a valve can be inserted to close up the leak, she said. "So he's been … fighting back for the last three weeks," Pierrot said, adding they're taking it day by day. Right by his side Pierrot said she and Kakfwi's dad have been staying at a hotel, and splitting their time between there and the hospital. She says everyone has been rooting for a quick recovery for her son. "The doctors told us that he's young and so they're really pushing his body hard … they're not giving up on him" Pierrot said. And neither are his parents. "As long as he's fighting, his dad and I are fighting right along with him, and we're not going anywhere, we're going to stay here and be with him [for] the whole thing." Message to others Pierrot says she is sharing her son's story in hopes that people will take COVID-19 seriously. "It's real, it's dangerous," Pierrot said. "It spreads so quick and so easy, we just have to be so vigilant with sanitizing and wearing your mask and staying home." She said the family has received an abundance of support through messages, phone calls and donations from the community of Fort Good Hope. "Which is really comforting to know that people do care about each other and we feel so supported here," Pierrot said. "Just amazing how people pull together and rallied behind us... it just really helps us stay strong throughout this."
ROME — The missing piece for AC Milan in its decade-long quest to return to glory — and financial stability — could prove to be a 34-year-old striker who hasn’t played in nearly a year. Mario Mandžukic’s signing this week is tantamount to a statement of title intentions. Hitherto having maintained that its goal was returning to the Champions League after a seven-year absence by securing only a top-four finish, Milan now appears firmly set on winning Serie A. And standing three points clear of city rival Inter Milan nearing the season’s mid-point, why not? It’s just that having exceeded expectations all season — for all of 2020 actually, or since Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned last January — it’s been a slow process in terms of building the belief that a title run is possible. Juventus has ruled Serie A for nine consecutive seasons and Milan has finished no better than fifth over the past seven years. Whereas hedge-fund owner Elliott Management has for the most part prioritized signing younger players on the rise with bright financial prospects, Mandžukic is a veteran scorer looking for one last turn in the spotlight. “The history of Milan tells us to be ambitious and get back to where we should be,” Milan coach Stefano Pioli said. “His arrival goes in that direction. … He’s an extra weapon.” Mandžukic knows Italian soccer, having scored 44 goals in 162 appearances for Juventus before spending last season in Qatar with league champion Al-Duhail. He could perform as a reserve for the 39-year-old Ibrahimovic or play together with the Swede in a supporting role. “There will be two of us to scare the opponents now,” Ibrahimovic said. Milan is also reportedly in talks to sign centre back Fikayo Timori from Chelsea and left back Junior Firpo from Barcelona, with midfielder Soualiho Meïté recently loaned in from Torino. “We are almost halfway through the league and now the games are starting to be more difficult,” Ibrahimovic said after scoring both goals in a 2-0 win over Cagliari on Monday. “It will be a very tough season. But now with Mandžukic and Meïté — and I don’t know if others will arrive — we will have more players available for the coach to rotate in.” By winning Serie A, Milan could grab millions more in Champions League money from UEFA — funds that are desperately needed to provide relief from financial fair play sanctions that resulted in Milan voluntarily withdrawing from last season's Europa League. Mandžukic could make his Milan debut against Atalanta on Saturday, with the team needing only one point to secure the mostly meaningless halfway title. Then he could be of even more use three days later in a derby with Inter in the Italian Cup quarterfinals. “Looking at the schedule there will be some rotation as we’ll need to preserve energy, not run risks or have too many injuries,” Pioli said. “Having some extra choices is important. I’m happy with the club’s choice.” ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Andrew Dampf is at https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf Andrew Dampf, The Associated Press