Couple measures snow on top of the BBQ with ruler
Couple measures snow on top of the BBQ with ruler
WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security issued a national terrorism bulletin Wednesday warning of the lingering potential for violence from people motivated by antigovernment sentiment after President Joe Biden's election, suggesting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol may embolden extremists and set the stage for additional attacks. The department did not cite any specific plots, but pointed to “a heightened threat environment across the United States” that it believes “will persist” for weeks after Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration. It is not uncommon for the federal government to warn local law enforcement through bulletins about the prospect for violence tied to a particular event or date, such as July 4. But this particular bulletin, issued through the department’s National Terrorism Advisory System, is notable because it effectively places the Biden administration into the politically charged debate over how to describe or characterize acts motivated by political ideology, and suggests it regards violence like the kind that overwhelmed the Capitol as akin to terrorism. The bulletin is an indication that national security officials see a connective thread between different episodes of violence in the last year motivated by anti-government grievances, including over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results and police use of force. The document singles out crimes motivated by racial or ethnic hatred, such as the 2019 rampage targeting Hispanics in El Paso, Texas, as well as the threat posed by extremists motivated by foreign terror groups. A DHS statement that accompanied the bulletin noted the potential for violence from “a broad range of ideologically-motivated actors.” “Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” the bulletin said. The alert comes at a tense time following the riot at the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump seeking to overturn the presidential election. Authorities are concerned that extremists may attack other symbols of government or people whose political views they oppose. “The domestic terrorism attack on our Capitol earlier this month shined a light on a threat that has been right in front of our faces for years,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “I am glad to see that DHS fully recognizes the threat posed by violent, right-wing extremists and is taking efforts to communicate that threat to the American people.” The alert was issued by acting Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske. Biden’s nominee for the Cabinet post, Alejandro Mayorkas, has not been confirmed by the Senate. Two former homeland security secretaries, Michael Chertoff and Janet Napolitano, called on the Senate to confirm Mayorkas so he can start working with the FBI and other agencies and deal with the threat posed by domestic extremists, among other issues. Chertoff, who served under President George W. Bush, said attacks by far-right, domestic extremists are not new but that deaths attributed to them in recent years in the U.S. have exceeded those linked to jihadists such as al-Qaida. “We have to be candid and face what the real risk is,” he said in a conference call with reporters. Federal authorities have charged more than 150 people in the Capitol siege, including some with links to right-wing extremist groups such as the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers. The Justice Department announced charges Wednesday against 43-year Ian Rogers, a California man found with five pipe bombs during a search of his business this month who had a sticker associated with the Three Percenters on his vehicle. His lawyer told his hometown newspaper, The Napa Valley Register, that he is a “very well-respected small business owner, father, and family man” who does not belong to any violent organizations. Ben Fox And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
Social media companies can’t be trusted to moderate themselves, so it falls to the government to enforce new restrictions to protect Canadians from harmful content online, according to a report currently under review by the federal heritage minister. The Canadian Commission on Democratic Expression, an expert panel of seven members, including former chief justice Beverley McLachlin, said it had become difficult to ignore the fact too many real-world manifestations of online interactions are turning violent, destructive or hateful, despite social media’s parallel role in empowering positive social movements. The panellists were particularly struck by the role they saw social media play last fall in “sowing distrust” in the aftermath of the U.S. presidential election, culminating in the lethal invasion of the U.S. Capitol. And they found, with the Quebec mosque shooting, the Toronto van attack and the armed invasion of Rideau Hall, that “Canada is not immune.” “We recognize the charter, we recognize the ability of people to express themselves freely,” said Jean La Rose, former chief executive officer of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) and one of the seven commissioners, in an interview. “But there must be limits at one point. There has to be limits as to where free speech becomes a racist discourse, or a hurtful discourse, or a hateful discourse.” These limits would come in the form of a new law passed by Parliament, the commission recommended, that would force social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, search engines like Google and its video-sharing site YouTube and others to adhere to a new “duty to act responsibly.” The panel purposefully did not spell out what responsible behaviour should look like. Instead, it said this determination should be left to the government — as well as a new regulator that would oversee a code of conduct for the industry and a new “social media council” that would bring together the platforms with civil society and other groups. La Rose said his experience in the journalism world demonstrated how there needed to be reasonable limits on what people can freely express so they are not permitted to call for the killings of Muslims, for example, or encourage violence against an individual by posting their home address or other personal details online. “Having worked in media, having worked at APTN, for example, we have been at the receiving end of racist threats, of severe injury to our people, our reporters and others because of the view we present of the situation of the Indigenous community in Canada,” he said. “Literally, we’ve had some reporters run off the road when they were covering a story because people were trying to block the telling of that story. So as a news entity, we have seen how far sometimes misinformation, hate and hurtful comments can go.” Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has himself recently indicated that legislation to address “online hate” will be introduced “very soon.” The minister has pointed to the popularity of such a move: a recent survey by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF), for example, found that fully four-fifths of Canadians are on board with forcing social media companies to rapidly take down hateful content. “Canadians are now asking their government to hold social media companies accountable for the content that appears on their platforms,” Guilbeault said after the CRRF survey was published. “This is exactly what we intend to do, by introducing new regulations that will require online platforms to remove illegal and hateful content before they cause more harm and damage.” Guilbeault has met with the commission to discuss their recommendations and is currently reviewing their report, press secretary Camille Gagné-Raynauld confirmed. Representatives from Facebook Canada and Twitter Canada were among several people who provided witness testimony and participated in commission deliberations, the report said. Twitter declined comment to Canada’s National Observer. “We haven’t reviewed the full report yet, so we can’t comment on the specific recommendations,” said Kevin Chan, global director and head of public policy for Facebook Canada. “We have community standards that govern what is and isn’t allowed on our platform, and in most cases those standards go well beyond what’s required by law.” Chan also said Facebook agreed regulators should make “clear rules for the internet” so private companies aren’t left to make decisions themselves. Google spokesperson Lauren Skelly said the company shares Canadians’ concerns about harmful content online and said YouTube takes its responsibility to remove content that violates its policies “extremely seriously.” She said the company has significantly ramped up daily removals of hate speech and removed millions of videos last quarter for violations. “Any regulation needs to reflect the inherent complexity of the issue and the scale at which online platforms operate,” said Skelly. “We look forward to continuing our work with the government and local partners on addressing the spread of online hate to ensure a safer and open internet that works for all Canadians.” The nine-month study by the commission, an initiative led by the Public Policy Forum, found that with everything from disinformation campaigns to conspiracy theories, hate speech and people targeted for harm, toxic content was being “amplified” by the actions of social media companies. The study rejected the notion that social media platforms are “neutral disseminators of information,” finding instead that they curate content to serve their own commercial interests. “The business model of some of the major social media companies involves keeping people engaged with their platforms as much as possible. And it turns out that keeping people engaged means feeding them sensational content because that’s what keeps people clicking,” said Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and another commissioner. “The incentives for social media companies are not aligned with the public interest. These are private companies whose obligation is to make money for their shareholders.” The commission also proposed a tribunal to deal with dispute resolutions quickly, as well as a “transparency regime” that would require social media companies to make certain information available to the regulator, including the “algorithmic architecture used to identify problematic content.” Jaffer wrote a “concurring statement” in the report, where he confessed it was difficult to endorse the commission’s proposed “duty to act responsibly” without going further to define how that duty will work in reality. He said defining it will require “difficult tradeoffs” between free speech, privacy and other issues. Carl Meyer / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer Carl Meyer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
A former residence for horse racing jockeys is now being used to give Edmontonians struggling with homelessness better odds at finding a home. The former jockey dorms at Northlands have been renovated and operating as a bridge housing facility for the past month. Kevin Chapman, 56, has been staying at the dorms for about a month. He's one of 35 people who have a private room and is provided daily meals through the building's dining service. His stay is expected to be temporary. Chapman has been struggling with homelessness for the past two years and say he's grateful to be staying somewhere private. "I don't have to worry when I get up and crawl from underneath that pine tree or wherever," he said. "Shelters turn me away sometimes, because they're full. So, you look wherever you can. Having a place over your head is a big thing." Like other guests at the dorsm, Chapman has a housing support coordinator from Homeward Trust who helps him get what he needs to find a permanent home, from proper documentation to finding suitable vacancies and setting up viewings. "It's helped get my mind straightened out a little bit more focused on what I do," Chapman said. "So in the end, I think it helps tremendously." Guests at bridge housing facilities are expected to stay for anywhere from one to three months before transitioning into a home. They're referred through Boyle Street Community Street Community Services. The jockey dorms bridge housing facility opened last month after signing a three-year lease with the City of Edmonton. So far, five people have found or are in the process of moving into permanent housing. While the facility is in its early stages, Homeward Trust's CEO Susan McGee says it's allowed coordinators to find housing options specific to individual needs of guests. "It's really meeting a very important gap and certainly it's building off of the experience we've had in our community with the bridge housing offered at the Coliseum Inn," she said. "So as we work and as we grow as a system to make sure that we get that immediate access to really stable environments, a focus of the team has been to really nuance and make sure that as the folks that are being referred there, we're identifying potential barriers, challenges." 2 of 3 bridge housing facilities considered temporary Two Edmonton hotels are also being used as bridge housing. An EconoLodge in south Edmonton has 35 available rooms and The Coliseum Inn on Wayne Gretzky Drive has 95 rooms. Since the Coliseum Inn bridge housing opened in the spring of 2020 there have been 231 people who have moved from the hotel to permanent housing. The two bridge housing hotels have been funded through pandemic relief money, as a part of the City of Edmonton's plan to get people out of encampments and into safe shelter during the pandemic, which also included opening the Edmonton Convention Centre and Commonwealth Stadium as 24/7 shelter spaces. The plan is expected to be in place until the end of March, but it doesn't mean the temporary bridge housing programs will be scrapped. "Those funding programs are time limited. They potentially run out in March, but we are also just continually assessing our needs and ability to continue to keep them open," said Colton Kirsop, manager of project development for affordable housing and homelessness with the City of Edmonton. "So if there is a major need to keep those open, I think we will be continually looking at whether or not we can fund them through a different funding stream. The federal government may extend their funding packages as well." As for Chapman, he's happy that bridge housing now exists in the city at a time when he's ready to find a home. "I'm glad. Finally somebody is doing something about it. it's great. It's good for me, so far and anybody else," he said. "You can just start working on getting your life straight."
Alphabet unit Google on Wednesday opened a centre to tackle harmful online content, in a move also designed to ease regulatory concerns about how the company and other tech giants police a growing problem on the internet. The world's most popular search engine, along with other U.S. tech giants, has drawn criticism because of the spread of illegal and harmful content via their platforms, triggering calls for more regulatory action. The 27-country European Union has taken the lead in proposing tough new rules to curb their powers, protect smaller rivals and make them take more responsibility for removing harmful content from their platforms.
Police in six European countries, as well as Canada and the United States, completed a joint operation to take control of Internet servers used to run and control a malware network known as "Emotet," authorities said in a statement. "Emotet is currently seen as the most dangerous malware globally," Germany's BKA federal police agency said in a statement.
OTTAWA — The Canadian Armed Forces is dealing with a dramatic increase in the number of troops who have been infected with COVID-19 over the past month. New Department of National Defence figures provided to The Canadian Press show nearly 250 Canadian military members tested positive for the illness since the end of December. That number compares to fewer than 700 cases reported during the first nine months of the pandemic. While the increase coincides with a recent surge in cases across Canada and many other parts of the world, it also comes amid an outbreak among the 540 Canadian troops deployed in Latvia. Defence Department spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier says Armed Forces members on four other missions have also tested positive for COVID-19 since March, along with an unspecified number here at home. Meanwhile, the federal government says more than 1,000 military personnel have received vaccines, with the priority being given to troops working in health-care settings or who have health conditions that could put them at greater risk from COVID-19. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
LOS ANGELES — Kevin Hart will debut his new SiriusXM original podcast with Jerry Seinfeld as the series’ inaugural guest. The satellite radio company announced on Wednesday the launch of Hart’s “Inside Jokes with Kevin Hart” along with two other original programs. He will host the series premiere with Seinfeld’s guest appearance on the Laugh Out Loud Radio channel on Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST. On “Inside Jokes,” Hart will interview top comedians and rising stars. The superstar comedian-actor will chronicle their comedy club experiences and touch on “never-before-heard” stories. Along with Seinfeld, the show’s upcoming lineup includes Steve Harvey, Bill Burr, Cedric the Entertainer, Desus & Mero, Nick Kroll, Hasan Minhaj and Zainab Johnson. “I’m sitting down with some of the best voices in comedy to give my listeners the stories behind the jokes they hear on stage,” Hart said in a statement. “Comedians have been through it all, and I’m excited that I’ll be digging deep into the lives of my peers for my first podcast.” In addition to “Inside Jokes,” Hart’s Laugh Out Loud will air two new shows, “Date Night with Chris and Vanessa” on Fridays and “The Ladies Room with Jazzy” on Mondays and Wednesdays. Both shows launched Tuesday. Last year, SiriusXM announced a new multi-platform deal with Hart and his comedy network Laugh Out Loud. Along with his channel, Laugh Out Loud Radio, he’s expected to expand additional comedic programming that includes radio shows, podcasts and on-demand video. Hart said the deal with SiriusXM will give him more creative control. He launched LOL three years ago. His radio show “Straight from the Hart” premiered on his channel in 2018. Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM’s president and CCO, said he is excited about Hart’s “Inside Jokes” podcast and new shows as “we continue to collaborate with Laugh Out Loud to shape Kevin’s channel into the pinnacle of diverse comedy programming in audio entertainment." Jonathan Landrum Jr., The Associated Press
Thanks for watching It’s Only Food w/Chef John Politte. Today we are making Chick-fil-A sauce. Enjoy!
MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Wednesday that the world risks sliding deeper into instability as the coronavirus pandemic combines with global rivalries and other international tensions. Speaking by video link during a virtual meeting of the World Economic Forum, Putin pointed at growing inequality and unemployment and a rise of populism as potential triggers for new conflicts that he said could plunge the world into a “dark anti-Utopia.” “The pandemic has exacerbated the problems and disbalances that have been accumulating,” the Russian leader said. “International institutions are weakening, regional conflicts are multiplying and the global security is degrading.” Putin hailed the decision by Russia and the United States to extend their last nuclear arms control pact as a positive move, but he added that spiraling tensions have come to resemble the situation before World War II. “I strongly hope that such ‘hot’ global conflict is impossible now. It would mean the end of civilization," he said. “But the situation may become unpredictable and spin out of control. There is a real danger that we will face a downturn in global development fraught with an all-out fight, attempts to solve contradictions by searching for internal and foreign enemies, and the destruction of basic traditional values.” Putin attributed the worsening economic situation to a Western liberal economic model that he said “foments social, racial and ethnic intolerance with tensions erupting even in countries with seemingly long-established civil and democratic institutions.” The Russian leader pointed to what he described as the negative role of technology companies that run top social networks, charging that they have abused their position and tried to “control the society, replace legitimate democratic institutions and usurp an individual's right to decide how to live and what views to express.” “We have seen it all in the United States,” Putin said without elaborating. Putin also claimed that there has been " increasingly aggressive pressure on those countries that disagree with a role of obedient satellites, the use of trade barriers, illegitimate sanctions, restrictions in the financial, technological and information spheres.” Relations between Russia and the West have sunk to post-Cold War lows after Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea in 2014, Russia's meddling in the U.S. elections and recently, the poisoning and the subsequent arrest of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. “The era marked by attempts to create a centralized unipolar global order is over now,” Putin said in an apparent reference to the perceived global domination of the U.S. Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times eastern): 10:45 a.m. Ontario's new daily case count of COVID-19 is the lowest it's been in seven weeks. The province is reporting 1,670 new cases of the virus today and 49 more deaths related to the disease. Ontario's daily case count hasn't been this low since December 8. Health Minister Christine Elliott says that 450 of those new cases are in Toronto, 342 are in Peel Region, and 171 are in York Region. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
Firefighters extinguished a fire that sent heavy black smoke billowing through Halifax's north end on Tuesday morning. Fire crews were called to a building under construction at Massachusetts Avenue and Columbus Street at about 9:10 a.m. Jeff Gooch, a worker at the site, said some roofing primer fell off a crane while it was being hoisted up, and some propane below "instantly caught on fire with the primer." Gooch was on a lift when the fire broke out below him. "We have a lot of flammable stuff here on site and it just lit up everything," Gooch said. "There was a river of fire flowing right underneath us. It was something I never saw before." No one was injured in the fire, which was under control within about half an hour. A fire investigator has been called in. MORE TOP STORIES
NEW YORK — The 2017 murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall had all the gruesome elements of a modern true-crime classic. Writer and director Tobias Lindholm initially disagreed. The young woman had been decapitated in a homemade submarine. The perpetrator had tortured and sexually assaulted her. He cut off her limbs and threw them overboard in weighted bags. “People around me would say, ‘That would make a great movie,’" says Lindholm from his home in Copenhagen. "And I just couldn’t see it. I couldn’t see the reason to tell this story.” The submarine case had already generated lurid stories in the Scandinavian tabloids and clickbait headlines online. One way to retell the story was to go over-the-top — showing the bloody underwater crime scene and limbs being hacked off. “It would be tasteless and inhumane and there would be no reason to do that,” Lindholm says. “Other than fascination with a brutal crime, what would be the real, responsible storyteller reason to touch this story?” After meeting members of the police and the victim's family, Lindholm went the opposite direction: Viewers never see or hear the accused in the limited miniseries “The Investigation,” which premieres on HBO on Feb. 1 and is available to stream on HBO Max. Viewers don't just never see the murderer, they also never see the victim in flashbacks or visit the autopsy table. They never go into the cold water with the divers to find the bags. There's not a drop of blood shown in the entire six hours — almost an inverse of “The Killing,” the Danish series that helped kick off a wave of grim and bleak detective procedurals in 2007. Instead of the crime, the show explores the close relationship forged between Wall's grief-stricken parents and the head of homicide, whose pursuit of the case has personal costs. The camera follows the dogged detectives seeking a logical and scientific cause of death that can convict the accused. “I realized that the story wasn’t about all the brutality and it wasn’t about the darkness and it wasn’t even about a murder. It was about people that did their job," Lindholm says. “It was about people in uniform that stood together and actually helped complete strangers through a very hard time,” he adds. “It’s not a story that we seem to share too much with each other these years.” It is a moody, meditative and patient show. Many scenes are silent, with detectives pouring over binders of evidence or with divers scanning the horizon. The camera deliberately includes scenes of actors just driving or thinking, moments usually excised from American dramas. Lindholm — whose reality-based feature films include “A Hijacking” and the Oscar-nominated “A War” — cites the Baltimore-based series “The Wire” as a big influence, with its tendency to detour from the plot to show men and women just doing their — sometimes tedious — jobs. He explained his vision to producers at the outset, and they backed him for the six-part series that is subtitled for English viewers. He was well aware of commercial pressures to go lurid but insisted that the monster at the show's heart would never be shown. “It’s like these days when my kids want candy every day because we’re home all the time. It’s just not going to happen. So they won’t ask me. They know that ‘no’ would be the answer,” he says, laughing. There is a documentary feel to the series, one carefully tethered to reality. Lindholm employed the same cadaver dogs used in the actual murder case, used the same crane ship that recovered the sub and even asked the same police divers to recreate their steps. "Divers dive much better than actors and actors act much better than divers," he explains. “If I was not to make the same mistake that I felt the media had done already by limping towards a true crime fascination, I would need a lot of elements from reality to keep me straight on track.” Jonas Allen, whose Danish production company Miso Film helped produce “The Investigation,” credits Lindholm with staying true to his concept. “I think as soon as Tobias had this approach, we were all behind him 100%," says Allen. ”You need to find that specific angle and you need to find that vision. Hats off to Tobias." In many ways, Lindholm's series is the reverse of his own past. He worked with David Fincher on the “Mindhunter” series, which was obsessed with getting inside the mind of killers because that's how the FBI catches them. “Here we had a chance to actually tell a story where we could be fascinated by a very difficult investigation and where we could liberate ourselves from that cliché,” he says. “And the fact that it’s so radical to leave out the perpetrator tells me that that is probably something we should do a bit more in the future.” Lindholm notes that he's a huge fan of “The Killing,” which kicked off a wave of so-called Nordic noir shows. He credits that series' success with his ability to create the political drama “Borgen.” “Nevertheless, I kind of felt that we could end the circle,” he says. "They did ‘The Killing.’ Now we did ‘The Investigation’ and maybe we could all start to do something different.” ___ Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press
U.S. stocks suffered their biggest one-day percentage drop in three months on Wednesday, adding to losses after the latest Fed statement as major indexes were also pressured by a slump in Boeing and a selling of long positions by hedge funds. Shares of videogame retailer GameStop Corp and movie theater operator AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc each more than doubled on Wednesday, continuing a torrid run higher over the past week, as amateur investors again piled into the stocks, forcing short-sellers such as Citron and Melvin to abandon their losing bets. "It's a dangerous game to play from both sides of the spectrum, whether you're long or short," said Matthew Keator, managing partner in the Keator Group, a wealth management firm in Lenox, Massachusetts.
ROME — Pope Francis marked Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday by warning that warped ideologies can pave the way to another genocide. Francis spoke off the cuff at the end of his weekly general audience, held in his private library because of coronavirus restrictions, to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in Poland, where Nazis killed more than 1 million Jews and others. In all, about 6 million European Jews and millions of other people were killed by the Germans and their collaborators. The Argentine pope insisted on the need to remember, saying it was a sign of humanity and a condition for a peaceful future. But he said remembering “also means to be aware that these things can happen again, starting with ideological proposals that claim to save a people and end up destroying a people and humanity.” He warned that the Holocaust began that way, opening “this path of death, extermination and brutality.” Francis prayed at the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial during his 2016 visit to Poland. The Associated Press
Christian Klein, CEO of German software group SAP, on Wednesday launched a campaign to encourage customers to move operations to the cloud, a shift that has brought short-term pain to investors but one that he hopes will pay off over time. Klein, 40, in sole charge at SAP since April, has adopted a subscription-based service model that generates predictable revenue rather than the lumpy up-front cash flows from software licences. Now it is promoting a version of its latest S/4 HANA data engine that is hosted on remote cloud servers, offering improved connectivity with its own apps and - should customers choose - those of its competitors.
La communication dans le contexte de la transition socioécologique sera au coeur d’un colloque organisé jeudi par les étudiantes en éco-conseil de l’Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC). L’événement, sous le thème « Ensemble vers l’action: comment parler de la transition ? », aura lieu en mode virtuel de 8h30 à 12h30. Le colloque proposera deux conférences, suivies d’une table ronde et d’une activité participative. Les quatre étudiantes au Diplôme d’études supérieures spécialisées en éco-conseil souhaitent ainsi réfléchir à la façon dont la communication peut être un « propulseur pour le changement ». « En tant que futures éco-conseillères, nous sommes des actrices de changements, a souligné l’étudiante Elizabeth Perron en conférence de presse virtuelle, mardi, en compagnie de sa collègue Mathilde Sauvé Gagnon. Nous allons être formées pour outiller les organisations à atteindre leur transition, donc nous devons avoir des outils de communication efficaces. » La pandémie de COVID-19 a aussi influencé les étudiantes dans le choix de cette thématique, alors que parler de transition dans ce contexte représente selon elles un nouveau défi. « On développe une nouvelle façon de faire », a indiqué Mathilde Sauvé Gagnon. Catherine Lemay-Belisle, représentante de l’Association professionnelle des éco-conseillers du Québec, a pour sa part mentionné que la communication est la compétence la plus utilisée par les éco-conseillers, selon les membres de l’organisation. Conférences et invités Oumar Kane, professeur en communication sociale et publique de l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), offrira la première conférence de l’événement, consacrée à l’apport mutuel que peuvent avoir la communication et l’écologie. Rémi Toupin, doctorant en science, technologie et société à l’UQAM, entretiendra ensuite les participants au sujet de la communication de la recherche sur les enjeux écologiques dans un contexte numérique. Cinq acteurs prendront ensuite part à une table ronde pour discuter de leurs stratégies de communication. Alice-Anne Simard, directrice générale de Nature Québec, Adrien Guibert-Barthez, co-porte-parole de la Coalition fjord, ainsi que la députée Ruba Ghazal, porte-parole de Québec solidaire en matière d’environnement, y prendront part. Marie-Michèle Doyon, fondatrice du forum Le Peuplier, et Sophie Delfa, professeure-chercheuse en communication à l’UQAC et membre du comité de démarrage du Grand dialogue régional sur la transition, y participeront également. L’enjeu des stratégies de communication déployées par certains de ces acteurs mobilisés contre le projet d’exportation de gaz naturel à Saguenay de GNL Québec ne fera pas partie des sujets sur la table. « Non, on ne risque pas de parler de GNL, a indiqué Elizabeth Perron. Sauf que peut-être que ça se peut qu’il y ait des invités qui en parlent dans leurs questions plus personnelles ; sûrement des messages qui ont été plus difficiles à passer, quelles stratégies de communication ils ont utilisées pour que ça fonctionne, mais on ne va pas nécessairement dans l’enjeu du GNL. » Les organisatrices ont reçu jusqu’à maintenant 76 inscriptions en ligne à l’événement gratuit. Les étudiantes organisent également un rallye à Saguenay en prévision du colloque, dont les détails ont été publiés sur la page Facebook Éco-conseil UQAC.Myriam Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
APELDOORN, Netherlands — Jos Bieleveldt had a spring in his step when the 91-year-old Dutchman got a coronavirus vaccine this week. But many think that was way too long in coming. Almost two months before, Britain's Margaret Keenan, who is also 91 now, received her shot to kick off the U.K.'s vaccination campaign that has, so far, outstripped the efforts in many nations in the European Union. “We are dependent on what the European Commission says we can, and cannot, do. As a result, we are at the bottom of the list, it takes far too long," Bieleveldt said of the executive arm of the EU, which, perhaps unfairly, has taken the brunt of criticism for a slow rollout in many of its member states. Onerous regulations and paperwork in some countries and poor planning in others have also contributed to the delay, as did a more deliberate authorization process for the shots. Overall, the 27-nation EU, a collection of many of the richest countries in the world — most with a universal health care system to boot — is not faring well in comparison to countries like Israel and the United Kingdom. Even the United States, whose response to the pandemic has otherwise been widely criticized and where tens of thousands of appointments for shots have been cancelled because of vaccine shortages, appears to be moving faster. While Israel has given at least one shot of a two-dose vaccine to over 40% of its population and that figure in Britain is 10%, the EU total stands at just over 2%. And it is not just EU citizens who are laying the blame at the bloc's door. Criticism is also coming from many nations that had hoped to see some live-saving liquid from the EU trickle through their borders. Amid concerns that the richer nations had snapped up far more doses than they needed and poorer nations would be left to do without, the EU was expected to share vaccines around. The rocky rollout is also testing the bloc's long commitment to so-called soft power — policies that advance its cause not through the barrel of a gun but through peaceful means, like through the needle of a syringe. “Today it’s harder to get the vaccines than nuclear weapons,” said Serb President Aleksandar Vucic, who had been counting on a lot more help from the EU. Serbia sits at the heart of the Balkan region where the EU, Russia and even China are seeking a stronger foothold. Helping the Balkan countries with their vaccine rollout seemed an area where Europe, with its medical prowess and a willingness to prioritize such co-operation, would have an edge. Not so far. Vucic said weeks ago when he welcomed 1 million doses of Chinese vaccines that Serbia had not received “a single dose” from the global COVAX system aimed at get affordable shots to poor and middle-income countries that the EU has championed and funded. Instead, Vucic said Serbia secured vaccines through deals with individual countries or producers. Rubbing salt in the wound, Vucic went for the EU's social conscience when he said this week that “the world today is like Titanic. The rich tried to get the lifeboats only for themselves ... and leave the rest.” Other nations on the EU's southeastern rim have also been critical. It is a big turnaround from only a month ago when the EU's future looked pretty bright. It had just inked a last-minute trade deal with the United Kingdom, clinched a massive 1.8 trillion-euro pandemic recovery and overall budget deal and started rolling out its first COVID-19 vaccines. “This is a very good way to end this difficult year, and to finally start turning the page on COVID-19,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at the time. By this past weekend, though, her attitude soured as it became clear that the bloc would be getting vaccines at a slower rate than agreed upon for its 450 million people. AstraZeneca has told the EU that of its initial batch of 80 million, only 31 million would immediately materialize once its vaccine got approved, likely on Friday. That came on the heels of a smaller glitch in the deliveries of Pfizer-BioNTech shots. Both companies say they are facing operational issues at plants that are temporarily delaying the rollout. Italy is threatening to take legal action against both over the delay. Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte had been boasting that the country’s rollout was a huge success, especially when the millionth dose was given on Jan. 15. But after Pfizer announced the temporary supply reduction, Italy slowed from administering about 80,000 doses a day to fewer than 30,000. Bulgaria has also criticized the drug companies, and some there have called for the government to turn to Russia and China for vaccines. Hungary is already doing so. “If vaccines aren’t coming from Brussels, we must obtain them from elsewhere. One cannot allow Hungarians to die simply because Brussels is too slow in procuring vaccines,” Prime Minister Viktor Orban said. “It doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.” But supply isn't the only thing holding up the EU's campaign. The problem is partially that the EU Commission bet on the wrong horse — and didn't get enough doses of the early success vaccines like Pfizer-BioNTech. The commission notes there was no way of knowing which vaccines would succeed — and which would be first — and so it had to spread its orders out over several companies. The EU rollout was also slowed because the European Medicines Agency took more time than the U.S. or U.K. regulators to authorize its first vaccine. That was by design as it made sure that the member nations could not be held liable in case of problems and in order to give people more confidence that the shot was safe. But individual countries also share in the blame. Germany, Europe's cliche of an organized and orderly nation, was found sorely wanting, with its rollout marred by chaotic bureaucracy and technological failures, such as those seen Monday when thousands of people over 80 in the country’s biggest state were told they would have to wait until Feb. 8 to get their first shots, even as vast vaccine centres set up before Christmas languished empty. “The speed of our action leaves a lot to be desired,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said. “Processes have often become very bureaucratic and take a long time, so we have to work on that.” It is no different in France, where there is a Kafkaesque maze of rules to get consent for vaccinating the elderly. In the Netherlands, which banked on the easy-to-handle AstraZeneca vaccine being the first available, authorities had to scramble to make new plans for the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, whose ultracold storage requirements make it more complicated. “We were proven to be insufficiently flexible to make the change," said Health Minister Hugo de Jonge. The Dutch have been particularly criticized since they were the last in the EU to begin vaccinations, more than a week after the first shots were given in the bloc, and they have been especially slow to roll doses out to elderly people living at home, like Bieleveldt, a retiree. “I’m already playing in injury time in terms of my age," he said. "But I still want to play for a few more years.” ___ Casert reported from Brussels. AP journalists across the European Union contributed. ___ Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine. Raf Casert And Mike Corder, The Associated Press
Prime Minister Boris Johnson indicated on Wednesday the COVID-19 lockdown in England would last until March 8 when schools could start to reopen as the government announced new measures to clamp down on travel to and from Britain. A highly contagious new variant of the virus, which emerged in southeast England at the end of last year, has led to a soaring number of infections across Britain with cases and deaths reaching record levels. On Tuesday, Britain's COVID-19 death toll surpassed 100,000, the first European state to reach that figure, leading to questions about Johnson's handling of a crisis that has also battered the economy.
Last spring, a humpback whale piqued the curiosity and captured the hearts of Montrealers during a brief passage through the St. Lawrence River. The whale swam from the town of Tadoussac, to Quebec City, before ending up under the Jacques-Cartier Bridge. During its stay in Montreal, the whale attracted large crowds near the river before its lifeless body was spotted near Varennes, Que. Months later, evidence supporting what researchers believe happened is still hard to come by. The Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals and the Centre québécois sur la santé des animaux sauvages released a report on the whale's journey. Researchers initially thought the whale was hit by a boat, but they say the state of its body and the extent to which it had been manipulated made it difficult to analyze and determine the collision was the cause of death. Several of its organs were missing at the time of the necropsy, the report stated. "The autopsy conducted on the humpback didn't allow us to confirm this hypothesis," read a statement from Stéphane Lair, the veterinarian who oversaw the procedure. "We can think that its prolonged exposure to soft waters hampered its physiological functions." Their research did lead them to believe the whale died quickly and suddenly, since, according to them, it had not shown signs it was getting weaker or losing an abnormal amount of weight due to lack of nutrition. Why did it go to Montreal? The research team says it's looking at different theories to explain why the humpback whale was out of its usual, salt water habitat. The most reasonable one, according to them, is that of "exploratory behaviour" which is sometimes observed among young mammals. They don't believe the whale was suffering from an ailment or a condition that made it confused as to where it was and where it was going. The report acknowledges that more information is needed on how humpback whales behave in unfamiliar territory, and how to intervene. "This visit reminded us that we share the St. Lawrence with fragile giants and shed light on several issues of cohabitation, such as disturbance, sound pollution and collision risks," said Robert Michaud, a co-ordinator with Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals.
A new initiative led by Grey Bruce Elder Abuse Prevention, a sub-committee of Violence Prevention Grey Bruce, has launched, with the goal of raising awareness about elder abuse and the resources available to seniors in Grey and Bruce counties. The campaign will initially offer a resource poster to local groups and businesses, and soon provide free virtual education presentations. The project is supported by a grant from the Community Foundation Grey Bruce that was awarded in late 2019 and had to be postponed because of the pandemic. The plan is to roll out the project between January and March of this year, instead. Jon Farmer, coordinator of Violence Prevention Grey Bruce, says the first three months will focus on getting the word out about the initiative and distributing the posters to as many outlets as possible. “We wanted to create a resource that would be accessible for seniors,” said Farmer. “The posters come in two sizes and with a large font so that folks with limited vision can read them. We can send them out to any organization or individual who asks for them. Originally, we planned to offer in-person educational sessions to community groups but the pandemic makes that impossible. Instead we’ll be offering online and teleconference sessions so that people can learn more about the issue and where to access help in Grey Bruce”. Farmer says elder abuse can take many forms, not just physical violence. Victims may be suffering from physiological or emotional abuse, financial abuse, or neglect and abandonment. Isolation is also a risk factor. “The risk of seniors being exploited or falling victim to scams is higher now that community programs are closed and social visiting is discouraged,” said Farmer. “GBEAP reports that calls to the provincial senior’s safety line have risen 300% during the pandemic.” The information is for seniors but is also available to “anyone who has a senior in their life that they care about,” said Farmer. “We’ve heard a lot in the news about the impact the pandemic is having on seniors in long term care and seniors’ vulnerability to the virus itself, but we also need to increase community conversations about the increased risk of elder abuse and how to recognize the signs and symptoms,” said Farmer. “We need people to know what the risk factors are and how to access services so that seniors are better supported by their loved ones as well as better prepared to protect themselves.” The virtual presentations will be available to community groups, churches and organizations and can be formatted to fit the level of interest and time constraints of the group. Two Zoom information sessions have been scheduled for Feb. 11 and Mar. 11, and will offer an introduction to the issue of elder abuse, signs and symptoms, and resources available to support elders who have experienced abuse. Registration is capped at 100 participants. Registration is open at www.vpgb.ca and Eventbrite.ca. “These workshops compliment the release of our elder abuse resource poster,” said Farmer. “The posters collect information about the supports available but supports can only help when people recognize that they or a loved one is experiencing abuse”. Posters can be ordered, and education sessions arranged, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Posters are available in two sizes, 8.5 X 11 and 11 X 17 inches. Recordings of some of the presentations will be made available on the Violence Prevention website, http://www.violencepreventiongreybruce.com, and on social media. Farmer says information about elder abuse is available on the Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario website at www.eapon.ca. The senior’s safety line, a 24-hour crisis and support line for seniors in Ontario who have experienced any type of abuse or neglect, is live 24 hours a day, 365 days per year and can be accessed by calling 1-866-299-1011. Anyone experiencing abuse should call 911 if they are in immediate danger. Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent