Multiple regions in the U.S. are reporting that hospitals are filled to capacity with COVID patients. (Dec. 1)
Multiple regions in the U.S. are reporting that hospitals are filled to capacity with COVID patients. (Dec. 1)
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump has lost his social media megaphone, the power of government and the unequivocal support of his party's elected leaders. But a week after leaving the White House in disgrace, a large-scale Republican defection that would ultimately purge him from the party appears unlikely. Many Republicans refuse to publicly defend Trump's role in sparking the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But as the Senate prepares for an impeachment trial for Trump's incitement of the riot, few seem willing to hold the former president accountable. After House Republicans who backed his impeachment found themselves facing intense backlash — and Trump’s lieutenants signalled the same fate would meet others who joined them — Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly Tuesday for an attempt to dismiss his second impeachment trial. Only five Republican senators rejected the challenge to the trial. Trump's conviction was considered a real possibility just days ago after lawmakers whose lives were threatened by the mob weighed the appropriate consequences — and the future of their party. But the Senate vote on Tuesday is a sign that while Trump may be held in low regard in Washington following the riots, a large swath of Republicans is leery of crossing his supporters, who remain the majority of the party’s voters. “The political winds within the Republican Party have blown in the opposite direction,” said Ralph Reed, chair of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a Trump ally. “Republicans have decided that even if one believes he made mistakes after the November election and on Jan. 6, the policies Trump championed and victories he won from judges to regulatory rollback to life to tax cuts were too great to allow the party to leave him on the battlefield.” The vote came after Trump, who decamped last week to his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, began wading back into politics between rounds of golf. He took an early step into the Arkansas governor’s race by endorsing former White House aide Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and backed Kelli Ward, an ally who won reelection as chair of Arizona’s Republican Party after his endorsement. At the same time, Trump’s team has given allies an informal blessing to campaign against the 10 House Republicans who voted in favour of impeachment. After Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer backed impeachment, Republican Tom Norton announced a primary challenge. Norton appeared on longtime Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast in a bid to raise campaign contributions. On Thursday, another Trump loyalist, Rep. Matt Gaetz, plans to travel to Wyoming to condemn home-state Rep. Liz Cheney, a House GOP leader who said after the Capitol riot that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. — a star with Trump’s loyal base —- has encouraged Gaetz on social media and embraced calls for Cheney’s removal from House leadership. Trump remains livid with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who refused to support Trump's false charges that Georgia's elections were fraudulent. Kemp is up for reelection in 2022, and Trump has suggested former Rep. Doug Collins run against him. Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s decision not to seek reelection in 2022 opens the door for Rep. Jim Jordan, one of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters, to seek the seat. Several other Republicans, some far less supportive of the former president, are also considering running. Trump’s continued involvement in national politics so soon after his departure marks a dramatic break from past presidents, who typically stepped out of the spotlight, at least temporarily. Former President Barack Obama was famously seen kitesurfing on vacation with billionaire Richard Branson shortly after he left office, and former President George W. Bush took up painting. Trump, who craves the media spotlight, was never expected to burrow out of public view. “We will be back in some form,” he told supporters at a farewell event before he left for Florida. But exactly what form that will take is a work in progress. Trump remains deeply popular among Republican voters and is sitting on a huge pot of cash — well over $50 million — that he could use to prop up primary challenges against Republicans who backed his impeachment or refused to support his failed efforts to challenge the election results using bogus allegations of mass voter fraud in states like Georgia. “POTUS told me after the election that he’s going to be very involved,” said Matt Schlapp, the chair of the American Conservative Union. “I think he’s going to stay engaged. He’s going to keep communicating. He’s going to keep expressing his opinions. I, for one, think that’s great, and I encouraged him to do that.” Aides say he also intends to dedicate himself to winning back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022. But for now, they say their sights are on the trial. “We’re getting ready for an impeachment trial — that’s really the focus,” said Trump adviser Jason Miller. Trump aides have also spent recent days trying to assure Republicans that he is not currently planning to launch a third party — an idea he has floated — and will instead focus on using his clout in the Republican Party. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he received a call from Brian Jack, the former White House political director, on Saturday at home to assure him that Trump had no plans for defection. “The main reason for the call was to make sure I knew from him that he’s not starting a third party and if I would be helpful in squashing any rumours that he was starting a third party. And that his political activism or whatever role he would play going forward would be with the Republican Party, not as a third party,” Cramer said. The calls were first reported by Politico. But the stakes remain high for Trump, whose legacy is a point of fierce contention in a Republican Party that is grappling with its identity after losing the White House and both chambers of Congress. Just three weeks after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, Trump’s political standing among Republican leaders in Washington remains low. “I don’t know whether he incited it, but he was part of the problem, put it that way,” said Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a strong Trump supporter, when asked about the Capitol siege and the related impeachment trial. Tuberville did not say whether he would personally defend Trump in the trial, but he downplayed the prospect of negative consequences for those Republican senators who ultimately vote to convict him. “I don’t think there’ll be any repercussions,” Tuberville said. “People are going to vote how they feel anyway.” Trump maintains a strong base of support within the Republican National Committee and in state party leadership, but even there, Republican officials have dared to speak out against him in recent days in ways they did not before. In Arizona, Ward, who had Trump’s backing, was only narrowly reelected over the weekend, even as the party voted to censure a handful of Trump’s Republican critics, including former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain. At the same time, Trump’s prospective impeachment sparked a bitter feud within the RNC. In a private email exchange obtained by The Associated Press, RNC member Demetra DeMonte of Illinois proposed a resolution calling on every Republican senator to oppose what she called an “unconstitutional sham impeachment trial, motivated by a radical and reckless Democrat majority.” Bill Palatucci, a Republican committeeman from New Jersey, slapped back. “His act of insurrection was an attack on our very democracy and deserves impeachment,” Palatucci wrote. ___ Peoples reported from New York. Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this report. Steve Peoples And Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
Saskatchewan’s premier and Chief Medical Health officer Tuesday both spoke publicly for the first time since a group of protestors picketed outside the chief doctor’s home over the weekend. Scott Moe explained that he has worked closely over the past 10 months with Dr. Saqib Shahab and appreciated his work. “I would say that Saskatchewan is a better place with Dr. Shahab doing what he does each and every day, Saskatchewan is a much better place with Dr. Shahab’s family doing what they do, contributing to this province each and every day,” Moe said. The premier expressed that the protest on Saturday crossed a line. “Whether it is a legal line or whether it is just a line of where we are as a society in this province and where Saskatchewan people are headed that we most certainly, and the vast majority agree, that line was crossed,” Moe said. The Regina Police Service (RPS) responded to reports of a protest at Shahab's residence on Saturday at around 2:30 p.m. According to a RPS media release, police stayed on scene until protestors left at roughly 3:30 p.m. An investigation into the protest is ongoing. Moe was not aware whether the protest against Shahab also had racial motivation. Shahab thanked the Regina Police Service and explained that he felt sorry for his neighbours and his family who did not deserve to be harassed. Weekends are workdays for Shahab. “On Saturday I kept doing my work and I couldn’t clear my snow for about three hours, Shahab joked, “ but went out and did my snow clearing afterwards when it was -30 instead of -20. Like the Premier said, protest outside the legislature if that is what you want to do instead of having a policy debate, so writing out your question in a coherent manner, that’s your choice,” Shahab said. Shahab added that he expects vigorous debate over every policy in a democracy. “Right now we are in a pandemic, it’s a long year and it is creating pressures for everyone. Even outside of a pandemic in a democracy you will debate vigorously and you express your opinion through many channels,” Shahab said nobody should be targeted because of race, religious beliefs, gender, sexual orientation. “I think successful countries, successful societies are inclusive and do well. You can slice it as closely as you want to find differences when you want to find differences.” He added that the public outcry after the incident also expressed his views more eloquently than he could. “I think there is a small minority, I think, social media while it is great, the internet is great to remain connected but the social media also creates a zone of toxic echo chambers and it does unfortunately perpetuate hate and I would say radicalize those that are susceptible to it,” Shahab said. Security has been offered to Shahab by the Government of Saskatchewan to ensure his and his family’s safety. Moe would not discuss the options for security publicly. Throughout the press conference Moe expressed that there is a place and a time for protest of decisions by the government and that protest was not one of them. “(Public health orders) are made most certainly on the advice of Dr. Shahab and put into action under Dr. Shahab’s signature but they are decisions that are made by the government of Saskatchewan and they are with the very capable and competent advice that is provided to us by Dr. Shahab,” Moe said. Moe said that protests can happen in front of the Legislature and he has seen them since he became elected. “The government does take note when there is a protest outside of public institutions. Those protests are protesting a government decisions. What we saw this weekend was a protest had moved from protesting a government decision to protesting a person, that is enough in this province, it needs to stop,” Moe said. Moe also said anyone who doesn't like the government's COVID policy should email him at email@example.com, or call their local MLA. -With files from Jason Kerr, Prince Albert Daily Herald. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
A special kind of cold is needed for mukluks. The traditional Anishinaabe footwear crafted out of moose hide with a fleece lining and adorned with coloured glass beads and rabbit or beaver fur doesn’t wear well in mild, wet winter weather, but rather when it’s cold and dry. That’s something Alley Yapput, an Anishinaabe Two Spirit artist, learned growing up with his grandmother Clara Yapput during the 1970s and 1980s in Nakina, Ont., about 300 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay. His grandmother was known in the area for her beadwork and other crafts, and a young Alley kept close watch. Decades later, Alley is sharing his teachings with his mother Madeline, who in her 60s has recently learned how to bead and make moccasins like her own mother used to. Unlike her son, however, she didn’t grow up learning from her parents. Clara Yapput, who was born Christmas Day, 1918, and was from Aroland First Nation, an Ojibway community not far from Nakina, was a master in the craft of beading and sewing items such as mukluks, moccasins and mittens. She also made miniature snowshoes, cradles and birch-bark baskets with willow branches. Clara and her husband Lloyd, a Cree man born along the shores of the Albany River next to James Bay, raised their family in Aroland and Nakina. An active couple, they spent summers working as hunting and fishing guides or building cabins for local tourist outfitters. Clara and Lloyd had 10 children and spoke Cree and Ojibway at home, where Madeline and her siblings also learned to speak Ojibway fluently. In 1957, when Madeline was five years old, she was sent to residential school more than 800 kilometres away in the Kenora, Ont., area. She would spend the next several years in the residential school system, returning home to her family for the summers. “It’s not a happy place where I went,” she says about her experience in the government and church-run schools she attended. “I lost a lot of my language and culture.” Madeline says she would have learned the careful craftmanship of handmade items such as moccasins and miniature snowshoes from her mother if she had stayed home. Instead, she says, such teachings “just all went away.” As a teenager, Madeline returned home to her family in Nakina and had Alley, the first of three children. She let her parents raise Alley, a customary practice among Anishinaabe families in the north. Madeline says her son had a good upbringing with her parents, picking up the Ojibway language and syllabics. “I was very happy that he learned a lot of culture from my mother,” she says. Her mother continued to bead until she could no longer see because of cataracts. Clara passed away in 2001 at age 83. Alley says he spent a lot of time by his grandmother’s side, learning and observing. Eventually, like his mother, Alley was also sent away to school. In Grade 9, he moved to Sioux Lookout, where he lived with a non-Indigenous family who didn’t understand the Ojibway language. “You lose that connection,” he says. Armed with his grandmother’s traditional sewing and beading skills (“It’s all in my head – a lot of memory in there,” he says), Alley got into the “moccasin game” about 15 years ago while living in Winnipeg, sewing moccasins part-time for an Indigenous company while continuing his own beadwork and sewing on the side. He moved back to Thunder Bay more than three years ago, shortly after his aunt died of cancer, wanting to ensure his mother wasn’t alone without any family. Visiting his mother at least once a week, Alley would often bring his sewing and beadwork with him and encouraged his mother to give it a try. She started off with small items, beading poppies and Christmas pins. When Alley was hired by an organization to teach a moccasin-making workshop for residential school survivors, Madeline joined in and made her first pair of moccasins. “She’s a really quick learner,” Alley says. Sharing his mother’s work on his Facebook page, Madeline started to get requests for her items, and hasn’t stopped taking orders – or learning – since. One of the duo’s latest projects was a matching pair of beaded gauntlet mittens for Madeline and her partner – a first for Madeline, who noted it was a challenging project, particularly fashioning the mitts’ thumb. It took Madeline and Alley about two weeks to complete both pairs. At times, the handiwork can be a delicate, tedious process of stitching tiny seed beads onto leather or other material, using one or two threaded needles. “Sometimes it’s frustrating what you bead – your thread doesn’t go right, [so] I put it away and relax,” Madeline says with a laugh. Crafting together has become a way for mother and son to stay close, particularly after the death of Alley’s youngest sister last summer. As a single person, he’s thankful he can still visit his mom in her home, where she lives with her partner, under the current pandemic restrictions. Madeline works on custom orders from her living room, sitting in her recliner with a tray of beads in her lap and her dog Jasper, a small Shih Tzu-cross, close by. Alley sits on the couch, where he works on mukluks featuring a more intricate (and contemporary) design – Baby Yoda. When asked how it makes her feel that people want to buy her work, Madeline lights up. “Oh my God, my heart just bursts,” she says. She’s even received a custom order from as far away as New York – appropriately enough, it was for a matching set of moccasins for a mother and child. Willow Fiddler, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Globe and Mail
The province of Saskatchewan set another new record for deaths related to COVID-19 Tuesday with 14. There were two additional deaths reported in the North Central zone , one in the 40-49 age group and one in the 80 and over age group. The Saskatoon zone reported two deaths in the 60 to 69-year-old age group, two deaths in the 80-years-old and over age group and one in the 70 to 79-year-old age group and 50 to 59-year-old age group. Regina reported deaths in the 70 to 79-year-old age group, 50 to 59 year-old age group and 80-years-old and over age group The Far North West and South East also reported one death in the 80-years-old and over age group. The South East also reported a death in the 70 to 79-year-old age group. The number of deaths in the province has grown to 268. There were 232 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the province on Tuesday. The North Central zone, which includes Prince Albert, reported 31 new cases. North Central 2, which is Prince Albert, has 139 active cases. North Central 1, which includes communities such as Christopher Lake, Candle Lake and Meath Park, has 55 active cases and North Central 3 has 98 active cases. There was one case with pending information added to the North Central zone. There are currently 208 people in hospital overall in the province. Of the 175 reported as receiving in patient care there are 28 in North Central. Of the 33 people reported as being in intensive care there are two in North Central. The current seven-day average is 254, or 20.7 cases per 100,000 population. Of the 22,646 reported COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan, 2,665 are considered active. The recovered number now sits at 19,219 after 839 more recoveries were reported. Tuesday. There were 362 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered yesterday in Saskatchewan, bringing the total number of vaccines administered in the province to 34,080. As of Jan. 25, 104 per cent of the doses received have been administered. This overage is due to efficiencies in drawing extra doses from vials of vaccine received. There were no doses administered in North Central on Monday. However 23 doses were administered in the adjacent North East zone, which includes Melfort, Nipawin and Tisdale. There were 2,160 COVID-19 tests processed in Saskatchewan on Jan 25. As of today there have been 495,292 COVID-19 tests performed in Saskatchewan. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
VICTORIA — Canadian rescue crews are helping to search for a small plane off of the B.C. coast after United States officials received a mayday distress call. The U.S. Coast Guard says in a tweet that crews are searching the waters between Victoria and Port Angeles, Wash., for a downed Cessna 170. It says one man was reported aboard the aircraft. The coast guard says the flight originated from Ketchikan, Ala. Lt.-Cmdr. Tony Wright of the Canadian Forces Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria says the pilot described his location during the mayday call Tuesday afternoon. Wright says Canada is supporting the search with the Canadian Coast Guard's Sir Wilfred Laurier vessel and a CC-115 Buffalo aircraft out of Comox, B.C. He says they are searching along with an American helicopter and vessels. "We're supporting the U.S. Coast Guard," Wright said, adding he had no other information immediately available. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy was taken to a hospital Tuesday evening after not feeling well and later sent home after tests, a spokesman said, hours after the 80-year-old Democrat began presiding over the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. Leahy, who'd been in his Capitol office, was taken to George Washington University Hospital “out of an abundance of caution" after being examined by Congress' attending physician, Leahy spokesman David Carle said. The senator underwent an evaluation before his release from the hospital and looks forward to returning to work, Carle said. Leahy had commenced his role of overseeing Trump's latest impeachment trial by swearing in his fellow lawmakers. The actual trial will begin next month. Leahy is presiding because he is the Senate's president pro tempore, a largely ceremonial post. Chief Justice John Roberts presided over Trump's first impeachment trial a year ago when Trump was still president. The Senate president pro tempore job normally goes to the longest-serving member of the Senate's majority party. Leahy was first elected in 1974, making him the longest-serving current senator of either party. Leahy will be chairman once again this year of the Senate Appropriations Committee, a panel that controls a large chunk of the federal budget and will be in the middle of President Joe Biden's effort to provide more spending to combat the pandemic and recharge the economy. Leahy is the fifth-oldest current senator. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., 87, is the oldest. Alan Fram, The Associated Press
A group of doctors and advocates are calling on Ontario Premier Doug Ford to address what they call a ‘humanitarian crisis’ in long-term care homes by bringing the military back for support and embarking on hiring and training drives.
Health officials in British Columbia say the number of new daily cases of COVID-19 is too high and they are repeating calls for everyone's help to bend the curve. The province recorded 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, bringing the total number of confirmed active infections to 4,260. Among those, 313 people are hospitalized, including 71 in intensive care. An additional 14 people died in the past day and the death toll in B.C. from COVID-19 rose to 1,168. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry say in a joint statement that now is the time for anyone who has put aside public health precautions to join or rejoin efforts to stop the spread. They say it is especially critical with the presence of variant strains of COVID-19 in B.C. "For the many who have been doing your part, you may be asking 'What more can I do?'" Dix and Henry say in the joint statement. "Be the voice of support and encouragement for those who may be wavering in their resolve." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
Manitoba’s first rapid testing site had no shortage of available appointments for school staffers during its inaugural week of operations. Yet, same-day tests remain out of reach for teachers who want them in the province’s COVID-19 hotspot. Between Jan. 18-24, the province took 111 nasal swab samples — an average of 16 each day — at the rapid testing site at 1066 Nairn Ave. in Winnipeg. The province set an initial goal of completing 20-40 tests daily, with an aim to ramp up to 160/day in the coming months, when it unveiled details about the “Fast Pass” pilot project earlier this month. The number of tests administered during the first week reflect the number of appointments that have been made, a provincial spokesperson said Monday, adding there have been no processing nor administrative issues at the site. Ruth MacKenzie was among the educators who booked an appointment for Monday morning, after she woke up with a sore throat. The educational assistant said she was offered numerous times when she called the booking line (1-855-268-4318) at 7:30 a.m. She picked a 10:30 a.m. slot so she could travel to Winnipeg. MacKenzie said she was pleasantly surprised by how easy the appointment was to set up, the test itself — which took under seven minutes, and that she was told to expect a result within hours. “It’s nice to know there’s a place you can go and get tested and get back to work as soon as possible,” she said. “I love my job. I enjoy it very much. I’m very thankful that I’m working.” The Monday experience was a stark contrast to her first COVID-19 test in the summertime. MacKenzie waited an hour-and-a-half before she was able to get her nasal cavity swabbed, and two days to receive a result in early August. For a positive result at the rapid site, it takes four to eight hours before the notice is posted online. Negative results take longer because they are to be verified at a lab. The province retests the latter because, according to a provincial spokesperson, the Songbird Hyris bCUBE rapid test is new to Manitoba, and many rapid-test types have been shown to have a higher volume of false negatives. The spokesperson said the turnaround for official negative results are “aligned” with those for the general testing stream; the current response time for a test processed at community sites, including the adjacent drive-thru site on Nairn Avenue, is 1-2 days. The Fast Pass site was originally open only to school staff, including teachers, educational assistants, custodians, bus drivers and workers in school-based early learning and child care facilities in Winnipeg, Seven Oaks, River East Transcona, Seine River and Hanover divisions. Over the weekend, the province broadened eligibility criteria to give all school employees in Manitoba access to quick turnaround tests, citing its ability to increase the number of daily appointments. Such an expansion was anticipated to take place in February. The president of the Manitoba Teachers’ Society said Monday he is pleased the pilot has been expanded on behalf of teachers in the metro region and those who live nearby, but noted educators work all over the province. There are concerns about test accessibility in rural and northern regions, said James Bedford, who represents 16,000 public school teachers. The province has hinted Winkler and Brandon could be home to future rapid test facilities. “We need to recognize that we can’t ignore the northern part of the province,” Bedford said. To date, 27 students have graduated from Red River College with a micro-credential in how to administer rapid COVID-19 tests. Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
The Saskatchewan government is looking at the tools it has to prevent targeted protests at the homes of public servants. On Saturday, a crowd gathered outside the house of Saskatchewan Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab, protesting against public health orders implemented by the government during the COVID-19 pandemic. Premier Scott Moe called the act "disturbing" and "unprecedented" in the province. "What happened this weekend is not what Saskatchewan is about," Moe said during Tuesday's provincial COVID-19 update. "That protest is moving beyond the decision of a government, and moving to protest a person." The premier says his government is looking at what laws other jurisdictions have for similar incidents, and whether or not Saskatchewan should consider them. "It's a bridge too far for me, personally. I don't know what levers the government has to address that line that has been crossed, but we're looking at tools to use to do so," Moe said. WATCH | Moe condems protest outside Saskatchewan chief medical officer's home: In the meantime, the government has offered "as much security as necessary" to Shahab and his family to ensure they are safe and comfortable. Shahab feels sorry for 'good neighbours,' family Shahab said he was made aware of the protest at his home as he was working, as he normally does on a Saturday and Sunday. "I feel grateful for the Regina Police Service and I feel sorry for my good neighbours who didn't deserve to be harassed like this, and to my family who didn't deserve to see and hear the comments," Shahab said during Tuesday's press conference. He said the protests delayed him from clearing the snow at his house for about three hours. He was able to get to it once the crowd dispersed, he said, but by that time the temperature dropped from –20 C to –30 C. Shahab says that's how it personally affected him — but philosophically, he says protests should be held in public spaces, like in front of the Saskatchewan Legislature. "In a democracy you expect vigorous debate over every policy. Right now we're in a pandemic — it's a long year and it's creating pressures for everyone," Shahab said. "And you express your opinions through many channels that are available in a democracy. But you also obey the law, and in my view there is precedence that you don't picket outside any residence." WATCH | Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer responds to protesters outside his home: Regina police continue to investigate the matter. On Monday, Regina police Chief Evan Bray told reporters that police are working alongside the Crown to determine if charges should be laid. Protests escalate Bray says the protesters that showed up to Shahab's home are the same group of people who have previously protested at the Saskatchewan Legislature. From there, they have moved to protesting in front of Shahab's office on Albert Street, and in one occurrence, followed him to his car. Dr. Shahab was escorted by security during that time. "Social media also creates its own toxic echo chambers, and it does unfortunately perpetuate hate, and does radicalize those who are susceptible to hate," Shahab said. As protests escalate, so does the support for Shahab. On Twitter, people shared their gratitude to the doctor with messages using the hashtag #IStandWithShahab. Shahab says he is appreciative of the support. "The response to this protest by the vast majority of the public was more eloquent than I can be, and it gives wind to my sails, certainly," Shahab said. "And that's what Saskatchewan is all about and Canada is all about."
A decade-long warming trend in the Gulf of St. Lawrence continued in 2020 with deep waters reaching record highs, according to ocean climate data released Tuesday by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Water temperatures at depths of 200, 250 and 300 metres were higher than any measured in the Gulf since records started in 1915, hitting highs of 5.7 C, 6.6 C and 6.8 C. All were well above the normal variations. "It is scary to me because we're completely outside of the known envelope," Peter Galbraith, a longtime federal research scientist, said in an interview. "When you are one degree, a half a degree outside anything that's been known before those 100 years, then that's like uncharted territory for fisheries management." No record of this before The report on physical oceanographic conditions also said temperatures last year were notably warmer in deep water at the entrance to the Gulf in the Laurentian Channel and the Cabot Strait between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Gauging the effects on marine life is a key task, but there's nothing to compare it to in the record, said Galbraith. "A whole lot of species will be affected. The scary part is that we can't rely on past observations that would be similar to guess at what the ecosystem is responding because it was never similar," Galbraith said from DFO's Maurice Lamontagne Institute in Mont-Joli, Que. "The bottom temperature of the Gulf has increased by about a degree and a half, which might not seem a whole lot. But for biological species that are used to really, really stable temperatures, increasing from 5.2 to 6.7 is a big deal." Wild surface-temperature swing The inland portion of the Gulf in Quebec, known as the Estuary, recorded the highest surface temperatures in July since those records started in 1982. By September, surface temperatures hit record lows after strong winds whipped up ocean waters. "We lost 3.7 degrees in one week basically," said Galbraith. "The warmest week in nearly 40 years of observations to the coldest September in 40 years." He said January 2021 has already seen its own anomaly — no sea ice in the Gulf. A recent cold snap was not enough to produce ice because most of the water is above 1 degree. "Outside of coastal ice, there's really nothing, anything offshore," said Galbraith. Gulf could stay warm for years He said the warmer deep water, which is slowly sucked into the Gulf from the Atlantic, will likely keep the Gulf warm for years. An unusually cold year could provide a reprieve, but it has not materialized in the past decade. Two currents supply the deep water that flows into the Gulf: the cold Labrador Current from the north and the Gulf Stream from the south. Scientists are trying to understand what is happening with those currents and what warmer water means in the near term. MORE TOP STORIES
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Wednesday: ENGLAND German coach Thomas Tuchel is set for his first game in charge of 10th-place Chelsea after agreeing an 18-month deal. Chelsea hosts 14th-place Wolverhampton. Manchester United can knock Manchester City off the top of the standings if it beats Sheffield United at Old Trafford. Third-place Leicester aims to keep the pressure on the two Manchester clubs by beating Everton away, while there's a key game at the other end of the standings when fourth-to-last Brighton hosts third-to-last Fulham. A win for Brighton would open up an eight-point gap to Fulham, which currently occupies the final relegation spot. After its surprise win at Liverpool last week, Burnley can pull further clear of the relegation zone with a home win over Aston Villa. SPAIN Lionel Messi is back in the Barcelona squad that will face second-division club Rayo Vallecano in the Copa del Rey. Messi has not played in the Copa del Rey this season but coach Ronald Koeman is expected to use him in the round-of-16 game after missing two matches because of a suspension. Messi had been rested before that because of an unspecified minor fitness problem. Rayo has been playing well recently and sits fourth in the second division. In other last-16 matchups, Sevilla hosts Valencia and Osasuna visits Almería. ITALY Second-division team Spal visits nine-time defending Serie A champion Juventus in the quarterfinals of the Italian Cup. Spal is the only Serie B team remaining in the competition. Juventus has lifted the trophy a record 13 times while Spal has never won the cup. The winner of their game will face Inter Milan in the semifinals. Atalanta is also playing on Wednesday, against Lazio. The winner of that match will play holder Napoli or Spezia, who play their quarterfinal on Thursday. FRANCE Last-place Lorient is back in action with a crucial match against struggling Dijon in the fight against relegation. Lorient’s home game against Dijon was postponed two weeks ago due to a COVID-19 outbreak at the club and Christophe Pélissier’s team could not play at Nimes last weekend because of the high number of coronavirus cases within the squad. In addition to those ruled out after testing positive, Lorient will also be without forward Armand Laurienté, who is suspended. With just 12 points from 19 matches, Lorient lags three points behind 18th-place Dijon. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Danny Huston’s first dog was an Airedale Terrier named Sam after Humphrey Bogart’s “Maltese Falcon” character, Sam Spade. His father John Huston’s debut may have been over 20 years old by the time Danny was born, but the film that helped define the noir genre and launch both his and Bogart’s careers still factored heavily in his life from an early age. Growing up in Ireland, one of his favourite memories was when his father would bring out the projector and they’d gather around to watch his films. “The Maltese Falcon” was always a highlight. “It’s like a good book,” Huston said. “You find new things when you revisit it.” Now the film that no one believed in is celebrating its 80th anniversary. It’s returning to theatres through Fathom Events for a limited engagement on Wednesday. “It’s an important film to see if you love films and I think it stands the test of time. It’s gripping in its speed but it’s not reckless. And the lines! It had such memorable lines,” Huston said. “The dialogue in ‘Maltese Falcon’ is action, pure action.” Huston loves talking about his father, who gave him advice and unforgettable experiences along the way. When he was a teenager, his father brought him along to Morocco for the shoot of “The Man Who Would Be King” with Sean Connery and Michael Caine. And when Huston himself was thinking about directing, his father told him to treat every scene as if it’s the most important and to never feel bashful about asking family for help. John Huston reminded him that he’d even called on his own father for “The Maltese Falcon.” Walter Huston famously appears in a cameo role as the man who delivers the falcon. The film’s legend has only grown and the prop itself has become one of the most valuable pieces of movie memorabilia. “I have a falcon but it’s not real,” Huston laughed. Danny Huston never got to meet Bogart, who died a few years before he was born, but he knew that it was a great loss for his father. “They were great friends and larked about a lot, much to Katharine Hepburn’s horror. But they loved each other deeply,” he said. “The camera sees things that the naked eye doesn’t and with Bogart, the camera found an incredible nobility.” Danny Huston said that his father got to enjoy his own legacy during his long life — he died in 1987 at age 81 — but that he likely wouldn’t have believed that 80 years later the film would still be a topic of discussion. But, Huston laughed, “He would certainly be delighted.” And he has yet to name another pet after a character in his father's films, but he thinks he might start again. Next up: Wilmer. Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — Don Johnson is getting his funny on with help from a couple of “Saturday Night Live” stars. Known for his dramatic roles in the hit series “Miami Vice” and “Nash Bridges,” Johnson co-stars with Kenan Thompson and Chris Redd in the upcoming NBC comedy “Kenan.” Thompson plays a widower juggling his job as a morning TV host with raising two young daughters. Johnson is his meddling father-in-law, and Redd is his brother. Johnson's most recent forays into series work came in ABC's “Blood and Oil” in 2015 and HBO's “Watchmen” in 2019. Hardly laugh fests. The 71-year-old actor calls doing comedy “amazingly joyful, hard work.” “The good thing about it is I get to work with these guys, who are just so good and such professionals,” he said Tuesday on a video call. “They pick me up, and they’re supportive. I just watch them and say, ‘OK, I got to try and keep up with that.’ ” Johnson was working on a movie last March when production was shut down by the start of the coronavirus pandemic. He got a call from “SNL” producer and friend Lorne Michaels, who sent him the show's script. “Kenan and I got on the phone and I felt instant chemistry with Kenan,” Johnson said. “I feel blessed. I’m working with these great comedians and writers. Come on, man, this is like the cherry on top for me.” His co-stars include real-life sisters and pre-teens Dani and Dannah Lockett, who admit not knowing Johnson's previous work. “I made stuff they couldn’t watch,” he joked. Thompson will juggle shooting the series in Los Angeles and doing “SNL” in New York. Like many productions, the global pandemic forced changes, including doing table reads over video calls, which led to a stilted feeling. “When we were able to get in person, they just clicked,” Thompson said. Even then, the newly assembled cast wasn't able to sit around and build chemistry between takes. “When we started rehearsing under COVID protocol," Johnson said, "during the first 10 days the only time I saw their faces was when I was in a scene.” The show debuts Feb. 16. Beth Harris, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Ongoing tensions between the provinces and the federal government over the management of the COVID-19 pandemic pivoted back Tuesday to the question of whether and how border controls can be tightened to slow the spread of the virus. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned Canadians to cancel any non-essential trips they have planned abroad or even within Canada in the coming weeks, as new travel restrictions are on the way. What shape they might take remains up for discussion. "The bad choices of a few will never be allowed to put everyone else in danger," he said at a news conference outside his Rideau Cottage home in Ottawa. The premiers for Ontario and Quebec, however, suggested new measures could be implemented swiftly, including mandatory quarantine in hotels for returning travellers, flight bans from countries where new variants of the novel coronavirus are circulating and mandatory testing upon arrival in Canada. "We aren’t the first country to require this and we won't be the last," Ontario Premier Doug Ford said during a visit to Toronto's Pearson International Airport, where a pilot project testing some incoming travellers is underway. "I can't figure out for the life of me why we aren't testing every single person that comes through this airport … and the land crossings as well. We have to lock down." On Tuesday, the global case count topped 100 million since the novel coronavirus was first detected just over a year ago. The first cases in Canada were found a year ago this week. So far, over 19,000 Canadians have died and more than 753,000 have contracted the virus. The number of cases believed to be linked specifically to travel is less than two per cent, a fact officials generally peg on a ban that's been in place for nearly a year on non-essential travel into Canada, and the associated quarantine measures. As of Jan. 7, people coming into Canada must also take a pre-arrival COVID-19 test. The Canada Border Services Agency said Tuesday that since that requirement went into effect, there's been a 33 per cent drop in international travellers arriving by air when compared to a similar time period last year. Still, dozens of flights have arrived since that date with passengers on board who later tested positive for COVID-19. In Alberta, where a pilot project to test some returning travellers at both the land border and at the Calgary airport has been underway since November, 1.15 per cent of tests have come back positive as of last week. Data released Tuesday on the Toronto program, which began this month, showed 2.26 per cent of tests so far came back positive. Wesley Lesosky, who heads a union division representing about 15,000 flight attendants at nine airlines, told the House of Commons transport committee Tuesday there should be a "serious look" at using rapid tests at airports before anyone gets on a plane. Currently, a person departing for Canada must go and get their own test, known as a PCR, within 72 hours of their departure and provide proof of a negative result. While non-essential travel into Canada is restricted, it is much more challenging to simply block Canadians or permanent residents from travelling abroad or returning. Trudeau also said Tuesday commercial flights often carry cargo, so there are concerns restrictions could affect trade. Quebec Premier Francois Legault likened the debate to this time last year, when pressure began for Trudeau to close the border due to the arrival of the pandemic in Canada. The closures didn't end up coming until mid-March — after thousands of spring break travellers from Quebec had already left, and returned, kicking off the first wave of the pandemic in that province. He said he didn't understand why it is taking so long for Trudeau to act this time around. "Each day there are travellers arriving, each day that goes by there’s an added risk," Legault said in French. "So there’s an urgency to act." The National Airlines Council, which represents the largest airlines in Canada, said Tuesday despite concerns about winter travel, international air service is down 90 per cent, and domestic service has been cut by 80 per cent. Case numbers continued to come down in much of Manitoba, but officials there also want tougher border controls, and have decided to put some in place themselves — starting Friday, all out-of-province arrivals will have to self-isolate. Premier Brian Pallister said the move was needed given the spread of COVID-19 variants and the slowing of vaccine supplies. No doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will arrive in Canada this week, and there will be a reduction in deliveries next week too as the company retools a production facility in Europe. The slowdown has seen provinces warn of running out of vaccines, and delaying second doses or even getting first ones into the arms of some priority populations, an issue they've blamed entirely on the federal government. An independent effort by researchers in Saskatchewan to track vaccine delivery and administration in Canada estimates about 77 per cent of the 1.1 million doses received so far have been administered. During an emergency debate Tuesday night, Procurement Minister Anita Anand told the House of Commons that Pfizer has assured her it will ramp up its deliveries once its plant is upgraded and will still meet its contractual obligation to supply Canada with four million doses by the end of March. Another two million doses are scheduled from Moderna by that time. With those two vaccines alone, Anand said the country remains on track to meet the government's goal of vaccinations for every willing Canadian by the end of September. If Health Canada authorizes any of the other five vaccine candidates for which the government has contracts, she said that schedule could be accelerated. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole criticized Trudeau for suggesting earlier in the day that Canada is "in good shape" when it comes to the vaccine supply. "He thinks we're in good shape when Canadians will only receive eight per cent of the vaccines his government promised Canadians just last month," O'Toole said. "If this is what the prime minister considers good shape ... what does he consider terrible shape? Three per cent?" Green MP Elizabeth May urged opposition parties to "turn the temperature down," arguing that it's "a remarkable achievement of modern science that vaccines exist for something that we didn't even know about a year ago." Still, she asked Anand if there's a link between Pfizer's call for more favourable tax treatment from the Canadian government at the same time as it is delaying the supply of its vaccine. Anand said the only things she has discussed with Pfizer is its contractual obligations and the delivery schedule for the vaccine. "I have not discussed any other matter with the vaccine suppliers at all." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. — with files from Morgan Lowrie, Mia Rabson, Steve Lambert Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
“There's not enough words in the English language to share how much this will impact First Nations; how much every time the land is destroyed, how much that that tears apart who we are as Niitsitapi,” said Latasha Calf Robe. The member of the Blood Tribe (Kainai Nation) and founder of the Niitsitapi Water Protectors spoke at a town hall Jan. 21 focused on the changes to the provincial coal policy brought in by Alberta’s current UCP government. A Coal Development Policy for Alberta, known also as the 1976 Coal Policy, was rescinded effective June 1, 2020 by the government. The policy protected large portions of land, like the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, from strip mining. After intense public backlash to a December 2020 coal mining auction, the UCP government, through the office of Minister for Energy Sonya Savage, cancelled 11 pending leases for coal mining. In a statement issued by the ministry Jan. 18, Savage said the “pause will provide our government with the opportunity to ensure that the interests of Albertans, as owners of mineral resources, are protected.” But participants at the town hall made it clear that they do not believe the government is looking out for their interests, and the best-case scenario is to have the coal policy reinstated completely. One of the main concerns is the potential for toxic amounts of selenium to enter the headwaters of the Old Man River, contaminating the drinking water of more than 200,000 Albertans, including the Blood Tribe. The town hall was organized by NDP Lethbridge-West MLA Shannon Phillips, the former minister of Environment and Parks and minister responsible for the Climate Change Office. She said at least 10 per cent of her constituents are members of Blackfoot Nations and will be affected by the government’s coal policy changes. In addition to concerns about selenium entering the drinking water, Phillips said the significant change in land use sets a dangerous precedent for the possibility of backroom deals on water licensing that would impact the availability of water for the Kainai Nation. She said the Grassy Mountain Mine is getting access to water in large volumes in order to operate, alleging this would only be possible by some sort of skirting of the rules when it comes to water licensing. “We are already in a very water-stressed area made only worse by the effects of climate change,” Phillips said. “Already, we see communities all across this corridor struggling with (lack of water) or even their water infrastructure… because climate change changes when you have more water and the volumes and, you know, extreme weather events and so on.” The mounting criticism over the lack of consultation with First Nations, as well as concerns over the potential environmental impacts, have resulted in stakeholders from across the province coming together to file a judicial review of the rescission of the coal policy. That is set to begin today, Jan. 26 in the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench. The review argues for the policy to be restored. “These kinds of projects have zero legitimacy from seven generations beyond me, beyond us,” said Diandra Bruised Head, a member of the Blood Tribe council, at the town hall. The mayor of Lethbridge, Chris Spearman, and the former premier of Alberta, now Leader of the Opposition, Rachel Notley, both spoke out against the rescission of the coal policy. “Albertans have overwhelmingly said that the eastern slope should be devoted to watershed protection, recreation tourism, and just, of course, that the land itself should be respected for the way it has interacted with original peoples for so many years before anybody else was here,” said Notley. Mayor Spearman talked about the potential dangers to commercial and drinking water for the residents of Lethbridge and the surrounding areas. “To have this go forward and have the headwaters potentially contaminated is a huge betrayal of trust,” said Spearman. CJWE By Tsering Asha, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CJWE
AT&T Inc was sued on Tuesday for at least $1.35 billion by a Seattle company that accused the telecommunications giant of stealing its patented "twinning" technology, which lets smart devices such as watches and tablets respond to calls placed to a single phone number. Network Apps LLC said AT&T abandoned joint development and licensing agreements for its technology in 2014 after realizing it would owe a "fortune" in royalties because the market for smart devices was exploding, only to then incorporate the technology a year later in its own product, NumberSync. According to a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, NumberSync uses the "same concept and architecture" with only "cosmetic changes," and its purported "inventors" were the same AT&T personnel who had worked with the plaintiffs.
Mental health and wellness supports are in place at Jasper schools, and just being at school can be a great mood booster itself. Kelly Harding, assistant superintendent with Grande Yellowhead Public School Division (GYPSD), described in an email the excitement over the recent return from an extended winter break. “The division has heard from many parents their appreciation for the province's decision to return to in-school learning, noting that their children are happier and more excited about their learning when they are with their teachers and their peers at school,” Harding said in an email. GYPSD includes Jasper Elementary School and Jasper Junior/Senior High School. “The best mental health a school can offer to students is to be open,” added Marie-Claude Faucher, principal of Ecole Desrochers, via email. “Just by being at school, with friends and teachers, it makes an enormous difference!” Harding said the division has had positive feedback from parents who are accessing the division's learn-at-home option this year, because it affords those families an extra level of safety if they are not comfortable returning to in-school learning at this time. “In addition to great teaching and learning opportunities,” Harding said, “the division has extensive mental health and wellness supports - including 10 family school liaison counsellors, three BEST (Bringing Empowered Students Together) coaches and a division psychologist. Parents can access any of these supports through their principals, as well as a number of resources and links on the GYPSD website.” Faucher said there are programs at the school to combine with the positive attitudes there. “Added to the fact that they are now back at school, with big smiles, we also have programs to teach students about Growth Mindset, to help them develop resilience and perseverance,” she said. “We also teach them to be attentive and take care of each other.” Faucher noted if the school has serious concerns about a student, they reach to Alberta Health Services and/or Jasper Outreach Services. “They are really helpful,” she said. Dealing with the pandemic is done by balancing COVID protocols with the social side of life, Harding said. “While no one is excited about having to wear a mask indoors or not being able to share a hug or high-five, the measures put in place by the government are there to keep our staff, students and communities safe,” she said. “We are deeply appreciative to our staff and to our students and families for their commitment to the protocols. Teachers miss seeing their students' smiles! We look forward to when COVID is gone and we can return to normal.” Faucher added, “Causes of mental health issues are when students are cut off from relationships, when they confront the challenges associated with virtual school, when they are playing video games alone. It's not COVID measures that challenge mental health, we are all used to it now, it is part of a routine. Schools are a safe and happy place to be. “As long as we can have all the students here, the atmosphere is focused on learning, and learning is fun!” Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
The mittens worn by American Senator Bernie Sanders to the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden have garnered considerable attention online, and generated humorous images that place a hunched-against-the-cold Sanders everywhere from a scene in Forrest Gump to downtown Saint John. They also caught the attention of a New Brunswick foundation which has been making mittens for charity for the past 15 years. Katie Tower, executive director of the Pedvac Foundation in Port Elgin, said when they saw Sanders’ mittens all over the internet, they thought, “Hey those look like Pedvac mittens!” The organization decided to point out the similarity on their Facebook for anyone trying to create their own Bernie look, Tower said. The post was shared many times and retailers who carry their mittens have started calling asking for more, she said. "The great thing about our mitts is it is a social enterprise," said Tower, “We pay people in our community of Port Elgin to make them.” They aren’t, however, copying the Bernie mittens pattern. “We came up with our own pattern many years ago," Tower said. "We have revised it a bit, but the pattern in the Bernie mittens just happens to be similar enough to ours.” The teacher who originally made the mittens as a gift for Sanders spoke about using recycled or donated wool, and Pedvac mittens are also made from wool that is "second hand or donated too,” said Darcie Kingswell, coordinator of Pedvac's "Wools to Wishes". “We use a variety of different wool, different fleece,” said Kingswell, adding that it could come from a sweater or another knitted item. Buying Pedvac mittens “goes to support our programs including mental health workshops, food programs in school or free income tax preparation programs,” said Tower. Pedvac’s mittens are currently available at Starving Artist Gallery in Moncton, Wheaton's locations in the Maritimes, Happenstance in Antigonish, Threadwork in Almonte, Ont. and at the Pedvac boutique in Port Elgin, although that location is closed while Zone 1 is in red, said Kingswell. The most common similarity between these New Brunswick-made mitts and Bernie Sanders’ mitts is a lot simpler. “It looked like Bernie Sanders was just trying to stay warm," Tower said. "Ours help you do that too.” Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
WASHINGTON — U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian leader Vladimir Putin held their first conversation as counterparts Tuesday in a phone call that underscored troubled relations and the delicate balance between the former Cold War foes. According to the White House, Biden raised concerns about the arrest of opposition figure Alexei Navalny, Russia’s alleged involvement in a massive cyber espionage campaign and reports of Russian bounties on American troops in Afghanistan. The Kremlin, meanwhile, focused on Putin’s response to Biden’s proposal to extend the last remaining U.S.-Russia arms control treaty. While the readouts from the two capitals emphasized different elements, they both suggested that U.S-Russia relations will be guided, at least at the beginning of the Biden administration, by a desire to do no harm but also no urgency to repair existing damage. The two presidents agreed to have their teams work urgently to complete a five-year extension of the New START nuclear weapons treaty that expires next month. Former President Donald Trump's administration had withdrawn from two arms control treaties with Russia and had been prepared to let New START lapse. Unlike his immediate predecessors — including Trump, who was enamoured of Putin and frequently undercut his own administration's tough stance on Russia — Biden has not held out hope for a “reset” in relations. Instead he has indicated he wants to manage differences without necessarily resolving them or improving ties. And with a heavy domestic agenda and looming decisions needed on Iran and China, a direct confrontation with Russia is not likely something Biden seeks. Although the leaders agreed to work together to extend New START before it expires Feb. 5 and to look at other areas of potential strategic co-operation, the White House said Biden was firm on U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, while Russia is supporting separatists in the country's east. Biden also raised the SolarWinds cyberhack, which has been attributed to Russia, reports of Russian bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan, interference in the 2020 U.S. election, the poisoning of Navalny and the weekend crackdown on Navalny's supporters. “President Biden made clear that the United States will act firmly in defence of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies,” the White House said. Biden told Putin in the phone call, first reported by The Associated Press, that the U.S. would defend itself and take action, which could include further sanctions, to ensure Moscow does not act with impunity, officials said. Moscow had reached out last week to request the call, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter but not authorized to discuss it publicly. Biden agreed, but he wanted first to prepare with his staff and speak with European allies, including the leaders of Britain, France and Germany, which he did. Before he spoke to Putin, Biden also called NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg to pledge U.S. commitment to the decades-old alliance founded as a bulwark against Russian aggression. The Kremlin's readout of the call did not address the most contentious issues between the countries, though it said the leaders also discussed other “acute issues on the bilateral and international agenda.” It described the talk as “frank and businesslike” — often a diplomatic way of referring to tense discussions. It also said Putin congratulated Biden on becoming president and “noted that normalization of ties between Russia and the United States would serve the interests of both countries." Among the issues the Kremlin said were discussed were the coronavirus pandemic, the Iran nuclear agreement, Ukraine and issues related to trade and the economy. The call came as Putin considers the aftermath of pro-Navalny protests that took place in more than 100 Russian cities over the weekend. Biden’s team has already reacted strongly to the crackdown on the protests, in which more than 3,700 people were arrested across Russia, including more than 1,400 in Moscow. More protests are planned for the coming weekend. Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner and Putin’s best-known critic, was arrested Jan. 17 as he returned to Russia from Germany, where he had spent nearly five months recovering from nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. Biden has previously condemned the use of chemical weapons. Russian authorities deny the accusations. Just from the public accounts, Biden's discussion with Putin appeared diametrically opposed to Trump's relationship with the Russian president. Trump had seemed to seek Putin's approval, frequently casting doubt on Russian interference in the 2016 elections, including when he stood next to Putin at their 2018 summit in Helsinki. He also downplayed Russia’s involvement in the hack of federal government agencies last year and the allegations that Russia offered the Taliban bounties. Still, despite that conciliatory approach, Trump's administration toed a tough line against Moscow, imposing sanctions on the country, Russian companies and business leaders for issues including Ukraine, energy supplies and attacks on dissidents. Biden, in his call with Putin, broke sharply with Trump by declaring that he knew that Russia attempted to interfere with both the 2016 and 2020 U.S. elections. ___ Associated Press writer Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report. Matthew Lee And Jonathan Lemire, The Associated Press