Meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal has your national forecast for Dec 22
Meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal has your national forecast for Dec 22
WASHINGTON — The patter of paws is being heard in the White House again following the arrival of President Joe Biden's dogs Champ and Major. The two German shepherds are the first pets to live at the executive mansion since the Obama administration. Major burst onto the national scene late last year after Biden, then president-elect, broke his right foot while playing with the dog at their home in Wilmington, Delaware. The Bidens adopted Major in 2018 from the Delaware Humane Association. Champ joined the family after the 2008 presidential election that made Joe Biden vice-president. The dogs moved into the White House on Sunday, following Biden's inauguration last week. “The first family wanted to get settled before bringing the dogs down to Washington from Delaware,” said Michael LaRosa, spokesperson for first lady Jill Biden. “Champ is enjoying his new dog bed by the fireplace and Major loved running around on the South Lawn.” The dogs were heard barking outside near the Oval Office on Monday as Biden signed an executive order lifting the previous administration's ban on transgender people serving in the military. Last week, the Delaware Humane Association cosponsored an “indoguration” virtual fundraiser to celebrate Major's journey from shelter pup to first dog. More than $200,000 was raised. Major is the first shelter dog to ever live in the White House and “barking proof that every dog can live the American dream," the association said. The Bidens had promised to bring the dogs with them to the White House. They plan to add a cat, though no update on the feline's arrival was shared on Monday. White House press secretary Jen Psaki predicted, while on video answering questions from members of the public, that the cat will “dominate the internet” when it arrives. Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, a self-described germaphobe, does not own any pets and had none with him at the White House. Just like they do for ordinary people, pets owned by the most powerful people in the world provide their owners with comfort, entertainment, occasional drama and generally good PR. “Pets have played an important role in the White House throughout the decades, not only by providing companionship to the presidents and their families, but also by humanizing and softening their political images,” said Jennifer Pickens, author of a book about pets at the White House. Pets also serve as ambassadors to the White House, she said. Pickens added that she hoped the Bidens' decision to bring a rescue dog to the White House might inspire others to adopt. President Theodore Roosevelt had Skip, who is described by the White House Historical Association as a “short-legged Black and Tan mongrel terrier brought home from a Colorado bear hunt.” Warren G. Harding had Laddie Boy, who sat in on meetings and had his own Cabinet chair. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had his beloved terrier Fala. At night, Fala slept in a special chair at the foot of the president’s bed. More recently, George H.W. Bush’s English springer spaniel Millie was featured on “The Simpsons” and starred in a bestseller, “Millie’s Book: As dictated to Barbara Bush.” Hillary Clinton followed Bush’s lead with a children’s book about family dog Buddy and cat Socks: “Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to the First Pets.” When he declared victory in the 2008 presidential race, Barack Obama told his daughters: “You have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House.” Several months later, Bo joined the family, a gift from Sen. Ted Kennedy. A few years later, fellow Portuguese water dog Sunny arrived. Among the stranger White House pets was Calvin Coolidge and first lady Grace Coolidge’s raccoon Rebecca. She was given to the Coolidge family by a supporter who suggested the raccoon be served for Thanksgiving dinner, according to the White House Historical Association. But instead she got an embroidered collar with the title “White House Raccoon” and entertained children at the White House Easter Egg Roll. Some notable pets belonged to first kids, including Amy Carter’s Siamese cat, Misty Malarky Ying Yang, and Caroline Kennedy’s pony Macaroni. The Kennedy family had a veritable menagerie, complete with dogs, cats, birds, hamsters and a rabbit named Zsa Zsa. President Harry Truman famously said that “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog” — and many successors have followed Truman's advice. The first President Bush once said, “There is nothing like the unconditional love of a dog to help you get through the rough spots.” ___ Associated Press writer Kevin Freking contributed to this report. Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Sarah Sanders, Donald Trump's former chief spokeswoman, announced she's running for Arkansas governor at a time other Republicans are distancing themselves from the former president facing an impeachment charge that he incited the deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol. But the former White House press secretary, who left the job in 2019 to return to her home state, ran the other direction with an announcement Monday that embraced Trump as much as his rhetoric. “With the radical left now in control of Washington, your governor is your last line of defence,” Sanders said in a nearly eight-minute video announcing her 2022 bid that prominently featured pictures of the president as well as some of his favourite targets. Trump, who publicly encouraged Sanders to run, wasted no time putting his seal of approval on her bid. The former president on Monday night backed Sanders' candidacy — his first official, public endorsement since leaving office — and called her a “warrior who will always fight for the people of Arkansas and do what is right, not what is politically correct." The daughter of former Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sanders is the most high-profile Trump official to seek major office and is doing so less than a week after the tumultuous end of his presidency. Her candidacy could showcase just how much of a hold Trump still has on the GOP. “Trump is simply not a liability here,” said Janine Parry, a political scientist at the University of Arkansas. “At least for the time being, we’re in a state where he remains an asset.” That’s even as the Senate is preparing for an impeachment trial over the Jan. 6 insurrection by Trump supporters that was aimed at halting the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory over Trump. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell rebuked the president last week, saying he “provoked” the siege. Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson told reporters days before Biden’s inauguration he wanted Trump’s administration to end, though he also opposed the president’s impeachment. Sanders’ announcement makes a brief reference to the Capitol siege that left five dead, equating it with violence that occurred at some protests last year over racial injustice and the 2017 shooting at a congressional baseball practice that injured U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise and four others. “This is not who we are as Americans,” Sanders said in the video, but not mentioning Trump’s role in encouraging his supporters who stormed the Capitol. She joins a Republican primary that already includes two statewide elected leaders, Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. The three are running to succeed Hutchinson, who is unable to run next year due to term limits. No Democrats have announced a bid to run for the seat. Griffin and Rutledge had already spent months positioning themselves ahead of Sanders’ entry by lining up endorsements, raising money and trying to stake their claims as the most conservative candidate. Griffin has called for the outright elimination of the state’s income tax, while Rutledge signed on to Texas’ ultimately unsuccessful lawsuit challenging the result of the presidential election. Following the riot, Griffin and Rutledge issued statements condemning the storming of the Capitol but not addressing Trump’s role in stirring up his backers. Combined, the two have raised more than $2.8 million for the race. Griffin on Monday criticized Sanders for promising in her video to cut off funding to so-called sanctuary cities that violate immigration laws. He noted a 2019 measure Hutchinson signed into law already does just that by cutting off funding to cities that don’t co-operate with immigration authorities. “It sounds like she needs to catch up on what’s been going on in Arkansas,” Griffin said in a statement. Rutledge, meanwhile, said in a statement the race was about “who has a proven record and not merely rhetoric.” The race could also get even more crowded. Republican State Sen. Jim Hendren, a nephew of Hutchinson’s, is considering a run for the seat and said he hoped to make a decision within the next three weeks. “Right now we have three announced candidates but they all do represent the far right part of the Republican Party,” said Hendren, who has been much more willing to criticize Trump and hasn’t ruled out an independent bid. “The question I have to decide is, is there room for a more pragmatic, centrist type of approach?” Sanders was already well known in Arkansas politics, going back to when she appeared in ads for her father’s campaign. She managed Sen. John Boozman’s 2010 election and worked as an adviser to Sen. Tom Cotton’s in 2014. During Sanders’ nearly two-year tenure at the White House, daily televised briefings led by the press secretary ended after Sanders repeatedly sparred with reporters who aggressively questioned her. She faced questions about her credibility, but she also earned reporters’ respect working behind the scenes to develop relationships with the media. She remains an unknown on many issues and wasn’t made available for interviews Monday, though she staked out some positions in her introductory video that include reducing the state’s income tax. Her introductory video indicates she’s leaning more on her time with Trump, with it featuring images of or calling out those who frequently drew his ire including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and CNN. Republicans hold a firm grip on Arkansas, with the GOP holding all statewide and federal seats. They also hold a majority in both chambers of the Legislature. Trump in November won the state by nearly 28 percentage points, one of the biggest margins in his ultimate loss to Biden. State Democratic Party Chairman Michael John Gray on Monday called the GOP primary a “race to the bottom.” But national party leaders indicated Sanders’ candidacy may draw more resources and attention to a long-shot race that will coincide with 2022 congressional midterm elections. “As we close the book on a dark chapter in our history, we must make sure Trump’s brand of politics stays in the past," Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison tweeted. “Now, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is running on his record." Hutchinson, who has remained generally popular since taking office in 2015, said he didn't plan on endorsing anyone at this time in the race. “I am a voter, so I will follow the campaign with interest, but I have a job to do for the next two years, and I will devote my energies to bring Arkansas out of the pandemic and to revitalize our economy," he said in a statement. ___ Follow Andrew DeMillo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ademillo Andrew Demillo, The Associated Press
Canada's natural resources minister accused the Opposition of beating their chests in a show of support for the oil and gas industry, during an emergency debate in the House of Commons regarding the Keystone XL pipeline expansion project Monday evening. "Do we, as some are suggesting, start a trade war with our closest ally and largest trading partner, with the single largest customer for Canadian crude? ... I have not yet heard a single argument that would convince me a trade war is in the best interests of our oil and gas workers," Seamus O'Regan said. O'Regan said the new U.S. administration represents an opportunity to work together with a government aligned with Canada's priorities on clean energy, pointing to TC Energy — the Calgary-based company behind the Keystone project — committing to buying renewable energy to achieve net zero emissions. Last week, on his first day in office, U.S. President Joe Biden scrapped the pipeline's permit as one of multiple actions intended to fight climate change, effectively killing the $8-billion US project. If completed, the 1,897-kilometre pipeline expansion project, first announced in 2005, would have carried 830,000 barrels of oilsands crude from Hardisty, Alta., to Nebraska, where it would then connect with the original Keystone pipeline that runs to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. Opposition Leader Erin O'Toole called for the debate earlier on Monday, accusing the government of not doing enough to advocate for the expansion. During the evening's debate, which stretched until just past midnight in Ottawa, O'Toole described empty office towers and job losses in Calgary. "Canada has been dealt a serious blow … these are Canadians, thousands of them, being totally forgotten and left behind by this government," he said. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government has repeatedly said it supports the project, and Trudeau expressed his disappointment with Biden during a call between the two nations' leaders on Friday. "We will stand up and have our workers' backs.… Let's talk TMX. We approved it, we bought it, we're building it," O'Regan said, referring to the federal purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which is under construction. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has called for sanctions against the U.S. in response to the permit's cancellation. Kenney's government invested $1.5 billion Cdn in equity in the project alongside billions in loan guarantees.The provincial opposition NDP is calling on the Alberta government to release documents containing details of that deal, calling it a risky one. The project had been rejected under former president Barack Obama's government. It was later approved under former president Donald Trump, but Biden had repeatedly stated he intended to rescind that permit once elected. Canada's ambassador to the U.S. has said it's time to respect that decision, however disappointing it may be to proponents, and move forward. WATCH | Keystone XL pipeline project 'appears to be dead,' says Rachel Notley Edmonton-Strathcona NDP MP Heather McPherson said Biden's decision should have come as no surprise given Biden's opposition and legal challenges of the project. "Remember when Jason Kenney gambled on Donald Trump. He didn't gamble his money — he gambled ours … that was his plan to get jobs for workers in my province," she said. "Now, he wants to start a trade war with the U.S., the customer for 95 per cent of our energy exports." Lakeland Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs said while the decision did not come as a shock, it underlines that Canada is in a vulnerable position when it comes to its energy industry as the U.S. has increased domestic production. "With the stroke of a pen thousands of people are out of work in the middle of a global crisis ... Canadians whose livelihoods depend on the oil and gas sector are rightfully anxious about their future," she said. O'Regan referred to climate change as an "existential crisis." "The market has an important role here. It is the leading role in determining how investment decisions should be made, but it is our government's duty to set the parameters on that and to incent what we believe to be extraordinarily important goals, namely net-zero emissions by 2050. That is the goal we have set for ourselves, and many of our friends, colleagues and competitors around the world have also set that goal for themselves. This is an existential crisis, there is no question." It's also an economic crisis for the many people across the country who worry they may be left behind, he said. "We cannot allow that to happen." Former Green Party Leader and Saanich-Gulf Islands MP Elizabeth May said it would be extremely unfair to say those who think the Keystone expansion cancellation was a good decision don't care about workers losing their jobs. "I would no more say that people who are supporting the oilsands are deliberately and consciously threatening my grandchildrens' future than I would say it's right to be celebrating when people suffer an immediate downturn in their economic prospects."
While Metro Vancouver’s streets didn’t receive the sprinkling of snow forecast over the weekend, the North Shore Mountains certainly got a big dumping of powder. Skiers and snowboarders will be pleased to know the three ski hills all recorded more than 28 centimetres of snow in the last 24 hours. Cypress Mountain Ski Resort on Hollyburn Mountain recorded 35 cm of snow in the past 24 hours, while Mount Seymour Resort recorded 32 cm. Meanwhile, Grouse Mountain recorded 28 cm of snow over the past day, including a top-up of 10 cm overnight. Flurries are continuing on the mountains today, so visibility is limited, with temperatures between -2°C to -5°C. Lisa Erven, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said the recent dumping of snow was due to colder air settling over British Columbia. “Leading up to it, we finally had colder air settle over the province that helped contribute to low freezing levels and low temperatures so that when the precipitation did come, it fell as snow for the North Shore mountain ski resorts,” she said. Plus, Erven said conditions were looking good for a little more snow on the mountains this week. “The ingredients are there for snowfall or at least light snowfall amounts throughout this week for the North Shore ski resorts,” she said. “Temperatures are looking fairly cool throughout the work week, so that would help keep freezing levels low so that any precipitation that does fall, it will likely come down as snow. “In terms of the forecast this week, I don't see anything substantial hitting the mountains, but just, you know, a little bit [of snow] sort of every day or every other day, which will help refresh conditions throughout the week.” The Metro Vancouver forecast also calls for a chance of flurries this week, with predictions of rain showers or flurries from Tuesday night through Friday. “For the next several days, we've got freezing levels that are going to remain fairly low, and that's why you see in our public forecast, for the City of Vancouver itself, snow mixed in with rain, and it's because the freezing levels are low enough that there's the potential for precipitation to switch over to snow or to have some snow mixed in with the rain,” said Erven. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
The Serum Institute of India (SII) will supply Saudi Arabia with 3 million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses priced at $5.25 each in about a week on behalf of the British drugmaker, its chief executive told Reuters on Monday. SII has no immediate plans, however, to divert supplies to Europe, even though AstraZeneca has come under pressure from the EU to deliver more shots after announcing a big cut in shipments due to production problems at a Belgian factory. SII, the world's biggest vaccine manufacturer, has partnered with AstraZeneca, the Gates Foundation and the Gavi vaccine alliance to make up to a billion doses for poorer countries.
Six schools in Alberta have transitioned to at-home learning due to COVID-19, Alberta Education confirmed on Monday, affecting thousands of staff and students. Starting Monday, students from M.E. LaZerte and J. Percy Page high schools in Edmonton who opted for in-school classes will transition to online lessons for two weeks. The decision was made after 33 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed at the two schools last week, Edmonton Public Schools said in a news release Sunday evening. More than 700 students and staff are already in quarantine. In the past week, there were 22 confirmed cases at M.E. LaZerte School in Kilkenny, resulting in about 300 students and 47 staff being asked to quarantine, school officials said Monday. According to the provincial website, the school is under outbreak status. A school is placed under outbreak status when five or more cases are confirmed in an investigation, where the disease could have been acquired or transmitted in school. At J. Percy Page in Mill Woods, there were 15 confirmed cases in the past week, with 394 students and 19 staff members now in quarantine. The school remains under an alert status. "The schools are contacting all impacted families," reads a statement from Edmonton Public Schools. "The schools will use a similar model of at-home learning they used earlier this month and in December when all junior and senior high school students moved to at-home learning." Students are expected to return to in-person learning on Feb. 8. Morrin School, about 30 kilometres north of Drumheller, and Blackie School southeast of Okotoks are among the schools transitioning to online lessons, said Justin Marshall, press secretary to Education Minister Adriana LaGrange. The Kisiko Awasis School in the Edmonton Catholic Division is also on the list. Kathleen Finnigan, superintendent of Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools, said the decision to move all 750 St. Joseph High School students online for two weeks starting Monday was necessary and proactive. In a statement, Finnigan said 68 per cent of students and 71 per cent of staff at the school are now in quarantine. The moves come two weeks after in-person classes resumed across the province. In late November, as cases across the province spiked, all students in Grades 7-12 were transitioned to online learning. Premier Jason Kenney has said the decision to resume in-class learning for older students was based on "carefully considering the importance of attending school in person" as well as "the latest evidence of cases dropping in all school-related age groups in December." 'A circuit breaker' Edmonton Public Schools superintendent Darrel Robertson said the move to online learning for J. Percy Page and M.E. LaZerte students was prompted by a high concentration of cases and a pending change in the student calendar. Students and staff across the division will be switching to a new class schedule next week for the start of the third quarter. "Students and staff will be going to new cohorts," Robertson said during a news conference Monday. "We just really felt that a circuit breaker of sorts was needed." Robertson acknowledged that anxiety around the pandemic remains high. He commended division staff for contending with a difficult year for students. He said the extent of in-classroom transmission is unclear to school officials. Contact tracers are still investigating any possible links between the infections, he said. Government contact tracers became overwhelmed this fall and school officials were often charged with filling in the gaps. The situation has improved in recent weeks, Robertson said. "I think it's well known that Alberta Health Services was experiencing some volume with respect to contact tracing," he said. "Our observation, since returning from winter recess, is that Alberta Health Services is getting back to us on each case within a day and in many of those cases, the same day. That would be evidence that they have caught up." Robertson said he has called for more detailed data on in-school transmission. He said has instead been assured by provincial health officials that if there is a risk of transmission, or a change is needed in school protocols, school officials will be informed. "We don't have the in-school transmission numbers as a division but we do have regular communication with Alberta Health Services," he said. "I have confidence in their work."
EDMONTON — Microsoft founder Bill Gates did not create the virus that causes COVID-19 and he is not forcing microchips into your body through vaccinations. Those pieces of misinformation are examples of what a group of Canadian scientists and health professionals is trying to discredit through a new campaign tackling inaccurate theories about the pandemic. About 40 misinformation debunkers are using the hashtag #ScienceUpFirst to provide science-based evidence on social media. "There's been misinformation about all kinds of things that you can do to treat COVID with crazy treatments like cow urine and bleach," said Prof. Timothy Caulfield, Canadian research chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta. Caulfield is spearheading the #ScienceUpFirst movement. "And now we're in the middle of trying to roll out the vaccine and we know that misinformation is having an adverse impact on vaccination. "Things like the vaccine will change your DNA. No, it won't. The idea that the vaccine is associated with infertility. No, it's not," Caulfield said Monday in a phone interview. "There is just an incredible amount of misinformation out there about COVID. I've been studying misinformation for decades. I've never seen anything like this." He said the campaign was already trending on Twitter on Monday, the day of its launch. Caulfield is known for taking actor Gwyneth Paltrow's wellness brand Goop to task in his book "Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong about Everything?'' as well as for a Netflix series called "A User's Guide to Cheating Death." The initiative is in collaboration with the Canadian Association of Science Centres, COVID-19 Resources Canada, and the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta. "There's been research that has shown that the spread of misinformation is having an adverse impact on health and science policy, it's led to increased stigma and discrimination, and it's just added to the chaotic information environment that we all have to deal with," Caufield said. "The evidence tells us that debunking does work if you do it well, so we're trying to do it well. We're trying to listen. We're trying to be empathetic in our approach. We're trying to be creative in our messaging and, hopefully, even if we move the needle a little bit, we can make a difference." A spokesperson for #ScienceUpFirst says the campaign is pushing to involve Canadian athletes and celebrities to get the word out about tackling misinformation. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. ——— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press
The Major League Soccer season will run April 3 through Nov. 7 with the MLS Cup final scheduled for Dec. 11. How the season will look for the three Canadian teams remains up in the air, however In announcing the 2021 dates, the league said it is continuing to work with CF Montreal, Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps on the issue of travel restrictions between Canada and the U.S. due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. All three Canadians teams had to relocate to the U.S. to finish out the 2020 season. MLS said more details on the Canadian teams will be announced in the "near future."' Each of the 27 teams — the league is up a club with the addition of expansion Austin FC — will play a 34-match regular-season schedule before the playoffs kick off Nov. 19. The league had previously said it was targeting a mid-March start to the 2021 campaign. In 2020, the regular season opened Feb. 29. Clubs can open pre-season training on Feb. 22, six weeks ahead of the season's opening weekend. The league says players will have to quarantine and conduct individual trainings upon reporting back to their clubs. During the regular season, all players, technical staff and essential club staff will be tested for COVID-19 every other day, including the day before each match day. Clubs will take chartered flights for all road trips. --- Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
The American Film Institute on Monday announced its top 10 films of the year, including Pixar’s jazz themed “Soul” and two of Chadwick Boseman’s final films: the August Wilson adaptation “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and Spike Lee’s Vietnam drama “Da 5 Bloods,” both of which are Netflix films. Netflix featured heavily in the AFI’s list, which took up four positions on the list including David Fincher’s “Citizen Kane” origin story “Mank” and Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” Amazon, too, got two spots with the hearing loss drama “Sound of Metal,” with Riz Ahmed and Regina King’s “One Night in Miami...”. Chloé Zhao’s awards and festival favourite “Nomadland” with Frances McDormand was also named an honoree in advance of its theatrical rollout in the coming weeks, as was “Minai,” with Steven Yeun, which opens Feb. 12. AFI also selected Warner Bros.’ Black Panther Party film “Judas and the Black Messiah” which will have its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Feb. 1. The AFI also named its top 10 television shows, including Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit,” the Disney+ phenomenon “The Mandalorian” and Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso.” The selection jury included filmmakers Rian Johnson and Lulu Wang. The group also included a special citation for “Hamilton.” In lieu of the annual luncheon celebrating the honorees, AFI will hold a virtual benediction on Feb. 26 streaming on YouTube and the AFI website. Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
FREDERICTON — Health officials in New Brunswick confirmed Monday that two residents of a long-term care facility in Saint John died last week after testing positive for COVID-19. Only one of those deaths, however, is being attributed to the novel coronavirus, chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell told reporters Monday. The COVID-related death involved a person in their 70s, she said, adding that New Brunswick has reported a total of 14 fatalities linked to the virus. Seniors services company Shannex said Sunday that a resident of Parkland Saint John retirement complex died last Thursday and another died Friday. The company apologized for the delay in reporting the deaths, adding that identifying COVID-related deaths among residents can be complicated. Five of the 14 deaths in New Brunswick attributed to the virus have occurred at Parkland Saint John. New Brunswick health officials reported 27 new infections Monday, including 19 that were identified in the Edmundston region, which entered a 14-day lockdown on Sunday. Officials said the Saint John and Fredericton regions will move to the "orange" pandemic-alert level on Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. after they were at the "red," or highest level, for the past week. The Moncton region — where four new cases were reported Monday — will remain at the red level. Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said the Campbellton, Bathurst and Miramichi regions could soon be moved into a more relaxed alert level because of the few daily reported cases in those areas. "We need to keep these zones in orange for now to ensure the health and safety of those who live there," Shephard said Monday, about those three regions. "But if trends continue to go well in these zones we will move all three to yellow once public health recommends we do so, hopefully later this week." Officials say there are 348 active reported infections in the province and six people in hospital with the disease, including three who are in intensive care. New Brunswick has reported a total of 1,151 infections since the start of the pandemic. Shephard said more than 14,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the province and 2,839 people have received their second dose. "Vaccination clinics are planned for 20 long-term care facilities this week, using the Moderna vaccine to provide the first dose to more than 750 people," Shephard said, adding that "more than 1,600 health-care workers are scheduled to get their second dose of the vaccine this week." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday brought an end to lawsuits over whether Donald Trump illegally profited off his presidency, saying the cases are moot now that Trump is no longer in office. The high court's action was the first in an expected steady stream of orders and rulings on pending lawsuits involving Trump now that his presidency has ended. Some orders may result in dismissals of cases since Trump is no longer president. In other cases, proceedings that had been delayed because Trump was in the White House could resume and their pace even quicken. The justices threw out Trump’s challenge to lower court rulings that had allowed lawsuits to go forward alleging that he violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause by accepting payments from foreign and domestic officials who stay at the Trump International Hotel and patronize other businesses owned by the former president and his family. The high court also ordered the lower court rulings thrown out as well and directed appeals courts in New York and Richmond, Virginia, to dismiss the suits as moot now that Trump is no longer in office. The outcome leaves no appellate court opinions on the books in an area of the law that has been rarely explored in U.S. history. The cases involved suits filed by Maryland and the District of Columbia, and high-end restaurants and hotels in New York and Washington, D.C., that “found themselves in the unenviable position of having to compete with businesses owned by the President of the United States.” The suits sought financial records showing how much state and foreign governments have paid the Trump Organization to stay and eat at Trump-owned properties. The cases never reached the point where any records had to be turned over. But Karl Racine and Brian Frosh, the attorneys general of Washington, D.C., and Maryland, respectively, said in a joint statement that a ruling by a federal judge in Maryland that went against Trump “will serve as precedent that will help stop anyone else from using the presidency or other federal office for personal financial gain the way that President Trump has over the past four years.” Other cases involving Trump remain before the Supreme Court, or in lower courts. Trump is trying to block the Manhattan district attorney ’s enforcement of a subpoena for his tax returns, part of a criminal investigation into the president and his businesses. Lower courts are weighing congressional subpoenas for Trump’s financial records. And the justices also have before them Trump’s appeal of a decision forbidding him from blocking critics on his Twitter account. Like the emoluments cases, Trump’s appeal would seem to be moot now that he is out of office and also had his Twitter account suspended. Republican senators and some legal scholars have said that Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate cannot proceed now that he is once again a private citizen. But many scholars have said that Trump's return to private life poses no impediment to an impeachment trial. Mark Sherman, The Associated Press
She’s had Dex since he could fit in her hand. As a puppy, Dex had an overbite that made nursing impossible. So Cindi Ilchuk adopted and hand fed the dog until he was able to eat. Now he’s 10 years old, 65 pounds, and the two are inseparable. “Dex is a support dog. He’s not an officially trained support dog, but he fell into the job and he’s filled the role wonderfully,” said Ilchuk’s stepfather Wayne Pierce. “That dog is everything to Cindi. I don’t know what she’d do without him. He’s the one constant in her life.” On Jan. 17, Dex broke his paw in the panic that ensued when a fire engulfed the hallway at Ilchuk’s apartment — the Town Park Apartment C block fire that has displaced everyone who lived in the 15 units. RELATED: ‘Suspicious’ Port Hardy apartment fire could keep tenants out of their homes for months RELATED: Fundraiser started for tenants left hanging after apartment fire In the panic of the fire, Ilchuck slid down the drain pipe to escape the fire and smoke in the hallway. A friend tried to pass Dex down to her. She half-caught, half-broke the dog’s fall, but he landed on one paw breaking it badly. “Everyone heard him yelp when that happened,” Pierce said. If the break had been a few inches higher, a simple cast could have been used. But the paw was broken at a joint, and requires surgery. Dex has been at the North Island Veterinarian Hospital since the fire and is getting anxious for Ilchuk, staff told Pierce. Pierce will take Dex to Campbell River Veterinarian Hospital for surgery on Jan. 25, but isn’t sure how their family will cover the $4,000 bill, plus over $1,000 due to the North Island Veterinarian Hospital. Ilchuk is on disability income for a variety of health challenges, and now faces the imminent challenge of finding new housing. She has been living in Town Park Apartment C-block in Port Hardy for just over a year — the longest home Pierce can remember in the last 20 years. Ilchuk’s mother Ann Ilchuk has started a GoFundMe account to raise funds towards the surgery costs: https://gofund.me/70f1ef35. Staff at both veterinarian hospitals will also accept payments to Dex’s account. RCMP consider the fire suspicious and are investigating. Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: email@example.com Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
FREDERICTON — Bertha Higgs, the mother of New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs, passed away Monday at the age of 100. The news was made public on Twitter by Higgs's chief of staff, Louis Leger. Mrs. Higgs celebrated her 100th birthday on Dec. 31, 2020, at her home in Forest City, N.B., close to the border with Maine. The premier has said his mother was a school teacher and that up until Grade 6, his teachers were either his mother or his aunt. Higgs has said his mother was very inquisitive and would always ask him about what was happening in the province. Details on funeral arrangements will be forthcoming. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Dance your cares away, "Fraggle Rock" fans — the fluffy-haired creatures are back in Canada for a new show. The Jim Henson Company says production has officially started in Calgary on a reboot of the original 1980s children's puppet series, which was filmed in Toronto. Last April a new U.S.-shot limited series of shorts called "Fraggle Rock: Rock On!" debuted on Apple TV Plus, with guests including Canadian singer Alanis Morissette. The creators made a finite amount of six-minute episodes remotely from their U.S. homes during COVID-19 quarantine. But the Jim Henson Company says that summer, with the pandemic in full swing, they wanted to find a new home where they could produce an entire series of full-length episodes. A spokesperson says the new series will also stream on Apple TV plus and is shooting at the Calgary Film Centre. Chris Lytton, chief operating officer of The Jim Henson Company, says Calgary was "the obvious choice" because of Alberta's production rebate structure. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says the city also has a talented film sector and a "reputation as a world leader in the art of puppetry." "How exciting that Jim Henson's vision is being continued right here," Nenshi said in a statement Monday. "I can't wait to see the further adventures of the Fraggles and the Doozers, with a Calgary touch!" "Fraggle Rock" follows the adventures of anthropomorphic creatures known as Fraggles, who live in caves beneath a home along with small humanoid construction workers known as Doozers. The cast of the reboot includes two puppeteers from the original series — Dave Goelz and Karen Prell. Goelz performs the Fraggle characters of Boober and Uncle Travelling Matt, while Prell plays Red. They two are also attached as co-executive producers. Other executive producers include longtime Henson collaborator John Tartaglia, who performs Gobo Fraggle. Acclaimed songwriter Harvey Mason Jr. is the executive music producer for the series, which has the catchy theme song that begins: "Dance your cares away, worries for another day." The new "Fraggle Rock" series is produced by The Jim Henson Company in association with New Regency. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — Illustrator Michaela Goade became the first Native American to win the prestigious Randolph Caldecott Medal for best children's picture story, cited for “We Are Water Protectors.” Tae Keller's “When You Trap a Tiger” won the John Newbery Medal for the outstanding children's book overall of 2020. Jacqueline Woodson, whose previous honours include a National Book Award, won her third Coretta Scott King Award for best work by a Black author for “Before the Ever After.” And a tribute to Aretha Franklin, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T," received the King award for best illustration. The book was written by Carole Boston Weatherford, with images by Frank Morrison. The awards were announced Monday by the American Library Association. Goade is a member of the Tlingit and Haida Indian tribes in Southeast Alaska. “We Are Water Protectors,” written by Carole Lindstrom, is a call for environmental protection that was conceived in response to the planned construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline through Standing Rock Sioux territory. Keller, who was raised in Hawaii and now lives in New York, drew upon Korean folklore for “When You Trap a Tiger," in which a young girl explores her past. Keller's work also was named the year's best Asian/Pacific American literature. The Newbery medal was established in 1922, the Caldecott in 1937. Goade is the first Native American to win in either category. Daniel Nayeri's “Everything Sad Is Untrue (a true story)" won the Michael L. Printz Award for best young adult novel, and Mildred D. Taylor, known for “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” among other works, was given a “Literature Legacy” award. Kekla Magoon, who has written or co-written “X: A Novel" and “How It Went Down,” won a lifetime achievement award for young adult books. Ernesto Cisneros' “Efrén Divided" won the Pura Belpré prize for outstanding Latinx author. Raul Gonzalez's “Vamos! Let’s Go Eat” received the Belpré award for illustration. The Stonewall Book Award for best LGBT literature was given to Archaa Shrivastav for “We Are Little Feminists: Families." ____ On the Internet: ala.org. Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Ontario Sen. Lynn Beyak is leaving the upper chamber three years before her mandatory retirement and defiantly standing by her views on residential schools on her way out.Named to the Senate on the advice of Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper in 2013, she says she was committed to serving just eight years.That is the term limit that would have been imposed on senators under the Harper government's original plan to have an elected Senate, which never came to fruition.Thirty other senators named on the advice of Harper are still in the Senate and all but one — Alberta Sen. Scott Tannas — have now been there more than eight years.Announcing her early retirement Monday, Beyak said she stands by her controversial statements on residential schools, which played a role in her being ousted from the Conservative caucus and suspended from the upper chamber."Some have criticized me for stating that the good, as well as the bad, of residential schools should be recognized. I stand by that statement," she wrote."Others have criticized me for stating that the Truth and Reconciliation Report was not as balanced as it should be. I stand by that statement as well."Beyak got into trouble for publishing derogatory letters about Indigenous people on her website. They were in response to a speech she gave in 2017 about the move to rename the building housing the Prime Minister's Office on Wellington Street in downtown Ottawa, which at that time was named after Hector-Louis Langevin, who was involved in the residential school system.In that speech, Beyak argued residential schools had done good for Indigenous children, although many suffered physical and sexual abuse and thousands died of disease and malnutrition in them after being forcibly removed from their homes and communities. The schools were operated by churches and funded by the federal government.The Senate's ethics officer, Pierre Legault, concluded in March 2019 that five of the letters in particular contained racist content. Beyak, who was kicked out of the Conservative caucus over the matter, was suspended without pay from the Senate in May 2019.She refused for almost a year to delete the letters, casting herself as a champion of free speech and a victim of political correctness.They were finally deleted from her website by the Senate administration.She eventually apologized and agreed to take cultural sensitivity training but the ethics committee deemed the initial apology to be perfunctory and the training a fiasco.Beyak's suspension ended automatically when Parliament dissolved for the 2019 federal election. The Senate voted in February 2020 to suspend her again because, while she had finally offered a more profuse apology, she still hadn't completed an anti-racism course.Once she did that, the committee finally recommended in June that Beyak be reinstated, but the wider Senate was still debating the committee's report when it broke for the summer and then Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prorogued Parliament.That meant her suspension was lifted automatically and she was reinstated.In December, Sen. Mary Jane McCallum, a member of the Independent Senators Group, introduced a motion calling for Beyak's expulsion from the chamber. It was not debated before senators paused for the holidays. The Senate resumes sitting Feb. 2.In her official letter of retirement to the Senate Monday, Beyak defended both her 2017 speech and her choice to share the letters she received.She wrote she was attacked by "those with an agenda for power and control, and an aversion to honest debate," with the help of some in the media."The fact that a senator dared to speak the opinions of millions of Canadians frightened those same few people, and their fear has been evident every day since, as they have constantly attacked me in Ottawa with unconstitutional motions and costly inquiries, all in an effort to stifle freedom of expression," she wrote."Not only has it been my duty as a senator (who constitutionally cannot be expelled), but it has been my privilege, to weather those attacks on behalf of Canadians who value freedom of expression," she continued. "I will treasure the many thousands of letters I have received from all across the country in support of my efforts for the rest of my life."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Sen. Lynn Beyak's speech on residential schools took place in 2018.
B.C. health officials say they are extending the gap between shots to 42 days from 35 after learning fewer doses are on their way. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says B.C. is at a critical juncture.
Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab will continue his work unabated after protests escalated to a new level on Saturday when a group of people stood with signs outside his Regina home. "The Ministry of Health has indicated that Dr. Shahab will not let this incident distract him from continuing his important ongoing work and is unavailable for comment today," Jim Billington, spokesperson for the Saskatchewan government, said in a statement Monday. Billington said Premier Scott Moe and Shahab would provide an update on current public health orders and vaccine delivery at a news conference on Tuesday. The current set of public health restrictions are scheduled to expire on Friday. Protests of Saskatchewan's public health orders and government policy have been common through the 10 months of the pandemic, but have largely stayed in public areas. Throughout the spring and summer, there were sporadic protests outside the Saskatchewan legislature and later at the T.C. Douglas Building where Shahab and workers within the Ministry of Health have offices. The protest moved to Shahab's residence on Saturday. "We had police respond immediately," Regina Police Chief Evan Bray said. Officers arrived at around 2:30 p.m. CST, with policing staying for about an hour until protesters left. "They were a group of protesters we're acquainted with. We've had interactions with them and discussions with them many times, most of them being around the legislature," Bray said. "The primary focus is on, is there any immediate risk to the safety of anyone, and if there isn't, then the investigative work is done to determine if any potential charges will come from that," Bray said. The Regina Police Service is currently working with Crown prosecutions to determine if any charges will be laid, according to Bray. Moe released his own statement Saturday, referring to the people who gathered outside Shahab's home as, "a group of idiots." "This harassment of Dr. Shahab and his family at their home is simply unacceptable, sickening and wrong," he said. "To those that did this — you should be ashamed of yourselves and your actions." Moe invited those with concerns about public health measures and decisions by government to contact him or their MLA. Shahab is a public servant and works under the umbrella of the Ministry of Health. He and his team make recommendations to government, but he does not have the authority to compel them to implement measures. On Saturday, the province said Shahab and his family were not harmed during the protest. On Monday, Billington said, "while appropriate steps are being taken to ensure the safety and security of Dr. Shahab, we are unable to provide information regarding security considerations." In November, Ontario Premier Doug Ford referred to people protesting restrictions outside his home as "buffoons." In October, people in Manitoba left cardboard tombstones on the front lawn of Premier Brian Pallister's lawn protesting his response to a wave of COVID cases. The Winnipeg Free Press reported on Saturday that anti-restriction protesters planned to demonstrate outside Pallister's home and police were on scene, but a protest never materialized. Protests move from the legislature to private residence In December, an event outside the legislature billed as a "Freedom Rally" drew criticism from Moe when a video showed one speaker making racist remarks toward Shahab. "Those comments are foolish and they should never be made. Quite frankly, they're nothing short of idiotic," Moe at the time, adding that he was "embarrassed" that people from Saskatchewan made those "disgusting" comments. "We have a chief medical health officer in this province who we should be very thankful to have. He didn't have to come to Saskatchewan. And he is among the very best, providing the very best public health advice that any province could ask for." Two organizers of that rally were fined $2,800 for violating public health orders. On Jan. 12, Regina Leader-Post photographer Brandon Harder captured security escorting Shahab to his vehicle after a media conference at the legislative building. A couple of people held signs near the vehicle, with one reading "Expose Mask Nazis." After that incident, Moe tweeted, "This kind of harassing behaviour is utterly unacceptable. Dr. Shahab deserves nothing short of our thanks and respect for his dedication to the health and safety of Saskatchewan people." Doctors group condemns protest On Monday, the association that represents Saskatchewan physicians condemned the protest outside Shahab's home. "Bringing a protest to Dr. Shahab's private residence is absolutely unacceptable, and the SMA condemns these actions," said Dr. Barb Konstantynowicz, president of the Saskatchewan Medical Association, in a release. She said the SMA commended Moe for telling those that disagree with public health policy to contact elected officials and not civil servants. "Since the pandemic, physicians and all health-care providers have demonstrated their unwavering commitment to caring for and putting the safety of Saskatchewan citizens first. Everyone's effort to reduce the spread of this virus is critical," Dr. Konstantynowicz said. "The SMA is extremely grateful for Dr. Shahab's tireless, dedicated efforts in fighting the pandemic on behalf of the people of the province." CBC Saskatchewan wants to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you. Share your story with our online questionnaire.
La municipalité de Val-Morin procède actuellement à la refonte de son plan d’urbanisme, qui priorisera des mesures pour un développement durable et écologique. « Le nouveau plan d’urbanisme sera finalisé et présenté au cours de l’année 2021. Soyez certains que nous suivons de près les plans. Nous voulons que toutes les mesures adoptées tiennent compte de notre milieu de vie et de notre environnement. On tient compte de l’évolution du milieu local », a dévoilé la mairesse Donna Salvati. Cette dernière tenait à rassurer les gens, face à certains projets où des coupes forestières ont récemment eu lieu. Une citoyenne s’interroge entre autres de la protection du territoire, dans le secteur de la montée Beauvais et de la rue Val-Royal. « Je me suis informée auprès de notre division de l’urbanisme, à savoir où est la pertinence de faire des coupes d’arbres en quartier résidentiel. Que léguerons-nous aux générations futures et à quel prix ? La ville est-elle favorable au développement sauvage ? Dans le cas de la montée Beauvais, l’urbanisme m’a mentionné que le permis est légal jusqu’au 31 mars et que ces gens ont le droit de couper 30 % des arbres. Pendant deux jours, aux alentours du 5 janvier, on a vu et surtout entendu des camions semi-remorques transporter du bois dès 5h am. Pourtant, ici, il n’y a pas beaucoup de terrains de disponibles. Ça me rend perplexe », a souligné Mme Marie-Claude Langlais, une résidente du secteur. De son côté, la mairesse Salvati avoue avoir fait un saut en se promenant dans ce secteur de la municipalité. « Lorsque je suis passée dans le secteur de la montée Beauvais, j’ai moi-même lâché un Oups ! en voyant le coin dégarni. À Val-Morin, on vit dans un environnement boisé, où il serait possible de passer une corde de bois coupée, sans que ça paraisse trop. Mais là, il me semblait que c’était pas mal trop coupé à mon goût. J’ai aussi consulté l’urbanisme et on m’assure que tout est suivi à la lettre. Il n’y a pas de domaine en construction. Le plan forestier est préparé par un ingénieur forestier et tout est légal », a-t-elle spécifié. Mme Salvati a poussé plus loin son constat des faits. « On parle d’un aménagement de la forêt. On refait ça aux 10 ans, afin que la forêt demeure en bonne santé. L’objectif est de laisser celui-ci survivre et respirer. Je ne suis pas une experte, mais par exemple, une jeune pousse avec plus d’espace se regénère mieux que certains arbres matures. » Mme Langlais est revenue à la charge face aux autorités municipales. « Dans ce contexte, certes légal mais discutable, quel est le mandat de gestion de la mairesse et de la Ville ? On vient vivre à Val-Morin pour la paix et l’environnement. Mais que font-ils du territoire ? C’est bien beau les entrées de taxes via les permis émis, mais ça ne baisse pas les nôtres (taxes) pour autant. Il faut de la protection pour la faune et la flore. Pas du déboisement de promoteurs. » « Nous sommes sévères dans les émissions de permis et le suivi apporté, a répliqué Mme Salvati. Dans les secteurs en développement, on essaie de couper le moins d’arbres possibles. On veut éviter les ruissellements et le transport de contaminants. Je salue par ailleurs notre division de l’urbanisme. Ils ont géré un été de fou, en 2020, avec les demandes de permis de construction et de rénovation. Ils ont repris le dessus en décembre seulement. Et là, ça semble reparti de plus belle en janvier 2021. Il faut gérer le monde. Les gens veulent acheter les secteurs accessibles. Il y a un juste milieu à équilibrer tout ça. »Ève Ménard, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
NEW YORK — In 1963, Sidney Poitier made a film in Arizona, “Lilies of the Field.” The performance led to a huge milestone: He became the first Black winner of a lead-acting Oscar. Now, Arizona is the site of another milestone for the legendary actor and filmmaker. Arizona State University has named its new film school after him. It was to unveil The Sidney Poitier New American Film School at a ceremony on Monday. The decision to name the school after Poitier, 93, is about much more than an emphasis on diversity, said Michael M. Crow, president of the university, in an interview ahead of the unveiling. “You’re looking for an icon, a person that embodies everything you stand for,” Crow said. “With Sidney Poitier, it’s his creative energy, his dynamism, his drive, his ambition, the kinds of projects he worked on, the ways in which he advanced his life.” “Look at his life: It’s a story of a person who found a way,” he said of the actor, who was born in Miami and raised in the Bahamas, the son of tomato farmers, before launching a career that went from small, hard-won theatre parts to eventual Hollywood stardom. “How do we help other young people find their way?” The university, which is expanding its existing film program into its own school, says it has invested millions of dollars in technology to create what’s intended to be one of the largest, most accessible and most diverse film schools. Crow said that much like the broader university, the film school will measure success not by exclusivity but by inclusivity. By expanding both its physical resources and flexible learning options like online study, it hopes to enrol thousands more students, teaching them skills that go far beyond traditional moviemaking. The school will move in the fall of 2022 to a new facility in downtown Mesa, Arizona, 7 miles from the university’s Tempe Campus. It will also occupy the university’s new centre in Los Angeles. The university did not make Poitier, who has been out of the public eye for some time, available for an interview. His daughter Beverly Poitier-Henderson told The Associated Press her father was “doing well and enjoying his family,” and considered it an honour to be the namesake of the new film school. Poitier-Henderson and two of Poitier’s other daughters described in interviews how the film school’s emphasis on inclusivity and access aligned with their father’s long-held ideals. “If it has my Dad’s name on it, it has to be inclusive, because that’s the foundation of who he is and what he stands for,” said Anika Poitier, like her father a filmmaker. “And it’s important to not only have inclusion but to have diversity, and to give people the opportunity to tell their stories. I think it’s imperative to cast a wide net and allow anyone who’s called to tell their story to learn how to do that.” Sydney Poitier Heartsong, the actor’s youngest daughter, noted that the two most important things to her father as she grew up were education and the arts. “Those are the two tracks that run throughout his life, that define what he has contributed and defined what he felt was important to impart to his kids. .... the arts were also a form of education. He wanted to pass that on to all young people but specifically young people of colour." Poitier Heartsong added that the new school had special resonance in a time when “we’ve come to recognize that from a socioeconomic standpoint, a lot of (elite) schools exclude people of colour disproportionately -- and people without the means to go to them. That is the antithesis of what my father would want to be a part of." In his heyday, when he won his Oscar, one of her father's biggest complaints, she said, was that “he was the only one up there, and he wanted others to be up there with him.” The ASU film production programs now enrol 700 students, said Steven Tepper, dean of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts there, but that number is expected to double over three to five years. “I just hope that the students at the Sidney Poitier Film School take up the mantle of responsibility the way our father took up the mantle when he was coming up in his career,” said Poitier-Henderson, “and tell their stories regardless of finances, which is easy for us to say. But you’ve got to be true to yourself. It's a very powerful thing, and I’m looking forward to seeing who comes out of it. I’m not looking for the next Sidney Poitier, but I’m looking for the next person who is true to themself." Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press