A Category 5 storm has hammered parts of the Pacific island nation of Fiji, killing two people and creating widespread flooding and property destruction.
A Category 5 storm has hammered parts of the Pacific island nation of Fiji, killing two people and creating widespread flooding and property destruction.
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
FCSS Hosts Free Tax Clinic in Swan Hills Beginning in March, Swan Hills Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) will be offering a free tax clinic to assist eligible individuals to complete their 2020 income tax return. FCSS provides this service all year round and can assist with returns from up to two years ago but can not complete returns for deceased individuals. This service is offered as part of the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP), a cooperative partnership between the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and community organizations that began in 1971. To qualify for the CVITP, individuals have to have a modest income and a simple tax situation. According to the information on the CRA website, eligible individuals for this program include: · Indigenous Peoples · Newcomers and refugees · Persons with disabilities · Seniors · Youth/Students · Homeless and housing insecure individuals · Individuals with a modest income The information on the CRA website defines a simple tax situation as one where the individual has no income, or if they derive their income from: · Employment · Pension · Benefits (Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, Disability Insurance, Employment Insurance, and Social Assistance) · Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) · Support Payments · Scholarships, Fellowships, Bursaries, or Grants · Interest (under $1000) More information about free tax clinics offered through the CVITP is available at www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/community-volunteer-income-tax-program.html. Swan Hills FCSS’s tax clinic will be available by appointment. Two appointments will be necessary to complete an individual’s tax return. The first appointment will take about 15 minutes to go through the individual’s tax documents and collect any required information to complete the individual’s tax return. The second appointment, also about 15 minutes, will be for the individual to pick up and sign their completed tax return. Last year, Swan Hills FCSS completed 38 income tax returns for their free tax clinic clients. Please contact Swan Hills FCSS for more information or to make an appointment at (780) 333-4119. Visit the Swan Hills FCSS Facebook page for the latest news about their programs and services. Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
With the Canadian government one step closer to classifying The Proud Boys a terrorist entity, it changes how the legal system treats its members.
COVID-19. La tendance à la baisse du nombre de cas de COVID-19 au Québec fait dire au premier ministre que «ça confirme que nos mesures fonctionnent dont le couvre-feu». «Si la tendance se maintient», François Legault annonce des allégements de mesures sanitaires dans certaines régions. Ce déconfinement de certaines activités serait effectif à partir du 8 février. Les détails seront dévoilés la semaine prochaine. Lors de sa conférence de presse, le premier ministre a également réitéré sa demande à Justin Trudeau d’interdire les voyages internationaux ou d’imposer des quarantaines supervisées dans des hôtels. «Il y a eu des reportages en Europe, en Alberta, en Ontario. C’est catastrophique quand ce variant arrive avec des voyageurs de l’étranger. C’est une propagation exponentielle… Chaque jour qui passe, il y a un risque qui s’ajoute. Il y a urgence d’agir… Pourquoi c’est si long de prendre une décision», se désole François Legault. Le premier ministre a également fait part de ses inquiétudes en lien avec l’approvisionnement en vaccins. À ce sujet, Christian Dubé a indiqué que les équipes du Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux vont être prêtes à vacciner de 300 000 à 400 000 personnes par semaine. «Ne manque que les vaccins», dit-il. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
OTTAWA — Companies that want in on a new federal loan program will have to show sharp revenue declines during the pandemic and that they have already applied for other business aid. The new loans, from the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP), will open for applications on Monday and is on top of existing loan programs targeting small businesses. Loans will start at between $25,000 and $1 million for a single business depending on the size of the operation, and run up to $6.25 million for companies with multiple locations like a chain of hotels or restaurants. Details made public Tuesday say rates will be set at four per cent across the board, terms will be up to 10 years, with up to a 12-month postponement of principal payments at the start of the loan. But to get the money, companies will have show a year-over-year revenue drop of 50 per cent or more over three months, not necessarily consecutive, in the eight months before filing an application. Companies will also have to show that they at least applied for either the federal wage or rent subsidies. The federally backed loan can be used for rent, utilities and help with payroll, among other costs, to keep operations running through public health restrictions, but can't be used to pay or refinance existing loans. Small Business Minister Mary Ng says the funding isn't targeted to any one sector, but available to any business that meets the eligibility criteria. "So whether it is your favourite neighbourhood restaurant, that bed and breakfast, a local movie theatre, or even a franchise restaurant or hotel, businesses that have been hardest hit by COVID-19 will now have the support that they need to keep moving forward," Ng said by video during a midday press conference. The head of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business is welcoming the launch of the new program to provide fresh financing to troubled companies. But Dan Kelly also says in a tweet that the government must consider making part of the loan forgivable, like an existing aid program, because "more loans are not the answer to the mountain of debt small firms are facing." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
At approximately 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021, officers of the Lennox & Addington (L&A) County Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) were on patrol and observed a vehicle being operated in a dangerous manner, travelling at a high rate of speed 401 Westbound, west of Deseronto Road. According to a release from OPP, police stopped the vehicle and arrested the driver for dangerous operation, and all three occupants were arrested for Possession of a Schedule I Substance. OPP say the vehicle was seized, along with break in tools and stolen property including identity documents, fraudulent cheques and personal documents. L&A County OPP have charged: Vikramjit Singh, age 31, of no fixed address with: - Dangerous Operation of a motor vehicle; - Six counts of Possession of Credit Card; - Possession of Break in Instruments; - Possession of Property Obtained by Crime; - Fourteen Counts of Possession of a Forged document; - Possession of Instrument for forgery; - Twenty seven counts of Possession of identity Document; - Possession of a Schedule I Substance - Heroin; and, - Stunt Driving. Rajwinder Singh Chauhan, age 27, and Preetam Rattan, age 26, both of no fixed address are charged with: - Six Counts of Possession of Credit Card; - Possession of Break in Instruments; - Possession of Property Obtained by Crime; - Possession of a Forged document; - Possession of Instrument for forgery; - Possession of identity Document; and, - Possession of a Schedule I Substance - Heroin . Rattan received a further charge of Fail to Comply with release order. All accused persons were held for a bail hearing and appeared in the Ontario Court of Justice in Greater Napanee on January 24, 2021. Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
Public Health is reporting 10 new cases Tuesday, with half of them in the locked-down Edmundston region, Zone 4. The department did not hold a live-streamed briefing, but in a news release it said that the cases are in four of seven zones, and that seven patients are hospitalized. The news comes as Zones 2 and 3, the Saint John and Fredericton regions, prepared to move to the less-restrictive orange phase at midnight. The Moncton region will remain at the red phase, the Campbellton, Bathurst and Miramichi regions at the orange phase, and the Edmundston region will stay at the most restrictive lockdown phase. Tuesday's new cases break down as follows: Moncton region, Zone 1, one case: an individual 30 to 39 Saint John region, Zone 2, three cases: two people 19 or under an individual 40 to 49 Edmundston region, Zone 4, five cases: two people 20 to 29 two people 60 to 69 an individual 70 to 79 Campbellton region, Zone 5, one case: an individual 50 to 59 All these people are self-isolating and their cases are under investigation. The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 1,161. Since Monday, 19 people have recovered, for a total of 807 recoveries. There have been 14 deaths, and the number of active cases is 339. Seven people are in hospital, with three of those in intensive care. A total of 189,653 tests have been conducted, including 1,943 since Monday's report. Public Health issues public exposure warning Public Health has identified a potential public exposure to the virus at the following location in the Edmundston region, Zone 4: Atlantic Superstore, 577 Victoria St., Edmundston, on Jan. 19 and Jan. 20 between 6 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: A fever above 38 C. A new cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.
Independent U.N. sanctions monitors accused Yemen's government, in a report seen by Reuters on Tuesday, of money-laundering and corruption "that adversely affected access to adequate food supplies" and said the Houthi group collected at least $1.8 billion in state revenue in 2019 to help fund its war effort. The annual report to the U.N. Security Council on the implementation of international sanctions on Yemen coincides with U.N. officials saying that the country is on the verge of a large famine with millions of civilians at risk. The monitors said Saudi Arabia deposited $2 billion with the Central Bank of Yemen in January 2018 under a development and reconstruction program.
Twitter said, with the new product, academic researchers will be able to tap into all the tools released to date on the new API platform, which will enable them to listen to and analyze public conversations. The data will not, however, include tweets from accounts suspended for violations of Twitter rules, which means academics will be unable to use the API to study tweets by former U.S. President Donald Trump, company executives told reporters on Monday.
TORONTO — Loblaw Companies Ltd. is winning praise from a coalition of environmental, health and labour groups for its commitment to stop using receipt paper that contains a potentially dangerous chemical. The grocery and drugstore chain says it will transition to phenol-free receipt paper across all its divisions by the end of 2021. The move is being applauded by groups that say it will protect workers and customers from harmful chemicals, and is renewing pressure on other retailers to phase out the chemical. Muhannad Malas, toxics program manager at Environmental Defence, says cashiers are exposed to high levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals while handling receipts and deserve to be protected. Jennifer Beeman, executive director of Breast Cancer Action Quebec, says bisphenols used in thermal paper are known endocrine disruptors and can be a significant source of exposure for women. The Canadian government declared Bisphenol A (BPA) a toxic chemical in October 2010. Some retailers removed BPA-coated receipt paper, but replaced it with paper that contains similar phenol substances, according to the groups. Loblaw said in its Corporate Social Responsibility report last year that it would transition to phenol-free receipt paper by the end of 2021. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:L) The Canadian Press
New Brunswick prosecutors will not lay criminal charges against police officers involved in the shooting death of Rodney Levi of Metepenagiag First Nation. Levi, 48, was shot and killed by RCMP on June 12, 2020, when they responded to a call for assistance on Boom Road, about 30 kilometres southwest of Miramichi. "In our opinion, the peace officers in question were acting lawfully to protect the residents of the home on that fateful evening," the New Brunswick Office of the Attorney General said in a statement Tuesday. Levi was the second Indigenous person killed by police in New Brunswick within a two-week period. The first was Chantel Moore, a 26-year-old woman of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation in British Columbia, who was living in Edmundston. She was shot by an Edmundston police officer. Quebec's police watchdog, which was asked to investigate both killings, released its report on the Moore case around the same time as its report on Levi's. The Crown decided not to pursue charges in the Levi case after it reviewed the report from the Bureau des Enquêtes indépendantes du Québec (BEI). It has not said whether charges will be laid in the Moore case. The two deaths sparked an outcry from the community, including calls for charges and an inquiry into systemic racism in the justice system in New Brunswick. 'This is not over' Alisa Lombard, the lawyer for the Levi family, said Tuesday that family members are considering their legal options and would not comment for now. "This is not over. Far from it," she said. "But for the moment, I think they just need some time to process before going out there and saying anything." Lombard said the family met with the BEI and the director of prosecutions on Tuesday to learn details of the investigation. "They're processing the information that was shared today and they did receive a lot of answers that they did not have prior," she said. Tasered 3 times In Levi's case, the BEI sent eight investigators to the Miramichi area and interviewed 11 witnesses. The Crown prepared a legal opinion, and shared it publicly Tuesday. The opinion includes a summary of each witness account. The legal opinion says one of the witnesses, a close relative of Levi, describes him as "being severely depressed," in the days before he was killed. "He kept talking about suicide and more specifically about 'suicide by RCMP' and was wondering if he would go to Heaven," the legal opinion says. "She [the witness] states that this is all he was talking about." The opinion says Levi was living with this witness at the time. "According to her, Mr. Levi left her place in the afternoon of June 12. She never saw him after that." Other witnesses who were at the house where Levi was shot describe him holding two knives and refusing to let go. Witnesses said he was Tasered three times. He dropped one of the knives after the second or third time but bent down to pick it up immediately, the summary says. Multiple witnesses also describe Levi moving toward one of the police officers with the knife, and that's when he was shot twice. "Some describe his move as a 'step,' other as 'lunging' with one witness describing the move as a 'charge,'" the summary says. The attorney general's media release said the BEI investigation also looked at a short video taken by one of the witnesses "that shows part of the actual event," and expert reports. The media release said in order to lay charges, the Crown must be able to see "evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction." The Crown prosecutor's office did not see such evidence after reviewing the BEI report, the release said. The release said the officer opened fire after "repeated attempts to engage with Mr. Levi peacefully, and followed several applications of a Taser to disarm him from the dangerous weapons (knives) he refused to yield." Inquest planned Regardless of charges, New Brunswick's Office of the Chief Coroner will be conducting an inquest into Levi's death on Oct. 4. The exact location and who will preside has not yet been announced. During the inquest, the coroner and a jury will hear evidence and "make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances in the future," a provincial news release said. New Brunswick RCMP Commanding Officer Larry Tremblay said in a statement the RCMP "respect the decision made by the Public Prosecutions Services," and will not be offering any further comment related to the BEI investigation.
Harvesting seaweed on the B.C. coast has been the on-and-off-again dream of back-to-landers intent on subsisting on nature's bounty since the '60s and '70s. But next to none have really ever been able to make a go of it long term, says Louis Druehl. And he would know. Druehl started the first commercial kelp farm in North America and now produces seed and advice for an ever-growing number of cultivators and conservationists. In his mid-80s, the retired professor and marine biologist has been researching and growing kelp for close to four decades in the waters near Bamfield on Vancouver Island’s wild west coast. “We’ve been farming seaweed, one way or the other, since about 1982,” Druehl said. “And we’ve always sputtered along. And I mean sputter, we didn’t (even) putter along.” But recently seaweed has become “a really big deal,” Druehl said. “I’d like to say it’s because of me, but I don’t know that’s true,” he said, laughing. Investment and interest in farming seaweed on the B.C. coast, as well as in North America and Europe, is reaching a fever pitch. Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos recently earmarked a portion of $100 million awarded to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to curb climate change by developing new markets for cultivated seaweed. The economic potential of an expanded seaweed market in Europe could tally €9 billion in just a decade, all while creating more than 100,000 jobs and delivering both environmental and health benefits, according to a recent report by the Seaweed for Europe Coalition. Many science, industry and investment stakeholders support seaweed aquaculture as a potential means to grow a sustainable super food that benefits the economy and environment. B.C.’s Cascadia Seaweed, established in 2019, is aiming to become North America’s largest seaweed provider and believes cultivating ocean algae is the ticket to a triple bottom line, said the company’s chair, Bill Collins. Seaweed is a sustainable, plant-based nutritional food that gets its nutrients from surrounding waters while potentially capturing carbon and contributing to ocean regeneration, he said. “When we looked into it, the opportunity was tremendous. And we asked ourselves, 'Why hasn't it happened before?'” Collins said. Rising concern around impacts of climate change and the corresponding interest in plant-based foods means North American consumers are ready to consider seaweed as a fresh or dried whole food item — whether it be in salads, soups, dried snacks, as a vegetable dish or mixed into bread or plant-based burgers, he said. The time is ripe to shift seaweed aquaculture from a small, cottage-based industry to a large commercial scale for a number of reasons, Collins said, adding Cascadia’s seaweed food products should be on the shelves by summer 2021. But to shift the North American palette to a food item long eaten in Asia and by First Nations — and make seaweed products available beyond the confines of specialty health food stores — growers must produce enough to consistently supply food chain companies and grocery market selves, he added. Typically, intensive, industrial agriculture can have detrimental environmental impacts, Collins said, but unlike land crops, seaweed requires no water, feed or fertilizer inputs. “We have to pay way more attention to our climate and our planet as we create food,” Collins said, adding the company is currently growing sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) and winged kelp (Alaria marginata), similar to the Japanese-grown wakame seaweed. Cascadia will also produce seaweed for the large food ingredients market, which typically uses powders and extracts in bakery or dairy products, salad dressings or alcohol production. But the company is also doing research on B.C. seaweeds as potential sources of cattle feed and bioplastics, he said. The company has teamed with coastal First Nations communities interested in seaweed cultivation as a sustainable means for economic development, Collins said. Cascadia has partnered with Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood on the west coast of Vancouver Island and the Klahoose First Nation on Cortes Island, located in the inner passage along B.C.’s mainland. The company and its partners expect to harvest at least 100 tonnes of kelp out of the waters this April, with 20 per cent from the two farms near Cortes and the remainder from the waters near Bamfield following a six-month winter growing season, Collins said. However, the biggest obstacle hindering the expansion of seaweed aquaculture is the length of time it takes to secure licences from the federal and provincial governments and agencies, Collins said. “The biggest single threat to the business is not being able to grow fast enough,” he said. “The government has told us they want to improve and they have, but we need a wholesale commitment from government if we’re going to expand at the rate that we need to service the market.” B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham was unavailable to clarify how or if the province was working to foster seaweed farming, or if the province had any reservations about growing the industry. Part of the overall problem is there aren’t enough resources dedicated to processing aquaculture tenure requests, which typically evaluate the impacts of raising animals in the ocean, Collins added. “The process is adapted for animals, which you have to be way more cautious with,” he said. Additionally, most of the policy framework from the province focuses on the wild harvest of seaweed rather than cultivation, Collins added. Tenure licences for aquaculture operations are processed by the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO). Before issuing licences, regulators evaluate the locations to ensure they don’t conflict with other land uses such as parks or natural reserves. First Nations are consulted and public comments are considered to establish whether the tenure is the “highest and best use of the land,” the ministry said in an email. Tenure holders must also submit a management plan indicating what infrastructure is on site and how and what species will be cultivated and harvested, along with estimated production yields. Druehl said given kelp operations have relatively low impacts to the marine ecosystem, in his experience, most resistance to seaweed farm operations comes from recreational boaters, fishermen and kayakers. “We have a bit of joke,” he said. “We actually have two crops. One is the kelp, and the second one is fishing lures.” Some other potential impacts to consider might be negative interactions with marine mammals or really dense seaweed operations robbing nutrients from the surrounding waters, Collins said. Cascadia minimizes the amount of equipment it deploys in the water and would work to avoid areas that might endanger wildlife, Collins said. And given the vast amount of coastline in B.C., no operation is likely to pull enough nutrients from flowing waters to endanger other marine life, he added. “We want to do this in harmony with the environment,” Collins said. “So as our industry improves and grows so, too, will our efforts to ensure that we identify the risks and accommodate them.” Rochelle Baker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
Israel's top general said on Tuesday that its military was refreshing its operational plans against Iran and that any U.S. return to a 2015 nuclear accord with Tehran would be "wrong." The remarks are an apparent signal to U.S. President Joe Biden to tread cautiously in any diplomatic engagement with Iran. Such comments by Israel's military chief of staff on U.S. policymaking are rare and likely would have been pre-approved by the Israeli government.
The Ontario government may have temporarily paused the demolition on several heritage buildings in downtown Toronto, but a challenge to stop the work won’t be easy. Matthew Bingley looks into the powers of minister’s zoning orders and why a court challenge may not be enough to save the heritage buildings.
Merritt RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Jesse Joseph Cyr, a 30-year-old man with an outstanding arrest warrant stemming from an incident which took place near Merritt on Jun. 19, 2011. Cyr is charged with: Count 1, Impaired driving causing bodily harm; Count 2, Causing an accident resulting in bodily harm; Count 3, Dangerous driving causing bodily harm. Cyr is currently believed to be living in the Lower Mainland. If you have any information regarding Cyr’s whereabouts, please contact the police detachment of your jurisdiction or call the Merritt RCMP at 250 – 378 – 4262. Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald
The co-director of the British animated film Chicken Run says he was thrilled to discover his movie has been re-imagined in Mi'kmaw by a Nova Scotia family determined to keep their language alive. Peter Lord wrote and co-directed the beloved film from 2000 about a band of chickens trying to escape their fate at a chicken farm. When he learned there was a version overdubbed in Mi'kmaw he reached out to the creators, Tom and Carol Anne Johnson in Eskasoni, N.S. The Johnson's version has become a hit in its own right and helped countless kids and adults learn the oral language. "I think it was very visionary for both Tom and Carol Anne to do this," Lord, who co-founded U.K.-based Aardman Animations, told CBC Radio's Mainstreet this week. "The one thing we never thought about at any stage while we were making that film was ... to give encouragement to the preservation of an endangered language. We were not thinking about that and so to hear that was just thrilling." LISTEN | Carol Anne and Tom Johnson meet co-director Peter Lord: The Johnsons spent many long hours working to translate the film in their garage turned recording studio. A decade later, the overdubbed film has travelled around the Maritimes and they still get requests from people who want to watch it. The couple has received messages from fans since they shared their story with Mainstreet. Now they're working on finding new ways to produce more content to promote the Mi'kmaw language. "I think people need to see the language," Tom said. "It needs to be heard and it needs to be spoken and these types of mediums provide that opportunity where children can take interest and start speaking the language." He said he's been speaking with Chief Leroy Denny about creating a multimedia language institute in Eskasoni and an animator in the U.K. has expressed interest in helping with some projects. "We're just in the early stages and we're looking for equipment and gear … so hopefully we'll have some new content in the future," he said. Carol Anne said she was delighted and a bit star struck to get a shout-out from Lord last week. The family contacted Dreamworks, which owns the rights to Chicken Run, many years ago asking for permission to overdub the film but never heard back. While she considered that a good sign, Carol Anne said it didn't stop her from worrying now and then. "It was almost like a validation, really, a validation of our work and the reasons behind why we did it in the first place," she said. The family's overdubbed version is not a literal translation, but it tries to capture the essence of what the characters said while also throwing in humour and references that Mi'kmaw speakers would enjoy. Tom said only about 20 per cent of the roughly 4,500 people in Eskasoni — "the last language hot spot" — still speak Mi'kmaw. "We're at the very tail end and we're trying to do whatever we can to preserve it," he said. A family connection Canadian film producer Jake Eberts also worked on Chicken Run and would have been "so moved and touched" by the Johnson's version, said his daughter, Lindsay Eberts. She said her dad, who was born in Montreal and died in 2012, dedicated much of his career to promoting Indigenous perspectives through the films he worked on, such as Dances with Wolves, Black Robe, and The Education of Little Tree. "I think all of the films would be treated and seen very differently now, but he was one of the first people who was really able to ... include stories that were largely about Indigenous cultures and people and how poorly they had been treated," Eberts said. She said she felt compelled to thank the Johnsons for their work because she knows it's what her dad would have done. "I got so emotional because it's so creative the way that Tom and Carol Anne have thought to gain awareness. It's brilliant — go in with something that people absolutely love and then show them how much richer it can be in another beautiful language," said Eberts. She lives in Quebec and hopes to visit the Johnsons in Cape Breton when travel restrictions allow. For the Johnsons, their foray into voice acting began as a way to bring comfort and joy to their young son after his twin sister died many years ago. LISTEN | Carol Anne and Tom Johnson explain their overdub of Chicken Run: Chicken Run has since become an important part of their family history, as it has for Ebert's family. Lord said learning about the Johnson's version of Chicken Run has been a bright spot during a dire time in the U.K. with cases of the coronavirus surging. "Here was this story that was just a great, charming, encouraging, inspiring, feel-good story, so what was not to love?" he said. He's now working on making Chicken Run 2 and Tom said he'll be in touch to continue the collaboration. MORE STOP STORIES
ROCKY MOUNT, Va. — Two Virginia police officers charged in the storming of the U.S. Capitol in Washington earlier this month have been fired, a town official announced Tuesday. Rocky Mount Town Manager James Ervin announced the firings in a statement, but did not provide any additional details on the firing of former Sgt. Thomas “T.J.” Robertson and former Officer Jacob Fracker, The Roanoke Times reported. The town had no precedent to refer to for how to deal with this situation, Ervin wrote. “The events of the past few weeks have been challenging for our town, as they have been for the entire nation. The actions by two have driven our beautiful town into the national spotlight in ways that do not reflect our whole community and the people who call Rocky Mount home.” Ervin said in the statement. Robertson had told the newspaper he and Fracker received letters of termination from the town Friday, offering them the opportunity to resign before the firing took effect. Fracker, reached via text message, declined to comment Tuesday. Federal authorities have charged Robertson, 47, and Fracker, 29, with a misdemeanouroffence of knowingly entering a restricted building without authority to do so to engage in conduct that disrupts government business. They also face a petty offence of engaging in disruptive conduct in the Capitol in order to interfere with a session of Congress. The maximum penalty for the misdemeanour is a year in jail. The maximum penalty for the petty offence is six months. In a selfie Fracker took inside the Capitol Crypt on Jan. 6, Fracker is making an obscene gesture. Robertson is pointing at Fracker while holding a wooden pole. Both officers have repeatedly said they did nothing illegal and did not participate in any of the violence that unfolded Jan. 6. The Associated Press
NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. — A jersey, puck and stick signed by hockey legend Wayne Gretzky are among Ontario museum items up for auction.The 42-year-old a Guinness World Records Museum in Niagara Falls permanently closed in September.Ripley Auctions says memorabilia up for bids includes artifacts, sculpted characters, displays and exhibits.The online auction is scheduled for Feb. 12.Ripley says the museum featured visits and performances from record holders and people attempting to break records.The museum operated as a franchisee of the Guinness World Records book.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021.This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — British Columbia's public safety minister says a Vancouver couple accused of flying to Yukon to get a COVID-19 vaccine is one of the most "despicable" things he's heard in a long time. Mike Farnworth says the alleged actions of former Great Canadian Gaming Corp. CEO Rodney Baker and his wife Ekaterina Baker show a "complete lack of any sort of ethical or moral compass." Tickets filed in a Whitehorse court show the 55-year-old man and his 32-year-old wife were each charged with failing to self-isolate for 14 days and failing to act in a manner consistent with their declarations upon arriving in Yukon. The allegations against them have not been proven in court and the tickets indicate the couple can challenge them. Ekaterina Baker did not immediately respond to calls and emails requesting comment while Rodney Baker did not immediately return a request for comment sent to Great Canadian Gaming, which accepted his resignation Sunday. Farnworth said the couple paid a "pretty high price," with Rodney Baker losing what the minister described as a "$10-million-a-year job." An information circular published by Great Canadian Gaming in March 2020 says Baker earned a total of about $6.7 million in compensation from the company in 2019. The tickets were issued on Thursday under Yukon's Civil Emergency Measures Act and both people face fines of $1,000, plus fees. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced on Thursday, Jan. 21, that there would be no change in the current public health restrictions at this time. Dr. Hinshaw had reported that there were 726 people hospitalized due to COVID-19, with 119 in intensive care. After completing 14,000 tests, Alberta's positivity rate was 4.8% at that time. After praising Albertans for their sacrifices and community spirit in bringing down the number of positive cases, hospitalizations, and positivity rate in the province, Dr. Hinshaw reminded them that they were not in the clear yet. While there had been significant progress in reducing the province's number of positive cases and hospitalizations, Alberta had just as many current hospitalizations for COVID-19 as there had been when the most restrictive public measures were put in place on Dec. 8, 2020. Alberta had the second-highest number of active cases in the country as of Jan. 21, ahead of Ontario and Quebec. A decision had not been made as to how long the public health restrictions would stay in place. Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro held a joint press conference with Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw on Jan. 25. Minister Shandro began by describing two new variants of COVID-19 that have now been found in Alberta. One variant was first identified in the United Kingdom (B.1.1.7), and the other was first identified in South Africa (501Y-V2). Of particular concern, the new variants appear to be between 30 and 50% more infectious than the current dominant strain of COVID-19. Fortunately, evidence does not seem to indicate that they cause more severe illness or increase the risk of death. Evidence also suggests that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will still be effective with the new variants. So far, 20 cases of the UK variant have been discovered in Alberta and 5 cases of the South African variant. Almost all of the new variant cases are directly linked to international travel, but one case of the UK variant doesn't appear to be travel-related. This may indicate that the variant has entered the community. Minister Shandro presented projections of the impact that these variants could have on Alberta's population. In one scenario starting with 250 active cases and assuming that there were no health measures in place, in six weeks there would be a projected 2,217 new cases diagnosed every day with the current strain of COVID-19 compared to an astounding 10,217 new cases diagnosed every day with the UK variant. A second scenario began with similar assumptions to the previous scenario; after eight weeks, 1073 hospitalizations were projected with the current strain of COVID-19 compared to 3611 hospitalizations with the UK variant. The province is increasing its capacity to complete genetic testing to identify new cases of the new variants. Minister Shandro announced some changes to the border pilot program. The Border Testing Pilot Program allowed eligible international travellers at select airport and border crossings to reduce the amount of time they had to quarantine on arrival if they presented proof of a negative COVID-19 test result. Previously, participants could leave isolation after their first negative test upon arriving at the airport, provided that they sought a second test around six or seven days later. Now participants will have to remain in quarantine until their second negative test comes back. They cannot return to childcare, out of school care, schools, post-secondary institutions, or workplaces outside of their homes for a period of 14 days. Any current program participants must immediately return to quarantine if they have not received a second negative test result. Travellers returning from the UK or South Africa are no longer eligible to participate in this program. All of the COVID-19 tests conducted as a part of this program will be tested for the UK and South African variants. The current public health restrictions will continue to remain in place. Dr. Hinshaw reported 362 new cases that day and 25 more deaths. So far, there have been 1,574 deaths related to COVID-19 in Alberta since last March. Alberta's COVID-19 positivity rate is 5%. Six hundred thirty-seven people were hospitalized due to the virus on Jan. 25, with 113 in intensive care. Almost 99,500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Alberta as of Jan. 24, including more than 9,870 people fully immunized with both of the required doses. Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette