WASHINGTON — Members of President Donald Trump’s failed presidential campaign played key roles in orchestrating the Washington rally that spawned a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol, according to an Associated Press review of records, undercutting claims the event was the brainchild of the president's grassroots supporters. A pro-Trump non-profit group called Women for America First hosted the “Save America Rally” on Jan. 6 at the Ellipse, an oval-shaped, federally owned patch of land near the White House. But an attachment to the National Park Service public gathering permit granted to the group lists more than half a dozen people in staff positions for the event who just weeks earlier had been paid thousands of dollars by Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign. Other staff scheduled to be “on site” during the demonstration have close ties to the White House. Since the siege, several of them have scrambled to distance themselves from the rally. The riot at the Capitol, incited by Trump’s comments before and during his speech at the Ellipse, has led to a reckoning unprecedented in American history. The president told the crowd to march to the Capitol and that “you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.” A week after the rally, Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives, becoming the first U.S. president ever to be impeached twice. But the political and legal fallout may stretch well beyond Trump, who will exit the White House on Wednesday before Democrat Joe Biden takes the oath of office. Trump had refused for nearly two months to accept his loss in the 2020 election to the former vice-president. Women for America First, which applied for and received the Park Service permit, did not respond to messages seeking comment about how the event was financed and about the Trump campaign’s involvement. The rally drew tens of thousands of people. In a statement, the president’s reelection campaign said it “did not organize, operate or finance the event.” No campaign staff members were involved in the organization or operation of the rally, according to the statement. It said that if any former employees or independent contractors for the campaign took part, “they did not do so at the direction of the Trump campaign.” At least one was working for the Trump campaign this month. Megan Powers was listed as one of two operations managers for the Jan. 6 event, and her LinkedIn profile says she was the Trump campaign's director of operations into January 2021. She did not respond to a message seeking comment. The AP’s review found at least three of the Trump campaign aides named on the permit rushed to obscure their connections to the demonstration. They deactivated or locked down their social media profiles, removed tweets that referenced the rally and blocked a reporter who asked questions. Caroline Wren, a veteran GOP fundraiser, is named as a “VIP Advisor” on an attachment to the permit that Women for America First provided to the agency. Between mid-March and mid-November, Donald J. Trump for President Inc. paid Wren $20,000 a month, according to Federal Election Commission records. During the campaign, she was a national finance consultant for Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee between the president’s reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee. Wren was involved in at least one call before the pro-Trump rally with members of several groups listed as rally participants to organize credentials for VIP attendees, according to Kimberly Fletcher, the president of one of those groups, Moms for America. Wren retweeted messages about the event ahead of time, but a cache of her account on Google shows at least eight of those tweets disappeared from her timeline. She apparently removed some herself, and others were sent from accounts that Twitter suspended. One of the messages Wren retweeted was from “Stop the Steal,” another group identified as a rally participant on a website promoting the event. The Jan. 2 message thanked Republican senators who said they would vote to overturn Biden’s election victory, including Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas. She also retweeted a Jan. 1 message from the president promoting the event, as well as promotional messages from one of the president’s son, Eric Trump, and Katrina Pierson, a Tea Party activist and a spokesperson for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Wren did not return messages seeking comment, and locked her Twitter account after the AP reached out to her last Monday to ask her about her involvement in the Trump rally and the tweets she had removed. Several days later, she blocked the AP reporter. Maggie Mulvaney, a niece of former top Trump aide Mick Mulvaney, is listed on the permit attachment as the “VIP Lead.” She worked as director of finance operations for the Trump campaign, according to her LinkedIn profile. FEC records show Maggie Mulvaney was earning $5,000 every two weeks from Trump’s reelection campaign, with the most recent payment reported on Nov. 13. Maggie Mulvaney had taken down her Twitter account as of last Monday, although it reappeared after an AP reporter asked her about the account’s removal. On Sunday, the same day the AP published this report, she blocked that AP reporter on Twitter. Maggie Mulvaney retweeted several messages on Jan. 6, including one from the president that urged support for the Capitol Police. Trump's Twitter account has been suspended, but the message could be seen in a cache of her Twitter account captured by Google. She also retweeted a message from her uncle, urging Trump to address the nation. Maggie Mulvaney did not respond to messages seeking comment. The insurrection at the Capitol prompted Mick Mulvaney to quit his position as Trump’s special envoy to Northern Ireland. He told CNBC a day after the assault that remaining in the post would prompt people to say “‘Oh yeah, you work for the guy who tried to overtake the government.’” The leaders of Women for America First aren’t new to politics. Amy Kremer, listed as the group’s president on records filed with Virginia’s state corporation commission, is “one of the founding mothers of the modern day tea party movement,” according to her website. Her daughter, Kylie Jane Kremer, is the organization’s treasurer, according to the records. The IRS granted Women for America First tax-exempt status as a social welfare organization a year ago, with the exemption retroactive to February 2019. The AP requested that the group provide any tax records it may have filed since then, but received no response. In a statement issued the same day rioters attacked the Capitol, Amy Kremer denounced the assault and said it was instigated after the rally by a “handful of bad actors,” while seeming to blame Democrats and news organizations for the riot. “Unfortunately, for months the left and the mainstream media told the American people that violence was an acceptable political tool,” she said. “They were wrong. It is not.” The AP reviewed social media posts, voter registrations, court files and other public records for more than 120 people either facing criminal charges related to the Jan. 6 unrest or who, going maskless during the pandemic, were later identified through photographs and videos taken during the melee. The review found the crowd was overwhelmingly made up of longtime Trump supporters, including Republican Party officials, GOP political donors, far-right militants, white supremacists, off-duty police, members of the military and adherents of the QAnon myth that the government is secretly controlled by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophile cannibals. Videos posted on social media in the days following the Capitol attack shows that thousands of people stormed the Capitol. A Capitol Police officer died after he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher as rioters descended on the building and many other officers were injured. A woman from California was shot to death by Capitol Police and three other people died after medical emergencies during the chaos. Trump’s incendiary remarks at the Jan. 6 rally culminated a two-day series of events in Washington, organized by a coalition of the president’s supporters who echoed his baseless accusations that the election had been stolen from him. A website, MarchtoSaveAmerica.com, sprung up to promote the pro-Trump events and alerted followers, “At 1 PM, we protest at US Capitol.” The website has been deactivated. Another website, TrumpMarch.com shows a fist-raised Trump pictured on the front of a red, white and blue tour bus emblazoned with the words, “Powered by Women for America First.” The logo for the bedding company “My Pillow” is also prominent. Mike Lindell, the CEO of My Pillow, is an ardent Trump supporter who’s falsely claimed Trump didn’t lose the election to Biden and will serve another four-year term as president. “To demand transparency & protect election integrity,” the web page reads. Details of the “DC PROTEST” will be coming soon, it adds, and also lists a series of bus stops between Dec. 27 and Jan. 6 where Trump backers can “Join the caravan or show your support.” Kimberly Fletcher, the Moms for America president, said she wasn’t aware the Trump campaign had a role in the rally at the Ellipse until around New Year's Day. While she didn’t work directly with the campaign, Fletcher did notice a shift in who was involved in the rally and who would be speaking. “When I got there and I saw the size of the stage and everything, I’m like, ‘Wow, we couldn’t possibly have afforded that,’” she said. “It was a big stage. It was a very professional stage. I don’t know who was in the background or who put it together or anything.” In addition to the large stage, the rally on the Ellipse featured a sophisticated sound system and at least three Jumbotron-style screens projecting the president's image to the crowd. Videos posted online show Trump and his family in a nearby private tent watching the rally on several monitors as music blared in the background. Moms for America held a more modest “Save the Republic” rally on Jan. 5 near the U.S. Capitol, an event that drew about 500 people and cost between $13,000 to $14,000, according to Fletcher. Justin Caporale is listed on the Women for America First paperwork as the event’s project manager. He’s identified as a partner with Event Strategies Inc., a management and production company. Caporale, formerly a top aide to first lady Melania Trump, was on the Trump campaign payroll for most of 2020, according to the FEC records, and he most recently was being paid $7,500 every two weeks. Caporale didn’t respond to requests for comment. Tim Unes, the founder and president of Event Strategies, was the “stage manager” for the Jan. 6 rally, according to the permit paperwork. Unes has longstanding ties to Trump, a connection he highlights on his company’s website. Trump’s presidential campaign paid Event Strategies $1.3 million in 2020 for “audio visual services,” according to the campaign finance records. The company declined to comment for this story. Another person with close ties to the Trump administration, Hannah Salem, was the rally’s “operations manager for logistics and communications,” according to the permit paperwork. In 2017, she took a hiatus from the consulting firm she founded and spent three years as senior White House press aide, “executing the media strategy for President Trump’s most high-profile events,” according to her company bio and LinkedIn profile. Last week, within minutes of an AP reporter sending her a LinkedIn message asking about her involvement in and understanding of what happened on Jan. 6, Salem blocked the reporter and did not respond to questions. ___ Smith reported from Providence, Rhode Island. ___ Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York and Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report. Richard Lardner And Michelle R. Smith, The Associated Press
VICTORIA — A Victoria firefighter says using a jackhammer and other home repair tools to save a cat stuck in a tiny basement drainpipe ranks as the strangest rescue call he's been on in his 20-year career. Capt. Tim Hanley says he and three other firefighters spent more than two hours using sledgehammers and a jackhammer to break through Victoria homeowner Emma Hutchinson's concrete basement floor to free Willow, a nine-month-old kitten. Hanley says Hutchinson called firefighters earlier this week pleading for help after discovering her cat had somehow become stuck in a drainpipe with a 10-centimetre diameter in her basement. Hanley says Hutchinson had numerous tools for firefighters to use, including a drain scope they used to see the trapped cat stuck more than a metre down the pipe. He says firefighters also used Hutchinson's jackhammer and several sledgehammers to break through the thick concrete basement floor before being able to cut the pipe and free Willow. Hanley says Willow was crying and extremely dirty but was pronounced in good health after a visit to a veterinarian, much to Hutchinson's relief. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2021. The Canadian Press
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick is reporting 36 new cases of COVID-19, the largest single day total in the province since the pandemic began. Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, says 24 of the new cases are in the Edmundston area, which is being moved to the red alert level of virus precaution as of 12:01 a.m. Monday as a result of the recent spike. Russell says schools will remain open under the red-zone rules, but many businesses will be required to close or reduce services to essential levels, while residents will be asked to stay home as much as possible. Russell says five of the remaining cases are in the Moncton region, four are in the Saint John area, two in the Fredericton region and one is in the Bathurst area. She says while the other zones will remain at the orange alert level for the time being, it's clear the Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton regions are on the cusp of moving to the red alert level. The number of active COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick currently stands at 292. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2021. The Canadian Press
Homicide detectives are investigating an early morning shooting in west Edmonton that left one man dead. Police were called to the area of 105th Avenue and 157th Street just after 6:15 a.m. on Sunday to investigate a weapons complaint. According to a news release, officers found a man inside a residence who was suffering from life-threatening injuries. He was treated and taken to hospital where he later died. The homicide section has taken over the investigation and are asking anyone in the area with video surveillance of the neighbourhood to contact police. An autopsy has been scheduled for Tuesday.
COVID-19. Les plus récentes données sur l'évolution de la COVID-19, au Québec, font état de 1 744 nouveaux cas pour la journée d'hier, pour un nombre total de 242 714 personnes infectées. Parmi celles-ci, 213 008 sont rétablies. Notons qu’un délai de transmission des données de laboratoires a engendré un retard dans la déclaration de cas de COVID-19 aux Directions de santé publique hier, et une baisse du nombre de nouveaux cas déclarés. La situation sera rétablie dans la journée et la prochaine mise à jour va inclure les cas non déclarés aujourd'hui. Les plus récentes données font également état de 50 nouveaux décès, pour un total de 9 055. De ces 50 décès, 8 sont survenus dans les 24 dernières heures, 26 entre le 10 et le 15 janvier, 7 avant le 10 janvier, et 9 sont survenus à une date inconnue. Le nombre total d'hospitalisations a diminué de 14 par rapport à la veille, avec un cumul de 1 460. Parmi celles-ci, le nombre de personnes se trouvant aux soins intensifs a diminué de 12, pour un total actuel de 215. Les prélèvements réalisés le 15 janvier s'élèvent à 37 087, pour un total de 5 424 995.Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
WILMINGTON, Del. — Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. has navigated a half-century in American politics by relentlessly positioning himself at the core of the Democratic Party. Wherever that power centre shifted, there Biden has been, whether as the young senator who opposed court-ordered busing in school integration cases or the soon-to-be 46th president pitching an agenda on par with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society. The common thread through that evolution is Biden always pitching himself as an institutionalist -- a mainstream liberal but also a pragmatist who still insists that governing well depends on compromise and consensus. Now Biden’s central political identity faces the ultimate trial. On Wednesday, the 78-year-old president-elect will inherit stewardship of a nation wrenched by pandemic, seismic cultural fissures and an opposition party’s base that considers him illegitimate, even to the point of President Donald Trump’s supporters violently attacking the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress convened to certify Biden’s victory. Biden's answer follows two tracks: defending the fabric of society and institutions of government that Trump’s tenure has stressed and calling for sweeping legislative action. His agenda includes an initial $1.9 trillion pandemic response, along with proposed overhauls for health care, taxation, infrastructure, education, criminal justice, the energy grid and climate policy. “A message of unity. A message of getting things done,” Ron Klain, his incoming White House chief of staff, explained Sunday on CNN's “State of the Union.” The first approach, rooted in Biden’s campaign pledge to “restore the soul of the nation,” netted a record 81 million votes in the election. In his Nov. 7 victory speech, Biden called that coalition “the broadest and most diverse in history” and framed it as evidence Americans are ready to “lower the temperature” and “heal.” Biden’s second, policy-based approach, however, still must confront a hyperpartisan age and a closely divided Congress. The outcome will determine the reach of Biden’s presidency and further test the lifetime politician’s ability to evolve and meet events. “We can’t have a claim to want to heal the nation if what people mean is just having the right tone and being able to pat one another on the back,” said the Rev. William Barber, a leading social justice advocate who has personally pushed Biden to prioritize the marginalized and poor of all races. “Real healing of the nation,” Barber said, “must be dealing with the sickness in the body of the nation caused by policy, by racism, by polity.” Activists such as Barber represent just one of many flanks surrounding Biden. Republicans are clear they won’t passively ratify Biden’s responses to the pandemic or deep-seated problems that came before it: institutional racism, widening wealth gaps, the climate crisis. The Democratic Party isn’t marching in lockstep, either, as progressives, liberals and moderates dicker over details. “I wouldn’t expect big, sweeping change,” said Michael Steel, once a top aide to former House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Democrats will control a 50-50 Senate with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris’s tiebreaking vote as presiding officer. But the chamber’s 60-vote filibuster threshold for major legislation remains. Biden’s longtime friend, California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, is the House speaker, but presides over a diminished Democratic majority and slim margin for error. Harris framed the stakes Sunday, telling “CBS Sunday Morning” that the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6 “was an exposure of the vulnerability of our democracy.” John Anzalone, Biden’s campaign pollster, noted in a recent interview that Biden won with a message spanning ideology. Some voters “may not believe in his politics. But they believe in him,” Anzalone said. “They believe in his compassion and they believe in, quite frankly, his leadership skills.” Anzalone loosely compared Biden's appeal to Ronald Reagan's. Reagan was a hero of movement conservatives yet drew support from a wide swath of “Reagan Democrats” to win the presidency in 1980 amid economic and international instability. By extension, Reagan could count on support or at least good faith from many Democrats on Capitol Hill, most notably then-Speaker Tip O’Neill, D-Mass. “The analogy sort of fails when you ask who are the Tip O’Neills for Republicans at this point?” Anzalone acknowledged. But, he said, Biden “is not averse to big fights.” Biden projects confidence regardless, in part, those close to him say, because of his long tenure in Washington buttressed now with the presidential megaphone. “Part of the president’s job is making the case to the American people and persuading them what the right way forward is,” said Stef Feldman, policy director for Biden’s campaign. Through that lens, it becomes less surprising to see the politician who joined Republicans in the mid-1990s to clamour for a balanced budget now declares emergency spending measured by the trillions “more urgent than ever,” even “including deficit spending.” It was a similar course for Biden as he aged from a young senator in a chamber still stocked with old-guard segregationists into the trusted lieutenant for the nation’s first Black president. The Senate Judiciary Chairman who in 1991 led an all-male panel in Supreme Court confirmation hearings involving sexual harassment claims turned the widely panned experience into invitations for the committee to seat its first Democratic female members. The Catholic politician who for decades acknowledged his struggle over abortion policy flouted church teachings as vice-president by announcing his support for same-sex marriage before most other elected Democrats, including the ostensibly more socially progressive Obama. And during the 2020 campaign, even as Biden started to the left of Obama and 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton, he inched further leftward on health care, college tuition aid and climate policy. While Biden aides argue his shifts don’t involve changes in principle or fundamental values, some other observers say the point is moot. The question, said Maurice Mitchell, who leads the progressive Working Families Party, is simply whether Biden will continue to evolve and leverage his political capital into both post-Trump stability and big policy wins. “We can’t control people’s convictions but we can shift the politics of the possible,” Mitchell said, noting that Johnson signed seminal civil rights laws less than a decade after quashing such measures as Senate majority leader. Barber, the minister, pointed to other historical figures whom Biden sometimes mentioned while campaigning: Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Both, Barber noted, were savvy, even ruthless politicians who reached for their biggest achievements only after winning the nation’s highest office -- and they did so against vicious opposition and during times of existential national threats. “There’s good record in our history that there are moments in this country can and has taken great steps forward,” Barber said. “And many times, it was right on the heels of great pain. The movement and the moment can cause leaders -- presidents, senators, congresspeople -- to be much greater than they even intended or imagined.” Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
YAROSLAVL, Russia — Canada's Lewis Irving picked up the bronze medal at a World Cup aerials freestlye skiing competition Sunday. Irving, from Quebec City, finished third with a score of 120.36 points for the fourth podium finish of his World Cup career. Russians took the top two spots, with Maxim Burov (125.34 points) winning gold and Stanislav Nikitin (123.98 points) earning silver. Megan Nick of the United States won the women's event with 89.88 points. Alla Tsuper of Belarus (89.82) and Kaila Kuhn (87.25) rounded out the podium. Justine Ally of Lac-Superieur, Que., was the top Canadian in 12th. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2021. The Canadian Press
LOS ANGELES — Phil Spector, the eccentric and revolutionary music producer who transformed rock music with his “Wall of Sound” method and who later was convicted of murder, has died. He was 81. California state prison officials said he died Saturday of natural causes at a hospital. Spector was convicted of murdering actress Lana Clarkson in 2003 at his castle-like mansion on the edge of Los Angeles. After a trial in 2009, he was sentenced to 19 years to life. While most sources give Spector’s birth date as 1940, it was listed as 1939 in court documents following his arrest. His lawyer subsequently confirmed that date to The Associated Press. Clarkson, star of “Barbarian Queen” and other B-movies, was found shot to death in the foyer of Spector’s mansion in the hills overlooking Alhambra, a modest suburban town on the edge of Los Angeles. Until the actress’ death, which Spector maintained was an “accidental suicide,” few residents even knew the mansion belonged to the reclusive producer, who spent his remaining years in a prison hospital east of Stockton. Decades before, Spector had been hailed as a visionary for channeling Wagnerian ambition into the three-minute song, creating the “Wall of Sound” that merged spirited vocal harmonies with lavish orchestral arrangements to produce such pop monuments as “Da Doo Ron Ron,” “Be My Baby” and “He’s a Rebel.” He was the rare self-conscious artist in rock’s early years and cultivated an image of mystery and power with his dark shades and impassive expression. Tom Wolfe declared him the “first tycoon of teen.” Bruce Springsteen and Brian Wilson openly replicated his grandiose recording techniques and wide-eyed romanticism, and John Lennon called him “the greatest record producer ever.” The secret to his sound: an overdubbed onslaught of instruments, vocals and sound effects that changed the way pop records were recorded. He called the result, “Little symphonies for the kids.” By his mid-20s his “little symphonies” had resulted in nearly two dozen hit singles and made him a millionaire. “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” the operatic Righteous Brothers ballad which topped the charts in 1965, has been tabulated as the song most played on radio and television — counting the many cover versions — in the 20th century. But thanks in part to the arrival of the Beatles, his chart success would soon fade. When “River Deep-Mountain High,” an aptly-named 1966 release that featured Tina Turner, failed to catch on, Spector shut down his record label and withdrew from the business for three years. He would go on to produce the Beatles and Lennon among others, but he was now serving the artists, instead of the other way around. In 1969, Spector was called in to salvage the Beatles’ “Let It Be” album, a troubled “back to basics” production marked by dissension within the band. Although Lennon praised Spector’s work, bandmate Paul McCartney was enraged, especially when Spector added strings and a choir to McCartney’s “The Long and Winding Road.” Years later, McCartney would oversee a remixed “Let it Be,” removing Spector’s contributions. A documentary of the making of Lennon’s 1971 “Imagine” album showed the ex-Beatle clearly in charge, prodding Spector over a backing vocal, a line none of Spector’s early artists would have dared cross. Spector worked on George Harrison’s acclaimed post-Beatles triple album, “All Things Must Pass,” co-produced Lennon’s “Imagine,” and the less successful “Some Time in New York City,” which included Spector’s picture over a caption that read, “To Know Him is to Love Him.” Spector also had a memorable film role, a cameo as a drug dealer in “Easy Rider.” The producer himself was played by Al Pacino in a 2013 HBO movie. “A genius irredeemably conflicted, he was the ultimate example of the Art always being better than the Artist, having made some of the greatest records in history based on the salvation of love while remaining incapable of giving or receiving love his whole life," Steven Van Zandt of Springsteen's E Street Band said Sunday on Twitter. The volume, and violence, of Spector’s music reflected a dark side he could barely contain even at his peak. He was imperious, temperamental and dangerous, remembered bitterly by Darlene Love, Ronnie Spector and others who worked with him. Years of stories of his waving guns at recording artists in the studio and threatening women would come back to haunt him after Clarkson’s death. According to witnesses she had agreed, somewhat reluctantly, to accompany him home from the Sunset Strip’s House of Blues in West Hollywood, where she worked Shortly after their arrival in Alhambra in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 3, 2003, a chauffeur reported Spector came out of the house holding a gun, blood on his hands, and told him, “I think I killed somebody.” He would later tell friends Clarkson had shot herself. The case was fraught with mystery, and it took authorities a year to file charges. In the meantime, Spector remained free on $1 million bail. When he was finally indicted for murder, he lashed out at authorities, angrily telling reporters: “The actions of the Hitler-like DA and his storm trooper henchmen are reprehensible, unconscionable and despicable.” As a defendant, his eccentricity took centre stage. He would arrive in court for pretrial hearings in theatrical outfits, usually featuring high-heeled boots, frock coats and wildly styled wigs. He arrived at one hearing in a chauffeur-driven stretch Hummer. Once the 2007 trial began, however, he toned down his attire. It ended in a 10-2 deadlock leaning toward conviction. His defence had argued that the actress, despondent about her fading career, shot herself through the mouth. A retrial got underway in October 2008. “Lana Clarkson was a warm, compassionate, kind, loving woman who would be 58 years old now. Her energy, brightness and love of life have sustained her family since her murder 18 years ago in 2003," Clarkson's mother, Donna Clarkson, said in a statement Sunday. Harvey Phillip Spector, in his mid-60s when he was charged with murder, had been born on Dec. 26, 1939, in New York City’s borough of the Bronx. Bernard Spector, his father, was an ironworker. His mother, Bertha, was a seamstress. In 1947, Spector’s father killed himself because of family indebtedness, an event that would shape his son’s life in many ways. Four years later, Spector’s mother moved the family to Los Angeles, where Phil attended Fairfax High School, located in a largely Jewish neighbourhood on the edge of Hollywood. For decades the school has been a source of future musical talent. At Fairfax, Spector performed in talent shows and formed a group called the Teddy Bears with friends. He was reserved and insecure, but his musical abilities were obvious. He had perfect pitch and easily learned to play several instruments. He was just 17 when his group recorded its first hit single, a romantic ballad written and produced by Spector that would become a pop classic: “To Know Him is to Love Him,” was inspired by the inscription on his father’s tombstone. A short, skinny kid with big dreams and growing demons, Spector went on to attend the University of California, Los Angeles for a year before dropping out to return to New York. He briefly considered becoming a French interpreter at the United Nations before falling in with the musicians at New York’s celebrated Brill Building. The Broadway edifice was then at the heart of popular music’s Tin Pan Alley, where writers, composers, singers and musicians turned out hit songs. He began working with star composers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who had met at Fairfax High a few years before Spector arrived. Ultimately, he found his niche in producing. During this period he also co-wrote the hit song, “Spanish Harlem,” with Ben E. King, and played lead guitar on the Drifters’ “On Broadway.” “I had come back to New York from California where there were all these green lawns and trees, and there was just this poverty and decay in Harlem,” he would recall later. “The song was an expression of hope and faith in the young people of Harlem ... that there would be better times ahead.” For a time he had his own production company, Philles Records, with partner Lester Silles, where he developed his signature sound. He assembled such respected studio musicians as arranger Jack Nitzsche, guitarist Tommy Tedesco, pianist Leon Russell and drummer Hal Blaine, and gave early breaks to Glen Campbell, Sonny Bono and Bono’s future wife, Cher. In the early 1960s, he had hit after hit and one notable flop: the album “A Christmas Gift to You,” released, tragically, on Nov. 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was assassinated, the worst possible time for such a joyous record. “A Christmas Gift,” featuring the Ronettes singing “Frosty the Snowman” and Love’s version of “White Christmas,” is now considered a classic and a perennial radio favourite during the holiday season. Spector’s domestic life, along with his career, eventually came apart. After his first marriage, to Annette Merar, broke up, Ronettes leader singer Ronnie Bennett became his girlfriend and muse. He married her in 1968 and they adopted three children. But she divorced him after six years, claiming in a memoir that he held her prisoner in their mansion, where she said he kept a gold coffin in the basement and told her he would kill her and put her in it if she ever tried to leave him. When the Ronettes were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, Spector sent along his congratulations. But in an acceptance speech by his ex-wife, she never mentioned him while thanking numerous other people. On Sunday Ronnie Spector said, “he was a brilliant producer, but a lousy husband.” “Unfortunately Phil was not able to live and function outside of the recording studio,” she wrote on Instagram. “Darkness set in, many lives were damaged. I still smile whenever I hear the music we made together, and always will. The music will be forever.” Darlene Love also feuded with him, accusing Spector of failing to credit her for her vocals on “He’s a Rebel” and other songs, but she did praise him when inducted into the Hall. Spector himself became a Hall member in 1989. As his marriages deteriorated, recording artists also began to quit working with Spector and musical styles passed him by. He preferred singles to albums, calling the latter, “Two hits and 10 pieces of junk.” He initially refused to record his music in multichannel stereo, claiming the process damaged the sound. A Spector box set retrospective was called “Back to Mono.” By the mid-1970s, Spector had largely retreated from the music business. He would emerge occasionally to work on special projects, including Leonard Cohen’s album, “Death of a Ladies’ Man” and The Ramones’ “End of the Century.” Both were marred by reports of Spector’s instability. In 1973, Lennon worked on an album of rock ‘n roll oldies with Spector, only to have Spector disappear with the tapes. The finished work, “Rock ‘n’ Roll,” didn’t come out until 1975. In 1982 Spector married Janis Lynn Zavala and the couple had twins, Nicole and Phillip Jr. The boy died at age 10 of leukemia. Six months before his first murder trial began, Spector married Rachelle Short, a 26-year-old singer and actress who accompanied him to court every day. He filed for divorce in 2016. In a 2005 court deposition, he testified that he had been on medication for manic depression for eight years. “No sleep, depression, mood changes, mood swings, hard to live with, hard to concentrate, just hard — a hard time getting through life,” he said. “I’ve been called a genius and I think a genius is not there all the time and has borderline insanity.” ___ Linda Deutsch is a retired special correspondent for The Associated Press. The Spector murder trial was one of many sensational cases she covered during her 48-year career as a Los Angeles-based trial reporter. Christopher Weber And Linda Deutsch, The Associated Press
Opposition leader Alexei Navalny was detained at a Moscow airport after returning from Germany, where he spent months recovering from nerve agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin.
Toronto police are searching for a man wanted in connection with the city's first homicide of the year and are asking for the public's help. Police say a 25-year-old American man, Mohamed Jeylani, of Minnesota, was stabbed to death in Scarborough on Jan. 13. Emergency crews were called to a residential building in the area of Eglinton Avenue East and Midland Avenue at about 5:10 p.m. last Wednesday. Police say they found Jeylani suffering from a traumatic injury and he was pronounced dead in hospital soon after. On Sunday, police identified 24-year-old Guled Mohamad as a suspect and released a photo of the Toronto man. He is wanted for second-degree murder. Police say Mohamad is considered armed and dangerous. Police are asking the public not to approach him if he's seen, and to contact the authorities instead. Anyone with information is asked to contact investigators at 416-808-7400 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 416-222-TIPS (8477).
After a probe found "significant errors of judgment and procedure" in the termination of the employee, GitHub's head of human resources resigned, GitHub Chief Operating Officer Erica Brescia said on Sunday. "In light of these findings, we immediately reversed the decision to separate with the employee and are in communication with his representative," Brescia said in a blog https://bit.ly/2KnkVhI, adding that the company apologized to that employee.
Four people were handed tickets for violating public health orders in Moose Jaw on Saturday. A police news release said officers monitored a gathering at a location near Main Street N. and Thatcher Drive W. on Saturday. During the gathering, a police news release said officers observed "a number" of violations of the current public health orders. Four people were given tickets through the public health orders. Police said their investigation was ongoing. It was not immediately clear if the tickets were distributed to organizers or participants of the gathering, and aside from police commenting that the tickets were distributed for violation of the health order, there was no other information available. A request for comment from the Moose Jaw Police Service was not immediately returned. More from CBC News:
In the days before calling the general election on Friday, the Liberal provincial government struck tentative collective agreements with three unions — Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association (NLTA) and Allied Health Professionals — extending their contracts into 2022. The government also issued 34 news releases in total on Thursday and Friday, committing to more than $31 million in pre-election spending on Friday alone. CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador president Sherry Hillier says her union had been bargaining with government throughout the summer and fall, but she says they weren't making headway. "And then government came back to us two weeks ago and offered us this deal that we've tentatively accepted," Hillier said. "It's all a tactics game when it comes to an election for sure, there's no doubt in my mind that's exactly why the deal was made days before the election." Still, Hillier calls it a good agreement for 3,700 of her members working in seven different sectors, such as health care, education, libraries and transition houses. She can't talk specifics, but said the deal extends their current collective agreement to March 31, 2022 and includes a wage increase and changes to post-employment benefits for new employees. "We're pleased that our bargaining committees actually accepted the tentative deal and we're actually bringing it back to our membership for full ratification vote in the course of the next 10 days." she said. Questions about Greene report Meanwhile, Hillier is questioning why Liberal Leader Andrew Furey called a provincial election before releasing Moya Greene's economy recovery report, which will review spending, revenue, and public services and options for economic growth. "Obviously, the president of the Federation of Labour, Mary Shortall, resigned from the committee, speaks volumes, when a committee, a task force is so secretive." she said. "Then a draft report [will] be released, but 10 days after the election date, why not give Newfoundland and Labradorians the opportunity to see what's in this report before Feb. 13?" While Furey promised to table Greene's report in the House of Assembly and hold consultations, Hillier, who meet with Greene last week, says that's not enough and is calling for more transparency. "We don't need privatization in our province right now," she said. "Newfoundland and Labradorians do not need this. We're in the middle of a pandemic. We are doing our part during the pandemic. We certainly don't need an austerity budget. I'm sure the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are only too willing to work with government, and secrecy is not the way of doing it." NLTA less critical of timing Meanwhile, teachers, who also struck a tentative agreement with the province last week, were less critical of the timing of the tentative agreements with government. NLTA president, Dean Ingram, says their negotiating team and provincial executive felt the tentative agreement should be brought to a ratification vote in early February. "And our membership ultimately will decide whether it's something that is or is not acceptable," he said by phone Sunday. Ingram also can't say whether they will recommend that members accept the tentative deal, until after their branch presidents meet later this month. The tentative agreement, which affects 7,000 members of the NLTA, includes a salary increase and changes to post-employment benefits for new employees. If ratified, it would extend teachers' current collective agreement to Aug. 31, 2022. Meanwhile, he says any plan in the province for economic recovery must include investments in education. "We do believe that there are many needs in education and we have been pressing for a number of years that it's critically important that an independent review of the teacher allocation model, the allocation of resources for schools need to be undertaken," Ingram said. "Education is too valuable for it not to be done." Allied Health Professionals also struck a tentative deal with the province, which includes a salary increase and changes to post-employment benefits for new employers. If ratified, the deal would extend their current collective agreement to June 30, 2022, and would affect 750 healthcare workers. The union didn't respond to CBC News request for comment on Sunday. Day 2 of election campaign Only two party leaders were on the campaign trail Sunday on the second official day of campaigning. PC Leader Ches Crosbie spent the day knocking on doors in Mount Scio with his candidate, Damian Follett. The party also announced it had nominated a full slate of candidates in each of the province's 40 electoral districts. NDP leader Alison Coffin spent the day canvassing in her district St. John's East - Quidi Vidi. That party has 20 candidates nominated to run in the general election, so far. Meanwhile, Sundays are family days for Liberal Leader Andrew Furey, who has committed to holding media availabilities in the mornings Monday through Saturday. The Liberals have 38 candidates nominated as of Sunday afternoon. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
The Canadian Red Cross has been deployed to help manage a major outbreak at a long-term care home in Barrie, Ont. that has left 62 residents and 43 staff infected with COVID-19. At least nine residents at Roberta Place have died as of Sunday. Stephanie Barber, a spokesperson for the 140-bed Roberta Place, confirmed the numbers to CBC News in a statement Sunday. The numbers are higher than the province's most recent update on the home and several doctors had sounded the alarm about the scale of the outbreak on Twitter, suggesting the infections may be driven by a variant of COVID-19 first discovered in the U.K. Barber said that the home cannot confirm that, but further testing is underway. Dr. Kelley Wright, a family physician in the Barrie and Orillia area, says the high number of residents and staff who have fallen ill has put a massive strain on the home — calling it "overwhelming." "I had to tell a daughter who has two parents in this home that very likely both of her parents were going to pass away," Wright said. "One of them has passed away and we're unfortunately waiting for the other one." Wright is one of four physicians currently volunteering at the home to help manage the outbreak. In a news release Sunday, NDP leader Andrea Horwath called for the help of the Canadian Armed Forces and Red Cross to manage the dire situation at the home. "Behind the walls of some nursing homes, there is a horrifying humanitarian crisis playing out," said Horwath. "Physicians are calling for help at Roberta Place, and we hear the urgency. We're asking Doug Ford not to let these people continue to suffer without the province doing anything to ease their struggle and help save lives." Wright said what the home needs now is registered staff, and questions why the province had not deployed teams to the long-term care facilities dealing with severe outbreaks. At this time, she says the physicians volunteering at the home are dedicated to helping contain the outbreak and keep communication open between patients and their families. "The volunteer physicians have offered their services for as long as it takes, we're trying our best to communicate with families right now," Wright said. Krystle Caputo, a spokesperson for Ontario's minister of long-term care posted a statement to Twitter on Sunday blaming the rise in community spread for putting the seniors and staff at risk. "We remain committed to doing everything we can, along with our partners, to help stabilize the home and have it return to normal operations," the statement reads. Public health officials administered 71 vaccines to residents and staff members at the home on Saturday, Barber said. Barber said the home is "pleased" to be getting support from the Red Cross.
The Italian greyhound known as Tika the Iggy has over 200 outfits, according to her owner.
COVID-19. C’est près de 1,5 M$ que le gouvernement va investir en matière de santé psychologique afin de soutenir les 350 000 travailleurs autonomes que compte le Québec. Jean Boulet, le ministre du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale, vient d’en faire l’annonce. «La crise sanitaire que nous connaissons et les nombreux bouleversements qu'elle entraîne ont des effets dans toutes les sphères de notre société. Le contexte actuel peut certainement augmenter le stress pour tous et exacerber l'anxiété. Les travailleurs autonomes, qui sont les maîtres d'œuvre de toutes les actions de leur entreprise, peuvent, à ce titre, se retrouver dans une situation précaire et d'isolement qui risque d'affecter leur vie personnelle ainsi que la performance et la relance de leur entreprise. Votre gouvernement met donc en place des actions concrètes de prévention pour favoriser le maintien d'une bonne santé mentale», souligne Jean Boulet, ministre du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale en annonçant la mise en place d’ateliers en gestion du stress et en santé psychologique. Ces webinaires gratuits seront proposés par l'Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés. De plus, en collaboration avec ses partenaires locaux, le ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale mettra en place des activités régionales et locales spécifiques pour joindre les travailleurs autonomes et les très petites entreprises aux prises avec des défis similaires. Différentes formules seront proposées comme de courtes activités sur la gestion du stress, des ateliers et des groupes de discussion virtuelle. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Nine witnesses have taken the stand so far at the trial of Thomas Whittle in Corner Brook. The 29-year-old is accused of dangerous driving causing death and impaired driving causing death after the snowmobile he was driving collided with a taxi near Marble Mountain in 2017. Whittle's passenger, Justyn Pollard, was killed. Whittle is representing himself at trial, and apologized to jurors as he cross-examined RCMP forensic identification specialist Constable Jonathan Moran for entering and examining Pollard's autopsy photographs. Whittle said the photos would be hard for the jury of nine women and four men to see, but he requested they be entered as evidence so jurors could see bruising on Pollard's left hip and shoulder. Family members of Pollard's were present in the courtroom as the photos scrolled across a projected screen as Moran described each one, and at least one of them was obviously distraught. No helmets So far, the court has heard from witnesses including taxi drivers, taxi passengers, first responders, police officers and residents of Humber Valley Resort. They described seeing a snowmobile, going at a high speed, driving across a bridge around 4 a.m. on Feb. 19, 2017, and colliding head-on with a taxi van that had pulled over to the side of the entrance to the bridge. Video surveillance of the crash was also presented at trial, and clearly showed a snowmobile moving quickly on the bridge. Many witnesses testified that neither Whittle or Pollard were wearing helmets, winter coats, hats or mittens at the time. The driver of the Dodge Caravan taxi van was John Hardy, who works for Birchy Cabs. He told the court that Jibfest, a popular music festival at Marble Mountain, was happening that weekend and he was very busy bringing passengers back and forth from Humber Valley Resort to Marble Mountain. Hardy told the court he was approaching the bridge to enter the resort when he saw a bright light coming toward him and quickly pulled over. He then told the front passenger, Alex Robbins, 'I think this is going to hit us, brace yourself'. When Robins testified, he told Crown Attorney Renee Coates he can remember seeing two individuals on the ground near the snowmobile after the collision, and he recalls Whittle getting up and asking repeatedly if everyone was alright. Robbins said Whittle was quite distraught. Feeling no pain Little Rapids and Steady Brook volunteer Fire Chief Shawn Leamon was one of the first people to arrive at the scene, moments after 4 a.m, and said Pollard was not responsive at that time. Later, Pollard was taken to Western Memorial Regional Hospital and died of his injuries. Leamon said he can remember hearing Whittle say to the paramedics, "I have a good buzz on. I'm not feeling any pain," as he was assisting him onto the stretcher and into the ambulance. "There were no obvious signs that I could see any kind of alcohol or paraphernalia from drug use. Sometimes trauma can have an impact on an individual as well. The comment made me believe there were other factors involved," he said to the court. Since Whittle is representing himself during the three-week-long trial, he frequently asks Justice George Murphy for breaks so he can consult with Randy Piercey; a criminal defence lawyer who was appointed by Justice Murphy to aid in proceedings, but not make decisions for Whittle. The Crown will be calling witnesses for two or three more days, and then Whittle will have the opportunity to call his own evidence. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
OTTAWA — Federal Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole pushed back against attempts to link his party to Trump-style politics on Sunday, saying there is "no place for the far right" in the Tories while accusing the Liberals of divisive dirty tricks. In a statement Sunday, O'Toole asserted his own views on such issues as abortion, gay rights and reconciliation with Indigenous people in Canada while insisting that his party is not beholden to right-wing extremists and hatemongers. "The Conservatives are a moderate, pragmatic, mainstream party — as old as Confederation — that sits squarely in the centre of Canadian politics," O'Toole said. "My singular focus is to get Canada's economy back on track as quickly as possible to create jobs and secure a strong future for all Canadians. There is no place for the far right in our party." The unusual statement follows the riot on Capitol Hill, which U.S. President Donald Trump has been accused of inciting and which has since been held up as proof of the dangers posed by right-wing extremists to Western democracy. It also comes on the heels of a Liberal Party fundraising letter sent to members last week that accused the Conservatives under O'Toole of "continuing a worrisome pattern of divisive politics and catering to the extreme right." As one example, it cited the motto used by O'Toole's leadership campaign: "Take back Canada." It also referenced a photo that has been circulating of Conservative deputy leader Candice Bergen wearing a hat with Trump's slogan, "Make America Great Again," and a since-deleted Tory website alleging the Liberals want to rig the next election. O'Toole on Sunday condemned the Capitol Hill attack as "horrifying," and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism by touting his party's support for free and fair elections, the peaceful transfer of power and accountable government. To that end, he lashed out at the Liberals, referencing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's decision to prorogue Parliament last summer as hurting accountability, before turning the tables on the governing party and accusing them of using U.S.-style politics. "If the Liberals want to label me as 'far right,' they are welcome to try," O'Toole said. "Canadians are smart and they will see this as an attempt to mislead people and import some of the fear and division we have witnessed in the United States." Former Conservative strategist Tim Powers, who is now chairman of Summa Strategies, believes O'Toole's team saw a "gathering storm" and felt the need to act to prevent the Liberals from painting the Conservatives as beholden to Trumpism. Such action was especially important ahead of what could be an extremely divisive week down in the U.S., where there are fears that Trump supporters and far-right actors will respond to Joe Biden's inauguration as president with violence. Powers suggested it is also the latest act in O'Toole's effort to introduce himself to Canadians and redefine the Conservatives ahead of the next federal election, both of which have been made more difficult by COVID-19. And when Conservatives in caucus make statements or otherwise act counter to his stated positions, Powers said O'Toole will need to "crush them and take them out" to prove his convictions. Shuvaloy Majumdar, who served as a policy director in Stephen Harper's government, welcomed O'Toole's statement while also speaking of the threat that events in the U.S. could pose to the Tories in Canada — particularly if the Liberals try to link them. O'Toole was accused during last year's Conservative leadership race of courting social conservatives who oppose abortion, among other issues. That raises questions about the degree to which he may anger the party's base by taking more progressive positions. But Majumdar suggested many social conservatives left the Tories for Maxime Bernier's People's Party of Canada and that O'Toole is seeking to appeal to more voters by taking a broader view on social issues while sticking to the party's core economic positions. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2021. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
Roman Sadovsky won the virtual Skate Canada Challenge, his only competition in a season erased by COVID-19. The 21-year-old from Vaughan, Ont., the leader after the short program, landed a pair of quad jumps in his free skate to Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars," scoring 262.01 points overall. Nam Nguyen of Toronto was second with 256.43, while Toronto's Corey Circelli won the bronze (235.50). The Challenge is virtual and pre-recorded. Skaters performed their programs for a video crew in their home rinks over the last few weeks, and those programs were broadcast — and judged — over the past two weekends. The Challenge is the only event for virtually the entire Canadian team due to the global pandemic. Skate Canada International in October was cancelled, then the Canadian championships next month in Vancouver were cancelled amid the pandemic's second wave. The world championships last March in Montreal were one of the first major international events erased by COVID-19. Keegan Messing, the only Canadian to compete in a Grand Prix this season - he was third in men's singles at Skate America - didn't compete in the Challenge. Madeline Schizas won the women's single title on Saturday, while Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro won the pairs title awarded last weekend. The ice dance concludes later Sunday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2021. The Canadian Press
A South Korean court sentenced Samsung Electronics vice chairman Jay Y. Lee to two and a half years in prison on Monday, which could delay the group's ownership restructuring following the death of Lee's father in October. Lee, the country's most powerful businessman at age 52, had served one year in prison for bribing an associate of former President Park Geun-hye when an appeals court suspended it in 2018; a year later, the Supreme Court ordered him retried. Monday's sentencing by the Seoul High Court can be appealed to the Supreme Court within seven days, but legal experts said that because the Supreme Court has already ruled on it once, chances are low that its legal interpretation will change.