The first issue of Playboy magazine was published by Hugh Hefner. (Dec. 1)
The first issue of Playboy magazine was published by Hugh Hefner. (Dec. 1)
WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Antony Blinken as America’s top diplomat, tasked with carrying out President Joe Biden’s commitment to reverse the Trump administration’s “America First” doctrine that weakened international alliances. Senators voted 78-22 to approve Blinken, a longtime Biden confidant, as the nation’s 71st secretary of state, succeeding Mike Pompeo. The position is the most senior Cabinet position, with the secretary fourth in the line of presidential succession. Blinken, 58, served as deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration. He has pledged to be a leading force in the administration’s bid to reframe the U.S. relationship with the rest of the world after four years in which President Donald Trump questioned longtime alliances. Shortly after his confirmation, Blinken took the oath of office at a private ceremony at the State Department. Blinken was sworn in by the director general of the U.S. Foreign Service in the Treaty Room on the department's 7th floor outside the corridor known as “Mahogany Row" where his new office will be. He is expected to start work Wednesday. “American leadership still matters,” Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at his Jan. 19 confirmation hearing. “The reality is, the world simply does not organize itself. When we’re not engaged, when we’re not leading, then one of two things is likely to happen. Either some other country tries to take our place, but not in a way that’s likely to advance our interests and values, or maybe just as bad, no one does and then you have chaos.” Blinken vowed that the Biden administration would approach the world with both humility and confidence, saying “we have a great deal of work to do at home to enhance our standing abroad.” Despite promising renewed American leadership and an emphasis on shoring up strained ties with allies in Europe and Asia, Blinken told lawmakers that he agreed with many of Trump’s foreign policy initiatives. He backed the so-called Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel and several Arab states, and a tough stance on China over human rights and its assertiveness in the South China Sea. He did, however, signal that the Biden administration is interested in bringing Iran back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal from which Trump withdrew in 2018. Trump's secretaries of state nominees met with significant opposition from Democrats. Trump’s first nominee for the job, former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, was approved by a 56 to 43 vote and served only 13 months before Trump fired him in tweet. His successor, Pompeo, was confirmed in a 57-42 vote. Opposition to Blinken centred on Iran policy and concerns among conservatives that he will abandon Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran. Blinken inherits a deeply demoralized and depleted career workforce at the State Department. Neither Tillerson nor Pompeo offered strong resistance to the Trump administration’s attempts to gut the agency, which were thwarted only by congressional intervention. Although the department escaped proposed cuts of more than 30% of its budget for three consecutive years, it has seen a significant number of departures from its senior and rising mid-level ranks, Many diplomats opted to retire or leave the foreign service given limited prospects for advancement under an administration that they believed didn't value their expertise. A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Law School and a longtime Democratic foreign policy presence, Blinken has aligned himself with numerous former senior national security officials who have called for a major reinvestment in American diplomacy and renewed emphasis on global engagement. Blinken served on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration before becoming staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Biden was chair of the panel. In the early years of the Obama administration, Blinken returned to the NSC and was then-Vice-President Biden’s national security adviser before he moved to the State Department to serve as deputy to Secretary of State John Kerry, who is now serving as special envoy for climate change. Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
The Village of Delia has plenty to celebrate from 2020, including a new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and the start of construction on the new Delia School, and the village is expecting a productive 2021. “During the past three years, council has been busy moving ahead with some of the programs that had been put forward during the election of 2017, along with programs required under the Municipal Government Act (MGA),” stated Mayor David Sisley in his regular Mayor’s Message. Tracy Breese joined the Village of Delia as the new Chief Administrative Officer in April 2020. Currently, the village office is undergoing software upgrades, which have been ongoing since August and training is anticipated to continue through February, according to CAO Breese. One of the biggest accomplishments for the village was breaking ground on the new K-12 school for the community. The Delia School Enhancement Society (DSES) worked diligently to raise funds for a community hub to be included in the new school and has raised more than $1.2 million. Shunda Consulting and Construction Management was announced as the general contractor in September and, on September 21 the groundbreaking ceremony was held. Drumheller-Stettler MLA Nate Horner, Prairie Land School Division Superintendent Cam McKeage and Delia trustee Shandele Battle, and members of Delia School staff were in attendance. Another major accomplishment for the village was the completion of a $1.5 million expansion of the village’s water storage facilities. The expansion will supply an uninterrupted supply of high-quality drinking water during any emergency without straining the existing water supply. Over the last two years, businesses and residents have enjoyed a rate freeze for both residential and business taxes. “Due to COVID-19 and the downloading of costs from the higher levels of government, and the lower grant monies available, council will have to look at some tax increases,” stated the Mayor’s Message. The COVID-19 pandemic also forced the village to cancel several events in 2020, including the Delia Light Up the Night event in December. While the event was cancelled, decorations and lights were hung throughout the village thanks to community volunteers, and the Delia Fire Department escorted The Grinch and Santa on Christmas Eve to help residents celebrate the holidays. The village is looking forward to the reopening of the Delia Hotel as it comes under new management in early 2021; no date for reopening has been announced at this time. There are also plans to begin work on replacing sidewalks throughout the village, with hopes to complete the project in the spring. Due to restrictions on social gatherings, the public has been unable to attend regular council meetings in Delia. The technology available at the village office is “old and mostly obsolete” and the village has been unable to hold council meetings by teleconference or other means. CAO Breese told the Mail, “I am putting forward a Request for Decision at February’s meeting to use the Municipal Operating Support Transfer (MOST) grant to get our technology up to speed to be able to do (Zoom meetings).” She adds transitioning to a platform which allows residents to attend council meetings remotely will “allow a greater access.” Delia’s council is made up of Mayor David Sisley, Deputy Mayor Robyn Thompson-Lake, and Councillor Jordan Elliot. Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail
Council approved a property tax increase of 5.68 per cent at last night’s meeting. “Keeping this community safe should be our No. 1 priority,” said Coun. Bill McNulty, who was in favour of the increase. A main point of contention in the increase is the hiring of 16 RCMP officers and 11 municipal employees, amounting to a 1.24 per cent increase. However, Coun. Chak Au was not in favour of the “historical” increase, saying he would not approve growth of more than five per cent. He added that Richmond is not the worst city in the region in terms of police officer to population ratio, with 666 residents per officer. In comparison, Surrey has 692 residents per officer, Burnaby 799, and Coquitlam 829. “We’ve been playing catch-up, we had a very low ratio of police to our population,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “I hear so many people talking about being in favour of community safety and how we really have to be safe as a community. What is more fundamental than having police officers?” Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
ROSSLAND, B.C. — RCMP say a man armed with a bow and arrow pushed past staff to enter city hall and locked himself in an office in Rossland, B.C. Mounties say in a news release that the 24-year-old man entered the south-central B.C. community's city hall through a back entrance before the building was opened to the public. Police responded to the unfolding situation just before 7 a.m. Tuesday as the man had locked himself in an office and was refusing to leave. With the use of crisis de-escalation tactics, police took the man into custody without further incident and he remained in custody on Tuesday afternoon. Sgt. Mike Wicentowich says although the suspect was armed with a weapon, no one was injured during the incident. RCMP continue to investigate the full circumstances surrounding the event and are asking any witnesses who have not yet spoken with police to come forward. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
Yukon Premier Sandy Silver says the federal government should not have rejected an environmental assessment prepared by territorial officials. The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board released its recommendations for BMC Minerals' proposed Kudz Ze Kayah lead-zinc-copper-gold mine in October. It stated there could significant adverse effects from the mine, located 115 kilometres south of Ross River in southeast Yukon, but the effects could be mitigated by following 30 recommendations in its assessment. Officials with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Natural Resources Canada, however, referred the assessment back to the board for reconsideration. In a letter to the assessment board, the federal government officials said the board's review needs more detail about how the effects will be mitigated. Those effects include water quality, wildlife, particularly the Finlayson Caribou Herd, and traditional land use by Kaska citizens. The federal officials say the assessment board also failed to properly address concerns from the Ross River Dena Council and the Liard First Nation. They also want to know how Aboriginal rights were incorporated into the board's recommendations. "The Screening Report and Recommendation does not expressly delineate whether and how First Nation interests, including from a (Indigenous) rights perspective, have been considered within the assessment," the officials' letter to the Yukon assessment board says. The letter noted the Ross River Dena want more discussions on how the recommendations will be implemented. And the Liard First Nation does not believe the mitigation measures will protect its members' right to hunt the Finlayson Caribou Herd. Liard First Nation chief Stephen Charlie said Tuesday the recommendations should not be approved until they're acceptable to the Kaska people. Premier Sandy Silver, however, said in a written statement that the assessment board's review was comprehensive and the recommendations reasonable. The decision by the federal government, "creates unreasonable and unnecessary uncertainty for the proponent and sends a troubling signal," Silver said. "The government of Canada absolutely needs to take steps to streamline these processes going forward to ensure greater clarity and certainty for the mining industry." Silver said the territorial government was prepared to issue a decision accepting the recommendations.
Dr. Bonnie Henry is calling it a precipice, a plateau from which the novel coronavirus could spring upwards, or decline. New cases in B.C. have hovered around 500 per day, but on Vancouver Island, numbers have anything but plateaued. While B.C. is showing a gradual decline in new cases, Island Health is smashing through new highs weekly. The Island took 10 months to reach 1,000 cumulative cases. Three weeks later, that total has already reached 1,458. What’s behind the exponential increase? Vancouver Island’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Richard Stanwick isn’t sure. But whatever the cause, the Island is seeing double digit case counts every day in January. The region has registered 25 or more new cases 11 times. Ten of those totals came in the past three weeks. Contact tracing teams have gone all out — as of Jan. 26, the region had 753 people isolating after being identified as close contacts, and 217 people confirmed as positive. Total cases are still manageable, hospitals are not at capacity. In fact, Vancouver Island has been able to offer support to Northern B.C., an area that is bursting at capacity for beds. Most of the current Island cases are within the Central Island region, between the Nanaimo hospital outbreak, some school exposures, and Cowichan Tribes which has had more than 150 cases. The First Nation’s membership is sheltering in place until at least Feb. 5. Indigenous people are four times more likely to experience the worst effects of COVID-19, Stanwick said. “This is open to speculation as to why, whether they are under-housed, or a is there a propensity to it? The simple fact is unfortunately they are more vulnerable to the effects,” Stanwick said. It’s one of the reasons First Nations communities are included in priority vaccinations along with long-term care and assisted living residents and workers. RELATED: Cowichan Tribes confirms first death from COVID-19 RELATED: COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital “The good news is that we have finished immunizing all long-term care clients who have wished to be immunized as of [Jan. 24], and are working hard to complete all of our assisted living by mid-week,” Stanwick said. But we’re far from out of the woods, even with positive first steps. “It’s only the first dose they’ve gotten, and this is where I cross my fingers and my toes. It takes 14 days to get a good immune response mounted by the body. So we’re still vulnerable for two more weeks. There is a possibility we could still see outbreaks in our long-term care and assisted living facilities.” The First Nations Health Authority has set a goal of delivering vaccinations to all First Nations on the Island by the end of March. That process is well underway. What really worries Stanwick is the rising number of people who have no clue where they contracted the virus. It makes contact tracing nearly impossible, and makes it a lot harder to control the spread. Take the U.K. variant for example; one Central Island resident caught it while travelling. They passed it to two others, but all three people followed quarantine rules and the strain died there. The South African variant — which has not yet been found on the Island — is of unknown origin at this time. “It’s when it surprises us that’s where we worry the most,” Stanwick said. Vancouver Island’s positivity rate is another concern. Dr. Henry regularly says the goal is to keep it at 1 per cent or below, but the Island is almost at 4 per cent right now. “We’re still looking at a few months out for wide vaccinations. We are so close, I’d hate to see us backslide into the same situation as the U.K., going into full lock down,” he said. “The orders [Dr. Henry] puts in place have worked. They’ve gotten us where we are, we’ve just got to hang in a little longer.” In the meantime, Stanwick said Vancouver Island Health Authority is assigning environmental health officers to identify places where standards are not being met. It’s not a hunt to issue fines, he said, but an effort to help people understand what Work Safe requirements are. However, they are issuing fines to people unwilling to comply. For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here. Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: email@example.com Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats are preparing to push ahead quickly on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package even if it means using procedural tools to pass the legislation on their own, leaving Republicans behind. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told senators to be ready to vote as soon as next week on a budget reconciliation package that would lay the groundwork for swift passage. Coming so soon in Biden's administration, the action provides a first test of Republican opposition to the White House priorities as well as to the new president's promise of a “unity” agenda. “The work must move forward, preferably with our Republican colleagues, but without them if we must," Schumer said after a private meeting of Democratic senators. "Time is of the essence to address this crisis. We're keeping all options open on the table.” Unwilling to wait for Republicans who argue Biden's price tag is too high and his priorities too wide-ranging, Democrats are flexing their newfound power as they take control of the Senate alongside the House and White House. It is the first time in a decade the party has held the full sweep of power in Washington, and Democrats say they have no time to waste trying to broker compromises with Republicans that may, or may not, happen. They have watched Republicans use similar procedural tools to advance their priorities, most recently the Trump administration’s GOP tax cuts. The fast-moving events days into the new majority on Capitol Hill come as the White House continued meeting privately with groups of Republican and Democratic lawmakers in hopes of striking a bipartisan agreement. Biden's COVID-19 aid package includes money for vaccine distribution, school reopenings and $1,400 direct payments to households and gradually boosts the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour over five years. The next steps remain highly fluid. The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus of more than 50 House lawmakers met virtually Tuesday with top administration officials on the virus aid and economic recovery package. And the dozen senators emerging from a lengthy private meeting with the White House on Sunday evening are talking on their own to try to craft a more targeted bill. The bipartisan senators assembled privately again Monday evening. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters earlier Tuesday that Biden is still looking to negotiate on an aid package, while putting a priority on acting swiftly before aid lapses in March. “He laid out his big package, his big vision of what it should look like, and people are giving their feedback,” Psaki said. "He’s happy to have those discussions and fully expects it’s not going to look exactly the same on the other end.” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who led a bipartisan effort for the last $900 billion relief package, is working again with the senators on crafting an alternative package that she has said would be more focused on money for vaccine distribution and tailored economic assistance to the neediest Americans. Collins said Tuesday that the White House made good on its commitment to deliver a more detailed accounting of the proposed expenditure. But she said the group is still waiting for data on how much funding remains unallocated from past relief measures that, by her tally, totals a whopping $1.8 trillion still unspent. Congress has approved some $4 trillion in emergency aid since the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year, a stunning outlay and the largest rescue package in the nation's history. Senators from both parties who joined the White House call over the weekend agreed the priority needs to be standing up the country's faltering vaccine distribution system. With the death toll climbing, and new strains of the virus threatening more trouble ahead, ensuring vaccinations appears to be crucial to stemming the COVID-19 crisis. Several senators from both parties also said they want the $1,400 direct checks to be more targeted to those in need. They also want an accounting of what remains from previously approved aid bills. But Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and the incoming Budget Committee chair, said he is already working on the budget package for next week and expanding it to include Biden's proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour over five years. Raising the wage is a long-running Democratic priority that would essentially double the current $7.25 hourly wage set the last time the party was in control in the Obama administration. Advocates say the pay raise would boost millions of full-time workers from poverty. “There is a consensus,” Sanders told reporters at the Capitol. “If Republicans are not prepared to come on board, that’s fine. We’re not going to wait. We’re going forward soon and aggressively.” Lisa Mascaro And Josh Boak, The Associated Press
JASPER, Alta. — The Jasper Park Lodge has been booked out from the end of February until the end of April, but hotel management isn't disclosing who will be staying at the well-known Rocky Mountain retreat during the nine-week block. All 446 rooms at the sprawling Alberta hotel are unavailable to book online between Feb. 23 and April 29. A hotel spokesperson says there is a private booking, but could not comment further for privacy reasons. Guests who previously made bookings for that time have had their reservations cancelled, fuelling speculation online that the hotel could be soon be a filming site. Steve Young, a spokesman for Jasper National Park, says officials have not received a request for a film permit. He says one would be required if any commercial filming was being done in the park. Asked about the possibility of a film crew coming up to Alberta, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, said her team is working on a framework to decide whether to give such crews exemptions to COVID-19 restrictions. She said the Alberta framework would consider two issues when deciding on exemptions. "Number 1 is whether or not there's any risk to the public, whether any of the activities could potentially cause (COVID-19) spread," Hinshaw said Tuesday. "Number 2: As we consider any potential request for exemptions, we also consider the broader public interest." She said if the crew comes from beyond Canada's border, it would need federal approval. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. -- With files from CTV Edmonton. The Canadian Press
Out of 99 new positive cases discovered in the Simcoe Muskoka Region, health officials say 97 are linked to a long-term care home in Barrie and all of those people are likely affected by the fast-spreading U.K. variant. There are concerns the highly contagious strain of the virus is more widespread than initially thought. Miranda Anthistle has the details.
Dwayne Johnson may be one of the most successful and popular celebrities in Hollywood, but he says there's a lot more to his life than wrestling champion, football player and actor. In the new TV comedy series "Young Rock," starting on NBC on Feb. 16, fans can watch stories from his colorful but complicated life growing up in multiple places. "Young Rock" takes its premise from the tongue-in-cheek fiction that Johnson is running for U.S. President in 2032 and is being interviewed about his life.
Theresa Stevenson, the co-founder of a long-running inner-city hot lunch program for school-aged kids, died on Monday. Her son Greg confirmed the news in a Facebook post, saying his mother was 93 years old at the time of her death. In 1986 Stevenson and her husband Robert helped launch a thrice-weekly hot lunch program out of the Albert-Scott Community Centre in Regina's North Central. The goal was to give school-aged kids in the area a high-protein lunch and dessert on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The program eventually came to be known as Chili for Children. “From my own experience, I knew people were out there starving,” she told the Leader-Post in 1988. “But I also read a study done by a University of Regina professor, and it was enough to make you cry. Our children deserve better. They need a good nourishing meal because, if they’re hungry, they can’t study well. They can’t learn.” Stevenson worked with Regina Native Community Awareness Inc. in the 1980s, devoting the rest of her life to helping North Central’s Indigenous youth. She attributed part of her drive and motivation to her late grandfather, a former Chief at Cowessess First Nation, Joseph Lerat. “He was a strong, good person and I admired him and wanted to be like him ... he was able to improve the lives of band members. He had a heart for others besides himself,” Stevenson said in the late 1980s. The Chili for Children program still runs today, operating out of the mâmawêyatitân centre. It serves approximately 800 hot lunches everyday to school-aged kids in the city. As Stevenson continued her work in Regina through the 1990s and 2000s, she gained recognition from various bodies across the province. Those included: being named the 1998 Citizen of the Year by the FSIN (then called the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations); 1999 National Aboriginal Achievement Award in community development; Saskatchewan Order of Merit and a Member of the Order of Canada. In 2008, the City of Regina named a Lakeridge-area park in the city’s northwest in her honour. “I was just always in my own little world there feeding the children and making sure they had something that I didn’t realize that people noticed what I was doing,” she said at the park’s unveiling. Stevenson served as a FSIN senator from 2001 to 2003. In an emailed statement, the FSIN (now called the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations) offered its condolences to Stevenson’s family and friends. “She will be missed by the many people who loved her dearly and by the thousands of lives she touched with her charity work and selflessness," FSIN Vice-Chief Dutch Lerat said. "She leaves behind a legacy that has left our world a better place.” The FSIN noted Stevenson undertook her work by “asserting that First Nations women played a lead role in a then male-dominated time in the 1980s.” Stevenson's sons Greg and Wes could not be reached for comment. firstname.lastname@example.org Evan Radford, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Regina Leader-Post, The Leader-Post
Health officials in British Columbia say the number of new daily cases of COVID-19 is too high and they are repeating calls for everyone's help to bend the curve. The province recorded 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, bringing the total number of confirmed active infections to 4,260. Among those, 313 people are hospitalized, including 71 in intensive care. An additional 14 people died in the past day and the death toll in B.C. from COVID-19 rose to 1,168. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry say in a joint statement that now is the time for anyone who has put aside public health precautions to join or rejoin efforts to stop the spread. They say it is especially critical with the presence of variant strains of COVID-19 in B.C. "For the many who have been doing your part, you may be asking 'What more can I do?'" Dix and Henry say in the joint statement. "Be the voice of support and encouragement for those who may be wavering in their resolve." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
HOUSTON — A federal judge on Tuesday barred the U.S. government from enforcing a 100-day deportation moratorium that is a key immigration priority of President Joe Biden. U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton issued a temporary restraining order sought by Texas, which sued on Friday against a Department of Homeland Security memo that instructed immigration agencies to pause most deportations. Tipton said the Biden administration had failed “to provide any concrete, reasonable justification for a 100-day pause on deportations.” Tipton's order is an early blow to the Biden administration, which has proposed far-reaching changes sought by immigration advocates, including a plan to legalize an estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. Biden promised during his campaign to issue the moratorium. The order represents a victory for Texas' Republican leaders, who often sued to stop programs enacted by Biden's Democratic predecessor, President Barack Obama. It also showed that just as Democratic-led states and immigration groups fought former President Donald Trump over immigration in court, often successfully, so too will Republicans with Biden in office. While Tipton’s order bars enforcement of a moratorium for 14 days, it does not require deportations to resume at their previous pace. Immigration agencies typically have latitude in processing cases and scheduling removal flights. The Department of Homeland Security referred a request for comment to the White House, which issued a statement saying the moratorium was “wholly appropriate.” “President Biden remains committed to taking immediate action to reform our immigration system to ensure it’s upholding American values while keeping our communities safe,” the White House said. David Pekoske, the acting Homeland Security secretary, signed a memo on Biden's first day directing immigration authorities to focus on national security and public safety threats as well as anyone apprehended entering the U.S. illegally after Nov. 1. That was a reversal from Trump administration policy that made anyone in the U.S. illegally a priority for deportation. The 100-day moratorium went into effect Friday and applied to almost anyone who entered the U.S. without authorization before November. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argued that the moratorium violated federal law as well as an agreement Texas signed with the Department of Homeland Security late in the Trump administration. That agreement required Homeland Security to consult with Texas and other states before taking any action to “reduce, redirect, reprioritize, relax, or in any way modify immigration enforcement.” The Biden administration argued in court filings that the agreement is unenforceable because “an outgoing administration cannot contract away that power for an incoming administration.” Paxton’s office, meanwhile, submitted a Fox News opinion article as evidence that “refusal to remove illegal aliens is directly leading to the immediate release of additional illegal aliens in Texas.” Tipton, a Trump appointee, wrote that his order was not based on the agreement between Texas and the Trump administration, but federal law to preserve the “status quo” before the DHS moratorium. Paxton has championed conservative and far-right causes in court, including a failed lawsuit seeking to overturn Biden's victory over Trump, as he himself faces an FBI investigation over accusations by top former aides that he abused his office at the service of a donor. In response to the order, Paxton tweeted “VICTORY” and described the deportation moratorium as a “seditious left-wing insurrection,” an apparent reference to the Jan. 6 insurrection in which Trump supporters stormed the Capitol as Congress was certifying Biden’s victory. The House has since impeached Trump for incitement of the siege. Five people died in the Capitol riot, including a Capitol Police officer. Kate Huddleston of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas criticized Paxton and argued his lawsuit shouldn’t be allowed to proceed. “The administration’s pause on deportations is not only lawful but necessary to ensure that families are not separated and people are not returned to danger needlessly while the new administration reviews past actions,” Huddleston said in a statement. Nomaan Merchant, The Associated Press
Inaya Mirza’s bully, another student in her Grade 4 classroom, is a lot quieter online. “When she was at school every day, she would be talking about this girl,” said her older sister, Maryam Mirza. “She was doing poor academically because she was so stressed.” The bullying — name-calling, rumour-spreading and gossiping — stopped when classrooms were shuttered. “Now, she’s happy,” said Maryam, 23, an early-childhood educator. “She kind of misses her friends, but, at the same time, she’s relieved that she doesn’t have to deal with the bully.” Nearly 60 per cent of public school students surveyed reported being bullied pre-COVID, according to a new report on bullying released Friday by the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. Amid the pandemic, that number dropped to about 40 per cent. The report was initiated by the board after the death of 14-year-old Devan Selvey, who was stabbed outside Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in October 2019. Kristine Bolton, a parent to two students in the public board, said her eldest daughter, a Grade 10 student at Sir Winston Churchill, suffers from anxiety. “She didn’t feel safe all the time there with what happened with Devan,” she said. “She’s been scared.” Bolton said the 15-year-old puts a lot of pressure on herself to perform academically. “She blacks out during tests,” her mother said. “So being in the comfort of home, she’s not going through that and her marks have been really good so far.” Bolton said her kids have excelled with remote learning — each for a different reason. “Our youngest one, she’s always had a lot of struggles, unfortunately, in school,” Bolton said. Her daughter, a 12-year-old student in Grade 7, had been at a Grade 3 or 4 level for a couple of years, her mother said. Now, she is doing math between a Grade 6 and 7 level. “When the remote started last year after March break, I was able to give her that one-on-one support,” she said. “Her grades have improved.” Jennifer McTaggart, a clinical psychologist with the child and youth mental health program at McMaster Children’s Hospital, said success with remote learning “is going to vary based on the kid.” “I think there are some children who are thriving in remote learning,” she said. Self-directed learners and students who are easily distracted by may prefer to learn in a more independent environment. Remote learning might be a welcome break for students who are shy, have an anxiety disorder or suffer from bullying. But, she said, it’s “a double-edged sword.” “Getting out of the situation really does reinforce the anxiety, so our kids aren’t learning how to deal in these social situations,” she said. “There’s a temporary relief, but I also worry our children aren’t getting the benefit of learning how to work through those situations, which is important to our social development.” Sixteen-year-old Elena Kowalchuk, a Grade 11 student at Sir Allan MacNab Secondary School, is “kind of made for online learning,” her mother says. “She’s highly motivated, she’s got an excellent work ethic, she’s got really good work habits,” said Michelle Castellani, who is a high school teacher. But, despite her daughter’s success with remote learning, Castellani said she will “100 per cent” be going back to the classroom once schools reopen for in-person learning. “It’s not so much for the academics that I would send her back, it is for that little bit of a social piece,” she said. “It’s important for kids to get out of the house.” Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
UPEI's writer-in-residence is not in residence this year, but because of COVID-19 travel restrictions will be offering readings and workshops online from his home in B.C. Jay Ruzesky, a professor of creative writing, Canadian literature and film studies at Vancouver Island University, is a novelist and poet who also writes travel stories and memoirs. His focus at UPEI will be non-fiction writing. "In the same way that I think everybody is essentially creative, you know, we are creative as human beings, I also think everybody has a story," he said in an interview with Mainstreet P.E.I. host Matt Rainnie. Everybody has a story. — Jay Ruzesky "And creative non-fiction can be a lot of different things, everything from, you know, travel writing to restaurant reviews and all kinds of things." His workshops will focus on two streams, one being more personal — stories about the writer's own experiences — and the other more outward, stories about what the writer observes and collects about another person's experience. "Both things, in order to tell a story really well, it depends on literary techniques. It depends on the language. It depends on, you know, narrative and story and the kind of imagery and the kind of things that all good stories are made of." 'It's so beautiful' Ruzesky said he wishes he could be at UPEI in person, but hosting virtual workshops has become the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic. "It's where we are, right. I've been to Prince Edward Island, to Charlottetown and to the Island many times, and I love it there. It's so beautiful. And I have friends there, but it's just not something we can do right now." The workshops are on Feb. 6 and Feb. 13. There will be a reading, open to anyone through Facebook Live, on Feb. 9. More information is available on the Winter's Tales Facebook page. More from CBC P.E.I.
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he remains confident in Canada's vaccine supplies despite threats from Europe that it might impose export controls on vaccines produced on that continent. Speaking to reporters outside his Ottawa residence Tuesday morning, Trudeau said the situation in Europe is worrisome but he is "very confident" Canada is going to get all the COVID-19 vaccine doses promised by the end of March. And despite the sharp decline in deliveries of a vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech this month, he said Canada will still vaccinate all Canadians who want shots by the end of September. "We will continue to work closely with Europe to ensure that we are sourcing, that we are receiving the vaccines that we have signed for, that we are due," Trudeau said. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a video statement posted to Twitter Tuesday that Europe will set up a "vaccine export transparency mechanism" so Europe knows exactly how many doses are being produced in the world's largest trading bloc and where they are being shipped. "Europe invested billions to help develop the world‘s first COVID-19 vaccines to create a truly global common good," she said. "And now the companies must deliver." Europe is also getting smaller shipments from Pfizer than promised, because the company temporarily slowed production at its plant in Belgium so it can be expanded. AstraZeneca has also warned Europe its first shipments of vaccine will be smaller than expected because of production problems. But Europe, which invested more than C$4 billion in vaccine development, is demanding the companies fulfil their contracts on time. "Europe is determined to contribute to this global common good but it also means business," said von der Leyen. International Trade Minister Mary Ng said she had spoken to her European counterpart, Valdis Dombrovskis, about the situation and will keep working with Europe to keep the supply chain open. "There is not a restriction on the export of vaccines to Canada," Ng said in question period. Conservative health critic Michelle Rempel Garner accused Ng of playing games with her response, noting the issue isn't that there is an export ban now, but that Europe is threatening to impose one. With all of Canada's current vaccine doses coming from Europe, "that's a concern," Rempel Garner said. "If the Europeans ban exports of vaccines, what's Plan B for Canada?" she asked. Both Pfizer and Moderna are making doses of their vaccine in the U.S. and in Europe, but all U.S.-made doses are currently only shipped within the U.S. Former U.S. president Donald Trump invoked the Defence Production Act last year to prevent export of personal protection equipment. He then signed an executive order in December demanding U.S.-produced vaccines be prioritized for Americans only and threatened to use the act to halt vaccine exports as well. President Joe Biden has already invoked the act to push for faster production of PPE and vaccines. Though he has not specifically mentioned exports, Biden has promised 100 million Americans will be vaccinated within his first 100 days of office, making the prospects the U.S. shares any of its vaccine supply unlikely. Canada has contracts with five other vaccine makers, but only two are on the verge of approval here. AstraZeneca, which has guaranteed Canada 20 million doses, needs to finish a big U.S. trial before Health Canada decides whether to authorize it. Johnson and Johnson is to report results from its Phase 3 trial next week, one of the final things needed before Health Canada can make a decision about it. Canada is to get 10 million doses from Johnson and Johnson, but it is the one vaccine that so far is administered as only a single dose. Trudeau said AstraZeneca isn't supplying Canada from its European production lines. A spokeswoman for Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Canada will not say where the other vaccines are coming from because of the concerns about security of supplies. AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson have set up multiple production lines in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, India, Australia and Africa. Canada has no current ability to produce either those vaccines or the ones from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. It is entirely reliant on foreign production at the moment. More than 113,000 people in Canada have received two full doses of either the Moderna or BioNTech vaccine. Another 752,000 have received a single dose. But the reduction in Pfizer shipments to Canada forced most provinces to slow the pace of injections. Europe, Mexico, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia also have slowed their vaccination campaigns because of the supply limits. Trudeau said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla assured him the full shipments will resume in mid-February, and that Canada will get its contracted four million doses by the end of March. He said he spoke to Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel Tuesday morning and was promised Moderna's shipments of two million doses by March 31 are also on track. MPs were scheduled to have an emergency debate on Canada's vaccine program Tuesday night. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021.There are 757,022 confirmed cases in Canada._ Canada: 757,022 confirmed cases (59,551 active, 678,068 resolved, 19,403 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.There were 4,011 new cases Tuesday from 34,572 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 12 per cent. The rate of active cases is 158.43 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 37,271 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 5,324.There were 165 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 1,137 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 162. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.43 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 51.62 per 100,000 people. There have been 17,120,912 tests completed._ Newfoundland and Labrador: 398 confirmed cases (six active, 388 resolved, four deaths).There were zero new cases Tuesday from 158 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 1.15 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 78,477 tests completed._ Prince Edward Island: 110 confirmed cases (six active, 104 resolved, zero deaths).There were zero new cases Tuesday from 267 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 3.82 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 88,900 tests completed._ Nova Scotia: 1,572 confirmed cases (11 active, 1,496 resolved, 65 deaths).There was one new case Tuesday from 934 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.11 per cent. The rate of active cases is 1.13 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 11 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people. There have been 201,358 tests completed._ New Brunswick: 1,161 confirmed cases (340 active, 807 resolved, 14 deaths).There were 10 new cases Tuesday from 1,048 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.95 per cent. The rate of active cases is 43.77 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 157 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 22.There were zero new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.02 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.8 per 100,000 people. There have been 137,228 tests completed._ Quebec: 256,002 confirmed cases (15,622 active, 230,803 resolved, 9,577 deaths).There were 1,166 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 184.11 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10,268 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,467.There were 56 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 435 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 62. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.73 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 112.87 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,695,925 tests completed._ Ontario: 258,700 confirmed cases (23,036 active, 229,755 resolved, 5,909 deaths).There were 1,740 new cases Tuesday from 29,712 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 5.9 per cent. The rate of active cases is 158.14 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 16,423 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,346.There were 63 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 430 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 61. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.42 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 40.57 per 100,000 people. There have been 9,007,713 tests completed._ Manitoba: 28,902 confirmed cases (3,492 active, 24,601 resolved, 809 deaths).There were 92 new cases Tuesday from 1,556 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 5.9 per cent. The rate of active cases is 254.99 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,162 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 166.There were five new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 26 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.27 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 59.07 per 100,000 people. There have been 450,194 tests completed._ Saskatchewan: 22,646 confirmed cases (2,649 active, 19,729 resolved, 268 deaths).There were 230 new cases Tuesday from 897 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 26 per cent. The rate of active cases is 225.55 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,775 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 254.There were 14 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 43 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is six. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.52 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 22.82 per 100,000 people. There have been 331,591 tests completed._ Alberta: 121,901 confirmed cases (8,652 active, 111,662 resolved, 1,587 deaths).There were 366 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 197.93 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,134 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 591.There were 13 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 124 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 18. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.41 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 36.3 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,061,844 tests completed._ British Columbia: 65,234 confirmed cases (5,714 active, 58,352 resolved, 1,168 deaths).There were 406 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 112.67 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,322 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 475.There were 14 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 78 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 11. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.22 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 23.03 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,044,931 tests completed._ Yukon: 70 confirmed cases (zero active, 69 resolved, one deaths).There were zero new cases Tuesday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,229 tests completed._ Northwest Territories: 31 confirmed cases (six active, 25 resolved, zero deaths).There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 13.39 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of one new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 9,064 tests completed._ Nunavut: 282 confirmed cases (17 active, 264 resolved, one deaths).There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 43.84 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 16 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 7,382 tests completed.This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
REGINA — Saskatchewan's top doctor says he believes there are limits to where people can protest after a handful of demonstrators unhappy with COVID-19 restrictions showed up outside his home. Chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab says while people can go to public spaces like legislatures to stage their frustration, he doesn't believe they have the right to protest at someone's private residence. Premier Scott Moe says his government has offered security to Shahab after police were called to his house on the weekend to respond to protesters who had gathered nearby. Moe says it's up to police in Regina to investigate and decide whether to lay any charges. The premier says the demonstration crossed a line between protesting government decisions around COVID-19 and the privacy of a person, his family and his neighbours. He says his Saskatchewan Party government is looking at what options exist to address protests at the homes of public servants. "We have been starting to look at what other jurisdictions have in place with respect to some of the laws that they have, and looking at whether or not we should consider those here," he said during a briefing Tuesday. Moe said he wasn't sure what options the government has to address what happened, since streets and sidewalks are public property. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021 Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
The snow carvings will be back, but the "sourdough" has been cut. Organizers of Whitehorse's annual winter festival say the event is set to go ahead next month, with some pandemic precautions, and a new name — the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous is now simply the Yukon Rendezvous. Festival president Tyson Hickman said that after 57 years, it was time for a re-branding. The festival got some money last year to do it. "A lot of Yukoners have a lot of very fond memories about Rendezvous past, a lot of Yukoners don't. There is some negative connotation surrounding the term 'sourdough,' and Yukon's history in general," Hickman said. "So what better time to refresh the brand and move forward?" Souring on sourdough Sourdough was a staple for many who came north during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898, allowing them to make bread without the use of baker's yeast or baking soda. It became so closely associated with stampeders that any of them who stayed in Yukon or Alaska through at least one winter came to be called "sourdoughs." Robert Service's classic 1907 book of Gold Rush-era poems was titled, Songs of a Sourdough. Hickman says the festival has been getting feedback in recent years that suggests some people have soured on the idea of a "sourdough festival," seeing it as a throwback to a colonial era. The name change is a way to make it more inclusive, said executive director Saskrita Shresthra. "We did decide that, moving forward, 'Yukon Rendezvous' represents us a little bit better," Shresthra said. "[The festival]'s definitely evolved and changed a lot over the last 57 years. And I think that it will continue to change and evolve as, you know, as Whitehorse does." The festival's old logo featured a comic drawing of a burly, bearded "Sourdough Sam" in boots and a parka. The new logo, pictured on the festival website, has replaced Sam with some stylized mountains and trees. More fencing, and other pandemic precautions The festival has had to make some other significant changes this year in response to the pandemic. Many events are going online, and others will have limits on the number of spectators or participants. "You can expect to see a lot more fencing than normal," said Hickman. "And wherever possible, for inside events like our performance stage, we're asking people to register ahead of time so that we know you're coming and we can have a seat for you." Hickman says another big change this year will be the return of two of the more popular events from past festivals — the snow-carving competition and the fireworks show. "We wanted to do something for the community, and we knew that fireworks and snow carving could be done in a COVID[-19]-safe manner. And those were two items that were high on the list from the outset, for us," Hickman said. The festival has had financial struggles in recent years, but Hickman says it's hanging on thanks to volunteers and some strong local support. He says it was important to make sure there was some sort of festival this year — even if it was going to be a lot different because of the pandemic. "When the board of directors sat down after the last festival, we knew that by the time February 2021 came around, the community would be in desperate need of something," he said. "This year is probably more important than most." The Yukon Rendezvous runs from Feb. 12 to 28 in Whitehorse.
AT&T Inc was sued on Tuesday for at least $1.35 billion by a Seattle company that accused the telecommunications giant of stealing its patented "twinning" technology, which lets smart devices such as watches and tablets respond to calls placed to a single phone number. Network Apps LLC said AT&T abandoned joint development and licensing agreements for its technology in 2014 after realizing it would owe a "fortune" in royalties because the market for smart devices was exploding, only to then incorporate the technology a year later in its own product, NumberSync. According to a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, NumberSync uses the "same concept and architecture" with only "cosmetic changes," and its purported "inventors" were the same AT&T personnel who had worked with the plaintiffs.