In 2010, Paul McCartney played a gig at the iconic 100 Club in London which was under threat of closure. (Dec. 17)
In 2010, Paul McCartney played a gig at the iconic 100 Club in London which was under threat of closure. (Dec. 17)
WASHINGTON — Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took their oaths of office on Wednesday using Bibles that are laden with personal meaning, writing new chapters in a long-running American tradition — and one that appears nowhere in the law. The Constitution does not require the use of a specific text for swearing-in ceremonies and specifies only the wording of the president’s oath. That wording does not include the phrase “so help me God,” but every modern president has appended it to their oaths and most have chosen symbolically significant Bibles for their inaugurations. That includes Biden, who used the same family Bible he has used twice when swearing in as vice-president and seven times as senator from Delaware. The book, several inches thick, and which his late son Beau also used when swearing in as Delaware attorney general, has been a “family heirloom” since 1893 and “every important date is in there,” Biden told late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert last month. “Why is your Bible bigger than mine? Do you have more Jesus than I do?” quipped Colbert, who like Biden is a practicing Catholic. Biden’s use of his family Bible underscores the prominent role his faith has played in his personal and professional lives — and will continue to do so as he becomes the second Catholic president in U.S. history. He follows in a tradition of many other presidents who used family-owned scriptures to take their oaths, including Ronald Reagan and Franklin D. Roosevelt, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Some have had their Bibles opened to personally relevant passages during their ceremonies. Bill Clinton, for example, chose Isaiah 58:12 — which urges the devout to be a “repairer of the breach” — for his second inauguration after a first term marked by political schisms with conservatives. Others took their oaths on closed Bibles, like John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president, who in 1961 used his family’s century-old tome with a large cross on the front, similar to Biden’s. The tradition of using a Bible dates as far back as the presidency itself, with the holy book used by George Washington later appearing on exhibit at the Smithsonian on loan from the Masonic lodge that provided it in 1789. Washington’s Bible was later used for the oaths by Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. But not every president has used a Bible. Theodore Roosevelt took his 1901 oath without one after the death of William McKinley, while John Quincy Adams used a law book in 1825, according to his own account. Some have employed multiple Bibles during their ceremonies: Both Barack Obama and Donald Trump chose to use, along with others, the copy that Abraham Lincoln was sworn in on in 1861. Harris did the same for her vice-presidential oath, using a Bible owned by a close family friend and one that belonged to the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Harris has spoken of her admiration of Marshall, a fellow Howard University graduate and trailblazer in government as the high court’s first African American justice. “When I raise my right hand and take the oath of office tomorrow, I carry with me two heroes who’d speak up for the voiceless and help those in need,” Harris tweeted Tuesday, referring to Marshall and friend Regina Shelton, whose Bible she swore on when becoming attorney general of California and later senator. Harris, who attended both Baptist and Hindu services as a child, worships in the Baptist faith as an adult. While U.S. lawmakers have typically used Bibles for their oaths, some have chosen alternatives that reflect their religious diversity. Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim elected to Congress, in 2007 used a Qur’an that belonged to Thomas Jefferson, prompting objections from some Christian conservatives. Jefferson’s Qur’an made a return in 2019 at the oath for Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., chose a Hebrew Bible in 2005 to reflect her Jewish faith. Newly elected Georgia Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff, who is also Jewish and who swears in Wednesday, used Hebrew scripture belonging to Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, an ally of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement. Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, opted for the Bhagavad Gita in 2013 after becoming the first Hindu elected to Congress. And Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., the only member of the current Congress who identifies as “religiously unaffiliated,” took her oath on the Constitution in 2018. ___ Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely responsible for this content. Elana Schor, The Associated Press
Canada Post is commemorating Amber Valley, a forgotten community of all-Black settlers in northern Alberta, with a stamp for Black History Month. The community, 170 kilometres north of Edmonton, was settled by hundreds of African-Americans escaping racial violence and segregation in the United States in the 1900s. Myrna Wisdom, a historian and descendant of Amber Valley settlers, said she wasn't too surprised when Canada Post reached out to her a couple years ago to consult on the stamp. "I just think it's about time," Wisdom said. "What took you so long, I guess, is one of the questions before they started profiling these people, you know, because we've been here for the past 100 years." The yellow-toned stamp features a scene of a caravan rolling through the Prairies with photographs of the earliest members who helped settle the community. The image is set against a backdrop of Amber Valley on the Alberta map. The settlers include Henry Sneed, Jordan W. Murphy, with great-granddaughter Bernice Bowen and granddaughter Vivian (Murphy) Harris and Amy Broady, a midwife. Wisdom said Broady provided an essential service. "She rode horseback, because there were no good roads, but she delivered babies. And it didn't matter what colour you were, she helped everybody out." She said it was appropriate to have Murphy on the stamp as before the land was called Amber Valley, it was referred to as Murphy's Land. She added that Bowen was also the first graduate of Toles School, the local school in Amber Valley. She went on to study teaching at the University of Alberta and is still alive today. "She's in her 80s, late 80s, but she will be able to see the stamp. That's what I think is nice about it," Wisdom said. Jim Phillips, director of stamp services at Canada Post, said the postal operator has been celebrating Black History Month for the past 13 years, especially by telling the stories of the early communities, heroes and cultures. "We are honoured and pleased to be able to tell this story and to create some lasting artwork and kind of open a discussion about this community across Canada and among Canadians who may not know about it," he said. The stamps will be available Friday in post offices across Canada. But Phillips encourages people to buy them online due to the pandemic. He said Canada Post prints a finite number of stamps and normally they would last a year unless they get sold out. "We've had a lot of interest in these stamps … people just seem to want to resonate with the story," he said. "I would suggest if anybody really wants them, that they don't wait that long because I think they'll be gone in a couple of months." Five families at first Amber Valley was settled by five families in 1910. Some 300 people started arriving from Alabama and Oklahoma, braving hostile conditions at the border and undergoing rigorous medical exams before boarding the train for Edmonton. After that, they followed a dusty wagon road to Amber Valley. By 1911, about 1,000 settlers had settled in the community. Wisdom said she still wonders why they came all the way north, instead of stopping at some place like Vancouver. Before the original families settled, a trio had scouted the area and decided it was a good place despite the bush. Today, only a few barns and homes remain of the once-thriving settlement. Wisdom said her grandfather's house burned down last week. "I grew up seeing that house, you know, walking by there," she said. "It was just a landmark that's been there."
Methane leaking out of the more than 4 million abandoned oil and gas wells in the United States and Canada is a far greater contributor to climate change than government estimates suggest, researchers from McGill University said on Wednesday. Canada has underestimated methane emissions from its abandoned wells by as much as 150%, while official U.S. estimates are about 20% below actual levels, the study, published in Environmental Science and Technology, found. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Environment and Climate Change Canada did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the study.
European leaders described the 46th President's inauguration speech as "inspiring" and said it was time to bring "conviction and common sense" to help rejuvenate their relationship with the US.View on euronews
OTTAWA — A majority of Conservative MPs have voted to remove Derek Sloan from the party's caucus, according to sources not authorized to speak publicly about caucus business. The vote follows revelations Sloan accepted a donation to his leadership campaign from a white nationalist. Party leader Erin O'Toole initiated the caucus removal process late Monday after news of the donation surfaced. Sloan did not dispute he received the money but has said he was unaware of it, and it was unfair to expect him to scrutinize the backgrounds of all donors. Sloan was first elected to the Ontario riding of Hastings-Lennox and Addington in 2019 and unsuccessfully ran for leadership of the party last year. His socially conservative views have been a thorn in the party's side and O'Toole had faced pressure for months to kick him out to prove the Tories are the moderate party the leader claims. More Coming... The Canadian Press
Wembley has a new Land Use Bylaw (LUB) that drills down into the development process to encourage commercial development, reports mayor Chris Turnmire. The bylaw was formalized following a public hearing in mid-December. Council gave the revamped LUB its final readings and passage after receiving no objections, said Turnmire. Approximately three members of the public joined the hearing through Zoom but none spoke, he said. “The last bylaw was 22 years old and it was due for a review and revision,” Turnmire said. “We have a more thorough bylaw that will be clearer for the public and developers to look at when considering any future development in Wembley.” The reform will go in-depth in describing the development process, making the definitions of zoning areas clearer, he said. Wembley has always had some steady growth, including approximately 9.6 per cent growth in the last census, he said. Statistics Canada reported Wembley had a population of 1,516 in 2016, compared to 1,383 in 2011. “That was exceptional, and if from 2016 we had 1.5 to two per cent growth, council would be very pleased,” he said. Turnmire said all public feedback on the LUB review came before the draft, through an open house held by ISL Engineering in early 2020. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
WASHINGTON — Three new senators were sworn into office Wednesday after President Joe Biden's inauguration, securing the majority for Democrats in the Senate and across a unified government to tackle the new president's agenda at a time of unprecedented national challenges. In a first vote, the Senate confirmed Biden's nominee for Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines. Senators worked into the evening and overcame some Republican opposition to approve his first Cabinet member, in what's traditionally a show of good faith on Inauguration Day to confirm at least some nominees for a new president's administration. Haines, a former CIA deputy director, will become a core member of Biden’s security team, overseeing the agencies that make up the nation’s intelligence community. She was confirmed 84-10. The new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., urged colleagues to turn the spirit of the new president’s call for unity into action. “President Biden, we heard you loud and clear,” Schumer said in his first speech as majority leader. “We have a lengthy agenda. And we need to get it done together.” Vice-President Kamala Harris drew applause as she entered the chamber to deliver the oath of office to the new Democratic senators — Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock and Alex Padilla — just hours after taking her own oath at the Capitol alongside Biden. The three Democrats join a Senate narrowly split 50-50 between the parties, but giving Democrats the majority with Harris able to cast the tie-breaking vote. Ossoff, a former congressional aide and investigative journalist, and Warnock, a pastor from the late Martin Luther King Jr.'s church in Atlanta, won run-off elections in Georgia this month, defeating two Republicans. Padilla was tapped by California’s governor to finish the remainder of Harris’ term. “Today, America is turning over a new leaf. We are turning the page on the last four years, we’re going to reunite the country, defeat COVID-19, rush economic relief to the people,” Ossoff told reporters earlier at the Capitol. “That’s what they sent us here to do.” Taken together, their arrival gives Democrats for the first time in a decade control of the Senate, the House and the White House, as Biden faces the unparalleled challenges of the COVID-19 crisis and its economic fallout, and the nation's painful political divisions from the deadly Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol by a mob loyal to Donald Trump. Congress is being called on to consider Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion COVID recovery package, to distribute vaccines and shore up an economy as more than 400,000 Americans have died from the virus. At the same time, the Senate is about to launch an impeachment trial of Trump, charged by the House of inciting the insurrection at the Capitol as rioters tried to interrupt the Electoral College tally and overturn Biden’s election. The Senate will need to confirm other Biden Cabinet nominees. To “restore the soul” of the country, Biden said in his inaugural speech, requires “unity.” Yet as Washington looks to turn the page from Trump to the Biden administration, Republican leader Mitch McConnell is not relinquishing power without a fight. Haines' nomination was temporarily blocked by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Okla., as he sought information about the CIA's enhanced interrogation program. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is holding back the Homeland Security nominee Alejandro Mayorkas over Biden's proposed immigration changes. And McConnell is refusing to enter a power-sharing agreement with Senate Democrats unless they meet his demands, chiefly to preserve the Senate filibuster — the procedural tool often used by the minority party to block bills under rules that require 60 votes to advance legislation. McConnell, in his first speech as the minority party leader, said the election results with narrow Democratic control of the House and Senate showed that Americans “intentionally entrusted both political parties with significant power.” The Republican leader said he looked forward working with the new president “wherever possible.” At her first White House briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden’s desire to have his Cabinet confirmed and in place is “front and centre for the president,” and she said he was hoping to have his national security nominees in place Thursday or Friday. Psaki said the president will be “quite involved” in negotiations over the COVID relief package, but left the details of the upcoming impeachment trial to Congress. The Senate can “multitask,” she said. That’s a tall order for a Senate under normal circumstances, but even more so now in the post-Trump era, with Republicans badly split between their loyalties to the defeated president and wealthy donors who are distancing themselves from Republicans who back Trump. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to soon transmit to the Senate the House-passed article of impeachment against Trump, charged with incitement of insurrection, a step that will launch the Senate impeachment trial. Meantime, the power-sharing talks between Schumer and McConnell have hit a stalemate. It’s an arcane fight McConnell has inserted into what has traditionally been a more routine organizing resolution over committee assignments and staffing resources, but a power play by the outgoing Republican leader grabbing at tools that can be used to block Biden’s agenda. Progressive and liberal Democrats are eager to do away with the filibuster to more quickly advance Biden’s priorities, but not all rank-and-file Senate Democrats are on board. Schumer has not agreed to any changes but McConnell is taking no chances. For now, it will take unanimous consent among senators to toggle between conducting votes on legislative business and serving as jurors in the impeachment trial. The House last week impeached Trump for having sent the mob to the Capitol to “fight like hell” during the tally of Electoral College votes to overturn Biden’s election. __ Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report. Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Health authorities in Quebec have reported fewer than 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 for four consecutive days — almost two weeks since the imposition of a provincewide curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. Premier Francois Legault has suggested the drop in cases may be the result of the curfew, which he said he imposed to reduce COVID-19 transmission, especially to people older than 60. The measure will be in effect, he said, until at least Feb. 8. Health experts say it's too early to know for certain whether the curfew is behind the significant drop in new daily cases. But they differ on whether the drastic measure should start getting some credit. Benoit Masse, professor of public health at Universite de Montreal, said it's "very difficult to know" whether the curfew is working because that measure was one of several restrictions imposed to reduce spread. Primary schools had been closed for an extended winter break and only reopened Jan. 11, he said. High schools, meanwhile, reopened Monday. Government data indicates schools have been tied to more than 20 per cent of non-active outbreaks in the province. Quebecers also got a "rude awakening," Masse said, when earlier this month officials reported more than 3,100 cases in a single day, sparking public warnings from doctors who said hospitals were on the verge of rationing care. Those warnings may have shocked Quebecers into reducing their contacts, Masse explained. "It's certain that also had an enormous impact on Quebec." But, he added, the curfew may have also played a role in shocking Quebecers into reducing their contacts. Roxane Borges Da Silva, a public health professor at Universite de Montreal who was one of the experts calling for a curfew in early January, said the measure may be having the desired effect. She said a new study by researchers at the Aix-Marseille University in France indicates that a partial lockdown coupled with a curfew reduced transmission in that country among people aged 20 to 60. That study, "An Early Assessment of Curfew and Second COVID-19 Lock-down on Virus Propagation in France," which has not yet been peer reviewed, found that the acceleration of viral spread among people older than 60 "decreased notably with curfew measures." But even with the decline in the number of new cases, Masse said it's too early to say whether the trend will continue. It's also too early, he said, to declare victory. Quebec reported 1,502 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday and 66 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including 10 that occurred in the preceding 24 hours. Health officials said hospitalizations dropped by 33, to 1,467, and 216 people were in intensive care, a rise of four. The majority of the new cases were reported in Montreal and neighbouring regions. Officials reported 629 cases in Montreal, 199 in the Monteregie region and 148 in Laval. No other region in Quebec had more than 100 reported cases Wednesday. Quebec has reported 247,236 COVID-19 infections and 9,208 deaths linked to the virus since the start of the pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, b2021. ——— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press
The Nova Scotia Police Review Board is looking into claims from convicted murderer Christopher Garnier's family that accuse Cape Breton Regional Police officers of conducting an illegal arrest and seizure of evidence in 2017. Garnier was taken into custody for breaching bail conditions after failing to present himself to the municipal force at his mother's basement door in Millville, N.S. during a compliance check His mother, Kim Edmunds, said she does not believe police were at her home as they have stated. "I honestly don't think they were," Edmunds told members of the board's three-person panel. "When somebody knocks on the door, it wakes me up." Alleged breach In February 2017, while awaiting trial for murder, Garnier took a trip to Cape Breton, where his mother lives. He was allowed to live at his father's house in Bedford or at his mother's residence in Millville as part of his bail conditions. Garnier was to submit to regular compliance checks from either members of the CBRP and Halifax Regional Police. Before his trip, Garnier called a Halifax police answering service to advise he was going to stay at his mom's place, although he did not leave his cell phone number with the service at that time. A CBRP officer testified under oath at a bail revocation hearing that he went to the Millville home in the early morning hours of Feb. 18, 2017, but Garnier did not present himself at the door. A Supreme Court judge later ruled Garnier did not intentionally breach his conditions, as he was likely asleep. That same year, Garnier was found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of off-duty Truro police officer Catherine Campbell. Complaint launched Christopher Garnier's father, Vincent Garnier, is representing himself as a complainant at the police hearing into the actions of four officers. The men accused of misconduct are Const. Steve Campbell, Const. Gary Fraser, Const. Dennis McQueen and Const. Troy Walker. Each officer is represented by a lawyer, while a member of Cape Breton Regional Municipality's legal team is acting on behalf of the police organization. "We'll dig deep into the practices of the [CBRP] which I believe violate the constitution, violate the charter and violate aspects of the criminal code. Those are the informations I would like to bring forth over the next two weeks," Vincent Garnier said during a break in the proceedings. "The police, without a warrant, and without any consent of the property owners, accessed private property, walked into a private residence and placed a person under arrest." The board heard that photographs of the property were taken without the knowledge of the homeowner. Hearing continues Vincent Garnier said his family incurred more than $35,000 in legal fees as a result alleged breach. After his son's arrest, he filed a complaint with CBRP. An internal investigation found that if a breach had occurred, it was only minor. Members of the police review board, Hon. Simon J. MacDonald, Stephen Johnson and chair Jean McKenna are hearing arguments on both sides of the case at a Sydney hotel. Police will have a chance to explain their actions on the weekend in question once Vincent Garnier finishes calling witnesses. In total, 14 people are expected to testify at the hearing that is slated to run over two weeks. So far, the board has heard from Christopher Garnier's mother and stepmother, his uncle, and his former common-law partner. MORE TOP STORIES
Ontario's police watchdog cleared an officer of wrongdoing in the shooting death of a man west of Toronto on Wednesday, saying there were no reasonable grounds to lay charges in the incident that took place last year. The Special Investigations Unit noted, however, that there were legitimate questions about the Peel Regional Police officer's conduct on the evening that Jamal Francique was shot in the head in Mississauga, Ont.Joseph Martino, the director of the Special Investigations Unit, said in a report that the officer told investigators he feared for his life when Francique drove at him during a botched arrest."Confronted by a vehicle that the subject officer had reason to believe was intentionally being driven in his direction, the officer's decision to disable its operating mind by shooting in the direction of the driver was not devoid of logic," Martino wrote.There were, however, aspects of the officer's conduct that raised questions, Martino said. "One may question, for example, the wisdom of the (subject officer) placing himself in the vicinity of a vehicle whose driver was evidently attempting to flee from police," Martino wrote. "There are those who would also take issue with shooting at a moving vehicle when the prospect of stopping the vehicle in its tracks is low and the risk of contributing to a dangerous situation on the roadway is real. On the other hand, one must be mindful of the fluid and dynamic nature of the incident."Police were investigating Francique for allegedly dealing drugs and possessing a firearm, the SIU said.Officers were unable to confirm if Francique had a gun or was dealing drugs, but decided to arrest him for allegedly breaching bail conditions, the SIU said.On Jan. 7, 2020, several plainclothes officers and their unmarked cars gathered near Francique's home in Mississauga, Ont., where they waited for him to get into his car.Around 5:45 p.m., the SIU said, Francique got into an Acura TSX and began to drive, but one officer was late blocking him in the driveway.A second unmarked police car came behind Francique and tried to hem him in, the SIU said, while other officers got out of the cars and rushed to the area, guns pointed at the young man. Francique accelerated toward a grassy area, the SIU said, and struck one car while one officer jumped out of the way. At that point another officer on foot fired his gun four times as Francique drove towards him, the SIU said. The Acura came to a halt 30 metres away after it hit a home. The SIU said officers did not approach the car for fears of a gun — which was later found in Francique's satchel — and waited until tactical officers arrived more than two hours later at 8:05 p.m.The tactical team then approached with a shield and smashed the rear windows."Mr. Francique was seated in the driver’s seat in obvious and acute medical distress," the SIU wrote. "He had suffered a gunshot wound to the left side of the head."Francique was taken to St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto and died three days later.Knia Singh, a lawyer representing Francique's family, criticized the SIU."The SIU has failed to serve Ontario's diverse community in a way that fosters confidence in the process," Singh said. "The public perception from affected communities, lawyers, and human rights organizations, is that the SIU is heavily biased in favour of police."- with files from John Chidley-Hill.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. Liam Casey, The Canadian Press
MANCHESTER, England — Bernardo Silva finally broke Aston Villa’s resistance by scoring off Manchester City’s 36th effort at goal before Ilkay Gundogan’s penalty sealed a 2-0 victory on Wednesday that extended the winning run of the Premier League’s form team to six matches. An end-to-end match in which City lost Kevin De Bruyne and Kyle Walker to injuries looked to be heading for a draw, despite the home team’s dominance, when Silva received a pass from Rodri and smashed home a shot from the edge of the area in the 79th minute. The goal was contentious because Rodri was returning from an offside position when he dispossessed Villa defender Tyrone Mings before releasing Silva. No offside was given, though, with the officials seemingly feeling a new phase of play had started when Mings controlled the ball on his chest before being picked off by Rodri. Villa manager Dean Smith was sent off for protesting against the awarding of a goal he described as “farcical” and “pathetic.” “I said to the fourth official, David Coote, ‘Did you get juggling balls for Christmas?’" Smith said, explaining when he was shown a red card by referee Jonathan Moss. “I don’t think any other manager would get sent off for that.” Gundogan wrapped up the win in the 90th minute by converting a spot kick after Matty Cash raised his hand to block a goalbound header from Gabriel Jesus. City moved above Leicester to the top of the league, although Manchester United can reclaim first place by beating Fulham later Wednesday. It was Villa’s first league match since Jan. 1, after which there was a coronavirus outbreak in the squad that led to the training ground being closed. Villa reported that nine players contracted COVID-19 in that period but Smith was able to field a full-strength lineup against City, with the squad only back in training since Sunday. Villa, however, was on the back foot for the entire match, which was played in driving rain, only holding on thanks to a series of last-ditch blocks and some fine goalkeeping from Emi Martinez. City is in its best form of the season, having won nine straight games in all competitions. Pep Guardiola's team in unbeaten in 15. “No one else has won five, six in a row but it’s still the first leg of the season," Guardiola said. "A lot of games to do but the important thing is that the feeling is good.” Walker was substituted with an apparent leg muscle injury in the 27th minute, while De Bruyne hobbled off in the 59th shortly after being fouled by Jack Grealish. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
One of Vancouver's independent movie houses is reclassifying itself as a sports bar in an attempted workaround of provincial health orders that forced cinemas to close. The Rio Theatre says that as of Saturday it will operate as a bar that shows sporting events on the big screen, part of a business pivot is says would comply with British Columbia's COVID-19 guidelines. Operators of the Rio have protested B.C.'s pandemic guidelines after being told in November they could no longer stay open. Over the Christmas holiday, the theatre used its marquee to question the decision to close theatres while malls could operate. Movie theatres in most parts of the country have been forced to close under local guidelines. Some indie theatres have continued to operate concession stands to stay in business, while the owners of Ottawa's ByTowne Cinema chose to permanently close in December. The Rio says it will take a different road. "Screw the arts. We're a sports bar now," read a marquee outside the theatre posted Tuesday on Rio's social media channels. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. The Canadian Press
Seniors living at a Regina care home say their hopes were raised about getting their first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine — only to see their prospects for inoculation quickly dashed after names were randomly drawn out of a basket. The incident at Qu'Appelle House in Regina has the Saskatchewan NDP accusing the provincial government of badly planning and executing the vaccine rollout, while the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) says health workers thought quickly on their feet to avoid wasting any doses. "There are several families and residents quite upset [regarding] the vaccine administration that happened here," said Bev Desautels, the home's director of care. Independent residents left out Qu'Appelle House is a care home affiliated with the Anglican Diocese of Qu'Appelle and inspected and monitored by the SHA. It is not listed among the Saskatchewan long-term care homes dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19. Desautels said she requested enough vaccine doses to inoculate all residents and staff at the facility, as well as the 15 seniors who live in an attached independent living wing. "They are not under our care," Desautels said of the "independent suite residents," who are all above the age of 85. "However, they share meals, activities, mingling with the care residents. They are expected to follow the same guidelines as the folks whose care we are responsible for." Late Monday morning — the date of vaccination — public health nurses told Desautels they were instructed to not administer the vaccine to the independent living residents, Desautels said. She passed on the news. Harold Olson, who lives in an independent suite, said residents had been notified earlier in the day that everybody would be vaccinated. "And then we were notified again at 11:30 that the nurses were not going to do the suite residents. Everybody got pretty deflated," Olson said. 'I waited and waited and waited all afternoon ... and nobody came.' - Jeanne Tweten, 98 Wendell Lindstron, another suite resident, said he has congested lungs and worries about his health should he contract COVID-19. "It was so disappointing for me because we were supposed to get the vaccine," he said. Jeanne Tweten, 98, said a visiting home care nurse informed her Monday morning about the vaccination plans. "So I waited and waited and waited all afternoon. Not that I can go anywhere because I'm in isolation, but still I waited," she said. "And nobody came." Director of care didn't want to choose between residents Desautels, the home's director of care, said nurses from the SHA did have the Pfizer vaccines on hand "but their hands were tied." Scott Livingstone, the health authority's CEO, said during a COVID-19 news conference on Tuesday that while the independent living residents are considered priority vaccine recipients under the first phase of Saskatchewan's vaccine rollout, they were not scheduled to be inoculated on Monday. The patients and staff at Qu'Appelle House were, he added. When there proved to be extra doses available, staff "thinking on the ground" inoculated six of the 15 suite residents. "We can't take it back, with the Pfizer product, and we didn't want to waste it," Livingstone said, referring to the strict refrigeration requirements of the Pfizer vaccine. Desautels said nurses "milked every last drop of vaccine." "They asked me to choose six of the 15 independent residents to receive the vaccine. I was not about to choose six of my folks. I decided to put their names in a basket and had the visiting nurses draw out the names. Those were the folks who received the vaccine." Janet Craig, resident Jeanne Tweten's daughter, said staff did all they could to have vaccinations in place. "It really broke their heart to have to put names in a hat. My mother didn't get [the vaccine]." Neither did Wendell Lindstron. But Harold Olson did. "I am one of the fortunate ones," Olson said. "Now, to me, when we have to have a lottery to do stuff like this, I don't think that's right." SHA to review incident Olson, Lindstrom, Tweten and Craig all spoke about their experiences during a news conference hosted Tuesday by the Saskatchewan NDP. The party's leader, Ryan Meili, acknowledged some factors, including vaccine supply, are outside the control of the provincial government. "Organizing the delivery on the ground isn't one of them," Meili said, adding that the Qu'Appelle House episode shows "a lack of foresight and lack of communication from this government." Livingstone said the SHA will review the incident in detail. Premier Scott Moe, speaking during the same news conference Tuesday, said he was not familiar with what happened at Qu'Appelle House but stressed that "we do not have enough vaccines to vaccinate everyone at this point in time." Olson said he wishes the health department would come back to the home and give shots to the other nine suite residents. Desautels said early Wednesday morning she had not heard from the province about whether that will happen CBC News reached out to the SHA for an update. "Based on available supplies, we anticipate administering to the rest of the residents at Qu'Appelle House in February," an SHA spokesperson said.
Forest areas in Jasper and close to it are being thinned to reduce the risk of wildfire. Crews from Landmark Solutions Ltd. started work in November. This is part of the FireSmart Forest Fuel Reduction Project, a partnership between the Municipality of Jasper and Parks Canada. “It has to be done in the winter because of the impact on the ground and safety in burning piles,” said Greg Van Tighem, director of protective services for the Municipality of Jasper, and a project manager alongside Landon Shepherd with Parks Canada. Van Tighem emphasized it’s important not to disturb the understory, the layer of vegetation beneath the main canopy, as the ground has to be frozen. “(The crews) deal with the understory and the bigger trees,” he said. “They’re targeting the mountain pine beetle-killed trees.” Alan Westhaver, a former Park warden, runs ForestWise Environmental Consulting Ltd. and develops the prescription for each Fire Management Unit (FMU). “Parks Canada provides a surveillance officer, Christine Brown, to monitor the work (including) the criteria of FireSmart prescription on a daily basis and adhering to environmental requirements,” Van Tighem said. “Each unit is different in the prescription.” There are seven units and nine subunits in the project that cover a total of 27.5 hectares. This includes the industrial area, places around the municipality and Parks Canada compounds and the Lake Annette/Lake Edith day-use areas. “Our objective is to provide a higher level of safety to the community in the event of a wildfire, so we reduce the fuel located around the community and the infrastructure that surrounds the community,” Van Tighem said. Portions of some units have been completed. Van Tighem said work will continue until the ground begins to thaw and snow starts to melt in March. The trees cut down in some of the units are used for firewood. With a $10 fire permit, folks can pick up the wood onsite. “It’s a way to reduce waste,” Van Tighem added. Since the early ‘90s, FireSmart Canada has worked to reduce the risk that wildfires present to populated areas by facilitating interagency co-operation to promote education and awareness. Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick Green Leader David Coon is calling on Natural Resources Minister Mike Holland to resign from cabinet because of a letter he wrote to the Energy and Utilities Board. The board is dealing with an application from Irving Oil for an increase in the wholesale prices of fuel oil, gasoline and diesel produced at its Saint John refinery. Coon says any effort to influence the work of the board is an abuse of power. The Opposition Liberals say by sending a letter to encourage a quick review, the minister is interfering in the work of the board. But in a statement, late Wednesday, Premier Blaine Higgs says he won't ask Holland to resign. Higgs says there are significant concerns about the continuity of oil supply and the impacts that the current market and federal regulations will have on the oil refinery, especially during COVID-19, and the minister was acting on behalf of government to support a review. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. The Canadian Press
GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany — American teenager Matthew Hoppe scored for the third consecutive Bundesliga game but couldn’t prevent Schalke from slumping to a 2-1 loss to fellow struggler Cologne on Wednesday. Jan Thielmann struck in the third minute of injury time for Cologne to end its five-game run without a win and leave the relegation zone. Schalke remains in last place with seven points at the halfway stage of the season. The 19-year-old Hoppe grabbed his fifth goal of 2021 in the 57th minute, nipping in to sweep home the equalizer after Amine Harit combined with Suat Serdar. Hoppe is the third American to score in three consecutive German league games after Eric Wynalda with Saarbrücken in 1992 and Clint Mathis with Hannover in 2004. He already has more goals this year than compatriot Weston McKennie managed as Schalke’s top scorer with three in 2020. Hoppe started up front for Schalke despite the club re-signing veteran Dutch striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar from Ajax the day before. A calf problem prevented the 37-year-old forward making his second Schalke debut. Cologne defender Rafael Czichos scored in the 31st after the home team failed to properly clear a corner. It was Cologne’s first goal in six games. Kingsley Ehizibue almost made it 2-0 shortly afterward but was blocked at close range by Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
KITCHENUHMAYKOOSIB INNINUWUG FIRST NATION, ONT., — A 46-year-old man from Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation is facing drug trafficking charges after police seized more than 250 pills of a suspected controlled substance. Police say they were notified of suspected narcotics being shipped into the community after K.I First Nation Band Council notified OPP and KI Police on Dec. 14, 2020, according to a news release issued on Wednesday, Jan. 20. Following an investigation, police seized suspected narcotics with an estimated street value exceeding $2,500. Jason Howard Cutfeet, 46, from KI First Nation, has been charged with trafficking in a schedule three controlled substance. He was released on an appearance notice and will appear in the KI Ontario Court of Justice on March 4. Police are asking members of the community if they have any information about the trafficking of illicit drugs or substances in KI or any other community to contact the local band council or the local police service. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
Declining numbers of cases and positive tests for COVID-19 in Alberta show that restrictions put in place last year have been effective, the province's top doctor says. Alberta reported 21 more COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday and 669 new cases of the illness. Laboratories conducted about 14,900 tests over the past 24 hours putting the positivity rate at about 4.5 per cent. "It's very encouraging to see our positivity rate steadily declining since the peak in December," Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health, said Wednesday at a news conference. "And I would say that the data that we have indicates that the restrictions put in place in November and December have achieved, so far, their intended outcome." It's critical that the province maintain enough restrictions to continue to drive those numbers down, Hinshaw said, given the high number of people still being treated in hospitals. "We need to build on our collective success by going slowly toward allowing some additional activities and not experiencing a rebound if we open too quickly," she said. Hospitalizations remain high Hospitals in the province are treating 744 patients for the disease, including 124 in ICU beds. "It is important to remember that it is the number of people currently in hospital that I am providing, not all those who have ever needed hospital care since the spring," Hinshaw said. "To put this into context, over the last 10 years, we have had an average of just over 1,500 total hospital admissions for influenza annually. For COVID-19, the comparable number comes from less than a year of data. More than 5,000 people have needed hospital care since the pandemic began for COVID-19 in Alberta." A total of 5,086 people with COVID-19 have been treated in hospitals since the pandemic began last March. That represents about 4.3 per cent of the total cases, which now sits at 118,436. Of those, 106,387 were listed as recovered and 10,565 were active. Of the patients hospitalized with the illness so far, 816 have ended up in ICU beds. Far greater toll on older people Slightly more than one per cent of all people infected have died. Alberta Health data shows the illness has taken a far greater toll on older people. To date, 1,265 of the 1,484 reported deaths (85 per cent) have been people aged 70 and older. A total of 109,089 people under the age of 70 have contracted the illness. In all, 218 of them have died, a rate of .0.19 per cent. To date, 9,347 people aged 70 or older have become sick. In all, 1,265 of them have died, a rate of 13.5 per cent. Older people also have a much higher chance of ending up in hospital. Those in their 20s who contract the illness have about a one in 100 chance of being hospitalized. Those aged 60 and older have about one in six chance. Here's a breakdown by age of those who have been infected, and those who had symptoms serious enough to require hospitalization. Under one, 644 cases, 34 hospitalized, 10 in ICU. (Hospitalization rate, 5.3 per cent) one to four, 3,671 cases, 14 hospitalized, two in ICU. (Hospitalization rate, 0.4 per cent) five to nine, 5,094 cases, eight hospitalized, two in ICU. (Hospitalization rate, 0.2 per cent) 10 to 19, 13,606 cases, 68 hospitalized, nine in ICU. (Hospitalization rate, 0.5 per cent) 20 to 29, 22,025 cases, 241 hospitalized, 25 in ICU. (Hospitalization rate, 1.1 per cent) 30 to 39, 22,470 cases, 388 hospitalized, 40 in ICU. (Hospitalization rate, 1.7 per cent) 40 to 49, 18,678 cases, 489 hospitalized, 92 in ICU. (Hospitalization rate, 2.6 per cent) 50 to 59, 14,075 cases, 721 hospitalized, 164 in ICU. (Hospitalization rate, 5.1 per cent) 60 to 69, 8,788 cases, 879 hospitalized, 239 in ICU. (Hospitalization rate, 10.0 per cent) 70 to 79, 4,370 cases, 952 hospitalized, 172 in ICU. (Hospitalization rate, 21.8 per cent) 80+, 4,977 cases, 1,291 hospitalized, 60 in ICU. (Hospitalization rate, 25.9 per cent) A total of 95,243 doses of vaccine have been administered in the province.
TORONTO — Canadians tuned in Wednesday with a mixture of relief and optimism to watch the swearing in of Joe Biden as U.S. president amid concerns about potential violence south of the border and the omnipresent threat of COVID-19.Given the pandemic, most in-person viewing gatherings of the pageantry gave way to virtual events, with some expressing joy at the lifting of what they saw as the dark cloud of Donald Trump's presidency."Watching as I always do, but this one seems more significant," said Nicole Caron, a former provincial civil servant in Ottawa. "It returns to America the values that hold true for many democracies, with a focus on inclusivity and that everyone has a hand in moving forward, together."While Biden was the main attraction on stage in a heavily patrolled Washington, D.C., many Canadians focused on his newly minted second-in-command, Kamala Harris.At home with her daughter in Montreal, Wanda Kagan watched Harris, her best friend from high school, get sworn in as vice-president. Harris lived briefly in Montreal before graduating in 1981. Kagan, who met Harris at Westmount High School, called the inauguration a special moment, despite the disappointment of not being able to go to Washington.“It’s not the way you’d like to watch it when you were invited to the most historic day of your friend's life," Kagan said. “Anyone can make history but only a great woman can write history and that’s what she’s going to do."Calgary mother Gabriela Gonzalez grew teary watching the inauguration. It was exciting, she said, that young people everywhere, especially girls like her almost three-year-old daughter and children of colour, could see Harris and realize they, too, can achieve big things."I'm excited for my daughter to see that it's important for women and young girls to be involved in the political process," Gonzalez said. "They do have a role to play and they can have a seat at the table."The pandemic placed limits on the size of the mask-wearing crowd that would typically gather in the U.S. capital for the grand inauguration ceremony. So did the lingering threat of violence after Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 in a futile bid to stop the transition of power, egged on by the former president himself.Thousands of National Guard troops were deployed ahead of the event, further stoking anxiety among Americans and concerned observers. Acknowledging the fractures in his inaugural speech, Biden called for unity and urged his country to "start afresh."Rael Wienburg, a photographer and videographer in London, Ont., who said he was watching a "huge moment," called Biden's speech classy."Finally, a speech by a president with a vision to help bring a divided nation together," Wienburg said. "I'm feeling very positive and emotional after a tumultuous year of horrific and unfortunate times."For Jane and David Schlosberg in Dartmouth, N.S., the inauguration was a moment of cautious optimism.“You try not to be cynical and look forward to a better time,” Jane Schlosberg said as she watched the ceremony.In Owen Sound, Ont., Sergei Lozowski listened to the ceremony via radio."I want to hear official word that the leadership of our closest ally is not a deranged reality TV personality," he said.Others across Canada watched with roommates and in workplaces as they observed pandemic guidelines.Mary-Ellen Unan called it more significant than ever that citizens of North America watched the U.S. handover of power. "In a world where we are all affected by the policies of the American government, too many people still feel disenfranchised," Unan said from Toronto. "The swearing in to the highest office in the world is ceremonial, but it also marks a major change for the future."-With files from Danielle Edwards in Halifax; Sidhartha Banerjee in Montreal; Fakiha Baig in Edmonton.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The economy will go in reverse for the first quarter of 2021, the Bank of Canada said Wednesday as it kept its key interest rate on hold, warning the hardest-hit workers will be hammered again on a path to a recovery that rests on the rollout of vaccines.Workers in high-contact service industries will carry the burden of a new round of lockdowns, which the central bank warned will exacerbate the pandemic’s uneven effects on the labour market.The longer restrictions remain in place, the more difficult it may be for these workers to find new jobs since the majority move to a new job but in the same industry. Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem said in his opening remarks at a late-morning news conference that the first-quarter decline could be worse than expected if restrictions are tightened or extended.The central bank kept its key rate on hold at 0.25 per cent on Wednesday, citing near-term weakness and the "protracted nature of the recovery" in its reasoning.The short-term pain is expected to give way to a brighter outlook for the medium-term with vaccines rolling out sooner than the central bank expected.Still, the bank said in its updated economic outlook, a full recovery from COVID-19 will take some time. Nor does the Bank of Canada see inflation returning to its two per cent target until 2023, one year longer than previously forecast, and the bank's key rate is likely to stay low until then.Overall, there is reason to be more optimistic about the economy in the medium-term, but it will still need extraordinary help from governments and the central bank to get there, Macklem said.The bank’s latest monetary policy report, which lays out its expectations for economic growth and inflation, forecast that COVID-19 caused the economy to contract by 5.5 per cent last year.Despite an upswing over the summer and fall that may have spared the country from a worst-case economic scenario, the drive to a recovery will hit a pothole over the first three months of 2021.The bank forecasts real gross domestic product to contract at an annual pace of 2.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2021, before improving thereafter if severe restrictions start easing in February.The bank expects growth of four per cent overall for 2021, then 4.8 per cent next year, and 2.5 per cent in 2023.Trevin Stratton, chief economist at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, was more dour on lockdowns, saying the group doesn't expect them to ease until well into March."During this period, we need to provide the right kind of support to individual Canadians and to businesses to get them through the lockdowns, recognizing that neither group is in the same financial position as it was in March 2020," he said in a statement.For the central bank, that help could come through ramping up its bond-buying to force down interest rates, or a small cut to its key policy rate among options Macklem mentioned Wednesday.Keeping the door open to such a "micro" rate change is a shift in tone, as Macklem has previously said the current 0.25 rate is as low as it would go.The bank said the path for the economy will be like riding a roller-coaster as resurgence in COVID-19, or new, more virulent strains, weigh down a recovery in one quarter before leading to strong upswing in the next.Inflation may be equally rocky.Gasoline prices, which have weighed down the consumer price index during the pandemic, will by March be “well above their lows of a year earlier,” the bank’s report said. That should significantly bump inflation, the report said, possibly to two per cent in the second quarter.The bump will even out over the rest of the year. The bank forecasts inflation for 2021 at 1.6 per cent, then 1.7 per cent in 2022 and 2.1 per cent in 2023.Statistics Canada reported Wednesday the annual pace of inflation cooled in December to 0.7 per cent compared with 1.0 per cent in November. The agency also reported that the average last month of Canada's three measures for core inflation, which are considered better gauges of underlying price pressures and closely tracked by the Bank of Canada, was 1.57 per cent.The central bank’s lookahead rests on efforts to vaccinate Canadians by the end of the year without any hiccups in that timeline, which would mean broad immunity six months sooner than the bank previously assumed."It's going to be very important that Canada get the vaccines, we get them distributed to Canadians and that Canadians take the vaccine," Macklem said.A shorter timeline for vaccinations should mean less scarring overall for the economy in the form of fewer bankruptcies and fewer workers out of jobs for long stretches, which makes it more difficult for them to get back into the labour force.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. Jordan Press, The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the first quarter decline in real gross domestic product was 2.9 per cent.