Trump administration won't turn over auto import probe report, defying Congress

By David Shepardson
Imported automobiles are parked in a lot at the port of Newark New Jersey

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration is snubbing Congress by refusing to turn over a report detailing an investigation into national security risks potentially posed by imported vehicles and auto parts, citing pending international negotiations and executive branch deliberations.

Congress inserted a provision in a spending bill last month demanding the White House turn over the long-secret government report that U.S. President Donald Trump used to declare in May 2019 that some unnamed imported autos pose risks to national security.

Trump opted not to impose any immediate tariffs on imported cars or auto parts because of the alleged security threat and then ordered another six-month review on a decision on tariffs of up to 25%.

The delay was to allow for more time for trade talks with the European Union and Japan.

A person briefed on the matter said Trump had relied on a Justice Department opinion to order Commerce not to turn over the report under a Section 232 investigation.

The Commerce Department said in a statement it was "not releasing the 232 autos report because releasing it now would interfere with the President’s ability to protect confidential executive branch communications and could interfere with ongoing negotiations."

Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican, blasted the decision saying "by refusing to make public the statutorily-required report on automobile tariffs, the Department of Commerce is willfully violating federal law." Toomey said he was "evaluating the potential for corrective action to compel the rightful release of this report."

On Tuesday, Trump said he was still considering imposing tariffs and mentioned imported European vehicles in particular, without singling out any brands.

"We expect to be able to make a deal with Europe. And if they don't make a deal, we'll certainly give that very strong consideration," Trump said. "But if we're unable to make a deal, we will have to do something."

The Justice Department opinion, seen by Reuters before it was and made public on Tuesday, said Trump was justified in "withholding the report until the resolution of diplomatic negotiations" and any subsequent action. It said he could "rely on the constitutional doctrine of executive privilege to decline to release the report."

A spokesman for Senator Chuck Grassley, the Republican who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, said the Justice Department memo "doesn’t seem to have much merit on its face. The law as passed by Congress is clear."

The White House declined comment.

Some U.S. lawmakers want to restrict presidential authority to invoke the tariffs on national security grounds.

In May, Trump said he agreed with the undisclosed report's finding that found some imported cars and trucks were "weakening our internal economy" and threatened to harm U.S. national security.

But automakers have warned tariffs would cost hundreds of thousands of auto jobs, dramatically raise prices on vehicles and threaten industry spending on self-driving cars.

An ad hoc group called "Here for America" representing major German and Asian automakers, including Toyota Motor Corp, Volkswagen AG <VOWG_p.DE> and Nissan Motor Co, said "there is no compelling reason not to disclose this report to the public, or to restrict trade in an industry that supports the jobs of millions of Americans."

It previously called the national security designation "absurd."


(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Tom Brown)

  • Canada prepares pandemic response plan as coronavirus cases continue to climb
    News
    CBC

    Canada prepares pandemic response plan as coronavirus cases continue to climb

    Canada is preparing to respond to a possible pandemic as the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb around the globe.Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said the global threat posed by the novel coronavirus, which can lead to a respiratory illness called COVID-19, is evolving fast. While the outbreak continues to be contained mostly to the epicentre in Hubei, China, she noted that the virus is spreading now at the community level, person-to-person, in several other countries."These signs are concerning, and they mean that the window of opportunity for containment ... for stopping the global spread of the virus, is closing," Tam told reporters in a teleconference Monday."It also tells countries like Canada, that have been able to manage and detect cases so far, that we have to prepare across governments, across communities, and as families and individuals, in the event of more widespread transmission in our community."The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, but so far hasn't declared it a pandemic.Tam said the trajectory of the coronavirus is unknown at this time and it's possible that cases have occurred in other countries that don't have the proper tools to diagnose and contain it.Canada developed a pandemic response plan in 2009, which would serve as the foundation for any shift in the official response to the current outbreak, she said.The response plan includes accelerating research work here and contributing to international efforts to develop a vaccine abroad. Tam said it also could lead to expanding laboratory testing capabilities and access to diagnostic tools, and taking stock of essential supplies to make sure authorities don't run short. She added that Canada's course of action would be much the same whether the WHO declares a pandemic or not.Containment effortsHealth Minister Patty Hajdu said Monday that a pandemic declaration by the WHO would render travel restrictions meaningless because it would mean that efforts to contain the virus had failed."As the window closes in terms of stopping the global spread, as we watch the WHO assess whether or not this is a full pandemic, obviously our attention turns more toward our domestic preparedness and what Canada can do to make sure our system and structures are ready for a change in our own population," she said.The WHO said today that China has reported 77,362 cases of COVID-19, including 2,618 deaths.Outside China, there are now 2,074 cases in 28 countries, including 10 in Canada, and 23 related deaths.Despite the rising numbers, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said officials are encouraged by the fact that the number of new cases continues to decline in China.The epidemic peaked between Jan. 23 and Feb. 2 and has been steadily declining since, he said.Tedros said a decision on whether to declare a pandemic is based on an ongoing assessment of the geographical spread of the virus, the severity of the disease and its impact on society."For the moment, we are not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus, and we are not witnessing large-scale severe disease or death," he said.Pandemic potential"Does this virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely it has. Are we there yet? From our assessment, not yet."Tedros said labelling the outbreak a pandemic could create unnecessary fear.Tam said that the goal now is to slow the spread of the virus, adding it's difficult to stop its spread because more countries are reporting people with no or mild symptoms.Canada has been successful so far in detecting imported cases and preventing person-to-person spread within communities, but is preparing for other scenarios, Tam said.Tam said enhanced border control measures and messaging at airports will be broadened to include warnings to travellers returning from other countries with reported cases of coronavirus.She said international travellers arriving at Canadian airports will be told to self-isolate if they're experiencing flu-like symptoms.Tam said all travellers should take general precautions and plan ahead by, for instance, making sure they have enough medication for a trip.She repeated the standard public health messages encouraging people to wash their hands frequently, cover coughs and sneezes, keep track of federal travel health advice posted online and share travel history with health-care providers in the event of becoming sick.

  • News
    CBC

    4th case of coronavirus in Ontario confirmed

    Ontario health officials have confirmed a new case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, the fourth in the province since the global outbreak began late last year.Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario's associate chief medical officer of health, and Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's medical officer of health, spoke to media at Queen's Park following word of a new presumptive case over the weekend.De Villa said during the news conference that a woman in her 20s arrived in Canada from China on Friday and went to North York General Hospital in Toronto with an intermittent cough. She had travelled to the epicentre of the virus in January."In that travel to China, we know it did include some travel to Hubei province and to Wuhan in particular," she said, referring to the Chinese province and city where the virus first emerged late last year.De Villa said the woman was tested for the new virus and was sent home for self-isolation because her symptoms were "resolving" and she was doing "quite well."Officials said the woman's local tests came back positive for the virus on Sunday.A sample was sent to the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg and, after Monday's news conference ended, officials learned that it came back positive.Patient has had 'very, very limited exposure to others'Since arriving in Toronto, de Villa said the woman has had "very, very limited exposure to others.""Our staff at Toronto Public Health [is] following up directly to connect with this individual on a very regular basis and we are monitoring her symptoms," she said. De Villa said they will be monitoring a family member who drove the infected individual from the airport to her home. The family member was wearing a mask during their interaction, Williams said. Officials said the province is co-ordinating with local public health units to ensure that they will contact and monitor passengers who sat close to the woman on the plane.De Villa said the current research advises the agency follow up with people who sat up to two seats away in all directions from the infected individual.System to manage spread of virus 'working'This is the province's fourth case and the third in Toronto, however health officials said the process put in place to manage the spread of the virus is working well."The whole process that has been followed from start to finish here shows that, in fact, the system is working quite well to keep people safe," de Villa said.She said the patient was able to identify her symptoms and travel history to officials, staff followed the appropriate precautions and the patient wore a mask and limited her exposure to others. "At this time, the risk here in Toronto continues to be low," she said. On top of the three resolved cases and the most recent positive case, Yaffe said nine cases are still under investigation in Ontario and there have been 540 negative tests. Ontario's first three cases 'resolved'According to the province, Ontario's first three cases of the new coronavirus are all "resolved," which means each of those patients has had two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.Three people in Ontario had previously been diagnosed with COVID-19, including a married couple in Toronto and a Western University student in London, Ont., after all of them recently returned from travelling in China.

  • The blockade stays put and Teck withdraws; In The News for Feb. 24
    News
    The Canadian Press

    The blockade stays put and Teck withdraws; In The News for Feb. 24

    In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Feb. 24.What we are watching in Canada ...Ontario Provincial Police reportedly gave protesters until midnight Sunday to clear a rail blockade on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, or face an investigation and possible criminal charges.But the deadline came and went, and the blockade near Belleville, Ont., that has crippled both freight and passenger rail traffic in most of eastern Canada for nearly three weeks remained in place Monday morning. The barricades are a response to a move by the RCMP to clear protesters who had been blocking access to a pipeline worksite on Wet'suwet'en territory in northern British Columbia.Hereditary chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en Nation oppose the work on their traditional territory, despite support from elected band councils along the pipeline route.On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was time for the barricades to come down and injunctions ordering the tracks cleared to be enforced.But Heredity Chief Na'moks, also known as John Ridsdale, said Sunday that Trudeau's "misinformed" and "antagonistic" speech had just the opposite effect."If the prime minister had not made that speech the Mohawks would have taken down everything," he said. "They were ready. We were on the phone."\---Also this ...Teck Resources Ltd. says it's withdrawing its application for a massive oilsands mining project just days ahead of an expected government decision, citing the political discourse over climate change. The company says it will take a $1.13-billion writedown on the Frontier project in Alberta.In a letter to the federal environment minister, Teck CEO and President Don Lindsay says investors and customers increasingly want jurisdictions to have a framework in place that reconciles resource development and climate change.He says that "does not yet exist here today," and that the growing debate around the issue has placed Frontier and the company "squarely at the nexus of much broader issues that need to be resolved."The proposed $20.6-billion project was expected to create an estimated 7,000 construction jobs, 2,500 operating jobs and about $12 billion in federal income and capital taxes, but was also expected to produce about four million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year over 40 years.Fourteen First Nations and Metis communities signed participation agreements with the company on the Teck mine, and the project was awaiting approval from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government.\---ICYMI (in case you missed it) ...Ontario health officials say there's a new presumptive case of the novel coronavirus in Toronto.They say a woman arrived in Canada from China on Friday and went to a Toronto hospital with an intermittent cough.The province says the woman was tested for the new virus, known as COVID-19, and was sent home for self isolation because her illness was mild.Officials say the woman's local tests came back positive for the virus on Saturday and the sample has been sent to the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg for confirmation.The province says it's unlikely that the woman was infectious.It says she "followed all protocols and wore a mask throughout her travels back to Toronto."This is the only known case of the disease in Ontario, after three people with previous diagnoses were cleared of the virus.\---What we are watching in the U.S. ...CHARLESTON, S.C. — Any momentum that Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders gains in South Carolina after his win in Nevada could be devastating to Joe Biden.The former vice-president is looking to the state for a commanding victory that can keep his candidacy alive through Super Tuesday.The March 3 contests will unfold in 14 states and award one-third of the delegates needed for the Democratic nomination.Moderate Democrats are growing increasingly nervous that Sanders' call for a political “revolution” will drive voters away from the party, both in the matchup against President Donald Trump and in House and Senate races.\---What we are watching in the rest of the world ...SEOUL — South Korea reported another large jump in new virus cases Monday a day after the president called for “unprecedented, powerful” steps to combat the outbreak that is increasingly confounding attempts to stop the spread.The 231 new cases bring South Korea's total to 833, and two more deaths raise its toll to seven.China also reported 409 new cases on Monday, raising the mainland's total to 77,150 after a zigzag pattern of increases in recent days.The 150 new deaths from the COVID-19 illness raised China's total to 2,592 and showed a spike after hovering around 100 for four days. All but one death were in Hubei province, where the outbreak emerged in December.Significant jumps in cases outside China have raised concern of the outbreak getting out of control. South Korea has the third-highest national total behind China and Japan, and cases have rapidly increased in Italy and Iran in just a few days.Most of Japan's cases were from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, where nearly one-fifth of its 3,711 passengers and crew became infected.More than 140 of South Korea's new cases were in and near Daegu, the city of 2.5 million people where most of the country’s infections have occurred.\---This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Feb. 24, 2020.The Canadian Press

  • Iraqi nurse spends her weekends stitching wounds at protest site
    News
    Reuters

    Iraqi nurse spends her weekends stitching wounds at protest site

    "He was proud that his sister was a medic in Tahrir," she told Reuters. Some politicians and influential clerics have been outraged by the sight of young women out in public during the demonstrations in Baghdad and across the impoverished Shi'ite Muslim south.

  • Alberta Appeal Court sides with province on federal carbon tax
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Alberta Appeal Court sides with province on federal carbon tax

    EDMONTON — The Alberta Court of Appeal gave opponents of the federal carbon tax their first win on Monday when it ruled that the levy is unconstitutional.In a 4-1 decision, the Appeal Court said the legislation that brought in the tax erodes provincial jurisdiction."The act is a constitutional Trojan Horse," said a portion of the decision written by three of the four majority justices."Almost every aspect of the provinces' development and management of their natural resources ... would be subject to federal regulation."A fourth judge filed a separate opinion in support of the majority.The Alberta government had argued in its challenge of the tax that climate change isn't a national concern requiring overriding federal intervention. A provincial lawyer said in hearings last December that if greenhouse gases could be considered such, then anything could.The federal government countered by saying climate change is a national and global issue that can't be left to each of the provinces to take on alone.Alberta Premier Jason Kenney immediately welcomed the ruling."We will continue to stand with our allies in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Quebec and elsewhere in defending working families and defending our constitutional authority as a government," he said. "We expect the government of Canada to comply with the order of the court today and to remove the federal carbon tax on Albertans."Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe also called for the tax to be rescinded.The court ruling is a constitutional reference and contains no orders.Federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson pointed out that two other provincial Appeal Courts — Saskatchewan and Ontario — sided with the federal legislation.The Supreme Court is to hear arguments next month when Saskatchewan appeals the ruling from its court."We look forward to the Supreme Court, which is the ultimate arbiter of issues around differing interpretations of jurisdiction, to be making the ultimate determination in March. We feel confident that the federal position will be upheld," Wilkinson said in Ottawa."We need to work together, but we need to do it in thoughtful ways that are efficient, that are affordable for Canadians and one of those ways is a price on pollution."Kenney gave no indication of compromise."We do not believe Canadians in this cold northern country should be punished for simply living normal lives," said the premier, who promised to defend Alberta's interests from what he called "a hostile federal agenda.""If we didn't do so, then provinces could see their inherent power usurped," he said. "We would no longer be sovereign in our own constitutional sphere, but would become vassals of a federal government."The Appeal Court appeared to agree. It noted that the Supreme Court has only recognized the national concern argument three times since Confederation."Courts have been highly reluctant to use the national concern doctrine to create judge-made heads of power," says the majority decision written by three justices, including Chief Justice Catherine Fraser.It noted health care, minimum wages and justice are all national concerns but are administered by the provinces. The court ruled that, for something to be a national concern within federal jurisdiction, it would have to be beyond the scope of provincial powers.The judges said the carbon tax law gives the federal cabinet "endlessly expansive" powers."Conspicuous for its breadth, the act allows the federal government to intrude further into more and different aspects of lawful daily life."One justice did side with Ottawa.Kevin Feehan wrote that environmental concerns didn't exist at the time of Confederation and, since then, jurisdiction has been found to be shared between the provinces and federal government."Effective and stringent carbon pricing cannot be realistically satisfied by co-operative provincial action, due to the failure or unwillingness of a province to adequately address greenhouse gas emissions, with resulting adverse effect on other provinces," he wrote.Joshua Ginsberg, a law professor at the University of Ottawa who represented the David Suzuki Foundation at the hearing, said the Alberta court's reasoning may not jive with that of the Supreme Court."The majority decision is trying to (dodge) around the Supreme Court jurisprudence on this issue, which does confirm that if there's significant provincial inability to deal with a problem, the federal government can step in."Alberta Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley said she hopes the Supreme Court rules quickly on the tax."As long as we have a government here in Alberta that resists significant, meaningful effort that can be consistently relied upon by international investors to address climate change, while setting out clear rules for how we grow our oil and gas resources in a responsible way, Alberta will be left behind."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2020Bob Weber, The Canadian PressNote to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said the decision was the third to side with the federal government.

  • Excited English Bull Terrier can't stop spinning in circles
    Rumble

    Excited English Bull Terrier can't stop spinning in circles

    Douglas is a silly English Bull Terrier who gets so excited that he just can't stop spinning in circles. Too funny!

  • Virus pushes beyond Asia, taking aim at Europe, Mideast
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Virus pushes beyond Asia, taking aim at Europe, Mideast

    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — The new virus took aim at a broadening swath of the globe Monday, with officials in Europe and the Middle East scrambling to limit the spread of an outbreak that showed signs of stabilizing at its Chinese epicenter but posed new threats far beyond.In Italy, authorities set up roadblocks, called off soccer matches and shuttered sites including the famed La Scala opera house. In Iran, the government said 12 people had died nationwide, while five neighbouring countries — Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Afghanistan — reported their first cases of the virus, with all those infected having links to Iran.Across the world, stock markets and futures tumbled on fears of a global economic slowdown due to the expanding spread of the virus. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank more than 1,000 points, its biggest decline in two years.The number of people sickened by the coronavirus topped 79,000 globally, and wherever it sprung up, officials rushed to try to contain it.“The past few weeks has demonstrated just how quickly a new virus can spread around the world and cause widespread fear and disruption,” said the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.“Does this virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely, yes,” Tedros said, but “for the moment we're not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus.”"I have spoken consistently about the need for facts not fear. Using the word pandemic now does not fit the facts but it may certainly cause fear," Tedros said, speaking in Geneva.He said a WHO expert team currently in China believes the virus plateaued there between Jan. 23 and Feb. 2 and has declined since. The team also said the fatality rate in China was between 2% and 4% in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, and 0.7% outside of Wuhan.Clusters of the virus continued to emerge outside China, including in Qom, an Iranian city where the country’s semiofficial ILNA news agency cited a lawmaker as reporting a staggering 50 people had died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. The country’s Health Ministry rejected that, insisting the death toll remained at 12, with total infections numbering 61.The conflicting reports raised questions about the Iranian government’s transparency concerning the scale of the outbreak. But even with the lower toll of 12, the number of deaths compared to the number of confirmed infections from the virus is higher in Iran than in any other country, including China and South Korea, where the outbreak is far more widespread.Asked about the spike in cases in Iran, WHO's emergencies program director, Michael Ryan, cautioned that in the first wave of infections reported from a country, only the deaths may be being picked up and therefore be over-represented. “The virus may have been there for longer than we had previously suspected," he said.Ryan said a WHO team would be arriving in Iran on Tuesday and in Italy on Monday."What we don't understand yet in COVID-19 are the absolute transmission dynamics," Ryan said, noting that in China there's been a significant drop in cases. “That goes against the logic of pandemic.”Authorities in Iran closed schools across much of the country for a second day Monday. Movie theatres and other venues were shuttered through at least Friday, and daily sanitizing of public buses and the Tehran metro, which is used by some 3 million people, was begun.Recognition grew that the virus was no longer stemming only from contact with infected people in China.“Many different countries around the world may be sources of COVID-19 infections,” said Mark Woolhouse, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh. “This makes it much harder for any one country to detect and contain.”China still has the vast majority of cases, but as it records lower levels of new infections, attention has shifted to new fronts in the outbreak. Chief among them is South Korea, where President Moon Jae-in placed the country under a red alert, the highest level, allowing for “unprecedented, powerful steps” to stem the crisis.Beyond expanding a delay to the start of the school year from the hardest-hit area of Daegu nationwide, though, it remains to be seen how far the government will go. A Chinese-style lockdown of Daegu — a city of 2.5 million people that is the country’s fourth largest — appeared unlikely, even as signs of the response to a broadening problem could be seen nearly everywhere in the nation.More than 600 police officers in Daegu fanned out in search of hundreds of members of a church that has been identified as a source for hundreds of infections. The country's National Assembly was temporarily closed Monday as workers sterilized its halls. At shops and food stalls in the capital of Seoul, a misty fog surrounded crews in protective suits who sprayed disinfectants.“The changes have been dramatic,” said Daegu resident Nah Young-jo, who described an increasingly empty city of few passersby and closed restaurants.South Korean officials recommended that courts consider postponing trials of cases not deemed urgent, while Mayor Park Won-soon of Seoul threatened tough penalties for those who defy a ban on rallies in major downtown areas. Work schedules for city employees in Seoul were staggered to reduce crowding on subways, where packed cars could become petri dishes if an infected passenger were aboard.“If we fail to effectively prevent the spread of the virus into the local communities, there would be a large possibility (that the illness) spreads nationwide,” warned Kim Gang-lip, South Korea’s vice health minister.Health workers said they planned to test every citizen in Daegu who showed cold-like symptoms, estimating around 28,000 people would be targeted.In Italy, where 229 people have tested positive for the virus and seven have died, police manned checkpoints around a dozen quarantined northern towns as worries grew across the continent.Austria temporarily halted rail traffic across its border with Italy. Slovenia and Croatia, popular getaways for Italians, were holding crisis meetings. Schools were closed, theatre performances were cancelled and even Carnival celebrations in Venice were called off.It was a sign of how quickly circumstances could change in the widening COVID-19 scare. Italy had imposed more stringent measures than other European countries after the outbreak began, barring flights beginning Jan. 31 to and from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.Until last week, Italy had reported just three cases of infection.“These rapid developments over the weekend have shown how quickly this situation can change,” the health commissioner for the European Union, Stella Kyriakides, said in Brussels. “We need to take this situation of course very seriously, but we must not give in to panic, and, even more importantly, to disinformation.”China reported 409 new cases of the illness on Monday, raising the mainland's total to 77,150. It also announced 150 new deaths for a 2,592 total.Dr. Liang Wannian, the leader of a team of Chinese experts working with WHO to study the outbreak, said more than 3,000 medical workers had been infected, the majority of them in Wuhan. Liang said while the origins of the virus were still being studied, research suggested that bats may have been one of the hosts and that pangolins, a type of anteater, may have been an intermediate host.Meantime, China announced it would postpone the annual meetings of the National People's Congress, among the most important political gatherings of the year, citing the virus outbreak.___Sedensky reported from Bangkok. Associated Press writers Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul, Ken Moritsugu and Yanan Wang in Beijing, Danica Kirka in London, Aya Batrawy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Lauran Neergaard in Washington and Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.Kim Tong-Hyung And Matt Sedensky, The Associated Press

  • UNESCO plaque unveiled at Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House
    News
    The Canadian Press

    UNESCO plaque unveiled at Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House

    LOS ANGELES — State and local officials in California unveiled a plaque designating architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in Los Angeles as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Democratic U.S. Rep. Adam B. Schiff and Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell delivered remarks at a ceremony Sunday, The Los Angeles Times reported.Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs officials also attended the unveiling at the Hollyhock House, which earned the city its first World Heritage designation in July.There are 1,121 World Heritage Sites globally, with 869 of those awarded cultural status. The Hollyhock House is one of eight Wright buildings representing the first U.S. modern architecture designations on the World Heritage list.The others Wright buildings include the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City; the Unity Temple and the Frederick C. Robie House in Chicago; Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania; the Herbert and Katherine Jacobs House in Madison, Wisconsin; Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin; and Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona.Among his most iconic buildings was the Guggenheim with its spiral ramp for viewing galleries. It was completed in 1959, the same year Wright died.Built between 1918 and 1921 on a hill in East Hollywood, the Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Art Park was almost demolished in the 1940s. The structure is named for stylized motifs of the flower of the same name that dominate its concrete exterior.The Hollyhock House, Wright's first California commission, is now owned by the city of Los Angeles and serves as an arts centre.“The unveiling of the plaque,” O’Farrell said Sunday, “underscores what we already know: The structure represents an unparalleled symbol of cultural heritage and an outstanding contribution to design in the city of Los Angeles and the world.”The Associated Press

  • News
    CBC

    Sex assault trial of Matthew Percy adjourns as judge weighs admissibility issues

    The sexual assault trial of a former Saint Mary's University groundskeeper briefly continued in Nova Scotia Supreme Court Monday morning before being adjourned.Matthew Percy, 36, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of sexual assault causing bodily harm and is standing trial in front of a judge alone.Justice Josh Arnold adjourned until Tuesday so he could rule on the admissibility of some of the questions the Crown asked Percy on re-direct last week. On Friday, the Crown showed video of Percy in a police interrogation one week after the incident. In the interview, Percy admitted to having rough sex with the complainant but said it was consensual.In her testimony last week, the woman said she told him no. The woman, who is now 24, can't be named because of a publication ban.The court also heard Friday from the complainant's friend and former roommate, who said she found the woman crying inconsolably the morning after the alleged attack. The Crown was expected to call on final witnesses Monday, including he roommate of the complainant who was home at the time of the alleged assault. Prosecutor Rick Woodburn said he was prepared to close his case on Monday. The CBC's Elizabeth McMillan live blogged from court. Warning: Some of the content in the live blog may be disturbing.MORE TOP STORIES

  • Jane Goodall's 'The Book of Hope' coming out in 2021
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Jane Goodall's 'The Book of Hope' coming out in 2021

    NEW YORK — Jane Goodall's next book will be a tribute to her enduring optimism.Celadon Books announced Monday that Goodall's “The Book of Hope” will be published in fall 2021. The project is a collaboration with Doug Abrams, author of the bestselling “The Book of Joy,” and comes 60 years after the celebrated primatologist began her pioneering research of chimpanzees in Africa.“'The Book of Hope' will serve as an extraordinary exploration of our very nature as human beings and offer a compelling path forward to create hope in our own lives and in the world,” according to Celadon's announcement. “Through both Jane's observation and the latest scientific research, readers will experience the resilience of nature to recover from the harm we have inflicted and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of loss and devastation.”Goodall's previous books include “My Friends the Chimpanzees,” “In the Shadow of Man” and “The Ten Trusts: What We Must Do To Care for the Animals We Love.”The Associated Press

  • Education minister calls for review of classroom inclusion policy
    News
    CBC

    Education minister calls for review of classroom inclusion policy

    Education Minister Dominic Cardy is calling for a review of New Brunswick's inclusive education policy.Cardy said maintaining the status quo is no longer an option when it comes to the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development's inclusive classroom policy, which, he said, isn't working effectively for students with developmental disorders, other students in the classroom and teachers. "The teachers are concerned that they're going to violate the inclusion policy if they discipline a child for acting out," Cardy said, adding students and teachers need to leave some classrooms several times a day or multiple times a week because a student is misbehaving. "We also have instances of violence against teachers [such as] biting, kicking, punching, spitting, teachers being urinated on."Green paper tours leads to need for reviewCardy decided a review into the policy was necessary while on a province-wide tour seeking feedback on his green paper on education reform. The 25-page document discusses eliminating grade levels, introducing second language programming in daycares and using more artificial intelligence in the classroom.On the tour, some parents expressed concerns about schools not having the proper supports and resources in place for children with special needs. Sharron Gerrits, a Saint John mother of a boy with down syndrome, asked how Cardy planned to address the fact that there are not enough resources to make the inclusion model work."We hear students that are ... falling through the cracks," Gerrits said. "Every time we hear how important those supports are, but nothing ever changes."The New Brunswick Teachers' Association began calling for changes to the province's inclusion policy in 2017. It said mixing students who have intellectual disabilities with students who don't can negatively impact the overall learning experience inside the classroom. Cardy said classrooms have been following an "old industrial era" model. Although schools are progressively changing, he said more needs to be done to accommodate children who learn differently and protect teachers from violent outbursts. "The difficulty is if you don't have the resources, obviously kids with behavioural issues have behavioural issues, and if they don't have proper supports then that can cause huge disruption in classrooms," Cardy said. The review of the policy will include re-examining what the policy is responsible for and making sure that classrooms are properly resourced with educational assistants. New Brunswick's inclusive education policy was last updated in September 2013. The policy review will be conducted by the education department. George Daly, the deputy minister for the department and the former head of the NBTA, will be constructing a timeline for the review, which will begin sometime this summer.

  • Sask. teachers vote in favour of job action mandate
    News
    CBC

    Sask. teachers vote in favour of job action mandate

    Teachers have voted in favour of taking job action if negotiations with the government fall through.The Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation (STF) announced the results of the recent sanctions vote this morning at 10 a.m. CST at a news conference.The STF said 90 per cent of members voted in support of sanctions, with a voter turnout of 96 per cent.The vote gives the teachers' bargaining committee the authority to implement job action, but it is not bound to do so."Even though we have a very strong mandate from teachers to conduct sanctions, it's still our last resort," said Patrick Maze, president of the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation. "We'd prefer if the government come honestly to the table and negotiate in good faith."The STF is scheduled to meet with Education Minister Gord Wyant and the Saskatchewan School Boards Association Tuesday. Maze said the timeline for any job action will depend on how the talks with the government go. Job action could result in a full-scale strike. Other measures could include rotating strikes and cutting voluntary extracurricular activities such as coaching students on sports teams.There would be 48 hours notice of any severe actions like a walkout, Maze said."We want to ensure that parents are prepared and we want to ensure school divisions themselves have contingency plans."Government responseWyant was not made available to the media on Monday but his deputy minister responded to the STF sanction vote."The results of the sanctions vote do not change the approach to bargaining – the government will continue to bargain in good faith," Rob Currie, deputy minister for education, said in a statement."The [government] has invited the [teachers] back to the bargaining table and the goal remains to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement for teachers."The Regina Catholic School Division requested the Regina Catholic Teachers' Association give 72 hours notice of any job action.Classroom size and composition a sticking pointThe STF, which represents more than 13,000 teachers in the province, has been without a contract since Aug. 31, 2019.Classroom size and composition have been sticking points in talks between the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation and the government.The province has formed a committee to examine classroom size and composition and has invited the STF to sit on the committee, but the federation has refused to participate. Maze says the STF feels the committee is "stacked" with government representatives.A report by a Saskatchewan conciliation board said that even though there has been no compromise, these are negotiable matters and the parties should still meet to discuss them.NDP education critic Carla Beck said the results of the vote "delivered a strong message" to Minister Wyant that teachers want to see the issues of class size and composition addressed."No one wants a strike. That is very clear. But that said, these issues have been raised time and time again … and I hope the minister understands the ball is in his court now to show some leadership and avert further actions."Negotiations ongoing since mid-2019The two sides have been working on a new contract for at least nine months. They declared an impasse in November, prior to meeting the board.In its offer, the provincial bargaining committee put forward a three-year deal that would see teachers get a one-time $1,500 payment per full-time teacher in 2019-20 and a two per cent salary increase in each of the next two years.The union is asking for smaller class sizes, a three-year agreement with salary increases of two per cent in 2019-20, three per cent in 2020-21 and three per cent in 2021-22, and a contract of employment for substitute teachers.The last time there was a sanctions vote was in 2011 when the province's teachers went on strike for a day. A week later, the teachers took job action again and went on strike for two days.The vote gives bargaining committee authority to take job action until a new provincial collective agreement is ratified.

  • Huawei launches Mate XS foldable smartphone with better screen
    News
    Reuters

    Huawei launches Mate XS foldable smartphone with better screen

    The Mate XS has the same size display as its predecessor but comes with an improved gull-wing hinge mechanism and stronger wraparound screen, while boasting faster download speeds and longer battery life than the rival Samsung Galaxy Fold, Huawei's top salesman Richard Yu told a launch presentation in Barcelona. The folding phone will be priced at 2,499 euros ($2,710) for its premium model and goes on sale worldwide next month, said Yu, as Huawei pushed the price frontier for the most expensive smartphones even higher. Sony , meanwhile, showcased its newest Xperia 1 device as the Japanese company - which lies outside the top 10 smartphone makers by sales - targeted its niche audience of high-fidelity video fans.

  • News
    CBC

    Montreal launches appeal to get back severance pay from ex-mayor Michael Applebaum

    The City of Montreal is appealing a court ruling allowing former Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum to keep the $268,000 he received from the city after resigning from office, despite his conviction for fraud against the government.Last month, Quebec Superior Court Justice Serge Gaudet ruled Applebaum is entitled to his severance because rules prohibiting payments to elected officials convicted of crimes went into effect after he resigned.Applebaum became the city's interim mayor in 2012. He was forced to resign the following year when he was arrested on corruption charges.In 2016 and again in 2018, the provincial law governing severance packages for municipal politicians was modified to exclude politicians convicted of certain crimes from receiving any public money when they leave office.The city sued Applebaum to get its money back, but Gaudet said in his decision the law was not made retroactive, and therefore the city's former mayor is not required to return the money.In an appeal dated Feb. 19, the city argued Gaudet erred in his judgment and that the law applies to cases dating back five years.Applebaum was found guilty in January 2017 of eight corruption-related offences related to his time as borough mayor of Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, including fraud on the government and breach of trust.

  • Intel unveils new data center processor, 5G chip
    News
    Reuters

    Intel unveils new data center processor, 5G chip

    Demand from cloud computing companies have boosted sales of server chips, leading to strong results from Intel and its rival AMD Corp. Intel's Xeon chips have dominated the market for server chips, but AMD has been gaining ground since its re-entry into the business three years ago with rival EPYC processors that earned positive reviews https://www.extremetech.com/computing/296307-epic-win-amds-64-core-7nm-epyc-cpus-leave-xeon-lying-in-the-dirt.

  • 'Business as usual' at P.E.I. schools after non-credible firearms threat
    News
    CBC

    'Business as usual' at P.E.I. schools after non-credible firearms threat

    Despite higher-than-normal absence rates, the police and province say it was a normal day at P.E.I. schools Monday. On Friday afternoon police received an anonymous tip that someone would bring a firearm to a P.E.I. school Monday. Police and school officials spent the weekend investigating and determined that the threat was not credible. "It was business as usual — people were anxious and there were some students that were anxious," said Charlottetown police school liaison officer Tim Keizer. "Obviously we'd like to find out where this particular threat originated from."Keizer said over the weekend, schools were asked to provide names of students or adults who may have had conflict with anyone in the schools in recent days. Police then interviewed those people over the weekend."Through those interviews, it was obvious that there was low credibility to this threat," Keizer said.Despite rumours circulating on social media, Keizer said no P.E.I. schools were on lockdown today.Attendance lower than normalIn an emailed statement, the province told CBC News that schools received several calls from parents Monday, primarily about whether to send their children to school. I don't want anybody to have a heightened sense of anxiety because they're seeing police officers in the school — that's common practice. — Const. Tim KeizerThey said attendance was lower than usual with about 20 per cent of students absent. Student absenteeism at this time of year is usually about 10 per cent, they said."If they have some anxiety in relation to this particular threat, then there are staff that are there to help them so we can get back to classes as usual," said Keizer. The province said there was a counselor in almost every school for at least part of the day. Keizer said there were also plainclothes officers in many schools in addition to regular school resource officers, which he is at Colonel Gray High School in Charlottetown. "I don't want anybody to have a heightened sense of anxiety because they're seeing police officers in the school, that's common practice," he said.Schools will continue to monitor student attendance and they will be reaching out to students who are absent, especially those who may be more vulnerable, said the province.Press conference yields new leadsPolice and school officials informed the public of the tip in a news conference on Sunday. RCMP Sgt. Kevin Baillie told CBC Radio: Island Morning the news conference was held to quell rumours."A number of people had been spoken to and asked about schools and firearms," said Baillie."There was a chance that rumours would spread that were much more serious."Baillie went on to say going public with the information has opened new leads."I received several calls as a result of the press conference," he said."Additional information had been received. None would indicate that there was a definite threat but there were several other avenues to pursue that were passed on."Seeking original anonymous tipsterThe investigation has been made more difficult by the vagueness of the tip, Baillie said.With no time, person or place mentioned, police and school officials had to cast a wide net to search for any evidence to support a real threat.Baillie said police would like to hear from the tipster again."It would be nice to determine exactly who made the comment in what context and totally put this to rest and close the investigation," he said.Baillie said the tipster was not making a direct threat, but passing on information, and stressed this was the right thing to do when a threat to a school is overheard.Joking about guns and schools is in the same category as bombs and airports, he said. People need to be careful about what they say, and threats will be taken seriously.More P.E.I. news

  • Jean-Gabriel Pageau shipped to Islanders, signs 6-year contract extension
    News
    CBC

    Jean-Gabriel Pageau shipped to Islanders, signs 6-year contract extension

    With his team out of the playoff picture, Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion picked up a lottery-protected, first-round draft pick from the New York Islanders for Jean-Gabriel Pageau ahead of Monday's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.The conditional pick would slide to 2021 if it falls in the top 3 of this year's June draft in Montreal. The Senators also acquired a 2020 second-round pick and 2022 third-rounder, the latter only if the New York Islanders will the Stanley Cup this season.Pageau, who has scored a career-high 24 goals in 60 games this season, has agreed to a six-year contract extension with the Islanders. He was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.The Ottawa native topped the Senators with 40 points this season, three shy of his career best of 43 in 2015-16.Ottawa (20-30-11) currently has the third-worst record in the league. But the Senators should have two lottery picks this year — their own and the one acquired from the San Jose Sharks in the Erik Karlsson trade in September 2018 — and could have as many as 13 selections, including seven in the first two rounds.Pageau, who is good on the draw — averaging over 50 per cent on faceoffs in each of the past five seasons — and a strong penalty killer, likely will slot in as third-line centre in New York behind Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson.In eight NHL regular seasons, Pageau has 87 goals and 182 points in 428 games, all with the Senators. He has 12 goals and 16 points in 35 playoff games, including 10 in 19 outings, in Ottawa's run to the Eastern Conference final in 2017.Dorion grabs picks for Namestnikov, EnnisAlso Monday, Dorion scooped up a pair of draft picks for two pending unrestricted free-agent forwards — a fourth-rounder in 2021 from the Colorado Avalanche for Vladislav Namestnikov and a fifth-rounder in the same draft from the Edmonton Oilers for Tyler Ennis.The club sent a fourth-round pick and minor-league defenceman Nick Ebert to the New York Rangers to acquire Namestnikov, 27, in October.Ennis, 30, signed a one-year deal with the Senators over the summer.Namestnikov has 13 goals and 25 points in 56 games this season. Ennis, meanwhile, has put up 14 goals and 33 in 61 contests."He's excited about the prospects of joining the Avalanche," said Dan Milstein, Namestnikov's agent. "He definitely feels this team has every ingredient to win the Cup."Senators, Habs swap forwardsIn another move, Dorion shipped forward Aaron Luchuk of Kingston, Ont., and a 2020 seventh-round pick to Montreal for forward Matthew Peca.Luchuk, 22, has played four games in the AHL this season with Toronto and Belleville after recording 19 goals and 50 points in 45 games with the Newfoundland Growlers of the ECHL.Peca, whom the Canadiens signed for two years on July 1, 2018, had 10 points in 44 games with the big club the last two seasons. The 26-year-old from Petawawa, Ont., tallied 13 points in 34 games this season with Laval of the AHL.

  • Auschwitz Museum upset at scene in Amazon series 'Hunters'
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Auschwitz Museum upset at scene in Amazon series 'Hunters'

    WARSAW, Poland — The museum of the Nazi German Auschwitz death camp is objecting to a scene in a new Amazon TV series that shows a murderous game of human chess being played there, insisting that no such thing took place at the camp.The museum that guards the Auschwitz-Birkenau site in southern Poland, its historic facts and the memory of the victims tweeted about the scene in Amazon's series “Hunters.” It said inventing fake scenes is “dangerous foolishness and caricature," encourages Holocaust deniers and is disrespectful of the camp's some 1.1 million victims, including women and children.Most of the victims were Jews, but there were also Poles, Roma, Russian prisoners of war and others. They died in the camp's gas chambers or from starvation, disease and forced labour,or shot by the guards.Museum spokesman Pawel Sawicki said Monday that authors and artists have a special obligation to tell the truth about Auschwitz, and that the “Hunters” authors did not contact the museum for facts.“If anyone wants to show human tragedy in Auschwitz it is enough to reach for the thousands of sources (survivors' testimonies) that are deeply shocking, but creating fiction that distorts the history of this real place is disrespectful of the people who suffered here,” Sawicki told The Associated Press.He said the museum is always willing to provide factual advice to anyone studying or working on Auschwitz history. More than 2 million people a year visit the site with its historic barracks, the ruins of the gas chambers and a monument to the victims.“Hunters” is about a postwar hunt in New York for Nazi war criminals. It includes a scene whereAuschwitzinmates are figures in a chess game and are killed when they are taken off the chessboard.“This is false. There was no such thing,” Sawicki said.Nazi Germany operated Auschwitz-Birkenau between 1940 and 1945 when it occupied Poland. Emotional, international observances with the participation of survivors were held last month in Oswiecim to mark 75 years since the Soviet army liberated the camp.Monika Scislowska, The Associated Press

  • Researchers find new parasite species in northern wolverines
    News
    CBC

    Researchers find new parasite species in northern wolverines

    Rajnish Sharma, a PhD student at the University of Saskatchewan, did what a lot of researchers dream of — he helped discover a new species.It's a parasite that he and his research partners found in wolverines from Yukon and the N.W.T."I was super excited when I came to know that, oh man, it is something new," he said.Sharma is a PhD student in veterinary microbiology, and he was studying the Trichinella parasite in northern wolverines. He was helped by the territories' environment departments, and local trappers who supplied him with samples.Trichinella is a relatively common species of parasitic roundworm. Sharma says there were 12 known species or genotypes — and two of them are most commonly found in the northern mammals.Sharma collected tongue and diaphragm samples from wolverines, to do genome sequencing of any Trichinella found. He ended up finding a Trichinella species he didn't recognize — and nicknamed it "oddball.""It was different from all 12 species, so then we came to know that oh, it's ... something really odd from the rest of the species. That's why we called it, when we saw that result first time, we started calling it 'oddball,'" he said."It was not related genetically to the rest of the 12 species."Sharma says the new species — now labelled Trichinella chanchalensis (T13) has likely been in the Canadian north for a long time, it just hadn't been identified."Right now, our hypothesis is that this species might have moved from Russia, from the Beringia," he said, referring to the land bridge that once connected Russia and Alaska.       He and the other researchers also tested foxes and wolves for the parasite, but it was only detected in wolverines. Sharma said that may be because they had more wolverine samples.He doesn't believe the parasite poses any real risk to Yukon's wolverine population, or any other species. Humans can acquire trichenellosis (or trichinosis), a potentially fatal disease, from consuming Trichinella larvae in raw or undercooked meat. In Canada, trichinellosis is most commonly acquired from undercooked bear or walrus meat. Wolverines are not typically hunted for food in the North. Sharma says he wants to continue studying T13, to determine how widespread it is in Canada."I'm still excited, to see a lot of research on this new parasite," he said.

  • How Edmonton's drug court program changed the lives of two former drug users
    News
    CBC

    How Edmonton's drug court program changed the lives of two former drug users

    Two participants of Edmonton's Drug Treatment Court Service say the program not only saved them from self-sabotage, it rescued them from years in prison and allowed them to heal.The program is set to expand in April and 28-year-old Alana Lambert and 33-year-old Roberto Diaz say they want to use their experience to help others suffering from addiction. In October last year, the province announced it will provide $20 million dollars to expand the drug court treatment service in Alberta. According to Grace Froese, program manager at the Edmonton John Howard Society, funding will be provided in April to help drug court services in Edmonton double its capacityThe Edmonton program currently serves 21 participants. As of last Friday, it had 27 people waiting to get in. With the added funding, the program is expected to serve 40 people. The program only exists in Edmonton and Calgary, but it also will soon be set up in other major urban centres like Fort McMurray, Red Deer, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. "This is something I was hoping for ever since I started this position six years ago," said Froese, who will help train staff for the expansion. "This is something that's needed. Everyone should have access to this type of program."'I knew I needed help' Alana Lambert says she started using hard drugs when she was about 15. Soon, she became addicted to heroin. "For me, I was lost in addiction. I lived a life full of chaos and criminal activity, [which] was based out of the fact that I needed a means to find more drugs." In 2016, Lambert was arrested for theft and drug possession charges. She was missing court dates and breaching orders. Her lawyer told her if she didn't enrol in the drug court program, she'd spend a substantial amount of time in jail. "At that point I was very sick and I knew that I needed help," she said. Lambert says a huge motivation to enrol in the program was her family, who no longer accepted her at family functions, cut her off and became scared of her."Rightly so, I would've been scared of myself," she said. "My dad doesn't cry very often and when I saw my dad cry, I knew that something had to change." In 2017, Lambert enrolled in the drug court treatment service. She became sober in October of that year and graduated from the program in May 2019. She said the most difficult part of the program was being accountable for herself, showing up on time to her appointments and changing her lifestyle."Coming in every morning we had to screen all the time so peeing in a cup in front of a couple of people is very nerve-racking in the beginning, but it's something you get used to," Lambert said. "Now I live a day-to-day life and it's easy to get up and go to work and be accountable to my adult life." Lambert now works at a dealership in Edmonton as a fleet assistant. Come April, she and Roberto Diaz will start working part-time at the John Howard Society as peer support workers. "I do want to do something with people because I really feel that my experience can help other people," she said, adding she wants to pursue a career in social work. Healing For Roberto Diaz, drug court helped him heal from past wounds and pain. By the time he enrolled in the program in 2017, Diaz was already a few months sober, despite having suffered from addiction for a large part of his life. Diaz says he began using and selling drugs when he was 19. He said he had a long list of run-ins with police and nearly 10 charges of drug trafficking. He also went to a couple of drug treatment centres, with little success. "I wasn't trying to stop using [drugs], I was just trying to get the external voices to diminish or quiet down so I could go along with my business," he said. Diaz recounts how he was once kicked out of treatment because he got into a fight and couldn't give up his phone. "One of the delusions I had going into treatment was that ... I needed my phone, the number of people who needed me you know? I think it was one of the last things I had that I had any control over," he said. In 2017, Diaz found out he was under investigation for manslaughter in a death resulting from an opioid overdose. He was looking at three and a half years in prison. At that time he was also homeless. "I remember walking up 101 St. and 104 Ave. and walking toward the Hope Mission to get food, and I have two cloth bags and a backpack," Diaz said. "I'm just wondering, 'where did it go so wrong? What happened?'" In 2017, Diaz found himself at Recovery Acres, an addiction treatment centre in Edmonton. There, he was recommended drug court. In 2018, he started the program after being sober for five months and said it helped him heal. "When you talk about communication through all these different programs it starts to resonate more," he said. He now works full-time as a peer support worker with Alberta Health Services. "My life is pretty amazing ... I really found my calling," Diaz said. "It's the people who I surround myself with that allow me to have the life that I have today."Economic impact  The drug treatment court service started in Edmonton in 2005. Its purpose is to help participants break the cycle of crime and addiction, and make amends through restorative justice. It also aims to reduce costs for the courts. "Those stories, if you did an economic impact assessment, would be way more valuable than just throwing somebody into jail," said Dale McFee, Edmonton's chief of police, referring to Diaz and Lambert's stories. McFee heard their stories at a public police commission meeting last Thursday.  "It was an off-ramp that actually worked," McFee said about the drug court program. "[It's] way less expensive, same process, same partnerships involved … [and] not trying to solve an issue in isolation. If we can do that, that's a huge win," McFee said.  The drug court operates on a basis of a guilty plea with a delayed sentencing process. Participants must take part voluntarily, be vetted by Crown prosecutors, and commit to the program for a year.

  • Qualifications of new head of public library service questioned
    News
    CBC

    Qualifications of new head of public library service questioned

    The new person in charge of the province's 64 public libraries does not appear to have any library training or experience.Kevin Cormier was appointed executive director of the New Brunswick Public Library Service last week.The job posting listed "essential qualifications" as a master's degree in library and/or information studies from an American Library Association-accredited program.Cormier's LinkedIn profile lists his education as a single year at York University's Schulich School of Business in Toronto (2005) and two years at the Moncton Flight College (1998-2000).The competition for the library position, which comes with an annual salary of up to nearly $114,000, also called for a minimum of eight years of "progressively responsible related work experience," including at least three years of management experience in a "complex operational environment involving responsibility for human and financial resources."A combination of education, training and experience may be considered, it said.Cormier spent the past year as a strategic adviser in the Executive Council Office, working on corporate governance and accountability with agencies, boards and commissions of the public service.He was previously the chief executive officer of Kings Landing Corporation and made some contentious changes during his seven years at the historical settlement near Fredericton, at least one of which was reversed following public outcry.His other work experience includes three years in advertising and several years in various marketing-related positions — all in senior roles, including owning his own marketing company.'Puts the library system at risk'Courtney Pyrke, who has a master's degree in library science from the University of Western Ontario, worked at the Saint John Free Public Library for about 18 months and is now doing her PhD at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John, called the appointment surprising and disappointing."It doesn't sound like he has any experience even working in a library let alone having a degree in library science, so I think that's troublesome for the profession to not really understand, I guess, the theoretical concepts of librarianship," said Pyrke."I mean not understanding how collection development works, not understanding how community outreach works — it kind of puts the library system at risk." It would be like hiring an economist to head a social work department. \- Joann Hamilton-Barry, retired  director, Saint John Free Public LibraryJoann Hamilton-Barry, who recently retired as the director of the Saint John Free Public Library after 33 years, said when other provinces and municipalities have hired non-librarians to head up library systems, "it didn't usually go well.""It would be like hiring an economist to head a social work department. It's just not usually done."Pyrke compared it to hiring somebody without a medical degree or experience in the medical field to run a medical system and said it "looks bad on the profession.""I think just to not have that skill set or even have an understanding of the skill set that's needed to work as a librarian, that kind of calls into question the types of people that they're going to hire moving forward," she said."Like for me as a librarian, it makes me not want to work in that system."Filled through talent programThe Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour declined an interview about Cormier's appointment to the Fredericton-based job that required written and spoken "competence" in both English and French.But in an emailed statement, spokesperson Leigh Watson said the department is "confident that his past experience, skills and abilities will serve the public library service very well."Watson declined further comment, referring to it as "an internal human resources matter."Pressed further, the acting communications director for the department, Erika Jutras, said the position was advertised as a competition and ultimately filled by the deputy minister through the Corporate Talent Management Program.The Corporate Talent Management Program provides current and aspiring executives in the upper pay bands with "opportunities to further develop their executive competencies within and/or outside their current department," according to the government's website."We have an outstanding workforce and expertise in [the New Brunswick Public Library Service] across the province, along with committed local, regional, and provincial stakeholders," Jutras said in an emailed statement."Mr. Cormier has the training, experience and leadership we are looking for at this time."Cormier did not respond to a request for an interview. His predecessor, Sylvie Nadeau, retired.Hires should be based on qualificationsGuy Arseneault, the Official Opposition's critic for Post-Secondary Education, said he could not speak to Cormier's resumé, but "government hires should be based on qualifications alone.""We have seen this government make some questionable hires for high-paying jobs," Arseneault, the MLA for Campbellton-Dalhousie, said in an emailed statement. "If this is another political hire then it just further tarnishes Blaine Higgs's image."I hope that he was not hired to implement the rumoured cuts to library services."In some jurisdictions, such as British Columbia, the legislation governing the public library service clearly stipulates the director must be "a qualified librarian."An inter-office memo announcing Cormier's appointment said he "brings a diverse background to the role."The Feb. 20 memo, obtained by CBC News, describes Cormier, as a "team-oriented, creative and dynamic individual who is an outside the box thinker."In 2018, Cormier made headlines when some re-enactments at Kings Landing were replaced, under his leadership, with static exhibits, prompting public meetings and online petitions.Critics said character interpretation gave guests a better understanding of what rural life was like in the 19th century, and was crucial to the popular tourist attraction being an authentic historic settlement.Last March, Cormier announced plans to start using costumed characters in the three old houses again.In his LinkedIn profile, Cormier describes himself as "a passionate fella.""Whether it be leading teams and organizations in government and private sector through effective change management, developing new products or ways to experience them, building relationships with partners or facilitating relationships between brands and audiences — I love making awesome things happen."

  • Canadian businesses rush to plug a gap in electric-vehicle charging: Don Pittis
    News
    CBC

    Canadian businesses rush to plug a gap in electric-vehicle charging: Don Pittis

    The relatively small number of electric vehicles you see on the road today masks what many experts say is a disruptive revolution coming to the business of refuelling our vehicles.With some claiming as many as 80 per cent of conventional gas stations could be driven out of business in 15 years, Canadian companies are at the forefront of figuring out how to profit from the coming transformation of the business model for how we get a fill-up.And as with the effect of previous technological disruptions on such firms as Kodak or former music titan PolyGram, unexpected innovations mean there is no guarantee that established players will retain their dominant position in a market where all the rules have changed.The increasing number of battery-powered offerings at last week's Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto and the many more in the pipeline hint at an energy transformation fuelled by climate change and startling advances in electric-vehicle tech, meaning the recharging business is now playing catch-up.Growing demandRepeated studies have shown there are not enough chargers even for existing demand, said Colleen Kaiser, who researches the electrification of transport for the Smart Prosperity Institute, a Canadian think-tank studying market-friendly sustainability.On a life-cycle basis, studies have shown electric vehicles are already cheaper than their internal combustion equivalents, and competition and better technology is beginning to push prices down.Experts say that will inevitably push EV sales up."What we are starting to see is the more progressive oil and gas companies are now looking at themselves as providers of power to fuel transportation," said Kaiser, pointing to Canadian oilsands giant Suncor, which has already begun to install electric chargers at its Petro-Canada gas stations.But as with previous technological disruptions, Kaiser said new growth in the EV-recharging business is not simply a matter of replacing gas pumps with electrical outlets. Perhaps the most significant change in the business model is that the many people who currently go to the service station for a fill-up will be able to recharge at home or at work.As Kaiser says, if we had gas pumps at our houses, we wouldn't be using gas stations, either.Among the many other complications is having enough power in the right locations. A bank of EV chargers in full use demands as much power as an office building, Kaiser said, and that kind of juice might not be easily available — especially in remote areas where chargers are needed. Even if people switch to EVs as quickly as some forecasts suggest, there will still be decades of demand for conventional fuelling stations, as existing vehicles gradually wear out and are replaced by electrics.End of the retail fuel eraResearch by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) suggests that the world faces "the end of an era in fuel retail" as gas stations begin to disappear. According to the authors' calculations, many traditional gas stations simply won't make enough money."In a market environment in which electric vehicles (EVs), autonomous vehicles and new mobility models take off rapidly, up to 80 per cent of the fuel-retail network as currently constituted may be unprofitable in about 15 years," reads the report.But that doesn't mean everyone is suffering. Paradoxically, even as existing service stations face a future profit challenge, new entrants are rushing to figure out ways to make money from a shortage of electric-charging points.Analysis of Kodak's collapse after the arrival of digital photography helps show why business disruption by technological change can be perplexing.For instance, Kodak did not stubbornly refuse to make digital cameras. Instead, as digital imaging took off, the advantages the company had created with massive investments in the world's best film technology suddenly became a liability, and nimble specialists in electronics and software crowded into the digital photography space.Experts now say something similar has happened in the automotive business, as electric engines wipe out years of competitive advantage by German carmakers in sophisticated internal combustion mechanics.Whatever the future of conventional gas stations, Travis Allan, vice-president and general counsel at the EV-charging system FLO, said that his company's system of electric fast chargers is an expanding business.FLO, which just announced a deal to install charging points at Canadian Tire stations across the country, is owned by the award-winning Quebec-based startup AddÉnergie.As well as building out a charging network, the 10-year-old privately held firm — listed in one business directory as an "application software" company — makes charging hardware for home and commercial use. It is also an expert in the software needed to regulate the electricity flow and bill customers. And the company is expanding its business into the U.S., including through a recent deal with electricity giant Consolidated Edison.While Allan agrees that EV owners will charge at home when they can, he said there are many reasons besides long journeys why people will want access to public chargers.In urban cores with street parking, such as New York and Montreal, for example, there's a need for street-level charging. Car-share vehicles, ride-hailing companies, plus the eventual arrival of self-driving vehicles will also contribute to commercial charger demand.The Norway experienceThere are reports that the Quebec-based convenience store and gas station company Couche-Tard, which operates under the brand name Circle K around the world, is using its subsidiary in Norway to lead the way in global research on how to continue to profit in the new world of EV charging.Even at existing gas stations, studies show the associated convenience stores are a bigger source of profit than fuel sales. Couche-Tard is exploring the best way to offer services to a captive audience of customers waiting for their vehicles to charge.Another new entry into the business is the Ontario-based Ivy Charging Network, currently installing 163 chargers at more than 70 locations across the province. A private business owned jointly by Ontario Power Generation and electricity distributor Hydro One, Ivy will effectively be drumming up business for its parent companies by making it easier to use electric vehicles, said Ivy co-president Theresa Dekker."Ontario's electricity system is very, very clean, and so it just makes sense to use our clean electricity in the province to help support increased adoption of electric vehicles and increase use of the product," said Dekker.As with other electrical utilities across Canada and around the world, the business urge to sell more product means there will be market pressure to find ways to keep pumping volts — even if conventional gas stations eventually disappear altogether.Follow Don on Twitter @don_pittis

  • Mastercard to add 1,500 technology jobs in Ireland
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    Reuters

    Mastercard to add 1,500 technology jobs in Ireland

    Mastercard Inc plans to hire 1,500 more staff in Dublin over the next three to five years, more than trebling its workforce in one of Ireland's largest single multinational jobs announcements. The U.S. credit card issuer has had a presence in Dublin since 2008 where it set up its research and development arm, Mastercard Labs, four years later. Its workforce will increase to more than 2,000 from 650 now, IDA Ireland, the state agency competing to win foreign jobs, said in a statement on Monday.

  • Lesotho PM seeks immunity from charge of murdering second wife
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    Reuters

    Lesotho PM seeks immunity from charge of murdering second wife

    Lesotho's high court will rule on whether Prime Minister Thomas Thabane can claim immunity from a charge he murdered his wife prior to marrying his present spouse, a lower court decided on Monday, in a case gripping the tiny southern African kingdom. Maesaiah, 42, has been charged with the murder, and police suspect her of ordering assassins to do the job. Crowds of supporters packed the magistrates' court and gathered outside for Monday's hearing.

  • Advocate says N.S. enforcement team for rental problems would help landlords, tenants
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    CBC

    Advocate says N.S. enforcement team for rental problems would help landlords, tenants

    A provincial enforcement team for rental problems would benefit both landlords and tenants, says a tenant rights educator with the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia.Lesley Dunn thinks Nova Scotia should consider the example of British Columbia and the success of its new residential tenancies enforcement unit.She says the unit "takes a strong, deep dive ... where there's been chronic infractions.""It puts an enforcement piece in their hands where currently in Nova Scotia we don't have that enforcement piece with our residential tenancies branch."Dunn said there needs to be a mechanism to deal with repeat offenders. "Otherwise the system that we have in place does work, and it does work well," she said. Even-Har case points to loopholesA recent tenancy fraud in Nova Scotia highlighted how a motivated tenant can live rent free by dragging out the eviction appeals process and then moving on to a new landlord when the eviction finally comes. Nadav Joseph Even-Har was sentenced to two years in prison, in part for two rental frauds which cost landlords a total of $15,300. A CBC News investigation found multiple cases in Halifax and Antigonish where Even-Har paid landlords with cheques on closed bank accounts and fought each eviction for months. Dunn said those types of circumstances can erode public trust. "We don't want that ... to take place. We want people to have faith in the legislation," she said. B.C. closes systemic gapsScott McGregor founded B.C.'s new residential tenancies enforcement unit 10 months ago. The former police officer and his four-person team step in when either a landlord or tenant is accused of repeatedly flouting the system. The unit tackled 106 complaints during the last eight months of 2019."We've been able to do some really good things," McGregor said. "We've been able to bring a couple of large property management companies into line just by conducting investigations and issuing formal warnings to them. They didn't want to take on the provincial government."McGregor said Even-Har's case follows a familiar pattern. "We have similar circumstances here in B.C ...  where there are people that are super motivated for whatever reason to avoid having to pay rent.  And the system was not really set up to prevent people from doing this."He said his unit can fine delinquent tenants for failure to pay rent. As long as those fines remain unpaid, the tenants are unable to appeal subsequent eviction notices, breaking the cycle of repeated fraudulent tenancies. He said the unit is also developing a website that will publish the names of everybody who was subject to an enforcement action. "Landlords can go there and use that as a resource when they're determining whether or not they want to rent to somebody," he said. He said delinquent tenants could apply to have their names removed from the website if they turn their lives around. However, "if we have information that they're continuing to contravene then their name would stay on the site indefinitely," he said. Landlords feel the heatMcGregor said the ability to fine non-compliant landlords leads to faster resolutions for tenants. He cites an example of a landlord who repeatedly defied orders to fix leaks and electrical problems in his building. "In numerous hearings there were orders in place for the landlord to affect these repairs, and the landlord was just refusing to do it," he said. "Instead of doing the repairs, the landlord started trying to serve notices ... to evict the renter from the house."After the unit levied a $5,000 fine against the landlord, he's finally starting to fix the issues, McGregor said.McGregor's unit can fine landlords up to $5,000 a day until they comply with residential tenancy orders.If the fines go unpaid, the debts are sent to provincial government collectors, who can garnishee wages and place liens on properties.But McGregor said landlords often mend their ways after a single phone call from the compliance unit. Benefits for Nova ScotiaDunn said having a similar enforcement unit in Nova Scotia could have helped with a problem renter like Even-Har. "I think in that kind of situation it had value, because you had somebody who was a chronic offender," Dunn said. "But it works both ways," she said. "It's not just the tenant. It can also be the landlord. And I think it's really important to remember that there's two sides to this relationship." N.S. watching B.C.A spokesperson for Service Nova Scotia said the province is aware of B.C.'s enforcement experiment. "We are in regular contact with our provincial counterparts and will be monitoring the results of the new program," Krista Higdon said. Higdon says it's critical for both landlords and tenants to know their rights and responsibilities under provincial law. MORE TOP STORIES