Pandemic restrictions force Diwali and Bandi Chor Divas celebrations to go virtual as the hard-hit South Asian community finds ways to come together for the holidays safely.
Pandemic restrictions force Diwali and Bandi Chor Divas celebrations to go virtual as the hard-hit South Asian community finds ways to come together for the holidays safely.
Penetanguishene council could approve an interim 2021 property tax levy this week. Staff is bringing forward the request at Wednesday's meeting and recommending that council approve a temporary tax levy, which can be paid in two installments, one at the end of February and the other at the end of April. The report does not specify the levy amount but it does state that the sum cannot exceed 50% of the total amount of taxes for municipal and school purposes levied on the property in the previous year. The move, says the report, will help with cash management and provide tax revenues in February and April, whereas the final tax levy will provide revenues in July and September. Also on the committee of the whole agenda is a staff report on the extension of the sidewalk on the west side of Peel Street, between Main Street and Simcoe Street, to enable a sidewalk snowplow to remove the snow from that area. The costs associated with the extension of the sidewalk would be approximately $15,000. The extension would also mean existing parking signs within this area will be removed and relocated with pavement markings will be added to define the new sidewalk and parking area. There is sufficient width within this one-way section of Peel Street to accommodate the expansion. Council will also be looking at amendments to the bylaw that governs its contract with the Penetanguishene Curling Club, which has requested some changes to the agreement. The current terms require that the club to provide the town with audited financial statements on an annual basis. As a cost savings measure, the club has requested that the town reconsider that requirement and change it to a review engagement. Staff are supporting the amendment and want to include wording that reflects expanded town use of the facility during the summer. Currently the clause details town use of the facility with reference to day-camp operations. The language will be changed to reflect use of the facility for town programming in general, as opposed to being specific to day-camp use. The committee of the whole meeting begins immediately after the regular council meeting at 7 p.m. and can be viewed online via the town's YouTube channel.Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
Regina's 2020 city council was sworn in last night before a small group at city hall.Attendees to the ceremony were limited due to COVID-19 restrictions; each member of council was allowed to bring two invited guests.Eleven members swore their oaths, including five new councillors and new Mayor of Regina Sandra Masters — the first woman to be mayor of a major city in Saskatchewan.Masters said she hopes to take action during her term."I think there's the sense that we talk about some things but we don't seem to strike action plans," she said, pointing to the Renewable Regina Plan that was first discussed in 2018."We might even make action plans but we don't have a lot of actions coming out and I think it's those types of things, if I had a hunch, that have been frustrating for some."Regina's council is full of new faces, with five of 10 city council members new to city hall.While they've only been working together for the past two weeks, Masters said the group has already started to build a rapport."They're inquisitive, they want to understand how it works … even just the debate about some of the priorities has been respectful and I think we've made some advances there."Masters said she's ready to get to work.The next regular meeting of the new city council will be on Dec. 2 at 1:30 p.m.
Many gardeners, even in colder regions, inch closer and closer each year to the goal of growing a year-round supply of vegetables.Corn, peppers, green beans, and okra are tucked away in freezers, tomatoes are canned, and turnips, beets, and winter squashes can be in “fresh” storage in refrigerators, and even cool mudrooms, garages and basements.Best of all, though, are those vegetables that can still be picked fresh from the garden. No reason to throw in the towel yet: These vegetables can continue on through some snow and temperatures dropping to the teens.WHAT TO GROW FOR FALL (POSSIBLY WINTER) EATINGLettuce, endive, spinach and parsley are among the cold-hardiest vegetables. Except for parsley, which requires a long season so needs to be sown earlier in summer, late summer plantings of these cold-hardy vegetables could have begun just as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and other warm season crops were waning. That row of parsley might no longer looks like a dense green, miniature rococo landscape, but it’s still tasty.Other vegetables round out the fresh salads. Rocket, or arugula, is quite cold-hardy. A few radishes are still crisp and pungent.One of the hardiest of fresh salad greens, and also one of the tastiest, is mache, also known as corn salad. The delicate flavour and tender, spoon-shaped leaves belie this plant’s tolerance for frigid weather. Rather than plant mache, I just let it plant itself: Overwintered plants self-seed in early summer but the seeds don’t sprout until the cool weather of later summer. I transplant the young plants in early autumn.PROTECTION TO EXTEND THE HARVESTOver the years, my own autumn salad vegetables have greeted cold weather beneath a variety of protective structures. One year, they were sheltered beneath homemade plexiglass A-frames., another year beneath miniature glass greenhouses held together by wires, and yet another year within bottomless wooden boxes covered with clear glass.This year, I draped “floating row covers” — diaphanous materials that hold in some heat yet allow passage of air, light and water — on metal hoops over my lettuces and endives. Some beds get metal hoops draped with clear plastic, which lets in more sunlight, but not as much cold protection. Now’s not too late to rig up some protective covering for these cold-tolerant plants.A GOOD SITE ALSO HELPSLeaves of any salad plants in sheltered nooks often remain lush green and turgid long after their counterparts at more exposed sites have turned watery green and flaccid. For instance, spinach and lettuce planted with their backs against a house or garage wall are not exposed to quite as much cold as plants growing farther away. And any structure, even a low stone wall, soaks up heat as the sun beats on it by day, then releases this solar energy gradually through the night, to the benefit of nearby plants.This time of year, tender, edible leaves are least likely to be found on plants given an eastern exposure. Leaves frozen at night cannot stand immediate thawing from the morning sun.Although spinach, lettuce, mache, endive and parsley are alive, they’re not growing. The weather’s too cold and there’s too little light. The leaves of these plants are just sitting, waiting to be harvested.Very soon, temperatures will get low enough to put a permanent end to the fresh vegetable harvest for the season, at least here in Zone 5 (average minimum temperature -20 degrees Fahrenheit).The roots of most spinach, leek, parsley and corn salad plants, and maybe a few of the lettuce plants, will survive outdoors, even though their leaves will freeze. In the spring, these roots will fuel growth of succulent new leaves, the first harvest next season, well before any new seedlings are large enough to harvest.I contend that those first pickings in the spring and these last pickings in autumn taste better than any salad greens you can buy.___Lee Reich writes regularly about gardening for The Associated Press. He has authored a number of books, including “Weedless Gardening” and “The Ever Curious Gardener.” He blogs at http://www.leereich.com/blog. He can be reached at email@example.com.Lee Reich, The Associated Press
The approval of a zoning bylaw amendment could allow for a fire fighting academy to be built in a Tay Township hamlet. The application coming forward for public consultation this Wednesday evening is seeking to add “private career college” as a site-specific permitted use on the property located at 36 Hazel St., which is presently zoned institutional. The new use is to facilitate the land to be used for a firefighting training and education facility by Southwest Fire Academy (SFA). The application is also seeking some accessory uses for the college building, specifically allowing for overnight accommodations for a maximum of 15 consecutive nights. Other site-specific uses include one detached accessory building, outdoor parking and storage of a vehicle to be used for training purposes, the outdoor use of a decommissioned railroad car for the purpose of training, and a minimum of 37 off-street parking spaces for the college. The application also specifically states that no live fires are proposed for the site. The 2.18 acres of land is surrounded by low-density residential areas and backs onto 175 m of Trans Canada Trail. The site was the former Waubaushene Elementary School and had been vacant since 2015. The submitted application also includes comment from the Severn Sound Environmental Association, which has written in saying that no environmental impact study is required for the land in question. The letter also states that there are no woodlands, wetlands, or areas of natural and scientific interest on the property. The SSEA also recommends that property owners are responsible for ensuring that activity being undertaken on the property does not contravene with any applicable legislation or regulations under the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Birds Convention Act, and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. The presentation included in the agenda also answers a question asked by the township's chief administrative officer around mitigating noise for surrounding houses. The presentation states that strategic landscaping to supplement privacy and screening from abutting residential areas. Residents with questions and comments can contact Steven Farquharson, general manager, protective and development services via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (705)534-7248 ext. 225. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. and can be viewed online via Zoom or via the township's website. An audio-only version of the meeting can be accessed via telephone by calling (705)999-0385 and entering meeting ID number 851 7203 4877 followed by .Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
After a two-week controversy that sparked a petition, protest and several arrests in connection with threats against local elected officials, the city of Longueuil is ditching its plan to capture and put down 15 deer.Mayor Sylvie Parent says the city will work with the province's forestry, fauna and parks ministry to find a safe location for the animals.In a written statement issued Monday night, Parent said the city had no choice but to scrap the plan, despite having gotten the approval from the province's experts and "a large consensus within the scientific community", "The threat posed today by certain people in order to harm, or even thwart the implementation of the deer population's cull in Michel-Chartrand park forces us to consider another option."The city had originally said euthanizing the 15 deer — about half of the park's population — was necessary to preserve vegetation in the area.In the last week, Longueuil police have arrested three men in connection with threats allegedly issued against the city's mayor. According to police, none of the men live in the Longueuil area.Parent hopes to have the deer moved within weeks, pending instructions from the ministry on where and how to undertake the relocation.Earlier this month, Anaïs Gasse, a biologist with the province's forestry, fauna and parks ministry claimed many of the deer would die within days if relocated, due to how difficult it would be to adapt to new surroundings.
A public meeting about the Ottawa police budget Monday was overtaken by criticism of the weekend arrest of protesters calling for justice for Black, Indigenous and racialized communities in Ottawa.Almost 100 people signed up to speak to the Ottawa Police Services Board about the 2021 police budget.Nearly all of the registered speakers called for the police budget to be frozen and for the proposed $13.2 million increase for the upcoming year to be reallocated to social services.Several people, some who were at this weekend's protest encampment at Laurier Avenue and Nicholas Street, condemned the early morning arrests of demonstrators — even accusing police Chief Peter Sloly of deception when he described the early morning arrests as having involved ample warning and no injuries.Twelve people were charged with mischief.Ifrah Yusuf, co-chair of the Justice for Abdirahman coalition, said the space created by protesters calling for an end to systemic racism was "destroyed" by police after protesters were told they would not be arrested."They have caused deep harm, trauma and have set the relationship back many years in the space of one night by way of a reckless and violent decision," she said. WATCH | Early-morning police raid timed with safety in mind, chief says:Robin Browne, co-founder of 613-819 Black Hub, said the disruption of the protest after an agreement to meet with city officials was one factor that led the group to reconsider its conditional endorsement of the 2021 budget."That the police went ahead and removed the protesters just hours before the meeting is an act of bad faith," Browne said."Charging 12 protesters with mischief contradicts the [police service's] frequent claim that they want to 'improve community relations' as it seems more like an intimidation tactic."Browne said the group is also concerned with the slow pace of other priorities such as improving the police's mental health response and hiring of racialized officers.Handling of ceremonial objectsThere was particular anger over the treatment of sacred medicines and ceremonial objects belonging to Indigenous participants in the protest.Victoria Marchand, an Anishinaabe from Kitigan Zibi who participated in the protest, said protesters were given just 10 minutes of warning before arrests began."Not only did we just wake up but we had tents, drums, medicines, and what happened to those? There were no warnings. The care the board talks about for our confiscated ceremonial objects is a complete and utter lie," Marchand said.She said the ceremonial objects and medicines had to be recovered from a municipal yard on Hurdman Road, some left under a tarp.Sloly acknowledged Monday that "mistakes were made" in the handling of those objects, though in his opening remarks he said efforts were made to reach Indigenous organizations for advice on the proper handling of ceremonial objects.He said the police need to improve how they handle similar situations.Vote planned TuesdayThe meeting lasted about eight hours, with several tense exchanges.Coun. Diane Deans, the board's chair, cut some public delegations short when she said they were veering away from the budget or included possible criminal allegations that police could not answer during a city meeting.This led to pushback from several speakers who accused Deans of censorship and denying the experience of people who experienced alleged wrongdoing at the hands of police. The meeting concluded with a recess and will reconvene for a vote Tuesday. Some board members, including Deans, have said they will support the proposed budget.
When Canadian trade negotiators begin talks with the United Kingdom next year on a permanent bilateral trade deal, their hands could be tied when it comes to offering any future dairy, egg or poultry concessions — if Parliament passes a new private member's bill that saw its first hour of debate on Tuesday.Bloc Québécois MP Louis Plamondon's legislation, Bill C-216, would amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act to state that the minister "must not make any commitment ... by future trade treaty or agreement" that would increase the tariff rate quota (TRQ) applicable to dairy products, poultry or eggs, or reduce the tariff applicable to those goods when they are imported in excess of that quota.Canada protects its agriculture supply management system for these commodities by carefully controlling access to its domestic market. Only small quantities of imports are allowed under strict international quotas — TRQs — with high tariffs keeping any extra imports above and beyond these quotas from being cost-competitive.But the three major trade deals implemented by the Liberal government over the last four years — the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union, the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with 10 other Pacific Rim markets and, most recently, the revised North American Free Trade Agreement (the new NAFTA) — all offered new access to Canada's domestic market, among other concessions required to land these deals."Something very important for milk and egg and poultry production is given away as a token and nothing comes back for those producers, so we say in the law that this should not happen anymore," Bloc Leader Yves-François Blanchet told CBC News last week."[The Liberal government says,] 'Oh, we will will compensate you. And you know what? They don't."No word on NAFTA compensationA few weeks before the 2019 general election, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced compensation for dairy farmers to cover their anticipated losses from CETA and CPTPP, which were already both in effect at the time. That financial assistance rolled out last winter.Help has also been pledged to compensate for the even larger concessions in the new NAFTA but nothing further has been announced. American farmers got access to a greater share of Canada's starting July 1 — and the new NAFTA also dictates how dairy ingredients can be priced and slapped strict export limits on sensitive global commodities like skim milk powder and baby formula.Blanchet slammed Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland for taking so long to present her fall economic update and said her spending plan must include the NAFTA compensation farmers anxiously anticipate."This money is owed, is expected [and] is terribly late," he said.Freeland announced Monday that she'll present her update on Nov. 30.Bill could block British demandsIf Plamondon's legislation garners enough support to pass in this Parliament before the next election, the first trade negotiation it could affect is talks between Canada and the United Kingdom to reach a permanent, comprehensive deal to liberalize their bilateral trade post-Brexit.On Saturday, prime ministers and trade ministers from both sides announced they'd reached agreement on a transitional deal to offer continuity for businesses by continuing most of the terms of the CETA past Jan.1, when it was otherwise set to expire because the U.K. is no longer an EU member.The government won't release details of exactly what's in that transitional agreement until the legal text is ready, which usually takes another two to four weeks. But Doug Forsyth, Canada's lead negotiator in the talks, confirmed previously that the British were seeking additional tariff-free access to Canada's cheese market."I want to be very clear that there is no new market access for cheese here in this transition agreement," International Trade Minister Mary Ng told CBC News at Saturday's announcement.But yesterday at the Commons trade committee, Ng's parliamentary secretary, Rachel Bendayan, said that language in the transitional deal commits both sides to returning to the table to reach what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called a "bespoke" bilateral deal by 2024.That means the British could make another play to get more U.K. cheeses into Canada."By 2024, Canada will have transferred 18 per cent of its domestic dairy production to dairy farmers in other countries ... that will displace our domestic products on the grocery shelves," said Pierre Lampron, the president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, in a statement sent to CBC News last weekend. "Another concession as part of a trade agreement with the U.K. would have been dramatic for the industry."Officials had told us there would be no further concessions, and they followed through, but we must remain vigilant as this is a provisional agreement."Vote unclearBased on remarks made during Tuesday's first hour of debate, it appears Conservative MPs may not support this bill, but a party spokesperson has yet to comment on it or confirm how the Official Opposition will vote.In an email to CBC News, party spokesperson Melanie Richer said New Democrats agree with the Bloc that compensation has been slow to roll out, adding that "the Liberals added insult to injury by bringing CUSMA into effect several weeks earlier than promised, robbing Canadian dairy farmers of a full year to prepare for the change in their local markets.""New Democrats have consistently decried the damage done to Canada's dairy sector in successive trade deals and we have said we would not do the same," Richer said. "This bill would add legal force to that position."Youmy Han, a spokesperson for Trade Minister Ng, said the government is still studying the bill and would not say how Liberal MPs might vote."We have been clear: our government will not grant any further market access in our supply-managed sectors in any future trade negotiation," Han said.MPs will vote on the bill at second reading after its second hour of debate, expected later this winter.
In Pennsylvania, if you’re having friends over to socialize, you’re supposed to wear a mask — and so are your friends. That’s the rule, but Barb Chestnut has no intention of following it.“No one is going to tell me what I can or not do in my own home,” said Chestnut, 60, of Shippensburg. “They do not pay my bills and they are not going to tell me what to do.”As governors and mayors grapple with an out-of-control pandemic, they are ratcheting up mask mandates and imposing restrictions on small indoor gatherings, which have been blamed for accelerating the spread of the coronavirus. But while such measures carry the weight of law, they are, in practical terms, unenforceable, and officials are banking on voluntary compliance instead.Good luck with that.While many are undoubtedly heeding public health advice — downsizing Thanksgiving plans, avoiding get-togethers, wearing masks when they’re around people who don't live with them — it's inevitable that a segment of the population will blow off new state and local restrictions and socialize anyway. Experts say that could put greater stress on overburdened hospitals and lead to an even bigger spike in sickness and death over the holidays.“When this started in early March, we weren’t staring at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we didn’t have the disease reservoir that we have. And that, to me, is the biggest concern in the next few weeks,” said Dr. David Rubin, the director of PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He called the risk of a Thanksgiving spike “extremely high.”“I think you’re seeing a lot of resistance here," Rubin said. "I can’t speculate on what people are going to do, but I can say that to the degree that there isn’t a collective buy-in here, it sort of blunts the impact of the measures themselves.”The nation is averaging 172,000 new virus cases per day, nearly doubling since the end of October, according to Johns Hopkins University. Hospitalizations, deaths and the testing positivity rate are also up sharply as the nation approaches Thanksgiving.In response, elected officials are imposing restrictions that, with some exceptions, fall short of the broad-based stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns seen in the spring.Utah and Vermont have banned all social gatherings. So have local governments in Philadelphia and Dane County, Wisconsin. In Kentucky, no more than eight people from two households are permitted to get together; in Oregon, the gathering limit is six. California has imposed an overnight curfew. More states are requiring masks, including those with GOP governors who have long resisted them. The nation’s top health officials are pleading with Americans to avoid Thanksgiving travel.There’s some evidence the holiday will be quieter.Tamika Hickson, who co-owns a party rental business in Philadelphia, said Thanksgiving was a bust even before her city moved to prohibit indoor gatherings of any size."Nobody’s calling," Hickson said. "A lot of people lost a lot of loved ones, so they’re not playing with this. And I don’t blame them.”AAA projects Thanksgiving travel will fall by at least 10%, which would be the steepest one-year plunge since the Great Recession in 2008. But that still means tens of millions of people on the road. On social media, people defiantly talk about their Thanksgiving plans, arguing that nothing will stop them from seeing friends and family.More than 1 million people thronged U.S. airports on Sunday, according to the Transportation Security Administration — the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic.Dr. Debra Bogen, the health director for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, which includes Pittsburgh, said that too many have been ignoring public health guidance and that the result has been unchecked spread of the virus.“For the past few weeks, I’ve asked people to follow the rules, curtail gatherings and parties, stay home except for essentials, and wear masks. I’m done asking,” Bogen said at a news conference, her frustration palpable. She announced a stay-at-home advisory that she said would turn into an order if people didn’t comply.Some people are underestimating the risk to themselves and their friends and families, said Baruch Fischhoff, a Carnegie Mellon University psychologist who has written about COVID-19 risk analysis and communications. Others doubt what health officials are telling them about the virus. And still others are simply irresponsible.Fischhoff said the lack of a cohesive national pandemic strategy; patchwork and seemingly arbitrary restrictions at the state and local level; and ineffective, politicized and contradictory public health messaging have sown confusion and mistrust.“It has been a colossal, tragic failure of leadership from the very beginning that we didn’t find the common ground in which we were working to protect the weakest among us. And once you’ve lost that co-ordination, you’re scrambling to get it back and that’s the tragic mess that we’re in now,” he said.In York County, Pennsylvania, 51-year-old retail worker Kori Jess tested positive for the virus last week. Long a mask skeptic, her personal experience with COVID-19 has changed her opinion — to a point. She said it’s appropriate to wear a mask when circumstances warrant, but she still doesn’t like the idea of government mandating them.“I’m so torn,” Jess said. “I like that people are fighting for their freedoms, but I understand why people are wearing masks.”In upstate New York, some sheriffs say they have no intention of enforcing Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent mandate barring private gatherings of more than 10 people.“There is no need to hide cars and sneak around during your attempt to gather with family. We are not going to exhaust our limited resources obtaining search warrants and counting the turkey eaters in your house,” Madison County Sheriff Todd Hood said in a Facebook post. He encouraged people in the largely rural area to use common sense to keep themselves safe.Kim Collins is among those planning a slimmed-down Thanksgiving. In a typical year, Collins would have as many as 20 people at her home in South Orange, New Jersey. This year, her extended family is staying put. “My husband’s having a hard time with the fact that his mom, who’s on her own, won’t be here,” she said.But Collins wasn’t optimistic that others would be so careful. She said plenty of people are going through “mental gymnastics” to justify their holiday get-togethers. “I think that a lot of people aren’t great at the honour system,” she said. ___Associated Press reporters Deepti Hajela in New York City and Michael Hill in Albany, New York, contributed to this story.Michael Rubinkam, The Associated Press
Andrew Cuomo receives International Emmy for televised coronavirus briefings; "Jeopardy!" champion Ken Jennings will be interim show host; Bruce the shark from 'Jaws' moved into the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles. (Nov. 24)
Thousands of Albertans caught in a COVID-19 contact tracing backlog will no longer have their cases investigated.The province's contact tracing system has grown increasingly overwhelmed as Alberta's case counts spike.Starting Tuesday, Alberta Health Services (AHS) is temporarily giving up on investigating contacts for people who received their positive test result more than 10 days ago.There are currently 11,500 people on the waitlist and about 3,000 of them will not be investigated."This is not good, this is not optimal, but this is, I think, choosing the lesser of two evils," said University of Calgary infectious disease expert Dr. Craig Jenne.He says focusing on the most recent cases is the best thing to do given the circumstances."We will have a significant absence of data from those cases, but instead of having that problem continue to move forward into the future I think this is a matter of accepting some loss of data, some loss of understanding of transmission," he said.The temporary measure comes less than three weeks after AHS was forced to limit contact tracing to Albertans connected to high priority settings such as hospitals or schools.Currently, roughly 85 per cent of active cases in the province have no identified source.With such a large gap in data, Jenne says broader restrictions will likely be necessary to rein in surging numbers since health officials don't really know where transmission is occurring.Commenting Tuesday on the situation in Alberta, Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Toronto, said the inability to complete contact tracing is like fighting blind."When you don't have the data, you have no clue what direction you are headed and how to pivot or point, and where to point your public health measures," he said."It's very, very challenging. You need good surveillance data, good contact tracing, good diagnostic tests to really help inform and steer the public health response."
The parents of a 19-year-old Briton killed in a road accident in 2019 lost their court battle with the British government on Tuesday over whether the wife of U.S. official involved in the crash had diplomatic immunity from criminal prosecution. Harry Dunn's family have said Anne Sacoolas was driving on the wrong side of the road when she crashed with the teenager, who was riding a motor-bike, near an air force base in central England which is used by the U.S. military. Dunn's parents Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn challenged British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and the Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police in London's High Court over the determination that Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity at the time of his death.
Students at the University of Calgary are fighting to expand the school's African studies program.For more than two decades, only two African studies courses have been available at the U of C, and for the past decade they've been taught by just one professor. Students say they hope an expansion of the program would mean more classes and more teachers. Prof. Caesar Apentiik said it would make him very proud to see the program finally expanded. "The university is trying to decolonize its curriculum, and decolonizing its curriculum means bringing into focus studies like African studies," he said. "This fits well with the university's strategic plan of trying to internationalize our students' degrees to give them a global perspective, and Africa is an important part of that discussion."Student advocates looking to help the program grow are now applying for $300,000 through the Quality Money program — a partnership between the Students' Union (SU) and the university — which gives the campus community an opportunity to bring forward ideas to enhance the overall student experience. "Each year, the SU is provided with approximately $1.67 million from the UCalgary board of governors to invest in these projects. Through this unique program, students have a direct say in how a portion of their tuition is spent," said students' union president Frank Finley in a written statement to CBC News."Since 2004, over $26,000,000 has been awarded to more than 260 Quality Money initiatives that range from physical space upgrades to the creation of expanded academic and professional opportunities for students."Second year student Prudence Iticka with Black People United is one of the students behind the application to expand the African studies program.Iticka said she became passionate about making this change after she inquired about getting a minor in African studies. "When I went to look at the course offerings, I realized that there are only two courses offered in African studies every academic year," she said. "I reached out to the only professor in the department and I asked him, 'how does one actually major when there are so few courses available within this program?'"Iticka said she was told that the way the program is now, that option simply isn't available."When I found that out, I started reaching out to other students within U of C to find out what we can do. How can we rally behind this program not only to save it, but also to expand it so that students can minor?" she said."Because right now you can't, really. You have to go to another school if you're seeking a minor in African studies because the course offerings here are just mediocre."As an educator, Apentiik said it's been difficult telling students they can't major or minor in African studies, despite their interest."I will say that the saddest moment is to see your student struggling when they have genuine interest in a regional area and they can't minor in it," he said. "We anticipate that if we are able to achieve what we're trying to do now, it means that we'll have enough courses within the program and students can be assured that they will have enough courses if they make a decision to minor." The expansion of the program is also something the U of C's African-Caribbean Student Association (ACSA) would like to see. "By using the Quality Money application, we're able to hire more black professors to teach more African studies courses. That's something that the African Caribbean Student Association has been pushing alongside multiple other organizations on campus," said co-president Ganiyat Sadiq.With their application due on Friday, Sadiq said student advocates are collecting all evidence of community support for the expansion of the African studies program. "We have to get a lot of student support and community support just to show the university administration that it is something that is wanted on campus, too," she said. Sadiq said a petition organized by ACSA has already garnered more than 1,000 signatures of support. "We were able to show that there are over a thousand students that do want to have Africana studies courses and who do want to take those courses and would potentially want a minor in that degree. That's a primary thing we've been doing."Iticka said the existing African studies courses offered at the U of C are already very popular. "They're constantly wait-listed. The enrolment is incredibly healthy for those two courses," she said. Iticka said offering more African studies courses isn't just something that students are showing they want, but also something she believes will have a big impact on the greater Calgary community. "If we truly seek to develop the next generation of leaders, we have to give them a global perspective. This education is so necessary and we don't want people to think that we're doing this for African students," she said. "Everybody benefits from learning about Africa. We want people to understand that, you know, this is so much bigger than just the university." Iticka said that since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in May, the U of C has made a lot of statements about anti-racism but she hasn't seen a lot of concrete steps to make change at the school."For now, we've just seen that it's a lot of lip service that is being paid to dismantling structural racism and tackling racism and discrimination, but there is actually nothing that is being done so far," she said. "We believe that you can actually tackle racism and undo its harm through education, because a lot of the unconscious bias and the stereotypes that a lot of people have about Black people comes from the fact they know nothing about Black people, about Black history, about African history," she said."We can combat this unconscious bias. We can combat these stereotypes with proper education about African people, where they come from, what is their contribution to humanity [and by] seeing Black professors and having black professors in their life."In a written statement to CBC News, the U of C's faculty of arts said that while it is too early to know what the outcome of the Students' Union process for selecting Quality Money recipients will be, the faculty is supportive of the student-led application for Quality Money funds to expand course offerings in African studies."The faculty has committed to providing some additional funds, in the event of a successful application, and in order to hire an instructor of African studies for the next three years," said Richard Sigurdson, dean of the faculty of arts.The funding amount from the faculty will be determined following the decision by the Students' Union about the application, as they may choose to offer partial funding or the full amount requested.Recipients of Quality Money will be informed in April 2021. For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
GENEVA — The European Union and other donors offered new funding for Afghanistan on Tuesday, as a U.N. official declared now is “not the time to walk away” from years of hard work in trying to build peace and stability in a poor country where Taliban fighters have made inroads against the internationally-backed government.A largely virtual, one-day pledging conference in Geneva, co-hosted by Finland, drew representatives from over 70 countries in the first such event in four years. It comes as the COVID-19 crisis has commanded worldwide attention, and the virus outbreak in Afghanistan has compounded persistent ills like corruption and extremist violence.Countries like Britain, the Netherlands and Canada stepped forward with hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of pledges for Afghanistan as the session got under way, after speeches from top officials like Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who hailed the country's “ambitious agenda for development and reform.”"The United Nations stands with the people of Afghanistan on the path toward peace, development and self-reliance," Guterres said, expressing hope that donor pledges will "translate into real progress and concrete improvements for the people of Afghanistan.”The European Union pledged 1.2 billion euros ($1.43 billion) in assistance to Afghanistan over the next four years, but like many others made its support conditional on the strife-torn country’s commitment to democracy, the rule of law, human rights and gender equality.“Afghanistan’s future trajectory must preserve the democratic and human rights gains since 2001, most notably as regards women’s and children’s rights,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said. "Any attempt to restore an Islamic emirate would have an impact on our political and financial engagement.”The conference came amid a complex situation in Afghanistan, 19 years after an international coalition led by the United States toppled the Taliban government that supported al-Qaida. Taliban rebels and the Afghan government are currently taking part in peace talks in Doha, Qatar, and the Trump administration recently announced a further drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.Deborah Lyons, the U.N. secretary-general’s special envoy for Afghanistan, said the country was facing “a time of unprecedented opportunity but also deep uncertainty and rising anxiety,” and said Afghans were committed to preserving the gains of recent years."But they will need the ongoing support of the international community: political, financial, and technical,” Lyons said. “Now is not the time to walk away.”Ghani touted a strategic plan for Afghanistan.“A new Afghanistan has emerged over the past two decades, and with it, an entirely new set of expectations from our citizens,” he said, acknowledging “lessons learned” from abroad and the development of a robust civil society and free press.“The main theme of our development agenda is to meet these new expectations by doing much more with much less in the face of daunting challenges,” he said.Statistics in Afghanistan are still grim after decades of international help. The poverty level during the pandemic has shot up to 70% — up from 54% last year. Despite billions of dollars that have poured into the country in the last two decades, more than half the population lives on $1.14 a day.A U.S. watchdog said over $19 billion of U.S. money alone had been lost to abuse, fraud and waste.Lyons has said that despite some progress, Afghanistan remains one of the worst places in the world to be a woman or a child. She has criticized a sharp rise in casualties in fighting, both from Taliban assaults and U.S. and Afghan bombing raids.___Kathy Gannon in Islamabad, Pakistan, and Lorne Cook in Brussels contributed to this report.Jamey Keaten, The Associated Press
Ce n’est plus un secret: les établissements hôteliers ont été durement frappés par la crise sanitaire. Certains ont mis la clé à la porte, d’autres tentent de tenir le coup. L’hôtel Oui GO, à Trois-Rivières, en profite pour adapter son offre de services en attendant que le vent passe. « La crise sanitaire nous a amenés à revoir nos opérations hôtelières pour nous conformer aux nouvelles normes en vigueur. Cela nous a poussés à adapter notre modèle d’affaires de manière à répondre à la nouvelle réalité de notre milieu », explique Gilles Babin, copropriétaire de cette hôtel récemment agrandi du centre-ville en compagnie d’Alex Hum. L’hôtel ouvre ses portes au tourisme local et aux travailleurs qui veulent changer d’air. « On aimerait qu’il y ait plus de gens de Trois-Rivières et de la Mauricie. On ne s’attend pas à ce qu’on fasse la file devant l’hôtel», explique M. Babin. Le Oui GO croit tout de même répondre à un besoin: « Je suis impliqué à Tourisme Mauricie. Les gens qui ont besoin de sortir de la maison, de travailler dans un autre environnement. Ça leur donne une bonne option. » Espaces collaboratifs privés et partagés Le terme en vogue étant la « staycation » ou les vacances sur place. Des chambres ont été réaménagées en suite-salon. Une salle multimédia privée est mise à disposition des familles ou des télétravailleurs à la recherche d’une belle toile de fond pour leurs rencontres virtuelles. L’hôtel offre aussi depuis jeudi dernier une nouvelle salle de coworking au 3e étage. Ces espaces sont offerts en blocs de trois heures ou plus. « On a un espace vraiment bien aménagé avec wifi, bouteilles d’eau, café ». Les plus discrets pourront aussi réserver une chambre en mode télétravail entre 8 h et 16 h et même, y faire un roupillon entre deux courriels. La gastronomie n’a pas été oubliée. « Le restaurant Brasier 1908, comme notre hôtel, est une PME indépendante impliquée dans son milieu. Il s’agit d’une entreprise familiale qui partage nos valeurs et représente un bon complément à notre offre », soutient Gilles Babin. Les commandes téléphoniques peuvent être livrées à la chambre. La tendance est en vogue. Les hôteliers européens ont déjà emboîté le pas l’été dernier pour faire face à la chute du tourisme international et pour répondre aux besoins de leurs clients nationaux. « Tout le travail qu’on fait vise à augmenter un peu nos revenus, le temps qu’on retrouve une certaine rentabilité. L’ensemble de ces nouveaux services s’adresse autant aux Trifluviens souhaitant vivre l’expérience d’un hôtel au cœur de leur ville, qu’aux gens de la région », déclare M. Babin. Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
Saskatchewan health policy consultant Steven Lewis has watched from the relative safety of Melbourne, Australia, as COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths have spiked back in his home province.The southern Australian city of five million people, where Lewis is currently living, is now COVID-free and in the process of lifting restrictions.Lewis, who has advised governments in several provinces and countries, agreed to share his thoughts on Saskatchewan's rapidly deteriorating COVID-19 situation — which saw nearly 3,000 active cases and more than 100 people in hospital as of Monday.On Monday, the province announced four more people with the virus had died and that Premier Scott Moe is in isolation after a recent potential exposure in the Prince Albert area.Lewis said the three-month lockdown in Australia was difficult, but that residents generally agreed it was necessary. Those tempted to flout the rules were slapped with large fines. Lewis said he isn't recommending an Australia-style lockdown, but that one thing is clear: the Saskatchewan government's "half-assed" approach will simply prolong the pandemic's devastating effects on people's health and the economy.The following comments by Lewis have been condensed and edited.On 'high-risk venues'Lewis: It's crazy to allow bars and restaurants and gyms to stay open. They are known worldwide to be three sites where infections take off. Alcohol is a disinhibitor. Loud music makes people lean in and talk louder to be heard over it, expelling more droplets. People exercising strenuously breathe more heavily, sweat, expel. On gatheringsAll mass gatherings, including church services, weddings, funerals, should be locked down, and [there should be] very strong prohibition of socializing at home with non-family members.On mandatory masksAt least [Saskatchewan] has mandatory mask wearing indoors in public spaces. But responding too late can't be undone. It may be useful prospectively but the numbers got bigger than they had to.On enforcing the rulesI don't have strong enough evidence to suggest cause and effect, but enforcement appears to matter.Here in Victoria [Australia], population 6.5 million, since March the police have issued about 25,000 tickets for COVID non-adherence violations, at an average of about $1,200, which is pretty steep. I do think this, combined with the 8 p.m. curfew that was in place for weeks, was a deterrent for young people.What we've learned is that even if messaging is well-done and broadly effective, a small number of non-adherers can spark a new cluster that quickly expands. When 95 per cent adherence isn't good enough, you cannot rely on moral suasion or appeals to civility.On contact tracingOnce numbers get beyond double-digits per day, contact tracing becomes virtually useless. It's just too labour-intensive, people may not have good recall, and there is still stigma and suspicion of authority, so people may not disclose their contacts.On testingCanada is still terrible at testing.Slovakia tested just about the entire adult population in a weekend and then repeated a weekend later. They found about a 1 per cent positive rate the first weekend and directed the infected to isolate. The positive rate the second weekend was a lot lower, no doubt because the first one removed the positives and kept them out of the population.My understanding is that it is still hard for asymptomatic people (in Canada) to get a publicly provided test and the results take days rather than hours.On the Saskatchewan government's 'slowdown' plan[Health professionals] have I think justifiably hammered the government for it's half-assed and complicated approach.It is increasingly clear that you can't slow-walk the pandemic with a fine-tuned balancing act that keeps the economy humming while keeping daily case rates at a predictable and low level. It's too volatile, there are too many asymptomatic transmissions, and there's too big a time-lag between when you are infected and when you know you are.So you have to come down hard and fast and universally to flatten the curve quickly. If you have to stop and start and stop and start, it's just as disruptive for businesses and the pain is prolonged. Bottom line: Saskatchewan has been tested by the second wave and largely failed. It was stupid to differentiate between urban and rural Saskatchewan [on mandatory masks] and it's really stupid to keep known high-risk venues open. The virus doesn't care if you're going to a bar or to church. It's going to bite people in both places if you keep them open.
A Fort St. John, B.C. man is earning praise for driving an American family in need from northern B.C. to the Alaskan border near Beaver Creek, Yukon.The roughly 1,700-kilometre trip up the Alaska Highway in winter didn't deter him from volunteering to help out, said Gary Bath.Bath said he noticed an online plea for help last week from an American woman driving to Alaska who was overwhelmed by the winter driving conditions and couldn't drive any farther."I didn't care how far it was, I just knew they needed help and they had a few short days to hit the border before they were going to get in trouble, so," Bath said, referring to the four-to-six day period Americans are given by Canada to drive from the lower 48 states to Alaska.He said the stranded woman, Lynn Marchessault, is a former member of the U.S. military and was driving herself and her two children to Alaska to join her husband, a current member of the military.Bath is a Canadian Ranger, and he said that was an added incentive for him to get involved.Marchessault said she had never driven in snow before when she and her two children left Georgia to drive north.She was driving a pickup and towing a large U-Haul trailer. As soon as she hit snowy roads she began having trouble with traction on hills.Marchessault believed the tires on the truck were rated all-weather, but shortly after leaving Fort St. John a woman told her they were actually summer tires and helped Marchessault find a set of studded winter tires.Marchessault continued on, but the driving stress was too much and she pulled over at a highway lodge for temporary workers at Pink Mountain, B.C.The staff there let her and her two children stay the night while she went online to see if she could find somebody to take over. Her husband would not be allowed to come to their aid because of COVID-19 restrictions.Bath and his wife Selena showed up with extra winter clothing for the Marchessaults and Gary volunteered to drive them in their vehicle to the American border."I had to make the hard choice — were my children safer in my own hands in these conditions, or in the hands of a kind stranger who was willing to get us to where we needed to be, safely," said Marchessault.Bath said the trip was mostly uneventful and they reached the Alaskan border on Thursday where Marchessault's husband was waiting.He said they all wore face masks the entire time they were in the vehicle.While they were on the road, Bath's friends, his provincial MLA and strangers were working to find a way to get him back home. An RCMP officer in Beaver Creek gave him a ride from the American border back to Beaver Creek and found him a ride to Whitehorse. Donations from the public paid for Bath's airfare from Whitehorse to Fort St. John.'Forever grateful'Bath is downplaying his good deed, but said he was struck by the kindness he was shown by various people, including women working at the highway lodge at Pink Mountain and the motor inn at Beaver Creek.Marchessault has similar comments."We are forever grateful to Gary and I'm thankful to his wife for bringing him up and loaning him out. I met her that morning when she drove him up to the inn. And so we just had a good time," she said.She said she hopes they can all meet up again when her family eventually moves back south.Marchessault said Canadian drivers were also kind toward her on several occasions."There's a lot of road rage in my life, especially in America, but there were several times where I was driving pretty slow and I never experienced not one, not one interaction of road rage or anything," she said.
U.S. stocks rallied on Tuesday and the Dow breached the 30,000 level for the first time, as investors anticipated a 2021 economic recovery on coronavirus vaccine progress and the formal clearance for President-elect Joe Biden's transition to the White House. Of the 11 major S&P sectors, 10 gained ground, led by economically sensitive stocks such as financials, materials and energy, while industrials hit a record. President Donald Trump finally gave the green light for the formal transfer of power to begin on Monday, a process that was delayed for weeks despite Democrat Joe Biden emerging as the clear winner in the U.S. elections.
Depuis le printemps, les amateurs de danse sont privés d’un loisir qui occupe souvent une place importante dans leur vie. Comment s’adaptent-ils à cette situation ?
P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison is urging Islanders not to travel during the upcoming Christmas holidays. Premier Dennis King announced this week that those arriving on the Island from the other Atlantic provinces will now have to self-isolate for 14 days.Many Islanders reacted to news by echoing King's sentiments — it's unfortunate but necessary.As Island businesses gear up for the holidays, news of the Atlantic bubble closing has left some hoping it will be a chance to attract and retain more local customers. Hockey leagues across the Island have had to rejig their schedules. Health PEI says it's preparing for a potential rise in cases. The province is looking for additional health-care workers and isolation accommodations in case of a COVID-19 outbreak.The Chief Public Health Office is warning about possible coronavirus exposure involving a New Glasgow, P.E.I., funeral home. One new case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the province on Monday. Dr. Heather Morrison said the new case is a woman in her 40s that travelled outside Atlantic Canada. On Twitter, the Government of P.E.I. issued a new directive advising anyone who has travelled to Halifax, Moncton or Saint John between last week and 12:01 am Tuesday to: * Closely monitor for symptoms * Wear a mask at all times, including outdoors * Limit contacts * Hand wash regularly * Physically distance when possible * Download the COVID Alert AppIn other COVID-19 developments, a one-day COVID-19 testing clinic was held at Lennox Island Friday out of precaution. There are no known cases of COVID-19 on Lennox Island, said Chief Darlene Bernard.A P.E.I. teen has turned his science fair project into a business building and selling bat houses after the pandemic cancelled the provincial science fair.There is one active COVID-19 case in the province. P.E.I. has seen a total of 69 cases, with no deaths and no hospitalizations.Nova Scotia reported 37 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday — the fifth highest single-day increase in cases since the start of the pandemic — as officials announced new restrictions to stem the spread of the coronavirus.New Brunswick announced five new cases, bringing its number of active cases to 93.Also in the newsFurther resourcesMore from CBC P.E.I.
Search and rescue crews in B.C. are worried that adventurers will put themselves at risk by heading into the winter wilderness unprepared as the COVID-19 pandemic limits travel options this year.They're predicting a repeat of this summer in B.C. when hiking and camping gear sold out as people rushed to the outdoors, followed by a record number of calls for help.The senior manager of the B.C. Search and Rescue Association says there have already been far more rescue operations in the fall months compared to normal years."A lot of it is a lack of preparedness," said Dwight Yochim. "If you look outside in Vancouver right now, there's no snow [but] within a half an hour from anywhere in Vancouver, you can be in two or three feet of snow. He says unless you're prepared for snow, you can get into trouble.A trio of ill-prepared hikers was rescued off Mount Fromme in North Vancouver on Sunday after one of the hikers twisted an ankle. The group had wandered off-trail and called for help around 4:30 p.m. PT. One of the hikers was reportedly wearing shorts.Yochim says it's not uncommon for crews to rescue people who aren't dressed for the conditions."They've been rescuing people with jeans that are frozen solid because they've gotten wet during the day and by the time they're found, the jeans have just frozen solid."Skis and snowshoes out of stockLocal winter sports shops say they're experiencing record sales of winter gear similar to what bike shops and outdoors stores saw in the summer."We brought in several sizes [of snowshoes] and apparently they are now sold out for the season," said Chris Turjanica, store manager at West Coast Sports. "Whatever we have in stock is what we have for the remainder of the season."Many of the customers haven't skied in years, or have used rentals in past years, and are looking to upgrade their equipment, he says.However, Turjanica says it's not only beginner skis and snowshoes that are selling out. Anticipating that ski resorts may be forced to shut down, some customers have decided to invest in touring skis and snowboards to explore the backcountry."It's scary," Turjanica said. "Seeing this large influx of people, from my perspective, they're thinking that, 'Oh, I see this on YouTube. I can just go back there.'"The Backcountry Skiing Canada website says backcountry skiing is "an inherently dangerous activity that requires experience and knowledge to travel safely." Training on how to recognize and stay safe in avalanche terrain is recommended by most guides and safety experts."When I mentioned avalanche safety training to people they don't know what I'm talking about," Turjanica said of some customers. "And that's kind of scary."Additional equipment like shovels, probes and airbags can bring the cost of a backcountry outfit up to several thousand dollars.Yochim says people who want to make the most of the outdoors this winter should stick to their local trails and lower elevations to start."Don't go up onto the mountain peaks, try some lower elevation trails, get used to it, get your stamina up, your level of physical fitness up, do a bit of training."He recommends downloading the BC Adventure Smart app which not only provides tips for staying safe in the outdoors, but can help record a trip plan that can be accessed by rescue teams.