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
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.
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 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 email@example.com 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
WASHINGTON — U.S. home prices jumped in September as strong demand, low interest rates and the smallest number of available homes on record combined to push up housing costs. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, released Tuesday, showed that home prices rose 6.6% in September from a year earlier, much higher than its 5.3% increase in August. That is the biggest increase since April 2018. The viral pandemic disrupted the spring home buying season, pushing many sales into the late summer and fall. Home sales jumped to the highest level in 14 years in September, a sign that the increased ability of some Americans to work from home and the desire for more space is spurring greater demand. Prices skyrocketed 11.4% in Phoenix compared with a year earlier, the biggest gain nationwide. Seattle reported the second highest increase, at 10.1%, followed by San Diego at 9.5%. The number of homes for sale sank in September to the lowest level since records began in 1982, according to the National Association of Realtors. And last week mortgage rates fell to a record low of 2.72%, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. Home prices are rising broadly across the country. In September, 19 cities in the S&P 20-city index reported bigger price gains compared with a year ago than in August. The 20th city, Detroit, has reported delays at its recording office because of the pandemic and did not have enough data to calculate price changes. Christopher Rugaber, The Associated Press
HOUSTON — The U.S. government has agreed temporarily not to deport detained immigrant women who have alleged being abused by a rural Georgia gynecologist, according to court papers filed Tuesday.In a motion that must still be approved by a federal judge, the Justice Department and lawyers for several of the women agreed that immigration authorities would not carry out any deportations until mid-January.Dozens of women have alleged that they were mistreated by Dr. Mahendra Amin, a gynecologist who was seeing patients from the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia. The Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation, and the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general is investigating as well. Amin has denied any wrongdoing through his lawyer.Several women say they have faced retaliation by immigration authorities for coming forward. One woman has said that hours after she spoke to investigators, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement notified her that it had lifted a hold on her deportation. Another woman was taken to an airport to be placed on a deportation flight before her lawyers could intervene.The agreement filed in court Tuesday proposes that no deportations would take place until at least mid-January for women who have “substantially similar factual allegations.”Elora Mukherjee, a Columbia University law professor working with several of the women, said the agreement gives the women "a measure of protection for trying to expose the abuses there.”“ICE and others at Irwin thought they could silence these women,” she said. “They thought they could act with impunity and nothing would ever happen. But the women have organized and had the audacity to speak out.”ICE said Tuesday that it “complies with all binding court orders.” The agency has previously denied allegations that it tried to deport women to silence them, saying in a written statement: “Any implication that ICE is attempting to impede the investigation by conducting removals of those being interviewed is completely false.”Scott Grubman, a lawyer for Amin, did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.The allegations were originally revealed by a whistleblower complaint. Further investigations have found several examples of Amin performing surgeries on women who later said they didn't consent to the procedures or didn't fully understand them.Grubman has denied any wrongdoing by the doctor and previously described Amin as a “highly respected physician who has dedicated his adult life to treating a high-risk, underserved population in rural Georgia.”Nomaan Merchant, The Associated Press
TORONTO — Loral Space & Communications Inc. has signed a deal with the Public Sector Pension Investment Board and Telesat Canada to combine Loral and Telesat into a new public company.Loral, which also announced a special dividend of $1.50 per share, holds a 62.7 per cent economic interest Telesat Canada, an operator of telecommunications and direct broadcast satellites.Under the plan, Loral shareholders, together with PSP Investments and certain current and former management shareholders of Telesat will own the new company in approximately the same proportion as their current, indirect ownership in Telesat.MHR Fund Management LLC will own 36.6 per cent in the new company while PSP Investments will hold 36.7 per cent. Management shareholders will own 0.7 per cent.Loral stockholders not affiliated with the funds managed by MHR Funds will own 26.1 per cent of the new company.The plan, which is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by Loral shareholders and certain regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the second or third quarter of 2021.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.The Canadian Press
China's Chang'e 5 spacecraft's main task is to dig into the moon and scoop up two kilograms of rock and debris, before returning to Earth.
Sports and business groups are looking at new ways to operate safely as COVID-19 numbers spike across the province, but say they aren't yet sure what the government will and won't allow.Premier Scott Moe, who is currently isolating after a recent possible exposure in the Prince Albert area, said last week he'd be consulting with business, sports and faith leaders. Some say they have spoken with government, but don't know if any new restrictions will be ordered or recommended.Critics have accused the government of dithering while hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths increase daily, but Moe and Health Minister Paul Merriman say a targeted "slowdown" approach will keep people safe with minimal damage to the economy."Every sport was asked last week by the government to come back to the business response team with what they can do more in terms of restrictions," said Kelly McClintock, general manager of the Saskatchewan Hockey Association."So I'm assuming there could be some announcements this week in terms of maybe some more restrictions."McClintock said they looked at where there could be potential spread of the virus and how they could mitigate the risk."You know, coaches having to wear masks on the ice during practice, limiting the amount of time in dressing rooms, making sure that the mandatory masks are being worn in dressing rooms. "Reduce the amount of time that teams are in the dressing room, reduce the amount of that spectators come in."Health and safety the top priority for sportsSince hockey resumed Oct. 17, a number of leagues have postponed games because of COVID-19 protocols.McClintock said with all teams playing in small mini-leagues of six or less teams they don't have to shut down the whole league. Many leagues have teams playing back-to-back games on the weekend so if there is a COVID-19 situation they can shut down just those two teams that were affected."Everybody knew going in that we would have to be precautionary and have to be flexible," McClintock said.Rob Kennedy, manager of sport development for Sask Sport, said they don't have an opinion on whether sports should continue or not. He said sports provide a lot of physical and mental health benefits to tens of thousands of kids across the province, but said community health and safety is the top priority.He said their role is to come up with sport-specific suggestions for making things safer. Some indoor, close contact sports have different levels of risk than distanced outdoor ones.It's the government health experts and leaders who can best make those final decisions, Kennedy said.Businesses aim to strike the right balanceSaskatchewan Chamber of Commerce CEO Steve McLellan agreed.He said business owners are working hard to innovate and keep their customers and staff safe. He said the chamber doesn't have a set position on further restrictions, but is confident the government will strike the right balance between fighting the virus and preserving jobs and businesses."We need to make sure that we have as many businesses as many jobs available when we come out of COVID as we possibly can, but not keeping businesses open at the cost of our public health," McLellan said.McLellan said whatever new restrictions are put in place, such as mandatory masks, businesses must make sure to follow them. He said the province will get through the pandemic quicker and healthier working together.
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.
The Daily Show host and comedian Trevor Noah has been tapped to host the 2021 Grammy Awards.The Recording Academy made the announcement hours before the nominees for the upcoming show are revealed. It would mark Noah's first time hosting the Grammys, which are currently scheduled to be held Jan. 31.Earlier this year, Noah competed for his first Grammy Award: The 36-year-old Emmy winner was nominated for best comedy album with Son of Patricia, but lost to Dave Chappelle."Despite the fact that I am extremely disappointed that the GRAMMYs have refused to have me sing or be nominated for best pop album, I am thrilled to be hosting this auspicious event," Noah said in a statement."I think as a one-time GRAMMY nominee, I am the best person to provide a shoulder to all the amazing artists who do not win on the night because I too know the pain of not winning the award! (This is a metaphorical shoulder, I'm not trying to catch Corona). See you at the 63rd GRAMMYs!"Harvey Mason Jr., interim president and CEO of the Recording Academy, said: "With a knack for keeping viewers engaged and entertained, Trevor is the perfect choice to lead us through what's sure to be an incredible evening full of music, unforgettable moments, unity and inspiration. He is a dynamic host, comedian and personality, and we're thrilled to welcome him to the Grammy stage as host of Music's Biggest Night for the first time."Alicia Keys was the most recent Grammys host. Past hosts include James Corden and LL Cool J.
They may be one of Hollywood’s most beloved couples, but Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn have never felt the pressure to use that unmatched chemistry for the big screen time and time again. Since 1987's “Overboard," they’ve received hundreds of opportunities to reunite in a film. Although none seemed quite right until another longtime, A-list pair landed at their feet: Santa and Mrs. Claus. The film is “The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two,” a sequel to the 2018 Netflix picture that introduced Russell as a Santa who's more superhero-meets-Elvis speedracing his sled than jolly old Saint Nick sitting by a fire. At the urging of Chris Columbus, who produced the first, Hawn appeared as Mrs. Claus in a cameo at the end. “When Goldie appeared on screen, she brought the house down,” said Columbus, who stepped up to direct this one. “We knew we had to do the next one with Goldie, if she would do it, if she would have us.” It debuts on Netflix on Wednesday right in time for Thanksgiving. And, unsurprisingly, the Clauses have never looked better. This wasn’t some slapdash, stunt Christmas cash grab, either. It was born of a genuine love of the holiday and became a deeply personal endeavour for all three. Christmas was big in the Russell and Columbus houses growing up. Columbus even said he was downright obsessed, although he hated the aluminum tree that his mother used. He had previously set “Gremlins,” which he wrote, and “Home Alone” at Christmastime, but both of those were kind of horror films in different ways — one a horror comedy and the other a horrific situation. In his mind, he’d never made a real Christmas movie, most of which he considers pretty bad. This was chance to unapologetically lean into the yuletide spirit. He and Russell worked on the script for months going deep into character questions about where Santa comes from, how he met Mrs. Claus, how long have they been together and what is their relationship like. Russell even composed a 200-page “bible” as backstory. “Kurt approached this like any actor approaching a great role, which is rare for Santa Claus, if we’re being honest. It's only been played well a couple of times," Columbus said. “And this is the great one right here.” That seriousness extended to Mrs. Claus, who they crafted into a pillar of strength and love. Hawn wanted to ensure that she did more than bake cookies too. “There was no Mrs. Claus we could really identify with. She was a character that was iconic for no other reason than she was the wife of Santa,” Hawn said. “I thought, I don’t want to be the one that continues to bring him his slippers. I mean, it’s just not the way women are today.” She was tempted to bring her classic playfulness to the role, but Columbus encouraged her to make this Mrs. Claus a little more grounded. Hawn, who just turned 75 this weekend, is deeply sincere when she says she loves this film and this character. In fact, she took a souvenir from set and plans to hang it in her Aspen house, which she said she’s redoing to make it look like Santa’s Village. Russell can't help but think of his late father Bing Russell, who loved Christmas deeply and helped make the holiday a major event in their household. “I dedicate these to my dad,” Russell said. He’s also excited that their six grandchildren will be able to watch the film and maybe even earn some bragging rights among their peers. “I like the idea that there’s a period of time when those kids can go to school and say, well, my grandmother and grandfather are Mrs. Claus and Santa,” Russell said, beaming. “OK, so top that!” Each film in the Hawn and Russell oeuvre has come at distinctly different phases for the couple. On 1968’s “The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band” they were strangers, on 1984’s “Swing Shift,” they were falling in love and on 1987’s “Overboard” they were becoming a family. Over three decades later, Hawn reflected on where they are now. “This is an interesting phase because there is so much love and history and all the ups and downs of a relationship, and now we’re looking at our grandchildren and these are sort of the special years. And we are looking at fun things to do together, whereas before we were more pulled away by different things,” Hawn said. “It’s a time of friendship, really. I mean, there’s love, but also friendship is very important as you get older: The trust in each other, supporting each other, being there for each other and feeling the safety and the security of that relationship that you’ve worked with and within and all that for close to 40 years.” —- Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
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.
OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says a preliminary estimate shows manufacturing sales rose 0.6 per cent in October.The agency says the growth came due to higher sales in the petroleum and coal products, paper, primary metals and wood products industries.The flash estimate for October follows a rise of 1.5 per cent to $53.8 billion in September.Statistics Canada cautioned that it is continuing to collect October data and that the early indicator is subject to a higher revision rate than its regular monthly release.The early estimate was calculated based on a weighted response rate of 57.8 per cent.It says the average final response rate for the survey over the previous 12 months has been 89.8 per cent.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.The Canadian Press
BERLIN — A court in Berlin heard Tuesday how witnesses alerted police after seeing a man dump a wig, clothes and a bicycle in a river last year, allowing officers to swiftly arrest the suspect in an alleged Russia-ordered political assassination.Testimony by the two men is central to the trial of the man German authorities have identified as Vadim Krasikov, a 55-year-old Russian citizen whose alleged killing of a Georgian man in broad daylight in downtown Berlin has fueled frictions between Germany and Russia.German prosecutors allege there is ample evidence indicating Russian officials ordered the killing of Zelimkhan “Tornike” Khangoshvili, who had fled to Germany with his family. Russia has accused Khangoshvili of killing scores of people during fighting in the Caucasus, but denied being behind his slaying.German news agency dpa reported that the two witnesses told the Berlin regional court they became suspicious when they saw the suspect disappear into bushes by the banks of the Spree River on Aug. 23, 2019. They moved to a bridge to get a better view and called police.When the suspect emerged from the bushes, his dark locks were gone and he was wearing completely different clothes, the witnesses testified.The suspect appeared to realize that he was being watched by the men, turning around to look at them repeatedly, but he was apprehended by police before he could flee on an electric scooter.No pleas are entered in the German trial system, and the defendant made only a short statement at the start of the trial, saying that he had been misidentified.The Associated Press
Traffic on the Confederation Bridge was steady but not record-breaking Monday night as Islanders hurried home following the announcement that P.E.I. would be leaving the Atlantic bubble for at least two weeks. "We immediately saw at midnight that a couple of cars were turned around already," Michel LeChasseur, the bridge general manager, told Island Morning's Mitch Cormier. "P.E.I. was applying the rules to the letter."The announcement that the province would be opting out of the bubble, at least temporarily, came during an unscheduled COVID-19 briefing just 13 hours prior to the new rule taking effect.Meaning, people had little time to get back into the province before 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. 'More a weather issue'But for those scrambling to return home, Premier Dennis King said that he would allow for some flexibility."The restrictions were put into place at 4:30 this morning," said LeChasseur. However, according to LeChasseur, on Monday night the main concern was not the influx of vehicles. "Overnight was more a weather issue than a traffic issue," he said. "The winds are howling."'Commercial traffic has been resilient'LeChasseur said he expects car traffic on the bridge will dwindle to what it was in the winter — which was about 10 per cent of the traffic the bridge would regularly have. As for commercial trucks, LeChasseur said this November saw more commercial activity than last November."We don't expect that to change much because of these new rules," he said. "Commercial traffic has been resilient throughout the pandemic."More from CBC P.E.I.
LOS ANGELES — The Elton John AIDS Foundation and TikTok are teaming up to raise awareness about the disease through a campaign and live event for World AIDS Day. John’s foundation and the social networking service announced their collaboration Tuesday for a live show on Dec. 1. The event will air on John’s TikTok channel featuring the singer and husband-filmmaker David Furnish along with performances by Sam Smith, Sam Fender and Rina Sawayama. The campaign kicks off Wednesday with an HIV/AIDS Education & Awareness quiz to test TikTokers’ knowledge of the disease. The campaign is also expected to help educate TikTokers about the prevention and own sexual health. The hope is to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. “We all need to care about HIV and end the discrimination around this disease,” John said in a statement. “There’s a great lineup for our TikTok Live to break down the myths around HIV, talk about safe sex and ensure that young people know how to protect themselves and others.” The Associated Press
WESTWOOD, Mass. — “Parting is such sweet sorrow” — especially for a theatre troupe hoping to stage a live performance of “Romeo & Juliet” in the middle of a pandemic that has closed schools and required social distancing. The solution, at least for high school students in the Boston suburb of Westwood? Make a movie version instead. This fall, the Westwood Stage cast has been recording themselves reciting lines from William Shakespeare's timeless story of star-crossed lovers. The audio tracks will then be set to images from a graphic novel version of the play. Producing an animated film meant students didn’t have to worry about memorizing lines, costume changes or many of the other things that go into a live theatrical performance. But it was still an interesting challenge to focus almost completely on their voice work, said Lucy Vitali, a 16-year-old junior who plays Juliet. “This was definitely a good one to do Shakespeare for,” agreed Ryan Kaplan, a 15-year-old sophomore who plays the friar. “The focus is much more on the words and the terminology, which is what Shakespeare is all about.” For Cassidy Hall, a 17-year-old senior who plays the nurse, the chance to remain active in theatre, even in a modest way, has been a welcome dose of normalcy. She’s among the students who have opted to study at home rather than attend in-person classes this year, so her interaction with peers has been limited. “It’s something I really look forward to,” she said. “Just to be able to rehearse with everyone.” Cast members said there was never any doubt they’d find a way to perform this fall. After all, their musical production of “The Addams Family” last spring was cancelled following its opening night performance because the state shuttered schools, businesses and many other institutions for weeks during the initial wave of the virus. Jim Howard, the school’s drama teacher, said he turned to the animated film idea after it became clear that performing the play live wouldn’t be possible under the state’s current guidelines, which require 6 feet (two meters) of separation between performers. “How do you do Romeo and Juliet at 6 feet?” he said. “It’s a love story. They dance. There’s fighting. There’s a lot of physical interaction.” Howard said he found an illustrated version of the play by Classical Comics, a British imprint, while searching online, and the creators readily agreed to let the students use the images for their project. Over the last few months, the cast has spent three days a week rehearsing their lines and getting acclimated to the quirks of the Bard's English before laying down audio tracks in the school’s closet-sized, soundproof music rehearsal rooms. They wrapped up recording last week, but not before a small setback: The school was forced to close for in-person classes recently after some students — none in the cast — contracted COVID-19. Howard said he’ll now send the best of the audio tracks to a technician who will merge them with the comic book images. He expects the finished product will run about an hour long and be ready sometime next month. Since a proper premiere isn’t possible under pandemic restrictions, the cast of 20 is planning to gather in the school’s auditorium for a viewing. The film will also be posted on the troupe's website, where Howard hopes it can replicate some of the joy and community of live theatre. “There's a great opportunity, at a time that is so difficult, to have some pride in our town and smile a little,” he said. “Because we all need that. Even if it's behind our masks." ___ “One Good Thing” is a series that highlights individuals whose actions provide glimmers of joy in hard times — stories of people who find a way to make a difference, no matter how small. Read the collection of stories at https://apnews.com/hub/one-good-thing. Philip Marcelo, The Associated Press
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 $19 billion of U.S. money alone had been lost to abuse, fraud and waste.Lyons has said that despite some progress, Afghanistan remains one of the worst places in the world to be a woman or a child. She has criticized a sharp rise in casualties in fighting, both from Taliban assaults and U.S. and Afghan bombing raids.___Kathy Gannon in Islamabad, Pakistan, and Lorne Cook in Brussels contributed to this report.Jamey Keaten, The Associated Press
Les propriétaires d’immeubles commerciaux et industriels de Lac-Brome auront un répit fiscal en 2021. La Ville a décidé d’abaisser leur taux de taxation grâce au surplus anticipé de 3 M$. Les propriétaires d’une résidence, eux, auront droit à un gel du taux de taxation. Quelque 225 entreprises, commerces et industries situées à Lac-Brome pourraient profiter d’une baisse de taxes de l’ordre de 33,6% pour les propriétaires de locaux commerciaux et de 29% pour le secteur industriel. Une économie de près de 400 000$ pour ces secteurs d’activités. « Les élus étaient unanimes concernant la nécessité de fournir une aide directe et immédiate sous forme d’allègement fiscal aux contribuables les plus touchés par les conséquences de la pandémie de COVID-19, indique le maire de Lac-Brome, Richard Burcombe. À présent, le conseil compte sur les propriétaires d’immeubles pour que cette aide se rende jusqu’aux locataires commerciaux. » Les propriétaires recevront une lettre leur expliquant cet allègement d’un an et pour leur demander d’appliquer cette diminution de taxation au prix des loyers commerciaux. Cette façon de faire permet d’aider les citoyens corporatifs sans faire des évaluations à la pièce et d’agir en toute objectivité, note le directeur général Gilbert Arel, qui tient à rappeler qu’il s’agit d’une mesure unique à 2021. «On vit une période instable et on ne sait pas quand ça va se terminer, évoque-t-il. Les mois d’hiver ne seront pas faciles. Alors les élus voulaient donner de l’air.» Gel de taxes Quant aux résidences, le taux de taxation sera gelé à 0,665$ par 100$ d’évaluation. «Normalement, depuis que l’administration Burcombe est en place, la Ville augmente le taux de taxation selon l’IPC [indice des prix à la consommation]. Cette l’année, l’IPC est négligeable.» L’année 2021 est la dernière du présent rôle d’évaluation foncière. Un tout nouveau rôle sera déposé l’an prochain et appliqué en 2022. Le barrage Blackwood toujours une priorité Malgré le contexte actuel, la rénovation du barrage Blackwood demeure une priorité pour les élus et l’administration pour 2021. Tous les documents et études nécessaires ont été soumis au ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MELCC) afin d’obtenir les autorisations requises. L’objectif est de commencer le chantier en août prochain. La réfection des routes sera également au coeur du budget, qui sera présenté en séance spéciale, disponible en ligne, le soir du 14 décembre.Cynthia Laflamme, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix de l'Est