Boots isn't too happy to hear the news that his owner has eaten all of his Halloween candy while he was sleeping. Check out his hilarious reaction!
Boots isn't too happy to hear the news that his owner has eaten all of his Halloween candy while he was sleeping. Check out his hilarious reaction!
WASHINGTON — Congress is bracing for President-elect Joe Biden to move beyond the Trump administration’s state-by-state approach to the COVID-19 crisis and build out a national strategy to fight the pandemic and distribute the eventual vaccine.The incoming administration’s approach reflects Democrats’ belief that a more comprehensive plan, some of it outlined in the House’s $2 trillion coronavirus aid bill, is needed to get the pandemic under control. Republicans have resisted big spending but agree additional funding is needed. With the nation on edge but a vaccine in sight, the complicated logistics of vaccinating hundreds of millions of Americans raise the stakes on the major undertaking.“We have an incredible challenge on our hands,” said Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state, which is approaching the anniversary of its first reported case of the virus last January.A vaccine can only go so far, Murray warned, without a distribution plan. "A vaccine can sit on a shelf. A vaccination is what we’re talking about,” she said.As Congress weighs a new round of COVID-19 relief, federal officials say doses of the vaccine could begin shipping within a day of Food and Drug Administration approval. Three pharmaceutical manufacturers — Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca — have announced early results. But the rollout faces a patchwork of state plans, a transitioning White House and potential backlash from vaccine skeptics, despite the rising U.S. death toll of nearly 260,000 people.Biden said Tuesday on NBC's “Nightly News with Lester Holt” that his team has started meeting with COVID-19 officials at the White House on how to “get from a vaccine being distributed to a person being able to get vaccinated.”Democrats have been sounding the alarm that the Trump administration’s delay in granting Biden’s team access to transition materials was wasting precious time.States submitted draft vaccination planning documents last month, but not all of them have made full plans public. Private Capitol Hill briefings by officials from Operation Warp Speed, the federal vaccine effort, left some lawmakers fuming last week over what they called a lack of co-ordination with Biden’s camp.Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday that his department “immediately” started working with Biden’s staff after the General Services Administration formally acknowledged the election results.Azar said he wanted to ensure Biden’s transition would be “in the spirit of looking out for the health and well-being of the American people and, in particular, saving lives through this COVID-19 pandemic.”From the start, the pandemic has challenged and reflected the two parties’ approaches to the public health crisis, with the Trump administration largely outsourcing many decisions to the states and Democrats pressing for a more nationalized approach.In Congress, Republicans largely rejected the $2 trillion-plus House bill from Democrats as excessive. They prefer their own $500 billion Senate effort, saying states and cities can tap funding from previous relief legislation. Senate Democrats blocked that bill twice as insufficient.Biden's campaign called for $25 billion for vaccines to “guarantee it gets to every American, cost-free.” That's similar to the amount included in both the House and the Senate bills, through different strategies, and Congress previously mandated that vaccines be free. With fresh legislation stalled, it’s uncertain if states will have the resources needed once the FDA approves the vaccines.During a conference call this week with governors, Azar and other health officials fielded a range of questions. Governors were seeking guidance on which populations they should prioritize for the vaccine and whether there was a list of pharmacies available to administer the two-dose regimens, according to a readout of the call provided by the office of Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington.Blaire Bryant, who oversees health care policy at the National Association of Counties, said a national strategy for communicating vaccine information to the public and the funding to make vaccinations equitable are vital.“We’re in uncharted territory,” she said. “The more information, the more guidance we can get from the federal level, the better.”She said states do have access to previously approved funding, but cash-strapped local governments have been reluctant to draw down the remaining dollars for vaccines. It’s robbing Peter to pay Paul, she said.As Congress debates funding, at least two Republican senators are participating in vaccine trials as a way to build confidence among Americans skeptical of the federal effort.Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said in a statement that he hoped his participation “will reassure people about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.”Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, who is participating in the Pfizer trials, asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday to consider the “unique challenges” of distributing the vaccine to remote and rural communities like those in his state.Daines said in a letter to the CDC that it will also be “critical” to ensure access for frontline health care and essential workers, as well as older adults and people with medical conditions.Other lawmakers, though, have brushed off concerns. GOP Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said he expects vaccine distribution will be “well underway” by the time Biden takes office Jan. 20.Murray, as the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, grew concerned this summer as she said the Trump administration outsourced much of the vaccine distribution planning to the states.She drafted a 19-page paper calling for $25 billion to stand up a vaccination program with supply chains, hired personnel, drive-in clinics and other ways to provide no-cost vaccines. She warned of the Trump administration's “lack of centralized leadership” and “chaotic communication” with the states.Biden and Murray have since talked about her approach, which draws on input from health professionals on Biden’s team. Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, a member of Biden's COVID-19 task force, briefed Senate Democrats the week after the election.Murray compared the vaccine effort to sending a man to the moon or fighting a world war. She said it will take all Americans joining to say, “This is a pandemic, and I'm going to do my part to get the country out of it.”___Associated Press writers Candice Choi in New York and Rachel La Corte in Olympia, Wash., contributed to this report.Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn on Wednesday, ending a yearslong prosecution in the Russia investigation that saw Flynn twice plead guilty to lying to the FBI and then reverse himself before the Justice Department stepped in to dismiss his case.“It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon," Trump tweeted. “Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!”The pardon, in the waning weeks of Trump's single term, is part of a broader effort by Trump to undo the results of a Russia investigation that shadowed his administration and yielded criminal charges against a half-dozen associates. It comes just months after the president commuted the sentence of another associate, Roger Stone, days before he was to report to prison.A Justice Department official said the department was not consulted on the pardon and learned Wednesday of the plan. But the official, who spoke on condition on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, noted that the president has the legal power to pardon Flynn.The move is likely to energize supporters who have taken up Flynn as a cause celebre and rallied around the retired Army lieutenant general as the victim of what they assert is an unfair prosecution, even though Flynn twice admitted guilt. Trump has repeatedly spoken warmly about Flynn and, in an indication of his personal interest in his fate, asked then-FBI Director James Comey in February 2017 to end a criminal investigation into the national security adviser.In a statement, Flynn’s family thanked Trump “for answering our prayers and the prayers of a nation” by issuing the pardon.Democrats lambasted the pardon as undeserved and unprincipled. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it “an act of grave corruption and a brazen abuse of power," while Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said a “pardon by Trump does not erase” the truth of Flynn's guilty plea, “no matter how Trump and his allies try to suggest otherwise.”“The President’s enablers have constructed an elaborate narrative in which Trump and Flynn are victims and the Constitution is subject to the whims of the president," House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler said in a statement. “Americans soundly rejected this nonsense when they voted out President Trump. ”The pardon is the final step in a case defined by twists and turns. The most dramatic came in May when the Justice Department abruptly moved to dismiss the case, insisting that Flynn should not have been interviewed by the FBI in the first place, only to have U.S. District Justice Emmet Sullivan resist the request and appoint a former judge to argue against the federal government's position and to evaluate whether Flynn should be held in criminal contempt for perjury.That former judge, John Gleeson, called the Justice Department's dismissal request an abuse of power and said its grounds for dropping the case were ever-evolving and “patently pretextual.”As Sullivan declined to immediately dismiss the prosecution, Flynn lawyer Sidney Powell sought to bypass the judge by asking a federal appeals court to direct him to drop the matter. A three-judge panel did exactly that, but the full court overturned that decision and sent case back to Sullivan.At a hearing in September, Powell told Sullivan that she had discussed Flynn's case with Trump but also said she did not want a pardon — presumably because she wanted him to be vindicated in the courts.Powell emerged separately in recent weeks as a public face of Trump's efforts to overturn the results of his election loss to President-elect Joe Biden, but the Trump legal team distanced itself from her after she advanced a series of uncorroborated conspiracy claims.The pardon spares Flynn the possibility of any prison sentence, which Sullivan could potentially have imposed had he ultimately rejected the Justice Department's dismissal request. That request was made after a review of the case by a federal prosecutor from St. Louis who had been specially appointed by Attorney General William Barr.At issue in the prosecution was an FBI interview of Flynn, days after Trump's inauguration, about a conversation he had during the presidential transition period with the then-Russian ambassador.Flynn acknowledged lying during that interview by saying he had not discussed with the diplomat, Sergey Kislyak, sanctions that the outgoing Obama administration had just been imposed on Russia for election interference. During that conversation, Flynn advised that Russia be “even-keeled” in response to the punitive measures, and assured him “we can have a better conversation” about relations between the countries after Trump became president.The conversation alarmed the FBI, which at the time was investigating whether the Trump campaign and Russia had co-ordinated to sway the election. In addition, White House officials were stating publicly that Flynn and Kislyak had not discussed sanctions, which the FBI knew was untrue.Flynn was ousted from his position in February 2017 after news broke that Obama administration officials had warned the White House that Flynn had indeed discussed sanctions with Kislyak and was vulnerable to blackmail. He pleaded guilty months later to a false statement charge.But last May, after years of defending the prosecution, the Justice Department abruptly reversed its position.It asserted the FBI had no basis to interview Flynn about Kislyak and that any statements he made during the interview were not material to the FBI's broader counterintelligence probe. The department also pointed to internal FBI notes showing agents had planned to close out the investigation weeks before interviewing Flynn about Kislyak.Flynn, of Middletown, Rhode Island, was among the first people charged in Mueller's investigation and provided such extensive co-operation that prosecutors did not recommend any prison time, leaving open the possibility of probation.But the morning he was to have been sentenced, after a stern rebuke about his behaviour from Sullivan, Flynn asked for the hearing to be cut short so that he could continue co-operating and earn credit toward a more lenient sentence.After that, he hired new attorneys — including Powell, a conservative commentator and outspoken critic of Mueller's investigation — who took a far more confrontational stance to the government and tried to withdraw his guilty plea.Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
The Northern B.C. Crisis Centre could use some help when it comes to helping others. In the time since the novel coronavirus pandemic took hold, the centre has seen a 25-per-cent increase in calls to its phone lines from people feeling anxious, depressed and suicidal. The jump has translated into about 600 calls per month from people in the Northern Health region plus a further 400-500 calls per month the centre fields from the national suicide prevention line. "Things really ticked up in March and they haven't really stopped. We've been very busy," Sandra Boulianne, the centre's executive director, said. She said there have been similar upticks in the past, such as during the two major wildfire seasons, but nothing as sustained as this. Adding to the trouble, Boulianne said the centre is short-staffed. The centre works on a hybrid model with trained volunteers taking calls during the days and evenings and paid staff working the overnight shift. The roster of volunteers has waivered between 25 and 30. Ideally, Boulianne said the count should be over 40. As it stands, the centre's call answer rate averages about 70 per cent. "So we're missing 30 per cent of our calls," Boulianne said. "It's not good." Moreover, the volunteers are typically university students looking for some practical experience while pursuing their degrees. While she welcomes them, Boulianne said she would like to have a broader representation of the community not only because they may be able to better relate to some of the callers but they may last longer than the two to three years a student typically does. "Sometimes it feels like we're training people as fast as we're losing people," she said. Retired folks and stay-at-home mothers with some spare time are among the kinds of people Boulianne said she is seeking, adding the centre also has a youth-serving-youth line. Newcomers go through 70 hours of training, delivered online, and once completed, they're asked to put in one four-hour shift per week, either from home or at the centre. "It's difficult work but it's very rewarding," Boullianne said. She added that she joined the centre after earning a social work degree as a mature student at UNBC and had intended to stay for just two years. That was eight years ago. "I can honestly say I've fallen in love with the work," Boullianne said. "I love the authenticity of people when they're calling anonymously and confidentially and I love the skills that we use to help people open up." On the bright side, the centre was one of 10 across B.C. to receive a $10,000 from Pacific Blue Cross. Boulianne said it has made a difference to the non-profit which relies largely on funding from Northern Health and the United Way of Northern B.C. "We're very, very grateful," she said. Pacific Blue Cross provided the funding after a survey indicated two-thirds of British Columbians predict their mental health will deteriorate in the coming months. "We know that those who engage early support through crisis lines, are less likely to require acute care later," said Jim Iker, Chair of the Pacific Blue Cross Health Foundation. "With BC now facing its second wave of the pandemic, supporting our community and our health care system has never been more critical.” Boulianne attributed a significant amount of the jump in calls to people stuck in quarantine or other forms of isolation brought on by the virus. For some, it's also meant they have been unable to access face-to-face counselling in a timely manner and just need someone to talk to while they're waiting. "The beautiful thing about crisis lines is you can talk to somebody right away," Boulianne said. "We are not counsellors because our service is anonymous and we don't have a therapeutic relationship with our callers but we're able to diffuse a situation in the moment." Even if the centre needs more volunteers, Boulianne said those in need of help should still call. "You don't need to be suicidal to call a crisis line," she said. "We take any kind of distress call. If anything is worrying or distressing an individual, we want to be there to support them and so, no issue is too small," she said. "It's really anything, all the way from social isolation and loneliness to suicidal ideation and everything in between." Those interested in volunteering can get more information at crisis-centre.ca. If you need help, call 1-888-562-1214. There is also a suicide prevention line at 1-800-SUICIDE and youth crisis line at 1-888-564-8336. Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen
Les vols à l’étalage de moins de 5 000 $ ont augmenté de 13 % depuis un an sur le territoire de l’agglomération de Longueuil, incluant Boucherville Signe des temps, l’analyse des dossiers indique que le vol de nourriture figure en tête de liste (30 %), devant celui d’articles personnels (25 %) et d’alcool (18 %) . Plusieurs initiatives prises par le SPAL pourraient expliquer cette augmentation. Par exemple, la participation active du SPAL au blogue ORCQUE7 permet d’échanger de l’information avec plusieurs partenaires dans le domaine de la sécurité du commerce de détail. Les rencontres périodiques et les publications à même la plateforme ont permis d’identifier des sujets d’intérêt, de reconnaître des modes opératoires et, fort probablement, d’encourager la dénonciation des commerçants. Au total, en 2019, le service de police a recensé 2938 cas de vol de moins de 5000$. Les vols qualifiés ont, pour leur part, grimpé de 27 % passant de 157 en 2018 à 200 en 2019. A l’inverse des crimes contre la personne qui ont fait un bon de 400 % en 2019, (4 en 2019 mais aucun en 2018) ceux contre la propriété ont poursuivi leur tendance à la baisse dans l’agglomération de Longueuil, inclant le territoire de Boucherville. Celle-ci est notable dans quasi toutes les catégories d’infraction, mis à part les fraudes qui poursuivent leur progression. Ce sont principalement les vols d’identité, les fraudes par ordinateur ainsi que les fraudes par carte (crédit/débit) qui ont augmenté. L’analyse des dossiers démontre que les fraudeurs procèdent encore majoritairement par transactions frauduleuses, vols de carte suivis d’une fraude et hameçonnage par téléphone. Dans plusieurs cas, on observe maintenant le recours à la cryptomonnaie pour soutirer de l’argent aux victimes. On retrouve présentement moins de personnes âgées dans les victimes de fraude et une plus grande implication des jeunes. En 2016, période durant laquelle les fraudes de types grands-parents étaient très répandues, 25 % des victimes étaient âgées de 65 ans et plus, et seulement 2 % des personnes impliquées étaient d’âge mineur. En 2019, ce sont 15 % des victimes qui sont âgées de 65 ans et plus, et 4 % de toutes les personnes impliquées ont moins de 18 ans. À l’image des années précédentes, des diminutions importantes sont observées en ce qui a trait à l’ensemble des introductions par effraction. Entre 2014 et 2019, ces événements ont chuté de 38 %. Moins de vols et de méfaits ont également été enregistrés en 2019. François Laramée, Initiative de journalisme local, La Relève
ÉMILIE PELLETIER Initiative de journalisme local — Le Droit La province de l’Ontario a été plus lente et plus réactive que les autres provinces ainsi que plusieurs autres administrations internationales dans son déploiement de mesures pour lutter contre la COVID-19. Après avoir vivement critiqué l’inaction du gouvernement Ford en environnement, dans son rapport la semaine dernière, la vérificatrice générale de l’Ontario Bonnie Lysyk est de retour cette semaine avec un nouveau rapport tout aussi accablant portant cette fois-ci sur les mesures prises par l’Ontario pour lutter contre la COVID-19. La vérificatrice constate notamment dans son rapport que le gouvernement Ford a mis de côté, au début de la pandémie, la structure qui avait déjà été établie pour intervenir durant un état d’urgence. Il a plutôt élaboré une toute nouvelle structure pendant l’urgence sanitaire, engendrant l’embauche d’un consultant externe, le 25 mars, au coût de 1,6 millions $. À LIRE AUSSI : Le Dr David Williams sous la loupe de la vérificatrice générale La ministre de la Santé de l'Ontario contredit la vérificatrice générale Une somme supplémentaire de 3,2 millions $ a été versée à ce même consultant pour aider à la planification de la reprise économique et à la stratégie de réouverture des écoles. Ces coûts seraient supérieurs aux standards de l’industrie, note la vérificatrice. Ainsi, ce n’est que près d’un mois après avoir déclaré l’état d’urgence sanitaire que le gouvernement a commencé à mettre en œuvre sa stratégie de situation d’urgence. Effectivement, « en raison du changement de leadership au Centre provincial des opérations d’urgence (GSUO), des plans d’urgence désuets et du manque de personnel, la province n’était pas en mesure d’activer la structure d’intervention de son plan d’intervention d’urgence lorsqu’elle a déclaré l’état d’urgence le 17 mars 2020. » Mme Lysyk souligne que la mise en place d’une différente approche pangouvernementale a pris du temps, et la table centrale de coordination qui a été créée a tenu sa première réunion près d’un mois après le début de l’urgence, soit le 11 avril 2020. Un autre constat accablant de la vérificatrice: la structure d’intervention de l’Ontario face à la COVID-19 comprenait un Groupe de commandement pour le secteur de la santé qui s’est complexifié pendant la pandémie et dont la composition est passée de 21 à 83 participants en août. Pendant des mois, toutes les communications de ce groupe se faisaient par téléphone, ce qui créait de la confusion, note la vérificatrice. Ce n’est que le 14 juillet que des réunions ont débuté par vidéoconférence. Ces réunions n’ont pas eu lieu en personne, souligne Mme Lysyk, et il n’existe aucune documentation complète sur les discussions tenues. Au total, plus de 500 personnes s’investissent actuellement dans le Groupe de commandement pour le secteur de la santé. Par ailleurs, la vérificatrice indique dans son rapport que le ministère du Solliciteur général n’a pas mis à jour régulièrement ses plans d’intervention d’urgence, et n’a pas corrigé les lacunes des systèmes d’informations sur la santé publique. Il s’agissait pourtant de recommandations formulées par le Bureau du vérificateur général au fil des dernières années. « Cela a eu des répercussions négatives sur le travail des bureaux de santé publique pendant la COVID-19. » Quand la vérificatrice avait terminé ses travaux, le GSUO n’avait toujours pas planifié ni collaboré avec les municipalités en prévision des futures vagues de la pandémie. L’Ontario n’a rien appris du SRAS Les importantes leçons tirées de l’épidémie du syndrome respiratoire aigu sévère (SRAS) en 2003 n’ont pas été suivies pendant l’intervention de la province au moment où la COVID-19 a frappé l’Ontario, selon les découvertes de la vérificatrice. Ces leçons n’ont pas non plus été suivies pendant l’intervention de la province en réponse au coronavirus. Parmi les exemples rapportés par Mme Lysyk, le rapport final de la Commission du SRAS soulignait que le principe de précaution, qui consiste à prendre des mesures préventives pour protéger la santé du public même en l’absence d’informations complètes et de certitude scientifique, était la leçon la plus importante du SRAS. Selon la vérificatrice, si le gouvernement avait respecté ces conclusions, il aurait pris rapidement des mesures « énergiques et éclairées ». « Ce n’est pas ce que nous avons constaté dans notre travail d’audit, nous avons plutôt relevé des retards, des conflits et de la confusion dans la prise de décisions. » Les changements dans la gestion et le fonctionnement des bureaux de santé publique ont causé des incohérences partout en Ontario, soutient Mme Lysyk, selon qui la santé publique dans d’autres administrations comme la Colombie-Britannique, l’Alberta et le Québec est plus simplement organisée. « La réforme de santé publique recommandée il y a environ 15 ans par la Commission du SRAS n’avait pas été pleinement mise en œuvre. Au moment d’écrire ces lignes, les 34 bureaux de santé publique de l’Ontario continuaient de fonctionner de manière indépendante et, souvent, ils n’échangeaient toujours pas leurs pratiques exemplaires », peut-on lire dans le rapport. La vérificatrice générale Bonnie Lysyk publiera bientôt un deuxième rapport spécial sur les dépenses en santé liées à la COVID-19, sur l’équipement de protection individuelle et sur les soins de longue durée.Émilie Pelletier, journaliste, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Droit
After expressing outrage, disgust and regret over reports of Coun. Rick Chiarelli's egregious conduct, Ottawa city council unanimously voted Wednesday to impose the harshest penalties available to them to sanction the veteran councillor.Council was united in its call for the College ward councillor to resign immediately, and to ask the minister of municipal affairs and housing to change the law to allow a councillor found to have committed serious misconduct to be removed from office.> There are not enough apologies to make the pain … go away. \- Mayor Jim WatsonMany council members appeared shaken by the details of integrity commissioner Robert Marleau's most recent report on Chiarelli's behaviour, which Marleau called "offensive and disreputable.""I know many of you share my concerns that the behaviour outlined in this report are repugnant and are completely inconsistent with what is expected of anyone in a position of power or trust," said Mayor Jim Watson. "There have clearly been a number of gross violations of the trust the public placed in this elected official."The mayor issued a formal apology to all the women who came forward, and to others who may have been harassed but didn't feel able to tell their stories."I know that there are not enough apologies to make the pain of these events go away, but I would like to publicly apologize and [offer a] sincere gesture of recognition that this should not have happened and that we have listened and heard you," Watson said.Many councillors joined the mayor in apologizing to the former staffers and job applicants.Coun. Diane Deans had many dealings with Chiarelli's College ward office because their wards are next to each other, and said she had met Chiarelli's staffers on numerous occasions."I just wanted to say to the women involved that I am sorry," she said, her voice breaking. "And I am sorry I did not see the signs."Pay suspended for 15 monthsTwo separate integrity commissioner reports found Chiarelli violated the code of conduct for councillors when dealing with job applicants and staff by engaging in shocking behaviour, including speaking to women about going braless to work, pressuring them to go to bars to hit on men as a way of recruiting volunteers, and commenting on their bodies.Marleau recommended council suspend Chiarelli's pay for a total of 15 months — 90 days for each of the five formal complainants — as well as remove him from any committees and take away his delegated authority to hire staff or spend his own office budget.Minister not changing lawBut Chiarelli's council colleagues did not believe the sanctions went far enough. They've been hearing from many people in the community that they'd like to see some sort of mechanism to remove the councillor from office."If I go home, my own wife will be asking, 'Is that all that you guys can do?' or, 'Can't you do more?'" Coun. Eli El-Chantiry said.Council passed a motion looking for changes to the Municipal Act that would include some sort of process "for the vacating of the seat of a member of council who has been found on clear and convincing evidence to have committed serious misconduct."But that doesn't seem in the cards right now.In a statement issued late Wednesday afternoon, Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark said "the ministry is not considering any changes to the Municipal Act ... however, I am taking the unprecedented move of, in the strongest terms possible, urging Councillor Chiarelli to resign his position."Chiarelli's access restrictedThey approved a motion by Coun. Jenna Sudds directing city staff to report back on ways to restrict the councillor's access to city property, including in council chambers when in-person meetings resume. "I ask that his seat at the council table be moved so that none of us have to sit beside him," Sudds said. "His actions as detailed in the report and the very lengthy appendix is enough to turn one's stomach. It is appalling, and no woman should ever have to deal with this type of behaviour."A number of councillors said their staff would be uncomfortable encountering Chiarelli in their workplace. Council also agreed to donate Chiarelli's suspended pay to a non-profit organization that deals with violence against women.Chiarelli going to court in JanuaryThe College ward councillor last year denied all allegations against him, and is challenging the jurisdiction of the integrity commissioner in provincial court. In fact, Chiarelli, who was present for the start of Wednesday's meeting, said a hearing date is set for Jan. 13, 2021.Chiarelli did not participate in the year-long inquiry, nor has he responded to the specific allegations against him, of which he was made aware in September 2019 by CBC News. Last December, the councillor had bypass surgery and some post-op complications, but did participate in a number of virtual council meetings in 2020.The mayor called his silence a further affront to the women involved."Stonewalling is just another form of the type of manipulation the integrity commissioner has identified in his detailed report to council," Watson said. "Coun. Chiarelli, I would like to say that your silence speaks volumes."Chiarelli's office respondsIn a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, Chiarelli's office said the councillor will not resign."Councillor Chiarelli will not be resigning. He was democratically elected to serve a 4yr term and he intends to do so," the statement reads."This report is based on an investigation that only heard from one side of the story. Neither Councillor Chiarelli nor his lawyer were provided with information as to how witnesses were selected, their identities nor what testimony they gave which would only be natural justice in a fair forum. "This is important because Councillor Chiarelli was not medically able to participate following his open-heart surgery, and subsequent severe bacterial chest infection and stroke. The Integrity Commissioner refused to accommodate Councillor Chiarelli during his recovery despite having been provided with numerous medical notes."According to the statement, the divisional court hearing on Jan. 13 "will be the first time where both sides are heard in a fair and unbiased forum. Until then the Councillor has been advised by his legal team not to comment on the issue any further."
Government and election officials frequently call on shredding companies to dispose of personal and sensitive documents that are no longer needed.But in a suburban county of Atlanta this week, those routine waste removal appointments were twisted into yet another election misinformation story when social media users falsely claimed shredding trucks were destroying ballots and “evidence of voter fraud.”The unfounded allegations continue to spread online as Georgia officials carry out a machine recount of ballots after certified results showed Joe Biden had a 12,670-vote lead over President Donald Trump. Trump requested the recount, which follows a statewide hand tally.L. Lin Wood Jr., a conservative attorney who had unsuccessfully sued in an attempt to block the certification of Georgia’s election results, on Tuesday shared a series of videos taken by a Georgia resident. They showed a shredding truck outside the West Park Government Center in Marietta.“Evidence of voter fraud is being destroyed in Cobb County, GA TODAY,” Wood captioned one of his tweets. “Many people, powerful & not so powerful, are going to PRISON.”The real explanation for the truck’s visit was far less scandalous: a routine shredding of county tax documents.The county tax commissioner’s office, which shares a building with the county’s main elections office, has documents shredded twice a month, according to Ross Cavitt, communications director for the county.“No items from Cobb Elections were involved,” Cavitt told The Associated Press in an email.The false claims built on similar rumours from last week, when the same Georgia resident captured photos and video of a truck destroying election-related waste outside the Jim R. Miller Event Center in Marietta and claimed it was evidence of “ballots being shredded.”After Wood amplified those photos and videos on Friday, Cobb County officials refuted the claim, explaining that the shredding company was summoned to destroy non-relevant election materials, as happens after all elections.“Everything of consequence, including the ballots, absentee ballot applications with signatures, and anything else used in the count or re-tally remains on file,” Janine Eveler, the county’s director of elections and voter registration, said in a statement.Some of the photos shared on Friday appeared to show a trash can with a paper labeled “ABSENTEE BALLOT” inside. But Eveler said that was an inner privacy envelope used by voters to seal absentee ballots, and had “no evidentiary value.” County officials will hold on to the actual absentee ballots, as well as the outer envelopes signed by voters, for two years.Wood did not respond to a telephone call and email seeking comment.Despite the county’s responses, Wood’s tweets with the debunked claims continued to receive massive engagement on Wednesday, collectively amassing more than 200,000 retweets. And a separate Facebook user’s post falsely claiming a shredding company was “hired by Democrats” to destroy evidence was viewed nearly 150,000 times.County officials told the AP they have not seen any evidence of fraud or anomalies in vote tabulation in the 2020 election.“People nowadays, they post stuff immediately without asking any questions and without any proper context, and it spreads like wildfire,” Cavitt said of the false claims.Jude Joffe-Block And Ali Swenson, The Associated Press
TEMAGAMI – With COVID-19 not going away anytime soon, Temagami council has begun discussing some options when it comes to winter recreation opportunities at the Community Centre. With all the uncertainties surrounding COVID, and with current arena restrictions, the municipality had yet to determine if the ice plant would be operational for the 2020-21 winter season. Council looked at a pair of options at the November 19 regular meeting. The first option would be for the town to start up the ice plant and have the ice ready for the Christmas season. Staff would ensure that the municipality would continue to follow current health regulations while offering public skating, pick-up hockey, and other events for which revenue could be generated. “To proceed with this option we would need to develop health and safety protocols, cleaning protocols and purchase additional protective equipment,” recreation manager Kelly Hearn wrote in his report to council. “The start-up procedures for the ice plant would also need to be completed.” The second option would be that the municipality does not start up the ice plant this winter. Staff would consider other options for recreational programming for the community to stay active and healthy. “From the operational funds that are not utilized on the start-up, shut down and maintenance of the ice surface, staff would find alternate means of providing recreation to the community,” said Hearn. Hearn noted that staff are also considering the purchase of a made-to-measure, rubberized floor for the arena surface. “This would increase the options of non-ice arena use,” he reasoned. Councillor John Shymko was in favour of the second option, suggesting that the town “could plow a few rinks on Net Lake and Lake Temagami” so that they could still offer public skating. Treasurer-administrator Craig Davidson said he didn’t disagree with Shymko’s idea, but that it might not be something the municipality could do itself based on its insurance coverage. “It might need to be something that’s done at arm’s length (from council) volunteers,” he explained. Davidson added that he has always thought an outdoor rink, along with a bonfire, by the municipal office would be a good idea “as long as the fire doesn’t melt down into the lake.” Shymko then said he wouldn’t mind plowing the potential rink himself. Councillor Margaret Youngs was also in favour of the second option while Councillor Jamie Koistinen said she was leaning towards favouring the first option because of how “depressing” Northern Ontario winters can be. “If we’re removing any kind of recreation from the kids here in town, or even families to have some kind of outings that are safe within the community, then what does that do for the community members there?” she questioned. “Christmas is coming, there’s the two-week (school) break and possibly extensions beyond that. So I tend to think that some families might benefit from going to the arena, especially during a time where you’re not quite able yet to go ski-dooing, you can’t go ice fishing, there’s different things that can’t happen in the community at that time.” Councillor Barret Leudke stated that he didn’t feel the municipality should be encouraging group gatherings of any kind because of the increasing risks and uncertainty associated with the coronavirus. “We need to go into a full lockdown and other municipalities have suggested to stay directly home. I’m not in support of (group gatherings), I see this virus getting worse long before it gets better,” he said. “I want to encourage more distancing and no group gatherings.” Deputy Mayor Cathy Dwyer said she would be in favour of the second option as long as the municipality looks into other recreational possibilities for its residents. She said she has heard from some parents who understand the municipality might not put ice in the arena but were concerned about a lack of activities for their kids this winter. Council agreed on a motion to choose the second option and not start up the ice plant this winter. Hearn said that staff would work on seeking out other recreation opportunities to keep the community active this winter.Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker
As controversial as he was talented, Maradona is a gigantic loss for the beautiful game. View on euronews
Calgary police have released a sketch of a man wanted in relation to a sexual assault investigation."Just after midnight on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, a woman was walking in the area of 19 Avenue and Fifth Street S.W., when a man approached her," the police said in a news release. "The man grabbed the woman and held on to her while sexually touching her. The woman broke free and fled. The man was last seen walking towards 17 Avenue S.W."The man is described as black, between 20 and 30 years old, standing between five feet, eight inches and six feet tall, weighing 180 pounds. He has a slim build, black buzz-cut hair and was clean shaven with a strong jaw line and high cheek bones. At the time of the alleged assault, he was wearing a dress shirt and black leather jacket with dark jeans. Anyone with information on the suspect is asked to contact police at 403-266-1234 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers.
Trying to make sense of the shakeup at city hall? It's a bit of a puzzle, but a comparison of the old and new organizational charts - aided by a memo from acting city manager Walter Babicz that was leaked to CKPG - provides a certain amount of clarity. In essence, one half of a department has been scrapped and another has taken on a significantly bigger workload under a COVID-induced revamping at city hall. At its centre, the infrastructure and services department is being eliminated and replaced, in part, with a new civic operations department that will take on five divisions largely related to the public works side of its predecessor: transportation and technical services, project delivery (previously named infrastructure delivery), parks and solid waste, roads and fleet, and utilities. With the move, the old department's general manager, Dave Dyer, has gone into retirement and public works director Gina Layte Liston and infrastructure services director Adam Homes are no longer on the payroll. In turn, the planning and development department has been renamed the planning, development and infrastructure services department and has taken on two divisions previously under infrastructure and services - asset management and infrastructure and planning and engineering. As well, Babicz said in the memo that the environmental services division, previously part of infrastructure and services, has been reduced and split between civic operations through its utilities division, and the development services division within the planning, development and infrastructure services department. The bylaw services division, meanwhile, has been moved to the community services and public safety department from planning, development and infrastructure services department, while the financial services department has taken on the financial management functions for both the community services and public safety department and the old infrastructure services department. In an email, city spokesperson Mike Kellett confirmed that in addition to their roles as acting city manager and acting deputy city manager, Babicz and Ian Wells will continue as the heads, respectively, of the administrative services and planning, development, and infrastructure services departments. Blake McIntosh, who has been manager of the roads and fleet division, is acting director of the civic operations department, while Kris Dalio remains head of finance, Adam Davey head of community services and public safety and Rae Ann Emery head of human resources, now known as human resources and corporate safety. And strategic Initiatives and partnerships, which is led by Chris Bone, now reports to Wells in planning, development, and infrastructure services. Babicz has said the changes were made to reduce costs in the face of a major hit to revenue due to the pandemic. He has declined to say publicly who has lost their jobs as a result but in an emailed statement to the Citizen early this month, he did say six management and four unionized positions were eliminated. One of the management positions was to be refilled and one of the unionized jobs was vacant prior to the changes. Exactly how much savings they will deliver will be known as part of a bigger presentation staff will make to council's finance and audit committee meeting on December 7 at city hall.Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen
La COVID-19 est liée à de nombreux nouveaux défis que vivent les ménages. Anxiété omniprésente, tensions dans le foyer, difficultés à effectuer des tâches quotidiennes; la Clinique universitaire en travail social (CUTS) de l’UQAC a remarqué plusieurs de ces problématiques chez les gens qui ont récemment consulté. Heureusement, les étudiants et professionnels de la clinique peuvent fournir une foule d’outils, afin d’aider leur clientèle à traverser plus facilement cette période difficile. Nathalie Sasseville est directrice de la Clinique universitaire en travail social, en plus d’être professeure à l’UQAC et travailleuse sociale. Elle est accompagnée de Sandra Juneau, elle aussi professeure en travail social et impliquée à la CUTS, pour expliquer les impacts de la COVID-19 sur les jeunes et les familles qui fréquentent la clinique. Depuis le début de la pandémie, les professionnels ont remarqué plusieurs problématiques semblables chez ceux qui consultent. Le premier constat est que plusieurs souffrent d’un stress directement en lien avec le virus. « Ce sont des gens qui sont moins fonctionnels, qui ne sont plus capables de faire leurs activités quotidiennes parce qu’ils vivent un stress trop élevé relié à la peur de contracter le virus », explique Mme Sasseville. D’autres vivent également des difficultés qui sont amplifiées par le confinement. Les familles, maintenant toujours ensemble sous le même toit, vivent des situations de tensions qu’elles n’avaient pas à gérer auparavant. Certaines de ces tensions viennent du fait que les habitudes de ces personnes ont changé, au cours des derniers mois. Les parents ont dû apprendre à maîtriser de nouveaux rôles, comme celui de professeur quand l’enfant est à la maison, ce qui vient assurément leur causer un stress supplémentaire. Ces derniers doivent également surveiller le temps que passe leur enfant devant un écran. « Ça devient difficile pour les parents de jongler avec ça et de mettre des limites sur le temps qu’un enfant passe devant un écran, de décider quand il lui demande de décrocher. Ce temps a d’ailleurs considérablement augmenté puisque c’est souvent le seul outil que l’enfant a pour être en contact avec ses amis », rappelle Mme Juneau. Mme Sasseville ajoute que le fait d’être toujours en ligne ajoute une surcharge mentale à bien des personnes, ce qui fait qu’elles deviennent plus fatiguées et irritables. Cela cause bien souvent des conflits entre les membres de la famille. Avec toutes ces nouvelles problématiques, bien des gens, parents ou non, ressentent le besoin de consulter. La CUTS est là pour les outiller à mieux gérer ces nouvelles problématiques. « Nos services sont soit sur le bien-être de la famille ou encore pour les outiller pour mieux fonctionner ensemble. On fait par exemple beaucoup d’accompagnements dans les compétences parentales, afin d’aider les parents à mieux interagir et mieux communiquer avec leurs enfants », continue Mme Sasseville. Une clinique unique au Canada La CUTS est unique au Canada. Bien qu’existent de nombreuses cliniques universitaires au sein des établissements d’enseignement, c’est la première qui se concentre exclusivement sur le domaine du travail social. La clinique a été pensée afin de permettre aux étudiants d’avoir un endroit où mettre la théorie apprise en classe en pratique, en plus d’offrir des services à la communauté. Il y a aussi un volet qui touche la recherche. Lorsqu’une famille ou un individu se présente à la clinique, il est jumelé à un ou des étudiants en fin de parcours ainsi qu’à une travailleuse sociale. « Toutes les interventions des étudiants se font soit en compagnie d’une travailleuse sociale expérimentée ou sous la surveillance vidéo d’une professionnelle, afin d’offrir la même qualité de services qu’obtiendrait la personne en se rendant dans des services sociaux », continue la professeure. Les services offerts à la clinique permettent aux familles et aux individus d’avoir accès à des services professionnels rapidement et à bas prix en plus d’aider les étudiants dans leur formation. Pour consulter La CUTS recherche actuellement des familles qui vivent des difficultés en lien avec un enfant ou dans leur dynamique familiale. Pour consulter, il faut visiter le www.uqac.ca/cuts/ et remplir un formulaire. « J’aimerais vraiment dire aux parents de ne pas hésiter à consulter, parce que les plus récentes études démontrent qu’il y a peu de parents, peu de familles qui consultent, malgré le fait qu’il y en a qui vivent de la détresse en plus de différentes problématiques », assure Mme Juneau. Les consultations sont données sur place, en suivant les recommandations de la Santé publique, mais peuvent aussi être données par visioconférence.Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
WASHINGTON — The second of three estimates on U.S. growth for the July-September quarter was unchanged at a record pace of 33.1%. But a resurgence in the coronavirus is expected to slow growth sharply in the current quarter with some economists even raising the spectre of a double-dip recession.While the overall increase in the country’s total output of goods and services was static, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday, some components were revised.Bigger gains in business investment, housing and exports were offset by downward revisions to state and local government spending, business inventories and consumer spending.The 33.1% gain was the largest quarterly gain on records going back to 1947 and surpassed the old mark of a 16.7% surge in 1950.Still, the economy has not fully recovered from output lost in the first six months of the year when GDP suffered a record-shattering drop of 31.4% in the second quarter. That followed a slide at an annual rate of 5% in the first quarter as when the pandemic shut down much of the economy and triggered millions of layoffs.Economists are concerned that growth has slowed sharply in the current October-December and there are fears that GDP could dip back into negative territory in the first three months of next year.Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said he had forecast GDP growth of around 2% in the fourth quarter, with the real possibility of GDP turning negative in the first quarter of next year.Economists at JPMorgan Chase have trimmed their forecast for the first quarter to a negative 1% GDP rate. “This winter will be grim and we believe the economy will contract again in the first quarter,” the JPMorgan economists wrote in a research note.“The economy is going to be very uncomfortable between now and when we get the next fiscal rescue package,” Zandi said. “If lawmakers can’t get it together, it will be very difficult for the economy to avoid going back into a recession.”While lawmakers have returned for a lame-duck session, there has been no progress so far in narrowing the differences between Democrats who are pushing for a big package of $1 trillion or more, and Senate Republicans who are refusing to approve anything above approximately $500 billion.More than 9 million people will lose their unemployment benefits at the end of the year when two jobless benefit programs are set to expire unless Congress extends them.At the same time virus cases are surging, triggering a number of states to re-impose business limits such as earlier closing times for bars and restaurants and stricter limits on the number of in-store shoppers.Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
A $2 million family healing and wellness centre is scheduled for construction on Muskowekwan First Nation. The First Nation, which is about 330 kilometres southeast of Saskatoon, expects the project to be completed in 2021. Funded by an Indigenous Services Canada initiative, the centre will be built in the spring and summer, a government statement announced on Monday. The prepared statement said the centre will have four family log homes, each holding two to four bedrooms. The First Nation will use a fifth home for healing program delivery. Operations support will come from community Elders, in addition to counsellors and staff. In a prepared statement, Chief Reginald Bellerose said the project is an "urgently needed" step on a "healing journey from the historical effects of attending residential schools, the Sixties Scoop, Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, among other traumas." While he said communities like his are in crisis, he hopes the model of care will produce tangible results for his First Nation. The project is "driven by the community, for the community," he said. The goal is to "provide a welcoming, homelike environment where families in crisis referred to the Centre can get the support they need to help heal together," the federal government's statement added.Nick Pearce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The StarPhoenix
Police in Regina handed a 34-year-old woman a $2,800 fine for allegedly hosting a party for 12 people. Officers were called to the 3100 block of Arens Road on Sunday for reports of a private gathering larger than the public health order allows. Police say officers found 12 people gathering at the home and told them they were violating the public health order. On Tuesday officers returned to the home and issued the woman the fine. "The Regina Police Service once again urges Regina residents to familiarize themselves with the Public Health Orders in effect during the COVID-19 pandemic," a statement from the Regina Police Service said. "There is more at stake than tickets and fines. We all have a responsibility when it comes to community health and safety."
The holiday season is quickly approaching, and as residents of Quinte West make their lists and check them twice, holiday gifts that promote social distancing and staying home may be tricky. During the spring when the coronavirus first forced residents indoors, board games and puzzles were flying off the shelves. As the second wave of COVID-19 progresses into the colder months, indoor games and activities are expected to be popular items this holiday season. Mindful of the global pandemic, Canadian owned and operated Outset Media has partnered with Walmart Canada to launch limited-edition board games that bring fun to families by creating Canadian city-based board games. The Quinte West community is fortunate enough to be celebrated in Belleville-Opoly and Trenton-Opoly. Similar to the classic Monopoly games, Belleville-Opoly and Trenton-Opoly’s property spots highlight crucial aspects of the Quinte West community. Belleville-Opoly features properties like Zwick’s Centennial Parks and Trails, Downtown Belleville, The Empire Theatre, Glanmore National Historic Site, Burger Revolution and many more beloved spots throughout the community. On the Trenton-Opoly board, players will notice properties such as the National Air Force Museum of Canada, the Trent Port Marina, Trent Port Museum and other historically rich landmarks. Outset Media is thrilled that Trenton and Belleville have been selected to be featured in this exciting, limited-edition game. “Outset Media is excited to help families across Canada celebrate where they live. These games were created to help people appreciate some things they cherish about their community,” said senior vice-president of Outset Media, Jean-Paul Teskey. “We are grateful that families and friends all over the country have made us part of the time they spend together during the holidays.” Based on the best-selling game of all time, Monopoly, Belleville-Opoly and Trenton-Opoly draw attention to some of the great features and rich history of Quinte West. These Onset Media board games are available now at local Walmarts or online at walmart.ca.Virginia Clinton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Intelligencer
SALT LAKE CITY — Andy Larsen is a sports writer, but with so many games scratched during the pandemic he has spent a lot of time digging into coronavirus data and its sobering implications.Then on Monday, while he was sorting his spare change — some from a childhood piggy bank shaped like SpongeBob SquarePants — it struck him: Other people in Utah could use the money more than he could.His composed a tweet to his nearly 27,000 followers, hoping to quickly find someone who could use the $165.84.Within a minute, someone offered to essentially double his donation with a deposit into his Venmo account. Then someone else pitched in, and another. It kept snowballing as Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox retweeted it, calling the effort “very cool.”“I figured I would help a couple families with Thanksgiving, or a family with three kids buy Christmas presents,” said the 29-year-old Larsen, who covers the NBA’s Utah Jazz for the Salt Lake Tribune. “I was shocked ... within five, 10 minutes we got $1,000."By Wednesday, he had collected more than $52,000.Among the first to get on board was Jeff Jones, a 54-year-old partner at a CPA firm in South Jordan.“I was thinking, ‘We’re not having a big Thanksgiving dinner this year, I can use some of the money we would have spent to hopefully help some other people,’” he said.With the pandemic keeping people from getting together in a big way for the holiday, the online effort became a chance to conjure a sense of community, a feeling of being part of something larger.“It felt like it took on a life of its own," Jones said. “Man, it's sure been fun to be a part of it."Larsen also heard from people in need. There was someone who got COVID-19 and couldn’t work for a month, possibly putting Christmas gifts out of reach. Another who couldn’t pay a water bill. Someone else whose neighbour didn’t have money for Thanksgiving. Most were local, several were names he recognized from Twitter.Larsen is a numbers guy, so he built spreadsheets for donations and people in need. The effort has gotten big enough that he’ll need some legal help to make sure he’s got everything in order, but he’s planning to start giving away money in the coming days.He's hoping to help with bigger things too, like a down payment on a car for a parent he heard from who can’t get the kids to daycare after being in an accident.The outpouring has been restorative for Larsen, who owes his career in part to social media but has also seen its ugly side.“I thought I was permanently just bitter, the classic embittered journalist,” he said. “And now I’m not for a little bit. And that’s nice.”———-“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-thingLindsay Whitehurst, The Associated Press
LONDON — The Duchess of Sussex has revealed that she had a miscarriage in July, giving a personal account of the traumatic experience in hope of helping others.Meghan described the miscarriage in an opinion piece in The New York Times on Wednesday, writing that “I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second.”The former Meghan Markle and husband Prince Harry have an 18-month-old son, Archie.The duchess, 39, said she was sharing her story to help break the silence around an all-too-common tragedy. Britain's National Health Service says about one in eight pregnancies in which a woman is aware she is pregnant ends in miscarriage.“Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few,” Meghan wrote. “In being invited to share our pain, together we take the first steps toward healing.”In a startlingly intimate account of her experience, the duchess described how tragedy struck on a “morning that began as ordinarily as any other day: Make breakfast. Feed the dogs. Take vitamins. Find that missing sock. Pick up the rogue crayon that rolled under the table. Throw my hair in a ponytail before getting my son from his crib."“After changing his diaper, I felt a sharp cramp. I dropped to the floor with him in my arms, humming a lullaby to keep us both calm, the cheerful tune a stark contrast to my sense that something was not right.”Later, she said, she “lay in a hospital bed, holding my husband’s hand. I felt the clamminess of his palm and kissed his knuckles, wet from both our tears. Staring at the cold white walls, my eyes glazed over. I tried to imagine how we’d heal.”Buckingham Palace said it was “a deeply personal matter we would not comment on.”Sophie King, a midwife at U.K. child-loss charity Tommy’s, said miscarriage and stillbirth remained “a real taboo in society, so mothers like Meghan sharing their stories is a vital step in breaking down that stigma and shame.”“Her honesty and openness today send a powerful message to anyone who loses a baby: this may feel incredibly lonely, but you are not alone,” King said.Meghan, an American actress and star of TV legal drama “Suits,” married Harry, a grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, in a lavish ceremony at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son was born the following year.Early this year, the couple announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said was the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. They recently bought a house in Santa Barbara, California.The duchess is currently suing the publisher of Britain's Mail on Sunday newspaper for invasion of privacy over articles that published parts of a letter she wrote to her estranged father after her wedding.Last month, a judge in London agreed to Meghan's request to postpone the trial from January until fall 2021. The decision followed a hearing held in private, and the judge said the reason for the delay request should be kept confidential.Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
BANGKOK — Pro-democracy demonstrators in Thailand took to the streets of the capital again on Wednesday as the government escalated its legal battle against them, reviving the use of a harsh law against defaming the monarchy.Their rally was peaceful, but less than two hours after it was declared over and many in the crowd were lingering, a man was shot and wounded, according to initial reports of emergency service personnel and witnesses' accounts and photos posted on social media.Although it wasn't clear whether the attack involved a personal dispute or politics, it was a reminder that the threat of violence is attached to the passions involved in the protests.On Tuesday, police issued summonses for 12 protest leaders to answer charges of lese majeste, or defaming or insulting key members of the royal family. The offence is punishable by up to 15 years in prison per incident. Most of the protest leaders are already facing various other charges ranging from blocking traffic to sedition.The lese majeste law is controversial because anyone — not just royals or authorities — can lodge a complaint, and it has been used in the past as a weapon in political vendettas. But it has not been employed for the past three years after King Maha Vajiralongkorn informed the government that he did not wish to see its use. The king has not publicly commented on the law since then.The protesters want the monarchy reformed to make it more accountable. They also want Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and his government to step down and for the military-implemented constitution to be amended to make it more democratic.Several of the leaders wanted by the police were present Wednesday as protesters gathered in a carnival-like atmosphere next to the headquarters of a bank controlled by the country’s royal family. About 3,000 had joined by the time the rally was declared over shortly after 9 p.m., with the crowd singing and dancing.Many in the monthslong protest movement, spearheaded by students, believe the monarchy holds too much power for a constitutional monarchy. Their challenge is fiercely opposed by royalists, including many in the army, who consider the royal institution an untouchable bedrock of national identity.Food and souvenir vendors set up tables on a long stretch of sidewalk along the rim of a park-like compound occupied by the Siam Commercial Bank. Items featuring the image of a yellow rubber duck, a movement icon, could be seen almost everywhere. One protest leader gave a fiery speech from a truck-bed stage while wearing a duck costume.The ducks became a symbol of resistance last week when human-size inflatable ducks were brought to a rally outside Parliament and satirically dubbed the protesters’ navy. When police turned water cannons on them, the ducks served as makeshift shields.At a ceremony at a park in another part of Bangkok, at least 600-700 supporters of the monarchy gathered for an appearance by the king, dressed in a white formal uniform. He and Queen Suthida took part in a wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the 1925 death of King Vajiravudh, whose statue is in front of Lumphini Park. In the past month, the royal couple have been making similar appearances where members of the public can see them face to face, an evident attempt to shore up support for the royal institution.The site of Wednesday’s pro-democracy rally was changed late Tuesday night by the protesters. It was earlier announced that it would be held outside the offices of the Crown Property Bureau, which manages the fortune controlled by the king, estimated to be worth more than $40 billion.The target was switched to the Siam Commercial Bank, a publicly held company in which the king is the biggest shareholder. The bank’s headquarters are in a different area of Bangkok, far from the district hosting the Crown Property Bureau and other royal and government offices.The protest movement announced that the change of venue was to avoid a confrontation with police and royalist counter demonstrators, which it feared could trigger a declaration of martial law or a coup by the military.Barbed wire had already been installed around the Crown Property Bureau offices and the government had declared a no-go zone of 150 metres (500 feet) around the property. Massive shipping containers were deployed by cranes to block off streets.A protest rally outside Parliament last week turned chaotic as police fired water cannons and tear gas at the protesters. At least 55 people were hurt, including six reported to have had gunshot wounds. Police denied firing live rounds or rubber bullets.The next day, several thousand demonstrators gathered outside the national headquarters of the police in central Bangkok to protest the force used against them. That rally was nonviolent but fueled royalist outrage at the protest movement as demonstrators defaced the “Royal Thai Police” sign outside its headquarters and scrawled graffiti and chanted slogans that could be considered derogatory of King Vajiralongkorn.Protest leaders remained defiant even after being told they were facing lese majeste charges. They declared they would have four more days of rallies to pressure the government.One of them, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, posted his response to his summons on Twitter, saying: “I am not afraid anymore. The ceiling (of our demands) is destroyed. Nobody can stop us now.”A statement issued Wednesday by Free Youth, the driving force in the coalition of protest groups, called Thailand a failed state whose people “are ruled by capitalists, military and feudalists.”“And under this state, the ruling class oppress the people who are the true founders and heirs of this country,” said the statement, the most strident issued so far in the name of the group.Grant Peck And Chalida Ekvitthayavechnukul, The Associated Press
An NHL legend from Manitoba is honouring an NHL pioneer from Saskatchewan and the path he cleared for First Nations people dreaming of the big league."It's a sad day for the hockey world, especially the First Nations across the country. We'll miss a great guy," said Reggie Leach, whose name is inscribed on the Stanley Cup, about Fred Sasakamoose, who died Tuesday from complications due to COVID-19.Sasakamoose, who grew up on the Ahtahkakoop Indian Reserve in Saskatchewan and later became chief of the community, was one of the first Indigenous athletes to play in the National Hockey League.He was 86 years old. "It was just an honour for me to be around him. Every time I would see him, it made my heart happy," said Leach, from Riverton, Man., who was a 16-year-old junior player when he first heard the name Sasakamoose."I heard there was a [First Nations] guy who played a few games in the National Hockey League and back then, I don't think there was that many First Nations players playing anywhere," Leach said, adding it gave him inspiration.Now 70, Leach had a storied NHL career over 13 seasons with the Boston Bruins — who drafted him third overall in 1970 — as well as the California Golden Seals, Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers, with whom he won a Stanley Cup in 1975.A member of the renowned Broad Street Bullies-era Flyers, Leach set goal-scoring records that still stand today.But he's not sure any of it would have happened without Sasakamoose first lacing them up, even if it was only for a brief time.Sasakamoose played just 11 games with Chicago during the 1953-54 season, splitting the rest of the time with the Moose Jaw Canucks of the Western Canadian Junior Hockey League."A lot of people say, 'well, he only played 11 games,' but to me, those 11 games were everything to our First Nation people," said Leach, who earned the nickname the Riverton Rifle for his speed and goal-scoring prowess."He carried that [mantle as a leader] on through his whole life, being chief in his community and showing leadership and kindness to all — not just the First Nation people. That's the way life should be, being kind to everybody."Leach never got the chance to meet up much with Sasakamoose until after Leach retired in 1984.Then they often crossed paths at youth workshops and tournaments across the country where they helped out — including the Fred Sasakamoose "Chief Thunderstick" National Championship for young Indigenous hockey players in Saskatchewan."He wanted to push our young kids to do the best they can and don't give up. The stuff that he has done for people in his life, it's amazing," Leach said."I got to know him over the years and we became great friends. I listened to his stories and the struggles that he went through."In 1940, when Sasakamoose wasn't quite seven years old, a priest, an RCMP officer and a Canadian government Indian agent showed up in Ahtahkakoop. He and his eight-year-old brother, Frank, were forcefully taken from their parents and put into a truck, the Canadian Encyclopedia says.Although the boys' mother looked after them and their father worked as a logger, the Indian agent declared them unfit parents because of their poverty. The brothers were shipped off to St. Michael's Indian Residential School, nearly 100 kilometres away in Duck Lake.The Sasakamoose boys had no idea where they were going or why. It was two years before they saw their parents again.Despite the hardships Sasakamoose faced, "he always had a smile and a kind word for everyone," Leach wrote in a Facebook post late Tuesday night."He was a very, very interesting person to talk to. Every time I had a chance to spend some time with him, I would sit with him and talk to him, and I learned a lot from him," Leach told CBC News in an interview.Leach last spoke with Sasakamoose on a Zoom call about three weeks ago, along with other former Indigenous NHLers Ted Nolan and Theoren Fleury. The group chatted about their careers and hockey in general, he said."It was a great thing and something that I'm very happy I got to do."Despite the trailblazing of Sasakamoose, Leach and others who followed, the NHL lags in its inclusion efforts around Indigenous people, said Leach."We're a long way off," he said bluntly."It's like anything else. We're always second fiddle when it comes to anything with First Nation people and that stuff has to stop."When the league appointed Willie O'Ree as ambassador to hockey for Black players, he hoped an Indigenous appointment would soon follow. It hasn't.O'Ree, who became the NHL's first black player on Jan. 18, 1958, with the Boston Bruins, has been the league's diversity ambassador since 1998. In that role, he travels to schools and hockey programs to promote messages of inclusion, dedication and confidence."Those are things that sort of bothered me with the National Hockey League, that they do something for one nationality but don't do anything for us," Leach said."I think our First Nation people are probably the best hockey fans in the world because that's all they do is live and breathe and eat hockey."It doesn't matter what little community, they have leagues and play and play and play and play. And Freddie proved that."Dauphin-born Brigette Lacquette, the first First Nations woman on Canada's Olympic hockey team, also paid tribute to Sasakamoose through a Twitter post on Tuesday."RIP to my buddy, Freddy Sasakamoose. He was a trailblazer, a leader and a survivor," she wrote. "He paved the way for so many Indigenous hockey players. My thoughts and prayers to the family."Rest Easy, Legend."Lacquette stood with Sasakamoose at centre ice in October 2019 for the ceremonial puck drop at the Heritage Classic outdoor game between the Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames at Mosaic Stadium in Regina."That was one of the highlights of my life, for sure, to be there with him and his family," she said.She became quick friends with Sasakamoose and his family, and was asked to contribute to an upcoming autobiography Sasakamoose wrote, Call Me Indian: From the Trauma of Residential School to Becoming the NHL's First Treaty Indigenous Player, which is set to hit shelves in April."His story is very powerful, very moving," Lacquette said. "The things that he's overcome is absolutely amazing; the perseverance and determination to get to where he got."He's a role model and just an amazing person that I'm glad I crossed paths with. He showed us anything is possible if you work hard and you persevere through hard times."