A cute dog loves his new paddling pool despite its owner accidentally buying the wrong size. All this excitement leads to some epic zoomies!
A cute dog loves his new paddling pool despite its owner accidentally buying the wrong size. All this excitement leads to some epic zoomies!
The most grueling and intense Premier League season appears to be catching up with Manchester United's misfiring players. It may yet cost them a place in next season's Champions League. There were worrying signs in United's third straight 0-0 draw, this time in the fog at Crystal Palace on Wednesday. Bruno Fernandes was sloppy in possession, Harry Maguire and Marcus Rashford exchanged angry words in the second half and — maybe most alarming of all — there was never any sign of the kind of late onslaught United teams down the years have been renowned for. Perhaps it is no surprise that United, which is now 14 points behind Manchester City in what is becoming a procession to the title, is running out of steam. Due to its involvement in the Europa League and going deep in both domestic cups, United has played games every midweek in this condensed, pandemic-affected season except for during international breaks. A last-16 double header against AC Milan in the Europa League is coming up over the following two weeks, and before that a Manchester derby on Sunday. No wonder energy levels seem to be down and there's no attacking spark in Solskjaer's side. “It’s been a long season,” Solskjaer said after United's sixth 0-0 draw in the league, the most of any team this season. There's still 2 1/2 months left of it, more than enough time for United to lose its spot in the Premier League's top four if it's not careful. The same applies to third-place Leicester, which was held 1-1 at relegation-threatened Burnley on Wednesday and might also be feeling the effects of an arduous season that has included a Europa League campaign, too. United and Leicester have won just five of their last 16 league games combined and they are giving their top-four rivals a big opportunity to reel them in. West Ham, Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton are all within eight points and have games in hand, while Tottenham and Arsenal further back should not be discounted now. Leicester recovered from conceding a goal in the fourth minute to Matej Vydra, with Kelechi Iheanacho volleying in the equalizer in the 34th. Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers considered it a decent result given the injury problems in his squad, which is currently depriving him of attacking midfielders Harvey Barnes, James Maddison, Dennis Praet and Ayoze Perez, along with Jonny Evans and James Justin. BATTLING BLADES Sheffield United's players aren't leaving the Premier League without a fight. Chris Wilder's last-place team held on after a 57th-minute red card to veteran centre back Phil Jagielka to beat Aston Villa 1-0. With 11 games left, Sheffield United is 12 points from safety so securing a third straight season in the top flight remains highly unlikely. The players aren't giving up, though. “We’re all still fighting for our future and for this club,” said striker David McGoldrick, who scored the winner from close range in the 30th minute. "The saying is, ‘It’s not over till the fat lady sings.’ We’re all fighting to the end.” ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80 Steve Douglas, The Associated Press
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now says the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that means going from a three week interval to a full four months. "NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first," the committee said in a statement. Prior to this new recommendation, NACI had said that the maximum interval between the first and second shots of the Moderna vaccine should be four weeks, the interval for the Pfizer-BioNTech product should be three weeks and the interval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be 12 weeks. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. Since first doses of all three vaccines have been shown to dramatically increase immunity to the disease, or to significantly reduce the illness associated with contracting COVID-19, the committee said stretching the interval would help protect more Canadians sooner. NACI said that it reviewed evidence from two clinical trials that looked at how effective the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were after a single dose. Those studies, NACI said, showed the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines started providing some level of protection 12 to 14 days after the first dose. By the time the second dose was administered — 19 to 42 days after the first — the first shot was shown to be 92 per cent effective. Population studies find lower protection Outside of clinical trials, NACI looked at the effectiveness of a single shot of these two vaccines in the populations of Quebec, British Columbia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. NACI said that analysis showed the effectiveness of a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine was between 70 per cent and 80 per cent among health care workers, long-term care residents, elderly populations and the general public. "While this is somewhat lower than the efficacy demonstrated after one dose in clinical trials, it is important to note that vaccine effectiveness in a general population setting is typically lower than efficacy from the controlled setting of a clinical trial, and this is expected to be the case after series completion as well," NACI said. The committee said that published data from an AstraZeneca clinical trial indicated that delaying the second dose 12 weeks or more provided better protections against symptomatic disease compared to shorter intervals between doses. Earlier this week, before NACI changed its interval advice, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Henry said data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and countries around the world showed a "miraculous" protection level of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The head of Moderna's Canadian operations, Patricia Gauthier, said Monday that the company's own trials, and the conditions under which the vaccine was approved by Health Canada, are tied to a four-week interval. "That being said, we're in times of pandemic and we can understand that there are difficult decisions to be made," Gauthier said. "This then becomes a government decision. We stand by the product monograph approved by Health Canada, but governments ... can make their own decisions." Gauthier said she was not aware of any studies done or led by Moderna on what happens when the interval between the first and second doses is changed from four weeks to four months. 'We have to do it safely and watch carefully' Dr. David Naylor, who has been named to a federal task force charged with planning a national campaign to see how far the virus has spread, said the data have been "very encouraging." "The evidence is there for the concept of further delay," Naylor told CBC News Network's Power & Politics today. "We [had] trial data from earlier showing that going out from 90 days, a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective. So things are triangulating." He said health officials need to pay close attention to the data coming out of other countries to determine if the protection provided by the first dose remains strong four months after it was administered. "We do it because we can cover more people with a single dose of the vaccine, spread the protection, prevent more severe disease and prevent fatalities, and the evidence is clear that that's what you can do if you spread those doses out widely. But we have to do it safely and watch carefully," Naylor told host Vassy Kapelos. Watch: The evidence is there for the 'concept of further delay' of second doses: Dr. Naylor: Storage and transport recommendations also changed Health Canada also announced today that after reviewing a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech, it would authorize changes to the way the vaccine is handled in Canada. The new rules allow the vaccine to be stored and transported in a standard freezer with a temperature of between -25 C and -15 C for up to two weeks, instead of the previous requirement that it be stored in ultra-cold conditions of -80 C to -60 C. Vials of the vaccine stored or transported at this higher temperature for no longer than two weeks remain stable and safe and can then be returned to ultra-cold freezers once, said the department.
OTTAWA — Former military ombudsman Gary Walbourne told a parliamentary committee Wednesday that he informed Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan of allegations of misconduct against Gen. Jonathan Vance during a “hostile” closed-door meeting three years ago. Walbourne’s remarks appear to contradict Sajjan’s own testimony to the same committee Feb. 19, when he said he was as surprised as anyone when Global News first reported Vance’s alleged misconduct in early February. At that time, Sajjan repeatedly refused to confirm media reports that Walbourne raised allegations against Vance when the minister and ombudsman met in March 2018. Sajjan cited confidentiality and also said any allegations brought to him were taken seriously and referred to the appropriate authorities. Walbourne, whose testimony is protected by parliamentary privilege, used his opening statement to the House of Commons' defence committee to publicly confirm the conversation for the first time. “Yes, I did meet with Minister Sajjan on March 1, 2018,” he said. “Yes, I did directly tell him about an allegation of inappropriate sexual behaviour made against the chief of defence.” Global News has reported that Vance allegedly had an ongoing relationship with a woman he significantly outranked. He is also accused of having made a sexual comment to a second, much younger, soldier in 2012, before he became commander of the Armed Forces. Vance, who turned over command of the military in January after more than five years in the job, has not responded to requests for comment by The Canadian Press and the allegations against him have not been independently verified. Global says Vance, who as defence chief oversaw the military’s efforts to root sexual misconduct from the ranks, has denied any wrongdoing. Military police are now investigating the allegations against Vance. They have also launched an investigation of Vance’s successor as defence chief, Admiral Art McDonald, who temporarily stepped aside last week in response to unspecified allegations of misconduct. Walbourne did not spell out the specifics of the allegation that he presented to Sajjan, and confirmed earlier reports that no formal complaint was filed. However, he said he came to possess “irrefutable, concrete evidence” about Vance, which is what led him to raise the matter with the minister. Walbourne told the committee Sajjan refused to look at the evidence and later cut off all contact until the former ombudsman’s resignation on Oct. 31, 2018. Walbourne also said he asked Sajjan to keep the matter in confidence until they could figure out how to handle the allegation, but that the minister instead told the Privy Council Office, which asked the ombudsman for information about the complainant. Walbourne, who initially declined an invitation to appear before the committee before being formally summoned to testify, said he refused to provide that information because the complainant had not given permission to do so. The former ombudsman, who has repeatedly decried a lack of independence for the office, went on to draw a link between his meeting with Sajjan three years ago and the Department of National Defence cutting off his financial and staffing authorities. The ombudsman’s office was being investigated at that time following a whistleblower’s complaint. Walbourne was adamant the complaint had no merit, and instead alleged that it was used as an excuse to put pressure on him and his team. Asked if there was any attempt by the government to cover up for Vance, Walbourne said: “I don’t know if it was an attempt at a coverup, but I know it was a full-court press to get rid of me.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
A Nova Scotia man who purported to be someone else on social media in order to befriend three women and swindle them out of thousands of dollars has been sentenced to 220 days in jail. In a provincial court decision, Judge Ronda van der Hoek described Tyler Fairrae as a "serial fraudster whose actions are increasing in seriousness over time." The decision said Fairrae, 26, stole details of another man's identity from social media profiles and used that new identity to connect with the three victims online in 2019. Once Fairrae had established a level of trust with the women, the Annapolis Valley man told them he was stranded in Newfoundland and Labrador without access to his bank accounts. "He asked the women to help him out of this untenable position by cashing a pay cheque or cheques and depositing the money into a specific bank account," said the decision released Tuesday. "One woman later said she thought she was simply 'helping a new friend.'" Women asked to deposit fraudulent cheques Fairrae sent images of cheques to his victims, which the women were then able to deposit electronically into their own accounts before transferring the money to Fairrae's account. It wasn't long before their banks contacted the women to say the cheques had bounced. According to the decision, one woman cashed more than 10 cheques over a week in May 2019 and lost over $5,000. A second victim was initially reluctant to cash a $1,000 cheque from Fairrae until he threatened to report her to the police. She lost $1,000. The third victim lost $772 when the cheque she deposited bounced. Fairrae, who was arrested in November 2019, was on probation for previous offences when he passed the bad cheques. He pleaded guilty to fraud charges. Fairrae remorseful for actions According to the decision, Fairrae is remorseful and has accepted responsibility for his actions. It noted Fairrae's mental health issues and drug addiction are said to be contributing factors to his crimes. The decision also said Fairrae, who is now sober, "is disgusted with himself and does not know how he can do these things." "It must be an ongoing road to self-discovery because these things have been going on for some time," the judge's decision said. Fairrae has several previous convictions, including fraud and uttering threats. The Crown asked for an eight-month jail term, followed by 18 months probation. The defence was seeking a 12-month conditional sentence order. In rendering the sentence, van der Hoek said she considered the impact of the offences on Fairrae's victims. Impacts of 'well-orchestrated fraud' on victims According to victim impact statements, one of his victims had to cash in an RRSP she'd been planning to use to buy a house in order to pay back the money from the bounced cheque. She's also facing tax implications from the missing money. One victim sought counselling and said her hair fell out because of the financial stress. "After considering and balancing the mitigating and the aggravating factors, I am left concluding Mr. Fairrae perpetrated a purposeful, well-orchestrated fraud on numerous victims that required time and attention on his part and a demonstrated lack of concern for his victims," the judge wrote in her decision. In addition to the jail term, Fairrae will be placed on probation for 18 months. He's also been ordered to pay back the money he defrauded from the women. MORE TOP STORIES
The global technology services company Infosys plans to create 500 jobs in Calgary over the next three years as it ramps up its Canadian workforce. Infosys president Ravi Kumar made the pledge at a virtual news conference on Wednesday with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. "Calgary is a natural next step as part of our Canadian expansion and represents a significant and promising market for Infosys," Kumar said. "The city is home to a thriving pool of talent that the economic downturn of COVID-19 has impacted. We will tap into this talent and offer critical skills and opportunities that will build on the city's economic strengths." The company, which started in India and now has operations in 46 countries, provides digital services and consulting for clients in many industries, such as natural resources, energy, media, retail and communications. Infosys's head of global government and public affairs, Anurag Varma, who spoke from the company's office in Silicon Valley, said because he was born in Calgary and educated in Alberta he's confident that the expansion is a smart move. "It only gives me more pride that our global company is coming to a neighbourhood that I know very well, and I believe that this is going to be a match made in heaven," he said. Officials said the Calgary office will be in the core, but a location was not specified. The Calgary office currently has fewer than 10 employees, but the company has hired about 2,000 people in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver over the past two years. Officials say the plan is to double the Canadian workforce to 4,000 employees by 2023. Mary Moran, president and CEO of Calgary Economic Development, says the Infosys expansion could be a game-changer for the city. "We are embracing digital transformation in Calgary and Infosys can support companies on their digital journey as they address global challenges like cleaner energy, safe and secure food supplies, safer and more efficient transportation and logistics and better health solutions," she said. Infosys says it will hire tech grads from 14 educational institutions in Canada, including the University of Calgary, SAIT and the University of Alberta.
Residents may see a new roundabout in Paradise just a moment’s drive from the Topsail Road - McNamara Drive roundabout. “The provincial government is in the process of constructing a new intermediate school near the Diane Whalen Soccer Complex,” explained councillor Alan English. “Upgrades are required to the access road and the intersection at McNamara Drive. The current soccer complex access road would be upgraded with allowance for a future bypass road and the intersection at McNamara Road will be enhanced with an allowance for a two-lane roundabout in the future.” That soccer complex access road, which is marked by both a sign proudly announcing the land as the site of the new school and a sign promoting the soccer complex, is across from the Rotary Paradise Youth and Community Centre. To allow for the upgrades, the town has to purchase a portion of a piece of land referred to as ‘Lot 9.’ “Lot 9 is located at the corner of the access road and McNamara Drive and the Town required a portion of Lot 9 to facilitate area improvements,” said English. “The lot will be impacted by the construction of the roundabout and improvements to the access road. As well, the property access will be negatively impacted due to the plans to install a median on the access road when upgraded to a by-pass road.” To allow access to Lot 9 from the access road, the town also needed to deed a piece of the town-owned land to the owner of Lot 9, which can only be done with ministerial approval. “Council discussed the negotiations extensively in privileged meetings of council, and are unanimously in favour of the offer,” said English. That offer was $100,000, and the motion was passed unanimously to purchase a portion of Lot 9 near McNamara Drive for that sum. A second motion, for the Town to request ministerial approval to dispose of a portion of town-owned land located alongside the access road to the Diane Whalen Soccer Complex, also passed unanimously. All in all, English applauded the decision. “The town is making a strategic move here by acquiring this piece of property, because in the event that we don’t, we will actually block access to the land owner and be subject to legal action, possibly, for devaluing their property, and the town has taken the initiative to negotiate an agreement with the landowner, and while the amount is significant, $100,000, the end result is much, much cheaper than going the legal route,” said English. Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
FREDERICTON — Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting three new cases of COVID-19 today. They involve two people in their 20s in the Fredericton region and both cases are travel-related, as well as a person in their 50s in the Miramichi region which is under investigation. Officials have identified a list of locations in Miramichi where there may have been public exposure, and a mass testing clinic will be held to determine if there has been any further spread in the area. The clinics will be held tomorrow and Friday at the gymnasium of the Dr. Losier Middle School. There are now 37 active cases in the province and three people are hospitalized, including two in intensive care. There have been 28 COVID-19-related deaths in the province since the onset of the pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Four Cape Breton women will be going to trial in Nova Scotia Supreme Court after allegedly claiming $3.6 million in fraudulent federal tax credits under 10 different companies. The Canada Revenue Agency says Lydia Saker and her daughters Nadia Saker, Angela MacDonald and Georgette Young filed false HST claims on $56 million in sales for things like cookbooks, children's clothing and frozen dinners. The sales allegedly occurred between 2011 and 2015 through 10 companies including the former Spaghetti Benders restaurant on Boularderie Island and companies called Housewives in Heels, Artisan Hair Loss Therapy, Maddie and Bella's Children Clothing, Latatia Advertising, Kishk, and New and Chic. The women, who were charged in 2018, claimed federal tax rebates for up to $3.6 million. They received $276,000, according to court records, and were denied the rest after federal auditors became suspicious. After a three-day preliminary inquiry in Sydney provincial court this week, Judge Ann Marie MacInnes ruled there is enough evidence to go to trial on all 30 charges. The women are expected back in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Sydney on March 22 to get a trial date. They have previously pleaded not guilty and elected trial by judge and jury. MORE TOP STORIES
LONDON — Buckingham Palace said Wednesday it was launching an investigation after a newspaper reported that a former aide had made a bullying allegation against the Duchess of Sussex. The Times of London reported allegations that the duchess drove out two personal assistants and left staff feeling “humiliated.” It said an official complaint was made by Jason Knauf, then the communications secretary to Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry. He now works for Harry’s elder brother, Prince William. The palace said it was “clearly very concerned” about the allegations. It said in a statement that the palace human resources team “will look into the circumstances outlined in the article” and would seek to speak to current and former staff. “The Royal Household has had a Dignity at Work policy in place for a number of years and does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment in the workplace,” it said. American actress Meghan Markle, a former star of the TV legal drama “Suits,” married Harry, a grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son, Archie, was born the following year. In early 2020, Meghan and Harry announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. They recently bought a house in Santa Barbara, California, and are expecting a second child. The bullying allegations were reported four days before the scheduled broadcast of an Oprah Winfrey interview with Meghan, which is anticipated to draw a huge audience. It also comes less than two weeks after the palace announced that the couple’s split from official duties would be final. A spokesman for the duchess said she was “saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself and is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma.” The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Republicans opposing a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that passed the House have pointed to two transportation projects as examples of pork that would politically benefit Democrats leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. Now those projects are out of the bill. Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said the Senate Parliamentarian has ruled that a subway extension through downtown San Jose did not meet requirements for inclusion in the bill because it is part of a pilot project. The project was set to receive about $141 million under the bill that passed in the House. The parliamentarians rulings are generally respected by the Senate. Also, the $1.5 million in funding to maintain and operate a bridge connecting Canada and the United States in upstate New York, Schumer's home state, has been removed by Senate drafters of the bill. The projects represent a tiny fraction of the overall bill's cost, but they became popular talking points for Republicans lining up in opposition to the measure, which they says is bloated and unfocused. The subway extension was described as “Speaker Pelosi's pork subway project" even though it is located 50 miles away from her district. “Now that the two projects that Republicans misled the public about in the House bill have been removed, it is unclear how Republicans will justify their opposition to the American Rescue Plan, which has strong bipartisan support among the public," Hammill said. The Senate bill is expected to largely mirror the House-approved package, with the most glaring divergence the Senate’s dropping of language boosting the federal minimum wage to $15 hourly. Democrats are using special rules that will let them avoid GOP filibusters that would require them to garner an impossible 60 votes to approve the legislation. Shortly before Pelosi's office confirmed that funding for the rail project had been removed, Bernice Alaniz of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in California explained that the $141 million slated for the project would help ensure it keeps moving at the planned schedule. Construction is set to begin in 2022. Local and state sources are putting up three-quarters of the funding for the extension, among the highest match rates for similar projects across the country. “It really is an essential transit alternative for a highly congested commute corridor and it serves two large universities — San Jose State and Santa Clara University,” Alaniz said. “So I know some of the criticisms are like, ‘oh, it’s for the high-tech oligarchs.’ But we serve transit dependent workers and we serve a large percentage of students going to these colleges.” The Trump administration boasted of its efforts to fund the rail project when it approved $125 million in federal matching dollars back in 2019. “This Administration is focused on expediting infrastructure projects," said then-Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. She added that the federal investment would help area residents “benefit from these improvements as quickly as possible." Last week, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, described funding to operate and maintain the Seaway International Bridge over the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York as part of an “unrelated liberal wish list." But Schumer said on the Senate floor that the request for funding for the bridge did not come from him and in fact had come from the Trump administration five months ago. He said revenues needed to maintain the bridge had collapsed with no one using the bridge due to the pandemic. “I learned about it being in the bill when I read about in in the newspaper," Schumer said. The coronavirus bill has hundreds of billions of dollars for schools and colleges, COVID-19 vaccines and testing, mass transit systems, renters and small businesses. It also has money for child care, tax breaks for families with children and assistance for states willing to expand Medicaid coverage for low-income residents. Kevin Freking, The Associated Press
There were two deaths related to COVID-19 reported in the province on Wednesday. Both deaths were in the 80 plus age group and were located in Regina and Saskatoon. The number of deaths related to COVID-19 in the province is now 389. The North Central zone, which includes Prince Albert, reported six new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. This was among 121 new cases reported in Saskatchewan. North Central 2, which is Prince Albert, has 19 active cases. North Central 1, which includes communities such as Christopher Lake, Candle Lake and Meath Park, has 30 active cases and North Central 3 has 15 active cases. There are currently 153 people in hospital overall in the province. Of the 133 reported as receiving in patient care there are 14 in North Central. Of the 20 people reported as being in intensive care there is one in North Central. The current seven-day average 154, or 12.5 cases per 100,000 population. The high was 312 reported on Jan. 12. Of the 29,059reported COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan, 1,431 are considered active. The recovered number now sits at 27,239after 180 more recoveries were reported. The total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic is 29,059 of those 7,437 cases are from the North area (3,024 North West, 3,259 North Central and 1,154 North East). There were 1,358doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered yesterday in Saskatchewan bringing the total number of vaccines administered in the province to 81,597. There were 232 doses administered in the North Central zone yesterday. The other zones where vaccines were administered were in the North West, Far North Central, Central East, Far North Central, Far North East, Saskatoon and Regina. According to the province as of March 2, 50 per cent of Phase 1 priority healthcare workers received a first dose. This percentage includes healthcare workers from long term care and personal care home facilities. Pfizer shipments for the week of March 1 have arrived in Regina (3,510) and Saskatoon (3,510). North Battleford (2,340) and Prince Albert (4,680) shipments are expected by end of day March 3. There were 2,588 COVID-19 tests processed in Saskatchewan on Feb. 28. As of today there have been 582,829 COVID-19 tests performed in Saskatchewan. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
Training was hosted by Mastec Canada, which provided funding and expert instructors, alongside Enbridge. Students worked to qualify as pipeliners, receiving all required certifications. “It’s a fantastic training program, they’re picking up a lot in a very short period of time,” said Blueberry Elder Clarence Apsassin. “But with the amount of effort that’s being put into this, the students say they’ve learned a lot.” Mastec program instructor John Telford said he’s proud of the students. “It’s a dangerous industry if you’re not trained properly, not thinking about it,” Telford said. "I appreciate [them] getting in there, being attentive, and giving 100%." Deanne McLeod, executive director for the North East Native Advancing Society, is looking forward to future opportunities to work with industry stakeholders. “This was a perfect example of how our First Nations communities, NENAS, industry partners and employers can work together to provide relevant hands on training to prepare our students to actively participate in the current labour market,” said McLeod. email@example.com Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News
Speaking to reporters in Ottawa on Wednesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said allegations against the Chinese government involving their treatment of the minority Uyghur Muslim minority are based on "very credible reports" of human rights abuses.
Chatham-Kent’s community has been coming together to tackle homeless, according to the local homeless outreach group, which hopes to see these efforts continue. Some residents in cities across Ontario have raised concerns that their homeless have been forgotten during the COVID-19 pandemic, but that is not the case in Chatham-Kent where R.O.C.K. Missions is thrilled with the response it has seen. Renee Geniole, operations co-ordinator for R.O.C.K. Missions, said there has been an uptick in the number of homeless people during the winter months but that has been a trend over the past several years and not solely because of COVID-19. “But definitely the pandemic affected them more because their resources became very limited. They can’t meet anyone in person or access their resources when so many things are closed down, restricted or limited. So it is very hard for them right now,” she said. During these challenges, the community of Chatham-Kent has stepped up from individual residents to local governance, Geniole said. “They put their best forward to be as accessible as they can to help the homeless people,” she said. “This year has been a huge learning curve for the municipality. Now we have a lot of resources to help the community.” When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, employment and social services converted a portion of the John D. Bradley Convention Centre to a homeless shelter during the first several months of lockdown. They later shifted to using motels and hotels after the Stage 3 reopening allowed the convention centre to resume its normal operations. In December Chatham-Kent council authorized Employment and Social Services to enter into a service agreement with Indwell, a Christian-based affordable housing charity, for one-time funding in the amount of $100,000. The goal is to create 150 affordable housing units for the homeless, which Geniole said will free up R.O.C.K. Missions to focus on other aspects in caring for the homeless. “With the Indwell project coming, that will make a huge difference too because then we can do more wrap-around supports – substance use or mental health – and work as a team to lift up the individual because you can’t just go at it from one point of view.” Since closing the Bradley Centre, 185 individuals required emergency accommodations. During the recent 2021 budget deliberations, several motions requesting cuts be made to affordable housing projects also failed. One aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic that has left some residents concerned is when the homeless, a very vulnerable population, will be able to get their vaccines. Toronto Public Health recently got the green light from the province to include the group in Phase 1 of vaccinations after the city saw outbreaks in shelters. Dr. David Colby, chief medical officer of health, said the homeless population will be vaccinated during Phase 2 of distribution. Phase 1 planning first saw all long-term care and high-risk retirement home residents vaccinated, followed by staff and caregivers in those settings. Planning is still in the works for how the appointment process will work during Phase 2 but Geniole said R.O.C.K. Missions will be involved in getting the word out to the homeless. “I know they want to work with us so they are not forgetting them, which is all we care about,” she said. Geniole said for the most part, Chatham-Kent has been on the same team. “I think we just need to keep doing what we are doing. This year, we were able to identify where the gaps were in the community, where our strengths and what our weaknesses are. So we just have to keep moving forward and keep working together as all the organizations have in the same direction,” Geniole said. Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice
No one was harmed after a sour-gas leak on Range Road 92 near Township Road 704 south of Huallen Monday, said Matthew Smith, Wembley Fire Department chief. “There was a significant leak,” Smith said. “We’re glad it went the way it did, and no one was hurt or injured.” Smith said the department received a 911 call from a resident reporting “a dirty vapour or dirty cloud” near an oil-and-gas facility. When the firefighters arrived, they found several pickup trucks belonging to the energy company were on site and the leak had been stopped. Smith said he was unsure how long the leak lasted. The Wembley firefighters checked with residents living downwind from the incident. They reported smelling something funny but no one was ill, he said. Smith encouraged anyone who observes similar incidents related to oil-and-gas facilities to keep a distance and call 911. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
Protesters attempting to protect some of the last stands of old-growth forest on southern Vancouver Island are facing arrest if a logging company gets court approval to disband their camps this week. Forestry company Teal-Jones has filed an application with the Supreme Court of British Columbia for an injunction to remove the Fairy Creek blockade at various entry points to its Tree Farm Licence (TFL) 46 near the community of Port Renfrew. The region encompasses the pristine old-growth forest at the headwaters of Fairy Creek with yellow cedars thought to be 1,000 years old, as well as other remaining groves on the Gordon River, Camper Creek and in the Upper Walbran Valley. A court decision is likely following an online hearing Thursday, said Kathleen Code, who is helping organize the defence against the injunction on behalf of the blockade residents. Activists from eight different camps have been blocking the logging company’s road building and forestry crews from accessing the area since August, Code said. “We want (the court) to disallow the injunction but that’s a very rare occurrence,” said Code. “So, our plan is to ask for an extension of three weeks, so that we can better prepare our defence.” Video courtesy of the Fairy Creek Blockade The group of forest defenders, the Rainforest Flying Squad, also hopes to file its own cross injunction against Teal-Jones, she said. “It’s a separate legal process that will have us filing an injunction against Teal-Jones themselves and bringing in the B.C. government as a third party,” Code said. “This way, we hope to make them accountable for the decades-long mismanagement of our forests.” Teal-Jones wants the court to prohibit the blockades until at least Sept. 4 and authorize the RCMP to arrest or remove protesters violating the order. The police force would determine when to enforce the potential order. Teal Cedar, a division of Teal-Jones, and its contractors have experience significant business disruption due to the blockades that threaten the company’s right to harvest timber but also the continued operation of its mills, the court application said. The company values the logs in TFL 46 to be worth $9 million, or approximately $19.4 million if turned into manufactured product. Teal Cedar also said it advised the Pacheedaht First Nation of its planned harvesting activities in its traditional territory, and after surveying the cut blocks, the nation told the company it’s permitted to harvest in those areas. However, Pacheedaht elder Bill Jones and some of his family are supporting the blockade and battle to protect the ancient temperate forest, Code said. Should the Teal-Jones application succeed, each individual forest defender will make the decision about whether they will risk arrest in the battle to protect the old-growth forest, she said. “But don't think Teal-Jones is going to waste any time,” Code said, adding the blockade isn’t about halting all forestry operations. “I want to make it really clear. We are not anti-logging,” she said. “We only obstruct areas where the old growth exist. “It's irreplaceable, and once you clear cut it, you have destroyed all of those ecosystems, destroyed the water systems, and you've destroyed the wildlife and their habitats.” Protests are being planned in various communities across the province on Thursday to protect Fairy Creek old-growth forest and in solidarity with the camp activists, Code said. Quadra Island resident Geraldine Kenny said a staggered, COVID-19-appropriate, “Last Stand” protest will be taking place in front of the office of North Island MLA Michele Babchuk in Campbell River all day. Support for the protest is coming in from communities around the North Island, said Kenny, a member of Sierra Quadra. “We want to show MLA Michelle Babchuk that her constituents … have fundamental concerns with regard to the government she represents and its protection of old-growth forests.” The Quadra senior has been trying to protect B.C. ancient temperate rainforests for three decades, and there’s precious little left, she said. Regardless of where people live on Vancouver Island, or in the province, the need to protect the last remaining stands of old growth is critical. “I started in 1987 with the Carmanah and the Walbran (forests), and here I am, a septuagenarian, and I’m still at it,” Kenny said, adding the argument of the necessity of intact forests to maintain biodiversity still holds true. “It’s old hat, and we’ve heard it so many times,” Kenny said. “However, the critical component now is climate change … maintaining old-growth forests is our best security and our best defence against global warming. “So, I want to stand as a forest defender and as a witness so that these trees, this ecosystem is preserved." Rochelle Baker / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer Rochelle Baker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
LOS ANGELES — Detectives are looking at data from the so-called “black box” of Tiger Woods' SUV to get a clearer picture of what occurred during the Southern California rollover crash that seriously injured the golf star, authorities said Wednesday. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said traffic investigators executed a search warrant Monday to retrieve data from the device from the Genesis SUV that Woods was driving. There was no immediate information regarding what was found in the black box, Deputy Trina Schrader said in a statement. The 2021 GV80, made by the Hyundai luxury brand, is likely to have a newer version of event data recorders nicknamed “black boxes” after more sophisticated recorders in airplanes. The devices store a treasure trove of data for authorities to review. Woods suffered a serious leg injury when the SUV he was driving went off a Los Angeles County road and rolled over on a downhill stretch known for crashes. Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Woods was not drunk and was driving alone in good weather when the SUV hit a raised median, went across oncoming lanes and rolled several times. The crash injured his right leg, requiring surgery. Deputies will review data from the black box to “see if they can find out what was the performance of the vehicle, what was happening at the time of impact,” said Villanueva, who previously faced criticism for almost immediately calling the crash “purely an accident.” During a live social media event on Wednesday. the sheriff said the new data could provide more information on the cause of the accident. “And that’s all it is, and we’ll leave it at that,” he said. California law allows law enforcement to seek search warrants for data recorders that were involved in motor vehicle crashes that result in death or serious bodily injury. Law enforcement must show that the recorders could have evidence of a felony or misdemeanour in the crash, and detectives must limit their review of the data to information directly related to the offence. USA TODAY first reported the search warrant. A black box is a computer that stores data from a vehicle’s sensors, which can be downloaded. The boxes usually are below the centre of the dashboard or beneath seats to be protected from damage. There aren’t any federal regulations requiring the boxes, but the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says nearly all vehicles have them now. The government does require the recorders to store 15 data points including speed before impact and whether brake and gas pedals were pressed. __ Associated Press Writer Tom Krisher in Detroit contributed to this report. Stefanie Dazio, The Associated Press
Facebook says it is lifting its ban on political and social-issue ads put in place after the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Political candidates, groups and others will be able to place ads on Facebook and Instagram beginning on Thursday. Restricting political advertisements following the November election was among the host of measures Facebook put in place last year in an attempt to ensure its platform is not used to sow chaos and spread misinformation. Facebook halted U.S. political ads when the polls closed on Nov. 3, an extension of an earlier restriction on new political ads in the week leading up to Election Day. It said at the time that the ban would be temporary but did not give a clear end date. “We’ve heard a lot of feedback about this and learned more about political and electoral ads during this election cycle,” the company said in a blog post Wednesday. “As a result, we plan to use the coming months to take a closer look at how these ads work on our service to see where further changes may be merited.” Twitter has banned political ads permanently. Barbara Ortutay, The Associated Press
SALEM, N.H. — Police have made an arrest following a 15-month-long investigation into vandalism at a group of rock configurations in New Hampshire called “America's Stonehenge." Mark Russo, 51, of Swedesboro, New Jersey, has been charged with one count of felony criminal mischief, accused of defacing the stone in Salem in September 2019. A lawyer entered a not guilty plea on his behalf Tuesday. Police said the rock tablet appeared to have been damaged by a power tool. It was carved with “WWG1WGA” and “IAMMARK." Police said the first stands for “Where We Go One, We Go All," a motto affiliated with the QAnon conspiracy theory. An 18-inch (45-centimetre) tall wooden cross was found suspended between two trees, and attached to the cross were several photographs and hand-drawn images. Police arrested Russo after finding images of the stone and Russo online and linking to him an “iammark" Twitter account with a reference to “a few improvements" made to the site. Images on the cross also were linked to Russo. Bail was set at $3,000 cash for Russo, who is scheduled for a hearing on April 21. An email seeking comment from Russo's lawyer was sent Tuesday. America’s Stonehenge, which features cave-like, granite enclosures, has drawn believers who say it’s 1,000 or more years old, and skeptics who say the evidence suggests it was the work of a 19th century shoemaker. The Associated Press