Chuckie the Chocolate Lab has been an expert at snow removal for many years. On Valentine's Day, Chuckie met his new friend Bernie the Black Lab puppy! And today he showed Bernie what it takes to be a snow removal PRO!
Chuckie the Chocolate Lab has been an expert at snow removal for many years. On Valentine's Day, Chuckie met his new friend Bernie the Black Lab puppy! And today he showed Bernie what it takes to be a snow removal PRO!
China's medical products regulator said on Thursday that it had approved two more COVID-19 vaccines for public use, raising the number of domestically produced vaccines that can be used in China to four. The two newly cleared vaccines are made by CanSino Biologics Inc (CanSinoBIO) and Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, an affiliate of China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm). They join a vaccine from Sinovac Biotech approved earlier this month, and another from Sinopharm's Beijing unit approved last year.
India announced new rules on Thursday to regulate content on social media, making Facebook, WhatsApp and others more accountable to legal requests for swift removal of posts and sharing details on the originators of messages. The rules -- part of an effort by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's nationalist government to tighten the leash on Big Tech -- come after Twitter recently ignored government orders to drop content related to farmers' protests. India is the largest market by users for both Facebook and its messenger service WhatsApp.
An expected dash by big corporations for offsets to meet their climate targets has prompted financial exchanges to launch carbon futures contracts to capitalise on what could be a multi-billion dollar market. Carbon offsets, generated by emissions reduction projects, such as tree planting or shifts to less polluting fuels, have struggled for years to gain credibility, but as climate action has become urgent, their market is expected to grow to as much as $50 billion by 2030. Among the major corporations that say they expect to use them to compensate for any emissions they cannot cut from their operations and products are Unilever, EasyJet, Royal Dutch Shell and BP, which all have climate targets.
(Maria Jose Burgos/CBC - image credit) Yusuf Shire was at a work meeting in Fredericton when a newcomer from Burundi called. The man had just been held at gunpoint at his home on Gregg Court near the University of New Brunswick. The caller's voice trembled as he spoke to Shire in rapid sentences about what he and his roommates had just gone through. Without hanging up, Shire rushed a co-worker out the door and asked him for a drive to Gregg Court. The newcomer was no longer there, but Shire got permission from police to collect some of his belongings. "I remember thinking his life could have been taken," said the 32-year-old Shire, who is originally from Somalia. When Shire found him, the man was in shock and alone in a hotel room, where police had taken him. Like many New Brunswick newcomers from African countries, this man had known that Shire, the president of the New Brunswick African Association, would be the person to call for help. The Gregg Court incident that Shire was called to last fall is the subject of a criminal case now before the courts. Ubuntu Shire is used to getting phone calls late at night or in the middle of a work day that require him to drop what he's doing and, since he has no car, pay for a cab or ask a friend for a ride to where he's needed. And Shire does so willingly every time. When he left a Kenyan refugee camp for Canada in 2007, he carried a small bag of possessions and a big lesson. It came from his grandparents when he was growing up in the camp: helping others always comes first. Almost every day, Shire would see his grandparents bring orphaned kids to their shelter at the camp to eat. "Without knowing these people, they were helping them," said Shire. "They raised them as family." Yusuf Shire in the Fredericton airport welcoming newcomers. In Africa, he said, this philosophy of kindness is called ubuntu. "Ubuntu means 'I am, because we are.' That is our culture. It is our way of life." Shire has a full-time job as a settlement worker at the Multicultural Association of Fredericton, and volunteers nights and weekends with the New Brunswick African Association. Sometimes, the people who call him are victims of racist attacks who need him to be their interpreter with police or to follow up with reported incidents. Other times, they need Shire to translate documents to English from Swahili or Somali or accompany them to apartment viewings and school appointments. Every so often, the calls and emails come from a much greater distance, from Africans who want to know more about the quality of life in New Brunswick before they emigrate. "I can take the load," he said. "I do this for my community. That is ubuntu." WATCH | Yusuf Shire describes the work done by the NBAA for immigrants from African countries Finding funding The New Brunswick African Association was created in Fredericton in 1999. Its headquarters are a tiny office in the Fredericton Intercultural Center with red tile floors, a desk, an old couch and colourful posters about the group tucked in a corner. The African Association is made up of nine volunteers, who organize anti-racism programs, soccer games and community food distribution and who help immigrants from African countries find housing and jobs. Today, the association helps about 800 immigrants across the province. Shire works nights and weekends trying to help answer the needs of immigrants from African countries. Once a year, the group receives a grant from the government to pay for a two-day event called AfroFest, which is hosted in different New Brunswick cities each year. People throughout Canada come together during the event with dance, music, food and workshops on African culture. "But the grassroots community work, those are the things that we have no support for from the government yet," said Shire. The group holds community fundraisers to help pay for its work. "We put our time and sometimes our own money as we try to create programs and awareness regarding these issues, especially when it comes to racism and violent attacks in our community." The 2020 AfroFest was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and plans for this year are uncertain. But this year, Shire will apply for government funding and try to expand the work done by the association. He can see ways to put the money to use. For instance, he would like to set up a scholarship fund to help African youth going to college or university. Fatuma Ali, the group's vice-president, works closely with Shire. She is from Kenya and moved to Fredericton with her son and daughter in 2017. "For me, the dream is to employ people to have more programs for kids and teenagers." Ali is a full-time student at St. Thomas University, where she's studying sociology and gender studies. Every week, she drives Somali women in Fredericton, some of whom are single mothers, to their medical appointments and shopping and gives them lessons on personal hygiene. Based in Ottawa, the Burundi Drummers attended AfroFest in Moncton last year. Hands-on work According to Shire, Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton are the New Brunswick cities with the highest number of African immigrants, with the latter topping the list because many newcomers speak French. "Our community shares upcoming programs and events with each other and we used to have a lot of potlucks," said Shire of a time before COVID-19. The community, tight-knit as it is, also shares stories of racist attacks when they hear of one near them. And these stories are always shared with Shire. Owan Ahuka and his family have had support from Shire for eight years. In the last year, Shire has met some people from African countries who have been victims of attacks in Fredericton. For example, the man who was held at gunpoint in a Fredericton house by a white man. Someone has been charged in the case, which is still before the courts, but for weeks this man and the other victims were afraid to leave their home, even though they were moved to a new house in the city. "We were doing wellness checks," Shire said. "We connected them with victim services, so they can get counselling. The anxiety is there, the depression is there." Shire would buy them groceries and visit them every few days. Volunteers with the New Brunswick African Association prepare and sort the food that they will then distribute to the African community in Fredericton. "It's making them think, 'Is this the right place to live?' It puts the work on NBAA again to try to convince them to stay," said Shire. Shire is also familiar with the attacks against immigrants on Doone Street, a public housing neighbourhood in Fredericton's north side. Owan Ahuka's family lives in Wilson Row, a cul de sac off Doone Street, and was victim of attacks by neighbours. "He tried to help us solve problems and follow up on incidents," Ahuka, 23, said of Shire, whom he's known for eight years. "Even before he was president, he was a close person to us." Not afraid A lot of the work Shire does is exhausting and might sound frightening. Cabbing in the middle of the night to homes where cars have been slashed. Rushing to the hospital to tend to people with wounds. Getting calls related to standoffs. Translating depressing accounts of situations from Somali to English, back and forth, over and over again. But Shire is not afraid, and he's definitely not exhausted. Last year, one of the Black History Month activities organized by the association was to bake mandazis, which are fried dough desserts similar to doughnuts. They originated in the coastal region of Kenya and Tanzania. Shire loves New Brunswick, and he wants members of his community to feel the same way. "I tell people if they stay here, they can be part of the change. Moving to a bigger city won't make any difference. You can experience these issues anywhere you go." "We know the issues of our community better than anybody else. We must lead this conversation, but we won't be able to without support." Keeping a tradition alive Shire still remembers how every month in the refugee camp, his family would wait for food from the United Nations, not knowing what they would get. Two kilos of flour, some oil. Living in a camp is a lot of waiting without knowing what will happen next, he said. But now, Shire spends his days planning for the future — with people he met on his arrival in Canada and who have become family, but also, and for those still trying to leave refugee camps. "My grandparents, in a foreign country without knowing people, they dedicated their life in helping the orphaned kids and people in our community," said Shire. "I want to continue this tradition." For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
COVID-19 is here to stay, France and Germany said on Thursday, after European Union leaders discussed ways to fight new variants of the virus, step up inoculations and save Europe's tourism industry from another ruinous summer. Leaders of the 27 EU member nations agreed in a video conference to keep "tight restrictions" on public life and free movement as the bloc races against the emergence of new variants that are holding back an economic rebound. "We have to prepare for a situation where we have to continuously vaccinate for a longer period of time, maybe over years, due to new coronavirus variants, akin to the situation we know from the flu," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Chinese retailer Suning.com said on Thursday shareholders plan to sell 20% to 25% of the company to unnamed buyers which might lead to a change in control as its parent seeks to raise cash. The company said it was notified of the stake sale by its founder Zhang Jindong and its parent Suning Appliance Group, who respectively hold a 20.96% and 19.88% stake in the firm. Suning.com's other shareholders include e-commerce giant Alibaba Group which bought a 19.99% stake as part of a strategic partnership in 2015.
His work now is on the city streets and his tool is his mobile phone linked to Facebook Live - streaming the nationwide protests against the coup that toppled elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and ended a decade of tentative democratic reforms. "Despite the difficulties, citizen journalists and media are posting in every possible way," Thar Lon Zaung Htet, 37, told Reuters. With established media under ever greater pressure, the story of Myanmar's anti-coup protests is being shaped for its people and the world by journalists and citizens streaming and sharing snippets of video and pictures.
The explosive growth of Clubhouse, an audio-based social network buoyed by appearances from tech celebrities like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, has drawn scrutiny over how the app will handle problematic content, from hate speech to harassment and misinformation. Moderating real-time discussion is a challenge for a crop of platforms using live voice chat, from video game-centric services like Discord to Twitter Inc's new live-audio feature Spaces. Facebook is also reportedly dabbling with an offering.
BERLIN — A German man has been charged with espionage for allegedly passing information on properties used by the German parliament to Russian military intelligence, prosecutors said Thursday. The suspect, identified only as Jens F. in line with German privacy rules, worked for a company that had been repeatedly contracted to check portable electrical appliances by the Bundestag, or the lower house of parliament, federal prosecutors said in a statement. As a result of that, he had access to PDF files with floor plans of the properties involved. The Bundestag is based in the Reichstag building, a Berlin landmark, but also uses several other sites. Prosecutors said, at some point before early September 2017, the suspect “decided of his own accord” to give information on the properties to Russian intelligence. They said he sent the PDF files to an employee of the Russian Embassy in Berlin who was an officer with Russia's GRU military intelligence agency. They didn't specify how his activities came to light. The charges against the suspect, who is not in custody, were filed at a Berlin court on Feb. 12. The court will have to decide whether to go ahead with a trial. Relations between Germany and Russia have been buffeted by a growing list of issues in recent years. In October, the European Union imposed sanctions on two Russian officials and part of the GRU agency over a cyberattack against the German parliament in 2015. In addition, a Russian man accused of killing a Georgian man in broad daylight in downtown Berlin on Moscow’s orders in 2019 is on trial in Berlin. And last year's poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was flown to Germany for treatment and then arrested immediately after he returned to Russia, has added another layer of tensions. The Associated Press
(CBC - image credit) Crosbie Williams is no stranger to barn fires, having lost a family farm years ago, but seeing Woodland Dairy's building in the Goulds engulfed in flames Monday night has stayed with him in the days since. "When you see the home for the cows go up in smoke and the cattle as well — there's no other way to say it, except it's absolutely terrifying, in every aspect. And it changes somebody from that day on," Williams, who runs nearby Pondview Farms, said. The blaze ripped through the barn, killing scores of cows — Williams estimated about 60 to 90 total perished — with little left of the structure, which he called "a complete loss." Williams was on the scene, which he said was "chaos," as more than 20 firefighters and volunteers spent hours getting the fire under control. The aftermath has rocked its owner, Michael Dinn and his family, he said. "As you can imagine, they're all over the place right now, it's been an extremely difficult time," Williams told CBC Radio's On The Go Wednesday. Dinn was relatively new on the dairy scene, said Williams, with about six years of farming under his belt after starting in the field through the industry's new entrant program. "He was doing a phenomenal job," Williams said. Dinn had been working hard to develop his land, and Williams hopes that the fire, as devastating as it was, can be put in the past. "It's been said to me that he has plans to rebuild, and I hope he does. Michael Dinn's an extremely hard worker," Williams said. In the days since the blaze, online fundraisers and other supports have popped up, as friends and the agriculture community come together to help bridge any gaps Dinn may be facing. "That's our hope, and I will certainly support him in any way that we can, and you know, it's my hope that this continues for him," he said. Williams said memories of his own family's barn fire of 1968 came flooding back as he saw Monday's fire, and he knows of many other farmers who feel the same. "It brings everything back. Absolutely terrible," he said. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
(John Robertson/CBC - image credit) Atlantic Canada's largest Mi'kmaw community is preparing to launch a moderate livelihood fishery that will focus first on lobster. Fish harvesters met this week in Eskasoni First Nation to discuss the development of a plan, with fishing to begin later this spring. "Our first concentration is going to be in the lobster industry, which is deemed to kick off probably in May," said fishing captain Jibby Paul. "From there on, we will continue on with appendices to be inserted into our moderate livelihood plan." Last fall, fishermen from Eskasoni joined members of the Potlotek First Nation in carrying out one of the province's first self-regulated Indigenous fisheries. Paul said Eskasoni's moderate livelihood fishery will be far-reaching. "We expect to be fishing all of Atlantic Canada because we are the biggest First Nations band here," he said. Council to develop long-term plan Fish harvesters in the community are expected to provide advice to Eskasoni's chief and council in developing its own fishery guidelines. Paul said two moderate livelihood co-ordinators will be appointed over the coming weeks to help guide the process. He said there is no time limit on when the plan will be completed. "Time-frame factors are not a concern to us," Paul said. "It's not an overnight issue — it's a long-term plan." Mi’kmaw harvesters from Potlotek First Nation took to the water on St. Peters Bay to launch a moderate livelihood fishery on Oct. 1, 2020. The community is expected to work in co-operation with the federal government to ensure that catch is landed responsibly. "We'll work among ourselves to develop this plan that we modify and restructure, so the government and Department of Fisheries and Oceans will be very satisfied with the plan that we have set forth," said Paul. "And this is all based on the conservation and science, so we work with that department." Due to gathering limits, Paul said fishers will be able to provide input into the plan's development without having to attend meetings. Still waiting for 'moderate livelihood' to be defined The Supreme Court of Canada's landmark 1999 decision in the Donald Marshall Jr. case affirmed a treaty right to hunt, fish and gather in pursuit of a moderate livelihood. But after waiting more than two decades for "moderate livelihood" to be defined, the Mi'kmaq are moving ahead on their own. On Wednesday, Chief Terry Paul of the Membertou First Nation in Cape Breton said his community is in the planning stages of developing its own livelihood lobster fishery, and will be seeking feedback from the community in the coming months. Chief Terry Paul of the Membertou First Nation says the community is making plans for its own self-regulated fishery. Sipekne'katik First Nation was the first to launch a moderate livelihood fishery on Nova Scotia's southwest coast in St. Marys Bay last September. That fishery faced tense and sometimes violent opposition by non-Indigenous fishermen, many of whom argued the fishery would hurt lobster stocks. Sipekne'katik First Nation and Potlotek First Nation have launched separate lawsuits against the Nova Scotia government over the right to sell seafood harvested through a moderate livelihood fishery. MORE TOP STORIES
ROME — Italy paid tribute Thursday to its ambassador to Congo and his bodyguard who were killed in an attack on a U.N. convoy, honouring them with a state funeral and prayers for peace in Congo and all nations “torn by war and violence.” Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, the pope’s vicar for Rome, presided over the solemn funeral at the Santa Maria degli Angeli basilica that was attended by Premier Mario Draghi, top lawmakers, representatives of the armed forces and relatives of the young men. Ambassador Luca Attanasio and Carabiniere paramilitary officer Vittorio Iacovacci were killed Monday north of Goma when an armed group stopped them as they travelled in a two-car convoy to a World Food Program school feeding project. WFP's Congolese driver, Moustapha Milambo, was also killed in the attack. Italy has formally asked the U.N. for an inquiry into what happened amid questions about whether the U.N. security arrangements were sufficient for the mission. In his eulogy, De Donatis decried the “stupid and ferocious” attack and said it was right that Italy, Congo and the community of nations weep over such violence that “tore Luca and Vittorio from this world." “Let us pray together that today is a day in which the prayer for peace in Congo and in all nations torn by various forms of war and violence is raised to heaven," he said. He denounced how so many Congolese feel the constant threat of danger from rebel groups “knocking at their door,” saying the country had been “cruelly devastated by violence that sees their children die every day.” But he praised the men for working for peace and looking out for others “even at the cost of their own lives.” “If this the fate of peace workers, what will be the fate of the rest of us?” he asked. The funeral, carried live on state RAI television, featured masked Carabinieri officers as pallbearers and altar servers, with a military band performing Chopin’s haunting “Funeral March” as the flag-draped coffins were carried in and out of the basilica. After the service, the socially-distanced crowd applauded as the two hearses pulled out of the piazza carrying the coffins for burial, flanked by a police escort. Attanasio is survived by his wife and three young daughters, at least one of whom attended the funeral, as well as his parents and siblings. Iacovacci is survived by his fiancee and other family members. Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Quebecor Inc. raised its dividend as it reported its fourth-quarter profit rose compared with a year ago. The company says it will now pay a quarterly dividend of 27.5 cents per share, up from 20 cents. The increased payment to shareholders came as Quebecor says it earned net income attributable to shareholders of $159.8 million or 64 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended Dec. 31. The result compared with a profit of $145.1 million or 57 cents per diluted share a year earlier. Revenue for the quarter rose to $1.15 billion from $1.14 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019. The overall increase came as telecommunications revenue rose, but the company's media and sports and entertainment divisions saw revenue decline. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:QBR.B) The Canadian Press
The work depicts a rarely seen view of Paris in the nineteenth century. 'Scène de rue à Montmartre' shows how the busy suburb used to be a rural, tranquil place.View on euronews
A fleet of yellow Mercedes taxis lines up outside Gaza's newly reopened Rafah crossing into Egypt, polished again and ready to roll, but with no idea for how long. Uncertainty is a fact of life in the Palestinian border town, where 4,500 people have crossed into Egypt in the two weeks since one of Gaza's few lifelines to the outside world swung open on Feb. 9. The opening eased the years-long blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt on the coastal strip, compounded by measures imposed by all sides to halt the spread of COVID-19.
(Jackie McKay/CBC - image credit) Nunavut's Health Minister Lorne Kusugak is defending his department's plan for vaccination clinics in the territory, and specifically in the capital, Iqaluit. In the legislature on Tuesday, Kusugak faced criticism for a "lack of communication" about the vaccine rollout from Iqaluit-Manirajak MLA Adam Arreak Lightstone. "My constituents have been telling me that they feel that the government of Nunavut's communication on the vaccination rollout plan has been lacking. I can't help but agree," Arreak Lightstone said in the Legislative Assembly. In Iqaluit, the vaccine was only available to members of priority groups and residents 60 and older, until recently. In the Legislature on Tuesday, Kusugak said that Iqaluit Public Health had already moved on to vaccinating residents 55 and older and was now ready to vaccinate residents age 45 and older. More than 1,100 Iqaluit residents already received their first dose, Kusugak said, adding that a city-wide vaccination clinic will happen later in March. Arreak Lightstone said it's the first he had heard about the change. "There has been no public announcement about the adjustments and there is no indication on the website," Arreak Lightstone said. "This is the first time that we have heard that there is somewhat of a phased-in approach for the vaccination of Iqalummiut, which I guess will be conducted in different age brackets." Vaccinations in Nunavut currently depend on how many doses arrive from the federal government, and when. The territory is announcing clinics as those doses arrive. In smaller communities, vaccination clinics have been scheduled for the entire population. But in larger centres, restrictions have been put in place, focusing first on elders and front line workers. Health minister throws shade at MLA over vaccine dispute Kusugak denied Arreak Lightstone's claim and applauded the long hours being worked by public health staff to vaccinate city residents. "The public does know, Mr. Speaker, and it is unfortunate that Mr. Lightstone didn't know, but the public seems to know. We are on top of it," Kusugak said. "It's amazing how we have vaccinated over 1,000 people in Iqaluit, and Mr. Lightstone didn't even know there was a vaccination happening." A few hours afterwards, a public service announcement was released by the department saying Iqaluit residents aged 45 and over can get vaccinated starting March 1. "At this time, Iqaluit Public Health asks that only Iqalummiut who are in the identified priority groups call to make an appointment," a spokesperson from the ministers office said in an email. Iqaluit Manirajak MLA Adam Arreak Lightstone says it's unclear in Iqaluit who in is eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. Outside of the capital, anyone can call to sign up for a future vaccination clinic. "As mass immunization clinics for adults in all other communities in Nunavut started in early January and will continue throughout February and March, it is appropriate for individuals eligible to receive the vaccine to contact their local health centre to book an appointment," the department said. Upcoming dates for clinics in communities have also been announced. Before the announcement, Pond Inlet MLA David Qamaniq said dates for community clinics have been unclear. Clinics are currently scheduled until mid and late March, but Pond Inlet has yet to have a clinic scheduled. Qamaniq asked if second doses will have to wait until April or May for some communities that haven't seen vaccination clinics yet, even though the territory had hoped to vaccinate 75 per cent of the eligible population by the end of March. Kusugak said clinic dates can be weather- and charter-dependent, so communities might not know specific dates for their clinics until two or three days before they take place. "We will take another look at the rollout plan and see where we could tweak it to make some improvements," he said. Kusugak also reminded residents that the vaccine doesn't mean residents will be able to travel without isolating.
(Design Plus Architecture/Submitted - image credit) Moncton's planning advisory committee has given the go-ahead for a 12-storey downtown apartment building, which would be among the city's tallest buildings. Frederic Properties Corp. is proposing the building with 148 rental units at the corner of Botsford and Victoria streets, north of St. Bernard's Roman Catholic Church. "This is the type of development that we want to see," Sarah Anderson, Moncton's senior planner with development planning, told the committee Wednesday evening. The company's plans involve 170 underground parking spaces, walk-up townhouse units taking up the first and second floors, with the building core then set back. Two-storey penthouse units are planned for the top of the building. City staff had recommended the committee approve seven variances Anderson called "minor" from city planning bylaws. They include allowing the building to be taller than 19 metres, not providing a set-back on the Wellesley Street side of the building, and reducing the size of balconies. Valdo Grandmaison, owner of Frederic Properties Corp., told the planning committee the company hopes to be able to begin construction later this year. The committee approved the variances, which don't require city council approval. Designs indicate the building named St. Bernard Square would rise 38 metres. A city staff report notes it would be taller than the eight storey 55 Queen building a block away, and the 10-storey Delta Beausejour Hotel, but not as high as the 20-storey Assomption Place tower. "It is a big building, next to a big building, around the corner from 55 Queen," Frederic Properties Corp. owner Valdo Grandmaison told the committee. "Moncton is getting bigger." The proposed 12-storey building would be constructed on a vacant property at the corner of Botsford and Victoria streets in downtown Moncton. Grandmaison said the aim is to start construction by late September or October and would take two and a half years. Grandmaison said the timeline relies on the city carrying out previously planned upgrades to old clay water and sewer lines on Victoria and Wellesley streets. That work is already included in the city's 2021 capital budget, though would require a further council vote to approve the construction contract. There is likely to be at least one council vote related to the building. Grandmaison indicated the company is working with the city on a financial partnership. Moncton has a development incentive program that provides grants for building projects estimated to be worth more than $10 million. The building's architect previously told CBC that construction costs are in the range of $35 million. The building was at times described as "luxury," though no rental rates were mentioned during the meeting. It would replace vacant lots on the site. The plans for St. Bernard Square call for a private roadway between the church and apartment building, with parking garage entrances off Wesley Street. No members of the public opposed the plans during the meeting. Anderson indicated that city planning staff heard from a person on Wednesday, who she didn't name, who was concerned about public consultation about the building plans and that it would dwarf the church south of the proposed building. Anderson also said the person said "there was no need for more luxury in the downtown." Brian Corbett told the committee he owns a Victorian home near the proposed building and that he's pro-development in the downtown area. "I'm pretty excited about this project," Corbett said. Church supportive, developer says The building would be separated from the adjacent church by a new private street. Grandmaison said that was to ensure the construction doesn't affect the stability of the stone church and to give access for emergency services. He said he was in communication with the church and diocese as building plans were developed. "They're very supportive of this project so I see no issues dealing with the church," Grandmaison said. No one from the church spoke at the meeting. Committee members Dale Briggs and Daniel St Louis declared conflicts and didn't take part in the discussion and vote. The committee also approved plans for a six storey residential building off Highfield Street with a parking garage. Ashford Living, which proposed the building, told the committee it hopes to begin construction this year.
BUDAPEST, Hungary — The advocate general for European Union's highest court on Thursday urged the court to rule that Hungary violated the bloc's laws on asylum when it passed legislation narrowing the possibilities for asylum-seekers to receive international protection. The non-binding opinion from the European Court of Justice's Advocate General, Athanasios Rantos, states that the 2018 amendments to Hungary's asylum laws — which prohibited asylum-seekers who passed through safe countries en route to Hungary from receiving international protection — violated EU law. “By introducing that ground for inadmissibility, Hungary has failed to fulfil its obligations under the Procedures Directive,” Rantos wrote, referring to the EU's asylum protocols. Opinions by advocates general are often but not always followed by the European Court of Justice, which will make a final ruling on the case at a later date. The European Commission, the bloc's executive branch, brought the case before the court as part of an infringement procedure it launched against Hungary in 2018 over its non-compliance with asylum law. Rantos also advised the court to rule that a Hungarian law that cracks down on organizations and individuals that provide legal assistance to asylum-seekers violates EU law. The legislation, known as the “Stop Soros” law, was an amendment to Hungary’s criminal code that threatened aid workers and human rights advocates working with asylum-seekers with up to a year in prison. It was approved by the Hungarian parliament in 2018. The law was named after Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros, a pro-democracy advocate who has long been a target of the Hungarian government. Hungary's right-wing government has been a staunch opponent of immigration, and its treatment of migrants have brought it into frequent conflict with the rest of the 27-nation EU. Last year, the country closed its transit zones — enclosed areas along the southern border with Serbia used to hold asylum-seekers while their asylum requests were being decided — after the European court ruled they amounted to detention and thus violated EU law. Last month, the EU’s border control agency, Frontex, suspended operations in Hungary after the government in Budapest did not comply with a December ruling by the European court that ordered Hungary to grant protection to asylum-seekers as required by law and to stop returning them to Serbia. The country's prime minister, Viktor Orban, claims he is seeking to protect Hungary's conservative Christian identity and to defend Europe from immigration from the Mideast and Africa. ___ Follow AP’s global migration coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/migration Justin Spike, The Associated Press
(CBC - image credit) As the Ford government forges ahead with a plan to build a 400-series highway in the northwest of the Greater Toronto Area, a growing patchwork of city councils, agricultural and environmental groups and residents is pushing back. Highway 413, also called the GTA West corridor, would run through Vaughan, Caledon, Brampton and Halton Hills, connecting Highway 400 with the Highway 401/407 interchange. First suggested about 15 years ago, the 59-kilometre project was killed in 2018 by the Wynne government, then resuscitated a year later when Doug Ford took over. "We call it the zombie highway, because it keeps dying and being revived," said Sarah Buchanan, Ontario climate program manager with Environmental Defence. "It's very surprising to us, because each time it's proposed, there seems to be huge public outcry and a lot of evidence to support cancelling it." The province's preferred route for Highway 413, running from Highway 400 in Vaughan and curving west to where Highways 401 and 407 meet in Halton. The province argues the highway is necessary to serve a rapidly growing region, telling CBC News that by 2051, the population of the Greater Golden Horseshoe is expected to hit 14.8 million — and that roads need to keep up. But with the Ontario budget set to be revealed in late March, scores of organizers and residents are now turning to a grab-bag of online events, council meeting deputations, lawn signs, petitions and social media posts to argue for a different approach to moving people in the region. "People are recognizing that it's an economic and environmental disaster, given that it's going to pave over 400 acres of the Greenbelt and 2000 acres of prime farmland," said Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner. "I'm going to be pushing on the government from a fiscal standpoint," he continued. "My hope is we will not see money allocated for the highway in the budget." Mississauga latest to denounce project On Wednesday, Mississauga announced they had unanimously passed a motion opposing Highway 413, with Mayor Bonnie Crombie writing in a statement that it will "encourage residential sprawl and increase our dependence on cars." Orangeville and Halton Hills have taken similar stances, and other councils have backed motions calling for more assessments or consultation. Buchanan, who has been working against the project for two years now, says she's sensing a change in the political winds. "When the province first proposed reviving Highway 413, we first saw a flurry of motions mostly supporting that highway," said Buchanan. "Now those are all starting to crumble. Just in the last month we've seen York Regional Council pass a motion … calling for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority to take another look at it." Caledon also came out as pro-highway, but at their most recent meeting, Buchanan said, the council there passed a motion in favour of a federal environmental assessment and more consultation on the project. There are signs Brampton council may be of two minds as well, with Mayor Patrick Brown recently telling the Toronto Star that the highway was "contrary to Brampton's economic interests." Worries over shrinking farmland Decrying a fast-tracked environmental assessment process, Environmental Defence has been calling on the federal government to step in and perform an assessment of its own on both Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass, another controversial highway project. In response, Ottawa has now reached out to all seven regions, towns and cities that would play host to the highway for their input on that request. Environmental groups are also finding allies in agricultural organizations such as the National Farmers Union - Ontario and the Ontario Farmland Trust (OTF). Environmental Defence has given away about 800 of its 'Stop the 413' lawn signs, and has attracted about 16,000 signatures to two online petitions against the project. "The loss of farmland from this project will result in fragmentation of the agricultural land base and a weakening of the provincial agricultural system," wrote the OTF in a submission to the province in October of last year. The province told CBC Toronto it will be conducting an agricultural impact assessment "or equivalent study" on Highway 413, and that the preferred route for the highway, unveiled in August, was developed to avoid as much farmland as possible — but Schreiner isn't convinced. "Once you lose that farmland, it's gone forever," he told CBC Toronto. Will the highway reduce traffic? Critics also question whether the highway will, in fact, speed up travel times, with opponents often citing a study that found the highway would shave between 30 seconds and one minute per trip in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area. The province disputes that study, pointing out it takes unrelated trips around the region into account, and says motorists will take 30 minutes off their trip by driving the length of 413 instead of using the 400 and 401. To some residents, the highway's location still doesn't make sense. "It's ridiculous," said Rene Vlahovic, a Kleinberg resident who made a deputation against Highway 413 at York Region council earlier this month. "This highway doesn't help very much," he added in an interview with CBC Toronto. "The east-west traffic isn't the issue ... This highway is way too close to the 407 to be of any use." His thoughts were echoed by another opponent, Irene Ford, who asked the same council how the highway would ultimately help Vaughan residents. "Major pain points are nowhere close to the highway. It seems more likely to create traffic congestion and negative community impacts," she wrote to the council. Both Ford and Vlahovic are involved with a group called "Stop the 413," which, via a busy Facebook group, shares petitions and articles about the project and now has more than 1,200 members. The province is planning a public information session on Highway 413 in fall 2021, and says comments can be submitted any time at the project's official website. Price tag estimated at $6B Opponents of the highway estimate it will cost $6 billion at a minimum, if not significantly more — money they say would be better spent on increasing GO service and getting trucks onto the 407. The province, meanwhile, says the project's estimated cost has yet to be determined and points out that construction will include "infrastructure dedicated for transit and passenger stations." Jane Fogal, a councillor in Halton Hills and a vocal opponent of Highway 413, says she's been questioning who stands to gain from its construction since the concept was rebooted two years ago. "Certainly land owners along a 400 series highway could expect their property to be re-zoned for primarily industrial or potentially residential use," she said. "Their property value is certainly going up." Halton Hills Coun. Jane Fogal says: 'There are other alternatives to solve the apparent problem [of] congestion … without the harm to the environment.' Schreiner agrees. "The biggest beneficiaries are going to be the land speculators," he said. But both Schreiner and Fogal see hope in the voices of opposition around the region. "We have seen this government, in the face of significant opposition, backtrack," said Schreiner. "I would say for people who care about this … continue the opposition to it.
SAINT-LÉONARD-D’ASTON. Si la Santé publique le permet, les amateurs de golf de Saint-Léonard-d’Aston et des environs pourront bientôt s’adonner à leur passion à l’intérieur. Un golf virtuel initié par Alex B. Perreault, Frédéric Courchesne-Carignan, Félix Guévin et Jonathan Lavoie s’ajoutera au complexe Chez Boris. «L’installation sera bientôt complétée. Il manque le turf. Les gens vont pouvoir amener leurs bâtons et leurs tees. C’est très réaliste comme expérience. C’est un système par radar qui calcule l’effet et la distance de la balle. À la base, Frédéric Courchesne-Carignan avait un golf virtuel dans son garage. On a essayé ça et on a bien aimé. C’est là qu’est venue l’idée de l’ajouter à l’endroit où l’on trouve les espaces de jorkyball», explique Alex B. Perreault qui, avec ses associés, a voulu également rendre un hommage au terrain de golf développé par Richard Lebeau et Jean-Paul Provencher dans la conception du projet. «On a reproduit le parcours du golf Le Pro situé en bas de la côte à Saint-Léonard. On a pris les données avec Google Maps et les élévations avec un logiciel. Tout y sera, on verra même le tracteur à gauche du départ du trou 1», indique-t-il, enthousiaste. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal