Dolphin doing a numerous amount of flips.
Dolphin doing a numerous amount of flips.
WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers and conservative groups opposed President-elect Joe Biden's forthcoming immigration plan Tuesday as massive amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally, underscoring that the measure faces an uphill fight in a Congress that Democrats control just narrowly. In a further complication, several pro-immigration groups said they would press Biden to go even further and take steps such as immediate moratoriums on deportations, detentions and new arrests. Coupled with the discomfort an immigration push could cause for moderate Democrats, liberals' demands illustrated the pressures facing Biden as four years of President Donald Trump's restrictive and often harsh immigration policies come to an end. “It simply wouldn't have happened without us," Lorella Praeli, co-president of the liberal group Community Change, said of Biden's victory. “So we are now in a powerful position." Biden plans to introduce the legislation shortly after being inaugurated Wednesday, a move he hopes will spotlight his emphasis on an issue that's defied major congressional action since 1986. Its fate, as written, seemed in doubt. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who will become Senate majority leader this week, said Trump's impeachment trial, confirmation of Biden's Cabinet nominees and more COVID-19 relief will be the chamber's top initial priorities. “I look forward to working together with him" on the measure, Schumer said — a choice of words that might suggest changes could be needed for it to pass Congress. Biden's proposal would create an eight-year pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants, set up a processing program abroad for refugees seeking admission to the U.S. and push toward using technology to monitor the border. The measure was described by an official from Biden's transition team who described the plan on condition of anonymity. With an eye toward discouraging a surge of immigrants toward the U.S.-Mexico boundary, the package's route to citizenship would only apply to people already in the U.S. by this past Jan. 1. But it omits the traditional trade-off of dramatically enhanced border security that's helped attract some GOP support in the past, which drew criticism on Tuesday. “A mass amnesty with no safeguards and no strings attached is a nonstarter,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "There are many issues I think we can work co-operatively with President-elect Biden, but a blanket amnesty for people who are here unlawfully isn’t going to be one of them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., often a central player in Senate immigration battles. “Total amnesty, no regard for the health or security of Americans, and zero enforcement," Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who like Rubio is a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender, said in a Monday tweet. That view was shared by Mark Krikorian, executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, which favours curbing immigration. “Past proposals at least accepted the concept of turning off the faucet and mopping up the overflow. This is nothing but mopping up and letting the faucet continue to run," Krikorian said. Rosemary Jenks, top lobbyist for NumbersUSA, which also wants to limit immigration, said the measure seems likely to fail in the Senate. It would need at least 10 Republicans to join all 50 Democrats to overcome a filibuster that would kill the measure. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said, “Moving an immigration reform bill won’t be easy, but I think it’s possible." He cited a 2013 massive overhaul that narrowly passed the Senate, only to die in the GOP-run House. Menendez and Rubio were part of a bipartisan “Gang of 8" senators that helped win Senate approval. Under Biden's legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfil other requirements. From there, it’s a three-year path to naturalization if they pursue citizenship. For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements. Biden is also expected to take swift executive actions, which require no congressional action, to reverse other Trump immigration actions. These include ending to the prohibition on arrivals from predominantly Muslim countries. The legislation represents Biden's bid to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of Trump's restrictive policies and mass deportations. It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years. Biden allies and even some Republicans have identified immigration as a major issue where the new administration could find common ground with the GOP to avoid the stalemate that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades. That kind of major win, even if it involves compromise, could be critical for Biden. He'll be seeking legislative victories in a Congress where Republicans are certain to oppose other Biden priorities, like rolling back some of the GOP’s 2017 tax cuts and increasing federal spending. Democrats will control the 50-50 Senate with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. Democrats currently control the House 222-211, with two vacancies. ___ Barrow reported from Wilmington, Delaware. AP writer Elliot Spagat in San Diego also contributed to this report. Alan Fram, Lisa Mascaro And Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Canada is not getting any COVID-19 vaccine doses from Pfizer-BioNTech next week and the federal government says it can't tell provinces exactly how many doses to expect over the next month. While there are some signs the relentless second wave of the pandemic may be easing in the biggest provinces, with numbers trending down in Quebec and Ontario, chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the number of people in hospital and critical care is rising. Canada also passed 18,000 deaths on Monday. Tam said as the infections go up and down, Canadians are constantly being hit with the reality that our "actions have consequences." "Every time we get a little too tired or a little too excited about holidays or think that vaccines could give us a quick shortcut, we are met with a new spike in activity as COVID-19 tries to take the lead again," Tam told a news conference Tuesday. More than half a million Canadians have now been given at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but the rollout of the vaccines is slowing down. U.S. drugmaker Pfizer told Canada on Friday it's cutting deliveries in half over the next four weeks, as it slows production at its facility in Belgium for upgrades that will eventually allow it to produce more doses. Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander co-ordinating the vaccine rollout for the Public Health Agency of Canada, said Tuesday this means Canada will be getting 82 per cent of expected doses this week and nothing at all next week. "Our entire shipment is deferred," said Fortin. Canada was to get 417,000 doses over the next two weeks, and will now get about 171,000. Fortin said Canada's shipments will "pick back up again" the first week of February but he doesn't expect details until Thursday. The news prompted Ontario Premier Doug Ford to lash out at Pfizer and appeal to U.S. president-elect Joe Biden, who will be sworn into office Wednesday, to help Canada out. Pfizer is also producing its vaccine in Michigan, but doses made in the U.S. are only being shipped within that country. Every other country, including Canada, is getting doses from the facility in Belgium. Ford is asking Biden to share one million doses with Canada. He also said he's not angry at the federal government for the delivery delays, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to put pressure on Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. "If I was in (Trudeau's) shoes … I'd be on that phone call every single day," Ford said. "I'd be up that guy's yin-yang so far with a firecracker he wouldn't know what hit him … I would not stop until we get these vaccines." Ontario is among the provinces retooling their vaccine programs to account for getting fewer doses than expected, with some cancelling or halting new appointments and others looking at delaying second doses. Trudeau said federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand has been on the phone with the company every day. He was less specific about which phone calls he has made himself or whether he has attempted to contact Bourla directly. Trudeau said this temporary slowdown in deliveries will not affect Canada's goal to vaccinate every Canadian who wants a shot in the arm by the end of September. B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said the interruption would mean the province will use the vaccine it is getting this week to complete first doses for long-term care residents and to start second doses for those who got their first shot in December. He said second doses are crucial to the strength of the program, and B.C. remains committed to a 35-day interval between doses. Other provinces have chosen to extend their second-dose time frames. Pfizer Canada spokeswoman Christina Antoniou told The Canadian Press "multiple countries around the world will be impacted in the short term" but cannot say which countries or what the effect outside Canada will be. The United Kingdom is expecting some slowdowns as well. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was on the phone to Bourla on Friday when Europe was informed it would also be getting fewer doses. Europe's dose delays were reduced to one week after that. Anand said she told Pfizer on the weekend she expects Canada to be treated equitably in the shipment slowdowns, and she got assurances that would happen. Fortin said the cutbacks will affect some provinces more than others because of the way the vaccines are packaged, but that deliveries will even out eventually. Quebec and Ontario both reported significant declines in cases Tuesday, with Quebec at 1,386 new cases and Ontario at below 2,000 for the first time in weeks. Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott cautioned a technical glitch likely undercounted new cases in Toronto. Manitoba, which recorded 111 new cases, is also looking at easing restrictions on gatherings and businesses by the end of the week, including allowing non-essential stores and hair salons to reopen for the first time since mid-November. Saskatchewan, with both the highest rate of active cases and new daily cases per capita in the country, was preparing to get tougher on restaurants and bars flouting COVID-19 rules. But Premier Scott Moe said he's not ready to shut down all businesses. Meanwhile, Trudeau urged Canadians to cancel near-future plans for international trips. Trudeau said Canadians have the right to travel but the government could at any time, and without warning, enforce new restrictions on those returning to Canada. New variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 add a level of uncertainty that could affect decisions about how to handle international arrivals. Potentially worrisome variants have been detected in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil. Quebec Premier Francois Legault urged Trudeau to ban non-essential international flights entirely. The Public Health Agency of Canada has documented 183 flights arriving in Canada from abroad since Jan. 4, on which at least one passenger had COVID-19. Sixty-three of those flights arrived from the U.S. That includes 78 flights from popular winter resort destinations and U.S. cities, and four flights from London since a temporary ban on incoming flights from the U.K. was lifted Jan. 6. Trudeau would not say what other measures he is considering, but noted travellers must present negative COVID-19 tests before boarding planes and must quarantine for two weeks after arriving in Canada. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — Dozens of peer support workers on the front lines of Vancouver's overdose crisis are about to be unionized in a move their union says formally recognizes the role they play in saving lives.The workers voted 100 per cent in favour of joining CUPE Local 1004 last March and the Labour Relations Board of British Columbia shared the ballot results this week, the union said. Certification was delayed by several factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic and a challenge to certification filed by the employer, PHS Community Services Society, the union said. “This is about respect and recognition,” Don Cumberland, who has worked at the Washington Needle Depot on East Hastings Street for almost 20 years, said in a statement. “I hope this means that the people doing the hard work on the ground saving lives every day will finally get the credit they deserve.”More than 6,500 people have died from overdoses since the province declared a public health emergency in 2016, chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said last month.Andrew Ledger, president of CUPE Local 1004, said that as the number of deaths has climbed due to a poisoned drug supply, peer workers have played a central role in improving access to treatment and it's important that their work be recognized."Oftentimes, the best people to be able to break down barriers to access are members of the community themselves," Ledger said."Peers have become a central figure in many, many health-care delivery settings like injection sites and other community care settings."The labour relations board is expected to issue its official certification this week, affecting about 40 workers, including those at Insite, the Washington Needle Depot and overdose prevention sites in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Micheal Vonn, CEO of PHS Community Services Society, said the organization is in collective bargaining, which limits what it can say. "We're excited about the evolution and we're determined to make this a good experience for the peers," she said. Peer workers at overdose prevention sites, needle depots and other harm reduction services are employees with experiences similar to those they serve.Some of their positions were developed as a "vocational therapeutic program" and the society initially challenged the certification on the basis that their work didn't satisfy traditional employment definitions.The workers may range from volunteers and occasional stipend workers to those working more stable and regular hours. The unionization drive initially sparked some concern that it might mean the end of informal work opportunities that can be an important bridge toward permanent employment for workers who may not yet be capable of holding down a regular job. Ledger said that concern was answered by only including the more permanent and stable work positions in the union drive. Some peer workers have worked for decades without benefits like paid vacation or the ability to collectively negotiate higher wages, he said.Before joining the union's leadership, Ledger worked alongside peer workers as a mental health worker for PHS on the Downtown Eastside in 2009. "I'm very grateful to see those workers are now being acknowledged and will receive the same benefits I did," he said.Unionizing means the workers will have access to benefits, their seniority will be established and other rights their co-workers already receive will be recognized, he said. "Those are really important for all workers and I think it's long overdue that these long-serving peer employees receive the same benefits."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Amy Smart, The Canadian Press
Robbie Fowler is doing his best to keep his name and the sport of soccer in the news in cricket-mad India. The legendary striker for Liverpool and former England international has made more headlines and waves since his arrival as a coach in the Indian Super League (ISL) than his more experienced counterparts on the subcontinent. The 45 year-old Fowler, who scored over 180 goals for Liverpool, took over East Bengal in October and has taken fans of one of India’s biggest and oldest clubs for a roller-coaster ride so far. On the field, after collecting just a single point from the opening five games, the Kolkata team is now unbeaten in seven matches to raise hopes of a top-four finish and a place in the playoff finals series. Off it, Fowler has not missed an opportunity to make controversial points. The latest came after Monday’s 0-0 draw against Chennaiyin in which Fowler was less than happy about a first-half red card for Ajay Chhetri. It was, Fowler said, just the latest in a long line of bad decisions. “It is bordering on the disgraceful, some of the decisions by the referee,” Fowler said on Indian television after the game. “I am mentally exhausted because I am fighting battles with the referees every single game. It’s an absolute joke. We can’t keep doing this, having arguments with the referees as they are spoiling the game.” Fowler declared that the next fixture, against Mumbai City, leader of the 11-team league that came into existence in 2014 and, in 2020, became India’s top tier, will be more of the same. “We know what to expect as we won’t be getting any decisions again because that’s what it’s like. Some of the decisions are awful. I’m not calling them cheats or anything like that but it is bordering on the cheating for us and it’s not right.” It is not the first time that Fowler, who had mixed results in his previous coaching spells in Thailand with Muangthong United and Brisbane Roar in Australia's A-League, has made headlines for controversial comments. After a 3-0 loss in the second game of the season to Mumbai, Fowler caused controversy in post-match comments about local players. “We will coach the players because in all fairness few of them have probably never been coached before and that is what we are doing,” Fowler said. “We will try and make our Indian players better and that takes good coaching and I don’t think they had that in the years gone by,. He later said his remarks had been taken out of context. There is a long history of British influence in Indian football but coaches and players from another European country can be found in much greater numbers in the Indian Super League. Just four of the 11 teams at the start of the 2020-21 season did not have Spanish coaches and there are over 20 Spanish players in the league. At the moment, the top four are all under Iberian influence with the three British-coached teams in the bottom half of the table. If Fowler can get a win against Mumbai then he may start to change that and make headlines for other reasons — his results on the field. ___ More AP soccer https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports John Duerden, The Associated Press
A fourth COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at Windsor Regional Hospital Tuesday evening. The hospital's 6N unit is the latest area of the organization experiencing an outbreak, with four positive patients and no positive staff. This news comes after the hospital announced three outbreaks in the last two weeks. "We expect to experience these situations as COVID-19 continues to spread in our community," said Karen Riddell, WRH Chief Nursing Executive and Chief Operating Officer, in a news release. "We continue to remain vigilant in ensuring that we have the correct infection prevention and control guidelines and precautions in place to reduce spread of the COVID-19 virus." In a news release Tuesday, the hospital provided an update on each of the other three outbreaks: 4M at the Ouellette Campus has 10 positive patients and five positive staff. Declared in outbreak Jan. 6. 6E at the Ouellette Campus has 10 positive patients and six positive staff. Declared in outbreak Jan. 8. 4N at the Met Campus has one positive patient and 11 positive staff. Declared in outbreak Jan. 14. The hospital said that admissions to the units continue, but it keeps COVID-19 patients cohorted. Transfers into units experiencing an outbreak are required to be approved by the hospital's Infection Prevention and Control department, the hospital said, adding that testing will continue. Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare is also experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak, which was declared on Tuesday. The hospital said in a news release Sunday that two staff and three patients tested positive on the 3N unit of the Dr. Y. Emara Centre for Healthy Aging and Mobility.
WASHINGTON — Troops in riot gear lined the sidewalks, but there were no crowds. Armored vehicles and concrete barriers blocked empty streets. Miles of fencing cordoned off many of the nation's most familiar landmarks. Joe Biden was safely sworn in as president in a Washington on edge, two weeks after rioters loyal to former President Donald Trump besieged the Capitol. Law enforcement officials contended not only with the potential for outside threats but also with rising concerns about an insider attack. Officials monitored members of far-right extremist and militia groups, increasingly concerned about the risk they could stream into Washington and spark violent confrontations, a law enforcement official said. There were a few scattered arrests but no major protests or serious disruptions in the city during Biden's inauguration ceremony. As Biden put it in his address: “Here we stand just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen. It will never happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Not ever.” After the deadly attack that killed five on Jan. 6, the Secret Service stepped up security for the inauguration early, essentially locking down the nation's capital. More than 25,000 troops and police were called to duty. The National Mall was closed. Checkpoints were set up at intersections. In the hours before the event, federal agents monitored “concerning online chatter,” which included an array of threats against elected officials and discussions about ways to infiltrate the inauguration, the official said. In right-wing online chat groups, believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory expressed disappointment that top Democrats were not arrested for sex trafficking and that Trump did not seize a second term. Twelve National Guard members were removed from the security operation a day earlier after vetting by the FBI, including two who had made extremist statements in posts or texts about Wednesday's event. Pentagon officials would not give details on the statements. The FBI vetted all 25,000 members in an extraordinary security effort in part over the presence of some ex-military in the riot. Two other U.S. officials told The Associated Press that all 12 were found to have ties with right-wing militia groups or to have posted extremist views online. The officials, a senior intelligence official and an Army official briefed on the matter, did not say which fringe groups the Guard members belonged to or what unit they served in. The officials told the AP they had all been removed because of “security liabilities.” The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, confirmed that Guard members had been removed and sent home, but said only two cases were related to inappropriate comments or texts related to the inauguration. He said the other 10 cases were for issues that may involve previous criminal behaviour or activities but were not directly related to the inaugural event. The FBI also warned law enforcement officials about the possibility that members of right-wing fringe groups could pose as National Guard troops, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the matter. Investigators in Washington were particularly worried that members of right-wing extremist groups and militias, like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, would descend on Washington to spark violence, the law enforcement officials said. Some of the groups are known to recruit former military personnel, to train extensively and to have frequented anti-government and political protests. In addition to the thousands of National Guard troops, hundreds of law enforcement officers from agencies around the country were also brought into Washington. The increased security is likely to remain in the nation's capital for at least a few more days. ___ Associated Press writers Lolita Baldor in Washington and James LaPorta in Delray Beach, Florida, contributed to this report. Ben Fox, Colleen Long And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
PORTLAND, Ore. — Plans for a major West Coast liquified natural gas pipeline and export terminal hit a snag Tuesday with federal regulators after a years-long legal battle that has united tribes, environmentalists and a coalition of residents on Oregon's rural southern coast against the proposal. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that energy company Pembina could not move forward with the proposal without a key clean water permit from the state of Oregon. The U.S. regulatory agency gave its tentative approval to the pipeline last March as long as it secured the necessary state permits, but the Canadian pipeline company has been unable to do so. It had appealed to the commission over the state's clean water permit, arguing that Oregon had waived its authority to issue a clean water certification for the project and therefore its denial of the permit was irrelevant. But the commission found instead that Pembina had never requested the certification and that the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality "could not have waived its authority to issue certification for a request it never received.” The ruling was hailed as a major victory by opponents of Jordan Cove, which would be the first such LNG overseas export terminal in the lower 48 states. The proposed 230-mile (370-kilometre) feeder pipeline would begin in Malin, in southwest Oregon, and end at the city of Coos Bay on the rural Oregon coast. Jordan Cove did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment and it was unclear what next steps the project would take. Opposition to the pipeline has brought together southern Oregon tribes, environmentalists, anglers and coastal residents since 2006. "Thousands of southern Oregonians have raised their voices to stop this project for years and will continue to until the threat of Jordan Cove LNG is gone for good,” said Hannah Sohl, executive director of Rogue Climate. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, who has opposed the project, said in a statement on Twitter that she was pleased with the ruling. “At every stage of the regulatory process, I have insisted that the Jordan Cove LNG project must meet Oregon’s rigorous standards for protecting the environment, or it cannot move forward,” she wrote. The outgoing Trump administration has supported energy export projects and in particular Jordan Cove. It had proposed streamlining approval of gas pipelines and other energy projects by limiting states’ certification authorities under the U.S. Clean Water Act. Gillian Flaccus, The Associated Press
Jasper Municipal Council directed administration to implement a paid parking pilot project in the 2021 budget year during its Jan. 19 regular meeting. Administration will also present project and public engagement plans before implementing paid parking. Chief administrative officer (CAO) Bill Given said this will allow administration to consider how paid parking will impact the 2021 budget and assist in the preparation of the budget too. “The concept of a pilot project… would give administration and council an opportunity to work with the community, including affected businesses, residents and other stakeholders on the best way to move forward,” Given said. “Administration is aware of concerns about overflow into residential areas, impact on… closely neighbouring businesses and the impact on our reserves, along with council’s priority on establishing fiscal equity and ensuring visitors are (paying) their fair share of the load of the cost of services in the municipality.” “It’s important to emphasize that the point of bringing together a pilot project is so we can adjust as we go on,” added Coun. Paul Butler. Bernie Kreiner, a “non-resident,” sent a letter to council indicating his strong support for paid parking in the commercial areas of the Municipality of Jasper. He acknowledged moving in this direction will require some courage because of “the likelihood of parking shifting to nearby residential streets” and “some business concern that this might reduce visitors.” “However, as one such customer, I will put a coin in a parking meter and still stop to get a cinnamon bun at the Bearpaw before or after enjoying a day in Jasper’s Nature,” Kreiner wrote to council. “Be bold, and do the right thing for the long term (sic) wellness of your community.” Asbestos removal Council approved a $20,000 capital budget project for asbestos removal in the Multipurpose Hall chair storage room. The Multipurpose Hall renovation capital project was under budget by $15,500, which is available in restricted reserves, and will be applied to the project. Yvonne McNabb, director of culture and recreation, told council the asbestos was detected in November. When it was tested, administration was told it would take a week or two to get approval to remove the asbestos. In addition to getting approval, McNabb said there’s the removal process itself and then replacing the gyprock. “There’s quite a few steps,” she said. “That’s why I thought it was best to get this project going in the event we open our facilities.” Coal development policy Coun. Jenna McGrath urged a letter be sent from council about the province’s decision to rescind a coal development policy, originally published in 1976, to West Yellowhead MLA Martin Long, Premier Jason Kenney and Environment and Parks Minister Jason Nixon. McGrath said the letter needs to emphasize the importance of protecting the environment and the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. “I believe it’s important for our water supply and the future generations of Albertans to stand up today,” she said. “Go back to the drawing board and encourage reinstating the coal policy.” Effective June 1, 2020, the rescission stated, “Former category 1 lands will continue to be protected from coal leasing, exploration and development of public lands but will not infringe on private lands or freehold mineral rights. “This will support critical watersheds, biodiversity… as well as recreation and tourism activities along the eastern slopes of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. Leasing outside of these areas will be subject to the same land use planning and management rules that apply to all other resources and industrial uses.” Councillors Scott Wilson, Butler and Bert Journeault said such a letter is not in the jurisdiction of the Municipality of Jasper. Coun. Helen Kelleher-Empey noted she would like for council to return to this matter after she did her own research. Coun. Rico Damota added a formal discussion is needed before a letter comes from council. Mayor Richard Ireland wants to check out the facts first. The matter was deferred to the Feb. 2 regular council meeting. Skating surfaces McGrath suggested skating surfaces in town would be a great idea. The consensus was to keep it simple at first. Wilson said he’s talked with members of the Volunteer Fire Brigade who have looked into it. “It might be prudent to chat with them as well,” he said. “Let’s just start with a small project, a place where most kids can walk to,” Journeault added. “Let’s keep it simple and let it grow. This is a good year to (do it).” Ireland urged a “high key but low cost” approach. Council directed administration to return to a committee of the whole meeting with a report about options for a low cost, high profile, easily-accessible outdoor skating options that can be implemented this winter season. Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
Northwest Territories officials are still investigating a Yellowknife COVID-19 case announced last week. The source of the infection remains unidentified. The case, confirmed on January 15, is something of a mystery. Officials say it is not related to travel but no contacts have been uncovered that would explain how the person contracted the virus. “To date, after identifying and testing multiple potential sources, we have not identified a source of infection,” chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola told reporters on Tuesday. Despite the enduring puzzle, Dr. Kandola said there was no clear evidence of community transmission in Yellowknife and no COVID-19 tests completed in the city since January 15 had come back positive. On Monday night, territorial officials said it was “highly likely that the source has passed their communicable period.” Yellowknife’s wastewater signal remains stable “at trace levels, which is anticipated,” Kandola said. In other words, there has been no spike of the virus in sewage samples. Earlier this week, public health officials following a lead tested staff and residents at the city's Aven Manor care home. No new cases were identified at the facility. Fort Liard remains at three confirmed and two probable cases of COVID-19. Confirmation of the two probable cases could come later on Tuesday, Kandola said. The hamlet is on day three of its containment order, which lasts until January 30 at 10 p.m. but may be extended if deemed necessary. Some residents had expressed concern that information was not accessible to everyone in the hamlet. On Tuesday, Premier Caroline Cochrane said an individual from Fort Liard has been hired who speaks the traditional language. Their job will be to go door-to-door to ensure information is conveyed to everyone. A new information sheet has been created about isolation expectations. A vaccination team is still scheduled to reach Fort Liard on Thursday and Friday. Territorial medical director Dr. AnneMarie Pegg said the team has added an extra day in Fort Liard to its schedule, though which day was not clear. Residents in isolation will be contacted individually by public health staff to arrange access to the vaccine. Meanwhile, it's increasingly likely that COVID-19 traces in Hay River's sewage were connected to the Fort Liard cluster. The first Fort Liard patient had been isolating in Hay River before returning to the hamlet. Since January 14, 189 COVID-19 tests in Hay River have all come back negative. The most recent sewage samples in Hay River, from January 14, were characterized by Kandola as a fainter, "bare detect" of the virus. Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio
EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says residents in long-term care and supportive living facilities will remain the priority as the province grapples with a looming slowdown in COVID-19 vaccine supply. Dr. Deena Hinshaw says health officials may also have to rebook vaccination appointments for those getting the required second dose. Hinshaw made the announcement just hours after the federal government said there will be no shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine next week and reduced shipments for about three weeks after that. The slowdown is due to Pfizer retrofitting its Belgium-based plant in order to ramp up production down the road. Hinshaw says Alberta has 456 new cases of COVID-19, with 740 patients in hospital. There are 119 patients in intensive care and 1,463 people have died. “This is frustrating, but the factory issues in Belgium are out of our control," Health Minister Tyler Shandro said in a release Tuesday. "We will continue to use what we have to protect as many Albertans as possible. And we will continue to inform Albertans of any changes to our vaccination plans.” Alberta recently finished giving first doses of vaccine to all residents in its 357 long-term care and supportive living facilities. “These are absolutely the highest-risk locations, and people who live in these facilities are the most vulnerable to severe outcomes,” Hinshaw told a virtual news conference. “Two-thirds of all our (COVID-19) deaths have been in long-term care and supportive living facilities.” Alberta has given 90,000 first doses of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to those in the high priority cohort: those in the care homes and front-line health-care workers. Canada was to get more than 417,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week and next, but will now get just over 171,000 this week and nothing the following week. Both vaccines require two doses weeks apart for full effectiveness. The delay has also forced the province to put off implementing the next phase of priority cases: Indigenous seniors over 65 and other seniors 75 and older. Alberta remains under strict lockdown measures, which include a ban on indoor gatherings. Bars, restaurants and lounges can offer takeout or pickup service only. Retailers are limited to 15 per cent customer capacity, while entertainment venues like casinos and movie theatres remain shuttered. The province relaxed some measure slightly on Monday. Outdoor gatherings can have 10 people maximum. Personal care services, like hair salons, manicure and pedicure salons and tattoo shops, can open by appointment only. Hinshaw said it’s not clear when further restrictions can be lifted. “Our health system is still under severe strain,” she said. “This continues to impact our ability to deliver care, not only for COVID-19 but all the other health needs Albertans have.” There were 11,096 active COVID cases Tuesday, about half the number recorded at its peak in mid-December. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
The United States swore in its 46th President on Jan. 20, 2021. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris attended their inauguration in Washington, D.C. with a slew of distinguished guests, but few onlookers as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a need for social distancing.Several past presidents were in attendance, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr., however the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, did not attend. Trump flew to his golf club in Florida earlier in the day. Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence did attend the ceremony with his wife.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday explicitly blamed President Donald Trump for the deadly riot at the Capitol, saying the mob was “fed lies” and that the president and others “provoked” those intent on overturning Democrat Joe Biden’s election. Ahead of Trump's historic second impeachment trial, McConnell's remarks were his most severe and public rebuke of the outgoing president. The GOP leader is setting a tone as Republicans weigh whether to convict Trump on the impeachment charge that will soon be sent over from the House: “incitement of insurrection.” “The mob was fed lies," McConnell said. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like.” The Republican leader vowed a “safe and successful” inauguration of Biden on Wednesday at the Capitol, where final preparations were underway amid heavy security. Trump's last full day in office Tuesday was also senators’ first day back since the deadly Capitol siege and since the House voted to impeach him for his role in the riots — an unparalleled time of transition as the Senate prepares for the second impeachment trial in two years and presses ahead with the confirmation of Biden's Cabinet. Three new Democratic senators-elect are set to be sworn into office Wednesday shortly after Biden's inauguration, giving the Democrats the barest majority, a 50-50 Senate chamber. The new vice-president, Kamala Harris, will swear them in and serve as an eventual tie-breaking vote. The Democrats, led by Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, will take charge of the Senate as they launch a trial to hold the defeated president responsible for the siege, while also quickly confirming Biden’s Cabinet and being asked to consider passage of a sweeping new $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill. “The inauguration of a new president and the start of a new administration always brings a flurry of activity to our nation’s government,” Schumer said in remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday morning. “But rarely has so much piled up for the Senate as during this particular transition.” Making the case for Trump's conviction, Schumer said the Senate needs to set a precedent that the “severest offence ever committed by a president would be met by the severest remedy provided by the Constitution — impeachment,” and disbarment from future office. McConnell and Schumer conferred later Tuesday about how to balance the trial with other business and how to organize the evenly divided chamber, a process that could slow all of the Senate's business and delay the impeachment proceedings. There were signs of an early impasse. McConnell expressed to Schumer “his long-held view that the crucial, longstanding, and bipartisan Senate rules concerning the legislative filibuster remain intact, specifically during the power share for the next two years,” according to spokesman Doug Andres. Eliminating the Senate filibuster, a procedural move that requires a higher bar for legislation to pass, has been a priority for Democrats who will now control the House, Senate and White House. But a spokesman for Schumer, Justin Goodman, said the Democratic leader “expressed that the fairest, most reasonable and easiest path forward” was to adopt an agreement similar to a 2001 consensus between the parties, the last time the Senate was evenly divided, without “extraneous changes from either side.” Five of Biden's nominees had committee hearings Tuesday as the Senate prepared for swift confirmation of some as soon as the president-elect takes office, as is often done particularly for the White House’s national security team. Many noted the harrowing events at the Capitol on Jan. 6. The nominee for Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines, testified of her own “eerie” feeling coming to the Capitol complex after “how truly disturbing it was” to see the attack on the building unfold. Biden’s nominee for secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, vowed to get to the bottom of the “horrifying” siege. The start of the new session of Congress was also forcing lawmakers to come to terms with the post-Trump era, a transfer of power that Trump’s mob of supporters tried to prevent after he urged them to storm the Capitol as Congress was tallying the Electoral College vote confirming Biden’s election. Seven Republican senators led by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., tried to overturn Biden’s election during the Electoral College tally. Cruz was presiding over the Senate Tuesday while McConnell delivered his blistering remarks. Hawley continued to embrace his role in the opposition, saying on Tuesday that he will block a quick confirmation of Mayorkas, the Homeland Security nominee, to protest Biden's immigration plan to provide a path to citizenship for 11 million people. Hawley said Mayorkas “has not adequately explained how he will enforce federal law and secure the southern border.” As they begin the year newly in the minority, Republican senators face a daunting choice of whether to convict Trump of inciting the insurrection, the first impeachment trial of a president no longer in office — but one who continues to hold great sway over the party's voters. Some Republicans want to halt the impeachment trial. Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn was among those Republicans casting doubt on the legal ability of the Senate to convict a president no longer in office, though legal scholars differ on the issue. “It’s never happened before and maybe that’s for a good reason,” he said. The House impeached Trump last week on the sole charge, incitement of insurrection, making him the only president to be twice impeached. A protester died during the riot and a police officer died later of injuries; three other people involved died of medical emergencies. He was first impeached in 2019 over relations with Ukraine and was acquitted in 2020 by the Senate. The three new Democratic senators, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff of Georgia, and Alex Padilla of California, are to be sworn into office Wednesday, according to a person granted anonymity to discuss planning. Warnock and Ossoff defeated Republican incumbents in this month's runoff elections. Georgia's secretary of state certified the election results Tuesday. Padilla was tapped by California's governor to fill the remainder of Harris' Senate term. ___ Associated Press writer Eric Tucker contributed to this report. Lisa Mascaro And Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
MILLBROOK -- Millbrook’s 4th Line Theatre will launch its Digital Festival of Light and Dark next week. Micro-grants have been provided to 13 regional artists by the festival so they can create 12 five-minute digital showcases of their work, the theatre announced Tuesday. The digital festival is free-of-charge to watch online and will allow people to engage with the artists’ creations in the safety of their own homes during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown through the theatre’s digital video gallery. Managing artistic director Kim Blackwell said the theatre — which had to cancel last summer’s performances and then staged the Open Spaces Theatre Festival in downtown Peterborough in September followed by a limited run of “Bedtime Stories and Other Horrifying Tales” prior to Halloween at the theatre in October — wants to support local artists. “That was the genesis for the idea which ultimately became the Digital Festival of Light and Dark. I am excited to showcase the work of so many talented local artists from almost every conceivable discipline,” Blackwell said. “These short, digital works will be a chance for 4th Line audiences to see the depth and breadth of regional artists and their creative worlds.” A variety of artistic styles such as poetry, photography and puppetry are manifested in the artists’ projects. Topics and issues explored include the new silent nightlife in downtown Peterborough in lockdown, an exploration of physical vulnerability in the pandemic and the story of a girl trapped alone in a Welsh mine, to name only three, according to the theatre. The 12 artists include Madison Constello, Naomi Duvall, Jennifer Elchuk, Josh Fewings, Madison Sheward, Frank Flynn, Steafan Hannigan, Mike Moring, Tristan Peirce, Kelsey Powell, Benj Rowland, P.J. Thomas and Laura Thompson. In Hannigan’s multimedia project titled “the many shades between light and dark: art v COVID-19 in 2020,” artists, performers, musicians and directors reflect upon their life-changing experiences during the past year amid the global pandemic. Hannigan is a multidisciplinary artist working in a variety of mediums including photography, video and music. Born and raised in Ireland, he currently lives in Baltimore in Northumberland County. Peirce’s project, “Night Shift,” gives viewers a glimpse into Peterborough’s night life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pierce is a photographer and videographer, based in Peterborough, who is also taking part in the Art Gallery of Peterborough’s group exhibition Presently. “It’s Political,” a project created by Thompson — a designer based in Peterborough whose video work draws on found footage to create moving collages that are surreal and dynamic — explores the women’s movement and its evolution, history and future. The 12 projects will be posted at www.4thlinetheatre.on.ca/festival-of-light-and-dark and at www.youtube.com/user/4thlinetheatreVIDEO starting at noon on Monday. Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
Deng Pravatoudom played the Lotto Max numbers her husband dreamt of 20 years ago and won a $60M jackpot. Video by Shibani Gokhale
CALGARY — A Crown prosecutor says he will seek an adult sentence for an accused teen if he is convicted in a Calgary police officer's death.Doug Taylor made the comment at the start of a bail hearing Tuesday for the 18-year-old suspect.The accused was 17 when he was charged earlier this month with first-degree murder in the death of Sgt. Andrew Harnett, so he cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.Harnett was hit and dragged while attempting to stop an SUV on New Year's Eve, after noticing plates on the vehicle did not match its registered description. Paramedics and fellow officers hastened to the scene in minutes and tried to revive the 37-year-old but he died in hospital nearly an hour later. Police said a second unrelated vehicle was also involved and may have come into contact with Harnett on the road. But that driver stayed at the scene and helped with the investigation.Investigators allege the youth was driving the SUV and a 19-year-old, who also faces a charge of first-degree murder, was a passenger."I, of course on behalf of the attorney general, have just filed a notice of intention by the attorney general to apply for an adult sentence," Taylor told court.An adult sentence for a young offender convicted of first-degree murder is life in prison with no parole eligibility for 10 years. Under the Canadian Criminal Code, an adult convicted of first-degree murder would serve a life sentence without any possibility of parole for 25 years.Taylor said the Crown is also opposing the young man's release from custody.A publication ban prohibits publishing evidence from the bail hearing, which is to continue Wednesday.The co-accused in the case, Amir Abdulrahman is to appear in court Feb. 4. His lawyer, Balfour Der, has said he intends to seek bail on Feb. 12.Court documents indicate that, at the time Harnett was killed, Adbulrahman was wanted on outstanding warrants on several charges, including assault and failing to appear in court.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Officials in Washington state denied a key permit for a large proposed methanol plant Tuesday, saying the project that aims to send the chemical to China to be used in everything from fabrics and contact lenses to iPhones and medical equipment would pump out too much pollution. A significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions and inconsistencies with the Shoreline Management Act were the main reasons the permit was rejected for the project planned on the Columbia River, the state Department of Ecology said in a news release. The $2 billion Northwest Innovation Works plant proposed in Kalama would take natural gas from Canada and convert it into methanol. It would then be shipped to China to make olefins — compounds used in many everyday products. An environmental analysis done by the state agency found that the facility would be one of the largest sources of carbon pollution in Washington, emitting nearly 1 million metric tons a year within the state, and millions of tons more from extracting natural gas, shipping the product to Asia and final uses of the methanol, officials said. “I believe we were left with no other choice than to deny the permit for the Kalama project," Ecology Director Laura Watson said in a written statement. "The known and verifiable emissions from the facility would be extremely large and their effects on Washington’s environment would be significant and detrimental.” The Department of Ecology last year had demanded additional environmental analysis, saying after five years of planning, its backers had failed to provide enough information about the greenhouse gas emissions and how they would be offset. The company has 21 days to appeal the permit decision. “While we are disappointed by this ruling and evaluating our options for an immediate appeal, we feel confident that science and reason will prevail,” Kent Caputo, attorney for Northwest Innovation Works, said in a news release. The company is backed by the Chinese government and has said the project will create 1,000 jobs and generate up to $40 million in annual tax revenue. The company also has said it would offset any emissions produced directly or indirectly in Washington state. “We volunteered to set mitigation standards that will make Washington state the national leader,” Northwest Innovation Works CEO Simon Zhang said in the news release. “We want to create a model project for Kalama, the state, and the nation.” Gov. Jay Inslee, who once backed the project as a boost to the economy, changed his stance in May 2019 as he signed a bill banning fracking, The Seattle Times reported. Inslee said at the time that he couldn't in good conscience support the methanol plant, along with a Tacoma liquified natural gas project, because they wouldn't accomplish what's necessary to combat climate change. He also said the withdrawal of his support would not affect the regulatory decision-making process. Conservation groups, including Columbia Riverkeeper, the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity, have been steadfast in their opposition. “We can’t keep pretending these dirty fossil fuel projects don’t jeopardize our continued existence by accelerating the climate crisis and destroying essential habitat," Jared Margolis, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a news release. "Thankfully, Washington has stepped up and rejected this monstrosity.” The Associated Press
Hydrogen sulphide is a smelly, poisonous gas, but it plays an important role in aging and longevity. New research shows that eating less meat could be a key to harnessing its healthy effects.
WASHINGTON — In one of his final acts as majority leader, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is pressuring Democrats to keep the filibuster — the procedural tool that liberals and progressives are eager to to do away with so President-elect Joe Biden's legislative priorities can be approved more easily over GOP opposition. McConnell has told Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer that retaining the legislative filibuster is important and should be part of their negotiations for a power-sharing agreement in the narrowly divided Senate. Schumer and McConnell met Tuesday to begin hammering out the details of organizing the chamber, which will be split 50-50, with Democrats holding the majority once three new senators are sworn in Wednesday and Kamala Harris is inaugurated as the vice-president. “Leader McConnell expressed his long-held view that the crucial, longstanding and bipartisan Senate rules concerning the legislative filibuster remain intact, specifically during the power share for the next two years,” McConnell spokesman Doug Andres said. Andres said discussions on “all aspects” of the arrangement will continue. Normally, a divided chamber would produce a resolution to equally share committee seats and other resources. But McConnell is driving a harder bargain by inserting his demand that Schumer keep the filibuster procedure in place. Schumer’s office did not respond immediately for comment. The Democratic leader faces pressure from the progressive flank to end the filibuster, but he has not committed to doing so. The group Fix Our Senate criticized McConnell for trying to prevent procedural changes. The group said in a statement that McConnell wants to keep the filibuster because he knows it is “the best weapon he has” to prevent Democrats from delivering on Biden's priorities. "Senate Democrats must swat away this absurd attempt to undermine their majority and kneecap the Biden agenda before it even has a chance to get started,” the group said in a statement. The modern filibuster rules essentially require a super-majority threshold, now at 60 votes, to cut off debate in the Senate and bring legislative bills or other measures to a vote. The practice was changed as a way to wind down long-running speeches and debates, notably during the start of World War I, but quickly became a tool employed by minority factions to halt legislation that had majority support. McConnell gutted the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees in 2017, a breathtaking move that enabled the Senate to easily confirm the first of three justices that President Donald Trump nominated to the high court with simple majority votes. It's unclear the Democrats would even have support from their ranks to undo the legislative filibuster, which would require a vote in the Senate. But McConnell is not willing to take any chances and is forcing Schumer into a negotiation that could delay organizing the Senate. The Republican leader has also been talking privately with Republican senators about the importance to resolving the issue now, as part of the power-sharing talks with Democrats. McConnell sent an email Monday to senators outlining his concerns, as first reported by National Review. Without agreement on this and other matters, the Democrats' ability to control committees and other aspects of Senate business may also be delayed as talks between McConnell and Schumer drag on. Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
Global equity benchmarks rose to new record highs and oil prices rose on Wednesday as investors moved into riskier assets in anticipation of further U.S. stimulus under the new Biden administration to mend the economic damage of the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. President Joe Biden, who was sworn into office on Wednesday, last week laid out a $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal to boost the economy and speed up the distribution of vaccines. U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen urged lawmakers to "act big" to save the economy and worry about debt later at a confirmation hearing Tuesday.
LANSING, Mich. — Attorneys for former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder are striking back, telling prosecutors Tuesday that the Flint water case should be dismissed because he was charged in the wrong county. Snyder was charged last week with two misdemeanour counts of wilful neglect of duty. He was indicted by a Genesee County judge who sat as a grand juror and considered evidence presented by prosecutors. “Neither of these allegations of non-feasance, or failure to act, occurred while the former Governor was in the City of Flint. At all times set forth in the Indictment, our client was the presiding governor of the State of Michigan with the Executive Office of the Governor located at the Romney Building in downtown Lansing,” attorney Brian Lennon said in a letter to prosecutors. The letter was attached to a request for documents and other evidence possessed by prosecutors, a typical step by the defence in a criminal case. Lennon indicated in the letter that he soon would formally ask Judge William Crawford to dismiss the case against the Republican former governor. A hearing took place Tuesday in Snyder’s case. The next hearing was scheduled for Feb. 23. “The reason we didn't file a motion to dismiss is we're trying to give the government an opportunity to recognize this mistake and voluntarily dismiss the indictment against Gov. Snyder,” Lennon told the judge. Assistant Attorney General Bryant Osikowicz sought time to see and respond to the pending dismissal motion. A spokeswoman for the attorney general's office declined to comment on the venue issue. Snyder was one of nine people charged in a new investigation of the Flint water crisis, including former state health department director Nick Lyon. The catastrophe in the impoverished, majority-Black city has been described as an example of environmental injustice and racism. The city, under Snyder-appointed emergency managers, used the Flint River for drinking water in 2014-15 without properly treating it to reduce corrosion. Lead from old pipes contaminated the system. Separately, the water was blamed by some experts for an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, which killed at least 12 people in the area and sickened dozens more. Lyon and former state chief medical executive Eden Wells face nine counts of involuntary manslaughter. Snyder's lawyer said the defence will soon seek grand jury records. It also wants potentially millions of documents and hundreds of electronic devices that were seized, and to know if steps were taken to ensure investigators did not have access to attorney-client communications or other privileged materials. “If a taint team was not used, it challenges and could undermine the integrity of the entire investigation against Gov. Snyder and others,” Lennon said. As it did during the old criminal probe, the state will cover the legal expenses of former state officers and employees who face charges. But in a change, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration will cap costs. The maximum hourly rate for attorneys cannot exceed $225. Some lawyers were paid two to three times that previously. The state also will impose a “ceiling” of $175,000 for a defendant's legal services before and during a trial, which can only be raised if a contract administrator recommends it. The goals are to ensure consistent treatment across the defendants' former departments and to control costs to ensure accountability, the governor's office said. Jim Haveman, a former state health director who supports Lyon, criticized the new policy. Legal fees and expenses in the first case against Lyon totalled $1.6 million over 19 months, he said. In 2019, prosecutors working under a new attorney general, Dana Nessel, dismissed charges against Lyon and seven other people and began a new probe. In an email, Haveman called on Whitmer and lawmakers to “correct this capping injustice and to assure all defendants have the best defence possible.” ___ White reported from Detroit. Ed White And David Eggert, The Associated Press