Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, has received the initial dose of the newest COVID-19 vaccine alongside other federal health leaders who helped oversee its development. (Dec. 22)
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, has received the initial dose of the newest COVID-19 vaccine alongside other federal health leaders who helped oversee its development. (Dec. 22)
WASHINGTON — Members of President Donald Trump’s failed presidential campaign played key roles in orchestrating the Washington rally that spawned a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol, according to an Associated Press review of records, undercutting claims the event was the brainchild of the president's grassroots supporters. A pro-Trump non-profit group called Women for America First hosted the “Save America Rally” on Jan. 6 at the Ellipse, an oval-shaped, federally owned patch of land near the White House. But an attachment to the National Park Service public gathering permit granted to the group lists more than half a dozen people in staff positions for the event who just weeks earlier had been paid thousands of dollars by Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign. Other staff scheduled to be “on site” during the demonstration have close ties to the White House. Since the siege, several of them have scrambled to distance themselves from the rally. The riot at the Capitol, incited by Trump’s comments before and during his speech at the Ellipse, has led to a reckoning unprecedented in American history. The president told the crowd to march to the Capitol and that “you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.” A week after the rally, Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives, becoming the first U.S. president ever to be impeached twice. But the political and legal fallout may stretch well beyond Trump, who will exit the White House on Wednesday before Democrat Joe Biden takes the oath of office. Trump had refused for nearly two months to accept his loss in the 2020 election to the former vice-president. Women for America First, which applied for and received the Park Service permit, did not respond to messages seeking comment about how the event was financed and about the Trump campaign’s involvement. The rally drew tens of thousands of people. In a statement, the president’s reelection campaign said it “did not organize, operate or finance the event.” No campaign staff members were involved in the organization or operation of the rally, according to the statement. It said that if any former employees or independent contractors for the campaign took part, “they did not do so at the direction of the Trump campaign.” At least one was working for the Trump campaign this month. Megan Powers was listed as one of two operations managers for the Jan. 6 event, and her LinkedIn profile says she was the Trump campaign's director of operations into January 2021. She did not respond to a message seeking comment. The AP’s review found at least three of the Trump campaign aides named on the permit rushed to obscure their connections to the demonstration. They deactivated or locked down their social media profiles, removed tweets that referenced the rally and blocked a reporter who asked questions. Caroline Wren, a veteran GOP fundraiser, is named as a “VIP Advisor” on an attachment to the permit that Women for America First provided to the agency. Between mid-March and mid-November, Donald J. Trump for President Inc. paid Wren $20,000 a month, according to Federal Election Commission records. During the campaign, she was a national finance consultant for Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee between the president’s reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee. Wren was involved in at least one call before the pro-Trump rally with members of several groups listed as rally participants to organize credentials for VIP attendees, according to Kimberly Fletcher, the president of one of those groups, Moms for America. Wren retweeted messages about the event ahead of time, but a cache of her account on Google shows at least eight of those tweets disappeared from her timeline. She apparently removed some herself, and others were sent from accounts that Twitter suspended. One of the messages Wren retweeted was from “Stop the Steal,” another group identified as a rally participant on a website promoting the event. The Jan. 2 message thanked Republican senators who said they would vote to overturn Biden’s election victory, including Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas. She also retweeted a Jan. 1 message from the president promoting the event, as well as promotional messages from one of the president’s son, Eric Trump, and Katrina Pierson, a Tea Party activist and a spokesperson for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Wren did not return messages seeking comment, and locked her Twitter account after the AP reached out to her last Monday to ask her about her involvement in the Trump rally and the tweets she had removed. Several days later, she blocked the AP reporter. Maggie Mulvaney, a niece of former top Trump aide Mick Mulvaney, is listed on the permit attachment as the “VIP Lead.” She worked as director of finance operations for the Trump campaign, according to her LinkedIn profile. FEC records show Maggie Mulvaney was earning $5,000 every two weeks from Trump’s reelection campaign, with the most recent payment reported on Nov. 13. Maggie Mulvaney had taken down her Twitter account as of last Monday, although it reappeared after an AP reporter asked her about the account’s removal. On Sunday, the same day the AP published this report, she blocked that AP reporter on Twitter. Maggie Mulvaney retweeted several messages on Jan. 6, including one from the president that urged support for the Capitol Police. Trump's Twitter account has been suspended, but the message could be seen in a cache of her Twitter account captured by Google. She also retweeted a message from her uncle, urging Trump to address the nation. Maggie Mulvaney did not respond to messages seeking comment. The insurrection at the Capitol prompted Mick Mulvaney to quit his position as Trump’s special envoy to Northern Ireland. He told CNBC a day after the assault that remaining in the post would prompt people to say “‘Oh yeah, you work for the guy who tried to overtake the government.’” The leaders of Women for America First aren’t new to politics. Amy Kremer, listed as the group’s president on records filed with Virginia’s state corporation commission, is “one of the founding mothers of the modern day tea party movement,” according to her website. Her daughter, Kylie Jane Kremer, is the organization’s treasurer, according to the records. The IRS granted Women for America First tax-exempt status as a social welfare organization a year ago, with the exemption retroactive to February 2019. The AP requested that the group provide any tax records it may have filed since then, but received no response. In a statement issued the same day rioters attacked the Capitol, Amy Kremer denounced the assault and said it was instigated after the rally by a “handful of bad actors,” while seeming to blame Democrats and news organizations for the riot. “Unfortunately, for months the left and the mainstream media told the American people that violence was an acceptable political tool,” she said. “They were wrong. It is not.” The AP reviewed social media posts, voter registrations, court files and other public records for more than 120 people either facing criminal charges related to the Jan. 6 unrest or who, going maskless during the pandemic, were later identified through photographs and videos taken during the melee. The review found the crowd was overwhelmingly made up of longtime Trump supporters, including Republican Party officials, GOP political donors, far-right militants, white supremacists, off-duty police, members of the military and adherents of the QAnon myth that the government is secretly controlled by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophile cannibals. Videos posted on social media in the days following the Capitol attack shows that thousands of people stormed the Capitol. A Capitol Police officer died after he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher as rioters descended on the building and many other officers were injured. A woman from California was shot to death by Capitol Police and three other people died after medical emergencies during the chaos. Trump’s incendiary remarks at the Jan. 6 rally culminated a two-day series of events in Washington, organized by a coalition of the president’s supporters who echoed his baseless accusations that the election had been stolen from him. A website, MarchtoSaveAmerica.com, sprung up to promote the pro-Trump events and alerted followers, “At 1 PM, we protest at US Capitol.” The website has been deactivated. Another website, TrumpMarch.com shows a fist-raised Trump pictured on the front of a red, white and blue tour bus emblazoned with the words, “Powered by Women for America First.” The logo for the bedding company “My Pillow” is also prominent. Mike Lindell, the CEO of My Pillow, is an ardent Trump supporter who’s falsely claimed Trump didn’t lose the election to Biden and will serve another four-year term as president. “To demand transparency & protect election integrity,” the web page reads. Details of the “DC PROTEST” will be coming soon, it adds, and also lists a series of bus stops between Dec. 27 and Jan. 6 where Trump backers can “Join the caravan or show your support.” Kimberly Fletcher, the Moms for America president, said she wasn’t aware the Trump campaign had a role in the rally at the Ellipse until around New Year's Day. While she didn’t work directly with the campaign, Fletcher did notice a shift in who was involved in the rally and who would be speaking. “When I got there and I saw the size of the stage and everything, I’m like, ‘Wow, we couldn’t possibly have afforded that,’” she said. “It was a big stage. It was a very professional stage. I don’t know who was in the background or who put it together or anything.” In addition to the large stage, the rally on the Ellipse featured a sophisticated sound system and at least three Jumbotron-style screens projecting the president's image to the crowd. Videos posted online show Trump and his family in a nearby private tent watching the rally on several monitors as music blared in the background. Moms for America held a more modest “Save the Republic” rally on Jan. 5 near the U.S. Capitol, an event that drew about 500 people and cost between $13,000 to $14,000, according to Fletcher. Justin Caporale is listed on the Women for America First paperwork as the event’s project manager. He’s identified as a partner with Event Strategies Inc., a management and production company. Caporale, formerly a top aide to first lady Melania Trump, was on the Trump campaign payroll for most of 2020, according to the FEC records, and he most recently was being paid $7,500 every two weeks. Caporale didn’t respond to requests for comment. Tim Unes, the founder and president of Event Strategies, was the “stage manager” for the Jan. 6 rally, according to the permit paperwork. Unes has longstanding ties to Trump, a connection he highlights on his company’s website. Trump’s presidential campaign paid Event Strategies $1.3 million in 2020 for “audio visual services,” according to the campaign finance records. The company declined to comment for this story. Another person with close ties to the Trump administration, Hannah Salem, was the rally’s “operations manager for logistics and communications,” according to the permit paperwork. In 2017, she took a hiatus from the consulting firm she founded and spent three years as senior White House press aide, “executing the media strategy for President Trump’s most high-profile events,” according to her company bio and LinkedIn profile. Last week, within minutes of an AP reporter sending her a LinkedIn message asking about her involvement in and understanding of what happened on Jan. 6, Salem blocked the reporter and did not respond to questions. ___ Smith reported from Providence, Rhode Island. ___ Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York and Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report. Richard Lardner And Michelle R. Smith, The Associated Press
Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries plans to embed its ecommerce app JioMart into WhatsApp within six months, financial daily Mint reported https://bit.ly/3oTRtPB on Monday, as the Indian conglomerate looks to ramp up its retail and grocery business in the country. Reliance, which has been trying to move away from its mainstay oil and energy business, had last year raised about $26 billion from investors like Google and Facebook for its digital and retail arms as it takes on Amazon.com Inc and Walmart-backed Flipkart in India. The move to integrate JioMart with WhatsApp will allow hundreds of millions of users to order products from Reliance without having to leave the app, Mint said, citing two officials aware of the development.
SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — Billionaire Samsung scion Lee Jae-yong is heading back to prison after a South Korean court sentenced him to two and a half years over his involvement in a 2016 corruption scandal that spurred massive protests and ousted South Korea’s then-president. In a much-anticipated retrial on Monday, the Seoul High Court found Lee guilty of bribing then-President Park Geun-hye and her close confidante to win government support for a 2015 merger between two Samsung affiliates. The deal helped strengthen his control over the country’s largest business group. Lee’s lawyers had portrayed him as a victim of presidential power abuse and described the 2015 deal as part of “normal business activity.” It wasn’t immediately known whether he would appeal. Prosecutors had sought a nine-year prison term for Lee. Lee helms the Samsung group in his capacity as vice-president of Samsung Electronics, one of the world’s largest makers of computer chips and smartphones. Lee, 52, was sentenced in 2017 to five years in prison for offering 8.6 billion won ($7 million) in bribes to Park and her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil. But he was freed in early 2018 after the Seoul High Court reduced his term to 2 1/2 years and suspended his sentence, overturning key convictions and reducing the amount of his bribes. Park and Choi are serving prison terms of 22 years and 18 years, respectively. In 2019, the Supreme Court returned the case to the high court, ruling that the amount of Lee’s bribes had been undervalued. It said the money that Samsung spent to purchase three racehorses used by Choi’s equestrian daughter and fund a winter sports foundation run by Choi’s niece also should be considered bribes. The Associated Press
Southeast Asian ride-hailing and food delivery giant Grab is exploring a listing in the United States this year, encouraged by robust investor appetite for IPOs, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. The IPO could raise at least $2 billion, one of the sources said, which would likely make it the largest overseas share offering by a Southeast Asian company. Singapore-based Grab declined comment on the potential IPO.
Guatemalan security forces on Monday cleared a road of hundreds of people in a mostly Honduran migrant caravan that had camped out overnight when authorities barred it from advancing toward the United States. The government said the road in eastern Guatemala reopened to traffic after troops with batons and plastic shields closed in on the migrants just beyond the village of Vado Hondo, some 34 miles (55 km) from the borders of Honduras and El Salvador. With soldiers looking on, groups of migrants, many with young children and carrying bags and luggage, then waited in lines to board buses returning them to the El Florido border crossing with Honduras, video footage on social media showed.
Il réside à Matane, mais travaille pour des médias aux quatre coins du monde. Depuis 2013, Sébastien Thibault réalise chaque année une flopée de contrats d’illustrations, environ 200 à 250, à temps plein dans son petit bureau de Matane. Il a été primé maintes fois à l’étranger malgré l’univers compétitif, et est arrivé à s’y faire une place de choix. Après avoir grandi à Matane, Sébastien Thibault quitte sa ville natale au début des années 2000 pour s’installer à Québec le temps de ses études universitaires. Il fréquente l’Université Laval, où il a étudié en communication graphique. Et comme il a toujours aimé dessiner et les illustrations, il s’inscrit à un cours optionnel d’illustration d’édition. « J’ai vraiment eu un déclic dans ce cours. J’ai adoré qu’on puisse faire des illustrations pour supporter des enjeux, ou même amener le lecteur à lire sur un sujet », s’est enthousiasmé Sébastien. Enfin, il reçoit son diplôme en 2003 et devient graphiste dans une firme de graphisme et marketing, Audace, située à Sainte-Anne-des-Monts. Mais il n’a pas commencé immédiatement à faire de l’illustration d’édition; il a fallu attendre quelques années avant que Thibault se lance dans le monde illustré. Il a donc exécuté un retour en région pour travailler dans la firme gaspésienne, emploi qu’il a déniché alors qu’il était encore aux études. Et même s’il travaillait à Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, il a continué à vivre à Matane, en faisant des aller-retours lorsqu’il le fallait. C’est en 2005 environ que Sébastien commence à illustrer, uniquement comme passe-temps, juste pour s’amuser. Tout de même, il gardait en tête son expérience d’illustration éditoriale qu’il avait encore envie d’explorer. Il contacte alors le média montréalais Urbania, qui a été son premier client. « J’ai commencé à collaborer avec eux, et réussi à me faire un mini portfolio d’illustrations éditoriales », a-t-il expliqué. De fil en aiguille, il offre ses services à d’autres clients québécois. Il accède à la reconnaissance internationale grâce à son agente, Anna Goodson. Avant qu’elle le représente, il suivait son travail de près, ainsi que celui d’un de ses artistes, Lino, également illustrateur québécois. « C’était un beau rêve d’être représenté par Anna, car elle représentait plusieurs illustrateurs qui m’intéressaient et que je suivais », a ajouté Thibault. Et en 2021, cela fera 10 ans que Goodson le représente et que la paire travaille ensemble. Au début de leur collaboration, Sébastien dessinait à temps partiel, jusqu’à temps que les contrats s’accumulent peu à peu et que son horaire soit trop rempli, tous les soirs et fins de semaine. Il est donc arrivé à une croisée des chemins : arrêter sa carrière d’illustrateur d’édition, ou démissionner de son emploi de graphiste. En 2013, il devient donc illustrateur à temps plein. « Finalement, je suis toujours aussi occupé et je suis constamment à la maison », a-t-il blagué. « Mais ça a été une décision bénéfique. » Lâcher sa firme de graphisme lui a fait un pincement au cœur, mais c’était impensable pour lui de continuer sur sa lancée. « Au final, je préfère l’illustration, car c’est plus personnel. Les gens peuvent t’identifier à travers tes images. Tandis qu’un graphiste, tu travailles pour le client, selon ses demandes et envies uniquement. » Les contrats à l’étranger sont alors montés en flèche. Parmi ses clients récurrents, on distingue le New York Times, The Guardian, le magazine Time, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, le magazine québécois L’Actualité, et le journal suisse Neue Zürcher Zeitung. « Je travaille beaucoup avec les magazines et les journaux, mais ça a beaucoup évolué avec le temps, car les médias ont évolué eux aussi. Certains sont passés de l’imprimé au web », a-t-il dit. Un processus de création complexe En créant une illustration, il doit prévoir que l’image puisse être adaptable en plusieurs formats. Son travail débute par la réception d’un texte d’un client, que ce soit l’article complet ou un court résumé du sujet. Il s’y base donc pour débuter, en décortiquant le texte pour trouver les passages marquants. Il en écrit les idées ressorties et produit un remue-méninges. Il s’inspire ensuite de ses idées pour exécuter 3 à 5 esquisses à la main par crayon à plomb sur papier. Puis, il photocopie les croquis et les envoie au client. Après un certain temps, le client lui dit ce qu’il en pense et choisit l’idée la plus forte. « Ce qui est drôle, c’est que ce n’est souvent pas l’idée que j’ai choisie à la base », ajoute-t-il. Sébastien passe donc au produit final. Il travaille de manière digitale à partir de sa tablette graphique, en redessinant cette fois l’illustration sur la tablette. « Le format digital, c’est beaucoup pour gagner du temps. Les délais de livraison ont beaucoup changé depuis 10-15 ans. Avant, les illustrations faites à la main étaient envoyées par courrier recommandé, et ça prenait 3 jours à recevoir. Aujourd’hui, tu peux faire une illustration et dans cinq heures, il faut qu’elle soit livrée », a précisé Thibault. Le délai le plus court qu’il est capable de faire, c’est environ 4 heures, ce qui est demandé pour le New York Times ou The Guardian. Et pour un contrat qu’il décrit de « normal », comme le magazine L’Actualité, un produit peut lui prendre 3 à 5 jours. En effet, il prend deux jours pour fabriquer ses idées, le directeur artistique réfléchit une journée, et puis deux jours de plus pour terminer. Les délais serrés sont toujours un peu difficiles selon lui, mais « c’est en pratiquant qu’on s’améliore ». Après cinq ans à dessiner pour The Guardian, il sait que tous les deux mardis du mois, il aura un contrat à produire pour le média britannique. « Chaque fois, je me dis que j’aimerais couper le contrat, car c’est trop de stress. Encore cette semaine, j’ai dit à ma blonde, je pense que je vais arrêter ça, je suis tanné. Et elle me répond, ça fait 5 ans que tu me dis ça », a-t-il ri. Ces contrats ajoutent certainement de l’adrénaline dans son quotidien, à ses dires. Parmi sa clientèle préférée, il mentionne les magazines L’Actualité et Québec Science. « À l’Actualité, ils veulent quelque chose d’éclaté, alors généralement j’ai une grande liberté. Travailler avec Québec Science, c’est aussi exaltant. Ils traitent souvent de sujets nichés plutôt ennuyants pour le grand public, et le but est de les rendre intéressants. » Thibault a d’ailleurs développé des façons de faire pour s’inspirer et trouver des idées lors d’un syndrome de la page blanche. Tout d’abord, il essaie d’identifier l’émotion dégagée dans un texte, que ce soit la colère, la peur ou l’indignation. Sinon, il tente de dégoter le côté accrocheur en le greffant à quelque chose de surprenant pour créer un effet surréaliste. À Matane pour rester Né à Matane en 1980, il a habité avec sa famille au centre-ville. Depuis sa tendre jeunesse, Sébastien a toujours été très créatif. « J’ai pas mal toujours dessiné et au secondaire, je faisais des affiches de spectacles pour mes amis », a-t-il précisé. C’est aussi à Matane qu’il complète son cégep en arts. En terminant son baccalauréat à Québec, il n’a pas été difficile pour lui de revenir dans sa région d’origine. « J’aime la région, j’aime la tranquillité. J’ai un bon réseau ici aussi, mais je m’y plais. Je trouve qu’on vit dans un milieu où on peut facilement s’accomplir. En ville, je serais un illustrateur parmi tant d’autres alors qu’ici, c’est facile de se faire connaître rapidement. » Questionné sur un possible déménagement, il répond : « pourquoi j’irais en ville ». Il choisit Matane pour la qualité de vie et le rapport à l’argent. « On peut vivre pour beaucoup moins ici que dans les grandes villes. Je pense que les gens l’ont réalisé dans la pandémie : c’est précieux d’avoir de l’espace, une grande maison, de la nature, une cour, et plus de liberté. » Père de deux petites filles, sa famille y est établie désormais. C’est aussi partie prenante de la raison qu’il a dû quitter son emploi de graphiste pour la firme Audace, car il n’avait plus de temps pour passer du temps avec ses enfants, alors que normalement il apprécie les sorties en nature. Pour l’instant, il confirme vouloir rester à Matane. Regard en avant Pour ses illustrations, il multiplie les prix et reconnaissances internationaux depuis plusieurs années, preuve de son succès retentissant. Certaines entreprises le contactent pour ses services, mais il se permet de refuser lorsqu’elles ne concordent pas avec ses valeurs. Dans le futur, il souhaite tout de même se laisser surprendre par les nouveautés à venir. À court terme, il travaille avec la santé publique de la Nouvelle-Écosse sur une campagne de sensibilisation aux règles à suivre pour ralentir la propagation de la COVID-19. À long terme, il espère peut-être illustrer des livres, chose qu’il a déjà faite auparavant. En effet, Sébastien a illustré deux romans, le plus récent étant Bobo, chronique de la petite douleur de Hugo Léger, et le premier, Le Feuilleton d’Ulysse de Murielle Szac, pour lequel Thibault a produit 250 illustrations, et plus de 85 000 exemplaires ont été vendus. Thibault affirme aimer varier ses contrats et ses clients. Par exemple, il a récemment travaillé avec la compagnie téléphonique Fizz pour des publicités. « C’est le fun d’avoir quelque chose de différent à faire, c’est là qu’on voit que l’illustration peut avoir des chemins très différents. » Il continue également d’illustrer pour lui, pour le plaisir de la chose, et de plus en plus, dit-il. « Comme j’envoie toujours plusieurs esquisses à mes clients, ça veut dire qu’il y a toujours quelques idées intéressantes qui sont finalement rejetées. Alors quand j’ai le temps, je reprends des illustrations sur des sujets plutôt génériques. » Et il s’amuse à les développer.Claudie Arseneault, Initiative de journalisme local, Mon Matane
Hundreds of vehicles festooned with pink balloons, rainbow signs and anti-bullying messages drove slowly through a riverfront area of Mission B.C. on Sunday to offer support to a teen who was beaten by two other students at their school on Monday. AJ Gopinath, one of the organizers of the rally, said when details of the violence emerged, he knew he had to do something in response. "For us, just standing by and watching someone get assaulted in a manner that is not accepted by the community and, as a person, I couldn't step back and allow it to happen," he said from the rally on Sunday while wearing a pink T-shirt with the message, 'Say no to bullying' on it. On Monday a video was posted on social media that showed the victim, who rally organizers describe as a non-binary transgender teen, being punched and kicked by two girls on school grounds of École Heritage Park Middle School. The two attackers were arrested and police are recommending charges against them including assault and uttering threats. The video and its aftermath have received strong reaction from residents in Mission and around the province. The Mission School District said the two girls who attacked their peer will face discipline from the school as will some bystanders who watched the attack. B.C. Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside has also commented on the attack saying she has asked her ministry to provide support to the school district and that students deserve to be safe at school. On Sunday at the rally to support the victim, participants cheered, honked and waved signs that said bullying was not acceptable in the community. "We wanted to show them that they have the love and support of everybody and all of Mission," said Gopinath about people who are bullied. Brad Vis, the MP for the area said he was overwhelmed by the positive response from everyone who attended the rally. "I'm just so proud of my community today and I'm just so proud of the victim and all the encouragement [they're] getting," he said. Mission Acting Mayor Jag Gill said the rally would help the community overcome the tragedy.
Vietnam on Monday awarded a licence to a unit of Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Co Ltd to build a $270 million plant to produce laptops and tablets, the Vietnamese government said. The plant, to be developed by Fukang Technology, will be located in the northern province of Bac Giang and will annually produce eight million units, the government said in a statement on its website. Foxconn has so far invested $1.5 billion in Vietnam and plans to raise its investment by $700 million and recruit 10,000 more local workers this year, the government said.
Sunday's Games (All Times Eastern) NHL Pittsburgh 4 Washington 3 (SO) Florida 5 Chicago 2 Dallas at Tampa Bay, ppd. --- NBA New York 105 Boston 75 Chicago 117 Dallas 101 Utah 109 Denver 105 New Orleans 128 Sacramento 123 L.A. Clippers 129 Indiana 96 Philadelphia at Oklahoma City, ppd. Cleveland at Washington, ppd. --- NFL Playoffs Divisional Round Kansas City 22, Cleveland 17 Tampa Bay 30 New Orleans 20 --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published January 17, 2021. The Canadian Press
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Monday that U.S. President-elect Joe Biden should hold talks with North Korea to build on progress that President Donald Trump had made with leader Kim Jong Un. Biden takes office on Wednesday amid a prolonged stalemate in negotiations aimed at dismantling North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes in exchange for U.S. sanctions relief. Moon, who had offered to be a mediator between Pyongyang and Washington, said he will seek an early chance to promote North Korea as Biden's foreign policy priority so that he will follow through on an agreement reached by Trump and Kim at their first summit in Singapore.
The world is on the brink of a "catastrophic moral failure" on distributing vaccines, the head of the World Health Organization said, urging countries and manufacturers to share COVID-19 doses more fairly. For example, more than 39 million doses of vaccine have been administered in 49 higher-income countries whereas in one poor country, just 25 doses have been given, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. China's economy picked up speed in the fourth quarter, with growth beating expectations and poised to expand further this year even as the global pandemic rages unabated.
Euronews correspondent Galina Polonskaya was on the plane with opposition leader Alexei Navalny before he was detained on arrival at a Moscow airport. "I felt like he knew what was going to happen," she said.View on euronews
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 6 p.m. Alberta is reporting 750 new COVID-19 cases and 19 related deaths over the past 24 hours. Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says in a series of tweets that there are 12,234 active COVID-19 cases in the province, with 738 patients in hospital and 123 in intensive care. Hinshaw says there were 11,484 tests completed yesterday, with a test positivity rate of 6.5 per cent. --- 3:20 p.m. Saskatchewan is reporting 287 new COVID-19 cases and three additional deaths today. The province says it administered 3,232 COVID-19 vaccine doses on Saturday, which it describes as its highest one-day total to date. It says 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been sent to North Battleford this weekend, where clinics will begin delivering them to priority health-care workers on Monday. The next day, doses will go to long-term care residents and staff in North Battleford, Wilkie and Lloydminster. The province says 20,159 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far. --- 2:15 p.m. Manitoba is reporting 189 new COVID-19 infections and eight additional virus-related deaths in the past 24 hours. The province's daily pandemic report says seven of those who died were in their 70s or older, but one was in his 30s. The provincial update says there are over 3,000 active cases in Manitoba, with 292 of them receiving treatment in hospital. There are 39 people in intensive care who either have COVID-19 or are no longer infectious but continue to require care. --- 2 p.m. for The Latest: New Brunswick is reporting 36 new cases of COVID-19, the largest single day total in the province since the pandemic began. The new cases bring the province's total number of active infections to 292. Health officials say 24 of the cases are in the Edmundston region, which will be moved to the red alert level of virus precautions at midnight. Five of the new cases are in the Moncton region, four are in the Saint John area, two in the Fredericton region and one is in the Bathurst area. --- 1:30 p.m. Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting one new case of COVID-19 today, and now has six active cases. Health officials say the case involves a man in the Eastern Health region between 20 and 39 years of age. They say the case is travel-related, with the individual having returned to the province from work in Alberta. Officials say that as a result of the case, they are asking passengers who travelled on Air Canada Flight 7480 from Montreal to St. John’s that arrived on January 13 to call 811 to arrange testing. --- 12 p.m. Nova Scotia is reporting four new cases of COVID-19 today and now has 29 active infections. Health officials say there is one case each in the western, northern, eastern and central health zones. The case in the central zone involves a student at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax who lives off-campus. All of the new cases are related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada and all are self-isolating. --- 11:20 a.m. Quebec is reporting 50 new deaths due to COVID-19 as well as a preliminary total of 1,744 new cases. The province says, however, that a data transmission delay means the number of cases is incomplete and will be adjusted in a future update. Hospitalizations declined for the third straight day, down 14 to 1,460. There were also 12 fewer people in intensive care, for a total of 215. --- 10:30 a.m. Ontario has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours. The province is reporting 3,422 new cases of the virus today and 69 associated deaths. More than a thousand of the most recent diagnoses were based in Toronto, 585 were in neighbouring Peel Region, and 254 in Winsor-Esssex County. Hospitalizations across the province declined by 62 to 1,570, with 395 patients in intensive care. Health Minister Christine Elliott says the province has administered more than 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine as of last night. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2021. The Canadian Press
East Ferris residents opposed to a rezoning application for a light industrial operation on MacPherson Drive can’t be blamed if they started to smile when first reading a municipal update Friday. Greg Kirton, manager of planning and economic development, wrote that Paige Engineering has withdrawn its applications. While still on the Planning and Advisory Committee agenda for Wednesday, the presentations for and against won't take place. “These files have been closed and will not proceed any further with the Planning Advisory Committee or Council,” he said, referring to the contentious issue that was set for a second public hearing. Numerous letters of opposition were gathered since the last meeting Dec. 16 and a new petition, urging the municipality to help the business find a better-suited location, is nearing 100 signatures. See: Industrial rezoning application deferred into 2021 See: New petition opposes industrial rezoning request See: Residents oppose industrial rezoning on MacPherson Drive The PAC deferred a decision until Paige Engineering figured out how a tractor-trailer could safely unload occasional deliveries at the 382 MacPherson property. Concerns about traffic and pedestrian safety were among those raised last month because the garage is situated at the beginning an ‘S’ curve on a rural road with little shoulder, no sidewalk and not much of a parking area. Other issues raised included the big gap between the existing Official Plan designation of agricultural to land for economic development and the rezoning from rural residential is a leap to light industrial. Paige Engineering wants to outfit trucks and equipment with explosive storage and delivery components it designs for mining and construction clients, both domestic and international. Most of the heavy fabrication work is contracted out before its delivered for assembly. No explosives are permitted on site, John Paige told the PAC. Looming subdivision plans east and west have the potential of adding more than 75 homes plus individual lot development, a pressure of change fuelling comments about the changing character of the area. The withdrawal of the applications would have been rare good news in the middle of a pandemic as the province endures another strict lockdown. The next paragraph wiped those smiles away. “However, Paige Engineering would like to make the committee aware of their intention to re-apply for a Temporary Use By-law under section 39 of the Planning Act,” Kirton wrote in his letter to the PAC, while also circulated to nearby residents and those who registered to speak and receive updates. “A Temporary Use By-Law is implemented in the same way as a Zoning By-Law Amendment under section 34 of the Planning Act; but is limited to a 3-year duration,” he said, noting the East Ferris Official Plan covers such things in section 9.17. “The intention of Paige Engineering Limited is that, if approved, they will use this 3-year temporary approval in order to explore permanent options elsewhere in the community.” Sylvie Hotte, who lives adjacent to the subject property, was not impressed with the change in tack, especially after spending most of the last month before and after the holidays organizing opposition twice already. Her first petition had more than 130 signatures but she was told it was not specific enough and it is unclear if the 'temporary use' application might require a third specific to it. Time will tell if letters of opposition gathered from residents might also need to reference the new application terms, even though fighting a three-year operation doesn’t change the chief concerns for Hotte. Traffic hazards and all other impacts will be the same, she said, and there is no certainty of another change of mind in three years. “This kind of ‘trust me’ and incremental approach is unacceptable,” she stated in her most recent communication to the municipality. Hotte said they are not being told important details, such as environmental protection plans, parking configuration, drainage, and water services, etc. because they are determined during the site plan control stage that doesn’t include public input. Hotte maintains it doesn’t make sense to cause so much disruption in so many lives when East Ferris is planning to develop a 22-acre industrial park on its Callander Bay Drive border. "The residents of this area are furious," she said Friday. "No industrial in our neighbourhood means 'No' ... it does not conform." Brian and Debbie Callahan, who live on the other side of MacPherson Drive, are among the residents who submitted letters of opposition. “We have lived across the street from this location for over 20 years and have come across several problems with traffic on this section of MacPherson Drive,” Callahans wrote. “When our children were younger, they were transported to school in North Bay by school bus. Due to traffic travelling towards Centennial Crescent, the school board deemed it unsafe to have the bus pick up our children at the end of our driveway due to a very sharp corner affecting the safe flow of traffic,” he wrote. “Instead, our children had to walk to Woodcliffe Road to catch the bus. Traffic does not slow coming around the sharp corner, posing unsafe conditions in front of our residence as well as the property in question.” The Callahan's said this kind of change to the Official Plan would give those considering investment in East Ferris a reason to reconsider because property owners don’t know what will be approved next. “We recently found out that a couple that we know from North Bay have been contemplating buying the property near the aforementioned property to build a permanent residence on. They changed their minds when they found out about the proposed Zoning By-law Amendment,” they said. Also worrisome to them was “continuous hammering and construction taking place at the property in question” in recent weeks. “The noise is very noticeable and annoying even though the doors to the building are closed,” their letter states. “The big problem is the prospect of having the doors open during the summer with manufacturing taking place inside. So much for a quiet residential area." Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday Jan. 17, 2021. There are 708,619 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 708,619 confirmed cases (75,281 active, 615,324 resolved, 18,014 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 6,436 new cases Sunday from 70,499 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 9.1 per cent. The rate of active cases is 200.27 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 47,285 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 6,755. There were 149 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 1,001 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 143. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.38 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.92 per 100,000 people. There have been 16,557,083 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 396 confirmed cases (nine active, 383 resolved, four deaths). There was one new case Sunday from 204 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.49 per cent. The rate of active cases is 1.73 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been three new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 76,369 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 104 confirmed cases (nine active, 95 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday from 331 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 5.73 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 86,220 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,558 confirmed cases (29 active, 1,464 resolved, 65 deaths). There were four new cases Sunday from 743 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.54 per cent. The rate of active cases is 2.99 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 30 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people. There have been 195,810 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 947 confirmed cases (293 active, 642 resolved, 12 deaths). There were 36 new cases Sunday from 874 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 4.1 per cent. The rate of active cases is 37.72 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 168 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 24. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of three new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.06 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 128,277 tests completed. _ Quebec: 242,714 confirmed cases (20,651 active, 213,008 resolved, 9,055 deaths). There were 1,744 new cases Sunday from 9,270 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 19 per cent. The rate of active cases is 243.38 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 13,893 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,985. There were 50 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 369 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 53. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.62 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 106.72 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,656,534 tests completed. _ Ontario: 237,786 confirmed cases (28,893 active, 203,484 resolved, 5,409 deaths). There were 3,422 new cases Sunday from 58,215 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 5.9 per cent. The rate of active cases is 198.35 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 22,004 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 3,143. There were 69 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 380 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 54. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.37 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 37.13 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,633,584 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 27,511 confirmed cases (3,081 active, 23,661 resolved, 769 deaths). There were 189 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 224.98 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,194 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 171. There were eight new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 31 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.32 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 56.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 436,236 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 20,272 confirmed cases (4,121 active, 15,936 resolved, 215 deaths). There were 287 new cases Sunday from 862 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 33 per cent. The rate of active cases is 350.88 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,158 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 308. There were three new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 24 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is three. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.29 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 18.31 per 100,000 people. There have been 321,266 tests completed. _ Alberta: 116,837 confirmed cases (12,234 active, 103,167 resolved, 1,436 deaths). There were 750 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 279.87 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,385 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 769. There were 19 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 152 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 22. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.5 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.85 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,979,663 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 60,117 confirmed cases (5,955 active, 53,115 resolved, 1,047 deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 117.42 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,440 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 349. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 42 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is six. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 20.65 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,021,911 tests completed. _ Yukon: 70 confirmed cases (two active, 67 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 4.9 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,256 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 28 confirmed cases (four active, 24 resolved, zero deaths). There were three new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 8.92 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of four new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 8,323 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 266 confirmed cases (zero active, 265 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,558 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 17, 2021. The Canadian Press
SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — South Korea's president on Monday urged the incoming Biden administration to build upon the achievements and learn from the failures of President Donald Trump's diplomatic engagement with North Korea. A dovish liberal and the son of northern war refugees, Moon Jae-in had lobbied hard to help set up Trump’s three summits with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but their diplomacy stalemated over disagreements over easing crippling U.S.-led sanctions for the North’s disarmament. Biden has accused Trump of chasing the spectacle of summits rather than meaningful curbs on the North’s nuclear capabilities. North Korea has a history of staging weapons tests and other provocations to test new U.S. presidents, and Kim vowed to strengthen his nuclear weapons program in recent political speeches that were seen as aimed at pressuring the incoming Biden administration. The South Korean leader has been desperate to keep alive a positive atmosphere for dialogue in the face of Kim's vows to further expand a nuclear and missile program that threatens Asian U.S. allies and the American homeland. And while Moon acknowledged that Biden is likely to try a different approach than Trump, the South Korean leader stressed that Biden could still learn from Trump's successes and failures in dealing with North Korea. During a mostly virtual news conference in Seoul, Moon claimed that Kim still had a “clear willingness” to denuclearize if Washington and Pyongyang could find mutually agreeable steps to decrease the nuclear threat and ensure the North’s security. Most experts see Kim's recent comments as further evidence he will maintain his weapons program to ensure his regime's survival. When asked about the North’s efforts to increase its ballistic capacity to strike targets throughout South Korea, including U.S. bases there, Moon said the South could sufficiently cope with such threats with its missile defence systems and other military assets. “The start of the Biden administration provides a new opportunity to start over talks between North Korea and the United States and also between South and North Korea,” which have stalled amid the stalemate in nuclear negotiations, Moon said. The erosion in inter-Korean relations have been a major setback to Moon, who met Kim three times in 2018 while expressing ambitions to reboot inter-Korean economic engagement held back by U.S.-led sanctions against the North. During Trump’s first summit with Kim in June 2018, they pledged to improve bilateral relations and issued vague aspirational vows for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without describing when and how it would occur. But the negotiations faltered after their second meeting in February 2019 when the Americans rejected the North Korean demands for major sanctions relief in exchange for the dismantling of an aging nuclear reactor, which would have amounted to a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities. Moon said that Trump and Kim’s agreement in their first meeting was still relevant and the Biden administration should take lessons from the failures of their second meeting. Kim Tong-Hyung, The Associated Press
VICTORIA — Using a jackhammer and other home repair tools to save a cat stuck in a tiny drainpipe ranks as the strangest rescue call one Victoria firefighter can recall responding to in his 20-year career. Capt. Tim Hanley said Sunday he and three other firefighters spent more than two hours using sledgehammers and a jackhammer to break through Victoria homeowner Emma Hutchinson's concrete basement floor to free Willow, a nine-month-old kitten. "It came in as a call about a kitten stuck in a pipe," said Hanley. "We didn't know what that entailed and when we got there the woman led us to her basement." He said Hutchinson called firefighters earlier in the week pleading for help after discovering her cat had somehow become stuck in a drainpipe with a 10-centimetre diameter in her basement. She said she knew her cat was stuck in the pipe because she used a portable drain camera and could see the feline, said Hanley. "We got the camera and slid it down and sure enough we could see the cat, but it wasn't making any sounds or anything," he said. Hanley said the firefighters attempted to break open the floor near the pipe, but the concrete appeared to be more than 15 centimetres thick. Luckily, Hutchinson had numerous home renovation tools available for the firefighters to use for the rescue, including a concrete cracking jackhammer, sledgehammers, shovels, buckets, drills and the drain scope, he said. The firefighters used Hutchinson's jackhammer and sledgehammers to break through the concrete floor and dig an area to expose the pipe where the cat was trapped more than a metre down, said Hanley. "As soon as we drilled a hole in the pipe I guess it let in enough light that the cat could see it and it started crying, making some sounds, so we knew it was in there still and knew it was alive," he said. "So I said, 'let's make a cut right here before it moves.' " Hutchinson was too distraught to watch the rescue effort from the basement, but when the cat was pulled from the pipe she was overcome with emotion, Hanley said. "When we got the cat out to her she was just so overjoyed with laughing and crying," he said. "She quickly had phoned a vet and before we we were even cleaned up and out of there, she jumped into her car and took off to the vet to get it looked at." Hutchinson described the rescue as a "miracle" and the efforts of the firefighters as "heroic." "My cat is very important to me," she said. "They were at it for a good couple of hours and they were going to get it out." Hutchinson said Willow was extremely dirty when rescued but was pronounced healthy after being treated for dehydration by a veterinarian. "This is my 20th year and, yes, that's probably the strangest (call) so far," Hanley said. Hanley said Hutchison told the firefighters she will be using her tools to repair the hole in her basement. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2021. Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
HONOLULU — Three shots behind with six holes to play, Kevin Na birdied three straight holes and finished with an up-and-down birdie from behind the 18th green for a 5-under 65 and a one-shot victory in the Sony Open. Na won for the fifth time in his PGA Tour career, and this one looked unlikely when he three-putted for bogey on the 12th hole at a time where there was no room for mistakes. He answered with birdie putts of 15, 10 and 6 feet, and the winning shot was out of the right rough on the par-5 closing hole at Waialae and ran just over the back of the green. He chipped to tap-in range for his last birdie. Na finished one shot ahead of Joaquin Niemann and Chris Kirk, and only one of them got a consolation prize. Abbotsford, B.C. native Nick Taylor finished in a three-way tie for 11th place at 17-under par. Taylor fired a 3-under 67 in his final round. Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., shot a 4-under 66 to end his tournament in a six-way tie for 19th place at 15-under. Brights Grove, Ont. native and 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir finished in a tie for 47th place. Niemann chipped in for birdie from 55 feet on the par-3 17th and got up-and-down with a long bunker shot on the 18th hole for a 66. Even so, he was runner-up for the second straight week in Hawaii. The 22-year-old from Chile was 45-under par in two events without a trophy to show for it. Kirk closed with his fourth straight round of 65 — that wasn't enough to win on a soft Waialae with no wind — and his tough pitch from below the 18th for birdie proved to be massive. Kirk stepped away from golf in May 2019 citing alcoholism and depression, a bold move that is paying off. He was given a medical extension to make up for lost time, and this was the final event for him to regain full status. Needing nearly 150 FedEx Cup points at the Sony Open, his tie for second was worth 245 points. As for Brendan Steele, it was another year of disappointment in paradise, this one more of a slow leak. Steele last year had a two-shot lead with two to play and wound up losing in a playoff. This time, he made an 18-foot eagle putt on the ninth hole to take a three-shot lead into the back nine. He three-putted the easy 10th hole from nearly 80 feet, and his game was so tentative the rest of the way that he didn't have a birdie chance inside 30 feet until the 17th hole. That was from 10 feet to tie for the lead, and he missed that. Steele also failed to birdie the 18th and closed with a 69. Na won for the fourth consecutive season, and he attributed the late surge to being happy at home with his wife and two children. He looked comfortable even when the Sony Open appeared to be slipping away. Once he made the 15-footer on the 13th hole, he started walking them in. “I knew there was a lot of birdie holes left,” Na said. “I was having fun out there.” Webb Simpson matched the low score of the final round with a 64 and tied for fourth along with Steele and Marc Leishman, shot shot 30 on the back nine. Na finished at 21-under 259 and is assured of returning to Hawaii for two weeks next year, starting with the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua. That course can be too big for him. Waialae proved to be a perfect fit. Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press
Global stock markets wavered on Monday as soaring COVID-19 cases offset investor hopes of a quick economic recovery, even after data showing that the Chinese economy rebounded faster-than-expected in the fourth quarter of 2020. European stocks as measured by the STOXX 600 index struggled for direction, last trading 0.1% higher as of 1446 GMT, after failed merger talks between French retailer Carrefour and Alimentation Couche-Tard pulled the gauge lower at the open.
The chief executive of social media platform Parler, popular with American right-wing users but which virtually vanished after the U.S. Capitol riot, posted a brief message on the company's website. A little over a week ago, Apple Inc suspended the Parler from its App Store, shortly after Alphabet-owned Google banned it from Google Play. Amazon.com Inc then suspended Parler from its web hosting service, effectively taking the site offline unless it can find a new company to host its services.