Andy Behrens highlights two picks with big Week 15 performances. Grab them early for Week 16 success.
Andy Behrens highlights two picks with big Week 15 performances. Grab them early for Week 16 success.
NEW DELHI — India started inoculating health workers Saturday in what is likely the world's largest COVID-19 vaccination campaign, joining the ranks of wealthier nations where the effort is already well underway. India is home to the world’s largest vaccine makers and has one of the biggest immunization programs. But there is no playbook for the enormity of the current challenge. Indian authorities hope to give shots to 300 million people, roughly the population of the U.S and several times more than its existing program, which targets 26 million infants. The recipients include 30 million doctors, nurses and other front-line workers, to be followed by 270 million people who are either over 50 or have illnesses that make them vulnerable to COVID-19. For workers who have pulled India’s battered health care system through the pandemic, the vaccinations offered confidence that life can start returning to normal. Many burst with pride. “I am happy to get an India-made vaccine and that we do not have to depend on others for it,” said Gita Devi, a nurse who was one of the first to get a shot. Devi has treated patients throughout the pandemic in a hospital in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh state in India's heartland. The first dose was administered to a sanitation worker at the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences in the capital, New Delhi, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi kick-started the campaign with a nationally televised speech. “We are launching the world’s biggest vaccination drive and it shows the world our capability,” Modi said. He implored citizens to keep their guard up and not to believe any “rumours about the safety of the vaccines.” It was not clear whether Modi, 70, had received the vaccine himself as other world leaders have in an effort to demonstrate the shot’s safety. His government has said politicians will not be considered a priority group in the first phase of the rollout. Health officials haven’t specified what percentage of India's nearly 1.4 billion people will be targeted by the campaign. But experts say it will almost certainly be the largest such drive globally. The sheer scale has its obstacles and some early snags were identified. For instance, there were delays in uploading the details of health care workers receiving the shots to a digital platform that India is using to track vaccines, the Health Ministry said. Shots were given to at least 165,714 people on Saturday, Dr. Manohar Agnani, a Health Ministry official, said at an evening briefing. The ministry had said that it was aiming to inoculate 100 people in each of the 3,006 vaccination centres across the country. News cameras captured the injections in hundreds of hospitals, underscoring the hope that getting people vaccinated is the first step to recovering from the pandemic that has devastated the lives of so many Indians and bruised the country's economy. India is second only to the U.S. in the number of confirmed cases, with more than 10.5 million. The country ranks third in the number of deaths, behind the U.S. and Brazil, with over 152,000. India on Jan. 4 approved emergency use of two vaccines, one developed by Oxford University and U.K.-based drugmaker AstraZeneca, and another by Indian company Bharat Biotech. Cargo planes flew 16.5 million shots to different Indian cities last week. But doubts over the effectiveness of the homegrown vaccine have created a hurdle for the ambitious plan. Health experts worry that the government's approval of the Bharat Biotech vaccine — without concrete data showing its efficacy — could amplify vaccine hesitancy. At least one state health minister has opposed its use. “In a hurry to be populist, the government (is) taking decisions that might not be in the best interest of the common man,” said Dr. S.P. Kalantri, the director of a rural hospital in Maharashtra, India’s worst-hit state. Kalantri said the regulatory approval was hasty and not backed by science. In New Delhi, doctors at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, one of the largest in the city, demanded they be administered the AstraZeneca vaccine instead of the one developed by Bharat Biotech. A doctors union at the hospital said many of its members were a “bit apprehensive about the lack of complete trial” for the native vaccine. “Right now, we don’t have the option to choose between the vaccines,” said Dr. Nirmalaya Mohapatra, vice-president of the hospital’s Resident Doctors Association. The Health Ministry has bristled at the criticism. It says the vaccines are safe and that health workers will have no choice in deciding which vaccine they get. Against the backdrop of the rising global COVID-19 death toll — it topped 2 million on Friday — the clock is ticking to vaccinate as many people as possible. But the campaign has been uneven. In wealthy countries including the United States, Britain, Israel, Canada and Germany, millions of citizens have already been given some measure of protection by vaccines developed with revolutionary speed and quickly authorized for use. But elsewhere, immunization drives have barely gotten off the ground. Many experts are predicting another year of loss and hardship in places like Iran, India, Mexico and Brazil, which together account for about a quarter of the world’s COVID-19 deaths. More than 35 million doses of various COVID-19 vaccines have been administered around the world, according to the University of Oxford. While the majority of the COVID-19 vaccine doses have already been snapped up by wealthy countries, COVAX, a U.N.-backed project to supply shots to developing parts of the world, has found itself short of vaccines, money and logistical help. As a result, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, warned this week that it is highly unlikely that herd immunity — which would require at least 70% of the globe to be vaccinated — will be achieved this year. “Even if it happens in a couple of pockets, in a few countries, it’s not going to protect people across the world,” she said. ___ Associated Press writer Biswajeet Banerjee in Lucknow, India, contributed to this report. Aniruddha Ghosal And Sheikh Saaliq, The Associated Press
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 11:15 a.m. Quebec is reporting 2,225 new COVID-19 cases and 67 further deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. The number of hospitalizations dropped for a second day, this time by 22 for a total of 1,474 patients, and four fewer patients in intensive care for a total of 227. The province added 2,430 more recoveries, for a total of 210,364. The province has now reported 240,970 confirmed infections and 9,005 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. --- 10:45 a.m. Ontario is reporting 3,056 new cases of COVID-19 today along with 51 new deaths related to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliot says 903 of the latest diagnoses are in Toronto, with 639 in neighbouring Peel region and 283 in York Region. The province says 1,632 COVID-19 patients are currently in hospital, with 397 in intensive care. Elliott says the province had administered 189,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine as of 8 p.m. on Friday. --- 10:30 a.m. Ontario says a shipping delay from Pfizer BioNTech means residents who receive an initial dose of the company's COVID-19 vaccine will have to wait longer than expected to receive their second one. The government says long-term care residents and staff who have been inoculated already will wait up to an extra week before a second dose is administered. Anyone else receiving the Pfizer vaccine were initially supposed to get a econd dose after 21 days, but will now see that timetable extended to a maximum of 42 days. The government says it's on track to ensure all long-term care residents, essential caregivers and staff, the first priority group for the vaccine, receive their first dose by mid-February. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021. The Canadian Press
For 12-year-old Ava Tran, watching herself on the Heartland season premiere last Sunday was "cool." For her mom Melissa Tran, it was surreal. "It was one thing to see her on set [when] we were filming, but then to actually see her on the screen after all the hard work she's put into this was pretty awesome to see," Melissa told The Homestretch. Tran plays the character of Parker on the new season of the show in her first professional acting role. "It's amazing, all the actors, they're so nice and it's just so awesome to be on a show this big," she said. Heartland, the popular family drama filmed in and around Calgary, is now in its 14th season. The new character of Parker brought the drama right in the first episode, with a surprise plot twist. "Well, it was very interesting and it was really hard for me to not tell my friends, any of my friends the plot," Tran said of the spoiler. "It was a big secret to keep." Before getting the role, most of Tran's acting was done in school plays and small gigs. But acting is in the family blood — Tran has two sisters and an aunt who are also in the business. Still, landing the role of Parker was a big deal, and it was months in the making, she said. "So first I had to audition in March, right before COVID hit, and that was really good," she said. "I felt like I did a really good job because they looked at me, they smiled, and they really [had] much feedback for me." From there, Tran got on the short list. "My callback was closer to the end of August, right after my birthday, so that was really fun and really exciting. And then I found out I got the role just shortly after school started," she said. Now, it's down to work. Tran said she looks forward to playing a strong-willed character and bringing more drama. "She's a very independent girl, and she's not afraid to share her opinions, because she has very strong opinions," she said. "She's a very environmentally-friendly girl." Tran said she feels her own personality is quite similar to the character she will play, with one exception — her character is afraid of horses. "I just love animals so much," Tran said. "We are very much alike because I care about the environment, I have strong opinions about things. And she's 12 and I'm 12. And yeah, it's just really cool to just put my own ideas into my character." Season 14 of Heartland airs Sundays on CBC and CBC Gem. With files from The Homestretch.
A team of climbers from Nepal on Saturday become the first mountaineers to successfully complete a winter attempt on the summit of K2, the world's second tallest peak. Located on the Pakistan China border, K2 is the only mountain over 8,000 metres that had not been summitted in the winter. The group were named as Nirmal Purja, Gelje Sherpa, Mingma David Sherpa, Mingma G, Sona Sherpa, Mingma Tenzi Sherpa, Pem Chhiri Sherpa, Dawa Temba Sherpa, Kili Pemba Sherpa, and Dawa Tenjing Sherpa.
TORONTO — Ontario Provincial Police say they've charged three of their own veteran officers and suspended four others over allegations of corruption related to the province's tow truck industry. The force alleges the accused officers provided preferential treatment to towing companies within the Greater Toronto Area. The charges and suspensions stemmed from an investigation first launched in October 2019. The officers facing charges all have at least 20 years of service with the OPP and served with either its Highway Safety Division or the Toronto detachment. Const. Simon Bridle and Const. Mohammed Ali Hussain were both arrested this past week, while a warrant is out for the arrest of Const. Bindo Showan who is believed to be out of the province. All three are charged with secret commissions and breach of trust, while Bridle faces an additional charge of obtaining sexual services for consideration. OPP says the four other officers remain under investigation, but are not currently facing any criminal charges. The Canadian Press
BERLIN — Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus missed a penalty in a 1-1 draw with lowly Mainz while Leipzig again missed the chance to move to the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday. Leipzig, which was denied top spot in losing to Dortmund 3-1 last weekend, could manage only 2-2 at Wolfsburg and it remains a point behind league leader Bayern Munich. Bayern hosts Freiburg on Sunday. Dortmund was looking for its fourth win in five league games under new coach Edin Terzic but was frustrated by a committed performance from Mainz in Bo Svensson’s second game in charge. The draw was enough for Mainz to move off the bottom on goal difference from Schalke, which visits Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday. Dortmund got off to a fine start with Erling Haaland firing inside the left post in the second minute. But the goal was ruled out through VAR as Thomas Meunier was offside in the buildup. Jude Bellingham struck the post toward the end of the half and it was as close as Dortmund came to scoring before the break. Mainz defended doggedly and took its chance in the 57th when Levin Öztunali eluded Mats Hummels with a back-heel trick and let fly from 20 metres inside the top right corner. The visitors almost grabbed another shortly afterward when Alexander Hack struck the crossbar with a header. The 16-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko had just gone on for Dortmund and he played a decisive role for his side’s equalizer in the 73rd, keeping the ball in play before sending in a cross that was cleared by Mainz defender Phillipp Mwene – only as far as Meunier, who fired back in to equalize. Meunier was then fouled in the penalty area by Hack, giving Reus a chance to score from the spot. The Dortmund captain sent his kick outside of the left post. It could have been worse for Reus’ team as Mainz captain Danny Latza hit the post late on. Dortmund remained fourth, four points behind Bayern, which has a game in hand. Werder Bremen scored late to beat Augsburg 2-0 at home, Cologne drew with Hertha Berlin 0-0, and Hoffenheim vs. Arminia Bielefeld also ended scoreless. Stuttgart hosted Borussia Mönchengladbach in the late game. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP CiaráN Fahey, The Associated Press
The Hat Art Club has been a staple in the community for decades and is celebrating an important milestone this month – 75 years in existence. The club sits around 100 members on a given year and was founded in 1946 by Mrs. Helen Beny Gibson and Rev. L.T.H Pearson. The group began with a program teaching people how to draw at city council chambers. “The Hat Art Club has grown to be one of the foundational art clubs in the city,” said club president Bev Duke. “For a very long time, there were no other organizations that provided art training for adult artists in our community. “There have been programs offered through the college over the years, but they were sporadic. The art club has offered a consistent place for artists of any age or skill to come and learn.” The Hat Art Club has operated out of the Cultural Centre since it was built, and is now offering digital art programming. The club shifted to online classes last October and invested into its new website to help keep members in the loop. Duke has been a member of the club for 25 years and is in her second term as president. She says the club aims to offer something for everyone. “We have programs around all mediums,” she said. “One of our big programs is around drawing, because it is so foundational to art, a lot of people are interested. “We offer acrylic, oils, pastels and art journaling.” The art club’s shift to online has helped Hatters fill their time at home with fun, creative activities to focus on during the pandemic. “Art is a creative outlet,” said Duke. “It gives you something to work on and it lets you develop different skills.” The club has also announced a special promotion to get new members involved. For a limited time, get a membership for $75 to celebrate the anniversary. More information can be found at http://www.hatartclub.com. Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News
The world slowed down last spring when the pandemic struck and, to at least one B.C. recycling organization, it feels like many people used the time to take stock of the fast fashion purchases piling up in their closet — and then drop them off in vast quantities. Now, the Gabriola Island Recycling Organization, inundated with bags upon bags of donated clothing, is reaching out to the Regional District of Nanaimo in hopes of securing funding to turn pounds of discarded textiles into new products. Michelle MacEwen, the organization's general manager, said the group gets about 100 bags weighing about 10 kilograms every week of used clothes and fabrics. While some is able to be sold in a local island thrift store, about half of it is not. Until the pandemic, MacEwan said it would be picked up by a diabetes organization that would take about 400 bags every eight weeks from the island to be sold at thrift stores elsewhere. That is no longer the case because everyone is at capacity for clothes right now. "I think everybody was clearing out their closets while isolating at home," said MacEwan, speaking on CBC's On The Island Thursday. By securing $100,000 from the RDN, MacEwan hopes to work with other islanders, many of whom she says have some great ideas for the heaps of cloth, to turn the fabrics into new products. Doing so, she says, will stop bags of clothes from ending up in the Nanaimo landfill. Preliminary product ideas include re-designed garments and shredding the clothes into stuffing for yoga cushions, stools and punching bags. "We really want to keep our waste in our backyard," she said. MacEwan said funding would be used to help pay for equipment such as a commercial shredder or digital sewing machines. The RDN will make a funding decision by the end of January. MacEwan said if it does not pan out, the organization will look elsewhere. She said funding could also possibly come from Western Economic Diversification Canada.
Two former Obama administration officials have emerged as front-runners for the top antitrust job at the U.S. Department of Justice under the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter. One of the picks is Renata Hesse, who has had several stints at the Justice Department since 2002 and most recently served as the Acting Assistant Attorney General from mid-2016 to Jan. 2017.
A number of front-line doctors across Canada have volunteered their scarce free time over the past year to help Canadians understand COVID-19. Jeff Semple checks in with some of these doctors to answer your questions, and give us a glimpse into their lives.
Northwest Territories health officials are urging anyone who has been in self-isolation in Hay River or Kátł'odeeche First Nation since Jan. 1 to arrange for a COVID-19 test. On Thursday, public health officials said wastewater testing suggested there are one or more cases of COVID-19 in the area. The Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory also reports a "persistent positive COVID-19 signal in Hay River wastewater" collected on Jan. 11, said Dr. Andy Delli-Pizzi, N.W.T.'s deputy chief public health officer, in a news release issued Saturday. But so far, no one who has tested for COVID-19 since then has been a positive case, said Delli-Pizzi. "Currently, there is not enough information to confidently assess public risk," he said. "But with evidence pointing towards at least one undetected case of COVID-19 in Hay River, we are asking the public to assist in containing the situation quickly to prevent transmission." Public health officials are also asking anyone who is self-isolating because they entered N.W.T. from another jurisdiction, and has been in Hay River or Kátł'odeeche First Nation since Jan. 1, to be tested. Residents who fit that criteria should be tested, regardless of symptoms. Previously, public health officials had focused on people who were self-isolating between Jan. 1-6. Public health officials are also urging essential workers, who were not self-isolating because they had an exemption to work in Hay River or Kátł'odeeche First Nation since Jan. 1, to arrange for testing. "High-risk essential service workers" who are not symptomatic and were already tested as part of their permission to work, such as health-care workers, are exempt, said Delli-Pizzi. People who were self-isolating in Hay River or Kátł'odeeche First Nation since Jan. 1, but who have since left those communities, should contact the local health centre to arrange for a test. Hay River testing clinic open this weekend To accommodate the testing, public health officials are extending the hours of a dedicated testing clinic. The testing clinic in Hay River, located at 52 Woodland Drive, will run Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Residents looking to get tested should call public health at 867-874-8400 to book an appointment and a public health nurse will call back. The nurse can also help with arrangements for transportation to the clinic for those who need it. Public health officials are urging those arriving for drive-thru testing to follow the signs, stay in their vehicles and wait their turn. They're also reminding people to wear a mask when they go for their test. Delli-Pizzi is reminding people that if they do get a positive result, public health officials will follow up for contact tracing and to try to find where a person may have been exposed to COVID-19.
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Brazil's Vanessa Melo won a unanimous decision over Canadian bantamweight Sarah (Cheesecake) Moras on a UFC card Saturday. The judges scored it 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 for Melo, who came into the bout as a betting underdog. Moras's mouth fell open in surprise when the decision went against her. Former featherweight champion Max (Blessed) Holloway, ranked No. 1 among 145-pound contenders, faced No. 6 Calvin (The Boston Finisher) Kattar in Saturday's main event at Etihad Arena. Moras and Melo were originally slated to meet in November but the fight was pushed back to January. The five-foot-seven Moras, who held a two-inch height and reach advantage, looked to connect from distance in the first round. Moras kept circling, trying to avoid Melo's power, while attacking the Brazilian with low kicks and jabs. Moras (6-8-0) lost her mouthpiece early in the second round after absorbing a blow to the face and was soon bleeding from the nose and mouth. Melo kept coming forward with Moras dancing away. Melo fought off a late Moras takedown attempt in the round. It was more of the same in the third with Moras throwing jabs on the move and Melo unsuccessfully trying to chase her down. Both fighters were in need of a win. Moras, a native of Kelowna, B.C, who fights our of Las Vegas, has now lost five of her previous six fights. The 32-year-old was coming off a decision loss last May to Sijara (Sarj) Eubanks, currently ranked 14th among 135-pound contenders. It was the first outing for the Canadian since September 2019 when she defeated Georgia's Liana (She Wolf) Jojua by third-round TKO at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi. Melo (11-8-0) had lost all three of her previous UFC fights, all by decision. Moras, whose UFC career has been interrupted by injuries, is 3-6-0 in the promotion. Her Cheesecake nickname came after a friend dared her to come out to her first pro fight to the song "Cheesecake'" by the Muppets. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021 The Canadian Press
LOS ANGELES — Hours after an angry mob of Trump supporters took control of the U.S. Capitol in a violent insurrection, Selena Gomez laid much of the blame at the feet of Big Tech. “Today is the result of allowing people with hate in their hearts to use platforms that should be used to bring people together and allow people to build community,” tweeted the singer/actor. “Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Jack Dorsey, Sundar Pichai, Susan Wojcicki — you have all failed the American people today, and I hope you’re going to fix things moving forward.” It’s just the latest effort by the 28-year-old Gomez to draw attention to the danger of internet companies critics say have profited from misinformation and hate on their platforms. Gomez has been calling out Big Tech for months — publicly on the very platforms she’s fighting and privately in conversations with Silicon Valley’s big hitters. In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Gomez said she’s frustrated by what she views as the companies’ lacklustre response and that they have to “stop doing the bare minimum.” “It isn’t about me versus you, one political party versus another. This is about truth versus lies and Facebook, Instagram and big tech companies have to stop allowing lies to just flow and pretend to be the truth,” Gomez said in a phone interview from New York. “Facebook continues to allow dangerous lies about vaccines and COVID and the U.S. election, and neo-Nazi groups are selling racist products via Instagram. “Enough is enough,” she said. Facebook and Twitter representatives declined to comment. Google didn't respond to an AP request for comment. Gomez is among a growing number of celebrities using their platforms to call out social media, including Sacha Baron Cohen, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Kerry Washington, and Kim Kardashian West. Gomez became passionate about the issue in 2017 when a 12-year-old commented on one of her Instagram posts: “Go kill yourself.” “That was my tipping point,” she said. “I couldn’t handle what I was seeing.” Social media experts have argued that companies like Facebook and Twitter played a direct role in the Capitol insurrection both by allowing plans for the uprising to be made on their platforms and through algorithms that allow dangerous conspiracy theories to take flight. That’s even though executives, such as Facebook’s Sandberg, have insisted that planning for the riots largely took place on other, smaller platforms. “The operational planning was happening in spaces that Selena, for example, was identifying to Sheryl Sandberg in advance saying, ‘You know, we need to do something about white supremacist extremism online and their ability to just form a group on Facebook and happily talk away to each other, plan what they’re going to do next,’” said Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, which has helped educate Gomez about online misinformation. In emails shared exclusively with the AP, Gomez told Sandberg in September that “a search for a militia group ‘Three Percenters’ results in dozens of pages, groups and videos focused on people hoping and preparing for civil war, and there are dozens of groups titled ‘white lives matter’ that are full of hate and lies that might lead to people being hurt or, even worse, killed.” That’s even though Facebook banned U.S.-based militia groups from its service in August. In the same email, Gomez also points to several ads with lies about election fraud being allowed to remain on Facebook and Instagram and questions why that was being allowed. “I can’t believe you can’t check ads before you take money, and if you can’t you shouldn’t be profiting from it,” she wrote. “You’re not just doing nothing. You’re cashing in from evil.” In an email response to Gomez, Sandberg defends Facebook’s efforts to remove harmful content, saying the platform has removed millions of posts for hate speech, and bans ads that are divisive, inflammatory, or discourage people from voting. She didn’t directly address the advertising examples Gomez pointed to. “It’s beating around the bush and saying what people want to hear,” Gomez said about her interactions with Sandberg and Google, among others. "I think at this point we’ve all learned that words don’t match up unless the action is going to happen.” Following the violence at the U.S. Capitol, tech companies made some of their biggest changes to date. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms banned President Donald Trump, drawing criticism from some including the American Civil Liberties Union that it was censorship, and praise from others who say the president abused his platform by encouraging violence. In a thread defending Twitter’s Trump ban, CEO Jack Dorsey said “offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all.” In addition to banning Trump, Facebook has been removing video and photos from Capitol rioters. The company also added text on posts questioning the election, confirming that Joe Biden has been lawfully elected, and saying it was taking enforcement action against militarized social movements like QAnon. While the changes are positive, they’re “just a drop in the bucket,” said Jeff Orlowski, director of Netflix’s “The Social Dilemma,” a popular 2020 film that showed how Silicon Valley’s pursuit of profit could pose an existential threat to U.S. democracy. Voices like Gomez’s can be a huge help to get the message across, considering her hundreds of millions of followers, Orlowski said. “Think of the advertising revenue from every Selena Gomez post. Think of the advertising revenue from every Donald Trump post, the advertising revenue from every post from The Rock or whoever,” he said. “Those people are literally generating millions of dollars for these companies ... The top 20 people on Instagram have probably the most influence over Mark and Sheryl compared to anybody else until finally Congress as a whole gets enough momentum and energy to put some legislation together.” Orlowski and Ahmed both said they’re looking to Biden’s administration for reforms, including a measure that would hold social media companies accountable for the posts they allow, an effort that has gained momentum and drawn bipartisan support. “The question no longer is ‘Is there going to be change,’” Ahmed said. “The question is, ‘What kind of change are we going to get?’” Meanwhile, Gomez vows to keep fighting as long as she has a pedestal. “While I have this, I’m going to do good things with it,” she said. “I think that’s my purpose.” ___ Associated Press writer Barbara Ortutay contributed to this report from Oakland, California. Amanda Lee Myers, The Associated Press
Tuesday, January 5, 2021, Mayor Stasiuk called the Town of Langenburg council meeting to order at 7:30 P.M. with all members present. The council reviewed the agenda before Councillor Sicinski made a motion to accept; the motion carried. Next, the council reviewed the minutes from the last council meeting. Following a short discussion, Councillor Popp made a motion to accept the minutes as amended; motion carried. With no business arising from the minutes, the council reviewed the town’s accounts next. Administrator Lemcke explained a few of the charges to the council before Councillor Hunt made a motion to accept the town’s accounts; motion carried. Bank reconciliation was next to be reviewed. Councillor Popp explained the bank reconciliation to the council before making a motion to accept; the motion carried. Councillor Popp explained the financial summary to the rest of the council. Councillor Hunt made a motion to accept the summary which was carried. The council next heard Town of Langenburg Foreman Dave Tucker give his report regarding the happening of the town maintenance staff. Councillor Hunt made a motion to purchase $1500 of hand tools; motion carried. Councillor Farmer made a motion to accept the report which was carried. Economic Development Officer (EDO) Lina Petkeviciene was next to give her report to the council. She discussed the construction of the proposed washroom at the rest stop as well as the banners being looked at by the EDO and council. Administrator Lemcke was next to give her report, starting with Councillor emails to be assigned to the tablet used by the councillors. Councillor Hunt made a motion to go to a town domain for council and town employees; motion carried. Councillor Hunt made a motion to pay Karlis VanCaeseele’s certification to run the water plant in case of an emergency basis; motion carried. The council next reviewed the correspondence received by the town over the last two weeks. Councillor Sicinski made a motion to file the correspondence which was carried. The meeting was adjourned by Councillor Sicinski. Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said it is "deeply disappointed" by Mexico's decision to close its investigation of ex-Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos, after the Mexican attorney general decided not to press charges. The decision, which Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador publicly backed on Friday, and a document dump by Mexico's government of U.S. evidence against Cienfuegos, threatens to strain strategic U.S.-Mexico security ties. On Friday, on Lopez Obrador's instructions, the foreign ministry tweeted the link to a 751-page document that included detailed logs of alleged Blackberry communications.
NEW YORK — All federal prisons in the United States have been placed on lockdown, with officials aiming to quell any potential violence that could arise behind bars as law enforcement prepares for potentially violent protests across the country in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday. The lockdown at more than 120 federal Bureau of Prisons facilities took effect at 12 a.m. Saturday, according to an email to employees from the president of the union representing federal correctional officers. “In light of current events occurring around the country, and out of an abundance of caution, the decision has been made to secure all institutions,” the Bureau of Prisons said in a statement. The lockdown decision is precautionary, no specific information led to it and it is not in response to any significant events occurring inside facilities, the bureau said. To avoid backlash from inmates, the lockdown was not announced until after they were locked in their cells Friday evening. Shane Fausey, the president of the Council of Prison Locals, wrote in his email to staff that inmates should still be given access in small groups to showers, phones and email and can still be involved in preparing food and performing basic maintenance. Messages seeking comment were left with Fausey on Saturday. The agency last put in place a nationwide lockdown in April to combat the spread of the coronavirus. During a lockdown, inmates are kept in their cells most of the day and visiting is cancelled. Because of coronavirus, social visits only resumed in October, but many facilities have cancelled them again as infections spiked. One reason for the new nationwide lockdown is that the bureau is moving some of its Special Operations Response Teams from prison facilities to Washington, D.C., to bolster security after President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Authorities are concerned there could be more violence, not only in the nation’s capital, but also at state capitals, before Trump leaves office Jan. 20. A Bureau of Prisons spokesman said the agency was co-ordinating with officials at the Justice Department to be ready to deploy as needed. Earlier this month, about 100 officers were sent to the Justice Department's headquarters to supplement security staff and were deputized by the U.S. Marshals Service and given special legal powers to “enforce federal criminal statutes and protect federal property and personnel,” said the spokesman, Justin Long. The specialized units typically respond to disturbances and other emergencies at prisons, such as riots, assaults, escapes and escape attempts, and hostage situations. Their absence can leave gaps in a prison’s emergency response and put remaining staff at risk. “The things that happen outside the walls could affect those working behind the walls,” Aaron McGlothin, a local union president at a federal prison in California. As the pandemic continues to menace federal inmates and staff, a federal lockup in Mendota, California, is also dealing with a possible case of tuberculosis. According to an email to staff Friday, an inmate at the medium-security facility has been placed in a negative pressure room after returning a positive skin test and an X-ray that indicated an active case of tuberculosis. The inmate was not showing symptoms of the lung disease and is undergoing further testing to confirm a diagnosis, the email said. As a precaution, all other inmates on the affected inmate’s unit were placed on quarantine status and given skin tests for tuberculosis. The bacterial disease is spread similarly to COVID-19, through droplets that an infected person expels by coughing, sneezing or through other activities such as singing and talking. Mendota also has 10 current inmate cases and six current staff cases of COVID-19. As of Wednesday, the last day for which data was available, there were 4,718 federal inmates and 2,049 Bureau of Prisons staff members with current positive tests for COVID-19. Since the first case was reported in March, 38,535 inmates and 3,553 staff have recovered from the virus. So far, 190 federal inmates and 3 staff members have died. __ Balsamo reported from Washington. __ On Twitter, follow Sisak at twitter.com/mikesisak and Balsamo at twitter.com/mikebalsamo1 Michael R. Sisak And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
Ce sont 34 nouveaux cas de COVID-19 qui s’ajoutent au bilan régional ce samedi. Au total, depuis le début de la pandémie, ce sont 8 540 cas qui ont été déclarés dans la région. On ne répertorie aucun nouveau décès lié au virus ce samedi au Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. Le total depuis le début de la pandémie est de 240 décès. On retrouve actuellement 20 hospitalisations, dont sept aux soins intensifs. Janick Emond, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Lac St-Jean
An occupational therapist who transformed a bus into a mobile sensory clinic for young kids moved to the Hat late last year to help children learn important skills. Erin Grujic is the owner of Sensational Path, a unique clinic within an old school bus. Grujic moved to the Hat in September of last year with her bus and wants to help families in Medicine Hat and the surrounding area access occupational therapy services for their kids. “I got tired of having a car full of equipment and always leaving something behind,” she said. “From that, I built this clinic that would travel with me. “I got this bus and converted it into a playground.” Occupational therapists work with people to overcome health problems that may interfere with their everyday lives. For some children, playing at a standard playground may not be possible for a wide range of reasons. Grujic has designed the bus to be a safe space for kids to play, explore and learn different skills. “I primarily work with preschools and daycares,” she said. “Those kids really need the movement and the activities, and since they can’t go on field trips now, it’s even more important to keep them moving. “The great thing about the bus is that I can take it anywhere and meet people where they’re at.” The bus includes a climbing wall, trampoline, zipline, swings, crash mats and more. “To some people this may just look like a playground,” said Grujic. “This is a safe place for kids to learn and develop sensory motor skills. “With the bus I can set up play that allows kids to be comfortable and to allow them to learn to play with different things. “Those foundational skills like play lead to academic learning and behaviour skills.” Grujic came to the Hat from Pincher Creek and says she is having a fun time getting to know the city as the days pass. She says she is getting busier as she spends more time in the community. The outside of the bus was painted recently by local artist Jeff Goring, which has made it so it can’t be missed. “He did an amazing job,” said Grujic. More information on her services can be found at http://www.sensationalpath.com Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News
Ontario says it's slightly slowing the pace for some COVID-19 vaccinations in response to a shipping delay from drugmaker Pfizer BioNTech. Chief Medical Officer of Health David Williams says the company's decision to temporarily delay international vaccine shipments will likely have an effect on the province, though the full impact of the move is not yet known. Williams says long-term care residents, caregivers and staff who already received their first dose of Pfizer's vaccine will receive their second dose between 21 and 27 days later, no more than a week longer than originally planned. He says the timetable will be longer for anyone else receiving the Pfizer vaccine, with second doses being delivered anywhere from 21 to 42 days after the initial shot. The adjustments come as Ontario reported 3,056 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, along with 51 new deaths related to the virus. Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 stand at 1,632, with 397 patients in intensive care. Health Minister Christine Elliott said Toronto and the neighbouring regions of Peel and York continue to post the highest infection rates in the province. She said 903 of the most recent diagnoses were found in Toronto, with 639 in Peel and 283 in York. Some of those regions are among those targeted by a government blitz of big box stores which got underway on Saturday. The province said earlier this week it would send 50 inspectors to stores in five regions -- Toronto, Hamilton, Peel, York and Durham. They'll be looking to ensure the retailers are complying with the province's tightened public health rules, which went into effect on Thursday along with a provincewide stay-at-home order meant to curb the spread of the virus. Labour Minister Monte McNaughton has said inspectors will focus on compliance with masking and physical distancing rules, as well as other health guidelines. He said they'll have the authority to temporarily shut down facilities found to be breaching the rules, and to disperse groups of more than five people. The minister said inspectors will also be able to issue tickets of up to $750 to management, workers or customers if they're not abiding by the measures. Premier Doug Ford, who has faced criticism for allowing big-box stores to remain open for on-site shopping while smaller businesses are restricted to curbside pickup or online sales, vowed this week to crack down on big lineups and other infractions at large retailers. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021. The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — Quebec is reporting 2,225 new COVID-19 cases and 67 further deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. The number of hospitalizations dropped for a second day, this time by 22 for a total of 1,474 patients, with four fewer patients in intensive care for a total of 227. Health Minister Christian Dube tweeted that all Quebecers need to continue to follow public health rules to ensure cases and hospitalizations go down. The province's Health Department reported 2,430 more recoveries, for a total of 210,364. Quebec currently has 21,640 active cases. The province has now reported 240,970 confirmed infections and 9,005 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021. The Canadian Press