Skating on Alport Bay in Bracebridge, Ont. on a grey wintery day.
Skating on Alport Bay in Bracebridge, Ont. on a grey wintery day.
In announcing a planned phone call on Friday between U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the White House's intended message was clear: Traditional allies are back in favour while despots, dictators and the killers of dissenters are on the outs. The way press secretary Jen Psaki announced the scheduled call with Trudeau was revealing, as it came in response to a question that had nothing at all to do with Canada's prime minister. She was asked about Vladimir Putin. Specifically, she was asked when Biden would speak with the Russian leader. Psaki replied that it wasn't an immediate priority. "[Biden's] first foreign leader call will be on Friday with Prime Minister Trudeau," she said. "I would expect his early calls will be with partners and allies. He feels it's important to rebuild those relationships." U.S. plans to investigate Russia Psaki elaborated on Putin in a separate news conference where she described Russia as "reckless" and "adversarial." She said Biden has tasked the intelligence community with reporting on a variety of alleged Russian transgressions: cyberattacks on U.S. companies, interference in U.S. politics, the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and Russian-paid bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Yet the goal of rebalancing relationships away from rivals toward like-minded countries has been tested already. Some Canadians, notably Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, want trade retaliation against the U.S. following the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline on Day 1 of the new administration. The decision undermines Canada's No. 1 export to the United States: oil. WATCH | The National's report on Keystone XL: Biden's foreign policy ambitions will keep being tested as international relationships undergo unwieldy twists on any given issue due to practical and political considerations. Here is what we already know about the Biden administration's approach to other countries after its first couple of days in office. The moves so far The administration will release a report on suspected Saudi government involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, an issue the last administration showed little interest in pursuing. It is also threatening to cancel support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It is willing to consider new NATO expansion on Russia's doorstep, into Georgia, and in fact is staunchly supportive of the international military alliance. And Biden has rejoined previous alliances the U.S. was either scheduled to exit (the World Health Organization) or had already left (the Paris climate accord). These activities are intended to signal a dramatic change in foreign policy from Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, who frequently bashed the leaders of democracies and international institutions while simultaneously cultivating friendly relationships with non-democratic leaders in the Middle East, Russia and North Korea. There will be contradictions in Biden's approach — as there were in Trump's. For example, while Trump often had kind words for dictators, he also sanctioned their countries on occasion, including Russia and China. Also, don't count on an ambitious foreign policy from Biden. Early on, the new administration will be busy juggling domestic crises, said Edward Alden, an expert on Canada-U.S. relations. "I think we are going to see an approach to alliances that looks a lot like [Barack] Obama's — engaged, respectful, but not overly ambitious," said Alden, a senior fellow at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. "The United States has enormous problems at home, and those are going to take priority for some time." Alden said he does expect some new international initiatives, such as more active co-operation on global vaccine distribution. Biden wants changes on Canada-U.S. pandemic travel On COVID-19, Biden also wants to immediately connect with Canada and Mexico to establish new rules within 14 days for pandemic-related travel safety measures. Alden also expects an attempt to rework and revive the international nuclear deal with Iran, and establish greater co-ordination with other countries in confronting China. For example, Biden has proposed a summit of democracies where countries can share ideas for countering autocracies. Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told his confirmation hearing this week that the last administration had a point in reorienting policy toward Beijing. "President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China," Blinken said. "The basic principle was the right one, and I think that's actually helpful to our foreign policy." He got into a testy exchange at that hearing with Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican who favours a hands-off approach on foreign affairs. When Blinken said he was open to expanding NATO membership to Russia's neighbour Georgia, Paul called that a recipe for war with Russia. Blinken argued the opposite is true. After years of Russian incursions in non-NATO Georgia and Ukraine, recent evidence suggests Russia is most belligerent with countries outside NATO's shield, he said. Keystone XL: The early irritant Biden and Trudeau are expected to discuss new travel measures to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as Biden's decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion that would run south from Alberta to Nebraska. So far, Trudeau has shown little desire to escalate the pipeline issue. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, on the other hand, has demanded retaliatory action, and some trade experts say potential legal avenues do exist. WATCH | Kenny on the fate of Keystone XL: But they're skeptical they will achieve much. Eric Miller of the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, a cross-border consulting firm specializing in trade and government affairs, said the best that pipeline-backers can hope for is to sue the U.S. government for financial compensation for the cancelled project. He said the Alberta government and the project's developer, TC Energy, can try suing under the investor-state dispute chapter in the old NAFTA, which will remain in effect for two more years for existing investments. "[But] nothing is going to force the Biden administration to deliver the permit," Miller said. "One has to be clear that there is no world in which Joe Biden [retreats on this]." Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said he doubts complaints from Canada will make a difference. He said the most politically effective argument for the pipeline would come from Americans — from the companies and unions that would have serviced the project. The Ohio-based lawyer said challenges under U.S. laws, such as the Administrative Procedures Act, could potentially work, but he cautioned: "They're high hurdles."
TORONTO — Television personality Sid Seixeiro is leaving Sportsnet's "Tim & Sid" sports talk show to become the new co-host of "Breakfast Television" on Citytv. Seixeiro will make his final appearance as co-host on the show alongside longtime partner Tim Micallef on Feb. 26. Micallef will continue to host the show, which airs weekdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, with a rotating roster of co-hosts. The "Tim & Sid" show made its debut on Toronto radio station CJCL Sportsnet 590 The Fan on Dec. 12, 2011. He will make his Breakfast Television debut alongside co-host Dina Pugliese on March 10. The program was simulcast on television on The Score (now Sportsnet 360) starting in 2013, then was relaunched on Sportsnet as an afternoon television show in 2015. The show has been simulcast on The Fan since 2019 as its late afternoon drive program. “It’s been a dream to work 20 years in the sports industry, especially alongside Tim Micallef, and express my passion and love for sports on a daily basis,” Seixeiro said in a release. “I’ve always been curious to explore other areas of the business and this was a unique opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
Alice Hoagland, a beloved figure of the gay rugby movement that her own son, Mark Bingham, helped set in motion shortly before he perished in the 2001 terrorist attacks as one of the heroes of Flight 93, has died. She was 71. Hoagland, a former flight attendant who became a safety activist while carrying on her son’s athletic legacy, died Dec. 22 in her sleep at her home in Los Gallos, California, after battling Addison's disease, according to longtime family friend Amanda Mark. International Gay Rugby — an organization that traces its roots to one team in London in 1995 and now consists of about 90 clubs in more than 20 countries on five continents — held Hoagland in such esteem that one of the prizes at its biennial Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament, or the Bingham Cup, is called the Hoagland Cup. Scott Glaessgen, of Norwalk, Connecticut, a friend of Bingham’s who helped organize New York’s Gotham Knights rugby club, described meeting Hoagland at the first Bingham Cup in 2002 in San Francisco. “Nine months after Mark was killed, and there she is with a never-ending smile on her face, just charming and engaging and happy and proud,” Glaessgen said. “And that resilience and that strength that she just exuded was really inspirational.” Amanda Mark, of Sydney, Australia, praised Hoagland for always fighting for people — and continuing to do so after losing her son by standing up for aviation safety and LGBT rights. “Through the Bingham Cup,” Mark said, “she became the inspiration and the acceptance that a lot of LGBT folks needed when they may have been challenged with their families or friends to be true to themselves.” Bingham, 31 when he died, had played on a champion rugby team at the University of California, Berkeley. He helped organize the gay San Francisco Fog team in 2000 and quickly became its main forward. He was on United Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001, when hijackers commandeered it. He called his mother and told her he loved her. “I only got 3 minutes with him and when I tried to call back, I couldn’t get through,” Hoagland told the Iowa City Press-Citizen in 2019. “As a flight attendant for 20 years, I wanted to tell him to sit down and don’t draw attention to yourself.” But the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Bingham fought back, posthumously winning praise as an openly gay patriot who joined other passengers in foiling the hijackers and causing the plane to crash in rural Pennsylvania instead of its intended target, believed to be the U.S. Capitol. “He grew from a shy, chubby kid into a tall rugby competitor with the ability to amass his energy to face a real enemy in the cockpit of an airplane," Hoagland told the Press-Citizen. Bingham and Hoagland's stories went on to be chronicled in film and screen, including the TV movie “Flight 93," HBO’s "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” and the documentary “The Rugby Player.” Hoagland became an advocate for airline security and for allowing relatives of 9-11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia over claims it played a role in the attacks. “We’re less interested in any kind of financial gain than we are in bringing the truly guilty into court and making our case known,” Hoagland told The Associated Press in 2016. The first Bingham Cup consisted of eight teams and was hosted by its namesake's home team. Today, it is billed as the world’s largest amateur rugby event, and cities bid to host it. It was last held in Amsterdam in 2018 with 74 teams competing. Hoagland was a celebrity at every tournament she attended. Players flocked to meet her and have a photo taken. She always obliged. Jeff Wilson, of International Gay Rugby, recalled in a post on the organization's Facebook page a conversation with Hoagland at the 2012 Bingham Cup in Manchester, England. His mother had recently died. “I asked how she kept on during grief — she said it was a purpose, and a calling and that I would keep going because it drove me,” he wrote. “Her compassion, heart and focus on others touched me in ways that I cannot express.” No memorial service is yet planned. Jeff McMillan, The Associated Press
ÉMILIE PELLETIER Initiative de journalisme local — Le Droit Combien de langues faut-il pour faire comprendre à la population l’importance de rester à la maison afin de réduire la transmission de la COVID-19? Pour Doug Ford, la réponse est 22. C’est le nombre de langues que Doug Ford a utilisées, dans une publication sur Twitter faite jeudi, pour propager à nouveau ce message simple: «Restez à la maison». Après avoir été vivement critiqué pour la complexité des nouvelles mesures sanitaires imposées en Ontario le 13 janvier dernier, le premier ministre ontarien Doug Ford s’était défendu en affirmant qu’elles ne sont pas si compliquées et que la mesure la plus importante est de rester à la maison. Il l’avait même répété en français, langue qu’il ne parle pas mais qu’il a promis d’apprendre. Cette fois-ci, c’est en cantonais, mandarin, italien, russe, polonais et en espagnol, entre autres, qu’il a martelé le message. Le premier ministre Ford a fait cette publication alors que la province fait état jeudi d'un nouveau bilan de 2 632 infections quotidiennes à la COVID-19 et déplore 46 décès liés au virus survenus au cours de la dernière journée. À LIRE AUSSI: COVID-19: encore des problèmes de traduction en OntarioÉmilie Pelletier, journaliste, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Droit
B.C. health officials announced 564 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 more deaths on Thursday. In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix put the number of hospitalized patients at 309 people, 68 of whom are in intensive care. A total of 1,119 people in B.C. have lost their lives to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. There are currently 4,450 active cases of coronavirus in the province, with public health monitoring 6,816 people across the province who are in self-isolation due to COVID-19 exposure. More than 56,010 people who tested positive have recovered. There is a new community cluster in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region, in and around Williams Lake. "We remind people to pay close attention to how they are feeling and to immediately arrange to get tested if they are feeling unwell with symptoms of COVID-19," Henry and Dix said in the written statement. "Despite our COVID-19 curve trending in the right direction, we continue to have new outbreaks, community clusters and high numbers of new cases. COVID-19 continues to spread widely in our communities." The total number of patients in hospital has fallen by about 11 per cent in the last week, reaching the lowest level since Nov. 28, but intensive care numbers have remained steady. There have been no new outbreaks in health-care facilities, but six have been declared over. Meanwhile, the latest data confirm B.C.'s second wave of the pandemic has spread across the province and is no longer concentrated in the Lower Mainland. About 39 per cent of the new cases announced Thursday were in the Interior Health, Northern Health and Island Health regions. Update on vaccine rollout coming Friday To date, a total of 104,901 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the province, including 1,680 second doses. Health officials had originally scheduled an on-camera briefing for Thursday, but cancelled it as they prepare to update the province's strategy for immunization against the virus. The premier's office said Henry and Dix will instead join a news conference Friday with Premier John Horgan and Dr. Penny Ballem, who is leading B.C.'s COVID-19 immunization rollout. The four are expected to comment on the next steps in the immunization program that has been complicated by a hiccup in the vaccine supply from Pfizer-BioNTech. The province adjusted its vaccination plan in response to news that Pfizer-BioNTech isn't sending any doses of its vaccine to Canada next week.
Island Abbey Foods, makers of Honibe cough and cold lozenges, is eliminating 30 temporary staff at its Charlottetown production plant. The P.E.I. company is putting the blame on the "almost non-existent cold and cough season" so far this winter, as potential customers wear masks, stay two metres away from others and practise good hand hygiene. "Cold and cough season is almost non-existent this year, which has resulted in a decline of our lozenge business for the first two quarters of 2021," Scott Spencer, president and chief operating officer of Island Abbey Foods, said in a statement to CBC News. "While we have seen substantial gains with our digital retail strategy, it does not replace the volume we projected in anticipation of a regular cold and cough season. Therefore, unfortunately, we've made the difficult decision to eliminate 30 temporary positions from our production operation. The company says demand for its Gummie Bees multivitamins and other health products continues to be strong, and planning is well underway for an expansion to meet those demands. "2020 was a tremendous year at Island Abbey Foods," said Spencer. "We increased headcount significantly across our company to meet higher than anticipated demand and position our company for success. Like other businesses, we are continuously adapting to the ever-changing business realities that COVID-19 is imposing on the world." More from CBC P.E.I.
WASHINGTON — Paul Chavez had no idea where a sculpture of his father, Latino American civil rights and labour leader Cesar Chavez, would end up in the White House. He agreed just this week to lend the bronze bust to President Joe Biden and hustled to get it wrapped up and shipped across the country from California. It was an utter surprise Wednesday when he saw Biden at his desk in the Oval Office, with the bust of the late Cesar Chavez right behind the president. “We're still smiling cheek to cheek,” Paul Chavez said in an interview Thursday. Biden pressed themes of unity and inclusivity and advocacy for racial justice during the campaign, and Chavez said Biden appeared to be trying to convey that through a series of quick decorative changes he's made to the world's most powerful office. Chavez said the prominent placement of his father's likeness in the White House sends the message that it's a “new day" following the tenure of Donald Trump and the anti-immigrant policies that he and his advisers pushed. He predicted “the contributions of working people, of immigrants, of Latinos ... will be taken into account” in the new administration. Biden revealed his Oval Office touch-up Wednesday as he signed a raft of executive orders and other actions in his first hours as the nation's 46th president. The most visually striking change is Biden's choice of a deep blue rug, with the presidential seal in the middle, that was last used by President Bill Clinton, to replace a light colored rug laid down by Trump. Biden is also using Clinton's deep gold draperies. Busts of civil rights activists Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks are also on display, along with a sculpture of President Harry Truman. Biden removed a bust of Winston Churchill, the former British prime minister. On the wall across from Biden's desk is a portrait collage of predecessors George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt, along with Alexander Hamilton, a Founding Father and former treasury secretary. No longer on display is a portrait of President Andrew Jackson, a Trump favourite who signed the Indian Removal Act that forced tens of thousands of Native Americans out of their homeland. Biden is keeping the Resolute desk, so named because it was built using oak from the British Arctic exploration ship HMS Resolute. But he got rid of the red button that Trump had on the desk and would push to have a butler bring him a Diet Coke, his beverage of choice. All presidents tweak the Oval Office decor at the start of their terms to reflect their personal tastes or to telegraph broader messages to the public. The White House maintains a vast collection of furniture, paintings and other artifacts that they can choose from. Presidents are also allowed to borrow items from the Smithsonian and other museums. The White House curator oversees everything, and the makeover is carried out in the hours after the outgoing president leaves the mansion and before the new president arrives. Biden also replaced a row of military service flags Trump used to decorate the office with a single American flag and a flag with the presidential seal, both positioned behind his desk. He also chose a tufted, dark brown leather chair instead of keeping the reddish brown desk chair Trump used. Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
The OPP is enforcing a new stay-at-home order and dispersing larger gatherings, but said it is not targeting individuals. The province introduced a new stay-at-home order Jan. 14, demanding people only leave for essential trips such as work, purchasing goods, exercise, caring for animals or others, or moving. The province also said law enforcement would be empowered to issue fines under the order. OPP spokesperson Const. Iryna Nebogatova said the attention the order has received has brought more complaints, which drive enforcement. She added gatherings - limited to five people outdoors - are the main source of the complaints. “I do understand the stay-at-home order under the emergency management and Civil Protection Act, Reopening Ontario Act are quite confusing,” Nebogatova said. “What we are focusing on here would be the large gatherings, the gatherings whether they’re indoor or outdoor. “The individuals are not the focus of this enforcement,” she added. In a press release Jan. 15, OPP said it could levy fines of $750 for failing to comply with the order and/or $1,000 for preventing others from complying. However, the press release added that officers will not arbitrarily stop an individual or vehicle to check compliance with the orders. “Individuals are not expected to provide proof of essential work,” OPP said. “Officers can ask an individual to identify themselves if they have reasonable grounds to believe the individual is violating an act.” The province said bylaw enforcement can also issue fines under the order, but Dysart et al bylaw officer Robert Mascia said he is redirecting complaints to OPP. “If the OPP require assistance in enforcement measures, the municipality’s bylaw department will gladly help,” Mascia said. Cottagers being allowed County resident Donna Pugh said she called police on a cottager neighbour who visited their secondary residence this past weekend. But Pugh said OPP indicated that it is allowed – and they were not going to attend to address someone travelling to a secondary residence. “Our premier of the province has strongly told us all to stay home,” Pugh said. “Then to see our County booming with people who don’t live here all the time, when they’re asked to stay home, I just find that really frustrating.” The order states someone can travel to another residence if they intend to be there for less than 24 hours and are attending for an essential purpose; or if they intend to reside there for at least 14 days. Nebogatova did not directly address cottager enforcement when asked but said there are exemptions for people to leave their homes under the order that should be respected. “We are requesting that the members of the public voluntarily comply with the new stay-at-home order to limit their mobility outside their homes except for essential reasons,” she said. Pugh said despite the province’s words, the enforcement is not going far enough. “The whole thing doesn’t have many teeth,” she said. Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
OTTAWA — Here are quick facts about Julie Payette, who resigned as governor general on Thursday:Age: 57Hometown: MontrealEducation: Attended primary and secondary school in Montreal and earned an international baccalaureate from the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales. Studied electrical engineering at McGill University before obtaining a master's degree in computer engineering from the University of Toronto. Has 24 honorary degrees.Early career: Conducted research in computer systems and speech-recognition software as an engineer with various organizations, including IBM and the University of Toronto, before being chosen by the Canadian Space Agency to become an astronaut in 1992. Payette was one of four people chosen out of more than 5,300 applicants.Astronaut experience: Technical adviser on a robotics system that Canada contributed to the International Space Station before obtaining her commercial pilot licence and military pilot qualification, studying Russian and other training in preparation for travelling to space. CSA's chief astronaut from 2000 to 2007. First space mission was an 11-day trip to the International Space Station to deliver supplies in 1999, when she became the first Canadian to board the ISS. The second was a two-week flight to the ISS in 2009.Post-space life: While still part of the CSA, Payette accepted a fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C. in 2011 before becoming a representative for the Quebec government in the U.S. capital. She retired from the space agency in 2013 to become the head of the Montreal Science Centre as well as vice-president of a federal Crown corporation, the Canada Lands Company.Viceregal appointment: Sworn in as Canada's 29th governor general in October 2017 following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's recommendation to the Queen. Trudeau recommended Payette after abolishing a panel designed to vet and recommend potential governors general.Post-appointment controversy: Following Payette's appointment, it emerged that she'd been charged with second-degree assault while living in Maryland in 2011. She called the charge unfounded, and it has since been expunged. She was also involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident that same year. The case was closed without charges after a police investigation. Both revelations nonetheless raised questions about the government's decision to recommend her. She also raised eyebrows for using a speech shortly after taking over the position to mock those who question climate change and believe in creationism, and reducing her participation in traditional duties and responsibilities of her office.Toxic work environment: Reports emerged within the first year of her time in office of problems at Rideau Hall, before explosive allegations erupted last year of a toxic work environment within her office. A private firm was hired to investigate and its findings led to her resignation on Thursday.Interests and experiences: Running, skiing, racket sports and scuba diving. Fluent in French and English, conversant in Spanish, Italian, Russian and German. Plays the piano and has sung at venues in Canada and Switzerland. Has also produced a number of science productions for broadcast.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
The role of Canada's vice-regal has been held by a wide variety of people, from British nobles to military leaders to humanitarian advocates. Here is a list of all those who have served as Canada's governor general since Confederation: — Viscount Monck: 1861-1868 Lord Lisgar: 1868-1872 Earl of Dufferin: 1872-1878 Duke of Argyll: 1878-1883 Marquess of Lansdowne: 1883-1888 Earl of Derby: 1888-1893 Earl of Aberdeen: 1893-1898 Earl of Minto: 1898-1904 Earl Grey: 1904-1911 Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught: 1911-1916 Duke of Devonshire: 1916-1921 Lord Byng: 1921-1926 Viscount Willingdon: 1926-1931 Earl of Bessborough: 1931-1935 Lord Tweedsmuir: 1935-1940 Earl of Athlone: 1940-1946 Viscount Alexander: 1946-1952 Vincent Massey: 1952-1959 Georges Vanier: 1959-1967 Roland Michener: 1967-1974 Jules Léger: 1974-1979 Edward Schreyer: 1979-1984 Jeanne Sauvé: 1984-1990 Ramon Hnatyshyn: 1990-1995 Roméo LeBlanc: 1995-1999 Adrienne Clarkson: 1999-2005 Michaëlle Jean: 2005-2010 David Johnston: 2010-2017 Julie Payette: 2017-2021 This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
The provincial and federal governments have announced new funding today to support essential air carriers that serve remote First Nation communities in Northern Ontario. The funding will ensure communities have access to essential supplies, services and goods. Canada will be investing $11.1 million, while the province has earmarked $14.2 million to operate remote airports in 2020-21, including an additional $4 million this year to ensure safe operations during the pandemic. Today’s announcement includes Fort Albany First Nation, Kashechewan First Nation, Peawanuck and Attawapiskat First Nation. Across Canada, there are 140 communities with airports that were considered remote when the federal government announced the funding program last August. Out of 34 remote communities in Northern Ontario, 28 don’t have all-year-round access and rely on air carriers for essential services and goods. “While we continue to work together to limit the spread of COVID-19, we must also ensure remote communities continue to have the air connectivity they need for essential goods and services, travel and business," Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra said in a statement. "This agreement with the Government of Ontario will allow for reliable air services to keep remote communities in Ontario connected to the rest of the country." The Ministry of Transportation owns and operates 29 airports, 27 of which support remote First Nation communities, according to the press release. Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com
WASHINGTON — With a burst of executive orders, President Joe Biden served notice Thursday that America's war on COVID-19 is under new command, promising an anxious nation progress to reduce infections and lift the siege it has endured for nearly a year. At the same time, he tried to manage expectations in his second day in office, saying despite the best intentions “we're going to face setbacks.” He brushed off a reporter's question on whether his goal of 100 million coronavirus shots in 100 days should be more ambitious, a point pressed by some public health experts. The 10 orders signed by Biden are aimed at jump starting his national COVID-19 strategy to increase vaccinations and testing, lay the groundwork for reopening schools and businesses, and immediately increase the use of masks — including a requirement that Americans mask up for travel. One directive calls for addressing health care inequities in minority communities hard hit by the virus. “We didn’t get into this mess overnight, and it will take months to turn this around,” Biden said at the White House. U.S. deaths have have surged past 400,000, and he noted projections that they could reach 500,000 in a month. But then, looking directly into the TV camera, Biden declared: "To a nation waiting for action, let me be clear on this point: Help is on the way.” The new president has vowed to take far more aggressive measures to contain the virus than his predecessor, starting with stringent adherence to public health guidance. A key difference is that under Biden, the federal government is assuming full responsibility for the COVID response. And instead of delegating major tasks to states, he is offering to help them with technical backup and federal money. He faces steep obstacles, with the virus actively spreading in most states, slow progress on the vaccine rollout and political uncertainty over whether congressional Republicans will help him pass a $1.9 trillion economic relief and COVID response package. On Thursday a group influential with Republican office holders lent its support to Biden's strategy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said, “We support the new administration’s focus on removing roadblocks to vaccinations and reopening schools, both of which are important steps to accelerating a broad-based economic recovery for all Americans.” Biden officials have said they've been hampered by a lack of co-operation from the Trump administration during the transition. They say they don’t have a complete understanding of their predecessors’ actions on vaccine distribution. And they face a litany of complaints from states that say they are not getting enough vaccine even as they are being asked to vaccinate more categories of people. The U.S. mask order for travel implemented by Biden applies to airports and planes, ships, intercity buses, trains and public transportation. Travellers from abroad must furnish a negative COVID-19 test before departing for the U.S. and must quarantine upon arrival. Biden has already mandated masks on federal property. Although airlines, Amtrak and other transport providers now require masks, Biden's order makes it a federal mandate, leaving little wiggle room for passengers tempted to argue about their rights. It marks a sharp break with the culture of President Donald Trump's administration, under which masks were optional, and Trump made a point of going maskless and hosting big gatherings of like-minded supporters. Science has shown that masks, properly worn, cut down on coronavirus transmission. Biden is seeking to expand testing and vaccine availability, with the goal of 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office. But some independent experts say his administration should strive for two or three times that number. Even with the slow pace of vaccinations, the U.S. is already closing in on 1 million shots a day. “It's a disappointingly low bar,” said Dr. Leana Wen, a public health expert and emergency physician. Asked about that at the White House on Thursday, Biden told a reporter: “When I announced it, you all said it’s not possible. Come on, give me a break, man.” The Democratic president has directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to begin setting up vaccination centres, aiming to have 100 up and running in a month. He's ordering the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to begin a program to make vaccines available through local pharmacies starting next month, building on a plan devised by the Trump administration. And he's launching an effort to train more people to administer shots. Biden has set a goal of having most K-8 schools reopen in his first 100 days, and he's ordering the departments of Education and Health and Human Services to provide clear guidance for reopening them safely. States would also be able to tap FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to help get schools back open. Getting schools and child care going will help ease the drag on the U.S. economy, making it easier for parents to return to their jobs and for restaurants to find lunch-time customers. But administration officials stressed that reopening schools safely depends on increased testing. Biden is giving government agencies a green light to use the Cold War-era Defence Production Act to direct manufacturing. It allows the government to direct private industry to produce supplies needed in times of national emergency. In this case it could be anything from swabs, to masks, to certain chemicals. “We do not have nearly enough testing capacity in this country,” said White House coronavirus co-ordinator Jeff Zients. “We need (more) money in order to really ramp up testing, which is so important to reopen schools and businesses.” This means that efforts to boost the economy could hinge on how quickly lawmakers act on the $1.9 trillion package proposed by Biden, which includes separate planks such as $1,400 in direct payments to most working people, a $15 minimum wage and aid to state and local governments that some Republican lawmakers see as unnecessary for addressing the public health emergency. The Biden plan estimates that a national vaccination strategy with expanded testing requires $160 billion, and he wants an additional $170 billion to aid the reopening of schools and universities. The proposal also calls for major investment in scientific research to track new variants of the virus. As part of his strategy, Biden ordered establishment of a Health Equity Task Force to ensure that minority and underserved communities are not left out of the government's response. Blacks, Latinos and Native Americans have borne a heavy burden of death and disease from the virus. Surveys have shown vaccine hesitancy is high among African Americans, a problem the administration plans to address through an education campaign. But Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, the top White House health adviser on minority communities, said she's not convinced that race is a factor in vaccination reluctance. Disparities seem to have more to do with risky jobs and other life circumstances. “It's not inherent to race,” she said. “It's from the exposures.” ___ Associated Press writers Collin Binkley and Josh Boak contributed to this report. Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
MADRID — Ousmane Dembélé scored early in extra time after missing a penalty late in regulation as Barcelona defeated third-division club Cornellà 2-0 in the round of 32 of the Copa del Rey on Thursday. Martin Braithwaite also scored for Barcelona, which had already seen Miralem Pjanic miss a penalty in the first half. In the Spanish league, Luis Suárez scored twice as leader Atlético Madrid came from behind to defeat Eibar 2-1 and open a seven-point gap to second-place Real Madrid. Barcelona avoided an upset in the Copa del Rey a day after Madrid lost 2-1 to third-division club Alcoyano in extra time. Atlético had already been stunned by Cornellà in the second round. Barcelona advanced despite playing without Lionel Messi, who was suspended for two matches after hitting an opponent away from the ball in the team’s 3-2 loss to Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup final on Sunday. Dembélé scored with a right-foot shot from outside the area two minutes into extra time. He had his 80th-minute penalty saved by Cornellà goalkeeper Ramón Juan Ramírez, who also stopped Pjanic's spot kick just before halftime. Barcelona controlled possession but struggled to capitalize on its many scoring chances on the artificial turf at the small Cornellà stadium in Catalonia. The hosts threatened a few times on counterattacks. Cornellà went a man down when Albert Estelles was sent off with a second yellow card in the final minutes. Braithwaite's goal came on a breakaway just before the final whistle. SUÁREZ SAVES ATLÉTICO Suárez scored a goal in each half after Eibar had taken the lead with a penalty converted by goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic in the 12th minute. Suárez equalized in the 40th with a low cross shot from close range after the Eibar defence failed to clear the ball from inside its area. The Uruguay striker netted the winner by converting an 89th-minute penalty after he was fouled inside the area. It was the sixth league win in a row for Atlético, which still has a game in hand compared to Real Madrid and third-place Barcelona, which is 10 points off the lead. “We have to understand that it's very difficult to win these matches,” Suárez said. “We need to keep playing at a high level if we want to achieve our goals.” Eibar, winless in three matches in all competitions, was in 15th place, two points from safety. Lacklustre DRAW In a match between clubs fighting against relegation, Valencia was held to a 1-1 draw against Osasuna. Jonathan Calleri put the visitors ahead with a volley in the 42nd and Valencia equalized with an own goal by Osasuna defender Unai García in the 69th. Winless in 13 consecutive league games, Osasuna stayed second-to-last in the 20-team standings. Valencia was 14th, three points from the relegation zone. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni Tales Azzoni, The Associated Press
Members of the P.E.I. Certified Organic Producers Co-operative put forward a detailed plan Thursday to increase and manage irrigation on Island farms. Appearing before the province's Standing Committee on Natural Resources, the group said P.E.I.'s ongoing moratorium on new high-capacity wells for irrigation — implemented in 2002 — hasn't achieved the goal of safeguarding the province's fresh water supply. And the group's research co-ordinator Karen Murchison said the ongoing debate around whether to lift the moratorium has "really distracted I think from the bigger conversation that we really need to be having about how we value, protect and manage our very precious resource, which is water on this Island." The group's presentation comes more than three years after MLAs passed new legislation, the Water Act, meant to manage the province's water supply. But that legislation still has not been enacted by government, pending another draft of regulations as the province looks for a way to provide the irrigation that farmers say they require, while at the same time satisfying those who worry that allowing more water for agriculture could leave streams or household wells without enough. Urgent need for water cited Until now, the case put forward on behalf of producers has primarily been voiced by some of the biggest players tied to P.E.I.'s potato industry, including the P.E.I. Potato Board and processor Cavendish Farms. The last few years, it seems like the heat and the wind have turned up even more. - Matt Ramsay Just like those other industry players, organic farmers described an urgent need to allow farmers access to more water to grow their crops. Matt Ramsay, whose farm includes traditional and organic production, said rainfall in 18 of the last 20 years has been below the level needed to produce an optimal crop on P.E.I. "The last few years, it seems like the heat and the wind have turned up even more," Ramsay said. "We need to consider at what point we can't reverse the effects of this… Once farms go under, there's no coming back. And we are at a point where the rainfall we've been seeing is not enough to at least stabilize crop yields." The co-op's plan proposes making drinking water the top priority for water usage on P.E.I., with water for food production the second priority. That would make farmers a higher priority than other industrial users of water, such as golf courses and car washes. Proponents of the agriculture industry have frequently pointed out the moratorium doesn't include wells to supply those other industrial users. The co-op is urging government develop a specific management plan for water used in agriculture, though. Representatives suggest that plan should require farmers to follow certain management practices around tillage and crop rotations to maximize water retention before they are allowed to irrigate. Their water usage would be metered, and the co-op suggested there be a discussion around requiring farmers to pay for the water. The group also said water levels would have to be closely monitored throughout the growing season in every watershed, with the ability to turn off irrigation taps if levels drop too far. "I do think there's going to be a lot of situations where we're just not going to be able to meet everyone's water demands, because we'll start seeing those upstream ecosystems suffer," said Ramsay. Moratorium has failed, group says Co-op chair Brian MacKay said the moratorium isn't serving to protect the water supply because the agriculture industry has found a work-around, with some farmers installing multiple low-capacity wells and using those to fill holding ponds. The net result to our groundwater? It's a wild west right now. - Brian MacKay "The net result to our groundwater? It's a wild west right now," said MacKay, noting that even more holding ponds and wells are being dug in his area for next season. "The moratorium has not restricted water. It's restricted the deepwater well, and that's all." Government officials have said they're working on a second draft of water extraction regulations after the first draft was presented in July 2019, but the target date to deliver the regulations has been pushed back numerous times. The King government has also said it needs the new regulations in place before the Water Act can be proclaimed into law. It is required to present the regulations to committee 90 days before they're adopted by cabinet. Committee chair Cory Deagle said he didn't know when the regulations might be put forward, and there was no immediate response from the Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change on a request for a timeline. While waiting, the committee has been providing further recommendations on the Water Act. In November, it recommended that the government immediately proclaim the legislation, and expand the moratorium to include all new high-capacity wells except those for residential use. More from CBC P.E.I.
The elephants are counted using a computer algorithm trained to identify the creatures against a variety of backdrops.View on euronews
Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario’s associate chief medical officer of health, explained on Thursday that with the emergence of more COVID-19 variants that are more transmissible, more people need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
"Once we became aware of these reports, we made the decision to issue our earnings announcement a brief time before the originally scheduled release time," said the U.S. computer chips firm in a statement. Earlier on Thursday, the Financial Times had cited Intel's chief financial officer as saying financially sensitive information was stolen by a hacker from its corporate website. CFO George Davis said the leak was the result of an illicit action that had not involved any unintentional disclosure by the company itself, according to the report.
Members from across party lines joined forces Thursday to call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to sign a United Nations treaty banning nuclear weapons that takes effect Friday. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which outlaws the possession, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, will become legally binding on Friday for the 51 countries that ratified it. In total, 122 states in the UN General Assembly have endorsed the treaty, of which 86 are signatories — but not Canada. Members from all major political parties were invited Thursday to discuss the matter. No Conservative MPs were able to make it, according to NDP MP Heather McPherson, who chaired the press conference. “The world is unquestionably safer without nuclear weapons and Canada should sign on to the treaty,” said Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith. “We know we aren’t going to see the end of the possession of nuclear weapons in the short term, but it is incredibly important that the world stigmatizes and delegitimizes the use of these weapons and the possession of these weapons going forward.” There has been a growing call for Canada to sign the nuclear ban pact. Seven former Canadian prime ministers and foreign and defence ministers, including Lloyd Axworthy and Jean Chrétien, signed an open letter in September 2020 calling on the government to “show courage and boldness” by joining the treaty. The Canadian government has maintained it can’t since it’s a member of NATO, which has a nuclear weapons first-strike policy and sees these weapons as “a core component of NATO’s overall capabilities for deterrence and defence.” In 2016, Canada voted against a UN General Assembly resolution that got the ball rolling on the initial talks of the treaty. Ahead of the vote, the United States called on NATO members “not to merely abstain” from the resolution, but to vote against it. Canada then didn’t participate in the negotiation of the treaty the following year. The prime minister has also said he doesn’t see the effectiveness in Canada joining the treaty since it doesn’t actually have nuclear weapons of its own. “There can be all sorts of people talking about nuclear disarmament, but if they do not actually have nuclear arms, it is sort of useless to have them around, talking,” Trudeau said during question period in 2017. However, MPs at the press conference disagree and support discussing the signing of the treaty in the House of Commons and in parliamentary committees. Green Party MP Elizabeth May sees Canada playing a connector role. “We are a country that represents a bridge between divides; a country that can play an important role between those countries that do have nuclear weapons and the rest of the world that lives in fear of them,” May said. She added that Canada played a similar role by leading the Ottawa Treaty in the 1990s which banned the use of anti-personnel landmines, even though Canada didn’t manufacture landmines of its own. Bloc Québécois MP Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe believes Canada’s involvement in the treaty could even have an influence on the United States. President Joe Biden quickly overturning many of Donald Trump’s acts is a good indication to Brunelle-Duceppe that the U.S. could lean more towards nuclear disarmament. “He will listen and that’s where we can do something to bring (the U.S.) to this conversation,” Brunelle-Duceppe said. “But for that, we have to start a conversation with them, and we have to lead this thing.” Yasmine Ghania, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
Highlands East council voted to move ahead with drafting an exotic animal bylaw to address the possibility of them in the municipality. Bylaw enforcement officer, Kristen Boylan, brought the idea forward Jan. 19. She said it was a response to a recent controversy in the neighbouring Hastings Highlands, where the municipality lacked such a law to address a family bringing in a collection of lions and tigers to create a roadside safari experience. Boylan said Ontario is the only Canadian province without exotic animals legislation. About half of Ontario municipalities have rules on them, but none within the County. She said with the dog bylaw due for an update, she decided they should address the matter. “If we do not have a bylaw, there’s nothing to stop anyone from bringing in say, lion cubs, bears, pythons,” Boylan said. “No way of having any enforcement should we receive any complaints.” Boylan also offered an option to have a unified bylaw including dogs and exotic pets, but deputy mayor Cec Ryall said it would make more sense to separate them. “In the case of dogs, it’s pretty well defined,” Ryall said, noting the distinction between exotic and other unregulated animals such as domestic cats. “We’re going to licence exotic animals, but we’re not going to licence cats.” As an example, Boylan cited a 2019 Huntsville bylaw, which she said reduced complaints there. Coun. Suzanne Partridge said she is in favour of prohibiting exotic pets but added she did not want to do so for dog hybrids, which are illegal in Huntsville. “My last dog who just died in June was a hybrid and I wouldn’t have been allowed to have her and it was a sweetheart,” she said, adding it can be difficult to determine a hybrid without DNA testing. “It can’t just be the judgement of the bylaw control officer.” Boylan replied she could research and bring forward information on hybrids. Coun. Cam McKenzie said the municipality would need to figure out how to grandfather the rules for those who already have such pets. “Snakes are more common than what most people realize,” McKenzie said. “To try and prohibit them is going to cause some issues … That is something we maybe want to think about before we do this.” Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
CASPER, Wyo. — The U.S. government has approved routes for a system of pipelines that would move carbon dioxide across Wyoming in what could be by far the largest such network in North America, if it is developed. The greenhouse gas would be captured from coal-fired power plants, keeping it out of the atmosphere where it causes global warming. The captured gas would instead be pumped underground to add pressure to and boost production from oil fields. In all, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management designated 1,100 miles (1,770 kilometres) of federal land for pipeline development through the Wyoming Pipeline Corridor Initiative, the Casper Star-Tribune reported. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt signed the plans last Friday, days before leaving office with the rest of President Donald Trump's administration. The approval allows companies to begin submitting pipeline construction proposals. Wyoming officials including Republican Gov. Mark Gordon have promoted carbon capture as a way to boost the state's struggling coal mining industry. Utilities nationwide have been turning away from coal-fired electricity in favour of cheaper and cleaner natural gas and renewable energy. “The ability to have a CO2 delivery system, as made possible by the pipeline corridor initiative, helps make CO2 commercially viable,” Gordon said in a statement Wednesday. Whether a large system of carbon capture for oil production is technically and economically feasible remains to be seen. One of two such systems in North America, the Petra Nova facility in Texas, has been offline since global oil prices plummeted last year. The Petra Nova system moves carbon dioxide 80 miles (130 kilometres) from a power plant to an oil field in southeastern Texas. In southeastern Saskatchewan, Canada, near the U.S. border, the Boundary Dam carbon dioxide system connects a power plant with an oil field 40 miles (65 kilometres) away. Energy markets drive development of carbon capture projects for oil development, said Matt Fry, state of Wyoming project manager for the pipeline initiative. “We’re just helping to incentivize and provide some sort of a bridge for folks to help them move forward. Hopefully, this and future federal incentives will help get the ball rolling, and we’ll get some projects on the ground,” Fry said. Environmental groups including the Western Watersheds Project have criticized the pipeline corridor plan, saying the pipelines would cross habitat of sage grouse — brown, chicken-sized birds that spend most of their time on the ground. Sage grouse numbers have dwindled substantially over the past century and much of their habitat in Wyoming carries development restrictions. The Associated Press