Former President Donald Trump has clashed again with his Republican Party, demanding that three Republican groups stop using his name and likeness for fundraising, a Trump adviser said on Saturday. The adviser, confirming a report in Politico, said lawyers for Trump on Friday had sent cease-and-desist letters to the Republican National Committee, National Republican Congressional Campaign and National Republican Senate Campaign, asking them to stop using his name and likeness on fundraising emails and merchandise.
The Horatio Alger Association of Canada has announced the recipients of their post-secondary scholarships — five Niagara students were among those selected. The Horatio Alger Association of Canada is a charitable organization that awards need-based scholarships annually to deserving students across Canada who have financial needs and persevered through adversity. Two of the students selected are from Welland: Cassidy West and Jessica Gingras. West, who currently attends Notre Dame College School, hopes to study integrated science at McMaster University this fall. “This was a long process,” said West. “ I kind of lost faith. I thought I wasn’t selected.” “When I found out, I was relieved,” she said. “I applied for four or five scholarships, and this was the one that I wanted.” West hopes to use the fund to cover the cost of tuition, books, residence and a laptop. Gingras, who attends Welland Centennial Secondary School, was unavailable for an interview. Two of the students selected are from Niagara Falls, Émilie Blondin, who currently attends A.N. Myer Secondary School, and Josephine Cirillo, who attends Saint Paul Catholic High School. Blondin, who is still deciding what university she’ll attend in the fall, hopes to use the money to overcome financial barriers often associated with post-secondary studies. “This award will provide me the opportunity to focus on my school and less on the cost of attending school,” said Blondin. “I am grateful to the Horatio Alger Association for giving me this opportunity.” While Blondin has yet to determine what school she’ll be attending, she has settled on becoming a professor of archeology. Josephine Cirillo, who attends Saint Paul Catholic High School and Malak Matus, who attends Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in St Catharines, were unavailable for comment. The charitable organization awarded 160 Scholarships. All of the recipients will receive $5,000 each. They also issued 10 scholarships valued at $10,000 to students who demonstrate a desire and ability to be entrepreneurial in a chosen field. Prem Watsa, president of the Horatio Alger Association of Canada and a Member of the organization since 2012, congratulated this year’s winners in a press release. “In a year unlike any other, it is a privilege to award scholarships to 170 remarkable students who have faced adversity and strived to overcome it,” said Watsa. “Horatio Alger Scholars are selected based on their commitment to furthering their education and giving back to their communities. They are beacons of hope for us all in these trying times and I wish to congratulate them all on behalf of the Members of the Horatio Alger Association.” In addition to the 170 scholarships, the Association will offer 25 Vocational & Technical Education scholarships, 45 Fairfax Financial Holdings Entrance Awards, and five Indigenous Achievement scholarships later this year. Since 2012, $8 million in scholarships have been awarded to 1,338 deserving young Canadians. Annually, the Association awards $1.68 million in need-based scholarships to 245 students. Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: email@example.com Sean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review
Calgary is expanding its Adaptive Roadways Program to include more roads starting today in order to provide more space for residents to physically distance as the weather warms. The program was first introduced last year as more people spent time outdoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. City pathways were widened by closing certain roads and parking lanes to motor vehicles. Today, the city is closing two eastbound lanes on Memorial Drive between Ninth Street N.W. and the lower deck of the Centre Street bridge to cars. The city will also close the entire lower deck of the Centre Street bridge between Riverfront Avenue S.E. and Memorial Drive N.W. "What we're trying to do is really target areas that are super congested. And certainly we saw in Eau Claire the pathway system was packed last weekend," said Ward 7 Coun. Druh Farrell on the Calgary Eyeopener. "We knew the weather was going to be beautiful on this weekend. And so we're sort of monitoring it. And because we're in a state of emergency, the administration is being incredibly responsive." Other roadways already widened include: Riverfront Avenue S.E. — The westbound parking lane is closed between Fourth Street and First Street S.E. Crescent Road N.W. — The parking lane is closed going east between 7A Street N.W. and First Street S.E. 12th Street S.E. — The parking lane going south is closed between Eighth Avenue and 21st Avenue S.E. Farrell said city council has "learned to be more nimble in a whole number of different ways" and said pop-up patios will also be making a return. "What I've been hearing is people are pretty blue right now … they're tired. And so anything that we can do to get them out to enjoy the fresh air, we'll try and do," she said. The roadways remain widened seven days a week. More locations will be added over the course of the spring and summer.
Mark Giordano, Milan Lucic and Mikael Backlund provided an impromptu scouting report Friday on the new sheriff behind the bench for the Calgary Flames, Darryl Sutter. Reporting for duty at the Scotiabank Saddledome just got a whole lot tougher under the rule of the man Calgarians jokingly call the "Jolly Rancher". "Most guys know exactly what Darryl's all about," said Giordano, who played for Sutter as a rookie in 2005-06. "He's a proven winner. ... If you're not going to listen to a guy who's a proven winner like that, you shouldn't be in the game." The daily grind under Sutter is hard, Lucic said. And the expectations? They're as high as the peaks of the nearby Rocky Mountains. "He just wants the best out of you," said Lucic, who played for Sutter in Los Angeles in 2015/16. "Buckle up." WATCH | Week 7 in the NHL's North Division: Calgary general manager Brad Treliving fired former head coach Geoff Ward Thursday after the Flames beat the Ottawa Senators 7-3 and moved to .500 on the season. The switch is generally welcomed by Flames fans longing to return to the glory days when Sutter led Calgary to Game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Final. Approaching the midway point of this shortened season, the underachieving Flames (11-11-2) sit fifth in the North Division – two points out of a playoff spot. "I think that this team has as good an opportunity as anybody to make the playoffs and do well in the playoffs," Sutter said in his first Zoom news conference with reporters from the family farm in Viking, Alta. "In order to be a playoff team, you need to play playoff hockey every night. "We're going to get this straightened out and get the most out of everybody." The Flames are blessed with impressive talent up front in Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk. They have one of the league's top goalies in Jacob Markstrom. The defence – while lacking in star power – is anchored by Giordano, a former Norris Trophy winner, cagey veteran Chris Tanev, and the promising Rasmus Andersson. But the Flames are wildly inconsistent and too often look like a team that's more there to collect paycheques rather than do whatever it takes to win. Expect that to change under Sutter – immediately. "Your job as a manager is to take your cues from the team," Treliving said. "I knew we needed to make a change, and there was only one guy we needed to have...This team needs Darryl and what he can bring." WATCH | 9 in 90: 9 moments when NHL goalies lost their cool: Sutter brings a career head coaching record of 634-467-101-83 with Chicago, San Jose, Calgary, and Los Angeles. He led the Kings to Stanley Cup titles in 2012 and 2014 and posted a winning record in 15-of-18 seasons. "He's one of the sharpest minds that's stood behind the bench in our league and has had the ability to extract the very best out of every individual," Treliving said. "It's not easy, but the players will always know where they stand." The job as Flames head coach is a perilous one, especially in recent times. Bob Hartley, Glen Gulutzan, Bill Peters, and Ward have cycled through the position over the last five years. In leaving his cows and the farm behind, Sutter signed a three-year-deal to join the Flames. The message from Treliving is clear: this is no stopgap measure. "There are five or six really good players who started their career here and have been here through all the coaches," Sutter said. "What's important for them to know now is I'm here with them and I'm going to stick with them. "They need stability and leadership from that same coach for a long time." The question remains how the Flames will respond to the change in leadership style. The sudden switch – to the authoritarian Sutter from the collegial Ward – promises to be jarring. WATCH | Remembering Walter Gretzky: The Flames play Saturday in Edmonton and Sunday at home against Ottawa. Assistant coach Ryan Huska will run the bench for both games, with Sutter adhering to league-mandated COVID-19 protocols Sutter is expected to run his first practice Tuesday at the Saddledome. "It's not going to be easy," Backlund said. "it's going to be a lot of work, and he expects us all to compete on a day-to-day basis. "He's coming in to win and nothing else is good enough."
HONG KONG — A group of 11 Hong Kong pro-democracy activists accused of subversion will stay in jail for at least another five days while judges consider whether to release them on bail, a court said Saturday. The group, which includes three former legislators, will have hearings Thursday and on March 13, the High Court said. A court agreed this week to release them but prosecutors appealed the decision. They are among 47 people who were charged under a national security law imposed on the Chinese territory last year by the ruling Communist Party after pro-democracy protests. They were arrested after opposition groups held an unofficial vote last year to pick candidates for elections to the territory’s Legislative Council. Some activists planned, if elected, to vote down major bills in an attempt to force Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to resign. The national security law was imposed following months of rallies that began over a proposed China extradition law and expanded to include demands for greater democracy. The law prompted complaints Beijing is undermining the “high degree of autonomy” promised when the former British colony returned to China in 1997, and hurting its status as a business centre. People convicted of subversion or other offences under the law can face penalties of up to life in prison. Hong Kong traditionally grants bail for non-violent offences but the new law says bail cannot be granted unless a judge believes the defendant “will not continue to commit acts endangering national security.” On Friday, four of the 47 people charged were released on bail after prosecutors dropped a challenge to the decision. The group due to appear in court Thursday includes former legislators Helena Wong, Jeremy Tam and Kwok Ka-ki. The next hearing for the 47 defendants is May 31. The Associated Press
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia has long proclaimed itself “Almost Heaven,” a nod to a song and soaring mountaintop vistas. Now some joke the state name-checked in “Take Me Home, Country Roads” could take things up a notch as Democratic U.S. Sen Joe Manchin bargains his way through Congress. “Maybe we’ll get to heaven status,” said longtime Democratic Party official Nick Casey. Reviving West Virginia’s economically battered coal towns and reversing a persistent population decline is a tall order. But Manchin, who grew up in the mountain town of Farmington, has emerged as a key swing vote in a divided Senate. Now he has his best shot in years to steer federal dollars back home. Manchin put himself in the middle of things again this week over the COVID relief bill making its way through Congress, singlehandedly halting work on the measure Friday as Democrats sought to placate his concerns about the size and duration of an expanded unemployment benefit. As for his own agenda, Manchin has dropped hints publicly about “common sense” infrastructure investments sorely needed back home: expanding rural broadband and fixing roads among them. He declared that West Virginia could supply the manufacturing firepower to “innovate our way to a cleaner climate.” And more than once, he's said coal miners can build the best solar panels if given a chance. Some wonder if his newfound clout might help him do something former President Donald Trump promised but couldn’t deliver — reignite a state economy long overly dependent on a coal industry in freefall. Manchin's Senate colleagues have good reason to study the needs of small towns beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains. Manchin, 73, was already a recognized dealmaker on Capitol Hill, but deference to the most conservative Democrat in a 50-50 Senate has ratcheted up since November. A senator from Hawaii recently teased him as “your highness.” The guessing game of which way he'll vote has become fodder for late night television. In recent days, Manchin's opposition helped sink Neera Tanden as President Joe Biden's nominee to lead the federal Office of Management and Budget. Not since Robert Byrd’s death in 2010 has a senator from West Virginia wielded this much influence. Over half a century, Byrd brought home billions of dollars in federal buildings, landmarks and roads, many bearing his name. “This is hardscrabble country, man — our population is dropping, the demise of coal,” said Casey, an attorney and former chair of the state Democratic Party. “We got a guy now who can maybe do something legacy-wise. And I think there’s a lot of hope and some expectation that Joe’s going to do things that are significant, exceptional.” Pam Garrison, a retired cashier, said she told Manchin at a meeting seeking a $15 federal minimum wage that Byrd has universities and hospitals named after him because “when he got into power, he used that power for the good of the people.” “If you do what’s good for the people, even after you’re gone, you’re going to be remembered.” Manchin, though, sees himself not as a seeker of pork-barrel projects but as a champion for policies that aid Appalachia and the Rust Belt. “What we have to do now, and I think it’s appropriate — we show the need, and that the base has been left behind,” he said. He started down that road by joining Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow in co-sponsoring a proposal for $8 billion in tax credits to boost clean energy manufacturing for coal communities and the auto industry. Robert Rupp, a political history professor at West Virginia Wesleyan College, says Manchin can use his position in a 50-50 Senate to put his small state in the forefront of everyone’s mind. “He’s at the centre of attention, and he could assert power,” Rupp said. A former governor, Manchin has deep roots in West Virginia politics. That helps explain why he is the last Democrat to hold statewide office in a state Trump carried twice by large margins. Manchin maintains an air of unpredictability. He opposed a $15 minimum wage provision in the $1.9 billion pandemic stimulus package, even after activists rallied outside his state office in Charleston, leaving some to question his future legacy. “We’re either going to smell like a rose in West Virginia, or we’re going to smell like crap, and it’s going to be attributed to Joseph Manchin,” said Jean Evansmore, 80, an organizer with the Poor People’s Campaign in West Virginia. Days later, the Senate parliamentarian ruled an increase couldn’t be included in the COVID-19 relief bill. That was a win for Manchin and his reverence for Senate customs, including the filibuster, which helps sustain a 60-vote hurdle to advancing most legislation. Manchin has vowed never to support ending the filibuster. On a recent morning in Charleston outside the golden-domed state capitol, saving it was a rallying cry for anti-abortion advocates, who held signs stating, “Thank you Senator Manchin.” “We need to encourage him to stand strong,” said Marilyn Musgrave, who works for the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion non-profit. Musgrave's group looks to Manchin now after campaigning against his 2018 bid for a second full term, which he won with just under 50% of the vote. Manchin opposes public funding for abortions but stops short of supporting an outright ban. Still, he typically scores a low rating from abortion-rights groups, which puts him more in line with West Virginians who collectively have sent mixed signals on abortion. With his centrist instincts in such a red state, Manchin has occasionally been the subject of rumours he'll switch parties. “Republicans kind of have this day-dream that just because he’s conservative on some issues that would mean he would jump parties,” Rupp said. That's unlikely, especially given Manchin's newfound clout, he said. And that's fine with Matt Kerner, a 54-year-old West Virginian who wants Manchin to never forget that 16% of the people in his state live below the poverty line, the sixth-highest rate in the nation, according to the U.S. Census. “We're hoping Senator Manchin remembers that he represents some of the poorest people in this country,” Kerner said. Cuneyt Dil, The Associated Press
Sea cucumbers are among the most bizarre looking creatures in the ocean. They are truly unique, not just in appearance, but also in their structure. They are echinoderms and they cover the sea beds worldwide. One of the most numerous of the sea animals, they are found in the shallows and also at great depths. Eyeless creatures, elongated in their shape and possessing leathery skin, they don't much resemble the animals that we know. They lack the bilateral symmetry of the majority of the creatures of the animal kingdom. Their bodies have five distinct sections instead of a left and a right. They are aptly named because most of them are close in appearance to a cucumber, they move almost imperceptibly slowly. They could easily be mistaken for a plant. Many are harvested and eaten throughout the world. But more important than their contribution to feeding the people in many countries, they provide a service for the ocean by filtering the water of bacteria, plankton and plant debris. Many species use their tentacles to draw food into their mouths as they slowly move over the ocean floor. Like millions of small ocean "Roombas", they work constantly, ridding the reefs, rocks, and sand bottoms of decaying plant matter. Without them, many animals would suffer from habitat loss. Algae that provide food could not grow and the silt and debris would simply accumulate and clog corals. Scuba divers enter the ocean with a sense of wonder for the incredible abundance of life that exists below the waves. The plants and animals there are unlike anything that we see above the surface. This undersea domain is alien and beautiful and each trip to the depths is an ad venture beyond description.
Six months after the tragic death of a 37-year-old Atikamekw woman at a Quebec hospital, the federal government's response to ongoing systemic racism in Canada's health-care system remains partial and ad hoc. The death of Joyce Echaquan, who bravely recorded her own racist encounter with two health-care workers, proves that cultural change is needed in Canada's health-care system to prevent further deaths and harm to Indigenous and other racialized patients. Unlike the absence of response in the death of Brian Sinclair, the federal government acted on pleas from Echaquan's family and community, as well as individuals and groups across Canada, to address racism in Canadian health care. Federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller and Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett hosted a series of national dialogues. The most recent, held in late January, brought together more than 400 people representing Indigenous partners, governments, educational and professional institutions, and health-care organizations to share calls to action and discuss plans, with the premise that substantial interruption of ongoing racism can only happen through dialogue. We acknowledge and value this national dialogue. However, the government of Canada's response remains tepid. Tangible commitments are minimal. WATCH | A Jan. 28, 2021, report on Ottawa's promise to address racism in health care: They include supporting the co-development of distinctions-based (First Nations, Inuit, and Métis) Indigenous health legislation, $4 million to improve physician training, and $2 million to the First Nations governing authorities of Manawan Atikamekw Council and Atikamekw Nation Tribal Council in Quebec for training and education on the right to access equitable social and health services. These commitments are inadequate. First, distinctions-based legislation does not address jurisdictional issues and may not have helped someone like Brian Sinclair, who died in 2008 after sitting ignored for 34 hours in the emergency department at Winnipeg's Health Sciences Centre. Mr. Sinclair was a non-status Anishinaabe man who accessed services as a citizen of Manitoba. Second, all health-care staff share a responsibility to confront Indigenous-specific racism. Directing funding only to physician training misses the fact that the fatal racism suffered by Brian Sinclair, Joyce Echaquan, and many, many others occurred in encounters with nurses and other hospital staff. Furthermore, education, while valuable, is insufficient without broader structural transformation in conjunction with accountability mechanisms, policy directives, and organizational change. Enshrine anti-racism in Canada Health Act Alongside education, we recommend a direct and universal measure: adding anti-racism as a sixth pillar of the Canada Health Act. The act outlines five pillars that provinces and territories are bound by in order to receive health-care funding: universality, comprehensiveness, accessibility, portability and public administration. We came together as the Brian Sinclair Working Group during the inquest into the 2008 death of Brian Sinclair, in which a judge ruled that racism would not be considered as a factor. We hosted provincewide discussions on structural racism and the inadequate provincial response. We also issued a report with recommendations. The Brian Sinclair Working Group released its interim report in 2017. The group also hosted provincewide discussions on structural racism and the inadequate provincial response. (Brian Sinclair Working Group) Since Joyce Echaquan's death, we renewed our efforts and proposed that anti-racism be a guiding value for all health-care systems, organizations, and providers. More specifically, we as a group asked that all stakeholders in the health-care system (including the federal government, the provincial government, health authorities, unions, professional organizations, and post-secondary institutions that deliver services and train the next generation of health professionals) adopt anti-racism policies and implement meaningful strategies. This will require resources committed to providing anti-racism training, accountability mechanisms, program review and independent investigations to hold institutions accountable to these mandates. We concur with the recommendations from recent inquiries, reports, and guidelines that eradicating racism in health care requires a national effort. We contend that adding anti-racism to the Canada Health Act would trigger the development of universal policies and programs to interrupt systemic and interpersonal racism in health care across health systems throughout the country. To date, more than 2,000 individuals and organizations have signed our open letter calling on the federal government to adopt anti-racism as a pillar of the Canada Health Act. (The letter can be found on the Anti-racism as a Sixth Pillar of the Canada Health Act Facebook group.) A denial of basic human dignity On Nov. 5, 2020, Sen. Mary Jane McCallum tabled a motion to call on the government to adopt anti-racism as the sixth pillar of the Canada Health Act, stating that "concerted action at the highest levels of influence and authority in Canada is required to disrupt racism in the Canadian health-care system." While Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller has not officially ruled out this approach, his department maintains a "carrots over sticks" (education, not law) approach to addressing racism in Canada. Although every Canadian is entitled to constitutional and human rights protections against discrimination, the horrific treatment of Indigenous individuals within health-care systems demonstrates an ongoing denial of basic human dignity that is deeply rooted in Canada's history of colonialism and segregation. Measures to increase accountability to the Canada Health Care Act are needed to raise standards of care to existing commitments to public administration, accessibility, comprehensiveness, universality and portability. Enshrining anti-racism as a sixth core principle would acknowledge the cultural change needed to prevent further deaths and harm to Indigenous and other racialized patients.
OTTAWA — A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the judicial warrant process at Canada's spy agency — an issue that made headlines last summer — stretch back at least nine years. Internal reviewers found several of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service's preparatory steps for the execution of warrant powers needed strengthening. Among the shortcomings were insufficient training of personnel and a lack of quality-control measures. In underscoring the importance of the process, the report notes warrants are authorizations issued by a federal judge that enable CSIS to legally undertake actions, including surveilling people electronically, that would otherwise be illegal. "Failure to properly apply or interpret a warrant at the time of its execution exposes the Service to the risk of its employees committing unlawful actions, and in certain situations, criminal offences," the report says. "The investigative powers outlined in warrants must be exercised rigorously, consistently and effectively." Potential misuse of these powers could result in serious ethical, legal or reputational consequences that might compromise the intelligence service's integrity, the report adds. The Canadian Press requested the 2012 audit under the Access to Information Act shortly after its completion, but CSIS withheld much of the content. The news agency filed a complaint through the federal information commissioner's office in July 2013, beginning a process that led to disclosure of a substantial portion of the document more than seven years later. CSIS operates with a high degree of secrecy and is therefore supposed to follow the proper protocols and legal framework, particularly concerning warrants, said Tim McSorley, national coordinator of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, which includes dozens of civil society organizations. "Seeing a report like this, it just raises a concern ... to what degree they're really following that framework with the most rigour possible." CSIS can apply to the Federal Court for a warrant when intrusive collection techniques are needed because other methods have failed or are unlikely to succeed. Once a judge approves a warrant but before it is executed, a step known as the invocation process takes place. It involves a request from CSIS personnel to use one or more of the authorized powers and a review of the facts underpinning the warrant to ensure appropriate measures are employed against the correct people. However, the reviewers found CSIS policy did not "clearly define or document the objectives or requirements of the invocation process." "When roles and responsibilities are not documented, they may not be fully understood by those involved. As a result, elements of the process may not be performed, or be performed by people who do not have sufficient knowledge or expertise to do so." Overall, the report found the invocation process "needs to be strengthened" through a clear definition of objectives, requirements and roles, and better monitoring, training and development of quality-control procedures. In response, CSIS management spelled out a series of planned improvements for the auditors. But concerns have persisted about the spy service's warrant procedures. A Federal Court of Canada ruling released in July said CSIS had failed to disclose its reliance on information that was likely collected illegally in support of warrants to probe extremism. Justice Patrick Gleeson found CSIS violated its duty of candour to the court, part of a long-standing and troubling pattern. "The circumstances raise fundamental questions relating to respect for the rule of law, the oversight of security intelligence activities and the actions of individual decision-makers," he wrote. Gleeson called for an in-depth look at interactions between CSIS and the federal Justice Department to fully identify systemic, governance and cultural shortcomings and failures. The National Security and Intelligence Review Agency, the key watchdog over CSIS, is examining the issues. Another review, completed early last year by former deputy minister of justice Morris Rosenberg, called for improvements, including better training and clarification of roles, but stressed they would not succeed unless the "cultural issues around warrants" were addressed. CSIS spokesman John Townsend said the intelligence service continuously works to improve training and updates its policies and procedures accordingly, informed by audits, reviews and best practices. The Rosenberg review prompted CSIS to launch an effort last year to further the service's ability to meet its duty of candour to the court, resulting in a plan that was finalized in January, Townsend said. "The plan includes specific action items directed at ensuring the warrant process is more responsive to operational needs, documenting the full intelligence picture to facilitate duty of candour and ensuring CSIS meets expectations set by the Federal Court," he said. "In addition to training on CSIS's duty of candour already provided under the auspices of the project, additional training on a variety of operational issues including warrant acquisition will be developed by the project team and offered to employees." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 6, 2021. Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
WARSAW, Poland — A bus carrying dozens of Ukrainian citizens rolled off an embankment into a ditch in Poland, killing six people and injuring 41, Polish media reported on Saturday. The accident occurred around midnight on the A4 motorway near the town of Jaroslaw, which is in southeastern Poland near the border with Ukraine. TNV24, a private all-news station, reported that the bus had a Ukrainian license plate and was travelling with 57 Ukrainian citizens, including two drivers. A large rescue operation early Saturday involved dozens of firefighters, paramedics and helicopters to transport the injured to hospitals. There was no immediate cause given for the accident. Ukrainians travel for work to Poland, a European Union state on Ukraine's western border. Ukrainians fill gaps in the labour market in Poland, which has experienced fast economic growth in recent years. The Associated Press
CAIRO — A trailer-truck crashed into a microbus, killing at least 18 people and injuring five others south of the Egyptian capital, authorities said. The country’s chief prosecutor’s office said in a statement the crash took place late Friday on a highway near the town of Atfih, 100 kilometres (62 miles) south of Cairo. The Cairo-Assiut eastern road, located on the eastern side of the Nile River, links Cairo to the country’s southern provinces and is known for speeding traffic. Police authorities said the truck’s tire exploded, causing it to overturn and collide with the microbus. The victims were taken to nearby hospitals, the statement said. The truck driver was arrested. Traffic accidents claim thousands of lives every year in Egypt, which has a poor transportation safety record. The crashes are mostly caused by speeding, bad roads or poor enforcement of traffic laws. The country’s official statistics agency says around 10,000 road accidents took place in 2019, the most recent year for which statistics are available, leaving over 3,480 dead. In 2018, there were 8,480 car accidents, causing over 3,080 deaths. The Associated Press
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan handily won a vote of confidence from the National Assembly on Saturday, days after the embarrassing defeat of his ruling party’s key candidate in Senate elections. Khan secured the votes of 178 members of the lower house of Parliament, which is comprised of 340 lawmakers. The 11-party opposition alliance — the Pakistan Democratic Movement —boycotted the assembly’s special session. Khan needed 172 votes to show a simple majority and dispel any suggestion he had lost the support of the majority of lawmakers in the National Assembly. In the National Assembly, Pakistan's lower house, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party has the support of 180 members, including 157 members from Khan's party and 20 members from allied parties and two independents. The need for the confidence vote arose after former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in Senate elections Wednesday defeated Hafeez Sheikh, the finance minister in Khan’s Cabinet. The Senate vote was seen as a test for Khan, who came to power in the 2018 parliamentary elections. It boosted the number of Senate seats for the opposition, which has a slight, 53-47 majority over Khan and wants Khan to step down. Responding to the opposition demand, Khan decided to seek the vote of confidence, noting that it was the democratic right of lawmakers from his own party to vote against him if they oppose his policies. Frustrated over the defeat of Sheikh, Khan criticized election authorities who he said failed to ensure a free and fair vote. Earlier, he claimed that 15 or 16 lawmakers from his party “sold” their vote but they could not be identified because the vote is done by secret ballot. “In August 2018 Imran Khan got 176 votes to become prime minister and today he secured 178 votes to show his majority in the house,” said Asad Qaiser, the speaker of the lower house, after the vote. Khan said his party members went through agony after the Senate vote but now he wants to make the country great. “We have to apprise our young generation about the purpose of the creation of Pakistan,“ he said. “Pakistan was created to make a welfare Islamic state and not made to generate politicians like (former president Asif) Zardari and (former Prime Minister) Nawaz Sharif, who have been accused of corruption. The resolution of confidence was presented to the assembly by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Members who voted in favour of Khan signed a register and then entered the Parliament building lobby. Outside Parliament, opposition leaders from the former ruling party Pakistan Muslim League argued heatedly with Khan’s supporters. Zarar Khan, The Associated Press
A Northwest Territories committee is changing its process for determining species at risk with the goal of better reflecting Indigenous and community knowledge. The N.W.T. Species at Risk Committee (SARC) made the announcement in a news release Tuesday. It says it will now use two separate sets of criteria based on Indigenous and community knowledge, and scientific knowledge, respectively. The final species assessment can be supported by criteria from either, or both, knowledge systems, depending on the best available information, the release says. "Around the world, accepted standards for species at risk assessments are based strongly in western science," Leon Andrew, chair of the Northwest Territories Species at Risk Committee, said in a statement. "However, there is increasing acceptance that Indigenous and community knowledges are systems of knowing in their own right that do not need to fit within a model of, or be verified by, western science." Both knowledge systems to exist as equals The release says it became "clear" to the committee that the assessment process needed to be "rethought and rebuilt" so that it "recognizes the local, holistic, eco-centric and social-spiritual context of Indigenous knowledges." The new guidelines are consistent with the Convention on Biological Diversity, it says. "Through a more balanced and holistic approach to species assessment, SARC hopes to provide room for both knowledge systems to exist and interact as equals," the release reads in part. The committee's assessment process and objective biological criteria now significantly differ from those used by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, according to the release. The new assessment process will be applied for the first time to the re-assessment of polar bears in April 2021. The committee says it will regularly review the effectiveness of the new assessment criteria.
China's proposal for Hong Kong electoral reforms could prevent a "dictatorship of the majority", pro-Beijing Hong Kong lawmaker Martin Liao told Reuters on Saturday. The Chinese parliament is discussing plans to overhaul Hong Kong's electoral system to ensure Beijing loyalists are in charge. Hong Kong representatives, in Beijing for an annual session, say the change is necessary and desirable.
Austin Hutton's hands were shaking a little when he got the package, a portal to the past tucked into a plain manila envelope. It was his diary, written in 1988, when he was a Grade 6 student at Havelock Elementary School. "I was excited, and pretty emotional, to be honest," Hutton said. "I had no idea what I'd written, what mattered to me back then. It was like getting a window on your childhood." The diary was one of dozens, forgotten by the students but held onto by their teacher for decades, that are now making their way across the country. Their secrets are sweet, simple, unscandalous. But the effort to reunite them with their now-grownup authors has left more than a few people feeling "goose bumpy" with appreciation. Stored in Saint John, forgotten for decades Back in the 1980s, Havelock Elementary School teacher Hugh Brittain, liked to assign his Grade 6 students creative writing projects. A diary was one of the class favourites. Predictions of what their adult life would look like were another. Some of the students collected their writing projects at graduation and took them home. Many did not. Brittain kept all of the left-behind diaries — "I never read them. I told the students they were private, and they were," — storing them at his west side home. Every now and then, he'd come across them and think, "I suppose I should toss those out," he said. "But I just couldn't do it." Earlier this year, Brittain decided he'd try to reunite the paper treasures with their writers. But first, he'd have to find them. Retired teacher Hugh Brittain kept his students' forgotten diaries in his garage for decades. 'I just couldn't bring myself to throw them out.'(Submitted by Hugh Brittain) A social media seek-and-reunite mission Brittain, 79, concedes he's not really a social media whiz. He posted a note on a Beaconsfield School Days Facebook page. "I have a number of diaries written by grade six students of Havelock School. … They were written 33-43 years ago and I don't have the heart to dispose of them. I am sure they would get a kick out of what their thoughts were as a twelve-year-old. Perhaps someone could help me contact the following students." The post got a few delighted responses, but there were many students whose trail had gone cold. That's when super-sleuth Cher Raynes stepped in. Now living in Saskatchewan, Raynes grew up in Saint John and had a friend who'd attended Havelock. She started with her, and then she just kept going. She reached out to former students, friends of former students, relatives of friends, tracked down email addresses, and soon a flurry of interchanges was threading across the country, from Saint John to Moose Jaw to Edmonton and beyond. "Mr. Brittain is trying to track down these students … put the word out." "I think his sister is still in Saint John, you could try her at this address." "I know her married name, will reach out." "It's like putting a puzzle together," Raynes said in an interview. "I enjoy it, and I've reconnected with a few chums from the past as well." Slowly but surely, almost every one of the diary writers was tracked down, and Brittain mailed each of the diaries out, paying the postage himself. "I don't mind, it wasn't much," he said. "I was just happy they'd all have them back." Austin Hutton enjoyed looking over his diary with his son, AJ, who is the same age now that Hutton was when he wrote the diary.(Submitted by Austin Hutton) The diaries begin finding their way home Across the country, former Havelock students waited eagerly for their passage to the past to arrive. So many years had gone by, and even the school itself no longer exists, having been closed in 2016 and demolished. The diaries were a long-forgotten link to all of that. Austin Hutton found himself transported back to those years even before his diary arrived. Now living in Fort St. John, B.C., Hutton has four children, including a son who is the same age now that Hutton was when he wrote the diary. "I was so curious to see if I was anything like he is now at this age," he said. Hutton's diary arrived about a week ago, with a stern warning on the cover. "MY DIARY. Top Secret. KEEP OUT!" Hutton's wife got a chuckle out of that. "She said that is very much me," he said in an interview. The diary shed a lot of light on what mattered to 11-year-old Austin: chiefly, mowing lawns to earn cash, saving all his earnings to buy a new bike, and winning the attention of "the prettiest girl in my class." He'd managed to get her phone number that day — " I actually wrote it down in my diary," Hutton said with a laugh — although he never did get the girl. "She dated other guys," he said. Hutton said getting the diary back has been a deeply moving experience, and while the memories of his past crushes have long since faded, his respect for his Grade 6 teacher never will. "I get goose bumpy thinking how he held onto them all these years, looked us up across the country and sent them out. The joy and the love that he put into this … the kindness. It's just unbelievable." Ted Dakin was amused to find his Grade 6 predictions of what his grownup life would be like entailed a wife with 'sparkling blue eyes' and a wedding at which he insisted his mother-in-law be seated in the back row of the church.(Submitted by Ted Dakin) A wedding planner is born A few months ago, an old friend from Saint John flagged Ted Dakin on Facebook. "Hey, Hugh Brittain is trying to get ahold of you, he has something for you. That diary you did in Grade 6." Dakin was astonished. "I had no recollection of what I would have written back then, but I was so curious to find out," he said. He sent Brittain his address in Edmonton and sat back, reminiscing about the old days on the west side. "It was a simpler life," he said. "Your biggest concerns were getting to school on time, going to baseball practice, lots of chaos among the kids. And I remember Mr. Brittain. He was our neighbour and a great teacher." Within a few weeks, his parcel arrived. "In my case, it wasn't a diary," Dakin said. It was a letter to his grownup self, and the assignment was 'Tell me what you see in your future.' " Apparently, Dakin said, what he saw was wedding cake. "I guess because I lived with two women, my mom and my sister Pauline, I decided to write about getting married. In some detail." Young Ted described his bride-to-be as "a dirty blond with sparkling blue eyes." "It was actually a girl in my class, but I won't name names," said Dakin, who worked in a flower shop. They would get married on April 11, 1992, at Centenary Queen Square United Church in front of 201 invited guests. "And," young Ted took pains to note, "my mother-in-law would sit in the back row." They'd honeymoon in Hawaii, move into a two-bedroom cabin in the California woods and, if his choice of vehicles was any clue, begin preparing for a family. "I'd buy a GMC van and jazz it up," he wrote. So how prophetic did his predictions turn out to be? "Well there's been no GMC van," Dakin said with a chuckle. But he did marry a blond, he did plan his own wedding, and they did move to a two-bedroom cabin in the woods, built by Dakin himself. "I don't know what any of that means, but I do know this, when I get back to Saint John for a visit, I'm definitely going to knock on Hugh Brittain's door," Dakin said. "I'm blown away that he would keep these all these years." Susan Fearnhead Knolla got her diary from Brittain when she finished high school and has held onto it. 'Great memories,' she says.(Submitted by Susan Fearnhead Knolla) Back when mail was delivered to your door — by your teacher Susan Fearnhead Knolla's experience was a little different. She was reunited with her diary when she graduated from Saint John High School. "Mr. Brittain came around to give the Grade 6 diaries to some students who were still in the neighbourhood," she said. "It was pretty cool to get it back after six years, and he walked around the neighborhood personally to deliver them." Fearnhead Knolla said she left town, travelled a lot, moved overseas, then eventually "came home" to west Saint John. And after all this time, she said, she still has her diary. "I'll keep it forever. Great memories."
SYDNEY, Australia — Sydney’s annual iconic Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras went ahead on Saturday, only in a different format due to coronavirus restrictions. It was being held at the Sydney Cricket Ground, where people can socially distance in their seats rather than on the traditional route down Oxford Street. Up to 23,000 spectators will be allowed in the stands while the performers will be on the pitch. Organizers say this year’s parade will move away from the traditional large floats and instead focus on the outlandish pageantry of costumes, puppetry and props. Face masks will be mandatory for participants and there will be temperature checks and screening at entry points. Meanwhile, LGBTQI rights protesters have been given the green light to march down Oxford Street in a separate event before the parade. Health officials in New South Wales state agreed to make an exception to the 500-person limit on public gatherings after organizers agreed to enhanced contact-tracing processes. The marchers are protesting social issues including transphobia, the mandatory detention of asylum-seekers and the criminalization of sex work. The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has two seats to fill on the influential appeals court in the nation's capital that regularly feeds judges to the Supreme Court. They are among the roughly 10% of federal judgeships that are or will soon be open, giving Biden his first chance to make his mark on the American judiciary. Barring an improbable expansion of the Supreme Court, Biden won’t be able to do anything about the high court’s entrenched conservative majority any time soon. Justice Clarence Thomas, at 72, is the oldest of the court’s conservatives and the three appointees of former President Donald Trump, ranging in age from 49 to 56, are expected to be on the bench for decades. Democrats traditionally have not made the judiciary a focus, but that is changing after four years of Trump and the vast changes he made. Biden’s appointments are also the only concrete moves he has right now to affect the judiciary at large, though there is talk about expanding the number of judges on lower courts. The nearly 90 seats that Biden can fill, which give their occupants life tenure after Senate confirmation, are fewer than former Trump inherited four years ago. That’s because Republicans who controlled the Senate in the final two years of the Obama White House confirmed relatively few judges. Included in the tally are 10 seats on federal courts of appeals where nearly all appeals, other than the few dozen decided by the Supreme Court each year, come to an end. One seat is held by Merrick Garland, whose confirmation as attorney general is expected in the coming days. Another longtime judge on the court, David Tatel, has said he is cutting back on his duties, a change that allows Biden to appoint his successor. Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Thomas were appellate judges at the courthouse at the bottom of Capitol Hill before they joined the high court atop the Hill. The late Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg also served on the appeals court, where they first formed their lasting friendship. Following Scalia's death just over five years ago. President Barack Obama nominated Garland to the Supreme Court, but Senate Republicans didn't give him even a hearing, much less a vote. When Trump took office in January 2017, he had a high court vacancy to fill. Trump ended up making three Supreme Court appointments to go along with 54 appellate court picks and 174 trial judges, aided by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's determination to, as he put it, “leave no vacancy behind.” Democrats and their progressive allies say they've learned a lesson or two from the Republicans, and intend to make judicial nominations a greater focus than in past Democratic administrations. “It’s an exceptional situation where you have a president and the people around him people who really see this as a high priority,” said former Sen. Russ Feingold, the Wisconsin Democrat who served with Biden in the Senate for 16 years. Feingold now is president of the American Constitution Society. “I think President Biden knows that a part of his legacy will be undoing the damage done by Trump to the extent possible,” Feingold said. So far, liberal groups are encouraged by the signals the White House is sending. White House counsel Dana Remus wrote senators in December that recommendations for new judges should come within 45 days of a vacancy. Biden already has pledged to name a Black woman to the Supreme Court if a seat opens up. Justice Stephen Breyer, 82, is the oldest member of the court and could retire, but he has not announced any plans. Democrats are in search of several kinds of diversity, following the Trump years in which more than 75 per cent of judicial nominees were men and 85 per cent were white. In addition to race and gender, liberal groups are pushing for diversity of experience so that public defenders and public interest lawyers are considered along with big law firm lawyers and prosecutors who have predominated in recent administrations. “Our view is we would like to see them prioritize experiential diversity, which would be new and different from the two previous Democratic administrations,” said Nan Aron, president of the liberal Alliance for Justice, referring to the Obama and Clinton presidencies. So far, the judges who have announced they are retiring or taking senior status, the term for a reduced workload, have mainly been appointees of Democratic presidents. Some appear to have put off retirement until Trump left the White House. An additional four dozen or so are eligible to take senior status or will be before Biden's term ends in 2025. Such judges must be at least 65 years old and with 15 years of service on the bench. But Democrats also are eyeing a major expansion of the judiciary for the first time in 30 years. The creation of new judgeships to deal increased caseloads in parts of the country could draw bipartisan support, though it might provide a windfall of judicial appointments for Biden in the short term. Idaho Republican Sen. Mike Crapo recently wrote about the need for another federal judge for his state, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., backs the addition of judges in California and other states. “There is broad agreement here on the dais on both sides," Issa said last month during a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on court expansion. But some Republicans and conservative groups are wary about what Democrats might try to do now that they control Congress and the White House. If Democrats conclude “that the courts are somehow out of whack and create judgeships to fill them to skew the courts, I'm not OK with that,” said the Heritage Foundation's John Malcolm, who helped compile a list of potential Supreme Court nominees for Trump. At the same hearing, Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, said Democrats controlled the House in the last two years of Trump's term, but held no hearings and proposed no legislation on expansion. “I wonder why?” he asked. Mark Sherman, The Associated Press
NICOSIA, Cyprus — Dozens of Orthodox Christian faithful held up wooden crosses and sang Church hymns outside of Cyprus' state broadcaster on Saturday to demand the withdrawal of the country’s controversial entry for the Eurovision song contest — titled “El Diablo” — that they say promotes satanic worship. Some of the protesters, including families, held up placards reading in Greek, “We’re protesting peacefully, no to El Diablo,” “Repent and return to Christ” and “Christ saves, Diablo kills.” The broadcaster and the singer of the song insist it has been misinterprested and the song is actually about an abusive relationship between two lovers. The protest came several days after the powerful Orthodox Church called for the withdrawal of the song that it said mocked the country’s moral foundations by advocating “our surrender to the devil and promoting his worship.” The Holy Synod, the Church’s highest decision-making body, said in a statement that the song “essentially praises the fatalistic submission of humans to the devil’s authority” and urged the state broadcaster to replace it with one that “expresses our history, culture, traditions and our claims.” Last week, police charged a man with uttering threats and causing a disturbance when he barged onto the grounds of the public broadcaster to protest what he condemned as a “blasphemous” song that was an affront to Christianity. The state broadcaster insisted that the entry won’t be withdrawn, but its board chairman, Andreas Frangos, conceded that organizers should have done a better job explaining the core message of the song, whose lyrics include, “I gave my heart to el diablo...because he tells me I’m his angel.” Even the Cypriot government waded into the controversy, with Presidential spokesman Viktoras Papadopoulos saying that although the views of dissenters are respected, the government cannot quash freedom of expression. “The Government fully respects creative intellectual and artistic freedom that cannot be misinterpreted or limited because of a song’s title, and unnecessary dimensions should not be attributed,” Papadopoulos said in a written statement. The song’s performer, Greek artist Elena Tsagrinou, said that the song is about a woman who cries out for help after falling for a “bad boy” known as “El Diablo” and coming to identify and bond with her abuser. Tsagrinou insisted that any other interpretation is “unfounded.” “The song sends a strong message, one against any form of abuse, such as the one conveyed in ‘El Diablo,’” Tsagrinou told The Associated Press in a written statement. “In these ‘Me Too Movement’ times that message is extremely relevant and can be felt not only in Cyprus but also across Europe and beyond.” She added that she is a Christian and her faith was very important to her. Addressing the song’s detractors, Tsagrinou said “we must all embrace the true and intended message of the song” and that people are now stepping forward with their own stories of abuse. “Music unites and empowers. Let’s focus on that and the important issues around us and leave misinterpretations and dark thoughts behind,” Tsagrinou said. Menelaos Hadjicostis, The Associated Press
Artists, get out your spray cans. The Fredericton Trails Coalition wants to revitalize part of the city trail between Rookwood Avenue and Smythe Street, near the New Brunswick Exhibition horse barns. "It's nothing but a big canvas," said Stephen Marr, vice-president of the Fredericton Trails Coalition. So, the group hopes to turn it into a huge mural and is looking for proposals. The idea came about last year, when organizers were trying to come up with ways to celebrate the community trails — while following physical distancing rules because of COVID-19. Bringing history and art together "It's something that's happening all over Canada," he said. For years, the horse barns have been spray painted with bubble letters or funny looking smiley faces. "Why not beautify it and put something meaningful on there that would actually become a destination for people on the trail?" he said. The canvas is about 100 metres long and art applications are pretty open-ended. "If you pigeonhole them you're not going to allow them their creativity," he said There are a lot of people who pass by the area while cycling to work or out for a stroll with kids. So the group is hoping for something that focuses on community and its history. "The topics are just too numerous to count." 'It's about community' A call for artists was sent out in the middle of February. The group has received about 28 applications so far. People have until the end of March to apply. Then, the proposals will be evaluated by Fredericton's art community, including gallery owners and art instructors. Five artists will be selected in June. Then, they will be asked to do a mockup of the canvas. The finalist will be announced on June 15, and will get to work after Canada Day. The artist will receive about $20,000 for the project and potential grants. The artwork is expected to be finished by September. The paint is expected to last five to six years. Marr said he isn't worried about taggers destroying the artwork. He said there's an unwritten rule between taggers that once a mural goes up, it's off limits. "It's about community involvement and appreciation and inclusiveness on the trails."
NAIROBI, Kenya — The death toll has risen to at least 20 after a vehicle packed with explosives rammed into a popular restaurant in Somalia’s capital on Friday night, with 30 wounded, the government news agency reported Saturday. The Somali National News Agency cited the Aamin ambulance service for the death toll. Police spokesman Sadiq Ali Adan blamed the attack on the local al-Shabab extremist group, which is linked to al-Qaida and often targets Mogadishu with bombings. The Luul Yamani restaurant also was attacked last year. Some houses near the restaurant collapsed after the dinnertime blast, and police said that caused a number of deaths. Security in Mogadishu had been especially heavy, with thousands of government forces deployed in anticipation of a planned demonstration on Saturday by an alliance of opposition leaders over the country’s delayed national election. The demonstration was later postponed. The Associated Press