An heir to the Seagram’s liquor fortune was sentenced Wednesday to an 81-month prison term and immediately thrown behind bars for her role as an unwavering benefactor of Keith Raniere, the disgraced self-improvement guru convicted of turning women into sex slaves who were branded with his initials. U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis gave Clare Bronfman the harsh sentence at a hearing lasting more than three hours and featuring emotional statements from several victims gathered in a courtroom under strict coronavirus safety protocols. The judge repeatedly scolded Clare Bronfman for standing by Raniere and his upstate New York organization, even after the evidence made clear she eventually became aware of his sex-trafficking scheme.
If there is a glimmer of a silver lining for Canada, the U.K. and its allies as they watch the brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters in Belarus, it's this: Russia probably doesn't want another Ukraine — and it certainly can't afford one.The imposition of sanctions by both countries Tuesday against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, his son and six other Belarusian government officials in the wake of a disputed presidential election was the outcome of a delicate diplomatic dance that took weeks — even though some European nations chose to remain wallflowers.Former Canadian diplomat Colin Robertson said the Magnitsky-style sanctions would have had more punch if they'd been part of a wider multinational effort."In the case of Belarus, we have gone after the kingpins and we hit them where it hurts — their pocketbooks and ability to travel," he said. "It would have been better if it were a G7 rather than just Canada and the U.K., but I guess it's a reflection of EU solidarity."Some experts, meanwhile, say they think there's a better-than-even chance that — although they're not aimed at Russia — the economic penalties will prompt dialogue and lead to de-escalation."The Russians don't want another Ukraine," said Andrew Rasiulis, a former senior Canadian defence official now with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. "They don't want another problem on their border."While surface comparisons can be made between the situation in Belarus now and the six-year-old war in Ukraine, the geopolitical and economic landscapes are different, said Rasiulis, who once ran the Directorate of Nuclear and Arms Control Policy at the Department of National Defence.Unlike the Ukrainians who took part in the anti-government, post-election protests in Kyiv that preceded the Russian invasion and annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea in 2014, those demonstrating in Minsk are not demanding closer association with the West or using much anti-Russian rhetoric. Belarusians are, primarily, rising up to demand good government.And Moscow is in a weaker economic position now than it was in 2014 — in part because of the punishing sanctions imposed after its seizure of Crimea and armed intervention in eastern Ukraine.For Belarus, getting hit by international sanctions following a presidential election is almost a regular thing.In 2006, in reply to a heavy-handed response to protests, the U.S. and European Union levelled sanctions on dozens of Belarusian individuals and state-run companies. The EU eased up in 2016 when Lukashenko released political prisoners, but Washington has maintained an array of restrictions on Belarusian officials, including the president himself.Penalizing the powerfulRobertson said the West has learned the hard way that targeted punishments, such as those imposed on Tuesday, will be more effective in the long run.Experts at the U.S.-based RAND Corporation and elsewhere have warned repeatedly over the past decade that targeting key Belarusian state-owned enterprises (such as chemical and petrochemical industries) and restricting the flow of capital would cause higher economic damage to the country as a whole and hurt many ordinary citizens.The chances of political concessions appear to be higher when you hit the business elite and the cronies, says one recent study by the think-tank.That report, which looked at Russia's influence in Eastern Europe and ways to contain it, said efforts to promote a more liberal Belarus were unlikely to succeed and could provoke a strong response from Moscow.Convincing the KremlinWilliam Courtney and Michael Haltzel, two noted U.S. experts on Eastern Europe, argued in a RAND Corporation blog post last month that western countries should support mediation and calls for a new presidential election with credible international monitoring.Russia, they said, is the key — and Moscow could be enticed to go along."A more democratic, Eastern Slavic state on Russia's border might be difficult for the Kremlin to accept, but the European Union and the United States could make clear that any improvement in relations with Moscow would depend on it not intervening coercively in Belarus," wrote Courtney, a former ambassador, and Haltzel, a former policy adviser to U.S. Senator (now Democratic presidential nominee) Joe Biden.Canada, Latvia and other western nations have called for mediation, said Rasiulis — who is convinced Moscow is more interested in keeping Belarus in its orbit than in Lukashenko's political survival.The Institute for the Study of War, another prominent U.S. think-tank, has warned that some of the Russian army units which took part in a recent joint military exercise may not have returned home from Belarus last week as planned.Rasiulis said that while it's clear Russian is keeping the option of force on table, he has a hard time believing Moscow would launch a violent crackdown because of how it would alienate the people of Belarus.
In the waning days of summer, afternoon traffic in Oyen, Alta., moved slowly along Main Street, easing along the weathered asphalt, past the low brick facade of the town office, farm equipment dealer and a cafe promising fresh pie and hot coffee. Alberta hasn't felt the heat of a boom in years. Roughly 850 workers — skilled trades, engineers and managers among them — have come to work on the Canadian leg of TC Energy Corp.'s Keystone XL pipeline.
Despite the U.S. having the world's highest number of COVID-19 cases, Canadian snowbird Elizabeth Evans is determined to head south next month. That's because her only winter home is parked at an RV resort in Williston, Florida."I don't have a [winter] home here," said Evans, who's currently living in her summer trailer at a campground in Niagara Falls. "I don't have any winter clothes."Evans is one of a number of snowbirds set on going to the U.S. this winter, despite the ongoing pandemic. But getting there may not be easy: To help stop the spread of COVID-19, the Canada-U.S. land border remains closed to non-essential traffic until at least Oct. 21.Evans believes the closure will be extended, so she plans to fly to Florida on Oct. 30 — two days before the campground where she's living closes for the season. "There's no way I am staying here," she said. "Even if I had to get on the plane buck-naked, I'd be on it."The Canadian Snowbird Association — which has more than 110,000 members — said it's hard to gauge at this point what percentage of its members will actually head south this winter. Some snowbirds have already nixed their plans, while others are undecided. "A significant portion of them are in a holding pattern, just to see what shakes out at the land border," said spokesperson Evan Rachkovsky.WATCH | Alberta snowbirds planning to spend winter at home:Some experts predict the Canada-U.S. land border could stay closed to non-essential travel until the new year. Although Canadians can still fly to the U.S., Rachkovsky said many snowbirds won't go without their cars but can't afford the big fees — between $1,500 and $6,000 — to ship their vehicles."It's not really an option for some of them to fly."Evans is one of those who would typically drive down to the U.S., which allowed her to transport her household supplies in her truck. She said she's can't ship her truck packed with luggage, so this year she's leaving it behind, along with many household necessities. But she's still bent on going to the U.S., even as health experts warn of a possible surge of COVID-19 cases in the fall. Evans said she plans to take precautionary measures such as social distancing and keep to her RV resort. "I will take the risk because I know how to protect myself, and everybody — at least in my resort — follows the rules," she said. "I'm more concerned about falling off my bicycle than I am of COVID."Escape winter while isolatingTravel insurance broker Martin Firestone said so far less than 10 per cent of his snowbird clients have made firm plans to go south this winter. He said those who are going say they will aim to avoid crowds, just as they would in Canada during the pandemic. "They're going to be prisoners in their developments or their condos," said Firestone, with Travel Secure in Toronto. "They're saying, 'I guess I'd rather sit down in Florida than sit here in Ontario and face the harsh climate.'"That about sums up Perry Cohen's itinerary. The snowbird — who is one of Firestone's clients — aims to head to his condo in Deerfield Beach, Fla., in early December as long as the COVID-19 case count remains low in that area.Cohen, who lives in Toronto, said he plans to take the necessary precautions and stick to his gated community — all while enjoying the warm weather. "Why would I want to be cooped up here when I can be there, out in the sunshine, in the fresh air?" he said. "You have more positives to go than to stay here."Cohen also plans to fly to Florida and has a car parked at his condo. He said an added reassurance for him is that he can now purchase COVID-19 medical insurance — just in case he or his wife did get the virus. "I like a complete package to know I'm looked after [if], God forbid, I have a problem."COVID-19 medical coverage returnsSeveral travel insurance providers recently restarted selling COVID-19 medical coverage, after dropping it in March when the pandemic began its global spread Firestone said that even with the coverage, snowbirds could face problems if the community where they're living has an outbreak. "The hospitals will get filled, the intensive care units will get filled, and then the fun will begin, regardless of whether you have insurance or not."Cohen argues Canada could also experience overrun hospitals. Currently, COVID-19 case numbers are surging in Ontario and Quebec. "You take a chance and go, because we can have the same problem here."
Country star Mac Davis, who launched his career crafting the Elvis hits “A Little Less Conversation” and “In the Ghetto,” and whose own hits include “Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me,” has died. Davis had a long and varied career in music for decades as a writer, singer, actor and TV host and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006. “Thank you, dear Lord Jesus, for letting us know the man to whom you gave the most incredible talent,” said Reba McEntire in a statement.
The Yalcin brothers had only opened their west Toronto bistro for about six months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Now, with sales down between 70 and 85 per cent from before COVID-19, co-owners Ali and Tolga Yalcin said they've been trying to adjust financially, while also working tirelessly to install safety measures and keep the number of patrons low to allow for physical distancing. "We quit trying to plan months ahead — it's days and weeks now," said Ali Yalcin. "Since April, we've had to rethink this whole idea of what a restaurant is, and how we can operate safely." But as of Wednesday, protocols around restaurants and bars across Toronto are changing once again.City council voted unanimously to approve a number of additional measures aimed at curbing a recent surge in COVID-19 cases. Under these new rules, restaurants and bars will now have to reduce the number of patrons from 100 to 75, reduce the number of people at a table from 10 to six, collect contact information from each patron at a table, and lower background music to the level of conversation.The proposal was introduced earlier this week by the city's Medical Officer of Health,Dr. Eileen de Villa, and quickly drew support from Mayor John Tory and Board of Health Chair Joe Cressy. "We know that if you reduce the total number of people [in a restaurant], you reduce the likelihood of potential slips in personal protective measures and therefore reduce the likelihood of the transmission of the virus," de Villa said during the council meeting Wednesday. Additionally, on Sept. 25, the Ontario government also introduced a new set of rules, including moving the last call at bars and restaurants, including nightclubs, to 11 p.m. Owners say they're constantly adjusting With the changing rules and regulations, the Yalcin brothers said they are constantly trying to adjust. "We've gone through so many transitions that I feel like we're just always trying to get ahead of the game," said co-owner Tolga Yalcin. Now they're bracing for another hit."All these new rules, they're welcome, but at the same time, we're thinking of the business side," said Ali Yalcin. Tory calls for year-round outdoor dining But there's a glimmer of hope for business owners like the Yalcins.Knowing the newly-approved measures will affect businesses — especially those already struggling — Tory called for enhanced support for restaurants, a motion that was also passed unanimously by council."I realize that these public health measures ... will have a negative impact on businesses that were struggling before, trying to keep the lights on and trying to keep people employed," Tory told reporters Wednesday. Despite the impact, Tory said it's crucial to put health and safety protocols first. "A healthy economy requires healthy people," Tory said. Under the umbrella of Toronto's CaféTO program, the mayor says city staff will work with businesses to introduce and support year-round outdoor dining. Other recommendations will require city council to: * Support the province in any actions it takes with the insurance industry to support small and medium-sized business by preventing astronomical increases in their insurance policies and premiums. * Advise the Ontario government to extend the regulation that allows those with liquor licences to continue selling beer, wine and spirits as part of a food order for takeout or delivery.Toronto COVID-19 bylaws extended The city's COVID-19 bylaws will also be extended until its first meeting in 2021.That includes the bylaws mandating physical distancing in public spaces, mandatory masks, public health measures for bars and restaurants and temporary COVID-19 amendments that cover apartment buildings. All of the these bylaws were set to expire on Thursday.The new rules come after Toronto Public Health identified COVID-19 clusters and outbreaks at several restaurants and bars in the downtown core. City officials also shuttered a handful of restaurants along King Street West for failing to protect the public and their staff.De Villa said it's now up to everyone to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. "This is not the time to panic. It is the time to act," she said at a city hall news briefing on Monday. Ontario could see 1,000 new cases per day Meanwhile, Ontario health authorities forecasted Wednesday that the province could see 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 a day by mid-October. Despite predictions that Ontario's trajectory will mimic that of Melbourne, Australia, which is currently under strict lockdown measures, health officials say they will continue to monitor the effectiveness of measures introduced across Ontario earlier this month. Asked if the province is taking a pause on introducing enhanced measures, Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, said public health officials are "continuing to assess the situation," since much of the province isn't seeing dramatically increasing numbers of cases. "If you do things too aggressively province-wide … there's a whole area outside of Toronto that is saying, 'Why is this impacting us?'"
Now that cold season has started, it may be time to take some symptoms off the COVID-19 checklist, says New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health. Dr. Jennifer Russell said her colleagues from across the country have talked about "streamlining" testing requirements to avoid a logjam of tests for people who end up simply having a cold. Several of the symptoms for COVID-19 overlap those of the common cold, including runny nose, sore throat, and headache. Those are three of the 10 symptoms British Columbia removed last week. "I know there's a level of confusion and again, we are working on it," said Russell.She said the system can handle the current situation, but if there's a spike in COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick, then the checklist may have to be scaled back. "So we're happy with where we are, but I think as we move into a time frame where the risks are going to be higher in terms of case numbers possibly increasing as we are seeing around the country, then I think it merits having that discussion," Russell said Tuesday afternoon. She said there's been "a surge in demand" for COVID-19 testing since children returned to the classroom. There were 837 more tests done for those under 20 during the first two full weeks of school than there were for the entire month before that, according to figures supplied by the department. The age group went from representing 27 per cent of all tests done in the month before to 43 per cent in the first two full weeks of classes. Schools are required to send students home when they display two or more symptoms of COVID-19. Those children are then required to self-isolate at home until a negative test is received. Days off sick up 132% in Anglophone SouthWhile a spokesperson for the Department of Education did not provide numbers when asked about school absences on Tuesday, the superintendent of the Anglophone South School District did. Zoë Watson explained that absences are coded based on a variety of reasons, including illness or medical appointment. She said the code for illness at K-8 was used 132 per cent more this month than in September 2019.Russell said Public Health has responded to the increase in demand by adding staff, increasing hours and making other changes, such as prioritizing call-backs for children. Russell said New Brunswick's testing capacity "is where we want it to be," but the length of time to notify people of their test results got bogged down by the increased demand. The goal had been 72 hours, but Russell said it was taking longer than that. Without mandatory masks, Infection control epidemiologist Colin Furness predicts that New Brunswick will see a lot more respiratory viruses. "I'm expecting more cold and flu in New Brunswick than I am in ... Toronto," he said. Since masks are mandatory in the Toronto area, he said, it's unlikely that the area will see many colds and flus, so any respiratory symptoms would have to be taken very seriously. "So in Ontario, I would say anything that looks like a respiratory illness is scary. In New Brunswick, I would say that 'Well, a cold is probably just a cold.'" Given the low case counts, Furness said masks are likely a hard sell in New Brunswick, but it's the best way to avoid students having to get a COVID-19 test every time they catch a cold."Your best way forward as a parent is to try and make sure that no one catches any cold at all. That's harder to do when people aren't wearing masks," he said. "If I were a parent in New Brunswick, I would be doubling down on hand sanitizer and physical distancing and all the things that we know work to keep us from getting sick — and flu shots for sure."Furness said the stress that parents feel when their child gets sick in New Brunswick would be different from what parents in Ontario may feel. Here, it's not a genuine fear of COVID-19, it's the hassle of having to prove that it's not. "It becomes a headache rather than this fear," he said.Whether it stays on the COVID-19 checklist or not, Furness said one of the most common symptoms at this time of the year isn't a great indicator of COVID-19 anyway. "COVID in kids tends to present asymptomatically — a runny nose is not associated with COVID," he said. "That's not to say that it's impossible for someone with a runny nose to have COVID. You can also have more than one virus at a time. But kids are typically asymptomatic. And so the whole concept of screening is a little bit misplaced."Yukon offers guideYukon health officials have recently come up with a colour-coded system to help parents.Green means go to school. That's when a child has no symptoms, or only symptoms of a previously-diagnosed condition.Yellow means a child has some symptoms and should stay home for 24 hours to see whether the symptoms resolve. They include a runny nose, fever, fatigue, sore throat, vomiting or diarrhea.A runny nose or congestion that persists, but is relatively mild and not worsening, means a child can go back to school after 24 hours — so long as they have no other symptoms. Vomiting or diarrhea, however, warrant keeping students home until those symptoms are gone.Red means a child has symptoms that warrant a COVID-19 test — or they could stay in self-isolation for at least 10 days before returning to school."Red" symptoms include coughing, a fever, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, and loss of taste or smell.British Columbia shortens listThe list of symptoms in British Columbia was shortened last week to remove many that overlap with the common cold, including sore throat, runny nose, headache, and fatigue."This was a recommendation from public health to remove some of the symptoms, given the very low probability of these symptoms by themselves indicating COVID," B.C.'s Ministry of Health said in an emailed statement to CBC."They are also very common in children, so there are concerns that it would unnecessarily exclude children," said the ministry.The following symptoms have been removed from the daily checklist: * Sore throat * Runny/stuffy nose * Headache * Fatigue * Loss of appetite * Muscle aches * Conjunctivitis (pink eye) * Dizziness, confusion * Abdominal pain * Skin rash or discolouration of fingers and toesParents are now asked to screen children for the following symptoms: * Fever * Chills * Cough or worsening of chronic cough * Shortness of breath * Loss of sense of smell or taste * Diarrhea * Nausea and vomiting
Kuwait on Wednesday laid to rest late ruler Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, a Gulf Arab elder statesman who helped steer his nation through some of the region's most turbulent decades, in funeral rites closed to the public due to COVID-19 concerns. The only leader of fellow Gulf Arab states in attendance was the emir of Qatar, which has been boycotted by Saudi Arabia and its allies, including the United Arab Emirates, in a dispute that Sheikh Sabah, 91, tried until his death to resolve. Sheikh Nawaf takes the reins of the small wealthy nation, which holds the world's seventh-largest oil reserves, at a time when low crude prices and the coronavirus have strained the finances of a country with a cradle-to-grave welfare system.
The latest meeting between the Sipekne'katik First Nation and federal fisheries staff involved the band going over the details of their moderate livelihood fishery on Tuesday.Chief Mike Sack said the talks were "very positive" and he is optimistic about how things are going."It's just to help them completely understand where we're coming from with it and to answer any concerns they might have," he told reporters in Digby, N.S.Sack said the meeting did not involve Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan, but that if they feel it would be helpful to have her physically at the table they will ask.The next meeting with fisheries staff is set for next Monday, Sack said.The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has had the fishery plan for some time now and has a good sense of what it entails, Sack said. But, he said their band has a few factors they are looking to iron out at the wharf, like catch amounts."We don't have all of our data yet," Sack said, "So you know, our future conversations will be about moving forward with this together." When Sack was asked about the recent criticism Jordan has faced in Ottawa over her handling of the situation, he said they have come a long way, "government to government."He added he was "delighted" that Jordan mentioned the importance of upholding First Nations' treaty rights during question period on Monday.Sipekne'katik launched what the band calls a self-regulated lobster fishery at a wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., on Sept. 17 — 21 years after the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Donald Marshall Jr.The landmark decision affirmed the Mi'kmaq right to earn a "moderate livelihood" from fishing. The court later said the federal government could regulate the Mi'kmaw fishery, but must justify any restrictions it placed on it.After more than a week of tension, confrontations with commercial fishermen in the area have eased recently.The First Nation's fishery in St. Marys Bay continued through the weekend and on Monday the fleet was expanded from seven to 10 boats, creating a total capacity of 500 traps. That's about the same capacity as two large commercial boats. But selling a catch without DFO approval requires a provincial government rule change, and so far Premier Stephen McNeil is staying out of the situation.He said the moderate livelihood still has to be officially defined by DFO."Until the national government who has charge of the fishery can come to a resolution with the Mi'kmaw nation and commercial fisheries, we don't have something to respond to because we don't know what the change would look like," McNeil told reporters Tuesday.Sack said they have had some back and forth with the province about a possible meeting and while nothing is confirmed yet, "we're looking to get in right away."Many commercial lobster fishermen have said they consider the new Sipekne'katik fishery in St. Marys Bay illegal and worry that catching lobster outside the mandated season, particularly during the summer spawning period, will negatively impact stocks.A fleet of commercial vessels removed 350 Mi'kmaw lobster traps from the water on the weekend of Sept. 19 to 20.But one Dalhousie University professor who studies fisheries management has said the Mi'kmaw fishery won't harm lobster stocks given its small scale.The Mi'kmaw fleet has been able to continue working over the past few days without arguments on the wharf with commercial fishers, their lines being cut, or other intimidation tactics that Sack said he'd heard about when the fishery launched."We're very grateful … we're not here to fight with anyone. We're here to do what we feel is right," Sack said. "I'm glad that the confrontations are over and hopefully they're completely done with."In light of this change, the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs reduced their state of emergency over the matter to a state of readiness and closed their incident command centre, according to a release Tuesday.The situation in the Digby area will still be monitored by the assembly and their staff and if it escalates again or community members require more support, they will reopen the command centre.MORE TOP STORIES
The first debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden deteriorated into bitter taunts and near chaos Tuesday night as Trump repeatedly interrupted his opponent with angry — and personal — jabs that sometimes overshadowed the sharply different visions each man has for a nation facing historic crises. In the most tumultuous presidential debate in recent memory, Trump refused to condemn white supremacists who have supported him, telling one such group known as Proud Boys to “stand back, stand by.” There were also heated clashes over the president's handling of the pandemic, the integrity of the election results, deeply personal attacks about Biden's family and how the Supreme Court will shape the future of the nation’s health care.
Donald Trump says he disagrees with the scientists who say a vaccine will not be widely available this year, and that it has become a political issue.
Recent developments: * Ottawa's top doctor is urging residents to limit close contacts as the "alarming" rise in COVID-19 cases continues. * Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group is cutting 40 per cent of its staff at TD Place, saying it's "the harsh result of a brutal pandemic." * The NCC has cancelled its Gatineau Park fall shuttle buses for the year.What's the latest?September ends with 64 new COVID-19 cases in Ottawa, capping off a record-breaking month — and what the city's medical officer of health called "an alarming increase."Dr. Vera Etches urged residents Wednesday to stick strictly to a few close contacts, or risk letting the illness spiral out of control.Two more people have died from COVID-19, while 19 patients are currently being treated in hospital.The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group is cutting 40 per cent of its staff at TD Place, a move its CEO called "the harsh result of a brutal pandemic" as limits on gatherings continue to hammer the entertainment and sports industries.Health Canada has approved the ID NOW rapid COVID-19 testing device, which promises results in 15 minutes without the need to send samples to a lab.The federal government just announced Tuesday it would buy some 7.9 million of these tests.The National Capital Commission has now cancelled its annual fall shuttle bus program to Gatineau Park to see the fall colours, saying it wants to discourage crowding in the park.How many cases are there?As of the most recent OPH update on Tuesday, 4,322 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. That includes 685 known active cases, 3,350 resolved cases and 287 deaths.Overall, public health officials have reported more than 6,500 cases of COVID-19 across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with more than 5,100 of those cases considered resolved.COVID-19 has killed 104 people in the region outside Ottawa: 52 people have died in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, 34 in the Outaouais and 18 in other parts of eastern Ontario. What's open and closed?Some public health rules are being rolled back because of the second wave of the pandemic.Ottawa and Kingston, Ont., public health officials are ordering anyone with symptoms or who has been identified as a close contact of someone who's tested positive to immediately self-isolate or face a fine of up to $5,000 per day in court.Kingston has also tightened its distancing rules in city parks and increased fines.Ottawa will resume ticketing drivers who park longer than allowed in unmarked areas and bring back public skating at five city arenas tomorrowIt's also closing the McNabb Arena respite centre for people without housing on Friday and expanding services at nearby support centresAs of Monday, visitors to long-term care homes in Ottawa will be restricted to staff, essential visitors and one or two caregivers only.Private, unmonitored gatherings across Ontario are now limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.Quebec has introduced tighter restrictions in the province's "orange zones," which now includes the Outaouais.WATCH | Experts call for earlier versions of social 'bubble':Distancing and isolatingThe novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes or speaks onto someone or something.People can be contagious without symptoms.This means precautions such as working from home, keeping your hands and frequently-touched surfaces clean socializing outdoors as much as possible and keeping distance from anyone you don't live with or have in your social circle, including when you have a mask on.Ottawa's medical officer of health is pleading with residents to reduce the number of people they're in close contact with as new cases of COVID-19 continue to surge, this week asking residents to see very few people they don't live with.Masks are mandatory in indoor public settings in all of eastern Ontario and Quebec, including transit services and taxis in some areas.Masks are also recommended outdoors when you can't stay the proper distance from others.Anyone who has travelled recently outside Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days.Most people with a confirmed COVID-19 case in Quebec can end their self-isolation after 10 days if they have not had a fever for at least 48 hours and has had no other symptom for at least 24 hours.Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible. What are the symptoms of COVID-19?COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell. Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pink eye. Children can develop a rash.Getting tested any sooner than five days after potential exposure may not be useful since the virus may not yet be detectable, says OPH.If you have severe symptoms, call 911.Where to get testedWait times and lines have been long at many of the area's test sites, causing some to reach capacity before closing time or even before opening.There have also been delays processing tests at laboratories.Ontario health officials have said they're trying to add more test capacity.WATCH | U of O student still waiting for contact-tracing call:In eastern Ontario:The Ontario government recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, or if you've been told to by your health unit or the province because of your work.Most of Ottawa's testing happens at one of four permanent sites, with additional mobile sites wherever demand is particularly high.A test clinic is expected to open at the Ray Friel Recreation Complex in Orléans, likely by mid-October.People without symptoms, but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy, can make an appointment at select Ottawa pharmacies.WATCH | Focus on targeted lockdowns if needed:In the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, there are drive-thru centres in Casselman and Limoges and a walk-up site in Hawkesbury that doesn't require people to call ahead.Its medical officer of health says the Casselman centre will be moved to reduce its impact on traffic.Others in Alexandria, Rockland, Cornwall and Winchester require an appointment.In Kingston, the city's test site is now at the Beechgrove Complex near King Street West and Portsmouth Avenue.Napanee's test centre is open daily for people who call ahead.People can arrange a test in Bancroft, Belleville, Picton or Trenton by calling the centre. Only Belleville and Trenton run seven days a week and also offer online booking.The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark unit has walk-in sites in Kemptville and Brockville. There are permanent testing sites in Smiths Falls and Almonte which require an appointment, along with pop-up sites by appointment in Carleton Place today and Perth Friday.Renfrew County residents should call their family doctor. Those without access to a family doctor can call 1-844-727-6404 for a test or if they have health questions, COVID-19-related or not.People can also visit the health unit's website to find out where testing clinics will be taking place each week.In western Quebec:Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau seven days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 avenue Buckingham.They can now check the approximate wait time for the Saint-Raymond site.There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Gracefield, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.They can call 1-877-644-4545 if they have other questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms or who have been in contact with someone with symptoms. People without symptoms can also get a test.First Nations, Inuit and Métis:Akwesasne has had 14 confirmed COVID-19 cases, most linked to a gathering on an island in July.It has a mobile COVID-19 test site available by appointment only.Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.Inuit in Ottawa can also call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.People in Pikwakanagan can book an appointment for a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse.For more information
Quebec Premier François Legault says police in the province's red zones — regions where COVID-19 cases are surging — will be issuing $1,000 fines to those who violate newly strengthened public health rules.With fees, those fines will top $1,500 and can be issued for gathering in private residences or protesting without a face covering. Speaking during a late-afternoon news conference on Wednesday just hours before the new rules went into effect, Legault said the negligence of a few has led to the crackdown. "Lives are at stake. We want to keep our children in schools," Legault said. "We also want to protect our health network"Quebec reported 838 new cases of COVID-19 but no new deaths Wednesday. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 74,288 confirmed cases and 5,834 people have died in the province. Home gatherings can lead to finesBeyond the few exceptions, such as for caregivers or romantic relations, house guests are not allowed, Legault said.Police are authorized to demand proof of residency and if residents refuse entry, officers will be able to obtain warrants faster through a new, virtual system that was established in collaboration with the Crown, the premier said."We had to give the police the means to intervene," said Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault.Normally the process for obtaining a warrant can take a day or two, but that won't work when police want to break up parties that very same evening, Legault said.He said people who shrug off the rules and host parties are "putting the lives of other people in danger."Protestors to be fined for refusing to wear masksQuebec made masks mandatory inside public spaces, like bars and shops, on July 18, but there have been several protests since.Now, anti-maskers will have to cover up if they want to march or police will be issuing fines.Guilbault said protesting without masks cannot be tolerated and she is not ruling out using force to disperse protests if needed."Eventually, we will cross that bridge when we get there," she said.All gatherings prohibited, travel discouragedLegault said all gatherings will be banned, even outside in public parks — an activity that has grown more popular in places like Montreal during the pandemic. "Police officers will start by trying to disperse the gatherings, but if people don't co-operate, fines can be given," he said.Legault said people from red zones cannot travel to orange zones to eat in a restaurant or gather in a home. They will face fines if they do. He said restaurants will not be required to verify residency, but police can issue a ticket if they catch people violating the rules.People should not travel between regions to pick up groceries or run similar errands, Legault said. People can go to their cottage, for example, as long as they bring their provisions with them. Legault made no mention of roadblocks, something that occurred last spring. However, Guilbault said signs will be posted, warning people they are entering or leaving a red zone.Guilbault said the idea is not to issue as many fines as possible, but to ensure people are staying in their zones and decreasing the spread of COVID-19.She said police will try to educate and inform before resorting to tickets.Back in the spring, hundreds of fines were issued to people who ignored the two-metre rule or threw parties at home.WATCH | Quebec's premier says it's time to protect others: Restrictions to take effect at midnightThe new restrictions take effect 12:01 a.m. ET on Thursday and are set to last for 28 days, until Oct. 28, in the red zones. The restrictions are: * A ban on home gatherings, with some exceptions, such as a single caregiver, babysitter, tradesperson or technician, allowed per visit. * All bars and casinos are closed. Restaurants can offer only takeout. * Museums, cinemas and theatres are closed. * Being less than two metres apart will be prohibited. Masks will be mandatory during demonstrations. * Houses of worship and venues for events, such as funerals and weddings, will have a 25-person limit. * Hair salons, hotels and other such businesses will stay open. * Schools will remain open.Libraries were on the list of buildings to close, but Legault clarified on Wednesday that libraries will remain open to borrow books only.
Fire Prevention Week is coming up — and the Charlottetown fire department is asking residents to be careful while cooking.The week runs Oct. 4th to 10th this year, and the theme is "Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen."The majority of home fires start in the kitchen, mostly with the ignition of food or other cooking materials such as oil or grease, according to the National Fire Protection Association.And in Prince Edward Island's capital city, that adds up to a lot of fire calls."In the last year, we have had approximately 85," said Cindy MacFadyen, a fire prevention officer with the city of Charlottetown.Those 85 fire calls did not all involve actual flames; some were in response to smoke alarms set off when meals went wrong."It's very important to have smoke alarms in your house for that very reason," MacFadyen said.Some tips to prevent fires starting in the kitchen: * Don't leave the room while cooking. * Use a timer. * Don't cook while sleepy. * Have a clear cooking area. * Watch out for loose-fitting clothing. * Keep a lid close to smother any small grease fires. * Have a fire extinguisher handy."One of the big things we come across is big sleeves hanging over the burner," MacFadyen said. She recommends cinching them with elastics or ties so that your clothing doesn't catch on fire.MacFayden said some types of cooking are riskier than others. "The open flame, the open grease pot — some people are getting back to that," she said, adding that it is better to use a deep fryer controlled by a thermostat than a pan full of fat to cook foods such as French fries.If a small grease fire begins, MacFayden said, place a pot over the top of the cooking vessel or use a fire extinguisher to put out the flames."Some people use baking soda, but the pot cover right there will control your flame," she said.MacFayden said a lot of restaurants have overhead fire prevention systems and are controlled a "little bit better." In homes, she said, people can be more "carefree."She said she has seen entire homes lost to a fire that started in the kitchen.No school visits or open houseOn another topic, Charlottetown students won't get the chance to check out fire trucks this year due to COVID-19.Restrictions put in place for the pandemic means Charlottetown firefighters won't be going into schools to talk to students or offering open houses. Instead, educational information packages will be provided to schools and community groups."As soon as this is over, we will be in the schools and the school can come here and get on the fire trucks and the whole bit," she said. "I'm just hoping this will soon be over because the education these children get through fire safety — [it] is just hard to believe what they pick up and how they take it home to the parents."She said she has heard of children who saw a fire prevention presentation at school and went home to make sure their parents knew the basics and tested their smoke alarms. "It's actually quite cute," she said.A virtual program on fire prevention is being provided to kindergartens in the city, but she said that given how busy teachers are, she doesn't know if they will have the time to present it.More from CBC P.E.I.
An international team of researchers found that in some people with severe COVID-19, the body goes rogue and attacks one of its own key immune defences instead of fighting the coronavirus. There are two main arms of the immune system.
A federal judge in Montana on Wednesday rejected an effort by President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign and Republican Party groups to block Montana counties from holding the general election mostly by mail, saying claims that such a system could be marred by widespread voter fraud is “a fiction.” “When pressed during the hearing in this matter, the plaintiffs were compelled to concede that they cannot point to a single instance of voter fraud in Montana in any election during the last 20 years,” U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen wrote.
An Ottawa man says he missed out on a much-needed part-time job this summer because it took nearly two months to get a records check from the Ottawa Police Service.Efrem Berhe said he was offered a federal government job after graduating with a master's degree in April, but knew the security clearance would likely take months due to his extensive travel history. To make ends meet while he waited, he decided to do some part-time work.Berhe, who graduated from Western University with a degree in management and a specialty in international business, launched a startup providing career consulting to young people, but after a few months found it wasn't bringing in enough money."So I decided to do Uber on the side," Berhe said.> Beyond the financial, I think the [mental] stress was, I guess, harsher. \- Efrem BerheUber requires its Ottawa drivers to complete a one-time vulnerable sector check with local police — the same check required of anyone looking to work or volunteer in a position of authority, including prospective camp counsellors, doctors, school bus operators and taxi drivers.Berhe said he applied for his records online on Aug. 1. After weeks of waiting to get an in-person appointment to verify his ID, and after a call to his city councillor, Berhe finally got his check on Friday."It took me two months … to get my appointment. But it only took me less than five minutes to verify my ID — which I showed them through the glass windows," he said. "It was very frustrating." Berhe said he managed to get by financially with his startup and the Canada emergency response benefit, or CERB."Beyond the financial, I think the [mental] stress was, I guess, harsher," he said. "The stress of not being able to do something … especially having to wait to get services, I think was more frustrating."The Ottawa police website states that the service is currently scheduling appointments for online applications received in early May.When asked in early September about the delay, an Ottawa police spokesperson said in an email it was due to the station's "lobby capacity" and the need to comply with health regulations during the pandemic."We are scheduling appointments to minimize the number of people that would attend as 'walk-in.' This also prevents long wait times," wrote the spokesperson.In an email Monday, Ottawa police said "some in-person services have resumed in June, but records checks remain a service online and by appointment only."Berhe said Tuesday he's still waiting on his security clearance to begin his government job, which he hopes will happen "in the coming weeks."OPP wait times 4-6 weeksPeople living in regions outside Ottawa can get their records checked by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), who state on their website that wait times are four to six weeks.The service is also verifying IDs in person, after people apply for their checks online, OPP Const. Lori Lobinowich said Tuesday."It's changed but it hasn't changed," Lobinowich said, explaining that in the past, people had to go to their local detachment to start the process. Now, applicants are asked to go in person to verify their ID, only after the records check process is complete."We do have a delay as well. It's just in the processing," she said.
A federal judge on Tuesday halted major fee increases for citizenship and other immigration benefits three days before they were to take effect, saying the last two chiefs of the Homeland Security Department were likely appointed illegally. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White found Kevin McAleenan improperly leapfrogged to acting secretary when Kirstjen Nielsen resigned in April 2019. The judge said McAleenan, as Customs and Border Protection commissioner, was seventh in line to assume the acting role under rules of succession at the time.
During the last moments of her life, Joyce Echaquan called out her husband's name: "Carol, come get me."A live video was rolling on her phone as nurses entered her hospital room on Monday in Joliette, Que. One of them called her "stupid as hell," mocking Echaquan as she moaned in Atikamekw that she was being given too much medication.The 37-year-old died shortly after.Surrounded by family in his parents' backyard the following day, Carol Dubé could not comprehend how his wife ended up dying after being admitted into hospital on Sunday with a stomach ache."I have seven kids who don't have a mother anymore," Dubé sobbed, his son's hand on his shoulder.Echaquan's sister-in-law, Jemima Dubé, said Echaquan had posted several live videos during her stay in hospital, before the final one on the day of her death, because she didn't trust the medical staff.Echaquan's death has sparked renewed calls for the Quebec government to act on recommendations included in the Viens Commission's report, which examined problems with Indigenous treatment in public services, and was tabled on Sept. 30, 2019.Vigils were swiftly organized on Tuesday in Joliette, as well as in First Nations communities across Quebec, demanding "Justice for Joyce."Seeing these events occur one year after the publication of the report is a "sad coincidence," said Cedric Gray-Lehoux, spokesperson for the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Youth Network."It's one thing to know [racism] exists — it's another to see it be done so blatantly and with total disregard for the dignity of the person who is suffering," Gray-Lehoux said on CBC's Quebec radio show Breakaway.Premier denies systemic racism to blameIn his report, Justice Jacques Viens stated that Indigenous peoples in Quebec are victims of systemic discrimination when it comes to getting public services. He issued 142 calls to action to address the government's shortfalls, including in the health sector.On Monday, Premier François Legault offered his condolences to Echaquan's family, confirming a coroner's inquiry and that a workplace investigation will be held. But Legault stopped short of saying the incident reflected systemic racism. "I really don't think that we have this way of dealing with First Nations people in our hospitals in Quebec," said Legault.For Gray-Lehoux, denying the existence of racism within the public system despite a government report clearly stating the contrary "just makes it worse.""How can we believe that they're going to take the steps to go forward, if they're not even willing to see the issues?"The federal minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett, called the video "gut-wrenching.""If you can't utter the words systemic racism, then you're probably part of the problem," Bennett said on Tuesday, calling it "a terrible week for Canada."Little advancement for Indigenous womenTestimony at the Viens Commission highlighted discriminatory practices within hospitals and health-care services in Quebec.Viens found that "it is clear that prejudice toward Indigenous peoples remains widespread in the interaction between caregivers and patients."Ghislain Picard, the Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL), said the video Echaquan shared leaves little room for interpretation."We recognize the filthy prejudices that continue to exist today, like the one that we don't pay for anything and live on government handouts," Pïcard said.Some of those prejudices can lead to dire consequences, Viens concluded, including individuals and families sometimes avoiding medical care if they have had negative experiences in the past.Adrienne Jérôme, Chief of the Lac Simon First Nation and spokesperson for the AFNQL Council of Elected Women, said it is often women who end up being victims of systemic racism.That includes the women who first spoke out publicly about allegations of mistreatment by police officers in Val-d'Or in 2015, which led to the creation of the Viens Commission.One year later, Jérôme said the only action she's witnessed was a public apology François Legault offered to First Nations and Inuit peoples in October 2019."Except for apologies, has anything changed? Not really."Quebec's minister responsible for Indigenous Affairs, Sylvie D'Amours, said on Tuesday that 51 of the 142 recommendations from the Viens report currently have an action plan. "A call for action isn't that simple, it's a continuous process," D'Amours said during question period at the National Assembly, also offering her condolences to Echaquan's family.For Carol Dubé, the only thing he'll settle for is concrete change."What are we waiting for?" he asked. "More people, more victims?"
The latest developments from Canada on Sept. 30, relating to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court has close ties to a charismatic Christian religious group that holds men are divinely ordained as the "head” of the family and faith. Former members of the group, called People of Praise, say it teaches that wives must submit to the will of their husbands.Federal appeals judge Amy Coney Barrett has not commented publicly about her own or her family’s involvement, and a People of Praise spokesman declined to say whether she and her husband are current members.But Barrett, 48, grew up in New Orleans in a family deeply connected to the organization and as recently as 2017 she served as a trustee at the People of Praise-affiliated Trinity Schools Inc., according to the non-profit organization’s tax records and other documents reviewed by The Associated Press. Only members of the group serve on the schools’ board, according to the system’s president.The AP also reviewed 15 years of back issues of the organization’s internal magazine, Vine and Branches, which has published birth announcements, photos and other mentions of Barrett and her husband, Jesse, whose family has been active in the group for four decades. On Friday, all editions of the magazine were removed from the group's website.People of Praise is a religious community based in charismatic Catholicism, a movement that grew out of the influence of Pentecostalism, which emphasizes a personal relationship with Jesus and can include baptism in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. The group organizes and meets outside the purview of a church and includes people from several Christian denominations, but its members are mostly Roman Catholic.Barrett’s affiliation with a conservative religious group that elevates the role of men has drawn particular scrutiny given that she would be filling the high court seat held by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a feminist icon who spent her legal career fighting for women to have full equality. Barrett, by contrast, is being hailed by religious conservatives as an ideological heir to the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a staunch abortion-rights opponent for whom she clerked as a young lawyer.In accepting Trump’s nomination Saturday, the Catholic mother of seven said she shares Scalia’s judicial philosophy.“A judge must apply the law as written,” Barrett said. “Judges are not policy makers, and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they might hold.”Barrett’s advocates are trying to frame questions about her involvement in People of Praise as anti-Catholic bigotry ahead of her upcoming Senate nomination hearings.Asked about People of Praise in a televised interview last week, Vice-President Mike Pence responded, “The intolerance expressed during her last confirmation about her Catholic faith I really think was a disservice to the process and a disappointment to millions of Americans.”But some people familiar with the group and charismatic religious groups like it say Barrett’s involvement should be examined before she receives a lifelong appointment to the highest court in the nation.“It’s not about the faith,” said Massimo Faggioli, a theology professor at Villanova University, who has studied similar groups. He says a typical feature of charismatic groups is the dynamic of a strong hierarchical leadership, and a strict view of the relationship between women and men.Several people familiar with People of Praise, including some current members, told the AP that the group has been misunderstood. They call it a Christian fellowship, focused on building community. One member described it as a “family of families,” who commit themselves to each other in mutual support to live together “through thick and thin.”But the group has also been portrayed by some former members, and in books, blogs and news reports, as hierarchical, authoritarian and controlling, where men dominate their wives, leaders dictate members’ life choices and those who leave are shunned.The AP interviewed seven current and former members of People of Praise, and reviewed its tax records, websites, missionary blogs and back issues of its magazine to try to paint a fuller picture of an organization that Barrett has been deeply involved in since childhood.\----People of Praise was founded in South Bend, Indiana, in 1971 as part of the Catholic Pentecostal movement, a devout reaction to the free love, secular permissiveness and counterculture movements of the 1960s and early ’70s. Many of the group’s early members were drawn from the campus of nearby Notre Dame, a Catholic university. Some adherents who studied in South Bend went to other parts of the country and established new communities, some of which were then absorbed back into People of Praise.The group has roughly 1,800 adult members nationwide, with branches and schools in 22 cities across the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. All members are encouraged to continue to attend church at their own parishes.After a period of religious study and instruction that lasts from three to six years, people involved in People of Praise can choose to make a lifelong covenant pledging love and service to fellow community members and to God, which includes tithing at least 5% of their gross income to support the group’s activities and charitable initiatives, according to a statement on the group’s website.People of Praise's covenant, a copy of which was reviewed by the AP, includes a passage where members promise to follow the teachings and instructions of the group’s pastors, teachers and evangelists.“We agree to obey the direction of the Holy Spirit manifested in and through these ministries in full harmony with the church," the covenant says.It’s unclear whether Barrett took the covenant. But members of the organization and descriptions of its hierarchy show that members almost invariably join the covenant after three to six years of religious study or they leave, so it would be very unusual for Barrett to continue to be involved for so many years without having done so.A 2006 article in the group’s magazine includes a photo of her attending a People of Praise Leaders’ Conference for Women. The magazine also includes regular notices when members are “released from the covenant” and leave the group. The AP's review found no such notice of Barrett's or her husband's departure.A request to interview Barrett made through the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, where she currently serves as a judge, was declined. The judge didn't mention People of Praise in her 2017 Senate judicial questionnaire, filled out prior to her confirmation for the bench.Jesse Barrett did not respond to voicemail or email sent through his law firm in South Bend.People of Praise spokesman Sean Connolly declined to discuss the Barretts or their affiliation with the group.“Like most religious communities, the People of Praise leaves it up to its members to decide whether to publicly disclose their involvement in our community,” Connolly said by email. “And like most religious communities, we do not publish a membership list.”Several people familiar with the group told the AP that, unlike some other charismatic movements, People of Praise has a strong commitment to intellectualism, evidenced in part by the schools they have established, which have a reputation for intellectual rigour.Barrett’s father, Michael Coney Sr., has served as the principal leader of People of Praise’s New Orleans branch and was on the group’s all-male Board of Governors as recently as 2017. Her mother, Linda Coney, has served in the branch as a “handmaid,” a female leader assigned to help guide other women, according to documents reviewed by the AP.“One of the key principles of People of Praise is freedom, the exercise of our own freedom in following the Lord and in following our own — what we believe, what we think is right,” Michael Coney, 75, said Friday in an interview with the AP.Joannah Clark, 47, grew up in People of Praise and became a member as an adult. She acknowledged that the board of governors consists of all men, but said that is not a reflection on the “worth or ability of women,” but rather the approach the group has chosen for that level of leadership.“In a marriage, we look at the husband as the head of the family. And that’s consistent with New Testament teaching,” said Clark, who is the head of Trinity Academy in Portland, Oregon. “This role of the husband as the head of the family is not a position of power or domination. It’s really quite the opposite. It’s a position of care and service and responsibility. Men are looking out for the good and well-being of their families.”Clark said she had previously served as a “handmaid.” The term was a reference to Jesus’ mother Mary, who called herself “the handmaid of the Lord.” The organization recently changed the terminology to “woman leader” because it had newly negative connotations after Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” was turned into a popular television show.Clark said the woman leaders in People of Praise do things like provide pastoral care and organize help for community members, such as when people are sick or need other help.“They’re also in a role of advising, so the men will ask the women leaders' advice on issues that affect the patterns of life within the community, certainly issues that affect women and families,” Clark said.Barrett, in accepting Trump's nomination at the White House on Saturday, put particular emphasis on the equality of her own marriage, saying she expected from the start the she and her husband would run their household as partners.“As it has turned out, Jesse does far more than his share of the work,” she said. “To my chagrin, I learned at dinner recently that my children consider him to be the better cook.”Though People of Praise opposes abortion, those familiar with the group said it would be a mistake to pigeonhole their politics as either left or right. While socially conservative in their understanding of family and gender, some members are deeply committed to social justice in matters of race and economics, they said. Barrett’s parents are both registered Democrats, according to Louisiana voter registration records.___Taxe records and other documents show that as recently as 2017 Barrett sat on the board of Trinity Schools, a campus of which was recently designated by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as a National Blue Ribbon School. The schools are coed, but most classes are segregated by gender.The school’s website says the group sees men and women “created by God equal in dignity but distinct from one another.”"We seek to uphold both that equality and appropriate distinction in our culture,” it goes on.Similarly, at People of Praise the leadership structure is largely segregated by gender. And as they become adults, members frequently live together in same-gender communal houses sometimes owned by the group, or they are invited to live with a family within the community. Articles in the People of Praise magazine frequently note when young single members get married to each other. Multiple birth announcements often follow.The group’s magazine also offers insights into the group's views on marriage, community and members’ finances. A 2007 issue discusses how the 17 single women who live together in a household, called the Sisterhood, had their paychecks direct deposited into a single bank account. One member said she had “no idea” what the amount of her paycheque was.The pooled money was managed by one woman, who budgeted for everyone’s clothing and other expenses, including $36 weekly per person for food and basics like toilet paper. All women were expected to give 10% of their pay to People of Praise, another 1% to the South Bend branch and additional tithes to their churches.Married couples and their children have sometimes lived in multifamily housing or clustered in neighbourhoods designated for “city building” by the group’s leaders, where they can easily socialize and walk to each other’s houses.As part of spiritual meetings, members often relay divine prophecies and are encouraged to pray in tongues, where participants make vocal utterances thought to carry direct teachings and instructions from God. Those utterances are then “interpreted” by senior male leaders and relayed back to the wider group.A 1969 book by Kevin Ranaghan, a co-founder of People of Praise, dedicates a chapter to praying in tongues, which he describes as a gift from God.“The gift of tongues is one of the word-gifts, an utterance of the Spirit through man,” Ranaghan wrote in “Catholic Pentecostals.” “Alone, the gift of tongues is used for prayer and praise. Coupled with the gift of interpretation it can edify the unbeliever and strengthen, console, enlighten or move the community of faith.”In a blog entry on the group's website from March of this year, a mother described taking her children to pray in tongues as the coronavirus pandemic took hold.___While People of Praise portrays itself as a tightknit family of families, former members paint a darker picture of that closeness.Coral Anika Theill joined a group called Vine and Branches in Corvallis, Oregon, in 1979, when she was a 24-year-old mother of 6-month-old twins. Launched by charismatic Catholic priest from South Bend, the community was formally absorbed into People of Praise in 1982.“My husband at the time was very drawn to it because of the structure of the submission of women,” recounted Theill, who is now 65.Theill, who converted to Catholicism after getting married, said in her People of Praise community women were expected to live in “total submission” not only to their husbands, but also the other male “heads” within the group.In a book she wrote about her experience, Theill recounts that in People of Praise every consequential personal decision — whether to take a new job, buy a particular model car or choose where to live — went through the hierarchy of male leadership. Members of the group who worked outside the community had to turn over their paystubs to church leaders to confirm they were tithing correctly, she said.Theill says her “handmaid,” to whom she was supposed to confide her innermost thoughts and emotions, then repeated what she said to the male heads, who would consult her husband on the proper correction.“There’d be open meetings where you just have to stand before the group and they’d tell you all that was wrong with you,” Theill recounted to the AP last week. “And I would ask questions. I was a critical thinker.”When she told her husband she wanted to wait to have more children, Theill said, he accompanied her to gynecological appointments to ensure she couldn’t get birth control.“I was basically treated like a brood mare,” she said, using the term for a female horse used for breeding. During her 20-year marriage, Theill had eight children from 11 pregnancies.Theill, who says she declined to take the covenant, described being dominated and eventually shunned because of the doubts she expressed about the group. She left in 1984.Connolly said Tuesday that leaders in the Corvallis branch who were there at the time are unaware of any allegations of physical or mental abuse concerning Thiell.“Her charges of the mistreatment of women, insularity, lack of privacy and shunning are contradictory to our beliefs and our practices as a community,” Connolly said in an email.Clark, a current member in Oregon, said she had never heard of members being shunned.“At any point, a community member can decide to leave and is free to do so,” Clark said. She said she has friends who have left the community. “These are people I’ve maintained a good friendship with and people who’ve maintained friendships with other people in community.”But Theill isn’t the only former member to describe forced subjugation of women within People of Praise or shunning of former members.Among People of Praise’s very first members in South Bend were Adrian Reimers and his wife, Marie. The couple was active for more than a dozen years before he said he became disillusioned and was “dismissed” from the group in the mid-1980s.Reimers, who teaches philosophy at Notre Dame, went on to write detailed academic examinations of the group’s inner workings and theological underpinnings. In a 1997 book about People of Praise and other covenant communities, Reimers wrote that the fundamental principle of the group was St. Paul’s stipulation from the Bible that the husband is the “head” of his wife and that the wife is to “submit in all things.”“A married woman is expected always to reflect the fact that she is under her husband’s authority,” Reimers wrote. “This goes beyond an acknowledgment that the husband is ‘head of the home’ or head of the family; he is, in fact, her personal pastoral head. Whatever she does requires at least his tacit approval. He is responsible for her formation and growth in the Christian life.”Though women are allowed to serve in some administrative roles within the community, Reimers wrote that no woman is allowed to hold a pastoral position of leadership in which she would oversee or instruct men.“People who leave these communities are often shunned by other members and are spoken of as no longer brothers and sisters in Christ or even no longer Christian,” he wrote.Reimers declined to expand on his experience with People of Praise, saying he doesn’t know Amy Coney Barrett and didn’t want to get drawn into a political fight. But he said he stands by his prior account.“To quote Pontius Pilate, ‘What I have written, I have written,’” he said last week, referring to the Roman official in the Bible who signed the order condemning Jesus to be crucified.Lisa Williams said her parents joined a group called Servants of The Lord in St. Paul, Minnesota, in the late 1970s, when she was a fourth-grader. That community became part of People of Praise in 1983, and is now called Servant Branch, according to a blog on the People of Praise website. She chronicled her experience in a blog called “Exorcism and Pound Cake,” a reference to how she knew as a child that it was a meeting night because of the smell of baked goods coming from the kitchen.“I remember my mother saying a wife could never deny sex to her husband, because it was his right and her duty,” said Williams, 56. “Sex is not for pleasure. It’s for as many babies as God chooses to give you. ... Women had to be obedient. They had to be subservient.”Williams said she remembers People of Praise leaders coming to meetings in Minnesota and her family travelling to South Bend to visit and worship there. Corporal punishment of children was common, Williams told the AP. When she was insufficiently obedient to her father, she was beaten with a belt and then required to kneel and ask forgiveness from both him and God, she said.She recalled meetings held in her parents' living room where members prayed in tongues to cast out demons from a person writhing on the floor, rituals she described as exorcisms.When her parents, from whom she is now estranged, decided to leave the group when she was in high school, she remembers the leaders said her family would be doomed to hell and they were shunned. “Nobody would talk to you,” she recalled.Connolly declined Monday to answer a dozen detailed written questions from the AP, including whether the group holds ceremonies that include prayers to cast out malevolent spirits. After an earlier version of this story was published, he said in an email Tuesday that the meeting described by Williams would have occurred prior to Servant Branch becoming part of People of Praise and that the group “does not practice exorcism.”Steven Hassan, a mental health counsellor who works with people who have left fundamentalist authoritarian religious groups, said the culture within People of Praise as described by Theill and Williams, including the practice of shunning former members, creates fear so that people are dependent and obedient.“A person who is in one of these groups has to suppress their own thoughts, feelings, desires that doesn’t align with the dogma,” Hassan said.He cautioned, however, that Theill’s and Williams’ experiences were from decades ago and not necessarily illustrative of how the group now operates. And current members of People of Praise interviewed by the AP strongly disputed those characterizations.“There’s a high value on personal freedom," said Clark, the Trinity School director in Oregon.She said she had never heard of some of the practices the former members detailed to the AP, such as micromanaging finances or handing over paychecks. She grew emotional when she recounted the sacrifices people in the group make for each other as part of their covenant, like the case of a man known for helping his fellow members move, who was in turn cared for by group members as he died.“I’ve never been asked to do anything against my own free will,” said Clark, a member of the group for 25 years. “I have never been dominated or controlled by a man.”Thomas Csordas, an anthropology professor at University of California San Diego, has studied the religious movement that includes People of Praise. He said such communities are conservative, authoritarian, hierarchical and patriarchal.But, he said, in his view, the group’s leaders are unlikely to exert influence over Barrett’s judicial decisions.Coney, Barrett’s father, said the culture of female submission described by some former members was based on misunderstandings of the group’s teachings.“I can’t comment on why they believe that. But it is certainly not a correct interpretation of our life,” he said. “We’re people who love each other and support each other in their Christian life, trying to follow the Lord.”As a lawyer himself, he rejected the notion that his daughter’s religious beliefs will unduly influence her opinions if she is confirmed to the high court.“I think she’s a super lawyer and she will apply the law as opposed to any of her beliefs,” he said. “She will follow the law.”___Smith reported from Providence, Rhode Island. Associated Press reporters Mitch Weiss in Greenville, South Carolina, and Juliet Linderman in Baltimore, Maryland, contributed.___Follow Investigative Reporter Michael Biesecker at http://twitter.com/mbieseck and Smith at http://twitter.com/MRSmithAP___Contact AP’s global investigative team at Investigative@ap.orgMichael Biesecker And Michelle R. Smith, The Associated Press
Helen Reddy, who shot to stardom in the 1970s with her rousing feminist anthem “I Am Woman” and recorded a string of other hits, has died. Reddy’s children Traci and Jordan announced that the actor-singer died Tuesday in Los Angeles.
It was a chaotic and unusually bitter first presidential debate of the 2020 general election, made all the more unusual by the the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the debate played out before a socially-distanced audience of about 100 people in a makeshift debate hall built in an atrium that had been previously set up as an emergency hospital for patients with COVID-19. Trump came out of the gate looking to challenge Biden and badgered him throughout the debate, drawing a string of rejoinders from the Democrat, including a plea to “just shush for a minute” at the half-hour mark.
U.S. presidential debate moderator Chris Wallace asks U.S. President Donald Trump if he will condemn white supremacist groups involved in violent clashes over policing and racism in some U.S. cities. Trump replies, 'Sure' and asks 'Who would you like me to condemn? Who? Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,' referencing one of the groups involved.
President Donald Trump and Vice President Joe Biden made their pitches to win over Black voters in the election, with Biden mockingly questioning: “This man is a savior of African Americans," he asked. "This man has done virtually nothing.” (Sept. 29)