A man has rescued his pet dog after it was attacked by an alligator in Florida. 74-year-old Richard Wilbanks went into a pond, grabbed the alligator and pulled the puppy from its jaws as wildlife cameras recorded the entire incident. (Nov. 24)
A man has rescued his pet dog after it was attacked by an alligator in Florida. 74-year-old Richard Wilbanks went into a pond, grabbed the alligator and pulled the puppy from its jaws as wildlife cameras recorded the entire incident. (Nov. 24)
WASHINGTON — It's taken only days for Democrats gauging how far President Joe Biden's bold immigration proposal can go in Congress to acknowledge that if anything emerges, it will likely be significantly more modest. As they brace to tackle a politically flammable issue that's resisted major congressional action since the 1980s, Democrats are using words like “aspirational” to describe Biden's plan and “herculean” to express the effort they'll need to prevail. A cautious note came from the White House on Friday when press secretary Jen Psaki said the new administration views Biden's plan as a “first step” it hopes will be “the basis" of discussions in Congress. Democrats' measured tones underscore the fragile road they face on a paramount issue for their minority voters, progressives and activists. Immigration proponents advocating an all-out fight say Democrats' new hold on the White House and Congress provides a major edge, but they concede they may have to accept less than total victory. Paving a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally, the centerpiece of Biden's plan, is “the stake at the summit of the mountain,” Frank Sharry, executive director of the pro-immigration group America’s Voice, said in an interview. He said proponents may have to accept “stepping stones" along the way. The citizenship process in Biden's plan would take as little as three years for some people, eight years for others. It would make it easier for certain workers to stay in the U.S. temporarily or permanently, provide development aid to Central American nations in hopes of reducing immigration and move toward bolstering border screening technology. No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Richard Durbin of Illinois said in an interview this week that the likeliest package to emerge would start with creating a path to citizenship for so-called Dreamers. They are over 1 million immigrants who’ve lived in the U.S. most of their lives after being brought here illegally as children. Over 600,000 of them have temporary permission to live in the U.S. under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Former President Barack Obama created that program administratively, and Durbin and others want to protect it by enacting it into law. Durbin, who called Biden's plan “aspirational,” said he'll push for as many other elements as possible, including more visas for agricultural workers and others. “We understand the political reality of a 50-50 Senate, that any changes in immigration will require co-operation between the parties,” said Durbin, who is on track to become Senate Judiciary Committee chairman. He said Senate legislation likely “will not reach the same levels” as Biden’s proposal. The Senate is split evenly between the two parties, with Vice-President Kamala Harris tipping the chamber to Democrats with her tie-breaking vote. Even so, passing major legislation requires 60 votes to overcome filibusters, or endless procedural delays. That means 10 Republicans must join all 50 Democrats to enact an immigration measure, a tall order. “Passing immigration reform through the Senate, particularly, is a herculean task,” said Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who will also play a lead role in the battle. He said Democrats “will get it done” but the effort will require negotiation. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who's worked with Democrats on past immigration efforts, said “comprehensive immigration is going to be a tough sale” this year. “I think the space in a 50-50 Senate will be some kind of DACA deal,” he said. Illustrating the bargaining ahead, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate who’s sought earlier immigration compromises, praised parts of Biden's plan but said she wants changes including more visas for the foreign workers her state's tourism industry uses heavily. Democrats' hurdles are formidable. They have razor-thin majorities in a House and Senate where Republican support for easing immigration restrictions is usually scant. Acrid partisan relationships were intensified by former President Donald Trump's clamourous tenure. Biden will have to spend plenty of political capital and time on earlier, higher priority bills battling the pandemic and bolstering the economy, leaving his future clout uncertain. Democrats also must resolve tactical differences. Sharry said immigration groups prefer Democrats push for the strongest possible bill without concessions to Republicans' demands like boosting border security spending. He said hopes for a bipartisan breakthrough are “a fool’s errand” because the GOP has largely opposed immigration overhauls for so long. But prevailing without GOP votes would mean virtual unanimity among congressional Democrats, a huge challenge. It would also mean Democrats would have to eliminate the Senate filibuster, which they may not have the votes to do, or concoct other procedural routes around the 60-vote hurdle. “I'm going to start negotiating" with Republicans, said Durbin. He said a bipartisan bill would be better “if we can do it" because it would improve chances for passage. Democrats already face attacks from Republicans, eyeing next year's elections, on an issue that helped power Trump's 2016 victory by fortifying his support from many white voters. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Biden’s proposal would “prioritize help for illegal immigrants and not our fellow citizens.” Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., who heads the Senate Republican campaign committee, said the measure would hurt “hard-working Americans and the millions of immigrants working their way through the legal immigration process." Democrats say such allegations are false but say it's difficult to compose crisp, sound-bite responses on the complex issue. It requires having “an adult conversation” with voters, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., said in an interview. “Yeah, this is about people, but it's about the economy" too, said Spanberger, a moderate from a district where farms and technology firms hire many immigrants. “In central Virginia, we rely on immigration. And you may not like that, but we do." Alan Fram, The Associated Press
Two airlines serving Saskatchewan's north have announced they're consolidating their operations under a new name. West Wind Aviation and Transwest Air will consolidate under one air operating certificate, and will rebrand as Rise Air. The consolidation is "going to allow us to survive," Stephen Smith, president and CEO of the West Wind Group of Companies, said in an interview with CBC. "There is no question that COVID-19 put a lot of strain [on us] because a lot of people canceled meetings, which we would provide flights for. The people stop traveling out of northern communities." The slowdown of the uranium market and mines shutting down also had an effect, he said, with operations down by about 50 per cent. Transwest Air was already a wholly owned subsidiary of West Wind Aviation, after being purchased by the company in 2016, according to the Transwest website. Until now, however, West Wind Aviation and Transwest Air each had their own operating certificates, said Smith. "There's a duplication of people in one company to have two operating certificates," he said. "The new cost structure will allow us to not only survive but hopefully look to potentially grow in the future." According to Smith, the business is now right-sized for the marketplace. "The employees that we have now are fine, in terms of we don't have to consider reducing anymore." Ticket prices won't be affected: CEO The rebranding process will start within the next few weeks, once the regulatory requirements have been completed, the carriers said in a media release. Ticket prices won't be affected by the consolidation, Smith said, and the number of aircraft will remain the same. The company picked Rise Air as its new name after receiving 140 different recommendations from employees, said Smith. Another staff member submitted a sketch for the new logo. "Because we're bringing together two different companies that both have their own cultures and histories, we wanted something new and fresh but also wanted to preserve the legacy of both organizations," he said in a media release. Until the rebranding process is completed, people will see three different logos, he said. "We are OK with being patient during this process." West Wind Aviation, which is First Nations and employee-owned, operates from bases in Saskatoon and La Ronge, and has satellite locations in northern Saskatchewan, according to the company's website. The West Wind Group of Companies owns Snowbird Aviation Services, Northern Shield Helicopters, and Transwest Air, soon doing business as Rise Air, said Smith.
PARIS — When Kylian Mbappe's two goals took him back to the top of the French league's scoring charts on Friday night, the move seemed natural and inevitable. What is far less certain is whether Mbappe will stay at PSG, or accept the challenge of moving to a more demanding club like Real Madrid next season. After his brace in the 4-0 win against Montpellier took him to 14 goals — and 106 overall for PSG — the 22-year-old Mbappe said he has yet to decide whether to sign a new deal. “We're in discussions with the club to find a plan. I'm thinking it over, because I think that if I sign then it's to commit myself long term to Paris Saint-Germain,” Mbappe told broadcaster Telefoot following the match. “I'm very happy here, I've always been very happy here. The fans and the club have always helped me. For that, I'll always be thankful.” Mbappe's contract expires at the end of June next year, as does striker partner Neymar's, and PSG sporting director Leonardo is working hard to persuade the two global stars to sign new contracts. But the club faces stiff competition. Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is reportedly interested in making Mbappe a marquee signing to form a potentially prolific partnership with veteran Karim Benzema. Mbappe has also been linked with Premier League champion Liverpool. Because of his young age — he is six years younger than Neymar and 11 years younger than Benzema — Mbappe would represent the brightest future of any club. “I want to think about what I want to do in the years to come, where I want to be,” said Mbappe, who grew up in the Paris suburbs. “Yes, the time will soon come to make a choice ... If I had the answer now I would already have given it. I'm not trying to buy some time, I'm really thinking about it." The Frenchman has already won the World Cup, scoring in the 2018 final against Croatia, but has yet to win the biggest trophies at club level. A key part of his reflection is whether he thinks he can do so with PSG. Last season’s defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League final profoundly frustrated Mbappe, and to many observers seemed like an opportunity missed for PSG to finally win on the biggest stage after years of falling short in Europe. Mbappe's current market value is estimated at 180 million euros ($220 million), which is the same amount PSG paid to buy him from Monaco four years ago. But the longer he stays without putting pen to paper, the lower the fee becomes should PSG eventually sell him. With all clubs losing vast amounts of money because of the coronavirus pandemic, and a collapsed TV deal further harming French soccer, Mbappe and Neymar are huge assets. “I don't want to sign a contract and one year later say I want to leave,” Mbappe said. “No, if I sign it's to stay and this calls for thought.” PSG fans will hope his heart rules his head. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Jerome Pugmire, The Associated Press
More than a month after the crew of a scallop dragger from Nova Scotia disappeared on the Bay of Fundy, the RCMP are calling off their search for the five men suspected of going down with the vessel, citing "significant" risk to the lives of divers. The body of one crew member was found the day the boat was last seen. The loved ones of missing crew members received a glimmer of hope last weekend when the sunken boat was located on the ocean floor, about two kilometres from Delaps Cove and more than 60 metres below the surface. The RCMP said at the time that their crews were not equipped to dive to the necessary depths to look inside, but they said they were studying their options. On Saturday, they announced in a news release that those options had been exhausted. Too risky for Canadian Armed Forces divers "The RCMP approached the Canadian Armed Forces to determine whether their divers may be able to assist," the RCMP news release said. "Upon conducting a thorough risk analysis, the CAF determined that the risk to the lives of their divers was too significant and unfortunately, were unable to support the request." With that, the RCMP said they were putting an end to all search operations, but they will continue to support investigations by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) and the provincial Department of Labour. In a statement, the TSB said it is conducting a Class 3 investigation into the incident. According to its website, this kind of investigation would result in a detailed report, which could include some recommendations. These investigations would usually be completed within 450 days. "This investigation is ongoing. It is too early to draw conclusions," the emailed statement said. "In this particular investigation, we have been able to collect significant information without access to the vessel itself. Should the vessel be recovered at a future date, we would examine the wreckage for additional information." The statement said the TSB is not responsible for wreckage recovery or search and rescue missions. "The TSB investigation team is mindful of the families who want answers rapidly. Throughout the investigation, we will be in direct contact with the next of kin," it said. The province's Department of Labour did not immediately respond to CBC's request for comment about the status of the investigation. Family members grapple with end of search The Chief William Saulis was last seen early on Dec. 15 heading toward shore after a week-long fishing trip. No mayday call was issued by the six-man crew, but an automated emergency beacon sounded at about 5 a.m. in the same area where the boat would eventually be found. An extensive search of the shoreline and water was mounted that day, which led to the discovery of two empty life-rafts and the body of one crew member — Michael Drake of Fortune, N.L. Family and friends of the other five crew members — Aaron Cogswell, Leonard Gabriel, Dan Forbes, Eugene Francis and the captain, Charles Roberts — have said they suspect the men were asleep in their bunks when something catastrophic caused the vessel to sink. Laura Smith, the sister and next of kin of Gabriel, said she's satisfied that the RCMP have done everything in their ability to find the men, but she thinks some other government entity should continue the search. She said no expense should be spared, "providing it's safe enough that we don't lose any other men doing the search.... I don't want to lose anybody else's family member trying to bring mine home." Smith said she doesn't want to spend the rest of her life wondering if her brother might eventually wash up on shore. The RCMP have not been able to confirm that the missing fishermen are inside the vessel, but Lori Phillips — the mother of crew member Cogswell — said she's confident they are. She feels there must be some way to bring them up. "They can send divers down to the Titanic to bring up artifacts ... realistically I'm having a hard time comprehending it. I think it comes down to the almighty dollar," Phillips said. But even if there is a way to recover the men, Phillips said she's torn about whether it should be done. "Right now you've got five people who are obviously together in their final resting place, all doing what they love doing. We [would be] bringing them up for our own selfish reasons." The company that owns the Chief William Saulis, Yarmouth Sea Products, has been raising money for the families, including through a GoFundMe campaign that as of Saturday had amassed more than $73,000. Phillips said there's been some talk among the families about putting that money toward an independent recovery effort. "Personally I'm torn, again. I know Aaron is where he would want to be. And the money that could be spent doing that could be put into trust funds for the nephews and nieces that he loved so much and give them a better chance at life so they don't have to go out and risk their lives out on the ocean," Phillips said. Nova Scotia RCMP said they'll continue to offer support and updates to family of the crew.
It's not uncommon for members of Yukon's Filipino community to work two or three jobs, in order to save enough money for an annual visit to family in the Philippines. Travelling from Whitehorse to the Philippines takes 16 hours and can cost upwards of $2,500. But for many, it's not happening this year because of COVID-19 travel restrictions. "We just kind of hold our plans. We're just waiting until they open and off we go. But it's not just us — it's everybody," said Yvonne Clarke, former president of the Canadian Filipino Association of Yukon. Clarke has lived in Whitehorse since 1995. She says that like herself, many Filipinos who have come to Yukon are working in health care, and continue to during the pandemic. "A lot of us are front-liners," Clarke said. "We kind of know that we have to hunker down and not go anywhere." Social media has been the primary way Clarke has remained connected with family and friends in the Philippines. As for keeping the Filipino community connection strong here in Whitehorse, Clarke says they do what they can. "We can't go and have parties, or sing karaoke together in a house, but we always find a way to gather safely." The pandemic has created challenges, but Clarke has tried to stay positive. "I have a job. I can eat. I can afford to buy food as long as I'm working. What is there to complain?" Clarke says many Filipinos in Yukon are also supporting families back home in the Philippines. Rather than see it as an extra burden, Clarke says it's just the Filipino culture. "When you're in the Philippines, and you're one of the lucky ones to get out of the country, then you have the duty to help others who are back there," she said. 'It's like elbow-to-elbow' Clarke says she has a hard time picturing physical distancing in the Philippines. "The last time I was there, you go to a grocery store, it's like elbow-to-elbow. There's just so many people," she said. Clarke says the Philippines has been in lock down and residents can only shop at assigned times. "Every family takes turns. It's more stricter there, than here. It's understandable because there's just so many people [in the Philippines]." Clarke says there is nothing similar to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) in the Philippines. Residents there are given some basic supplies — rice, sardines, bread. "That's the subsidy that they got. It's like, wow. It's the Philippines." Clarke said. "It's a poor country. That's why we send money". Happy to be in Dawson Rommel Verdeflor is also happy to be in Yukon during the pandemic. He immigrated to Yukon from the Philippines eight years ago. He took a job offer and found himself in Dawson City, where there's a Filipino community of about 80 people. After two years, Verdeflor was granted permanent residency and was able to bring his wife and children over. "You know what, that two years is gone as soon as I saw them in Vancouver airport," Verdeflor says. "It's worth the wait." After working multiple jobs around town, Verdeflor was hired as a financial service representative at the CIBC branch in Dawson. He says he feels lucky to have his family with him in Yukon. "I was able to bring my brother. His wife and his daughter are here already," Verdeflor said. "All of my in-laws are here in Dawson too, so we don't get homesick. It's a quiet, safe place for us."
The United States is closely watching the more infectious variant of COVID-19 after British officials warned that it may also be more deadly, two top U.S. health officials said on Saturday, cautioning more data is needed. Officials are somewhat more worried about a separate variant from South Africa, although it has not yet been identified among U.S. cases of the novel coronavirus, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins and Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden's top COVID-19 medical adviser, also said.
MONTREAL — Quebec is reporting 1,685 new COVID-19 cases Saturday as daily counts continue to decline. The province is also reporting 76 new deaths attributed to COVID-19, for a total of 9,437. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 dropped by 43 to 1,383. The drop in case numbers comes after the Quebec government implemented an 8 p.m. curfew province-wide on Jan. 9. Premier Francois Legault attributed the decline to the curfew, but has said hospitals are too full to lift the new restrictions as scheduled on Feb. 8. As of Saturday, at least 225,245 people in Quebec have recovered from COVID-19. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
BERLIN — Bayern Munich’s closest challengers, Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen, both lost in the Bundesliga on Saturday to give the eight-time defending champions a chance to move seven points clear at the top. Second-place Leipzig lost 3-2 at relegation-threatened Mainz and third-place Leverkusen lost 1-0 at home to Wolfsburg. Bayern visits last-place Schalke on Sunday. American midfielder Tyler Adams got Leipzig off to a great start with a goal in the 15th minute, but Moussa Niakhaté scored twice for Mainz, either side of Marcel Halstenberg’s 30th-minute strike for the visitors. New signing Danny da Costa set up Leandro Barreiro for Mainz’s winner in the 50th. Midfielder Ridle Baku’s 35th-minute header was enough for Wolfsburg. Leverkusen made a good start but Nadiem Amiri and Lucas Alario missed early chances, with Alario striking the post before Wolfsburg gradually settled. Leverkusen maintained its pressure but the defence took a break and left Baku to head in Renato Steffen’s cross against the run of play. Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz reacted at the break by bringing on former Manchester United defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah for his Bundesliga debut, but Wolfsburg saw out the win. Luka Jovic scored his third goal in as many substitute appearances for Eintracht Frankfurt since returning from Real Madrid to seal a 5-1 win at Arminia Bielefeld. Augsburg goalkeeper Rafa Gikiewicz saved a penalty to secure a 2-1 win over his former team Union Berlin. Gikiewicz denied Marcus Ingvartsen in the 56th, then produced a fine save to also thwart Taiwo Awoniyi. Florian Niederlechner, who conceded the spot kick, had already scored twice for the home side. Freiburg beat Stuttgart 2-1. Hertha Berlin hosted fellow struggler Werder Bremen later Saturday. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP CiaráN Fahey, The Associated Press
Après 4 jours sans nouvelle infection de COVID-19 sur la Côte-Nord, le bilan de ce samedi 23 janvier fait mention de 3 cas supplémentaires, ainsi que 4 guérisons de plus. Ce sont 2 cas de plus dans la MRC de Sept-Rivières, et 1 dans Manicouagan. Il y a 11 cas actifs et 1 hospitalisation. Situation sur la Côte-Nord NOTE : Confinement du Québec et instauration d’un couvre-feu entre 20 h et 5 h pour la période du 9 janvier au 8 février 2021 : Restez à la maison et consultez la page Confinement du Québec pour connaître les détails. Vous pouvez aussi consulter toute l’information sur la COVID‑19.*En date du 23 janvier 2021 – 11 h Nombre de cas confirmés : 339 (+3) Répartition par MRC : Basse-Côte-Nord : 6 Caniapiscau : 7 Haute-Côte-Nord : 26 Manicouagan : 105 (+1) Minganie : 17 Sept-Rivières : 178 (+2)Cas guéris : 325 (+4) Décès : 3 Cas actifs : 11 (-1) Cas actifs provenant d’une autre région : 0 Hospitalisation en cours : 1 Éclosions en cours : Milieu de travail (Haute-Côte-Nord) : Moins de 5 cas Éclosions terminées récemment : Résidence privée pour aînés (Manicouagan) Milieu de travail (Sept-Rivières) Milieu de garde (Sept-Rivières)Karine Lachance, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
Hundreds of people marched in central Tunis on Saturday against inequality and police brutality, in defiance of a ban on demonstrations and as security forces tried to block off the city's main central avenue. Protesters chanted "the people want the fall of the regime" - a chant popularised during the so-call Arab Spring a decade ago - and held up banners and slogans decrying the security response to more than a week of demonstrations and nightly clashes between youths and police in cities across Tunisia. The protests, 10 years after a popular revolt against autocratic rule introduced democracy in Tunisia, represent the biggest bout of political unrest in several years, with police detaining hundreds of people.
Area healthcare services were top of mind at Mono Council’s meeting last Tuesday (Jan. 12).The President/CEO of Stevenson Memorial Hospital in Alliston, Jody Levac delivered a presentation to Council about the hospital’s new expansion and the impact it will have on both the facility and roughly 200 Mono residents who use it instead of Headwaters Health Care Centre.Long a staple of both Alliston and the surrounding area, Stevenson Memorial has been struggling with its size compared to its growing patient load and is thrilled to announce the new expansion. Opening in January of this year, will be a new Level 2 ICU at the hospital, with four ICU beds initially and a fifth to come later. In addition to providing care for patients with advanced care needs, close to home, the facility will house respiratory therapists – a new area of care at SMH. The trauma room, originally built in 1964, in the Emergency Department, is being reno-vated and updated, with new flooring, paint, lighting, fixtures and glass door entrance that can be turned opaque, for patient pri-vacy. All this is being done, while waiting for the much needed redevelopment.The hospital stepped up when COVID-19 struck, opening an assessment centre in the parking lot, which is now operated on an appointment-only system, doing thousands of swabs to date. The clinic has since been converted to a two car at a time heated and winterized drive-through facility. SMH is working on establishing an Influenza Like Illness (ILI) Clinic to assess patients.The hospital is working to submit a Stage 2 submission to the Ministry of Health for the proposed redevelopment. The submission will see a total of 47 beds in the redeveloped hospital. The next step in the process will be to secure the local share of funding for the proj-ect, $30 million over the next 18-24 months. The proposed revitalized Hospital will see a new two story wrap around addition, which encompasses the existing hospital in its design. Also included in that design is a new trauma centre with an indoor ambu-lance bay that can house four ambulances.In his wrap up, Dr. Levac expressed his appreciation for the support that SMH has received from both Mono residents and busi-nesses, and added that he hopes Council can afford to help out with fundraising for the new development. Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
Yulia Navalnaya was taking part in a protest to demand the release of her husband when she was taken into a police vehicle.
Larger organized gatherings and later hours for bars and restaurants are now allowed as P.E.I. eased some of its COVID-19 restrictions effective Saturday. There have been no reported cases of influenza on P.E.I. this season, as well as fewer cases of coughs and colds, which the Chief Public Health Office credits to "unintended impacts" of pandemic restrictions. With cough and cold season all but non-existent this year because of COVID-19 health measures, Honibe lozenge-maker Island Abbey Foods has laid off 30 staff. Despite those layoffs, it's been a banner year for P.E.I.'s biosciences sector, with more than 200 new jobs in 2020, and seven Island bioscience companies planning major expansions this year. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases reported on P.E.I. remains 110, with seven still active. There have been no deaths or hospitalizations. New Brunswick announced 17 new cases on Saturday. There are now 328 active cases in the province. Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador had no new cases Saturday.. Also in the news Further resources Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 11 a.m. Ontario is reporting 2,359 new cases of COVID-19 today and 52 more deaths related to the virus. The numbers mark a slight decline from the 2,662 cases recorded a day ago. Meanwhile the province says it plans to expand an inspection blitz of big-box stores to ensure they're complying with protocols meant to curb the spread of COVID-19. The Ministry of Labour says inspection efforts focused on the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas last weekend, but will concentrate on Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham Regions over the next two days. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The developer of the Pebble Mine in Alaska has filed an appeal with the Army Corps of Engineers that asks the agency to reconsider the developer's application to build a gold mine upstream from Bristol Bay. The Army Corps of Engineers rejected Pebble Limited Partnership's application in November on the grounds that the mine would not comply with the Clean Water Act. The proposed mine was to be built on state land, but dredging and filling in federal waters and wetlands requires a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska Public Media reported. Pebble CEO John Shively said the Corps' decision was rushed and came only days after the company filed its final document. Opponents to the proposed mine have said the project would pose a threat to important salmon spawning streams and could ruin the area's sport and commercial fisheries. Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy had announced two weeks ago that the state would appeal the permit rejection. Dunleavy said the decision endangers the state’s right to develop its own resources. The Associated Press
Democrats plan to move quickly on one of the first bills of the new Congress, citing the need for federal election standards and other reforms to shore up the foundations of American democracy after a tumultuous post-election period and deadly riot at the Capitol. States have long had disparate and contradictory rules for running elections. But the 2020 election, which featured pandemic-related changes to ease voting and then a flood of lawsuits by former President Donald Trump and his allies, underscored the differences from state to state: Mail-in ballots due on Election Day or just postmarked by then? Absentee voting allowed for all or just voters with an excuse? Same-day or advance-only registration? Democrats, asserting constitutional authority to set the time, place and manner of federal elections, want national rules they say would make voting more uniform, accessible and fair across the nation. The bill would mandate early voting, same-day registration and other long-sought reforms that Republicans reject as federal overreach. “We have just literally seen an attack on our own democracy,” said U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, referring to the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol. “I cannot think of a more timely moment to start moving on democracy reform.” The legislation first introduced two years ago, known as the For the People Act, also would give independent commissions the job of drawing congressional districts, require political groups to disclose high-dollar donors, create reporting requirements for online political ads and, in a rearview nod at Trump, obligate presidents to disclose their tax returns. Republican opposition was fierce during the last session. At the time, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., labeled it the “Democrat Politician Protection Act” and said in an op-ed that Democrats were seeking to “change the rules of American politics to benefit one party.” While Democrats control Congress for the first time in a decade, the measure's fate depends on whether enough Republicans can be persuaded to reconsider a bill they have repeatedly rejected. If not, Democrats could decide it's time to take the extraordinary and difficult step of eliminating the Senate filibuster, a procedural tool often used by the minority party to block bills under rules that require 60 votes to advance legislation. Advocates say the bill is the most consequential piece of voting legislation since the Voting Rights Act of 1965. House Democrats vowed two years ago to make the bill a priority, and they reintroduced it this month as H.R. 1, underscoring its importance to the party. “People just want to be able to cast their vote without it being an ordeal,” said Rep. John Sarbanes, a Democrat from Maryland who is the lead sponsor of the House bill. “It’s crazy in America that you still have to navigate an obstacle course to get to the ballot box.” Current plans would have the full House take up the bill as soon as the first week of February. The Senate Rules Committee would then consider a companion bill introduced in the Senate, and a tie vote there could allow it to move out of committee and to the floor as early as next month, said Klobuchar, who is expected to become the committee’s next chair. A quick vote would be remarkable considering the Senate also is likely to be juggling Trump’s impeachment trial, confirmation of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet choices and another round of coronavirus relief. While states have long had different voting procedures, the November 2020 election highlighted how the variability could be used to sow doubt about the outcome. The bill’s supporters, which include national voting and civil rights organizations, cited dozens of pre-election lawsuits that challenged procedural rules, such as whether ballots postmarked on Election Day should count. They also pointed to the post-election litigation Trump and his allies filed to try to get millions of legitimately cast ballots tossed out. Many of those lawsuits targeted election changes intended to make voting easier. That included a Pennsylvania law the state’s Republican-led legislature passed before the pandemic to make absentee ballots available to all registered voters upon request. Government and election officials repeatedly have described the election as the most secure in U.S. history. Even former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, a Trump ally, said before leaving his post that there was no evidence of widespread fraud that would overturn the result. “The strategy of lying about voter fraud, delegitimizing the election outcome and trying to suppress votes has been unmasked for the illegitimate attack on our democracy that it is, and I think that it opens a lot more doors to real conversations about how to fix our voting system and root out this cancer,” said Wendy Weiser, head of the democracy program at the Brennan Center for Justice, a public policy institute. Along with the election reform bill, the House two years ago introduced a related bill, now known as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in honour of the late civil rights activist and congressman. House Democrats are expected to reintroduce it soon after it had similarly stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate. That bill would restore a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that had triggered federal scrutiny of election changes in certain states and counties. A 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling set aside the method used to identify jurisdictions subject to the provision, known as preclearance, which was used to protect voting rights in places with a history of discrimination. In general, state election officials have been wary of federal voting requirements. But those serving in states led by Democrats have been more open and want to ensure Congress provides money to help them make system upgrades, which the bill does. “If you still believe in what we all learned in high school government class, that democracy works best when as many eligible people participate, these are commonsense reforms,” said Sen. Alex Padilla, a Democrat who oversaw California’s elections before being appointed to the seat formerly held by Vice-President Kamala Harris. But Republican officials like Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill remain opposed. Merrill said the federal government’s role is limited and that states must be allowed to innovate and implement their own voting rules. “Those decisions are best left up to the states, and I think the states are the ones that should determine what course of action they should take,” Merrill said, noting that Alabama has increased voter registration and participation without implementing early voting. “To just say that everything needs to be uniform, that’s not the United States of America,” Merrill said. In the Senate, a key question will be whether there is enough Republican support for elements of the voting reform bill to persuade Democrats to break off certain parts of it into smaller legislation. For now, Democrats say they want a floor vote on the full package. Edward B. Foley, an election law expert at Ohio State University, said Democrats should consider narrow reforms that could gain bipartisan support, cautioning that moving too quickly on a broad bill runs the risk of putting off Republicans. “It would seem to me at this moment in American history, a precarious moment, the right instinct should be a kind of bipartisanship to rebuild common ground as opposed to ‘Our side won, your side lost and we are off to the races,’” Foley said. ___ Cassidy reported from Atlanta. Christina A. Cassidy, The Associated Press
On January 13, 2021, the Town of Esterhazy began its regularly scheduled council meeting with a pre-meeting with Mosaic before mayor Forster called the meeting to order with a quorum present. Next, the council reviewed the agenda before Councillor Rowland making a motion to approve the agenda with the additions of landfill – clean farms, regional park – appointment; motion carried. After reviewing the minutes of December 16, 2020, council meeting councillor Petracek made the motion that the minutes of the December 16, 2020, regular council meeting be adopted as presented; motion carried. With no delegations, the council moved on to review the town’s financials Trial balance – December 31, 2020, list of accounts - #29037 - #29049, $294,580.27, list of accounts - #29051 - #29111, $ 98,651.32, source deductions - #919 - #921, $34,755.11. Councillor Nickell made the motion to accept the town's financials; motion carried. Moving on the council reviewed the following administrative reports: public works report, planning/development report, community development/recreation report, fire report, water report, acting administrator report and mayor/council reports, Cathay Wagantall -MP. OLD BUSINESS The council reviewed the amendment of By-Law 796-20 - the zoning by-law before councillor Rowland made the motion to have the 2nd reading of the by-law, carried. Councillor Flick made the motion to have the 3rd and final reading of the zoning by-law - by-law 796-20; motion carried. Carrying on the council discussed the landfill – Cleanfarms before councillor bot making a motion that council approves administration to apply for the grain bag collection recycling program under clean farms Saskatchewan. Furthermore, to investigate the cost of the necessary equipment to operate; carried. NEW BUSINESS Planning & Economic Development Director MacDonald left Chambers declaring a conflict of interest in the next agenda item. Next, the council discussed the tender for Esterhazy Flour Mill renovations Councillor Rowland made the motion that the council approve and award the tender for the renovations to the Esterhazy Flour Mill from commercial sandblasting & painting in the amount of $187,000.00 plus applicable taxes; motion carried. Planning & Economic Development Director MacDonald returned to chambers. Carrying on the council discussed the Saskatchewan Lotteries grant before Councillor Bot made the motion that council approve the request from the Esterhazy cross country ski club for Saskatchewan lotteries grant funding of $1,400 to be used for equipment; motion carried. Next, the council discussed staff training before Councillor Flick made a motion that the council approval to reimburse planning & economic development director Tammy MacDonald of the LGA 206 course for the total cost of $890.10; motion carried. Moving on the council discussed the Esterhazy curling club letter, Councillor Pfeifer made the motion that the council approves the request from the Esterhazy curling club to forgive payment of rent for months of non-usage months as part of the agreement; motion carried. Councillor Rowland abstained. The Regional park appointment was next to be discussed before Councillor Nickell making the motion that the council approves the request to have Tenille Flick be appointed to the Esterhazy regional park board as a member at large; motion carried. The council reviewed the following correspondence received by the town over the last 2 weeks: Government Of Saskatchewan – Ministry Of Justice, Agricultural Producers Association Of Saskatchewan, Esterhazy Regional Park – Minutes, Maltese Fire Inspections Ltd., Saskatchewan Construction Association, Sayweather – Airport Safety Equipment, Tourism Saskatchewan – Tourism Update, Royal Canadian Legion – Military Service Recognition Book, Rcmp – Quarterly Update, Municipalities Of Saskatchewan – Annual General Meeting. Councillor Petracek made the motion that the council approves an advertisement in the Royal Canadian Legion Saskatchewan command military service recognition book of a ¼ page colour ad for the cost of $415.00; motion carried. Councillor Bot made the motion that under the local authority freedom of information and protection of privacy act, the council will be discussing legal issues and moving in-camera as committee of the whole; motion carried. Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal
Happy Valley-Goose Bay's Amy Curlew is joining the big leagues this weekend, as she makes the jump from U.S. college hockey to the National Women's Hockey League. On Saturday, Curlew and her Toronto Six teammates will hit the ice for the first time in Lake Placid, N.Y., where the NWHL is holding its regular season and playoffs in a bubble in the leadup to the Isobel Cup final on Feb. 5. Curlew said playing pro hockey is a great chance to develop as a player and help grow the sport for women. "I think it's a great opportunity and there's definitely a lot of people that are pushing for us, and honestly, the NWHL is a great platform for women's ice hockey players and women athletes in general," she told CBC Radio's Labrador Morning. "We got a lot of great people helping us out and I think it's just phenomenal what they're putting together." Curlew was drafted in April by the Six, the NWHL's newest team and first team to play in Canada, based on the strength of her play while at Cornell University, where she put up 22 points in 32 games this year in a pandemic-shortened season. Her new coach, Margaret (Digit) Murphy — a fellow Cornell alum — noticed Curlew's game at the university and said she's a player who can play in all situations, in addition to being a "phenomenal human." "She stood out to me as someone who has energy for the game.… I think she has so much untapped potential and I think as players get older, they get better, they get more confident, and Amy's that kind of player that you can depend on," said Murphy. "She's there every day, working hard, comes with a smile on her face, has a lot of fun. And I think the other thing that inspires me is that other players are inspired by watching her play, so I think she's a magical Energizer bunny on the ice with us. I just love the way she plays." But Curlew is humble, despite the praise from her coach, who is among the most successful coaches ever at the highest level of American women's collegiate hockey. "She knows the game, so I guess she knows what she's talking about," she laughed. Curlew said her hard-working attitude began while she was growing up and playing hockey in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. "Starting at that rink back home and starting on my rink that my dad put together for me in my backyard, just shooting pucks, that led to something like Appleby College out here in Oakville, Ontario, which then led to me being able to go to Cornell University," Curlew said. "I think you need to go into every experience with an open mind, and just understand that you're going to go through some struggles, but you've gotta push through it.… If you're willing to do it, it's attainable." Role model for future players Murphy said Curlew's qualities as a skilled player and an inspiring person were just what she and the Six were looking for when they drafted her eighth overall. "When we built the team, it was really around more of a mindset than talent," she said. "What separates the Toronto Six and the culture that we build is how the connection and the mission is similar.… Do you want to play for a team that stands for, yes, women's hockey, great competition, but also being heroes, leaders and role models for the next generation?" With a team full of leaders and role models, Murphy said, her team will be able to compete on the ice, while creating opportunities for future female players who might not otherwise have a place to play just as they're entering their prime hockey years. "What happens is a lot of these players, they're just done and it's a hard stop in their NCAA career and there aren't a lot of opportunities post-college," she said. "What the NWHL is doing is they're affording players like Amy, and all the players on our team, top to bottom, opportunity to play post-collegiately, which quite frankly, I believe women deserve." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
What does it take to build a nation? It takes vision, confidence and bringing together everyone in that nation as one for the betterment of that whole nation. How does a person take a nation such as Canada, back in its early beginning, and make it one nation? There were not only citizens of countries in Europe emigrating, there as well as the original residents of the nation the Indigenous, Inuit and Metis. This was the challenge faced by the first Prime Minister of Canada. Beginning in the 1870s, both the federal government and Plains Nations wanted to include schooling provisions in treaties, though for different reasons. Indigenous leaders hoped Euro-Canadian schooling would help their young to learn the skills of the newcomer society and help them make a successful transition to a world dominated by strangers. With the passage of the British North America Act in 1867 and the implementation of the Indian Act (1876), the government was required to provide Indigenous youth with an education and to assimilate them into Canadian society. The federal government supported schooling as a way to make First Nations economically self-sufficient. Their underlying objective was to decrease Indigenous dependence on public funds. The government, therefore, collaborated with Christian missionaries to encourage religious conversion and Indigenous economic self-sufficiency. This led to the development of an educational policy after 1880 that relied heavily on custodial schools. These were not the kind of schools Indigenous leaders had hoped to create. Beginning with the establishment of three industrial schools on the prairies in 1883, and through the next half-century, the federal government and churches developed a system of residential schools that stretched across much of the country. Most of the residential schools were in the four Western provinces and the territories, but there were also significant numbers in northwestern Ontario and in northern Québec. New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island had no schools, apparently because the government assumed that Indigenous people there had been assimilated into Euro-Canadian culture. At its height around 1930, the residential school system totalled 80 institutions. The Roman Catholic Church operated three-fifths of the schools, the Anglican Church one-quarter and the United and Presbyterian Churches the remainder. (Before 1925, the Methodist Church also operated residential schools; however, when the United Church of Canada was formed in 1925, most of the Presbyterian and all the Methodist schools became United Church schools.) ( Canadian Encyclopedia - Residential Schools in Canada) Were the ideals of the first prime minister of Canada wrong? Was it wrong of Indigenous Leaders to want to teach their youth the skills of the newcomer to better assimilate into the new country being developed? The atrocities of the residential schools were definitely wrong. There were the atrocities of many of the boarding schools of the era such as St. Vincents and many other religious residential schools. We know our early politicians had a role to play in residential schools in Canada. Is it ok to tear down a statue commemorating a public figure who united us as one nation early in our beginning? Sir. John A Macdonald was the first Prime Minister of Canada, and served 19 years; only William Lyon Mackenzie King served longer. Among his many accomplishments, he acquired territory that made Canada the second-largest country in the world. The National Post reported a quote from 1880 where Macdonald disparaged his forebears for the awful plight of Canada’s first peoples. “We must remember that they are the original owners of the soil, of which they have been dispossessed by the covetousness or ambition of our ancestors,” Macdonald wrote in a letter proposing the creation of the Department of Indian Affairs. “At all events, the Indians have been great sufferers by the discovery of America and the transfer to it of a large white population.” While there are many who hold different beliefs regarding Sir John A. Macdonald, it is important to have discussions regarding the context and events that took place, versus performing destructive acts on historical statues. Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal
Ottawa-based company Spartan Bioscience has received Health Canada approval for its made-in-Canada rapid COVID-19 test, authorizing the sale of the device. "Spartan's test is the first truly mobile, rapid PCR test for COVID-19 for the Canadian market," a news release from the company states. "The Spartan COVID-19 system offers the speed and ease of use of a rapid test, while using the technology of lab-based COVID-19 testing solutions." Health Canada originally provided regulatory approval for the company's device in April 2020 — with the federal government ordering 40,000 tests monthly. At the time, the portable test was being called a "game changer" by health officials because it could deliver on-location results within 60 minutes. The federal agency restricted the device to research use in May, however, after finding problems with the test that made it unreliable. Approval was granted on Friday after the company conducted clinical trials based on a new device design, Health Canada spokesperson Natalie Mohamed told CBC News in an email. "The Spartan Bioscience test is a point-of-care molecular test," Mohamed wrote. "This new device meets Health Canada's requirements for safety and effectiveness." WATCH | Health Canada approves Canadian-made rapid COVID-19 testing system: New swab, upgrades to chemistry kit Dr. James Spiegelman, a co-founder of the company who also practises internal medicine at Humber River Regional Hospital in Toronto, said the problems stemmed from the efficacy of the swabs used to collect tissue samples, not the machine itself. Spartan originally used a proprietary cheek swab that it developed for other DNA diagnostics, he said, but it became clear that the swab wasn't collecting enough genetic material to produce consistent, reliable results. The company now uses standard nasopharyngeal swabs to collect tissue from the nose. "We found that that provides the best sample for increased sensitivity of the test," Spiegelman said. Spiegelman said the company also made improvements to the sample processing kit so that it no longer needs to be shipped and stored at frozen temperatures but can be stored at room temperature. With the Spartan test, a trained health-care professional swabs the nose of the person being tested, places the swab into a processing kit that generates a chain reaction and then puts that kit into the cube-shaped device, which takes about 50 minutes to analyze and produce results. Spiegelman said the test could be used to provide quick and accurate COVID-19 diagnostics everywhere from hospitals and workplaces to pharmacies and remote communities. "I think [Spartan's rapid test] will really help alleviate and give us a tool in our toolbox to reduce the spread of COVID-19," he said. Rapid tests already in use across Canada Rapid diagnostic tests are already in use in many settings across Canada to test for COVID-19, including in homeless shelters, long-term care homes and remote communities. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday that the federal government had distributed more than 14 million to the provinces and territories. "Hopefully we see these integrated into work environments, especially work environments where we know they're at greater risk for outbreaks," said infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch, who is also a member of the Ontario COVID-19 vaccine task force. "I think you could think about certainly integrating them into certain schools or certain school settings, rural, remote, underserviced locations. There's a lot of places where rapid tests would be extremely helpful." Spartan Bioscience CEO Roger Eacock said the company currently has the manufacturing capacity to produce 60,000 of the tests per week, but the company plans to ramp that up to 200,000 per week in the future. Eacock said the company already has deals with the federal government and several provinces, as well as some airlines and resource companies, and that shipments are expected to begin in the coming week.