At a security forum in Halifax, former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he had conversations with U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer two years ago.
At a security forum in Halifax, former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he had conversations with U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer two years ago.
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
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
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
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.
Yulia Navalnaya was taking part in a protest to demand the release of her husband when she was taken into a police vehicle.
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
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.
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
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
Recently, the Town of Langenburg completed the work on a new sewage station. The lift station is used to move raw sewage out of town to the lagoon. The sewage station is state of the art and fully automatic. Sewage enters the station through the sewage pipes that come from each and every building in town. First, the sewage passes through a Muffin Monster, which is a device that mulches and grins up anything that happens to pass through the sewage system. Looking down the wet sewage well located just outside the sewage station. Muffin Monster is located at the bottom of the wet sewage well. Next, the sewage is pumped to the lagoon through two high-speed pumps that alternate between the two pumps installed (to extend the life of the pumps that can be costly to replace or repair). All of these pumps are controlled by the brains that make sure the station runs at peak performance, switching from SaskPower electricity to an emergency generator if the power happens to cut out for less than a few minutes. The brains behind the sewage station, including the control panel. Diesel generator changed to propane as a backup generator. The backup generator was converted to propane for direct and constant power if and when needed. The total cost for this project was $1,788,156.00 which was shared by the Federal and Provincial Governments as well; just over ⅓ of the cost covered by the Town of Langenburg. The 2 impeller pumps that move the raw sewage through the pumps. While the new facility equipment is state of the art, residents can do their part to help by making sure they only flush what is intended to go down the sewers. Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal
TORONTO — Health officials say a U.K. variant of COVID-19 is behind a deadly outbreak at a long-term care home in Barrie, Ont., north of Toronto. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit says genome sequencing on six COVID-19 samples from Roberta Place Retirement Lodge have been identified as the highly contagious variant. The local health unit announced earlier this week that they had found a variant at the home and were conducting tests to determine what it was. Known variant strains of the virus were first detected in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil. An outbreak at Roberta Place was first declared on Jan. 8. A news release says as of Friday, 124 of 127 residents, and 84 staff were positive for the virus, resulting in 29 deaths. The health unit, in partnership with the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, says it accelerated its immunization program on Friday and vaccinated all eligible residents and staff. Officials say they're also immunizing residents at the other retirement homes throughout Simcoe Muskoka this weekend. As of Jan. 16, eligible residents of all long-term care facilities in Simcoe Muskoka have also received their first dose of immunization against COVID-19. "The rapid spread, high attack rate and the devastating impact on residents and staff at Roberta Place long-term care home has been heartbreaking for all," Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, said in a statement Saturday. "Confirmation of the variant, while expected, does not change our course of action. We remain diligent in doing everything we can to prevent further spread." Ontario reported 2,359 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and 52 more deaths related to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 708 new cases in Toronto, 422 in Peel Region, and 220 in York Region. She said there were also 107 more cases in Hamilton and 101 in Ottawa. Nearly 63,500 tests have been completed in Ontario over the past 24 hours. The province reported that 11,161 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since the province's last report. A total of 276,146 doses have been administered in Ontario so far. Since the pandemic began, there have been 252,585 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario. Of those, 222,287 have recovered and 5,753 people have died. Saturday's numbers were down from Friday's figures of 2,662 new cases and 87 more deaths. Meanwhile, the Ontario government has announced it's expanding its "inspection blitz" of big-box stores to ensure they're following COVID-19 guidelines this weekend. The workplace inspections, which started in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas last weekend, will now stretch out to Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham regions. Officials want to ensure workers and customers at the essential businesses are properly protected from COVID-19 during the provincewide shutdown. The blitz was developed in consultation with local health units and also includes a variety of other workplaces, including retail establishments and restaurants providing take-out meals. The province's labour ministry says more than 300 offences officers, as well as local public health inspectors and municipal bylaw officers, will conduct the inspections. Corporations can now be fined $1,000, and individuals can be fined $750 or charged for failing to comply with the orders. Labour Minister Monte McNaughton says the province is confident that the majority of workplaces in Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham are following orders. "However, if we find that businesses are putting the safety of workers and customers at risk, our government will not hesitate to take immediate action," McNaughton added in a statement Saturday. "The only way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and end the provincewide shutdown is for everyone — owners, customers and staff alike — to follow the proper guidelines." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press
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
WASHINGTON — Inside the White House, President Joe Biden presided over a focused launch of his administration, using his first days in office to break sharply with his predecessor while signing executive orders meant as a showy display of action to address the historic challenges he inherited. But outside the gates at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., there were signs everywhere that those crises are as deep and intractable as ever. The coronavirus pandemic surges, the economy teeters and Republicans in Congress have signalled objections to many of Biden’s plans. Biden is looking to jump-start his first 100 days in office with action and symbolism to reassure a divided and weary public that help is in the offing. He also knows that what a president can do on his own is limited so he is calling for Congress to act while he is being candid with Americans that dark days are ahead. “The crisis is not getting better. It’s deepening,” Biden said Friday about the impact of pandemic. “A lot of America is hurting. The virus is surging. Families are going hungry. People are at risk of being evicted again. Job losses are mounting. We need to act.” “The bottom line is this: We’re in a national emergency. We need to act like we’re in a national emergency,” he said. Biden’s first moments as president were meant to steady American democracy itself. He took the oath just before noon Wednesday in front of a Capitol that still bore scars from the insurrection that took place precisely two weeks earlier and was aimed at stopping Biden’s ascension to power. The violence underscored the fragile nature of the peaceful transfer of power and led to the historic second impeachment of Donald Trump. Biden resisted calls to move the inauguration to a more secure indoor setting. He was intent on preserving the usual inauguration trappings as a signal that normalcy could be achieved even though there were signs everywhere that things were far from normal: a military presence that resembled a war zone, guests on the dais wearing masks, a National Mall filled with 200,000 American flags standing in for the American people who were asked to stay away because of the pandemic. Biden was plain-spoken and direct about the confluence of crises the nation faces. More than 410,000 Americans have lost their lives to the pandemic, millions are out of work and the aftershocks of a summer reckoning with racial justice are still felt. “You can hear this collective sigh of relief that Trump is gone, but we have no time for a sigh of relief because of the cascading crises,” said Eddie Glaude Jr., chair of the department of African American studies at Princeton University. “We don’t want to assume that the election of Biden solves everything. The scale of the problems is immense and the question for us is do we respond at scale.” The changes within the White House have been swift. After Trump’s departure, his final staffers cleared out and a deep clean began. The White House had been the site of multiple COVID-19 outbreaks and, in a physical manifestation of a new approach to the virus, plastic shields were placed on desks and scores of new staffers were told to work from home. New pictures were hung on the West Wing walls and the Oval Office received a fast makeover. Gone were a painting of Andrew Jackson and the Diet Coke button of the desk; in came images of Robert Kennedy and Cesar Chavez. But the most important symbol, the clearest break from the previous administration, came from the president himself. When Biden sat down at the Resolute Desk to sign his first batch of his executive orders on Wednesday, he was wearing a mask. Trump had resisted wearing one, putting one on only occasionally and instead turning mask-wearing into a polarizing political issue Biden urged all Americans to wear a mask for the next 100 days and used his platform to model the same behaviour, one of several ways he tried to change the tone of the presidency in his first few days. Daily press briefings returned, absent the accusations of “fake news” that marked only sporadic briefings in the Trump era. Biden held a virtual swearing-in for hundreds of White House staffers, telling them to treat each other with respect or they would dismissed, a marked change from the contentious, rivalry-driven Trump West Wing. Calls to the leaders of Canada and Mexico were made without drama. The executive actions Biden signed during the week were a mix of concrete and symbolic actions meant to undo the heart of Trump’s legacy. Biden halted construction of the border wall, rejoined the World Health Organization and the Paris climate accord and bolstered the means for production for vaccines. But the might of the executive actions pales in comparison to the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that he requested from Congress. Biden has not ruled out asking Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., to push it through by tactics requiring only Democratic support. But the president, who spent decades in the Senate, hoped to persuade Republicans to support the measure. “Leaning on executive action makes sense at the start, you can get things going and show momentum right away without waiting for Congress,” said Robert Gibbs, former press secretary for President Barack Obama. “But this is going take a while. Like it was for us in 2009, change doesn’t come overnight." "Everything he inherited is likely to get worse before we see improvement,” Gibbs saidtinued. “One thing you learn on January 20th is that you suddenly own all of it.” Just two Cabinet nominees were confirmed by week's end, to the frustration of the White House. But with the Friday night announcement that Trump’s impeachment trial will not begin until the week of Feb. 8, Biden aides were optimistic that the Senate would confirm more before then. The trial looms as an unwelcome distraction for the Biden team. But while Trump will shadow the White House, Biden aides have noted that the former president commands far less attention now that his Twitter account is gone. They have expressed confidence that the Senate can balance the impeachment proceedings with both Cabinet confirmations and consideration of the COVID-19 relief bill. Biden has made clear that steering the nation through the pandemic will be his signature task and some Republicans believe that Trump’s implosion could create an opening to work across the aisle on a relief deal. “There is a very narrow permission structure for congressional Republicans who want to move past the Trump era and want to establish their own political identities,” said Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist who was a senior adviser on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. Romney is now a Utah senator. “There is an old saying: ‘Make the main thing the main thing.’ And the Biden White House knows that’s the main thing,” Madden said. “If they can improve the pandemic response in the next 100 days, then they can move on to other priorities, they’ll have the capital for legislative fights. But they need to get it right.” ___ Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire Jonathan Lemire, The Associated Press
With input from the Town Engineer, Ste-phen Burnett and Director of Development and Operations Jim Moss, Treasurer Carey Holmes outlined the connecting link grant contract for the East portion of Main Street.The RFP was closed in November and four bids were received. The winning bid, which includes option 1, of the three options pro-vided, was Coco Paving at $491,609.Stephen Burnett outlined to council the total scope of the project and all three options. He explained that when the appli-cation was filed, the total scope of the work was not determined.Once this was accomplished, it was deter-mined that the curbing along the core area of Main Street did need replacement along with the road resurfacing. Behind the curb-ing, between it and the sidewalk, was an area of interlocking stone. The decision that needed to be made was as to whether or not this should be replaced, reused, or left alone, hence the aforementioned three options.The recommendation was that option 1 was the most efficient and practical, replace the interlocking stone and the curbing, along with the resurfacing of the road way.Some of the old interlocking stone could be saved and reused in the renovations to Jack Downing Park.In addition, the curbing in front of Town Hall, at the crosswalk, would be extended out so as to remove one lane of traffic and negate the use to the current barriers to pre-vent motorists from trying to pass cars wait-ing for traffic in the crosswalk.Both the new stone and the lane change are awaiting MTO approval but no issue with that is presently foreseen.Treasurer Holmes indicated that the extra costs of the new stone, which was a little over $82,000, could be taken from the Road Construction Reserve, leaving it with a bal-ance of $293,500.Once the MTO approvals are received for the optional work, the project should commence as soon as weather permits are available, assumably in early spring of 2021. Council approved the project unanimously. Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
HONOLULU — People following a violent movement that promotes a second U.S. civil war or the breakdown of modern society have been showing up at recent protests across the nation armed and wearing tactical gear. But the anti-government “boogaloo” movement has adopted an unlikely public and online symbol: the so-called Hawaiian shirt. The often brightly colored, island-themed garment, known in Hawaii as an aloha shirt, is to people across the world synonymous with a laid back lifestyle. But in Hawaii, it has an association with aloha — the Native Hawaiian spirit of love, compassion and mercy. The shirts are being worn by militant followers of the boogaloo philosophy — the antithesis of aloha — at demonstrations about coronavirus lockdowns, racial injustice and, most recently, the presidential election. Boogaloo is a loosely affiliated far-right movement that includes a variety of extremist factions and political views. The name is a reference to a slang term for a sequel -- in this case, a second civil war. “You have everyone from neo-Nazis and white nationalists to libertarians,” said Cassie Miller, a senior research analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups in the U.S. "And while ideologically there might be some differentiation among people who identify with the movement, what unites them is their interest in having complete access to firearms and the belief that the country is heading towards a civil war.” Miller said those who follow boogaloo, sometimes referred to as “Boogaloo Bois,” believe that "people need to rise up against the government, which they see as tyrannical and essentially irredeemable, and that the only solution to righting what they see as their perceived grievances is to overthrow the state.” Those adhering to the philosophy often target law enforcement, Miller said, because the police are the most accessible symbol of the government at public gatherings. People affiliated with the movement have been linked to real-world violence, including a string of domestic terrorism plots. The movement has also been promoted by white supremacists, but many supporters insist they’re not truly advocating for violence. Attempts by The Associated Press to reach people associated with the movement were unsuccessful. “If you look at their online spaces, their rhetoric is extremely violent," Miller said. "A lot of it is kind of under this veneer of irony and humour, but there’s something very real to all of it.” When social media sites began banning the use of the word “boogaloo” and those associated with the movement, followers started using different terms to mask their online identities and intentions. “They’ll adopt a slogan that sounds benign in order to evade scrutiny, in order to evade bans. And so with the boogaloo, what you got is sort of variations of that term showing up in online spaces," Miller said. “One of them was ‘big luau,’ and that is then what led to using Hawaiian imagery and then the Hawaiian shirts.” Miller added that she doesn't believe “they’re really thinking about the meaning of the symbols that they’re using.” "For them, it’s a reference to show that they’re in the know that they’re part of this culture, that they can identify each other at public gatherings like this. And I think that’s really how it functions. It is creating kind of a sense of camaraderie.” But to those who live in Hawaii, especially Native Hawaiians, the aloha spirit attached to the commercialized patterns on the shirts has deeper meaning. “The aloha shirt is one thing but aloha itself is another, and the principles of aloha are deeply rooted in our culture,” said Kealoha Pisciotta, a Native Hawaiian activist who has led peaceful protests against the building of a telescope on a Hawaii peak indigenous people consider sacred. “The principles of aloha are based on love, peace, harmony, truth.” "It creates the space for compassion to come into our heart, rather than the contrary of that, which would be hate, loathing, anti-Semitism, you know, racism,” Pisciotta said. Many Native Hawaiians share a sense of frustration with U.S. and state government because of the way the Hawaiian Kingdom was overthrown. They have long fought against the exploitation and commercialization of their land by large corporations and government entities, but in a mostly peaceful way. “Hawaiians are facing desecration of our burials ... of our sacred places. But it’s in our choice of how we want to respond and address the powers that be," Pisciotta added. "If you want the end result to be based in peace, then you have to move in peace and move in aloha.” "Aloha is about also reducing suffering, reducing, deescalating anger,” she added. "It’s human to become angry, it's human to feel frustrated. It’s human to want to lash out. But but it’s also human to find compassion.” Dale Hope, whose parents owned a garment factory in Honolulu that he went on to run and create quality aloha shirts with an eye toward detailed and authentic Hawaiian imagery, said the imagery being used at protests among extremists is misguided. “I don’t think they really understand the value and the meaning of what these shirts represent,” he said. “I think they’re an easy way for them to stand out in the crowd and to get a lot of attention. But I don’t I don’t think they have a clue as to what the meaning and the virtues of aloha are with love and compassion and sharing.” Hope wrote the book “The Aloha Shirt" about the early days of the textile industry in Hawaii and the meaning behind the aloha symbolism. Aloha shirts first emerged in Hawaii in the 1930s and became accepted business wear locally in the 1960s. They often feature island motifs such as native plants, ocean waves and other scenes that play a prominent role in Native Hawaiian legends and hula chants. Some also show Chinese calligraphy or Japanese carp, reflecting the many cultures that have shaped modern Hawaii. Hope said some designers in Hawaii go out and chant and ask Hawaiian gods for respect before they begin the process of making the symbols on the shirts. “We’ve always tried to do things with respect and honour, whatever the subject is that we’re trying to portray on a piece of textile," Hope said. “I think the aloha shirt is a representation of your passion and your love for this wonderful place that we call home. Hawaii is a unique, wonderful group of islands out in the middle of the Pacific." Caleb Jones, The Associated Press
The Northwest Territories RCMP's Major Crimes Unit says it has arrested a 28-year-old man for allegedly making "statements made towards an employee of GNWT (government of the Northwest Territories) Public Health." The man was taken into custody after police investigated, according to a news release sent late Friday. No further details were offered, such as the community where this occurred, though the release was sent by Yellowknife staff. "NT RCMP takes any comments that could be perceived as a threat to an employee in the public health service very seriously," said Superintendent Jeffrey Christie, criminal operations officer in charge, in the news release. "We want the public and those who serve the public to know that we will investigate and hold accountable, to the fullest extent of the law, anyone who makes statements that contain material that may be viewed as a threat."
The Moose Hide Campaign is gearing up for its tenth anniversary with an upcoming livestream and set of virtual workshops. Founded in 2011 by a then 16-year-old Raven Lacerte and her father Paul, the campaign has now distributed more than two million squares of moose hide pins, representative of the commitments made during the campaign’s decade-long effort to end violence towards women and children. While out on a hunting trip near the Highway of Tears in northern British Columbia, called as such because of the many women who have gone missing or have been murdered along that 725-km stretch of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert, the father-daughter duo began thinking of the White Ribbon Campaign. Co-founded by former federal New Democratic Party leader, the now late Jack Layton, the White Ribbon Campaign was sparked in response to the hate and violence that led to the shooting deaths of 14 women and others injured at École Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989. “As we were talking about it, this moment of inspiration came to us,” Raven said. “We thought that moose hide would be something that men and boys would feel connected to with a hunter-gatherer, warrior feel to it,” she said, and that in turn could help raise awareness about the issue of violence toward women and children in the Indigenous community. Paul Lacerte had been at a conference in Vancouver focused on ending such violence when he recognized how few men were engaged by the issue. Of the hundreds of attendees, Lacerte noticed less than five men taking a true interest. “Women were doing all of it, the advocacy, the support, bearing the burden of the trauma and the healing,” Raven said. “We’ve been learning and growing over the years, as you can probably imagine as a 16-year-old and her dad just trying to sort it all out,” Raven said of the Moose Hide Campaign’s development over the years. “When we started, our idea was that ‘men need to end violence towards women and children’, with a special focus on Indigenous women and children,” Raven said. “As visibly Indigenous people, we know that the likelihood of something bad happening to me is much higher than other people. My dad really wanted to do that work to ensure that myself and my sisters could live lives free from violence.” Men and boys soon became engaged in the campaign, which includes a fast for one day as part of a call to action, which tests and deepens an individual’s personal commitment to honour and protect the woman and children in their lives. There was also a strong interest from other participants across the gender spectrum. “Immediately, women and gender non-binary folks were asking what their role could be in this movement,” Raven said. “It’s an awareness campaign. We invite everyone to wear the moose hide pin and fast with us, and continue these really important conversations.” “We’re still targeting men and boys specifically, but in the same breath saying that this campaign is for everyone. We need all of us to work together to end violence against women and children.” Raven also emphasized a greater integration of trans people and members of the greater LGBTQ2S+ community, with a goal of bringing an end to all gender-based and domestic violence. An event planned for Feb. 11 will run from 8:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Pacific Time. The intention is “To remember those we have lost. To share our stories and struggles. To grow closer through the experience of fasting and ceremony. To motivate one another with all we have managed to achieve,” reads the Moose Hide Campaign website. Forced online due to restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event offers the opportunity for attendees to hear from keynote speakers, the campaign’s founders, Elders and to participate in ceremony. February 11 is also the day people will undergo the traditional fast, which offers the opportunity for humility, healing and a signal that those taking part are serious about making change. Raven emphasized the importance of signing up through the campaign website to register for the day’s events, order a set of pins, learn healthy fasting techniques, and tips on organizing local Moose Hide Campaign events. There is also an option to order non-leather pins for those interested. Lacerte emphasized that the moose hides come from a variety of sources that are sent to a tannery, including donations from hunters who otherwise would have left the hides in the bush. “No moose are killed solely for the purpose of the campaign,” Raven said. The campaign encourages participants to wear the hide pins year-round. “Moose are iconically Canadian,” she said. “We wanted to offer a bit of the beauty and love and healing energy of the land as part of this movement. This is not just something you can throw in the garbage. We want you to wear it with pride.” Windspeaker.com By Adam Laskaris, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
Stanley Woodvine has been homeless in Vancouver for more than 15 years and while policy-makers at every government level scramble to find housing solutions for people living outside during the pandemic, he says it is critical to remember homelessness will not disappear when COVID-19 does and permanent, not band-aid solutions, are needed. There are currently about 200 people living in Vancouver's lastest homeless encampment at Strathcona Park, and an unknown number sleeping elsewhere across the city. They have access to very limited facilities where they are welcome to use the toilet, take a shower or warm up from the cold. Temporary washroom facilities have now been set up in the park by city staff, and temporary warming shelters have opened in various neighbourhoods in advance of what is expected to be a frigid weekend with predicted snowfall. But as Woodvine told CBC this week, temporary infrastructure will never be enough for people who have forever needs. "I do not believe that you should treat homelessness as an emergency because that assumes that you could end the emergency," he said. He said he watches people try to stay warm at night with tea candles, that the cold damp of Vancouver makes it hard not to feel frozen if you are wet, and that he struggles to find showers in the morning so he can begin his work day like anyone else. "If you actually made homelessness practical ... people could [be] homeless and actually sustain themselves," said Woodvine. Infrastructure where people could stay warm and wash off could also be lifesaving. On Friday, Jonathan Gormick, public information officer for Vancouver Fire and Rescue Service, told Stephen Quinn, the host of CBC's The Early Edition, that crews have responded to almost 30 fires at Strathcona Park since November, as people try to keep themselves warm with makeshift stoves and open flames. One man, said Gormick, remains in hospital with severe burns to his upper body. "Unfortunately, at some point it will be worse. And we certainly don't want to lose a life over this." said Gormick. He echoed Woodvine's sentiment that homelessness is never going to end, so it's time to start creating facilities and services that help people better manage that reality. "There are people who willfully choose that they don't want to be sheltered or housed, and that's their choice," said Gormick. He said he understands the city is strapped financially because of the pandemic, and that for many, stable housing solutions are what is needed, but for those in need now and those who choose not to accept shelter, the city needs to find partners and "lasting solutions." Local businesses can help In the meantime, Meenakshi Mannoe, criminalization and policing campaigner at Pivot Legal Society, says it is vital that businesses in the city step up to help people in need in their neighbourhood. She joined Gloria Macarenko, the host of CBC's On The Coast, Thursday to discuss meeting homeless needs in the city, after management of an East Vancouver coffee shop told CBC News staff were dealing with a barrage of inappropriate behaviour from homeless people using their washroom. "If they're part of a community, that is going to mean that there's lots of people in the community. There are people who have different needs. There are some folks that might need to use your bathroom and is it really such a hardship?" asked Mannoe. Tap the audio link below to hear the complete interview with Meenakshi Mannoe and to listen to callers to On The Coast share their personal experiences with homelessness:
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
Tourisme Côte-Nord y est allé d’une idée de promotion complètement amusante, afin de continuer à promouvoir la région en temps de Covid. Ils ont lancé ce 21 janvier une campagne humoristique, sur les jeux de société. Tourisme Côte-Nord propose 20 parodies de jeux de société à saveur nord-côtière, et invite la population à partager leur campagne promotionnelle, afin de faire connaître la région, et de rigoler un peu.L’organisme mentionne que l’industrie touristique a été lourdement affectée par cette pandémie et qu’elle aura de grands besoins lors de la relance économique.Voici la toute dernière campagne réalisée par Tourisme Côte-Nord: https://www.facebook.com/613352892084693/posts/3582545271832092/?sfnsn=moKarine Lachance, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord