Four people were killed and several others were injured after flames ripped through an east-end Toronto home early Friday. Toronto's fire service said six people were taken from the home and two were in hospital.
Four people were killed and several others were injured after flames ripped through an east-end Toronto home early Friday. Toronto's fire service said six people were taken from the home and two were in hospital.
President Joe Biden on Saturday said his administration would make an announcement on Saudi Arabia on Monday, following a U.S. intelligence report that found Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had approved the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Biden administration has faced some criticism, notably an editorial in the Washington Post, that the president should have been tougher on the crown prince, who was not sanctioned despite being blamed for approving Khashoggi's murder.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Two days before the assault on the U.S. Capitol, Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano, a Republican, said supporters of then-President Donald Trump's claims of election fraud were basically in a “death match with the Democrat Party.” A day later, right-wing activist Alan Hostetter, a staunch Trump supporter known for railing against California's virus-inspired stay-at-home orders, urged rallygoers in Washington to "put the fear of God in the cowards, the traitors, the RINOs, the communists of the Democrat Party.” The shared grammatical construction — incorrect use of the noun “Democrat” as an adjective — was far from the most shocking thing about the two men's statements. But it identified them as members of the same tribe, conservatives seeking to define the opposition through demeaning language. Amid bipartisan calls to dial back extreme partisanship following the insurrection, the intentional misuse of “Democrat” as an adjective remains in nearly universal use among Republicans. Propelled by conservative media, it also has caught on with far-right elements that were energized by the Trump presidency. Academics and partisans disagree on the significance of the word play. Is it a harmless political tactic intended to annoy Republicans' opponents, or a maliciously subtle vilification of one of America’s two major political parties that further divides the nation? Thomas Patterson, a political communication professor at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, said using “Democrat” as an adjective delivers a “little twist” of the knife with each usage because it irritates Democrats, but sees it as little more than that. “This is," he says, “just another piece in a big bubbling kettle of animosities that are out there.” Others disagree. Purposely mispronouncing the formal name of the Democratic Party and equating it with political ideas that are not democratic goes beyond mere incivility, said Vanessa Beasley, an associate professor of communications at Vanderbilt University who studies presidential rhetoric. She said creating short-hand descriptions of people or groups is a way to dehumanize them. In short: Language matters. “The idea is to strip it down to that noun and make it into this blur, so that you can say that these are bad people — and my party, the people who are using the term, are going to be the upholders of democracy,” she said. To those who see the discussion as an exercise in political correctness, Susan Benesch, executive director of the Dangerous Speech Project, said to look deeper. “It’s just two little letters — i and c — added to the end of a word, right?” she said. “But the small difference in the two terms, linguistically or grammatically, does not protect against a large difference in meaning and impact of the language.” During the “Stop the Steal” rallies that emerged to support Trump's groundless allegations that the 2020 election was stolen from him, the construction was everywhere. Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel accused “Democrat lawyers and rogue election officials” of “an unprecedented power grab” related to the election. Demonstrators for the president's baseless cause mirrored her language. After Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia was removed from her House committees for espousing sometimes dangerous conspiracy theories, she tweeted: “In this Democrat tyrannical government, Conservative Republicans have no say on committees anyway." Trump’s lawyers used the construction frequently during his second impeachment trial, following the lead of the former president, who employed it routinely while in office. During a campaign rally last October in Wisconsin, he explained his thinking. “You know I always say Democrat. You know why? Because it sounds worse,” Trump said. “Democrat sounds lousy, but you know what? That’s actually their name, the Democrat Party. Right? The Democrat Party. So I always say Democrat.” In fact, “Democratic” to describe some version of a U.S. political party has been around since Thomas Jefferson and James Madison formed the Democratic-Republican Party in the 1790s. Modern Democrats are loosely descended from a split of that party. The precise origins of Republicans' truncated phrasing are difficult to pin down, but the Republican National Committee formalized it in a vote ahead of the 1956 presidential election. Then-spokesman L. Richard Guylay told The New York Times that “Democrat Party” was “a natural,” because it was already in common use among Republicans and better reflected the “diverse viewpoints” within the opposing party — which the GOP suggested weren’t always representative of small-d democratic values. Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who had just led his notorious campaign against alleged communists, Soviet spies and sympathizers, was the most notable user of the phrase “Democrat Party” ahead of the vote. The current RNC did not respond to emails and phone messages seeking comment for this story. The construction was used sparsely in the following decades, but in recent times has spread to become part of conservatives' everyday speech. At the height of last summer’s racial justice protests, the group representing state attorneys general criticized “inaction by Democrat AGs” to support law enforcement. In explaining its rules for cleaning Georgia's voter roles, the office of Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said it was following a process started in the 1990s under “a Democrat majority General Assembly and signed into law by a Democrat Governor.” Asked recently what he would think of his former health director running for the U.S. Senate in Ohio, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine responded, “I’m going to stay out of Democrat primaries.” Using Democrat as a pejorative is now so common that it’s almost jarring to hear a Republican or conservative commentator accurately say “Democratic Party.” Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor said she wishes both parties would abandon their heightened rhetoric toward each other. She spoke out forcefully in September after the Ohio Republican Party maligned a “Democrat common pleas judge” who had ruled against them. The party later apologized. Her objection was the politicization of the judiciary, which she has fought against, and not specifically the GOP's misuse of the word “Democrat." But in a later interview, she said the language was a reflection of today's hyperpartisan political environment. “It's used as almost like a curse word,” said O'Connor, a Republican. “It's not being used as a compliment or even for purposes of being a benign identifier. It's used as a condemnation, and that's not right.” For their part, Democrats rarely push back, even when the phrase is used in state legislative chambers or on the floor of Congress. It wasn't always that way. Then-President George W. Bush departed from his written remarks and used the phrase “Democrat majority” in his 2007 State of the Union address. He was swiftly rebuked and apologized. “Now look, my diction isn’t all that good,” a rueful Bush said. “I have been accused of occasionally mangling the English language, so I appreciate you inviting the head of the Republic party.” Bush’s self-deprecating joke highlighted a key issue around Republicans' use of “Democrat” as an epithet, says political scientist Michael Cornfield, an associate professor at George Washington University. Democrats don't have a comparable insult for Republicans. "It's a one-way provocation,” he said. In the 1950s, Democrats toyed with a tit-for-tat approach in which they would refer to Republicans as “Publicans,” the widely despised toll collectors of ancient Rome. Republicans scoffed at the effort, which they rightly noted no one would understand. Republicans also could turn it around as a way to burnish their brand: In British usage, a publican is someone who owns a pub. Meanwhile, “Republic” — without the “a-n” — isn’t derogatory. It's known as a “God word” in American politics, just as small-d “democratic” is, meaning a revered cultural concept that's universally understood. The truncated “Democrat,” on the other hand, “rhymes with rat, bureaucrat, kleptocrat, plutocrat," Cornfield said. "‘Crats’ are bad. So you can see why they do it.” David Pepper, a former Democratic Party chairman in Ohio, says Republicans' phrasing has “clearly been thought about." Even so, he doesn't see trying to erase it as a good use of Democrats' time as the party seeks to reset the national agenda after four years of Trump. He said that while President Joe Biden has pledged national unity, “the other side is literally trying to make the other party sound like rodents." “To me,” Pepper said, “that’s absurd and disturbing at the same time.” ___ AP news researcher Jennifer Farrar in New York contributed to this report. Julie Carr Smyth, The Associated Press
BERLIN — Bundesliga top scorer Robert Lewandowski bagged another two goals as Bayern Munich routed Cologne 5-1 to end its two-game winless streak and consolidate its league lead on Saturday. Lewandowski took his season tally to 28 as Bayern moved five points clear of Leipzig, which hosted Borussia Mönchengladbach in the late game. Leon Goretzka, making his first league start since recovering from the coronavirus, lifted a cross for Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting to open the scoring in the 18th minute, then brilliantly set up Lewandowski in the 34th. Goretzka received the ball from Lewandowski, turned and played the ball through Cologne defender Rafael Czichos’ legs, and sent it to the right for Lewandowski to finish. Defensive errors from David Alaba and Jérôme Boateng allowed Ellyes Skhiri to pull one back after the break as Cologne enjoyed an encouraging phase. Bayern coach Hansi Glick sent on Thomas Müller and Serge Gnabry in the 64th. The former was making his comeback from a coronavirus infection and he needed less than a minute to set up Lewandowski's second goal. Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer almost gifted Cologne a way back when he lost the ball to Dominick Drexler, but the midfielder’s effort from a difficult angle went back off the post. Gnabry sealed the result in the 82nd and wrapped up the scoring in the 86th. SCHALKE SHAMBLES Schalke sporting director Jochen Schneider had to deny reports of mutiny within the squad before the struggling team lost in Stuttgart 5-1. Kicker and other media outlets reported several players asked for Christian Gross, already Schalke’s fourth coach of the season, to be replaced. The team’s performance seemed to confirm the reports. Japan midfielder Wataru Endo was left completely free to score his first two goals in the league, before more lacklustre defending allowed Saša Kalajdžic to score in the 34th. Sead Kolašinac answered for Schalke in the 40th, but substitute Nabil Bentaleb saw his weak penalty saved and Endo set up Philipp Klement for Stuttgart’s fourth in the 88th. Daniel Didavi completed the rout in injury time. “A very bitter defeat,” said Gross, whose team remains last, nine points from safety with 11 rounds remaining. “I'm not giving up.” DORTMUND’S REVIVAL Borussia Dortmund beat Arminia Bielefeld 3-0, and Hertha Berlin’s winless streak stretched to nine games after losing at Wolfsburg 2-0. Brazilian midfielder Reinier scored his first Bundesliga goal since his loan switch from Real Madrid to seal Dortmund’s third win across all competitions including last weekend’s 4-0 win over Schalke in the Ruhr derby. “We’re not there yet where we want to be,” Mats Hummels said. Dortmund had to wait till the 48th for Jadon Sancho to set up Mahmoud Dahoud for the opener, and 10 minutes later Sancho converted a penalty. Sancho was again involved before Erling Haaland graciously set up Reinier’s goal in the 81st. Dortmund cut the gap on fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt to three points. The top four qualify for the Champions League. Bielefeld’s defeat was good news for Hertha, which lost despite a good performance in Wolfsburg. Pál Dárdai’s team has seven defeats and two draws since beating Schalke 3-0, and only goal difference is keeping Hertha above Bielefeld in the relegation zone. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP CiaráN Fahey, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Federal investigators probing the death of a U.S. Capitol Police officer killed in the Jan. 6 riot have zeroed in on a suspect seen on video appearing to spray a chemical substance on the officer before he later collapsed and died, two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. The FBI has obtained video that shows the person spraying Brian Sicknick and other law enforcement officers during the Jan. 6 riot, the people said. But they cautioned that federal agents haven't yet identified the suspect by name and the act hasn't been directly tied to Sicknick's death. The idea that Sicknick died after being sprayed by a chemical irritant has emerged in recent weeks as a new theory in the case. Investigators initially believed that Sicknick was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher, based on statements collected early in the investigation, according to one of the people and another law enforcement official briefed on the case. But as they've collected more evidence, the theory of the case has evolved and investigators now believe Sicknick may have ingested a chemical substance — possibly bear spray — during the riot that may have contributed to his death, the officials said. The people could not publicly discuss the details of an ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Sicknick died after defending the Capitol against the mob that stormed the building as Congress was voting to certify Joe Biden’s electoral win over Donald Trump. It came after Trump urged supporters on the National Mall to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. The circumstances surrounding Sicknick’s death remain unclear and a final cause of death has not yet been determined. Capitol Police have said he died after he was injured “while physically engaging with protesters” and this week, the agency’s acting chief said officials consider it a line-of-duty death. Sicknick collapsed later on, was hospitalized and died. The Justice Department opened a federal murder investigation into his death, but prosecutors are still evaluating what specific charges could be brought in the case, the people said. In a statement late Friday, Capitol Police said the medical examiner’s report on Sicknick’s death is not yet complete. “We are awaiting toxicology results and continue to work with other government agencies regarding the death investigation,” the statement said. The New York Times first reported investigators were zeroing in on one suspect in the case; CNN previously reported law enforcement had collected video evidence to identify a handful of potential suspects. The FBI has already released about 250 photos of people being sought for assaulting federal law enforcement officers during the riot. Some have already been arrested and the Justice Department said about 300 people have been charged with federal offences related to the riot. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
MILAN — The fedora Humphrey Bogart wore in “Casablanca” may have secured Borsalino’s place in fashion and cinematic history, but it will be something like the cow-print bucket hat that will help ensure its future. The storied Italian hatmaker still makes its felt hats by hand in a Piedmont region factory, using the same artisanal techniques from when the company was founded in 1857 and some of founder Giuseppe Borsalino’s original machinery. It is updating its offerings for next fall and winter, with a focus on customization and youth-trends. The new collection displayed during Milan Fashion Week takes inspiration from the Arts & Crafts design movement in mid-19th century Britain. Hat pins with leaf and floral motifs allow women to uniquely shape the hats, to take up an oversized brim, say, or to create an elegant fold in the crown. A leopard fedora can be paired with a long chain, to wear over the shoulder when going in and out of shops, while a clochard has an optional leather corset. “You cannot change a hat so much,’’ Giacomo Santucci, Borsalino’s creative curator, said. “You can change the attitude of the hat.” Unisex styles, including baseball caps, berets and bucket hats, come in updated new materials - including a spotted cow print, black patent leather and rainproof nylon. Such genderless looks are becoming an increasingly important part of the collection, Santucci said. “The hat is no longer a tool to cover yourself, but to discover yourself,’’ he told The Associated Press. The company, which relaunched three years ago, was in the process of scaling up production from 150,000 hats a year to a goal of half a million when the pandemic hit. “To be honest, it is such a small company, in a way it is very simple to react,’’ said Santucci, who is also the current president of the Italian Chamber of Buyers. “The smaller you are, the more reactive and prompt." Beyond new styles, that means getting people talking. Santucci, who was Gucci CEO during the Tom Ford era, created a new film for this season, featuring Milanese women who chose hats to match their styles, striding through the centre of the city. Last season’s film featured dancers from Alessandria, site of the original Borsalino factory, dancing through the factory floor. "My strong belief is that fashion is becoming more and more a discussion,'' Santucci said. New social media platforms like Clubhouse are giving people the chance to create a limited and select group to discuss relevant topics, which Santucci said has been key during the isolation imposed by the pandemic. He also has pursued collaborations with ready-to-wear brands, including Borsalino X Valentino. “Brands are changing. It is getting closer to entertainment, to give people the chance to engage with the brand, to understand it better. Not only to understand what was done in the past, but to really interact and to have the chance to be part of the same community,’’ Santucci said. Colleen Barry, The Associated Press
Services Québec a lancé en novembre dernier le Programme d’aide à la relance par l’augmentation de la formation (PARAF). L’initiative vise ainsi à faciliter la réorientation de carrière et offre 500 $ par semaine à ceux qui retournent sur les bancs d’école pour des secteurs en demande. Avec un taux de chômage atteignant les 9 % au Québec, le ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité a investi 115 M$ dans ce nouveau programme, qui vise à inciter les personnes sans emploi à se requalifier ou à rehausser leurs compétences. « Qu’on soit prestataire de l’assurance emploi, de l’aide financière de dernier recours ou qu’on soit sans revenu, toute personne sans emploi est admissible. Compléter une nouvelle formation en quelques mois, être orienté vers une profession, pour plusieurs personnes, ça peut changer leur vie », explique Lison Rhéaume, directrice régionale de Services Québec. Pour y être admissible, la formation doit débuter au plus tard le 25 septembre 2021. Une rencontre avec un agent d’aide à l’emploi doit également être effectuée au plus tard le 30 avril 2021. Jusqu’à présent, plus de 400 personnes ont souscrit au programme dans la région. Secteurs visés Services Québec vise surtout les formations courtes qui permettent l’obtention d’un diplôme d’études professionnelles, d’un diplôme d’études collégiales, voire un microgramme universitaire. Selon Lison Rhéaume, si certains secteurs vivent une pénurie de main-d’œuvre, l’idée n’est pas d’imposer à qui que ce soit une formation précise. « Ceux qui viennent rencontrer nos agents ne sont pas orientés. L’évaluation du besoin de la personne se fait sur la base de ses aspirations professionnelles et de ses capacités. La rencontre permet de discuter de son projet professionnel, de son chemin parcouru sur le marché du travail et pour voir s’il y a des embuches à relever. Seulement lorsque c’est nécessaire, elle est référée en orientation. » Démasculiniser des métiers Les emplois les plus affectés par la pandémie ont été ceux à plus faible salaire ainsi que les postes temps partiels, notamment dans la restauration, les arts et spectacles, l’hébergement et le commerce de détail. Or, ces métiers sont davantage occupés par des femmes. Ainsi, 146 000 femmes ont perdu leur emploi pendant la pandémie, comparativement à 104 600 hommes. Le PARAF est selon Services Québec une opportunité pour corriger ce déséquilibre, incitant des femmes à intégrer des emplois longtemps perçus comme plus « masculins ». Julien B. Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Lac St-Jean
Tay residents could have multiple ways to cast their ballots in next year's election. Council, at its recent meeting, was leaning toward a combination of mail-in, online and in-person methods for the 2022 municipal election. However, no decisions were made since a staff report is still pending. There is no urgency around the matter, said Cyndi Bonneville, township clerk. "The bylaw to authorize is required on or before May 1 in the year of the election," she said, adding, "staff is recommending council make a decision well in advance of the new year so staff can budget and implement the method council approves." Coun. Jeff Bumstead had questions around the problems faced by online voting systems. "Thinking back to the last election, we got our results but other municipalities that had online voting did not. Any thoughts on that?" he asked staff. Daryl O'Shea, general manager, corporate services manager of technology services, said the issue then was due to the supplier. "They had a third-party arrangement with a data centre hosting provider where they had purchased unlimited bandwidth and capacity, so they could have millions of people connect to their server at the same time," he said. "Unfortunately, the configuration switch at that facility had a bandwidth limit in place and there was a technical configuration error. I'm most certain that error won't happen (again), maybe different problems may happen in the future. "We do use similar providers and rely on internet technologies to do tabulation, so even with non-online voting methods, we could run into circumstances causing delays." A staff report outlines that voting by mail costs $56,238, an amount that includes vote-by-mail kits, software support and postage. Other costs, including advertising and labour, were not listed in the report. The report was also missing costs around online/telephone voting. Further to a costing request for online voting, Mayor Ted Walker said, council could consider a combination of approaches. "The results of (a recent) survey were in favour of in-person and online," he said. "We can even do a combination where we could have internet voting as our advanced vote, right up to and including election day. We could also have opportunity for people to come in and vote in-person at the polling station if they want." Coun Paul Raymond agreed with the combination approach. "I don't think we're going to have one voting method," he said. "I think we're going to have to accommodate different groups of people and what they're accustomed to. One thing the pandemic has provided is a lot more use with technology. People are a lot more comfortable with it" The report listed some pros and cons of the mail-in and telephone methods. Vote-by-mail: Pros Cons Telephone/Internet voting: Pros Cons Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
PARIS — French league top-scorer Kylian Mbappe scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain routed rock-bottom Dijon 4-0 to move up to second place on Saturday. PSG was two points ahead of Lyon, which could reclaim second spot it it wins on Sunday. Moise Kean gave visiting PSG the perfect start after five minutes. Mbappe and defender Abdou Diallo combined down the left to find near the penalty spot the Italy striker, who shifted the ball onto his right foot and squeezed it inside the right post. Mbappe netted a penalty in the 32nd following a handball and has converted all five he has taken this season. Five minutes after the break, he clipped the ball into the bottom left corner after neatly being set up by Rafinha for his 18th goal. Centre half Danilo headed in the fourth from a corner late on. Elsewhere, Metz hit two late goals to win at Bordeaux 2-1 with a last-minute goal from Cape Verdean forward Vagner. Metz’s improvement under coach Frederic Antonetti continued as it rose to fifth place, while Bordeaux’s fifth defeat in six games left it mired in mid-table. Striker Samuel Kalu put Bordeaux ahead in the 13th from Youssouf Sabaly's cross. After defender Thomas Delaine equalized in the 71st with a fine curling shot from the left, Vagner met Thierry Ambrose's cross at the back post. SUNDAY GAMES Marseille's fans will be in a better mood for the home game against Lyon after unpopular president Jacques-Henri Eyraud was replaced and Jorge Sampaoli was named as the new coach. Lille faces lowly Strasbourg and Monaco looks to make it 12 league games unbeaten when it hosts Brest. Niko Kovac's Monaco side has not lost since mid-December and comfortably won at PSG at 2-0 last weekend. Lyon will move top on goal difference if it wins and Lille loses. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Jerome Pugmire, The Associated Press
TORONTO — There's a new multi-millionaire in Ontario. The province's Lottery and Gaming Corporation says a ticket purchased in Sudbury, Ont., is the sole winner of the $70-million Lotto Max jackpot. The Friday draw marked the sixth time that the maximum jackpot has been won in Canada and the fourth time in the province since the cap was increased in May 2019. Maxmillions tickets worth $1 million each were also sold in the Ontario communities of Simcoe County, Mississauga, North York and Woodbridge. A Maxmillions ticket worth $500,000 was sold in Ajax, Ont. The next Lotto Max jackpot is estimated at $24 million, with a draw set for Tuesday night. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
(Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press - image credit) New Brunswickers can now travel and visit people in different regions after a series of changes to the orange phase took effect at midnight. The province reported two new cases on Saturday as the active total continues to drop. The new cases are people in their 70s in the Edmundston region (Zone 4). There are 41 total active cases across New Brunswick, with two additional recoveries announced Saturday. One person is hospitalized and in intensive care related to the virus. Residents can now go between orange zones for non-essential trips and include people from other regions as part of their steady 10 contacts. Hospital visits are also permitted as of Saturday with public health measures in place. The change follows several instances of family members unable to see ill or dying relatives. In one situation, an 80-year-old was kicked out of the hospital for holding her husband's hand. Under the revised orange rules, compassionate travel exemptions to attend a funeral will be offered to people living outside New Brunswick. People will need approval from Public Health and must adhere to guidelines that include a five-day self-isolation and negative test upon arrival. The province announced the looser restrictions at a news conference on Friday. Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province chief medical officer of health, said a return to the less-restrictive yellow phase could be just over a week away if the decline in cases continues. She said rules will be modified due to the presence of COVID variants. "The fewer contacts each person has, the better," Russell said. "This is so very important." Public Health has updated and loosened some of the orange phase rules as of Friday. People will be asked to limit their contacts to a steady 15 under the yellow phase, which can include those living in other health zones. New Brunswick reported 1,430 total cases of COVID-19 in Saturday's update. There have been 1,362 recoveries and 26 deaths. Public Health has conducted 228,219 tests, including 827 on Friday. More vaccine arrives New Brunswick has a larger supply of COVID-19 vaccine after additional shipments arrived this week. The province received more than 11,000 doses, according to the latest numbers from the federal government. Those shipments boost the total number of doses to 46,775, including 36,075 of Pfizer-BioNTech and 10,700 of Moderna. Another 9,360 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected to arrive next week. Play to resume for N.B. teams in QMJHL The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has announced plans to resume the season for New Brunswick teams after the pandemic put their games on pause. The province's three teams will be allowed to compete against each other starting the week of March 8. A new schedule is expected to be released next week, and fans will be allowed at arenas. The league said the decision follows meetings with Public Health and government and that the situation will be re-evaluated in the coming weeks. What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: A fever above 38 C. A new cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.
Award-winning Canadian film director Tyler Simmonds has suffered from mental health issues since his teenage years. He decided to use his craft to push for dialogue and discussion on mental health and mindfulness — especially within the Black community.
(Submitted by Kevin Snyder - image credit) Maple Syrup is having a sweet moment as producers get ready to tap the trees in their woodlots to prepare to make stock for 2021. The natural sweetener is proving popular for families spending more time at home and using it more in their recipes. "I had an increase in sales since COVID started and I couldn't figure it out at first," said Kevin Snyder of Snyder Heritage Farms in Bloomingdale, Ont. "And then one of my customers made a comment. 'Before the lockdown,' he said, 'we were making pancakes once a month.' He says now that everybody's home, 'we're making pancakes three or four times a month.'" As customers purchase the remaining supply of 2020 Ontario syrup, producers like Snyder and Dan Goetz of Shady Grove Maple Company in Guelph, Ont. are tapping the trees at their woodlots and waiting for the sweet spot: a temperature formula that fluctuates from about –5 C at night to 5 degrees during the day. The modern pipeline collects from five to eight trees and moves the sap into a storage tank. Red leaves predict sweet season Goetz started tapping trees in early February. He needed to get ready for the March sap withdrawal, as he has 40 thousand taps and hoses to put in place at the 20 Ontario woodlots he owns in Kitchener, Guelph, Durham, Chatsworth and Campbellville. In addition to temperatures today, he also kept a close eye on the leaf colours last fall. They offer a clue about how the syrup will taste in the coming season. "We had real bright colours in the leaves, so that usually means high sugar production," said Goetz. "Reds especially tend to lean toward higher sugar contents, better sugar production. Sometimes that proves us wrong, but it's usually true." Also, he says, "there's lots of available water coming now with all the snow we're getting." Maple syrup being drawn off an evaporator at Shady Grove Maple Company. Regional flavour Syrups from each region of Ontario offer a different taste and spectrum of colours, from dark to light. "Every different region has different flavours according to how the the trees are grown and the soil type," explained Snyder. "So when you become a maple syrup connoisseur, there's a whole window of opportunity to sample and try many different flavours and grades out there. All maple syrup isn't the same. There's a huge difference in flavours, according to regions and producers." The finished product. The maple syrup is stored in stainless steel containers at Shady Grove Maple Company in Guelph. All Ontario made syrup is sold with the "Sweet Ontario" logo on the container and can be purchased directly from any maple syrup producer. "It's a local sugar," says Kevin Snyder. "And a lot of people don't realize how close their sources are until they start driving 10 or 15 kilometres and they find a local source."
WASHINGTON — The House approved a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill that was championed by President Joe Biden, the first step in providing another dose of aid to a weary nation as the measure now moves to a tense Senate. “We have no time to waste,” Biden said at the White House after the House passage early Saturday. "We act now — decisively, quickly and boldly — we can finally get ahead of this virus. We can finally get our economy moving again. People in this country have suffered far too much for too long.” The new president’s vision for infusing cash across a struggling economy to individuals, businesses, schools, states and cities battered by COVID-19 passed on a near party-line 219-212 vote. That ships the bill to the Senate, where Democrats seem bent on resuscitating their minimum wage push and fights could erupt over state aid and other issues. Democrats said that mass unemployment and the half-million American lives lost are causes to act despite nearly $4 trillion in aid already spent fighting the fallout from the disease. GOP lawmakers, they said, were out of step with a public that polling finds largely views the bill favourably. “I am a happy camper tonight," Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said Friday. “This is what America needs. Republicans, you ought to be a part of this. But if you're not, we're going without you." Republicans said the bill was too expensive and said too few education dollars would be spent quickly to immediately reopen schools. They said it was laden with gifts to Democratic constituencies like labour unions and funneled money to Democratic-run states they suggested didn't need it because their budgets had bounced back. “To my colleagues who say this bill is bold, I say it's bloated," said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. “To those who say it's urgent, I say it's unfocused. To those who say it's popular, I say it is entirely partisan.” The overall relief bill would provide $1,400 payments to individuals, extend emergency unemployment benefits through August and increase tax credits for children and federal subsidies for health insurance. It also provides billions for schools and colleges, state and local governments, COVID-19 vaccines and testing, renters, food producers and struggling industries like airlines, restaurants, bars and concert venues. Moderate Democratic Reps. Jared Golden of Maine and Kurt Schrader of Oregon were the only two lawmakers to cross party lines. That sharp partisan divide is making the fight a showdown over whom voters will reward for heaping more federal spending to combat the coronavirus and revive the economy atop the $4 trillion approved last year. The battle is also emerging as an early test of Biden's ability to hold together his party's fragile congressional majorities — just 10 votes in the House and an evenly divided 50-50 Senate. At the same time, Democrats were trying to figure out how to assuage liberals who lost their top priority in a jarring Senate setback Thursday. That chamber's nonpartisan parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, said Senate rules require that a federal minimum wage increase would have to be dropped from the COVID-19 bill, leaving the proposal on life support. The measure would gradually lift that minimum to $15 hourly by 2025, doubling the current $7.25 floor in effect since 2009. Hoping to revive the effort in some form, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is considering adding a provision to the Senate version of the COVID-19 relief bill that would penalize large companies that don't pay workers at least $15 an hour, said a senior Democratic aide who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal conversations. That was in line with ideas floated Thursday night by Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., a chief sponsor of the $15 plan, and Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., to boost taxes on corporations that don't hit certain minimum wage targets. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., offered encouragement, too, calling a minimum wage increase “a financial necessity for our families, a great stimulus for our economy and a moral imperative for our country.” She said the House would “absolutely" approve a final version of the relief bill because of its widespread benefits, even if it lacked progressives’ treasured goal. While Democratic leaders were eager to signal to rank-and-file progressives and liberal voters that they would not yield on the minimum wage fight, their pathway was unclear because of GOP opposition and questions over whether they had enough Democratic support. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal, D-Mass., sidestepped a question on taxing companies that don't boost pay, saying of Senate Democrats, “I hesitate to say anything until they decide on a strategy." Progressives were demanding that the Senate press ahead anyway on the minimum wage increase, even if it meant changing that chamber's rules and eliminating the filibuster, a tactic that requires 60 votes for a bill to move forward. “We’re going to have to reform the filibuster because we have to be able to deliver,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., another high-profile progressive, also said Senate rules must be changed, telling reporters that when Democrats meet with their constituents, "We can’t tell them that this didn’t get done because of an unelected parliamentarian.” Traditionalists of both parties — including Biden, who served as a senator for 36 years — have opposed eliminating filibusters because they protect parties' interests when they are in the Senate minority. Biden said weeks ago that he didn't expect the minimum wage increase to survive the Senate's rules. Democrats narrowly hold Senate control. Pelosi, too, seemed to shy away from dismantling Senate procedures, saying, “We will seek a solution consistent with Senate rules, and we will do so soon.” The House COVID-19 bill includes the minimum wage increase, so the real battle over its fate will occur when the Senate debates its version over the next two weeks. Democrats are pushing the relief measure through Congress under special rules that will let them avoid a Senate GOP filibuster, meaning that if they are united they won't need any Republican votes. It also lets the bill move faster, a top priority for Democrats who want the bill on Biden's desk before the most recent emergency jobless benefits end on March 14. But those same Senate rules prohibit provisions with only an “incidental” impact on the federal budget because they are chiefly driven by other policy purposes. MacDonough decided that the minimum wage provision failed that test. Republicans oppose the $15 minimum wage target as an expense that would hurt businesses and cost jobs. ___ Associated Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick, Kevin Freking and Josh Boak in Washington contributed to this report. Alan Fram, The Associated Press
It's a year of change at the Canadian women's curling championship in the Calgary bubble. The field was padded to 18 teams this year for the first time. There are no spectators at the Markin MacPhail Centre due to the pandemic. The Page system was dropped in favour of a three-team playoff. Coaching benches are at opposite ends of the ice rather than beside each other. Traditional post-game handshakes are verboten with some players tapping brooms instead. Curling fans and athletes are still thrilled to have the sport back on the domestic stage after a long absence. The Scotties Tournament of Hearts — the first of six events to be held in the protected "bubble" environment — has been a success entering the final weekend. Championship pool play continues Saturday and the playoffs are set for Sunday. Many classic traditions specific to the Hearts are on hiatus for 2021. The HeartStop Lounge, a party barn with entertainment, food and drink, is obviously idle this year. The annual women's curler banquet and full-field group photo should also return in 2022. And in a change to a long-standing routine that Hearts competitors have held dear since 1981, many teams will not receive jewelry this year. Longtime event sponsor Kruger Products decided it will only award jewelry to the four teams — P.E.I., N.W.T., Yukon and Newfoundland and Labrador — who were able to play provincial/territorial playdowns. The nine provincial teams who accepted invitations after the pandemic forced the cancellation of their respective association championships are out of luck. "Players/teams that were acclaimed entry into the 2021 Scotties and any alternate players that were not part of a winning provincial/territorial team are unfortunately not eligible to receive jewelry," said Kruger corporate marketing director Oliver Bukvic. "This is a very unique year, with many changes due to COVID, and we will recognize the winners who earned a berth in the 2021 Scotties Tournament of Hearts." That's a change from last season when Nunavut — the other territorial entry in the field — received jewelry despite not playing down. Jewelry is not given out to defending champions (automatic entry) or wild-card teams (entry via ranking). Unlike the nine pandemic-affected provincial entries, Iqaluit was able to host championships this year. However, women's playdowns weren't held because the Nunavut team — which did not receive jewelry this year — was unopposed for a second straight season. Bukvic didn't comment on previous setups but said this year's plans came down to eligibility. "We look forward to next year when we'll hopefully be back to normalcy and we'll be able to recognize all of these provincial and territorial winners with their jewelry for winning their playdown," he said. First-year players who are eligible for jewelry receive a gold necklace with a four-heart pendant. A diamond is added to the pendant for each of the next four appearances. After that, a tennis bracelet is awarded with a diamond addition for every return to the Hearts. "We knew that that wasn't really on the table this year, which is fine," said Alberta vice Kate Cameron. "I think we were really excited to have this opportunity to even be here right now. "I think given the state of the world and everything we're going through and then being selected to represent Alberta, I think was something that we were really honoured to do. So I think we're just happy to be here." The jewelry is a significant perk for all teams who receive it, but particularly those who finish on the low end of the event payout structure. Teams cut after the preliminary round receive $2,500 apiece. The winning Hearts team receives $100,000 of the $300,000 total purse. Curlers who reach the podium will still receive traditional rings. The champions have rings set with a diamond, the finalists with a ruby and the third-place team with an emerald. The Hearts finalist receives $60,000 and the third-place team receives $40,000. Other championship pool teams receive $15,000 apiece. Kruger is celebrating its 40th year of Hearts sponsorship this season. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter. Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press
(Government of Newfoundland and Labrador - image credit) The interim report from the Premier's Economic Recovery Team (PERT) will not be ready by the original Sunday deadline, according to Moya Greene who heads up the taskforce. Greene called a news conference on Saturday morning to offer an update on where the PERT stood on its recommendations to help dig the province out of its fiscal dilemma. She said the team will need another five to six weeks to deliver the interim "Greene Report." Greene pointed blame at the pandemic and most recent lockdown across the province for delaying the interim report, which was due by Feb. 28. "With all of the necessary rearranging that all of us have had to do as a result of the pandemic, and now this new lockdown period, we are just not going to be able to work in the time that I had originally thought," she said. "But even with that, if you look at our terms of reference, there's a lot of ground that we have been asked to cover. We want to cover it well, and so we are going to need a few extra weeks, maybe five or six extra weeks to get the report done in a way that we'll be happy with." Greene said the decision to delay has nothing to do with the ongoing provincial election, and the interim report just isn't ready. The report will be out there and it would be available for everybody to consider when it's done and it's not done yet. - Moya Greene As for the Feb. 28 deadline, she said she never thought of the date as a "time is of the essence thing." "I really thought of it as a notional date, and if all the things had gone in the way that I had hoped when we started our work, I thought that would be a reasonable period of time to prepare the interim report," she said. "A lot has changed since we started and now, most recently with the lockdown, people are working from home and the flow of our work, just like I'm sure things that you are doing, has become more interrupted." Greene said she is unsure if the interim report delay will have any effect on the final report, which is due by the end of April. When asked if she could offer some insight into what recommendations are being made so far, Greene said, "the report will be out there and it would be available for everybody to consider when it's done and it's not done yet." Premier Andrew Furey said he was informed on Friday of the interim Greene Report delay. She said over the last 15 to 20 days, she figured the deadline would be missed as it was taking longer for work to be completed. Greene noted she told this to the clerk of the executive council at least a week ago, and everybody on the team knows they needed more time to table the report, the decision wasn't hers alone. Premier Andrew Furey told reporters on Saturday he was made aware the report would be delayed on Friday by the clerk of the executive council, and he only found out about Greene's news conference on Saturday morning. "I was surprised to hear that this morning as well. I talked to the clerk this morning and he said Dame Moya Greene did approach him about a potential delay, but they were working toward trying to formulate an interim report and working hard," Furey said. "This week, it became obvious to him and to her that this was not possible, and he informed me on Friday morning." Voters misled: Crosbie Meanwhile, the province's opposition parties aren't buying the reasoning behind the delay. PC Leader Ches Crosbie said the delay "confirms our worst fears" that the provincial Liberals don't want voters to see the report before casting their ballots, and continues to accuse the party of having a secret plan to make cuts to jobs and services, specifically to rural Newfoundland and Labrador. The new fluid deadline Greene tabled on Saturday will come after the deadline for voters to have their ballots returned. Crosbie said many of the undecided voters he had been speaking with wanted to wait until Sunday to read the interim report before making their decision. "All those people have been badly misled," Crosbie said. Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie says voters have been 'badly misled,' given the delays to the interim Greene Report. Furey said on Thursday that he hasn't spoken with Greene since Christmas, though the team's mandate is to meet with the premier on a weekly basis, a detail that has been called into question by both the provincial Tories and the NDP. Greene said things are different now that the province is in the middle of an election, and Furey still doesn't know what is being recommended. "It's just not appropriate for me to communicate with the premier during the time from the date at which the writ was dropped, and I never arrived back after the Christmas break until Jan. 8," Greene said. "Before Christmas, I would mostly communicate with the premier by telephone to let him know how things were going. But he certainly doesn't know what the recommendations will be because they're not written yet." NDP Leader Alison Coffin accused the Liberals of being secretive after Saturday's delay. NDP Leader Alison Coffin says a delay in the release of the report means a delay in making vital economic decisions for the future of the province. She said the Liberals are back to their "antics" and "secrecy." She said she suspects if there was good news coming from the report the team would have tried to rush ahead to deliver it. "I would assume that if it's bad news then perhaps they would try to delay it as long as possible," she said. "Certainly, I'm sure, the premier would hate to have the people of Newfoundland and Labrador see the results of something that's bad before they get a chance to vote." Elsewhere, the NL Alliance said Newfoundlanders and Labradorians "aren't as naive" as Furey thinks they are. "The showing of Mr. Furey having a complete disregard for the well-being of the people of this province merely to save his own political interests is disgusting," Leader Graydon Pelley said in a statement. "First, calling a pandemic election, next the debacle of democracy on full display and now his refusal to release a plan he commissioned because he knows it will hurt his chances in a pending election." Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
A Vancouver-area health authority says people at three schools in the region have tested positive for a COVID-19 variant of concern. A news release from Fraser Health says it is working with the Surrey school district to manage COVID-19 exposures at Queen Elizabeth Secondary School, Frank Hurt Secondary School and M.B. Sanford Elementary School. It says the cases involving an unspecified COVID-19 variant appear to be linked to community transmissions, but the schools will remain open. The health authority also declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Royal Columbian Hospital on Friday. It says five patients at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19 after evidence of transmission in a medicine unit. It says the emergency department remains open and no other areas have been impacted. Meanwhile, an outbreak at the CareLife Fleetwood long-term care home in Surrey was declared over. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
A Lloydminster man and a Saskatoon woman arrested by RCMP for having a stolen vehicle were allegedly in possession of weapons for a dangerous purpose. Shaylean Dillon, 23, of Saskatoon, and Leyen Meesto, 37, of Lloydminster, Sask., were arrested Feb. 23 after Lloydminster RCMP got a call at about 6 p.m. about a stolen vehicle. Police kept an eye out for the vehicle and soon spotted it at a business on 18 Street in Lloydminster. RCMP towed the vehicle for a forensic examination but wouldn’t say what prompted them to do so. Dillon has been charged with possession of property obtained by crime, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, resisting/obstructing a peace officer and driving while prohibited. Meesto was charged with possession of property obtained by crime, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, resisting/obstructing a peace officer, failing to comply with a probation order and two counts of failing to comply with conditions of a release order. Meesto was remanded into custody and appears in Lloydminster, Alta., Provincial Court on March 2. Dillon was released and appears in Lloydminster Sask., Provincial Court on March 23. The charges against Dillon and Meesto haven’t been proven in court. Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
BRUSSELS — The European Union has summoned its ambassador to Cuba to return to Brussels to explain himself after he reportedly signed an appeal asking U.S. President Joe Biden to lift sanctions against Cuba and begin normalizing ties with the country. A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Saturday that the ambassador, Alberto Navarro, was asked "to come to Brussels to provide explanations." He was also instructed "to provide a note detailing the matter,” said the spokesman, Peter Stano. Stano did not answer a question on whether Navarro will be fired. The ambassador's summons to Brussels was first reported by Politico. Politico reported that 16 European Parliament lawmakers wrote to Borrell asking him to remove Navarro as ambassador, arguing that the diplomat was "not worthy of the high functions he holds." The lawmakers' complaints included the ambassador signing the open letter to Biden that asked for the lifting of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba. The Associated Press
(Don Somers/CBC - image credit) The Lighthouse Supported Living announced Friday that the North Battleford location will close, effective April 1. The organization cited "substantial funding changes" as the reason for the closure. A partnership with Provincial Métis Housing Corporation (PMHC) fell through, leaving the emergency shelter with not enough money to operate. PMHC provided about half a million in funding last year, according to The Lighthouse's executive director, Don Windels. The overall budget to run the facility is between $750,000 and $800,000 a year. The organization "will continue to explore emergency shelter funding sources and partnerships. Transitional and supported housing programs will continue to operate without disruption," a release from The Lighthouse said. Opposition leader Ryan Meili said he was disappointed to hear that the emergency shelter was closing, and that this is an opportunity for the government to step up and help. "It's pretty clear that [the provincial government] could be offering more funding. This is an area that they've been very reluctant to enter into in any serious way in terms of supporting housing for the most vulnerable," Meili said Friday. CBC has reached out to the provincial government, but no one was immediately available for comment. Windels said the majority of the staff is going to be let go as a result of the loss. "There's concern both for the staff obviously because they're losing their jobs but also the tenants because people who do find themselves, for whatever reason, homeless in North Battleford are going to have a harder time now finding a place," he said. There were people in a certain part of the building who had been there longer term, but the organization will have to evict them now, too. "We will assist them. We will definitely do whatever we can to find them housing." Don Windels, executive director of The Lighthouse, said it was a hard day to let go the staff at the shelter. It's possible the closure of the 37-bed shelter will affect RCMP too. Windels said RCMP would sometimes bring folks who were intoxicated to the shelter to stay the night. Now, RCMP will likely just have to take them in. Windels said they've reached out to the province and the federal government for help, but said it was a dead end. They both said their policies don't allow them to fund the shelter the way it needs to be funded. There are a couple more irons in the fire, but nothing concrete yet, Windels said. The way Saskatchewan funds shelters needs to change and Saskatchewan should core fund shelters, Windels said. "That way, we don't have to spend our time running after money, we can actually spend our time serving individuals that need the help," he said.
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — The head of an economic recovery team tasked with reviewing Newfoundland and Labrador's expenses and mapping a way forward for the indebted province says the group's interim report will be delayed several weeks. Moya Greene, a St. John's-born businesswoman known for privatizing Britain's Royal Mail postal service, says the team's work has been interrupted by the province's recent lockdowns and will need up to six extra weeks. The highly anticipated report is expected to examine government spending and the way services are delivered, an undertaking that has fuelled speculation about austerity measures, public-sector layoffs and privatization. The interim report was expected to be released Sunday. But Greene says Feb. 28 was a "notional" date rather than a "time is of the essence" deadline. The economic recovery team's terms of reference says its chairperson will communicate with the province's premier on a weekly basis, but Greene says it's "not appropriate" for her to proceed with that plan since a provincial election is still unfolding. Newfoundland's general election was set to take place on Feb. 13, but a COVID-19 outbreak prompted officials to move to mail-in voting and extended the deadline for postmarked ballots to March 12. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press