Kenya hasn't seen a puppy in over a six years. To say she is happy would be an understatement! She absolutely adores little Oslo from the first moment! @emiliemaranda
Kenya hasn't seen a puppy in over a six years. To say she is happy would be an understatement! She absolutely adores little Oslo from the first moment! @emiliemaranda
LOS ANGELES — Tiger Woods was seriously injured Tuesday when his SUV crashed into a median, rolled over and ended up on its side on a steep roadway in suburban Los Angeles known for wrecks, authorities said. The golf superstar had to be pulled out through the windshield, and his agent said he was undergoing leg surgery. Woods was alone in the SUV when it crashed into a raised median shortly before 7:15 a.m., crossed two oncoming lanes and rolled several times, authorities said at a news conference. No other cars were involved. The 45-year-old was alert and able to communicate as firefighters pried open the front windshield to get him out. The airbags deployed, and the inside of the car stayed basically intact and that “gave him a cushion to survive the crash,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. Both of his legs were seriously injured, county Fire Chief Daryl Osby said. They said there was no immediate evidence that Woods was impaired. Authorities said they checked for any odor of alcohol or other signs he was under the influence of a substance and did not find any. They did not say how fast he was driving. The crash happened on a sweeping, downhill stretch of a two-lane road through upscale Los Angeles suburbs. Sheriff’s Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who was the first to arrive at the wreck, told reporters that he sometimes catches people topping 80 mph in the 45 mph zone and has seen fatal crashes there. “I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive,” Gonzalez said. Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend as the tournament host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, where he presented the trophy on Sunday. He was to spend Monday and Tuesday filming with Discovery-owned GOLFTV, with whom he has an endorsement. A tweet Monday showed Woods in a cart smiling with comedian David Spade. According to Golf Digest, also owned by Discovery, the TV shoot was on-course lessons for celebrities, such as Spade and Dwyane Wade, at Rolling Hills Country Club. Woods, a 15-time major champion who shares with Sam Snead the PGA Tour record of 82 career victories, has been recovering from Dec. 23 surgery on his lower back. It was his fifth back surgery and first since his lower spine was fused in April 2017, allowing him to stage a remarkable comeback that culminated with his fifth Masters title in 2019. He has carried the sport since his record-setting Masters victory in 1997 when he was 21, winning at the most prolific rate in modern PGA Tour history. He is singularly responsible for TV ratings spiking, which has led to enormous increases in prize money during his career. Even at 45, he remains the biggest draw in the sport. The SUV he was driving Tuesday had tournament logos on the side door, indicating it was a courtesy car for players at the Genesis Invitational. Tournament director Mike Antolini did not immediately respond to a text message, though it is not unusual for players to keep courtesy cars a few days after the event. Woods feared he would never play again until the 2017 fusion surgery. He returned to win the Tour Championship to close out the 2018 season and won the Masters in April 2019 for the fifth time. He last played Dec. 20 in the PNC Championship in Orlando, Florida, an unofficial event where players are paired with parents or children. He played with his son, Charlie, who is now 12. Woods also has a 13-year-old daughter. During the Sunday telecast on CBS from the golf tournament, Woods was asked about playing the Masters on April 8-11 and said, “God, I hope so.” He said he was feeling a little stiff and had one more test to see if he was ready for more activities. He was not sure when he would play again. Athletes from Mike Tyson to Magic Johnson and others offered hopes that Woods would make a quick recovery. “I’m sick to my stomach,” Justin Thomas, the No. 3 golf player in the world, said from the Workday Championship in Bradenton, Florida. “It hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident. Man, I just hope he’s all right.” Crews used a crane to lift the damaged SUV out of the hillside brush. The vehicle was placed upright on the street and sheriff’s investigators inspected it and took photos. Then it was loaded onto a flatbed truck and hauled away Tuesday afternoon. This is the third time Woods has been involved in a car investigation. The most notorious was the early morning after Thanksgiving in 2009, when his SUV ran over a fire hydrant and hit a tree. That was the start of shocking revelations that he had been cheating on his wife with multiple women. Woods lost major corporate sponsorships, went to a rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi and did not return to golf for five months. In May 2017, Florida police found him asleep behind the wheel of a car parked awkwardly on the side of the road. He was arrested on a DUI charge and said later he had an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine for his back pain. Woods later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and checked into a clinic to get help with prescription medication and a sleep disorder. Woods has not won since the Zozo Championship in Japan in fall 2019, and he has reduced his playing schedule in recent years because of injuries. The surgery Tuesday would be his 10th. He has had four previous surgeries on his left knee, including a major reconstruction after he won the 2008 U.S. Open, and five surgeries on his back. ___ Ferguson reported from Jacksonville, Florida. Stefanie Dazio And Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is moving slowly but surely toward reengaging with the Palestinians after a near total absence of official contact during former President Donald Trump’s four years in office. As American officials plan steps to restore direct ties with the Palestinian leadership, Biden’s national security team is taking steps to restore relations that had been severed while Trump pursued a Mideast policy focused largely around Israel, America's closest partner in the region. On Tuesday, for the second time in two days, Biden's administration categorically embraced a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something that Trump had been purposefully vague about while slashing aid to the Palestinians and taking steps to support Israel’s claims to land that the Palestinians want for an independent state. The State Department said Tuesday that a U.S. delegation attended a meeting of a Norwegian-run committee that serves as a clearinghouse for assistance to the Palestinians. Although little-known outside foreign policy circles, the so-called Ad Hoc Liaison Committee has been influential in the peace process since Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. “During the discussion, the United States reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to advancing prosperity, security, and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians and to preserve the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state,” the State Department said in a statement. “The United States underscored the commitment to supporting economic and humanitarian assistance and the need to see progress on outstanding projects that will improve the lives of the Palestinian people, while urging all parties to avoid unilateral steps that make a two-state solution more difficult to achieve,” it said. U.S. participation in the meeting followed a Monday call between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israel’s foreign minister in which Blinken stressed that the new U.S. administration unambiguously supports a two-state solution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is close to Trump, has eschewed the two-state solution. Biden spoke to Netanyahu last week for the first time as president after a delay that many found suspicious and suggestive of a major realignment in U.S. policy. Blinken, however, has spoken to Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi twice amid ongoing concern in Israel about Biden's intentions in the region, particularly his desire to reenter the Iran nuclear deal. In Monday's call, Blinken “emphasized the Biden administration’s belief that the two-state solution is the best way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace alongside a viable and democratic Palestinian state,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. The Trump administration had presented its own version of a two-state peace plan, though it would have required significant Palestinian concessions on territory and sovereignty. The Palestinians, however, rejected it out of hand and accused the U.S. of no longer being an honest peace broker after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, moved the U.S. embassy to the city from Tel Aviv, cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority, closed the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington and rescinded a long-standing legal opinion that Israeli settlement activity is illegitimate under international law, Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
ATLANTA — Fueled by Black turnout, Democrats scored stunning wins in Georgia in the presidential and U.S. Senate races. Now, Republicans are trying to make sure it doesn't happen again. GOP lawmakers in the once reliably red state are rolling out an aggressive slate of voting legislation that critics argue is tailored to curtail the power of Black voters and undo years of work by Stacey Abrams and others to increase engagement among people of colour, including Latino and Asian American communities. The proposals are similar to those pushed by Republicans in other battleground states: adding barriers to mail-in and early voting, major factors in helping Joe Biden win Georgia's 16 Electoral College votes and Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff take the two Senate seats that gave Democrats control of the chamber. But one aspect of their plans, a proposal to eliminate early voting on Sundays, seems specifically targeted at a traditional get-out-the-vote campaign used by Black churches, referred to as “souls to the polls." It's led many to suggest Republicans are trying to stop a successful effort to boost Black voter turnout in Georgia, where they make up about a third of the population and have faced a dark history of attempts to silence their voices in elections. “It's a new form of voter suppression, the Klan in three-piece suits rather than white hoods,” said the Rev. Timothy McDonald III of the First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, which has participated in souls to the polls events. “They know the power of the Black vote, and their goal is to suppress that power.” In previous elections, souls to the polls campaigns were festive, with vehicles and people parading to election offices during early voting windows. Churches would sometimes playfully compete to see which could bring the most voters, said McDonald, who described the GOP legislation as “spiteful.” In Georgia and elsewhere, Republicans say proposals to tighten voting access are meant to bolster confidence in elections, though they have been some of the loudest proponents of meritless claims that the election was fraudulent. The Brennan Center for Justice, a public policy group, has counted 165 bills in 33 states this year meant to limit access to voting. In Georgia, Republicans control state government and have introduced dozens of legislative measures that would restrict voting access. GOP state Rep. Barry Fleming is chief sponsor of a wide-ranging proposal that would ban Sunday early voting, require a photo ID for absentee voting, limit the time when an absentee ballot could be requested, restrict where ballot drop boxes could be placed and curb the use of mobile voting units, among other changes. In committee hearings, Fleming has cast the legislation as “an attempt to restore the confidence of our public in our election system.” He didn’t respond to an email or phone message requesting comment. Nse Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project that Abrams founded in 2014, called the GOP measures a backlash “to our multiracial, multilingual progressive majority that is winning elections." Biden beat former President Donald Trump by roughly 12,000 votes, becoming the first Democrat to win a presidential contest in Georgia since 1992. Biden received nearly double the number of absentee votes as Trump in a state that became a major target of Trump’s baseless claims of fraud. Biden's win there was confirmed in three separate counts, including one by hand. "These measures, in our opinion, are not based on any objective, data-driven, evidence-based assessment of the issue but solely with the intention to undermine Black voters and other communities of concern,” said Democratic state Rep. Michael Smith, chairman of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus Policy Committee. Because Republicans control both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s office, at least some form of their proposals are likely to become law. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, also a Republican, has called for a photo ID requirement for absentee voting but has yet to back a specific proposal. His office said it was still reviewing the legislation. Republicans are trying to limit ways to vote that have been wildly popular. After states expanded access to mail-in and early voting during the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 70% of all ballots cast nationwide came before Election Day. An estimated 108 million people voted by mail, early in person or by dropping off absentee ballots. In Georgia, over 4 million voters cast early or absentee ballots. “They realize if they continue to allow individuals to vote by mail, it is going to be an uphill battle for Republicans to win at the polls and maintain their position,” Democratic state Rep. Debra Bazemore said. At the federal level, Democrats are pushing for a sweeping overhaul of how Americans vote. House Democrats are expected to vote next week on a measure that would establish federal election standards like early voting periods, same-day voter registration and other policies that Republicans have dismissed as federal overreach. And they are expected to introduce another bill to restore a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that had triggered federal scrutiny of election changes in certain states and counties with histories of discrimination. Georgia was among the states that previously had to get approval for voting changes. “If left to their own devices, Republicans will try to limit the ability of minority voters to exercise their fundamental right to vote,” said U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, a Georgia Democrat co-sponsoring the bill on federal election standards. “It's open season on voting rights in Georgia,” he said. ___ Izaguirre reported from Lindenhurst, New York. ___ Associated Press coverage of voting rights receives support in part from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The AP is solely responsible for this content. Anthony Izaguirre And Ben Nadler, The Associated Press
A seemingly sharp decline of global COVID-19 cases has ignited exuberance among some infectious disease doctors and epidemiologists, even if they're not sure what exactly is causing that downward spike. Charts and graphs depicting the COVID burden among most countries, including Canada and the United States, are showing steep dives from all-time highs just weeks ago.Experts say a combination of factors is likely at play in the virus's apparent decline, including a seasonal aspect to SARS-CoV-2, some level of herd immunity in certain places, and the impact of lockdowns and our own behaviours. That the drop is happening now, amid the threat of more transmissible variants, seems a little confounding though, says Winnipeg-based epidemiologist Cynthia Carr."That is the really interesting part about this," she said. "We know these variants spread much faster and we've seen them becoming more dominant, but the numbers still aren't spiking the way we might have anticipated."Carr says the variants of concern — those first detected in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil — have been found in multiple countries and are quickly overtaking former strains in some places. In Berlin, for example, she notes the variant first detected in the U.K. is accounting for 20 per cent of new cases, up from 6 per cent two weeks ago. Carr suspects part of the reason for a lack of rising cases might be because governments have gotten better at setting public health guidance over the last year, and people have gotten better at adhering to them. But while the situation appears to be improving, Carr warns "we can't rest on our laurels now.""Once (the variants) account for 90, 100 per cent of all infections ... we could really see that escalation," she said.Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious disease physician in Mississauga, Ont., agrees people shouldn't assume the pandemic is over because global cases are dropping. But the worldwide decrease is a positive development that shouldn't be overlooked, he added.Chakrabarti says there are likely multiple reasons for the decline, with some countries' situations explained easier than others. Inoculation efforts might be credited in Israel, for example, where 87 per cent of the population has been given at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. Countries like Canada meanwhile, which were mostly locked down over the last six weeks, can point to restrictions and limited contacts as a plausible reason for their COVID decline.More than one factor could be working within different regions too, Chakrabarti added. And a possible seasonal aspect to the COVID virus may be an overarching theme.Infections from certain viruses tend to peak once per season before tailing off naturally, Chakrabarti says, like influenza, which usually spikes between November and January. Other coronaviruses have followed a similar pattern."Seasonality means that (viruses) get cycled at some point during the season," he said. "We don't know if that's 100 per cent the case with COVID. But it could be." While the timing of Canada's first COVID wave last spring would seem to go against the notion of seasonality, we weren't exposed to large quantities of the virus until March, so it didn't have a chance to circulate earlier, explains Chakrabarti.Some parts of the world including the U.S. may also be dealing with some level of herd immunity brought on by natural infection, Chakrabarti says, which could simplify, but not fully explain, their recent case drop.While exact numbers of total COVID infections are hard to gauge, Chakrabarti estimates undetected cases could be five to 10 times higher than reported cases, either because people were truly asymptomatic or had such minor symptoms that they never got tested."If you have a significant chunk of people who have been infected and have, maybe not necessarily full immunity but some degree of immunity, at the very least that should slow outbreaks," Chakrabarti said.There are problems with the notion of herd immunity, however.Dr. Prabhat Jha, an epidemiologist with the University of Toronto, says while experts believe people with past COVID infections may have some protection against the variants first detected in the U.K. and South Africa, that may not be the case with the one first found in Brazil.Jha points out that not all countries are experiencing decreases in COVID cases — Brazil is one area seeing either steady rates or possible increases — and he worries that labelling herd immunity as a reason for case decline may be dangerous."We don't know what herd immunity actually means," he said. "It's a theory that at a certain number of people infected, the virus just runs out of customers. But we have very little basis to understand what that level is."Jha says the potential reasons for the global decline are only theoretical right now. "No one really has a clear sense of why the cases are dropping," he said. "So I think one needs to be very cautious when talking about plausible explanations."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Health authorities in Newfoundland and Labrador are reporting 15 new cases of COVID-19 today. Officials say all of the new infections involve people in the eastern health region, where an outbreak has been spreading through the metro St. John’s area. Authorities say 50 people have recovered from the virus since Monday, leaving 372 active reported cases of COVID-19 across the province. Newfoundland and Labrador's active infection rate is now 71 cases per 100,000 people. Five people are in hospital because of the disease, and officials say two of those people are in intensive care. Public health says the outbreak in the St. John's region was traced to the B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant, which was first discovered in the United Kingdom, and the province has been in lockdown since Feb. 12. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
A video obtained by Global News has gone viral showing the busy inside of a HomeSense in Vaughan, Ont. Taken on the first day York Region re-opened retail at 50 per cent capacity, the apparent lack of social distancing in the store has led to physicians voicing their concerns, and warnings over the province’s regional approach to relaxing restrictions. Miranda Anthistle has the details.
No, putting an onion in the corner of your room won't cure COVID-19 and a University of Guelph anthropology student is working to combat the misinformation around the global pandemic. For Lauren Chang, from Markham, Ont., Onions Don't Cure COVID started off as a research project, going on to receive a grant for her work from the #RisingYouth program. Now, this group of Canadian university students are creating infographics and videos to point people, particular individuals in immigrant communities, towards COVID-19 facts and not myths.
WASHINGTON — She's guided the Senate through two impeachment trials, vexed Democrats and Republicans alike with parliamentary opinions and helped rescue Electoral College certificates from a pro-Trump mob ransacking the Capitol. She also does spot-on impersonations of senators including Bernie Sanders. Elizabeth MacDonough, an English literature major and the Senate's first woman parliamentarian, is about to demonstrate anew why she's one of Washington's most potent, respected yet obscure figures. Any day, she's expected to reveal if she thinks a federal minimum wage boost, progressives' most prized plank in Democrats' $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan, should fall from the bill. Her decision, a political minefield likely to elicit groans from whichever side she disappoints, will play an outsized role in deciding the wage increase's fate. It may not be definitive — majority Democrats might try overriding an opinion they don't like. “Elizabeth has a soul-crushing job, to which she brings an enormous amount of soul," said her predecessor, Alan Frumin, whom she replaced when he retired in 2012. Part of MacDonough's job, in which she's supposed to be nonpartisan, is enduring high-stakes lobbying from both parties when she's making pivotal decisions. But she’s found a home in the Capitol, where she’s spent most of the past three decades after starting as an assistant Senate librarian in 1990. “She knows the names of every police officer and janitor,” Frumin said. Sometimes, the pressure can be extraordinary. Frumin said that when the Senate was enacting former President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law — which was opposed by Republicans and infuriated grassroots tea party conservatives — he had police protection at his home as a precaution. “And the political climate hasn’t gotten friendlier," he said. Even so, MacDonough, 55, has garnered high marks from both parties. Underscoring that, while she was initially appointed in 2012 by Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada, Senate majority leader at the time, she was retained by Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., when he became majority leader in 2015. “She’s very solid. She listens to all the evidence,” Sanders, the independent Vermont senator and chief sponsor of the minimum wage proposal, said in a recent interview. “She is a brilliant lawyer, a thorough and fair referee and a walking encyclopedia of Senate precedent and procedure,” McConnell spokesman David Popp said Tuesday. She's also used the time to hone an ability to replicate the voices and cadence of several senators including Sanders, associates say. MacDonough's earned her reputation for fairness while helping steer the Senate through some of its highest-profile moments. Rulings she issued striking anti-abortion and other provisions from numerous failed GOP attempts to repeal Obama's health care law weakened their bills. She helped Chief Justice John Roberts preside over then-President Donald Trump's 2020 Senate impeachment trial, and was beside Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., for Trump's second trial this month. Trump was acquitted both times. And as Trump supporters fought past police and into the Capitol last month in hopes of disrupting Congress' certification of Joe Biden's Electoral College victory, MacDonough and other staffers rescued those ballots and hustled mahogany boxes containing them to safety. MacDonough's office, on the Capitol's first floor, was ransacked and declared a crime scene. Raised by a single mother in the comfortable Washington suburb of Chevy Chase, Maryland, MacDonough graduated with an English literature degree from George Washington University. She began her Senate career in its library before leaving to get a law degree at Vermont Law School. She worked briefly as a Justice Department trial attorney before returning to the Senate in 1999, this time as an assistant in the parliamentarian’s office. Less than two years later, she helped Vice-President Al Gore preside over Congress’ certification of electoral ballots that sealed his own 2000 election defeat to George W. Bush. “It was very exciting and humbling,” MacDonough said in a Vermont Law School alumni profile. As Democrats begin pushing Biden’s sweeping relief package through Congress, they’re using a special procedure that shields the bill from Senate Republican filibusters, which require 60 votes to thwart. That's out of reach for Democrats in a 50-50 chamber they control with Vice-President Kamala Harris' tie-breaking vote. But Senate rules require that items in such a bill must have a substantial budget impact that is not “merely incidental” to the language’s main intended purpose. MacDonough has been meeting with Democrats who've tried persuading her that their minimum wage provision meets that test, and Republicans who've told her it doesn't. Democrats want to raise the federal floor, fixed at $7.25 hourly since 2009, to $15 over five years. The Senate usually heeds the parliamentarian's advice, which is whispered to the senator presiding over the chamber. But the majority party will on rare occasion force a vote to overrule the parliamentarian. If MacDonough decides the minimum wage hike should remain in the bill, it would likely survive because GOP opponents would need an unachievable 60 votes to remove it. But at least two Democrats have expressed opposition to the $15 proposal, so it still could be amended or even dropped. If MacDonough says it should be stricken, Democrats would have no chance of garnering 60 votes to overrule her. But they might choose the rarely utilized, hardball tactic of having the presiding officer, presumably Harris, ignore her and announce that the minimum wage language meets the test to stay in the overall legislation. That would force Republicans to find 60 votes to strip the provision, which they'd fail to do. Such a tactic is called the nuclear option because Democrats would be using their majority to muscle through rules changes, enraging Republicans and inviting a future tit-for-tat retaliation. Majority Democrats overruled MacDonough in 2013, eliminating filibusters for executive branch and most judicial nominees. In 2017, Republicans extended that to Supreme Court picks. “It was a stinging defeat that I tried not to take personally,” she said during a 2018 commencement speech at her law school. Alan Fram, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Bombardier says it has been the target of a cybersecurity breach that compromised confidential information related to its employees, customers and suppliers. Hackers gained access to the data by exploiting a vulnerability in a third-party file transfer application, Bombardier said in a news release. The breach affected approximately 130 employees based in Costa Rica, the company says. Bombardier did not specify when the incident occurred, saying only that it happened recently. The company says it was not specifically targeted and the vulnerability affected multiple organizations using the software. Bombardier says it has been contacting customers and other external stakeholders whose data was potentially compromised. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:BBD.B) The Canadian Press
Downdetector, an outage tracking website, showed there were close to 26,000 incidents of people reporting issues with LinkedIn. Earlier in the day, LinkedIn said an issue across its platform was causing certain functional requests to take longer or fail unexpectedly and that it was working on a fix. California-based LinkedIn helps employers assess a candidate's suitability for a role and employees use the platform to find new job.
THUNDER BAY — A 29-year-old woman is facing charges following the seizure of drugs and alcohol of a vehicle related to a drug investigation on Friday night. In a news release issued by Treaty 3 Police, officers along with Wabaseemoong Security stopped a vehicle at the community's checkpoint. Officers had received information that this vehicle was transporting alcohol and drugs into the community for reselling. Police say the accused from Wabaseemoong will be charged with possession of a schedule three substance for the purpose of trafficking, possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking, unlawfully delivering liquor for a fee and unlawfully selling liquor. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
(Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters - image credit) The Saskatchewan opposition is pushing the provincial government to cap fees for food delivery services during the pandemic, a move that has been done in other provinces. Services like Uber Eats and Skip the Dishes can take up to 30 per cent of an order's value, which can eat into the restaurant's profit margins. "The food and beverage industry has been particularly hard-hit by COVID, despite the fact they are open," NDP jobs and economy critic Aleana Young said. "Margins are incredibly thin at the best of times, and when you're operating with basically a quarter of your business open, every dollar counts, and we're seeing businesses essentially gouged by these delivery fees." Other provinces like Ontario and B.C. have placed similar caps on the largest food delivery apps during the pandemic to alleviate pressure on businesses who had to reduce dine-in services. "You can imagine my consternation being a New Democrat and sitting here saying 'Hey Doug Ford is on my team.' What the heck is happening in Saskatchewan that the NDP and Doug Ford agree and the Sask Party is digging in their heels," Young said. "It's strange times made for strange bedfellows." Saskatchewan NDP MLA Aleana Young is proposing a cap on fees from food delivery services. Young said she would like the cap to be immediate and to stay in place three months after the province's state of emergency is lifted. She is also calling on the government to introduce a five per cent cap on processing fees to prevent any revenue losses incurred by the third-party delivery platforms from being downloaded onto drivers. Young said this should not be a partisan issue. "Aside from the fact we want businesses to stay open, these are real people who are lying awake at night stressed and anxious, worrying how they're going to keep their doors open and keep their employees on the payroll," Young said. Most recently, Güd Eats announced it is closing its downtown Regina location later this month, citing high delivery fees and loss of foot traffic. "Yes, it's about business. Yes, it's about the economy. But it's also about people," Young said. Province reviewing caps in other jurisdictions The province said it has heard concerns about the ongoing costs of delivery services and is are monitoring the caps made in other provinces. "While we continue to monitor the different approaches taken by other provinces in regulating such commission charges, we have introduced and extended a number of the business support programs in our province to assist the sector through the pandemic," the government said in a statement. These supports include the Strong Recovery Adaptation Rebate, which allows businesses who have recently pivoted to using third-party delivery apps to apply for reimbursement of 50 per cent of their first six months of costs up to $5,000.
WASHINGTON — Security officials testifying at Congress' first hearing on the deadly siege of the Capitol cast blame and pointed fingers on Tuesday but also acknowledged they were woefully unprepared for the violence. Senators drilled down on the stunning security failure and missed warning signs as rioters loyal to former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, in a misguided attempt to stop lawmakers from certifying President Joe Biden's election. Five people died in the attack, including a Capitol Police officer. The security officials lost their jobs, and Trump was impeached by the House on a charge of inciting the insurrection, the deadliest attack on Congress in 200 years. Trump was ultimately acquitted by the Senate. Here are some takeaways from the testimony: FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE Intelligence warnings of an armed uprising by extremist groups heading to the Capitol didn't rise to the level of alarm — or even get passed up the chain of command — in time for the Jan. 6 attack. Crucially, a key warning flare from the FBI field office in Norfolk, Virginia, of a “war” on the Capitol was sent the night before to the Capitol Police's intelligence division. But then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund testified that he only learned about it the day before Tuesday's hearing. Instead, Sund said he was bracing for demonstrations on par with other armed protests by mobs of Trump’s supporters in the nation's capital in November and December after the presidential election. “No entity, including the FBI, provided any intelligence indicating that there would be a co-ordinated violent attack on the United States Capitol by thousands of well-equipped armed insurrectionists,” he testified in written remarks about a conference call the day before the attack. The Democratic chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, said, “There was a failure to take this threat more seriously.” HE SAID, HE SAID As hundreds of rioters stormed the Capitol, breaking into the iconic building's windows and doors, sometimes in hand-to-hand combat with police, there are conflicting accounts from the security officials over what happened next. Sund, who had raised the idea of calling on the National Guard for backup days earlier, specifically recounted a 1:09 p.m. phone call he made to the then-sergeant-at-arms of the House, Paul Irving, his superior, requesting National Guard troops. Sund said he was told they would run it up the chain of command . Irving said he has no recollection of the conversation at that time and instead recalls a conversation nearly 20 minutes later. He said the 1:09 p.m. call does not show up on his cellphone log. As the riot escalated, Sund was “pleading” with Army officials for Guard troops in another phone call, testified Robert Contee III, the acting chief of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department, whose officers had arrived for backup. Contee said he was “stunned” at the delayed response from the military. Defence Department officials have said they offered National Guard troops days earlier but were rebuffed. Pentagon officials are scheduled to testify to the Senate next week. COMMON FACTS: ‘A PLANNED INSURRECTION’ At the start of the hearing, coming 10 days after Trump was acquitted by the Senate on the impeachment charge of inciting the insurrection, some common facts were agreed to. Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, the chair of the Rules Committee, asked the security officials if there was any doubt the riot was a planned attack and carried out by white nationalist and extremist groups. None of the witnesses disputed the characterization of the facts of Jan. 6. Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin read an alternative account, of mostly peaceful protesters festive that day, that he encouraged colleagues to consider. But in closing, Klobuchar restated the testimony: “There was clear agreement this was a planned insurrection.” ONE OFFICER'S PERSONAL STORY The hearing opened with Capitol Police Capt. Carneysha Mendoza, a 19-year veteran of the force, delivering a compelling personal account of being called at home that day as she was spending time with her 10-year-old before the start of her shift. She rushed to the Capitol only to find “the worst of the worst” scene of her career. A former Army veteran, she recounted the deadly mayhem, fending off rioters inside the building’s stately Rotunda, inhaling gas and suffering chemical burns to her face she said still have not healed. Her Fitbit recorded four hours of sustained activity, she said. The next night and following day she spent at the hospital consoling the family of Officer Brian Sicknick, who died after the attack. “As an American, and as an Army veteran, it’s sad to see us attacked by our fellow citizens,” Mendoza told the senators. TRUMP'S SHADOW The former president was hardly a presence at the first hearing. Instead, senators largely set aside their sharply partisan ways to drill down on the facts of what happened that day — on how to prevent it from happening again. Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., pointedly asked for the name of the commander in chief of the armed forces that day who was ultimately responsible for the military and security of the country. That drew out the former president's name. Among the senators on the panels are two of Trump's staunch allies who led the effort to overturn Biden's election victory — Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. ___ Associated Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick, Michael Balsamo and Lolita Baldor in Washington and Nomaan Merchant in Houston contributed to this report. Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Canada's chief public health officer says results from COVID-19 vaccinations so far are encouraging enough that she thinks the need for massive lockdowns could be over before the end of the summer.But Dr. Theresa Tam says some of the more personal measures, like wearing masks and limiting close contact outside our households, may be with us longer.Tam says there are several factors that will determine when Canadians can return to something more closely resembling a normal life, including new COVID-19 variants and how quickly fast vaccines are injected.Canada is aiming to vaccinate all who want to be by September.But Tam says she is hopeful some of the most difficult restrictions could disappear even before that goal is reached, given the positive results vaccines are showing so far.British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is hopeful lockdowns won't be needed in his country after June 21, but Tam wouldn't put a specific date on that step for Canada.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
The company's shareholders also approved compensation for Apple executives for fiscal 2020, the report said. Shareholders will not vote until next year's annual meeting on Cook's September grant of 333,987 restricted stock units, his first major stock package since 2011, which took effect at the start of Apple's fiscal 2021. It grants him stock units with a possibility to earn as many as 667,974 more if he hits performance targets.
CAIRO — Rescue workers searched a second day Tuesday for at least five people missing after a tour boat capsized on a lake near Egypt’s Mediterranean city of Alexandria. Officials said nine passengers, including three children, were dead. The boat was carrying at least 20 people and capsized late Monday in the Lake of Mariut, while returning from a tour to an island in the lake, they said. Rescue workers retrieved nine bodies, including children ages 1, 1 1/2 and 4, and were searching for others, ambulance officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The top prosecutor's office said in a statement at least six people survived the mishap, and rescue workers were still searching for at least five others. Authorities arrested the boat owner, who was also the voyage captain, the statement said. Any survivors still in the lake, located west of Alexandria, could go into shock as temperatures fell Tuesday in the already cold waters. Relatives spent the night on the shoreline, hoping their loved ones could be rescued or their bodies retrieved. Calls for volunteer divers to help in the search were circulated on social media. Citing relatives, local media reported that the victims, all from the same family, were returning from a voyage to an island in the lake. The passengers arrived on the island in two groups but they were all packed on a single boat for their return, the privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm daily reported. Alexandria’s governor, Mohammed el-Sharif, said in comments late Monday the boat was small and overcrowded, suggesting a possible cause of the capsizing. Most boats on the lake work without licenses, he said. Samy Magdy, The Associated Press
China and Europe are winning the “global battery arms race,” seen as a key factor in determining which economies will dominate in a decarbonized future, a parliamentary committee heard Monday. The House of Commons natural resources committee has embarked on a study of “critical minerals” in Canada — a term referring to the raw materials like lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, aluminum and copper that go into making lithium-ion batteries, the standard workhorse of the electric vehicle (EV) and energy-storage world. Canada has a large domestic supply of these minerals, witnesses told the committee. But they aren't being mined in large amounts, they said. There is little ability in Canada to process the raw material into the components that ultimately go into producing batteries. “Relative to the European Union and Asia, Canadian battery metals supply chains are currently in their infancy,” said Liz Lappin, president of the Battery Metals Association of Canada. “However, with surging demand for battery metals to serve the expanding EV supply chain, the market opportunity for Canada is growing.” In January, the European Commission approved a $4.4-billion package by 12 member states for a project to boost Europe's "battery value chain." This month, Swedish battery manufacturer Northvolt said it would build Europe’s largest energy-storage factory in Poland. Meanwhile, China controls four-fifths of the world's refining capacity for lithium-ion battery minerals, as well as over three-quarters of battery cell manufacturing capacity and almost two-thirds of component manufacturing, according to BloombergNEF. Simon Moores, the London, U.K.-based managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, said there has been a global rush to build up battery manufacturing capacity, illustrated by almost 200 specialized factories — what EV-maker Tesla calls “gigafactories” — popping up around the world that produce lithium-ion battery cells at scale and at low cost. “We are in the midst of a global battery arms race," said Moores. “These super-sized battery plants are becoming physical embodiments of a country’s industrial and technological ambition." A quarter of the cost of an EV is the lithium-ion battery, while four-fifths of the cost of the battery itself is the minerals, metals and chemicals that go into it, he said. Benchmark estimates that by 2030, China will hold 67 per cent of battery capacity and Europe will hold 18 per cent, while North America will hold 12 per cent. “While the world’s governments and automakers focus on building EVs and battery plants, a true leader is yet to emerge in building the supply chains to feed them,” said Moores. The federal government has touted EV manufacturing as a “critical” component of Canada’s climate plan. Automakers like GM and Ford have announced plans to build or retool large-scale EV manufacturing plants in Canada. The government has also talked up “critical minerals,” promoting a joint plan on the issue with the United States in summer 2020. Industry representatives say what's missing is more of a managed, coherent strategy to tie together all the different components of a battery supply chain. “There has to be effort to put in to just co-ordinating everything and making it one sensible, strategic package for developing this industry,” Jamie Deith, chef executive officer of Eagle Graphite Corporation, told the committee. “In other words — we should be doing this with intent and deliberately ... because that is what’s going to attract investors and what’s going to impress the end users, such as the automakers.” Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association, has also tied a billion-dollar commitment from GM to build an all-electric delivery van in Ontario to the assumption that Canada is heading towards a fully domestic battery producing industry. Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan announced Monday that a new "federal-provincial-territorial task team" is developing an inventory of Canadian “critical minerals” that would help build an "integrated, all-Canadian critical minerals and battery value chain.” Canada is the world’s third-largest aluminum producer, fourth-largest cobalt producer and fifth-largest nickel producer, according to Natural Resources Canada’s “Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan,” released in 2019. The plan says the country is also “primed” to meet demand for graphite and lithium. Carl Meyer / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer Carl Meyer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
L’armée exerce une influence jamais démentie sur la politique malienne depuis le premier putsch de 1968. La présence massive des militaires dans la transition actuelle confirme cette tendance.
VANCOUVER — Federal government proposals to relax penalties for personal drug possession are a positive step forward for Vancouver's former drug czar, but they're too small to address skyrocketing overdose deaths. Donald MacPherson, director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition at Simon Fraser University, introduced the city's drug strategy in the 1990s and the same principles guide the federal approach. Today, he says that strategy isn't enough and governments also need to adopt policy that matches the scale of the emergency. "Our policy framework has created a monster, really, which is a drug market laced with illegal fentanyl and its analogues," MacPherson said in an interview. "It's a terrible example of a catastrophic failure of public policy, in my mind, which urgently needs to be modernized." Last week, the federal government introduced a bill that would repeal mandatory minimum penalties for drug offences and some gun-related crimes that it said unfairly affect Indigenous and Black offenders. The bill would allow for greater use of conditional sentences, such as counselling or treatment for people who do not pose a threat to public safety. It would also require police and prosecutors to consider alternative measures for cases of simple drug possession, including diversion to addiction-treatment programs. The proposed legislation comes after British Columbia recorded 1,716 overdose deaths in 2020, the highest ever in a single year. While a toxic drug supply has taken lives across the country, its toll has been most concentrated in B.C., making it home to some of Canada's most vocal advocates for change. MacPherson said there are parallels with Canada's first severe overdose crisis in the late-1990s. It was compounded by an HIV crisis among injection drug users in B.C. and a health emergency was declared in 1997, although the death rate didn't approach that seen today, MacPherson said. "We were sort of global pariahs. What was happening in such a good country as Canada that so many people could die of overdose deaths in British Columbia?" It has been almost 20 years since Vancouver adopted the so-called Four Pillars drug strategy that MacPherson introduced as North America's first drug policy co-ordinator. The strategy focuses on prevention, harm reduction, treatment and enforcement. It originated in Europe and has also been used by Ottawa. Four Pillars is an effective way to mobilize the community and co-ordinate response from three levels of government, but the missing piece is policy, MacPherson said. There's an urgent need to decriminalize possession, concentrate enforcement on the illicit supply of drugs, regulate recovery facilities, reduce harm through a safe pharmaceutical supply, and invest in evidence-based treatment, he said. Eliminating minimum penalties for possession is positive but it's an example of incremental change, like adding 100 new treatment beds when the scale of the problem is much bigger, he added. "My reflection when we went to study the European examples was they had a disaster on their hands too. But at the time, in the '80s, they actually mustered the strength ... to respond in a way that was proportional to the problem," he said. At the same time that B.C. has suffered the worst of the crisis, it's also positioned to be the seed of change, he said. MacPherson said he's hopeful Ottawa will entertain requests from Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Premier John Horgan for exemptions that would allow decriminalization locally. "We can't expect the same old same old to get us out of this," said MacPherson. Leslie McBain of Moms Stop the Harm said the most troubling part of the federal government's approach on drug offence penalties would be the discretion it leaves to police and judges over charges and consequences. "Are police and judges skilled enough and knowledgeable enough in addiction?" asked McBain, who is based in B.C. and has been a longtime advocate of drug policy change. McBain said she worries that discretionary power could see people with a health problem funneled into the criminal justice system unnecessarily, increasing the harm they may face as well as the stigmatization. "It also drives people into the shadows with their drug use, especially marginalized people," she said. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police said its members are pleased the proposed legislation supports police discretion and the notion that resources should target organized crime groups and individuals who import, produce or distribute illegal drugs. But for diversionary tactics to be effective, health and social services must be available for drug users to be diverted, the association said in a statement. "As a result, the enactment of this bill must be accompanied by significant investments at all government levels to support the creation and ongoing operations of an infrastructure of services in communities across the country," it said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Amy Smart, The Canadian Press
With the threat of COVID-19 variants growing every day, the OMA says more restrictions are needed to get it under control. But it will be a difficult sell for thousands feeling pandemic fatigue. Matthew Bingley reports.