These French Bulldogs are Frenchie Fries for Halloween. Cuteness overload!
These French Bulldogs are Frenchie Fries for Halloween. Cuteness overload!
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Trump administration on Wednesday effectively killed a contentious proposed mine in Alaska, a gold and copper prospect once envisioned to be nearly as deep as the Grand Canyon and could produce enough waste to fill an NFL stadium nearly 3,900 times — all near the headwaters of the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery.The Army Corps of Engineers “concluded that the proposed project is contrary to the public interest” and denied a permit to build the Pebble Mine under both the Clean Water Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act, the agency said in a statement.The rejection was a surprise. It's at odds with President Donald Trump’s efforts to encourage energy development in Alaska, including opening up part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, and other moves nationwide to roll back environmental protections that would benefit oil and gas and other industries.The Corps of Engineers also seemed to signal just a few months ago that after almost two decades of political wrangling, Pebble Mine was on a fast track to approval, a reversal from what many had expected under the Obama administration.But unlike drilling elsewhere in Alaska, the mine proposed for the southwestern Bristol Bay region could have negatively affected the state's billion-dollar fishing industry. Conservationists and even Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., sounded the alarm on the project before the administration changed course again.The CEO of the Pebble Limited Partnership, the mine’s developers, said he was dismayed by the decision, especially after the corps had indicated in an environmental impact statement in July that the mine and fishery could coexist.“One of the real tragedies of this decision is the loss of economic opportunities for people living in the area,” CEO John Shively said in a statement. The environmental review “clearly describes those benefits, and now a politically driven decision has taken away the hope that many had for a better life. This is also a lost opportunity for the state’s future economy.”He said they are considering their next steps, which could include an appeal of the corps’ decision.“Today Bristol Bay’s residents and fishermen celebrate the news that Pebble’s permit has been denied; tomorrow we get back to work,” said Katherine Carscallen, executive director of the group Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay.The group wants Congress to pass laws protecting the region. “We’ve learned the hard way over the last decade that Pebble is not truly dead until protections are finalized,” Carscallen said.In July, the Corps of Engineers released an environmental review that the mine developer saw as laying the groundwork for key federal approvals. The review said that under normal operations, Pebble Mine “would not be expected to have a measurable effect on fish numbers and result in long-term changes to the health of the commercial fisheries in Bristol Bay.”However, in August, the corps said it had determined that discharges at the mine site would cause “unavoidable adverse impacts to aquatic resources” and laid out required steps to reduce those effects.Canada-based Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., which owns Pebble Limited Partnership, said it had submitted a mitigation plan on Nov. 16.Even if the corps had approved the project, there was still no guarantee it would have been built. It would have needed state approval, and President-elect Joe Biden has expressed opposition to the project.Critics saw Pebble Mine as getting a lifeline under the Trump administration. Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency withdrew restrictions on development that were proposed — but never finalized — under the Obama administration and said it planned to work with the corps to address concerns.However, Trump’s eldest son was among those who voiced opposition earlier this year. After senior Trump campaign adviser Nick Ayers tweeted in August that he hoped the president would direct the EPA to block Pebble Mine, Trump Jr. responded: “As a sportsman who has spent plenty of time in the area I agree 100%. The headwaters of Bristol Bay and the surrounding fishery are too unique and fragile to take any chances with.”The president later said he would “listen to both sides.”“The credit for this victory belongs not to any politician but to Alaskans and Bristol Bay’s Indigenous peoples, as well as to hunters, anglers and wildlife enthusiasts from all across the country who spoke out in opposition to this dangerous and ill-conceived project," said Adam Kolton, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League.Alaska’s two Republican U.S. senators, who support oil and gas development and mining, hailed the rejection of the Pebble Mine permit. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said the decision affirmed her position that it’s the wrong mine in the wrong place.“It will help ensure the continued protection of an irreplaceable resource — Bristol Bay’s world-class salmon fishery,” she said.Sen. Dan Sullivan said he would remain an advocate for good-paying jobs derived from resource development.“However, given the special nature of the Bristol Bay watershed and the fisheries and subsistence resources downstream, Pebble had to meet a high bar so that we do not trade one resource for another,” he said. “Pebble did not meet that bar.”___Associated Press journalist Becky Bohrer in Juneau contributed to this report.Mark Thiessen, The Associated Press
COVID-19. En date du 23 novembre, 3492 cas actifs de COVID-19 (2847 élèves et 645 membres du personnel) étaient rapportés dans 1023 établissements préscolaires, primaires et secondaires du Québec. Par conséquent, un total de 1139 classes sont fermées. Les élèves concernés suivent donc leurs cours à distance. Le nombre total d’écoles comptant un ou des cas positifs rapportés avec diagnostic depuis le début de l’année scolaire est de 1999. Notons que l’on peut consulter la liste des écoles concernées sur cette page publiée par le gouvernement du Québec : https://cdn-contenu.quebec.ca/cdn-contenu/adm/min/education/publications-adm/covid-19/reseauScolaire_listeEcoles.pdf?1600113647 Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Penetanguishene residents will have one less thing to worry about in the new year --- a tax increase. According to treasurer Carrie Robillard, there actually may be good news once all aspects of taxation are taken into account by next March. "Overall, we're anticipating (by the end of March), net impact of zero per cent or below in terms of year over year tax impact." she told council Tuesday evening. "We may be in a position to give money back to taxpayers." That good news came on top of the news that staff had managed to bring back a draft budget with 1.4% tax increase, which is slightly less than the 1.5% council had asked staff to target. The town’s overall 2021 budget includes a zero per cent policing tax impact and a capital tax impact of 1%. The total 1.4% represents an increase of $159,360 for the overall 2021 budget, of which only 0.4% or $49,930 is related to operating budget increases and 1% or $109,430 is due to increased capital taxation investment. Despite the positive news, council members still had questions around certain parts of the presented draft budget with Coun. Dan LaRose wanting to know what the town is applying to its debt reduction. Robillard said she would include the exact amount in the next budget presentation, schedule for Dec. 8. "I can let you know this evening that the fire department debenture is only a partial payment this year and it's finished," she added. "We also had a new debenture for our main street to be paid out of taxation. We were supporting it over the last few years through our asset management reserve, until such time as that fire debenture is paid in full. "Then we're going to reallocate some of those debenture reduction funds from fire to public works. But we are also going to keep some in the fire budget in terms of transferring it into a fire reserve to fund future equipment replacement." Coun. George Vadeboncoeur had questions about road surfacing programs, specifically around McArthur Road and Polish subdivision. "I think the cost is $200,000 and it's scheduled for 2024," he said. "Having driven down McArthur a few times, I know the challenges of keeping out of the potholes. It's a difficult road to maintain. Do you think it can last 'til 2024?" Public works director Bryan Murray replied that the Polish subdivision road has been maintained as a gravel road since its construction. "We've put it in as 2024 for surface treatment, which is a double surface treatment similar to what was done on another sideroad a few years ago...a surface treatment coupled by a slurry seal on top of it," he said. " It looks similar to an asphalt surface, but it is a surface treatment. "We do get a little bit of extra life out of those treatments. This surface treatment is a chip seal similar to what you would find on Gordon Drive or Brunelle Side Road. We're proposing to improve the surface to eliminate ongoing maintenance." Coun. Brian Cummings asked when do maintenance projects become capital projects. Robillard said the capital program is a tangible capital asset or an improvement to a tangible capital asset. "It's really for larger items as well as true tangible capital assets, whether it's equipment, a facility or roads," she said. "We do not have a distinction in our capital program. If it's a higher ticket item or one-time item, we don't want it in our operating budget because of the fluctuation of tax impact on our residents." Coun. Jill St. Amant wanted to know how staff was budgeting or planning to budget for improvements to the existing recreation centre facility or the building of a new one. CAO Jeff Lees responded that it would depend on the consultant's recommendations. "From our perspective, we didn't want to speculate too much about how the report might come out and how council might want to go," he said. "The feasibility study we're going through is a long-term plan. We don't anticipate there's going to be much impact in 2021. We need to start planning for the future and that would be our intent as we know a little bit more from council as to what path we're going down." Vadeboncoeur then questioned staff about COVID-related relief funding the town had received. "We did get a COVID grant for 2020 and the amount could be carried forward to 2021 for any additional expenses related to COVID," he said. "How are we allocating those funds and are we going to bring any of those funds into the 2021 budget?" Robillard said the money is available to offset any potential year-end increase of costs and impact of reduced revenues. "We have implemented cost efficiencies to offset any deficit," she said. "The grant was good news, but we don't allocate it for specific purpose. We're just going to use at year end to offset any potential losses. We were notified that any unused amount that is not required in 2020 can be carried forward to 2021 to offset COVID implications." Moving forward with relief measures, Cummings asked about the latest announcement by the province around giving businesses relief from municipal and education taxes. Robillard said she didn't have a lot of information around the announcement, but said she believed the program will first tackle municipal property tax relief for businesses in hotspots like the Greater Toronto Area and Ottawa. "Just recently, we got correspondence related to province-wide tax relief for businesses," she said, adding there isn't yet clear information around the program. "Generally, they are looking to reduce the education rates for the portion of business education taxes that some of the larger municipalities pay. The decision could be put in the hands of each municipality to offer what that might look like versus a province-wide relief or reduction from business tax. In terms of education, the province has offered a few ways to allow us to offer some of that relief without it impacting us directly." A further draft of the budget will be brought to council at its Dec. 8 meeting.Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
COVID-19 outbreak at St. Martin school continues to grow. The outbreak was first declared at the elementary school in Smithville on Nov. 19. Two new cases were added on Nov. 23, bringing the total to four. The Niagara Catholic District School Board said there are now nine cases. The school has been in official outbreak status since last Thursday when the second case was confirmed. The first case was confirmed Nov. 13. NCDSB said since that time, the number of new cases at the school as grown to nine; however not all the cases so far have been linked to the outbreak, as their origin has not been determined. Niagara Region Public Health continues to investigate the situation. Two classes at the school will now be required to self-isolate for 14 days a result of the newly reported cases. Public health said they are not recommending St. Martin close at this time, as the virus is not widespread through the school community. Onsite testing will be available at the school on Thursday for staff who have not yet been tested and will be provided by public health. NCDSB said testing for staff at St. Martin is recommended, but not mandatory, while any parents of students who wish to have their children tested should do so at a an approved testing centre in Niagara.Bryan Levesque, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News
TORONTO — Some of the most active companies traded Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange: Toronto Stock Exchange (17,313.07, up 38.82 points.) Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. (TSX:NDM). Materials. Down 54 cents, or 51.43 per cent, to 51 cents on 19.34 million shares.Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX:SU). Energy. Down 16 cents, or 0.7 per cent, to $22.83 on 13.09 million shares. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (TSX: CNQ). Energy. Down 35 cents, or 1.13 per cent, to $30.76 on 9.28 million shares. Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX: ACB). Health care. Down 70 cents, or 5.84 per cent, to $11.29 on 9.27 million shares. Enbridge Inc. (TSX: ENB). Energy. Up 57 cents, or 1.4 per cent, to $41.31 on 8.7 million shares. Trevali Mining Corp. (TSX:TV). Materials. Down 2.5 cents, or 11.11 per cent, to 20 cents on 7.63 million shares. Companies in the news: Imperial Oil Ltd. (TSX: IMO). Down 59 cents, or 2.37 per cent, at $24.32. Calgary-based Imperial Oil said Wednesday it is laying off about 200 of its 6,000 employees across Canada as part of a cost-cutting initiative due to low oil prices. The oilsands, refining and energy retailing company, which has been reluctant to cut staff during the current and previous industry downturns, also confirmed Wednesday it has reduced the number of contractors it employs by about 450 since the start of the year.Cargojet Inc. (TSX: CJT). Up $10.83, or 5.4 per cent, at $211.51. Cargojet says it is preparing for record levels of online shopping over the holidays — as Canadians buy gifts digitally during restrictions at brick-and-mortar stores — and the company is taking unprecedented measures to try to keep package deliveries on time. The Mississauga-based company says it is hiring additional pilots and staff, and added a new plane to its fleet this month for the second time this year.Spin Master Corp. (TSX:TOY). Up 29 cents, or 0.99 per cent, at $29.52. Toymaker Spin Master has announced a deal to develop toys and games based on the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies. The company says it has signed a global licensing agreement with Warner Bros. Consumer Products for the Wizarding World franchise.BRP Inc. (TSX:DOO). Up $2.21, or 3.25 per cent, at $70.24. BRP reported an improved outlook for the rest of the year on Wednesday as the company’s third-quarter earnings results beat analysts’ expectations and it raised its guidance for its full financial year. The maker of Ski-Doos and Sea-Doos reported higher third-quarter profit compared with a year ago, buoyed by strong sales worldwide despite COVID-19 lockdowns that hampered inventory and distribution.Cascades Inc. (TSX:CAS). Down 30 cents, or 2.02 per cent, at $14.55. Cascades says it will close its napkin plant in Laval, Que., at the end of June next year. The plant currently employs 54 workers. Cascades says it will offer to relocate as many employees as possible to its other operations in Quebec and employees who are not able or do not wish to relocate will be offered help in their search for other employment.CAE Inc. (TSX:CAE). Down 69 cents, or 2.05 per cent, at $33.03. CAE Inc. has signed a deal with Textron to buy TRU Simulation + Training Canada Inc. for US$40 million. The company says the acquisition expands its installed base of commercial flight simulators and customers.Exro Technologies Inc. (TSXV:EXRO). Up 16 cents, or 3.6 per cent, at $4.60. Exro says it has priced its shares at $3.25 each. The Canadian company, which is developing new control products to improve efficiency and performance in electric motors and powertrains, is aiming to raise between $30 million and $36.5 million through a public offering.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.The Canadian Press
Government and election officials frequently call on shredding companies to dispose of personal and sensitive documents that are no longer needed.But in a suburban county of Atlanta this week, those routine waste removal appointments were twisted into yet another election misinformation story when social media users falsely claimed shredding trucks were destroying ballots and “evidence of voter fraud.”The unfounded allegations continue to spread online as Georgia officials carry out a machine recount of ballots after certified results showed Joe Biden had a 12,670-vote lead over President Donald Trump. Trump requested the recount, which follows a statewide hand tally.L. Lin Wood Jr., a conservative attorney who had unsuccessfully sued in an attempt to block the certification of Georgia’s election results, on Tuesday shared a series of videos taken by a Georgia resident. They showed a shredding truck outside the West Park Government Center in Marietta.“Evidence of voter fraud is being destroyed in Cobb County, GA TODAY,” Wood captioned one of his tweets. “Many people, powerful & not so powerful, are going to PRISON.”The real explanation for the truck’s visit was far less scandalous: a routine shredding of county tax documents.The county tax commissioner’s office, which shares a building with the county’s main elections office, has documents shredded twice a month, according to Ross Cavitt, communications director for the county.“No items from Cobb Elections were involved,” Cavitt told The Associated Press in an email.The false claims built on similar rumours from last week, when the same Georgia resident captured photos and video of a truck destroying election-related waste outside the Jim R. Miller Event Center in Marietta and claimed it was evidence of “ballots being shredded.”After Wood amplified those photos and videos on Friday, Cobb County officials refuted the claim, explaining that the shredding company was summoned to destroy non-relevant election materials, as happens after all elections.“Everything of consequence, including the ballots, absentee ballot applications with signatures, and anything else used in the count or re-tally remains on file,” Janine Eveler, the county’s director of elections and voter registration, said in a statement.Some of the photos shared on Friday appeared to show a trash can with a paper labeled “ABSENTEE BALLOT” inside. But Eveler said that was an inner privacy envelope used by voters to seal absentee ballots, and had “no evidentiary value.” County officials will hold on to the actual absentee ballots, as well as the outer envelopes signed by voters, for two years.Wood did not respond to a telephone call and email seeking comment.Despite the county’s responses, Wood’s tweets with the debunked claims continued to receive massive engagement on Wednesday, collectively amassing more than 200,000 retweets. And a separate Facebook user’s post falsely claiming a shredding company was “hired by Democrats” to destroy evidence was viewed nearly 150,000 times.County officials told the AP they have not seen any evidence of fraud or anomalies in vote tabulation in the 2020 election.“People nowadays, they post stuff immediately without asking any questions and without any proper context, and it spreads like wildfire,” Cavitt said of the false claims.Jude Joffe-Block And Ali Swenson, The Associated Press
Two men accused of human trafficking appeared in Saskatoon Provincial Court Nov. 24 and Nov. 25. There is now a court ordered ban on publication of the two men’s names. At their first appearance the court placed a publication ban on the identity of the woman who was allegedly being held captive by the two men. One man is a 23-year-old from Kindersley and the other is a 30-year-old from Saskatoon. The Kindersley man is charged with trafficking persons, material benefit from trafficking, two counts of uttering threats, theft under $5,000, breach of a release order, and breach of a conditional sentence order. He was denied bail. The Saskatoon man is charged with trafficking persons, uttering threats, and two counts of breach of a release order. He was granted bail during a show cause hearing in October. The Saskatoon Police Guns and Gang Unit arrested the two men in the 1500 block of Rayner Avenue on July 2. The Guns and Gang Unit became involved after the Saskatoon Police received a report June 29 that a 23-year-old woman was being held at a residence over a period of time. The Saskatoon VICE Human Trafficking Unit assisted police and warrants were issued for the two men. The Saskatoon man is scheduled to appear in Saskatoon Provincial court Dec. 10 to enter a plea and elect how he wants to be tried. The Kindersley man is scheduled to appear in Saskatoon Provincial Court Dec. 9 to enter a plea. firstname.lastname@example.org Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter / Battlefords News-OptimistLisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
When Treyton Middleton found out who was suspected of shooting his stepfather in the street outside their home on Saint John's lower west side, he looked him up on Facebook. On Wednesday afternoon, the jury heard that Middleton, now 19, sent a message to the man that night, threatening to round up some friends and kill him. In fact, when Const. Connor Bodechon arrived at 321 Duke St. West to take photos about an hour after the shooting, Justin Breau's Facebook profile is on the computer screen photographed in Middleton's bedroom. Breau, 37, is on trial for second-degree murder in the death of 42-year-old Mark Shatford. He is accused of shooting Shatford at about 4:25 a.m. on Nov. 17, 2019. Despite numerous surgeries at the Saint John Regional Hospital, Shatford died on Dec. 18. During testimony on Wednesday, Middleton said he awoke to banging and yelling in the early morning hours of Nov. 17, 2019. He peeked out of his bedroom and saw two masked men moving through the second-floor apartment where he lived with Shatford, his mother, three siblings, and his sister's boyfriend. Middleton said he followed the men down the stairs and managed to grab one of them at the front door. He said he threw the man to the ground outside and started punching him. As he continued to fight with the man, he saw his mother and Shatford pass by, heading to a vehicle parked on the street. Middleton said he continued to fight with the man until he heard a gunshot. As he turned, he said, he saw Shatford fall to the ground. He immediately went to Shatford's side. He testified that the man with the gun then pointed it at him and his mother and told them to shut up. Middleton said he tried to grab a large wrench that Shatford had dropped, but his mother wouldn't let him take it. As the vehicle pulled away, Middleton said, he threw the wrench at it but missed. What became of the wrench before police seized it in January remains unclear.Middleton and his mother, Melissa Daley, both testified they don't know how the wrench got back inside the apartment. But pictures taken by Bodechon, who arrived at the scene at 5:50 a.m., appear to show the item on top of the fridge. Bodechon took several pictures inside the home, including the one that show's the computer screen in Middleton's bedroom. "I did that on my own," Middleton said of the Facebook search. "I just wanted to see him."It was under cross-examination by defence lawyer Brian Munro that Middleton was asked about sending a Facebook message to Breau not long after the shooting. Middleton admitted sending a message that he was going to round up some people and kill Breau. He was also asked about his actions immediately after the shooting. Middleton said he went to a "buddy's" place but the person wasn't at home. He was repeatedly asked to name the "buddy" but he refused each time. "I'm not answering it," he insisted, before the jury was led out of the courtroom. After a short time — and some discussion in the absence of the jury and Middleton — the jury was brought back in and cross-examination resumed. Middleton was again asked to name the person and said it was his ex-girlfriend, Bella McCutcheon. He told the court that he called her "buddy" because they were not dating at the time. The trial is scheduled to resume Thursday morning.
MONTREAL — The percentage of COVID-19 cases in Quebec among people over the age of 70 is increasing, but the number is significantly below what was reported during the peak of the pandemic's first wave.However, Dr. Quoc Dinh Nguyen, a gerontologist and epidemiologist at the Universite de Montreal hospital centre, said he's still worried about the rise in cases among the elderly."It might be slight, but one 85 year old who gets COVID will count for 600 20-year-olds in terms of mortality," he said in an interview Wednesday. "If we use the metric of deaths, even a slight increase in the number of cases is a huge increase in terms of mortality." Data from Quebec's national public health institute indicates 18.4 per cent of Quebecers with active COVID-19 cases since Nov. 22 were over the age of 70, up from 14.9 per cent the previous week.In September, 9.5 per cent of COVID-19 cases involved seniors, while in the first 24 days of November, it was 14.4 per cent. But that number is far below what was reported during the peak of cases last spring, when seniors over 70 years old accounted for 35.2 per cent of total COVID infections in Quebec.More than 90 per cent of people who have died in Quebec from COVID-19 were over 70, according to public health institute data. Many seniors who haven't caught the virus are faring badly as a result of the pandemic and the efforts to slow its spread, said Nguyen, who headed a team of experts appointed by the government last spring to improve COVID-19 prevention measures in long-term care homes.“They are more stressed out and worried about contracting COVID, righteously so because the chances of having a severe form of the disease is much greater,” he said. “So they're very worried, so they really respect this whole idea of social distancing and not seeing anyone, but they're also the most vulnerable to all of these new measures because, as we age, we're more vulnerable to anything that will disrupt our baseline activities.”People who are at the threshold of losing mobility or have few contacts will be more affected by those changes than others, he said. Nguyen said he and other gerontologists are still seeing the effects of the first lockdown in their patients.He said the government needs to do a better job of explaining to older people what activities are risky and how much risk those activities involve. Nguyen said he would also like to see health authorities focus on controlling the number COVID-19 infections in people over 70 and in health-care workers, rather than focusing on schools and the general population."What we'll remember about COVID is not going to the number of schools that had COVID — it's going to be the number of nursing homes residents who've died," he said.Syeda Nayab Bukhari, program coordinator at the Telehealth Intervention Program for Isolated Older Adults in Montreal, said many people using her services are feeling increasingly isolated as a result of the pandemic.Bukhari said volunteers in the program, which is run by the Jewish General Hospital, have told her that the older adults they speak to are no longer able to see friends, neighbours and family members and that some have lost friends to COVID-19.Mental health is a serious issues among older people, Bukhari said. "Some of them are struggling with other mental health issues, for example, stress, late-life depression, dementia," she said in a recent interview. "Losing that connection with the outside world makes it worse."Health authorities said Wednesday there were 18 private seniors residences where more than 25 per cent of residents have active cases of COVID-19. There are public two long-term care homes where more than 25 per cent of residents have confirmed cases of the disease. But Nguyen said that's an arbitrary cutoff. "The need to reinforce infection prevention control, screening, isolation and all of that starts as soon as there's a single case," he said. "If we get to 25, 50 per cent, it's because something has not been done correctly."Meanwhile, public health officials in Montreal said that hospital facilities — which already have a shortage of workers — will face a particular challenge over the holidays.Sonia Belanger, the CEO of the regional health authority that covers much of central Montreal, told reporters more than 200 health-care workers have active cases of COVID-19, while she said more than 150 are waiting for test results. Quebec reported 1,100 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday and 28 more deaths attributed to the virus, including 12 that occurred in the past 24 hours. The province has reported a total of 135,430 cases of COVID-19 and 6,915 deaths linked to the virus.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.———This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Ontario residents should celebrate the upcoming winter holidays only with the people they live with, regardless of the COVID-19 situation in their region, the provincial government said Wednesday.The province issued its initial guidance for the holiday period, saying it knows Ontarians are already making plans.It said those who live alone can join another household to celebrate, but everyone else should stick to their own household and follow public health guidelines for their area."This year isn't like any other," Premier Doug Ford said in an afternoon news conference."We are in the second wave of COVID-19 and we can't take any chances. We have to bend the curve and stop the spread of this awful virus."Critics said the holidays could have looked much different if the government had taken faster, more decisive action to combat rising case counts this fall.“It’s heartbreaking to think about everyone who will be separated from their loved ones during the holidays. It should never have come to this," NDP Deputy Leader John Vanthof said in a statement."Now, thanks to Ford’s choices, we are forced into more shutdowns in more parts of the province, with more people getting sick and many losing their lives."The premier said he listened to the province's top doctor and its health team in making those decisions, noting the government has tried to balance health and economic concerns.Toronto and neighbouring Peel Region were moved into the grey or lockdown level in the province's tiered COVID-19 restrictions system this week, with tougher measures to stay in place at least until the week of Christmas.Public health measures under the lockdown level include a ban on indoor gatherings except with those in the same household, as well as closing down restaurants for all but takeout and delivery.The province's top doctor said earlier this week it seemed unlikely the situation would improve in those regions enough over the 28-day lockdown period to warrant moving them to the red alert level, which is one level lower.Toronto Mayor John Tory said that while there will be some enforcement of the guidelines over the holidays, it will largely be up to residents to regulate themselves."I've been asked for weeks now, were we contemplating having people going around on Christmas Eve and knocking on doors or peering down chimneys or any such thing? And I said, 'Of course not,'" Tory said Wednesday."By and large, people are going to have to enforce this themselves ... because they think it's in their own best interests and the interests of their families, and their neighbours, and their co-workers, and their friends to keep people healthy." Five other regions -- Hamilton, Durham, Halton, York and Waterloo -- are currently classified as red zones, which caps social gatherings at five people indoors and 25 outdoors.The province reported 1,373 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, and 35 new deaths linked to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott said 445 of the new cases were in Toronto, while 415 were in Peel Region.Ontario's most recent modelling showed the province is on track to see up to 6,500 new daily cases of COVID-19 by mid-December, though those projections are expected to be updated Thursday.\-- with files from Nicole ThompsonThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
It's a demonstrably difficult task to find a comic screen partner worthy of standing opposite Melissa McCarthy, so you have to appreciate “Superintelligence" for throwing in the towel. In it, McCarthy plays Carol Peters, a former Yahoo executive who's chosen, purely for her extreme averageness, by a newly liberated, megalomaniacal artificial intelligence that presents her with a three-day test to prove humanity isn't worth destroying. It's the kind of set-up that would have once presided over by the devil or some demigod, but now that role goes to Alexa. That means that for much of “Superintelligence," a new comedy streaming Thursday on HBO Max, McCarthy is walking around on her own, her only foil a disembodied voice (James Corden's) or an occasional talking screen. That's not as good as McCarthy with either of her best recent on-screen partners — Sandra Bullock ("The Heat"), Richard E. Grant ("Can You Forgive Me?") — but it's not bad. It means McCarthy has the movie if not completely to herself (Corden's cheery warmth still comes through, and Bobby Cannavale winningly plays her love interest) then nearly so. Even though the innocuous “Superintelligence” is on the bland side, it remains hard not to enjoy two hours with McCarthy. The more telling companion of McCarthy's in “Superintelligence” is her husband, the director Ben Falcone. This is their fourth film together with Falcone behind the camera, and it may be the best of the bunch. That, however, isn't saying much considering their run of “Life of the Party" (2018), “The Boss” (2016) and “Tammy” (2014). Those films have their moments, and they're always shot-through with affection for their leading lady. But they're easily the weaker, more forgettable side of McCarthy's filmography. “Superintelligence," written by Steve Mallory, is the most high-concept of their films together, and it's ultimately an excuse to bring apocalyptic stakes to a rom-com plot. Faced with the possible end of the world, Carol resolves to reconnect with an old flame (Cannavale). Their chemistry together is easy and relaxed, if not especially funny. The cast overall feels wasted, especially the supporting performances of Brian Tyree Henry (as a computer scientist), Jean Smart (the president) and Sam Richardson — the talented “Veep” performer who I sincerely hope soon gets his own movie. Like a lot of studio comedies of late, it feels like there's space here for jokes that mostly never quite got filled in. The real romance in “Superintelligence” might not be between any of the characters, but McCarthy and Falcone (who also makes his typical cameo). Their collaborations are uneven but warmhearted, and their movies together feel like an almost sweet sacrifice of quality for the sake of family. “Superintelligence,” a Warner Bros. release, is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for some suggestive material, language and thematic elements. Running time: 105 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP Jake Coyle, The Associated Press
From learning Inuktitut to appreciating jingle dresses, these videos are a must-watch.
COVID-19. Les plus récentes données sur l'évolution de la COVID-19, au Québec, font état de 1 100 nouveaux cas, pour un nombre total de personnes infectées de 135 430. Elles font également état de 28 nouveaux décès, pour un total de 6 915. De ces 28 décès, 12 sont survenus dans les 24 dernières heures, 14 sont survenus entre le 18 et le 23 novembre et 2 sont survenus à une date inconnue. Le nombre d'hospitalisations est resté stable par rapport à la veille, avec un cumul de 655. Parmi celles-ci, le nombre de personnes se trouvant aux soins intensifs a diminué de 3, et s'élève maintenant à 93. Les prélèvements réalisés le 23 novembre s'élèvent à 24 067, pour un total de 3 750 867. Tableau synthèse de l'évolution des données DateCas confirmésDécèsHospitalisationsHospitalisations aux soins intensifsPrélèvements réalisés18 novembre1 20736651 (-1)101 (+1)34 70319 novembre1 25926624 (-27)96 (-5)31 09920 novembre1 18919646 (+22)99 (+3)34 21721 novembre 1 15422642 (-4)103 (+4)20 01722 novembre1 16428634 (-8)98 (-5)20 40023 novembre1 12418655 (+21)96 (-2)24 06724 novembre1 1001265593 (-3)NDNombre de cas par région Régions 22 novembre 202023 novembre 202024 novembre 2020Total des cas 01 - Bas-Saint-Laurent21101073802 - Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean1611041484 51403 - Capitale-Nationale1061539811 05004 - Mauricie-et-Centre-du-Québec5378666 52205 - Estrie6240404 23306 - Montréal29428421949 24807 - Outaouais4864273 42608 - Abitibi-Témiscamingue00226009 - Côte-Nord31-119910 - Nord-du-Québec0005211 - Gaspésie – Îles-de-la-Madeleine30151 33112 - Chaudière-Appalaches4034645 06313 - Laval63707310 98014 - Lanaudière14210315810 75415 - Laurentides4137277 71016 - Montérégie12514513319 20017 - Nunavik00-12818 - Terres-Cries-de-la-Baie-James00016Hors Québec2122103Région à déterminer0003Total1 1641 1241 100135 430 Nombre de décès par région 01 - Bas-Saint-Laurent1602 - Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean10503 - Capitale-Nationale41804 - Mauricie-et-Centre-du-Québec25905 - Estrie5706 - Montréal3 60007 - Outaouais7608 - Abitibi-Témiscamingue409 - Côte-Nord210 - Nord-du-Québec011 - Gaspésie – Îles-de-la-Madeleine3912 - Chaudière-Appalaches12513 - Laval72314 - Lanaudière31215 - Laurentides33116 - Montérégie84717 - Nunavik018 - Terres-Cries-de-la-Baie-James1Hors Québec0Région à déterminer0Total6 915 Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Liberal MLA Robert Henderson said he wants to know why the health minister isn't doing more to reduce the wait-list for a family doctor on P.E.I. In the legislature Wednesday, Henderson said the number of doctors being licensed in Canada is on the rise. But on P.E.I., there are still thousands waiting for a family doctor."We're just watching the patient registry, it's like a ticker it just keeps going up and up and up," Henderson said."So why is the minister of health struggling to recruit doctors?"The province recently contracted the Medical Society of P.E.I. to begin recruiting more physicians.The plan is to pay P.E.I. doctors to recruit other doctors to come practise on the Island, and it was negotiated over the last several months.The Health Department and doctors will form a physician recruitment task force. Doctors will consult with the government's existing recruitment team to come up with a marketing strategy, and create a "more efficient and positive" experience for doctors considering moving to P.E.I.P.E.I., like many jurisdictions in Canada, has been experiencing a shortage of doctors and other health-care professionals, and there is currently a waiting list of 14,530 patients on the patient registry seeking a family doctor on P.E.I., according to the province's website. "Islanders without access to a family physician, per capita it's actually the worst record in Atlantic Canada. Even this doctors-recruiting-doctors initiative will need to recruit a doctor to recruit other doctors, which takes a doctor away from providing health-care services to Islanders," Henderson said."When will Islanders expect to see the patient registry begin to decline?"Minister hopes to announce more doctors soonHealth Minister James Aylward said the wait-list does fluctuate, and the province is trying to improve the situation."It is a challenge to recruit doctors here on P.E.I., but you know we made a great announcement the other day for Tignish, which was lacking a family doctor for far too long," Aylward said.Last week, the heath minister announced Dr. Peter Entwistle will begin his practice at the Tignish Health Centre in February. He said the province also has letters of offer out to four other doctors that it's waiting to be signed and sent back.Aylward said government has also introduced other initiatives to help provide care to Islanders."We've done the virtual program with Maple, it has capacity for 10,000 patients to be connected to that service and so far the individuals that have accessed that service have had glowing, glowing reports," Aylward said.Aylward said the province still wants Islanders to have access to a doctor in person. He hopes to be able to announce some new doctors coming to the Island in the near future. More P.E.I. news
The Central Interior Hockey League (CIHL) has cancelled its senior men’s ‘AA’ 2020/21 season, but league officials are keeping the door open to the possibility of exhibition games in the new year. The league includes the Terrace River Kings and teams in Prince Rupert, Kitimat, Smithers, Hazelton, Williams Lake and Quesnel. “We had a schedule to start December 4th but with recent restrictions feel that in in any circumstances less than a super miracle vaccination, we would probably not return to play with spectators in time to salvage a 20-21 season,” said Ron German, CIHL President, in a media release. German thanked the communities, fans, volunteers and sponsors for their support. He said that if conditions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic change in 2021, the league would explore the possibility of playing exhibition games if BC Hockey and local guidelines could be met.Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News
OTTAWA, Ill. — Canada's watchdog for crime victims is calling on Parliament to overhaul their bill of rights, saying the five-year-old legislation has fallen "far short" of delivering on its promise. Rules meant to amplify victims' voices in the justice system have failed to make them heard following "sporadic" implementation of a regime that needs more teeth, clarity and public awareness, federal ombudsman Heidi Illingworth said in a report Wednesday. "The situation of victims of crime has not fundamentally changed since it was passed," she wrote. The previous Conservative government introduced what it called a victims' bill of rights in 2015 that allowed crime victims to get information about offenders in the corrections system and have their views considered when decisions are made about those perpetrators. Illingworth said the legislation should be amended to provide a legal remedy for violations, such as allowing victims to formally challenge authorities on whether their rights have been honoured. "There was no right to appeal, there was no right to seek damages," Illingworth said Wednesday in a phone interview. The 2015 statute was an important firs step but "really more of a statement of principles," she added. "It did not give people real rights, because in law you have to be able to have a remedy for rights to be real." The justice system demands heavy lifting from people subjected to a criminal act, including those involved in the 2.2 million crimes reported to police each year. "They are expected to report the crime, provide evidence, bear witness, be cross-examined on the stand and relive their traumas over and over again as they tell their truths — yet we provide them with little assistance to do so," Illingworth wrote. "Unsupported victims are less likely to come forward. When victims are not treated as full partners in the criminal justice system, the system is less effective." Victims should automatically receive information about their rights, rather than having to ask for it, she said. Up to two-thirds of crime victims do not go to the police, said Irvin Waller, professor emeritus in criminology at the University of Ottawa. Other reforms demanded in the report include a simplified complaint process filtered entirely through the ombudsman's office rather than a patchwork of agencies, more clearly defined obligations for criminal justice officials and more funding to train front-line workers in treating victims with "courtesy, compassion and respect." The ombudsman is also calling for better data collection by courts, prisons and law enforcement agencies to understand police interactions with targeted populations, including Indigenous women and LGBTQ individuals. "We know that there’s distrust, and this is especially concerning among communities of colour, racialized communities, Indigenous people. And how survivors of sexual violence are cheated by the justice system has been very, very problematic," Illingworth said. Waller pointed to England and France as models on training guidelines for officials and restitution for victims, respectively. He said up to half of French criminal cases result in restitution payments, access to which should be guaranteed, according to the ombudsman's report. In contrast to Canada, France also grants victims legal "standing" to appeal to courts for review when their rights are not upheld. "We are a long, long way behind these countries," Waller said. Illingworth's report further recommends amendments that commit to core funding for community-based restorative justice programs as well as a list of officials who have direct responsibilities to crime victims. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020. Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press
President-elect Joe Biden appealed for unity Wednesday in a Thanksgiving-eve address to the nation asking Americans to "steel our spines" for a fight against the coronavirus that he predicted would continue for months. (Nov. 25)
P.E.I.'s Department of Justice and Public Safety says it is dealing with a spike in people seeking approval to come to the Island.Officials say since the closure of the Atlantic bubble and the chief public health officer's recommendations to not travel during the holidays, the province has seen five-times the amount of inquiries.Justice and Public Safety Minister Bloyce Thompson says the province was bracing for a spike following the announcement P.E.I. was pulling out of the Atlantic bubble because of increased COVID-19 cases in neighbouring New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. He says people need to be patient, adding the province will get through the backlog within the next couple of days. "We've been doing this for almost eight months now and as every announcement comes there's an influx of inquiries, applications," said Thompson. "So to address this announcement Monday we've brought in six new staff to deal with some of the backlog."On Monday, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer announced P.E.I. was pulling out of the Atlantic bubble and said Islanders should only travel outside of P.E.I. for essential purposes or work. 'They haven't received an approval or denial'Anyone who needs to travel to the Island, including residents of Atlantic Canada, now has to apply for pre-travel approval.Island residents do not require pre-travel approval, but will be required to self-isolate 14 days once they return to the Island. Frustrations over the growing wait times spilled over onto the floor of the P.E.I. Legislature Wednesday. Cory Deagle, PC MLA for Montague-Kilmuir, said he had been contacted by a couple that had been waiting 168 hours for a response, much longer than the 72-hour response time the province tries to achieve.The couple is moving from B.C. to his district, and the couple's parents — who have also reached out to him — are his constituents.Deagle said they first sent their letter to the province on Nov. 18, long before P.E.I. pulled out of the Atlantic bubble. He said the couple was asked for more information on Nov. 21. "It's now Nov. 25 and they haven't received an approval or denial letter and they are travelling across Canada," said Deagle.'What they are going to do when they get here?'"They received approval to enter New Brunswick but they don't know about P.E.I. What they are going to do when they get here?"Thompson said he would get the name of the family and follow up immediately to ensure they have an answer before they get to the Confederation Bridge.Deagle said the family is growing increasingly frustrated."These two individuals are travelling across Canada, they said today they tried calling, no one's answering the phone, they tried leaving voicemail but the inbox is filled."Thompson did admit wait times have increased significantly because of the closure of the Atlantic bubble."We will be back to 72 hours very soon," Thompson said from the floor of the legislature. 'I hate making politics out of something so important'But Deagle fired back saying, "You shouldn't have to contact your MLA to find out if you can get approval to come to P.E.I."Thompson then took a shot at his PC colleague."This is a very important question and I hate making politics out of something so important," said Thompson. "I sat beside this member in caucus, I wish he had brought this to me then."In an interview after question period, Deagle said he makes no apologies for raising the concerns of his constituents."The premier has said that we can ask tough questions, even though it's our own party, we can ask tough questions that are important to our constituents and Islanders," Deagle told CBC News."We've never been told one way or another to not do something, if we feel it's important and we want to ask it, we can ask the questions."More from CBC P.E.I.
A request for the names, addresses and Farm Business Registration (FBR) numbers of Ontario farmers has been withdrawn. According to the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), a Freedom of Information request (FOI) asking for potentially sensitive information on farmers in the province has been withdrawn following a period of mediation led by the OFA and supported by their legal counsel. Initially received by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) in June, the FOI request was made by an unknown individual and sought to access a list of Ontario farmers that included the names of their businesses, where they were located and their FBR number, an identifier that’s is issued to any farm businesses in Ontario that make declare a gross farm income of $7,000 or more. An FOI request can be made by members of the public under Ontario’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), which says “every person has a right of access to a record or a part of a record in the custody or under the control of an institution,” with exceptions. OFA president Keith Currie celebrated the FOI withdrawal, citing concerns around how the information in the FOI could have been misused to harm farm owners’ businesses. “Together, our farm organizations strongly opposed the release of this information as it has the potential to greatly impact the health, safety and security of our farm operations,” Currie said. “We are very pleased to report that the matter has been resolved, the FOI has been dropped and we can move forward with the significant priorities of the Ontario agriculture sector.” While there was no evidence that the names and FBR numbers that stood to be acquired through the FOI were planned to be used maliciously, the OFA and other farm organizations in the province moved quickly to stall the request when it was first made, citing concerns that bad actors could use the information on a large scale, targeting businesses with protests or making their information public to others. Additionally, online sources speculated that the information could be used to create a database like one created in Australia following a similar information request. That database was subsequently used by activists to stage protests around the country. At the time the FOI request was still pending, Rainy River Federation of Agriculture (RRFA) president Lisa Teeple noted that while the request in and of itself wasn’t reason for area farmers to panic, the uncertainty of who was requesting the information and what they intended to use it for caused the most concern. “The original request, we don’t know where it came from,” Teeple explained at the time. “Who was asking for this information? Is it a university study looking to do a study on farm economics? Is it a think-tank group and how they market more to farm businesses? We don’t know. Is it an environmental activist group? That potentially gives a reason for pause, because we are in a business where environmental and animal activists have been known to be destructive. The big thing is ‘who asked for it’? We can’t find that out.” The OFA, Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario (CFFO and the National Farmers Union–Ontario (NFU-O) collaborated to file a formal appeal against the FOI before the request was withdrawn.Ken Kellar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort Frances Times
St. Albert now has 223 active COVID-19 cases, with 22 new cases being diagnosed in the past 24 hours. On Wednesday, the province released new COVID-19 data, showing the cases in St. Albert continuing to climb. Over a 48-hour period the city added 42 new cases while another 30 people recovered from the virus. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the city has had 647 people come down with the virus On Monday, Alberta surpassed all other provinces for the most COVID-19 cases in the country, totalling 13,166 active cases. At the St. Albert Retirement Residence, active COVID-19 cases are dropping, with just two residents and two staff members currently testing positive from the virus. Overall, there were 52 total positive COVID-19 cases in the residence since the start of the outbreak, with 44 of those recovered and four people who lost their lives. There were a total of 15 staff members who tested positive since the beginning of the outbreak with 13 now recovered. Sturgeon County currently has 95 active cases, with 167 people recovered. Morinville has 33 people currently diagnosed with COVID-19 and 84 recovered. As Alberta reaches 500 COVID-19 deaths, Alberta Health services is bracing for more cases by making 400 ICU beds and 2,000 acute care beds available to COVID-19 patients. On Wednesday afternoon, Alberta Chief Medical officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the province has reached a grim milestone of 500 deaths, with another 1,265 COVID-19 cases diagnosed overnight. “This is a tragic milestone. My sympathies go out to the loved ones and friends of these individuals who are mourning the lives lost during what is a very difficult time to grieve,” Hinshaw said. The province conducted around 15,600 tests in the last 24 hours with an 8.1-per-cent positivity rate. The nine deaths reported Wednesday occurred between Nov. 7 and Nov. 24 with five of the people having comorbidities. Overall, the province has 13,719 active cases with 355 people in the hospital and 71 in intensive care. Alberta has passed 50,000 COVID-19 infections since the beginning of the pandemic, which accounts for 1.2 per cent of Albertans. As COVID-19 surges, the province has readied even more hospital space. Some of the beds are new, while others are existing beds made available by reducing non-urgent surgeries and moving patients to continuing care centres or other hospitals. "These steps are being taken to make sure that there is sufficient capacity to meet the growing health-care need," Hinshaw said. Effective today, AHS will be changing the rules around visitor access to acute care hospitals that have outbreaks and in communities under enhanced status. This includes having one designated family or support person permitted under specific circumstances. For maternity patients, there is one designated family or support person permitted. For pediatrics and critical care, there are up to two designated family or support persons allowed. For end-of-life visitation, there will be one designated family or support person allowed, with other visitors needing to prearrange with the site. Jennifer Henderson is the Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Great West Newspapers, covering rural Alberta issues.Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette