With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
For two Virginia police officers who posed for a photo during the deadly U.S. Capitol insurrection, the reckoning has been swift and public: They were identified, charged with crimes and arrested. But for five Seattle officers the outcome is less clear. Their identities still secret, two are on leave and three continue to work while a police watchdog investigates whether their actions in the nation's capital on Jan. 6 crossed the line from protected political speech to lawbreaking. The contrasting cases highlight the dilemma faced by police departments nationwide as they review the behaviour of dozens of officers who were in Washington the day of the riot by supporters of President Donald Trump. Officials and experts agree that officers who were involved in the melee should be fired and charged for their role. But what about those officers who attended only the Trump rally before the riot? How does a department balance an officer's free speech rights with the blow to public trust that comes from the attendance of law enforcement at an event with far-right militants and white nationalists who went on to assault the seat of American democracy? An Associated Press survey of law enforcement agencies nationwide found that at least 31 officers in 12 states are being scrutinized by their supervisors for their behaviour in the District of Columbia or face criminal charges for participating in the riot. Officials are looking into whether the officers violated any laws or policies or participated in the violence while in Washington. A Capitol Police officer died after he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher as rioters descended on the building and many other officers were injured. A woman was shot to death by Capitol Police and three other people died after medical emergencies during the chaos. Most of the officers have not been publicly identified; only a few have been charged. Some were identified by online sleuths. Others were reported by their colleagues or turned themselves in. They come from some of the country’s largest cities — three Los Angeles officers and a sheriff’s deputy, for instance — as well as state agencies and a Pennsylvania police department with nine officers. Among them are an Oklahoma sheriff and New Hampshire police chief who have acknowledged being at the rally, but denied entering the Capitol or breaking the law. “If they were off-duty, it’s totally free speech,” said Will Aitchison, a lawyer in Portland, Oregon, who represents law enforcement officers. “People have the right to express their political views regardless of who’s standing next to them. You just don’t get guilt by association.” But Ayesha Bell Hardaway, a professor at Case Western Reserve University law school, said an officer’s presence at the rally creates a credibility issue as law enforcement agencies work to repair community trust, especially after last summer's of protests against police brutality sparked by the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Communities will question the integrity of officers who attended the rally along with “individuals who proudly profess racist and divisive viewpoints,” she said. “It calls into question whether those officers are interested in engaging in policing in a way that builds trust and legitimacy in all communities, including communities of colour.” In Rocky Mount, a Virginia town of about 1,000, Sgt. Thomas Robertson and Officer Jacob Fracker were suspended without pay and face criminal charges after posting a photo of themselves inside the Capitol during the riot. According to court records, Robertson wrote on social media that the “Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem … The right IN ONE DAY took the f(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk) U.S. Capitol. Keep poking us.” Attempts to contact the pair were unsuccessful and court records do not list lawyers. Leaders in Rocky Mount declined to be interviewed. In a statement, they said the events at the Capitol were tragic. “We stand with and add our support to those who have denounced the violence and illegal activity that took place that day,” said Police Chief Ken Criner, Capt. Mark Lovern and Town Manager James Ervin. “Our town and our police department absolutely does not condone illegal or unethical behaviour by anyone, including our officers and staff.” On the other side of the county, five Seattle officers are under investigation by the city’s Office of Police Accountability. Two officers posted photos of themselves on social media while in the district and officials are investigating to determine where they were and what they were doing. Three others told supervisors that they went to Washington for the events and are being investigated for what they did while there. Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz said his department supports officers’ freedom of speech and that those who were in the nation's capital will be fired if they “were directly involved in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.” But police leaders need to evaluate more than just clear criminal behaviour, according to Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a policing research and policy group. They must also consider how their actions affect the department credibility, he said. Officers' First Amendment rights “don’t extend to expressing words that may be violent or maybe express some prejudice,” Wexler said, “because that’s going to reflect on what they do when they’re working, when they’re testifying in court.” Through the summer and fall, Seattle police — along with officers elsewhere — came under criticism for their handling of mass protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd. The city received more than 19,000 complaints against officers, most for excessive use of force and improper use of pepper spray. Andrew Myerberg, director of the Seattle Office of Police Accountability, said none of the officers now under investigation were involved in those cases. But Sakara Remmu, cofounder of Black Lives Matter Seattle/King County, said the officers should be fired regardless. Their public declarations of solidarity with Trump fosters not just community distrust, but terror of the entire department, she said. “It absolutely does matter when the decorum of racial peace cracks and racial hatred comes through, because we already have a documented history and legacy of what that means in this country,” Remmu said. In Houston, the police chief decried an officer who resigned and was later charged in the riot. A lawyer for Officer Tam Pham said the 18-year veteran of the force "very much regrets” being at the rally and was “deeply remorseful.” But many chiefs have said their officers committed no crimes. “The Arkansas State Police respects the rights and freedom of an employee to use their leave time as the employee may choose,” department spokesman Bill Sadler said of two officers who attended the Trump rally. Malik Aziz, the former chair and executive director of the National Black Police Association, compared condemning all officers who were in Washington to tarring all the protesters who took to streets after the killing of George Floyd with the violent and destructive acts of some. A major with the Dallas Police Department, Aziz said police acting privately have the same rights as other Americans, but that knowingly going to a bigoted event should be disqualifying for an officer. “There’s no place in law enforcement for that individual,” Aziz said. Martha Bellisle And Jake Bleiberg, The Associated Press
Guyana said late on Saturday that a Venezuelan navy vessel detained two vessels that were fishing in Guyana's exclusive economic zone, the latest dispute in a long-running border conflict between the two South American nations. Caracas says much of eastern Guyana is its own territory, a claim that is rejected by Georgetown. The conflict has flared up in recent years as Guyana has started developing oil reserves near the disputed area.
VANCOUVER — Dentists and teachers are among the groups that are disappointed they won't be given priority to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in British Columbia. B.C. rolled out its vaccination plan on Friday, revealing that after the most vulnerable groups have been immunized, shots will be given out according to age, with the oldest residents first in line. That means many people who have not been able to work from home during the pandemic, including grocery store workers, police officers and bus drivers, will have to wait to get the vaccine along with others in their age group. The British Columbia Dental Association has written a letter to Premier John Horgan strongly urging him to include dentists in stage two of the vaccination plan, alongside family doctors and medical specialists. The B.C. Teachers' Federation says it's disappointed there is no prioritization for frontline workers who have kept schools open, but it acknowledges the vaccine supply is beyond its control and those who are most vulnerable must be immunized first. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that scientific evidence supports an age-based approach because older populations are at much higher risk of infection and death from COVID-19. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
CORNER BROOK, N.L. — A 24-year-old man from Fort McMurray, Alta., is facing numerous charges including failing to self-isolate, following a traffic stop early this morning in Corner Brook, N.L. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary says they stopped a vehicle shortly before 4 a.m. and the driver fled on foot. In a release, they say the driver was quickly apprehended and now faces charges of impaired operation of a motor vehicle, refusal, and obstructing a peace officer. He is also charged with failing to self-isolate after arriving in the province on Jan. 22. He has been ordered to appear in court on on February 9. Police say the driver was also given a 90 day driving suspension and the vehicle was impounded. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Halifax swimmer Sydney Pickrem has been provisionally nominated to represent Team Canada in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this summer. Pickrem, 23, is one of six swimmers nominated by Swimming Canada to represent the country from July 23-Aug. 8. "This year has been just crazy in general but I'm definitely feeling grateful that they put their faith in me, that they wanted to nominate me," Pickrem said Sunday. Pickrem was born and raised in Florida, but she holds dual citizenship as both of her parents are from Halifax. She now lives in Toronto. She competed for Canada at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, placing sixth in the 200-metre individual medley final. Pickrem said this most recent nomination has her reflecting on her past swimming experience. "I definitely feel stronger," she said. "I feel confident. I definitely feel like I was a baby back in 2016 and definitely feel a lot better going this time around." In 2019, Pickrem won three bronze medals at the world championships in South Korea. Most recently, Pickrem broke two national records at a International Swimming League event in Hungary in November, one of which she had previously set. She also won the 400-metre individual medley, representing international swim team London Roar, at the same event. This summer, she will be competing in the 200-metre breaststroke, and the 200-metre and 400-metre individual medleys. Training in a pandemic The nominations for Team Canada comes as reports continue to mount around the viability of the already postponed Tokyo Summer Games. The games were rescheduled last year as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe. Pickrem was previously training at Texas A&M University, where she wasn't getting much pool time. She has since moved to Toronto to train at the Pan Am Sports Centre. "It's the best-case scenario. I think we're super lucky to have the pool space, the gym space, the training availabilities that we do during a pandemic," she said. 'Do Canada proud' Pickrem said the nomination was unlike the one she experienced in 2016 — she was on a Zoom call with her coach and teammates and eating breakfast at the time. "It's so weird because you envision finishing a race, touching the wall — that's when you make your Olympic team," she said. Pickrem said despite the pandemic, she's excited to travel and represent Team Canada. "At the Olympics, to do Canada proud is always the No. 1 priority." MORE TOP STORIES
There was no distribution plan for the coronavirus vaccine set up by the Trump administration as the virus raged in its last months in office, new President Joe Biden's chief of staff, Ron Klain, said on Sunday. "The process to distribute the vaccine, particularly outside of nursing homes and hospitals out into the community as a whole, did not really exist when we came into the White House," Klain said on NBC's "Meet the Press." Biden, a Democrat who took over from Republican President Donald Trump on Wednesday, has promised a fierce fight against the pandemic that killed 400,000 people in the United States under Trump’s watch.
La Municipalité de Verchères a dévoilé jeudi dernier le plan directeur de ce que pourrait devenir le secteur du quai au cours des prochaines années. Afin de l’assister dans la création d’un concept de revitalisation de cette zone située aux abords du fleuve, les élus ont fait appel au groupe conseil Rousseau-Lefebvre. Échafaudé autour du thème Un nouveau souffle pour Verchères - Le quai, entre fleuve et village, cohérence de culture et d’espace, ce plan sera soumis aux citoyens qui auront l’opportunité au cours des prochains jours d’exprimer leur opinion sur le projet proposé. « On s’est souvent dit que nous avons un joyau entre les mains, mais qui n’est pas poli, explique le maire Alexandre Bélisle. C’est une infrastructure qui n’a pas atteint sa pleine capacité. Notre responsabilité, c’est de trouver une façon de tout coordonner afin qu’il atteigne son plein potentiel. Que le secteur dans lequel il se trouve contribue à la vitalité économique du village en accueillant les citoyens d’abord, mais aussi les visiteurs de la grande région métropolitaine. Ces derniers vont découvrir un endroit exceptionnel pour la qualité architecturale de ses constructions et pour l’environnement. Et il faut dire que nous avons les plus beaux couchers de soleil de la Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal! » En plus du quai municipal, le secteur concerné comprend notamment le parc des Pionniers ainsi que la rue Madeleine. Le projet inclut notamment un parc nature, un bâtiment de services, du mobilier urbain permettant les rassemblements et la contemplation ainsi qu’une promenade riveraine. Rappelons que l’avenir du quai, dont les activités ont été suspendues au cours de la dernière année en raison de son état de dégradation avancé, est une des priorités actuelles à Verchères. Le conseil municipal demeure en contact avec les instances fédérales qui ont la responsabilité des infrastructures. Afin de financer le projet, l’administration de Verchères fera appel à Ottawa, mais également au gouvernement provincial afin d’assurer sa réalisation. « On parle d’un projet de plusieurs millions de dollars, ajoute M. Bélisle. Nos discussions avec le fédéral vont bon train. Nous allons également demander une contribution des paliers suprarégionaux, la Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal notamment. Le plan que nous avons sur la table va nous servir à présenter le projet aux différentes instances. Le tout afin d’obtenir une aide financière provenant de l’extérieur de la communauté de Verchères. » Selon Alexandre Bélisle, un partenariat avec des entreprises privées est également envisagé afin de mener le projet à bon port. Quant au délai fixé pour sa réalisation, le maire admet qu’il faudra attendre avant d’avoir une idée plus précise. « C’est quand même un processus qui peut être long, admet M. Bélisle. C’est une infrastructure qui pourrait être là pour les 150 prochaines années. Nous allons prendre le temps qu’il faut pour élaborer, avec le fédéral, un projet à notre mesure. » Steve Martin, Initiative de journalisme local, La Relève
A family-owned grocer in Calgary is giving back to support neighbouring businesses hurting from the pandemic. Darren Hollman, owner of the European Deli and Produce Market, says because his business is essential, he hasn't faced the same struggles a restaurant or retailer might. "We're an essential business and people have to eat, [so] we haven't been affected nearly as bad as some of the other places have been. We've been operating at 15 per cent [capacity] but we feel we can give back so that's why we're doing it," he said. This weekend, the store is offering some staples like apples, potatoes and carrots at "pay-what-you-can" prices — customers decide what the want to pay, and 100 per cent of the proceeds will go toward supporting Platoon Fitness, Crolux Tailoring and Marco's Kitchen, all businesses impacted by public health restrictions. "The customers have been very receptive to it and have done a lot to help — like giving over and above which is nice to see," he said. Shopper Elena Khomiak said she was picking up apples, even though she doesn't need any, as a chance to support local. "We'll pay, I don't know, $50 or $100, the most expensive apples I've ever had," she said with a laugh. The fundraiser will run until 6 p.m. Sunday.
This year, Canada’s correctional investigator announced his office is launching a series of in-depth investigations looking at Indigenous programming in Canada’s prisons — specifically around access to culture and community support. “We want to hear from Indigenous inmates to learn from their experiences,” Dr. Ivan Zinger writes in his 2019-2020 annual report. “We intend to look at program participation criteria and compare results and outcomes for those who are enrolled in Indigenous-specific interventions.” An earlier investigation from Zinger revealed that the number of Indigenous inmates in Canadian prisons has reached historic highs, surpassing 30 per cent in recent years and on a trajectory to keep growing. In B.C.’s Fraser Valley, Correctional Service Canada (CSC) operates an Indigenous-focused minimum security institution — one of four “healing lodges” that exist across the country. At Kwìkwèxwelhp in Harrison Mills, about 50 inmates work with Elders, tend to a healing garden, and have access to a longhouse. Boyd Peters Xoyet-thet of the neighbouring Sts’ailes Nation was involved in the transition when Kwìkwèxwelhp was turned into a healing lodge in 2001. “Here in Sts’ailes, we have the benefit of having the cultural history and teachings and knowing how much the land is healing for us,” says Peters, who is also a director with the BC First Nations Justice Council. “In our culture, we know that we need to take care of ourselves in a good way, in a balanced way, so we take care of the physical, the mental, the spiritual and the emotional. The mental is the education part.” Sts’ailes Nation signed a memorandum of understanding with CSC around Kwìkwèxwelhp, which means “a place to gather medicine.” It was previously called Elbow Lake Institution. Inmates — referred to as Kwikw te Alex (meaning “Elbow Lake brothers”) — are given opportunities to upgrade their education on a high school, university or vocational level. One program through Kwantlen Polytechnic University called ‘Inside-Out’ involves pairing up to 13 Kwikw te Alex with the same number of criminology students. Another initiative involves inmates being part of archeological work at Sts’ailes ancient village sites — a skill they can take to their home communities after being released. “We have the guys come down and they clear out the sites for us and they make it really beautiful,” Peters says. “So you can see how beneficial that is and it gives them the incentive to further their education.” Though Kwìkwèxwelhp offers several educational programs, current statistics show that more needs to be done on a national level. Aside from addressing the massive overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in prisons, the current offerings of education in most institutions is falling short, Zinger says. In fact, three-quarters of federally sentenced individuals have some need for education or employment, according to Zinger’s 2019-2020 annual report. “The need for learning opportunities behind bars is considerable,” he writes. “A high percentage of inmates have had negative experiences in formal educational systems; many have dropped out, and most have had difficulty finding legitimate employment or have never held a steady job.” Zinger has asked Canada’s public safety minister to form an independent working group to implement current and past recommendations on education and job training. His office has been asking for improvements in this area for at least a decade, saying inmates’ access to information and technology is “backwards and obsolete,” often still reliant on technology from the early 2000s. Though CSC statistics say that 68 per cent of inmates upgraded their education and 60.8 per cent completed vocational training before release in 2018-2019 — Zinger says that might not mean much. “These indicators do not necessarily mean that they earned a high school diploma or hours toward an apprenticeship,” he writes. “It may only indicate the completion of a single education course or credit or the completion of a vocational program.” Vocational programs include short courses such as Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), the Basics of Fall Protection, Work Safely with Power Tools, Food Safety or Occupational Health and Safety. Further, less than three per cent of CSC’s overall budget — $64 million — is allocated towards learning. “For a population with such need, these financial resources appear insufficient,” Zinger’s report says. According to CSC, their Indigenous Continuum of Care model, soon to be under review, is Elder-driven and based on the teachings of the Medicine Wheel spoken about by Peters — caring for the physical, spiritual, emotional and mental. Despite the many cracks in the system, Peters says involving Elders as teachers can make a difference for Indigenous inmates. His mother is an Elder at Kwìkwèxwelhp, and worked with a man who was looking to be transferred to the healing lodge from another institution. “He had strong mental health issues because he was in segregation for years so he had no trust in people and he had huge anxiety,” he explains. “The Elders helped him to see the sacredness of the things that we have. So he went to the water, he went to the longhouse, he talked to the Elders and he learned that he has gifts that he never did utilize.” Today, that man is a professional seamstress, Peters says. “He can make anything out of cloth, just these beautiful things,” he says. “That’s what can happen when some of the guys get to learn some of the teachings and they open themselves up and they learn to trust. That’s what the medicines of the land will do.” Catherine Lafferty, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse
TORONTO — The federal government has approved an Ottawa company's made-in-Canada rapid COVID-19 test, Health Canada confirmed Saturday as the nation's top doctor warned the virus's impact on the health-care system showed no signs of abating. The test developed by Spartan Bioscience is performed by a health-care professional and provides on-site results within an hour, a spokeswoman for the federal agency said. Spartan bills the test as the first "truly mobile, rapid PCR test for COVID-19 for the Canadian market.""The Spartan system will be able to provide quality results to remote communities, industries and settings with limited lab access, helping relieve the burden on overwhelmed healthcare facilities," the company said in a news release Saturday. The company originally unveiled a rapid test for COVID-19 last spring but had to voluntarily recall it and perform additional studies after Health Canada expressed some reservations.At the time, Spartan said Health Canada was concerned about the "efficacy of the proprietary swab" for the testing product.The new version uses "any nasopharyngeal swab" rather than one of the company's own design, Health Canada said, and meets the agency's requirements for both safety and effectiveness. The Spartan COVID-19 System was developed through clinical evaluation completed in Canada and the U.S., with the University of Ottawa Heart Institute as one of the testing locations. The company said it has already started production on the rapid tests. The news comes as Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, warned that COVID-19 continues to strain the health-care system even as daily case counts decline in several long-standing hot spots. "As severe outcomes lag behind increased disease activity, we can expect to see ongoing heavy impacts on our healthcare system and health workforce for weeks to come," she said in a written statement. Surging new infection rates continued to show signs of easing in multiple provinces, though one jurisdiction was poised to impose new restrictions in a bid to stem the ongoing spread.Public health officials in New Brunswick reported 17 new cases across the province, 10 of which were in the Edmundston region, which was set to go into a lockdown first thing Sunday morning.Starting at midnight, non-essential travel is prohibited in and out of the area, which borders northern Maine and Quebec's Bas-St-Laurent region. The health order forces the closure of all non-essential businesses as well as schools and public spaces, including outdoor ice rinks and ski hills. All indoor and outdoor gatherings among people of different households are prohibited.Saskatchewan, meanwhile, logged 274 new cases of the virus and three new deaths, while Manitoba counted three more deaths and 216 new diagnoses. Alberta logged 573 new cases and 13 virus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, while both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new infections on Saturday. Both Quebec and Ontario reported fewer cases Saturday — 1,685 and 2,359 respectively.But officials in Ontario expressed concern about a highly contagious U.K. variant of the virus that was detected at a long-term care facility north of Toronto.Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit confirmed the variant was behind the outbreak at Roberta Place Retirement Lodge in Barrie, Ont., where 32 residents have died of COVID-19 and dozens of others have tested positive."Stringent and consistent efforts are needed to sustain a downward trend in case counts and strongly suppress COVID-19 activity across Canada," Tam said. "This will not only prevent more tragic outcomes, but will help to ensure that new virus variants of concern do not have the opportunity to spread."Fears of variants that can circulate quickly come as the federal government considers a mandatory quarantine in hotels for travellers returning to Canada. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. Victoria Ahearn and Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version erroneously quoted Health Canada as saying the test needs to be administered by a doctor. In fact, the swab must be performed by a health-care professional.
Spain's top military chief has resigned after it was revealed he and other senior officers jumped the queue for a coronavirus vaccine.View on euronews
Officials in President Joe Biden's administration tried to head off Republican concerns that his $1.9 trillion pandemic relief proposal was too expensive on a Sunday call with Republican and Democratic lawmakers, some of whom pushed for a smaller plan targeting vaccine distribution. "It seems premature to be considering a package of this size and scope," said Republican Senator Susan Collins, who was on the call with Brian Deese, director of the White House's National Economic Council, and other top Biden aides.
A new anthology of stories from Vancouver's Chinatown shows how the community is surviving and thriving despite the challenges of gentrification and COVID-19. The neighbourhood has great cultural and historic significance, but has been hit hard by the pandemic. One survey done in October 2019 found that 17 per cent of Chinatown businesses were empty compared to the citywide average of 10 per cent. The combination of higher rents due to gentrification and reduced foot traffic has shuttered some of the long-standing mom and pop operations in the neighbourhood in the past year. "And, you know, when these shops close their doors, it affects the people who depend on their supplies for culturally appropriate foods and groceries and specifically, you know, Chinese seniors and other low-income folks who happen to live in the area," said Brooke Xiang, president of Chinatown Today, a non-profit organization dedicated to sharing stories about Vancouver's Chinatown. Xiang is the co-editor of Chinatown Stories: Volume 3. It's an anthology of stories and interviews from Chinatown during the pandemic. "Editors aren't supposed to pick favourites, but for me personally, I love the two interviews that we did with Chinese seniors," Xiang said. "What I learned from these interviews personally is that the kind of community-building work that we are trying to do today, as youths or younger people — like this isn't anything new, right? It's what our elders ... have been doing for generations." As the Lunar New Year approaches on February 12, Xiang hopes the Year of the Ox brings a sense of strength for the community and the organization. "The ox is a symbol for strength and for stubbornness. I hope that Chinatown Today can be a, you know, maybe not stubborn organization, but a source of fortitude and that hopefully it's a better year." Chinatown Stories: Volume 3 is now available for purchase. Listen to the interview with Brooke Xiang on CBC's On The Coast:
The CW's readaption of Nancy Drew will feature some faces from Calgary. Praneet Akilla and Aadila Dosani have been chose to play the Bobbsey twins and will take on the roles in the series' second season, which begins airing this week. This version of Nancy Drew has been darker than the 1930s mystery books, but nonetheless popular with the audience. Dosani, who will play Amanda Bobbsey and Akilla, who will play her twin brother Gil, spoke with The Homestretch about being cast in the series. This interview has been edited for clarity and length. Question: Praneet, what was it like to get the news? Praneet: I had always been a fan of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books growing up. I hadn't quite read as much about the Bobbsey twins, but I was familiar with them. And when I found out that we were actually playing the iconic twins I was incredibly excited. Aadila: Oh, man. I was in shock, but very stoked. You know, my mom actually was more excited cause she is a massive Nancy Drew fan and she has all the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Bobbsey Twins books. Q: How are the characters interpreted for modern-day TV? P: In terms of the books, obviously we've taken a slightly different direction. So just in terms of the ethnicity as well, you know, making them from Caucasian to South Asian characters now in the show. A: I mean, it's such a great win for representation. And so we've definitely been able to give it our authentic flair, which I think has been so incredibly wonderful and important. Q: Can you tell us anything about the plotline of the series? P: Well, I think in this rendition of the show, it's a darker show with a supernatural element. And there is a darker twist on the Bobbsey twins, you know, they have grown up on the wrong side of the tracks. It's a darker show, darker characters. They have a sordid past that they have to come to terms with. A: I feel like there's still, you know, little elements of them in terms of their curiosity and just having that twinning energy, where it's the yin and yang. Q: Is it a family show? A: I do think it's a family show. I feel like this version of the show deals with a lot more supernatural elements and psychological elements and things about self-identity and relationships. If you are terrified of the supernatural, our effects team is so great, so maybe watch it in the daytime. Q: What sort of stuff do your characters explore? P: I think an interesting thing that gets explored in the series is certainly codependency. How healthy or unhealthy it is and so that's what they're kind of exploring in the show with both of the twins. Q: You both grew up in Calgary. Did you know each other prior? P: We didn't know each other. We'd run into each other a little bit just before. I'm pretty sure we met in early 2020. A: I heard of Aadila just being in Calgary and then having lots of mutual friends. You sort of travel on a film and TV or theatre circles. You kind of get to know people by hearsay. Q: So what's that like, to be cast as a twin with someone who turns out to be from the same city? P: There's an understanding there we don't have to speak at all about, you know, we know what quadrant we grew up in, what schools we went to. It's effortless between us now because of being from a city that we're both proud to be from. Q: How did you both get into acting? P: I sort of grew up doing lots of theatre in junior high and high school, always wanted to be an actor and knew that that's what I wanted to do with my life. Just didn't have the courage to fully pursue it. I got my engineering degree and then came back to Calgary and started working with Storybook Theatre, Front Row Centre and community theatres. A: I feel like my parents needed that weekend time and they threw me into community theatre. That was in elementary. In junior high, I started doing all of those, you know, productions and then went into high school. I always say I feel like acting is my only marketable skill because I've been doing this my whole life. Q: What was filming like? I imagine things are much different than either of you have experienced before on a set? P: The whole cast and crew get regularly tested twice [for COVID-19]. And we have very, very strict protocols from both CBS and CW. We always get checked in the mornings, do our health screenings before we start and try to keep masks on as much as possible. A: Once we got in there, I mean, the team has done such a brilliant job of keeping it so safe. And once, you know, I was able to fall into that and really trust that, it just became smooth sailing. With files from The Homestretch.
FREDERICTON — Public Health officials in New Brunswick reported another 20 cases of COVID-19 in the province Sunday, just hours after one of the province's hardest-hit areas began a 14-day lockdown. Nine of the new cases are in the newly locked-down Edmundston region which now has 144 of the province's 334 active cases. Ten of the new cases are in the Moncton region and there is one new case in the Miramichi area. Health officials say the Edmundston lockdown is needed to curb a rise in daily infections that they fear is about to get out of control. As of now, non-essential travel is prohibited in and out of the area, which borders Maine and Quebec's Bas-St-Laurent region. The order also forces non-essential businesses, schools and public spaces to close, including outdoor ice rinks and ski hills. Provincial officials say they will evaluate the situation in the region every seven days, and cabinet may extend the lockdown if necessary. New Brunswick has had 1,124 COVID-19 cases and 13 related deaths since the pandemic began. Five people are in hospital, including two in intensive care. "We will be more confident in our decision making, and zone restrictions are more likely to be eased, if more New Brunswickers, in all health zones, who have symptoms get tested," Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said Sunday in a statement. The Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton regions are in the red level of the province's pandemic recovery plan, with the rest of the province at the orange level. A handful of schools in the province are also poised to make the move to remote learning amid the surge in local infections. Monday will be an operational response day at Andover Elementary School, Perth-Andover Middle School and Southern Victoria High School in Perth-Andover, as well as Donald Fraser Memorial School and Tobique Valley High School in Plaster Rock. Students in those schools will learn from home starting Tuesday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — Many residents of British Columbia's south coast woke up to rain on Sunday after expecting an overnight snow dump, but Environment Canada warns snow is still in the forecast. The federal weather agency updated its snowfall warnings for the region early Sunday morning, saying that between two to 15 centimetres are expected by Monday morning. It says communities near the water such as Comox, Parksville, Nanaimo and lower elevations of Metro Vancouver could see up to five centimetres of snow, while rain or wet snow is also possible in these areas with no accumulations. Higher elevations and inland sections of Metro Vancouver, the western Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast are expected to see greater accumulations. Environment Canada says precipitation is expected to ease Sunday afternoon and then return in the evening, with snowfall at night and on Monday mainly accumulating over higher elevations. The agency is asking residents to be prepared to adjust their driving with changing road conditions, as rapidly falling snow could make travel difficult in some locations. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — As the House prepares to bring the impeachment charge against Donald Trump to the Senate for trial, a growing number of Republican senators say they are opposed to the proceeding, dimming the chances that former president will be convicted on the charge that he incited a siege of the U.S. Capitol. House Democrats will carry the sole impeachment charge of “incitement of insurrection” across the Capitol late Monday evening, a rare and ceremonial walk to the Senate by the prosecutors who will argue their case. They are hoping that strong Republican denunciations of Trump after the Jan. 6 riot will translate into a conviction and a separate vote to bar Trump from holding office again. But instead, GOP passions appear to have cooled since the insurrection. Now that Trump's presidency is over, Republican senators who will serve as jurors in the trial are rallying to his legal defence, as they did during his first impeachment trial last year. “I think the trial is stupid, I think it’s counterproductive,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.. He said that "the first chance I get to vote to end this trial, I’ll do it” because he believes it would be bad for the country and further inflame partisan divisions. Trump is the first former president to face impeachment trial, and it will test his grip on the Republican Party as well as the legacy of his tenure, which came to a close as a mob of loyal supporters heeded his rally cry by storming the Capitol and trying to overturn Joe Biden's election. The proceedings will also force Democrats, who have a full sweep of party control of the White House and Congress, to balance their promise to hold the former president accountable while also rushing to deliver on Biden's priorities. Arguments in the Senate trial will begin the week of Feb. 8. Leaders in both parties agreed to the short delay to give Trump's team and House prosecutors time to prepare and the Senate the chance to confirm some of Biden’s Cabinet nominees. Democrats say the extra days will allow for more evidence to come out about the rioting by Trump supporters, while Republicans hope to craft a unified defence for Trump. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said in an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday that he hopes that evolving clarity on the details of what happened Jan. 6 “will make it clearer to my colleagues and the American people that we need some accountability.” Coons questioned how his colleagues who were in the Capitol that day could see the insurrection as anything other than a “stunning violation” of tradition of peaceful transfers of power. “It is a critical moment in American history and we have to look at it and look at it hard,” Coons said. An early vote to dismiss the trial probably would not succeed, given that Democrats now control the Senate. Still, the mounting Republican opposition indicates that many GOP senators would eventually vote to acquit Trump. Democrats would need the support of 17 Republicans — a high bar — to convict him. When the House impeached Trump on Jan. 13, exactly one week after the siege, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said he didn’t believe the Senate had the constitutional authority to convict Trump after he had left office. On Sunday, Cotton said “the more I talk to other Republican senators, the more they’re beginning to line up” behind that argument. “I think a lot of Americans are going to think it’s strange that the Senate is spending its time trying to convict and remove from office a man who left office a week ago,” Cotton said. Democrats reject that argument, pointing to a 1876 impeachment of a secretary of war who had already resigned and to opinions by many legal scholars. Democrats also say that a reckoning of the first invasion of the Capitol since the War of 1812, perpetrated by rioters egged on by a president who told them to “fight like hell” against election results that were being counted at the time, is necessary so the country can move forward and ensure such a siege never happens again. A few GOP senators have agreed with Democrats, though not close to the number that will be needed to convict Trump. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said he believes there is a “preponderance of opinion” that an impeachment trial is appropriate after someone leaves office. “I believe that what is being alleged and what we saw, which is incitement to insurrection, is an impeachable offence,” Romney said. “If not, what is?” But Romney, the lone Republican to vote to convict Trump when the Senate acquitted the then-president in last year’s trial, appears to be an outlier. Sen. Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota, said he believes a trial is a “moot point” after a president's term is over, “and I think it’s one that they would have a very difficult time in trying to get done within the Senate.” On Friday, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a close Trump ally who has been helping him build a legal team, urged the Senate to reject the idea of a post-presidency trial — potentially with a vote to dismiss the charge — and suggested Republicans will scrutinize whether Trump’s words on Jan. 6 were legally “incitement.” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who said last week that Trump “provoked” his supporters before the riot, has not said how he will vote or argued any legal strategies. The Kentucky senator has told his GOP colleagues that it will be a vote of conscience. One of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s nine impeachment managers said Trump’s encouragement of his loyalists before the riot was "an extraordinarily heinous presidential crime." Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pennsylvania., said "I mean, think back. It was just two-and-a-half weeks ago that the president assembled a mob on the Ellipse of the White House. He incited them with his words. And then he lit the match.” Trump’s supporters invaded the Capitol and interrupted the electoral count as he falsely claimed there was massive fraud in the election and that it was stolen by Biden. Trump’s claims were roundly rejected in the courts, including by judges appointed by Trump, and by state election officials. Rubio and Romney were on “Fox News Sunday,” Cotton appeared on Fox News Channel's “Sunday Morning Futures” and Romney also was on CNN's “State of the Union,” as was Dean. Rounds was interviewed on NBC's “Meet the Press.” ___ Associated Press writer Hope Yen contributed to this report. Mary Clare Jalonick And Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden attended Mass for the first time since taking office, worshipping Sunday at the church he frequented when he was vice-president. Biden, the nation’s second Catholic president, picked Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington's Georgetown neighbourhood, a few miles from the White House. It's where the nation’s only other Catholic president, John F. Kennedy, often went to Mass. Biden entered through the front entrance, where a Black Lives Matter banner was hanging on one side and a banner with this quote from Pope Francis was on the other. “We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday that Biden had not yet settled on a home church in the nation’s capital, but said that she expected Biden will continue to regularly attend services during his presidency. At home in Delaware, Biden and his wife, Jill, were regulars at St. Joseph on the Brandywine in Greenville. They alternated between the Saturday and Sunday services depending on their travel schedules throughout the 2020 campaign. Catholic faithful have an obligation to attend Sunday services, but church teaching allows for the commitment to be fulfilled by attending a service on the evening of the preceding day. The newly-sworn in Democrat has certainly has plenty of parish choices in Washington: Four Catholic churches sit within 2 miles (3.2 kilometres) of the White House; Holy Trinity is a bit farther. On the morning of his inauguration Wednesday, Biden and his family, along with Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress, attended a service at one of those churches, the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. The church hosted Kennedy’s funeral service in 1963. With the coronavirus still surging in the capital city, Biden is bound to see small crowds wherever he goes. For the time being, rules in the District of Columbia limit gatherings at houses of worship to 25% of capacity or 250 people, whichever is less. Previous presidents have made a wide variety of worship choices — or none. Not far from the White House is New York Avenue Presbyterian, which maintains the pew where Abraham Lincoln once worshipped. Even closer is St. John’s Episcopal Church, walkable across Lafayette Square from the White House for the presidents who have made a historic practice of worshipping there at least once. St. John’s was thrust into the headlines this summer when police forcibly dispersed protesters so President Donald Trump could pose with a Bible outside its butter-yellow front doors. But its status as the “Church of Presidents” dates to James Madison, and it’s accustomed to the special scrutiny that comes with hosting commanders in chief. Trump, who frequently spent Sundays at his namesake golf club in northern Virginia, was not a regular churchgoer. President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, became members of Foundry United Methodist Church, a short drive from the White House that also counted the 19th president, Rutherford. B. Hayes, as a member. President Jimmy Carter, who in post presidency life taught Sunday school, worshipped dozens of times at Washington’s First Baptist Church during his time in the White House. —- Associated Press writers Will Weissert and Elana Schor contributed to this report. Aamer Madhani, The Associated Press
Crying outside a Mexico City cemetery, a family embraced the box that contained the ashes of their beloved grandmother. The grandmother had fallen ill a few days after they met to celebrate New Year's, and died shortly after, family members said. Mexico is set to surpass 150,000 deaths from COVID-19, one of the world's highest death tolls, a Reuters tally shows.
Homicide detectives are investigating the death of a 53-year-old man who was found injured in a residence in the Athlone neighbourhood. Patrol officers arrived at a residence near 128 Avenue and 129 Street at about 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, responding to a trouble not known call, according to an Edmonton Police Service news release. The officers found an unconscious man inside the home, and began performing CPR on him until EMS arrived. He was taken to hospital, but died of his injuries at about 4:20 a.m. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday morning, but in the meantime detectives are treating the death as suspicious.