WASHINGTON — The General Services Administration ascertained Monday that President-elect Joe Biden is the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election, clearing the way for the start of the transition from President Donald Trump’s administration and allowing Biden to co-ordinate with federal agencies on plans for taking over on Jan. 20.Trump, who had refused to concede the election, said in a tweet that he is directing his team to co-operate on the transition but is vowing to keep up the fight.Administrator Emily Murphy made the determination after Trump efforts to subvert the vote failed across battleground states, citing, “recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results.” Michigan certified Biden’s victory Monday, and a federal judge in Pennsylvania tossed a Trump campaign lawsuit on Saturday seeking to prevent certification in that state.Yohannes Abraham, the executive director of the Biden transition, said in a statement that the decision “is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track.”He added: “In the days ahead, transition officials will begin meeting with federal officials to discuss the pandemic response, have a full accounting of our national security interests, and gain complete understanding of the Trump administration’s efforts to hollow out government agencies.”Murphy, a Trump appointee, had faced bipartisan criticism for failing to begin the transition process sooner, preventing Biden’s team from working with career agency officials on plans for his administration, including in critical national security and public health areas.“Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts. I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official—including those who work at the White House or GSA—with regard to the substance or timing of my decision,” Murphy wrote in a letter to Biden.Trump tweeted shortly after her letter was made public: “We will keep up the good fight and I believe we will prevail! Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.”Pressure had been mounting on Murphy as an increasing number of Republicans, national security experts and business leaders said it was time for that process to move forward.Retiring Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, who has repeatedly called for the transition to begin, released a new statement Monday saying that Trump should “put the country first” and help Biden’s administration succeed.“When you are in public life, people remember the last thing you do,” Alexander said.Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio on Monday called for Murphy to release money and staffing needed for the transition. Portman, a senior member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, also said Biden should receive high-level briefings on national security and the coronavirus vaccine distribution plan.Alexander and Portman, who have both aligned themselves with Trump, joined a growing number of Republican officials who in recent days have urged Trump to begin the transition immediately. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., also urged a smooth transition, saying in a statement Monday that “at some point, the 2020 election must end.”Meanwhile, more than 160 business leaders asked Murphy to immediately acknowledge Biden as president-elect and begin the transition to a new administration. “Withholding resources and vital information from an incoming administration puts the public and economic health and security of America at risk,? the business leaders said in an open letter to Murphy.Separately, more than 100 Republican former national security officials — including former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, former CIA Director Michael Hayden and former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte — said in a statement that Trump’s refusal to concede and allow for an orderly transition “constitutes a serious threat” to America’s democratic process. The officials signing the letter worked under four Republican presidents, including Trump.The statement called on “Republican leaders — especially those in Congress — to publicly demand that President Trump cease his anti-democratic assault on the integrity of the presidential election.”Trump had publicly refused to accept defeat and launched a series of losing court battles across the country making baseless claims of widespread voter fraud and seeking to overturn the election results.Murphy missed a deadline on Monday set by House Democrats to brief lawmakers about the delay in beginning the transition, which is usually a routine step between the election and the inauguration. A spokeswoman for the GSA said that a deputy administrator would instead hold two separate briefings for House and Senate committees on Nov. 30.In response, the Democratic chairs of four committees and subcommittees said they could reschedule the meeting for Tuesday, but no later.“We cannot wait yet another week to obtain basic information about your refusal to make the ascertainment determination,” the Democrats said in a letter to Murphy. “Every additional day that is wasted is a day that the safety, health, and well-being of the American people is imperiled as the incoming Biden-Harris administration is blocked from fully preparing for the coronavirus pandemic, our nation’s dire economic crisis, and our national security.”Portman said it was “only prudent” for GSA to begin the transition process immediately.“Donald Trump is our president until Jan. 20, 2021, but in the likely event that Joe Biden becomes our next president, it is in the national interest that the transition is seamless and that America is ready on Day One of a new administration for the challenges we face,? Portman wrote in an op-ed calling for the transition to begin.Murphy's ascertainment will free up money for the transition and clear the way for Biden’s team to begin placing transition personnel at federal agencies. Trump administration officials had said they would not give Biden the classified presidential daily briefing on intelligence matters until the GSA makes the ascertainment official.“Now that GSA Administrator Emily Murphy has fulfilled her duty and ascertained the election results, the formal presidential transition can begin in full force,” said Max Stier, president and CEO of the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service. “Unfortunately, every day lost to the delayed ascertainment was a missed opportunity for the outgoing administration to help President-elect Joe Biden prepare to meet our country’s greatest challenges. The good news is that the president-elect and his team are the most prepared and best equipped of any incoming administration in recent memory.”Among those signing the letter from business leaders were Jon Gray, president of the Blackstone private equity firm; Robert Bakish, president and CEO of ViacomCBS Inc.; Henry Kravis, the co-chief executive of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., another private equity giant; David Solomon, CEO at Goldman Sachs; and George H. Walker, CEO of the investment firm Neuberger Berman and a second cousin to former President George W. Bush.Matthew Daly, Zeke Miller And Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
NORTH HURON – The Howson Dam spillway will be tested for stability to provide information to North Huron council that will ensure the structure’s safety, before any more plans are put in place regarding the dam. A report was submitted to council on Nov. 16 by Jamie McCarthy, director of public works, that included a proposal from Chant Limited to test the spillway, “a passage for surplus water from a dam or reservoir,” according to the Oxford Canadian Dictionary. This testing is to confirm the suitability of the existing concrete for rehabilitation and provide information regarding the dam’s safety if it were to be left in place. After decades of discussion, studies, and proposals, councillors recognize the need to move forward with some form of decision. Even though the money to do yet another study seems redundant, they passed the motion to accept the proposal. In a recorded vote, which passed 5–2, council authorized the first of two phases in the proposal at a total of $46,860 (exclusive of taxes). It will revisit phase two at a later date, once they have some answers from Chant Limited. According to the report, Chant Limited was the only company that submitted a bid for the Howson Dam Request for Proposal (RFP). Chant Limited’s submission was complete and provided costing for Phase One and Two. Phase One is the core sampling, testing, and reporting to North Huron council on the findings. Phase Two is the development of detailed estimates for all costs associated with removing the bridge and rehabilitation of the Howson Dam spillways. Their bid is as follows: A. Phase One – Concrete Spillway Testing - $46,860 B. Phase Two – Project Estimate (AACE Class 3) - $47,835 This engineering will be funded from the existing Howson Bridge Reserve Fund, which has a balance of $93,759. If through Phase One, core sampling and testing provide the outcome that triggers Phase Two, there will be a shortfall of $936. The outcome of Phase One will provide the information necessary for council to begin fundraising to rehabilitate the dam or to assure that the dam can stay in place as it is, safely.Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
COVID-19. Les plus récentes données sur l'évolution de la COVID-19, au Québec, font état de 1 164 nouveaux cas, pour un nombre total de personnes infectées de 133 206. Elles font également état de 13 nouveaux décès, pour un total de 6 842. De ces 13 décès, 3 sont survenus dans les 24 dernières heures et 10 sont survenus entre le 16 et le 21 novembre. Le nombre d'hospitalisations a diminué de 8 par rapport à la veille, avec un cumul de 634. Parmi celles-ci, le nombre de personnes se trouvant aux soins intensifs a diminué de 5, et s'élève maintenant à 98. Les prélèvements réalisés le 21 novembre s'élèvent à 20 017, pour un total de 3 706 400. Tableau synthèse de l'évolution des données DateCas confirmésDécèsHospitalisationsHospitalisations aux soins intensifsPrélèvements réalisés16 novembre98220638 (+47)100 (+13)25 16517 novembre1 17925652 (+14)10031 93518 novembre1 20735651 (-1)101 (+1)34 70319 novembre1 25926624 (-27)96 (-5)31 09920 novembre1 18915646 (+22)99 (+3)34 21721 novembre 1 15413642 (-4)103 (+4)20 01722 novembre1 1643634 (-8)98 (-5)ND Nombre de cas par région Régions sociosanitaires22 novembre 2020Total des cas 01 - Bas-Saint-Laurent2171802 - Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean1614 26203 - Capitale-Nationale10610 79904 - Mauricie-et-Centre-du-Québec536 37805 - Estrie624 15306 - Montréal29448 74507 - Outaouais483 33508 - Abitibi-Témiscamingue025809 - Côte-Nord319910 - Nord-du-Québec05211 - Gaspésie – Îles-de-la-Madeleine31 31612 - Chaudière-Appalaches404 96513 - Laval6310 83714 - Lanaudière14210 49315 - Laurentides417 64616 - Montérégie12518 92217 - Nunavik02918 - Terres-Cries-de-la-Baie-James016Hors Québec280Région à déterminer03Total1 164133 206 Nombre de décès par région 01 - Bas-Saint-Laurent1502 - Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean9603 - Capitale-Nationale41304 - Mauricie-et-Centre-du-Québec24905 - Estrie5406 - Montréal3 59507 - Outaouais7108 - Abitibi-Témiscamingue409 - Côte-Nord210 - Nord-du-Québec011 - Gaspésie – Îles-de-la-Madeleine3712 - Chaudière-Appalaches11913 - Laval72114 - Lanaudière30315 - Laurentides33116 - Montérégie83117 - Nunavik018 - Terres-Cries-de-la-Baie-James1Hors Québec0Région à déterminer0Total6 842 Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Users, who could previously share snaps or stories with friends, can now share them directly to Spotlight and garner more followers, Snap said in a blog post https://press.snap.com/introducing-spotlight. Facebook Inc earlier this year launched Instagram Reels - the company's version of TikTok wherein users can record short mobile-friendly videos, then add special effects and soundtracks pulled from a music library.
B.C. health officials have confirmed another 1,933 cases of COVID-19 over the last three days, a weekend which also saw 17 more people die of the disease.The number of patients in hospital with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus is at 277, another new high, with 59 people in intensive care. There are now 7,360 active cases of the virus across B.C.Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry became emotional during Monday's briefing, as she addressed the growing spread of the virus in long-term care and assisted living, saying the majority of those who died this weekend were seniors and elders living in long-term care.She said it is urgent for everyone to do their part to reduce their social interactions and get the spread of this virus under control, but also offered reassurance that health officials and members of the public. have the tools and the knowledge to do that."I say this to fuel that fire of determination and resilience that I have seen in people across this province," Henry said.Monday's update included six new outbreaks in the health-care system. There are now 54 active outbreaks in long-term care and assisted living and six in acute care units of hospitals. The majority of the new cases announced Monday — about 89 per cent — continue to be in the regions covered by Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health.To date, 27,407 people in B.C. have had confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 348 people have died. There are now 10,200 people in isolation and under active monitoring by public health workers because of exposure to the disease.'The next leg is not in sight'The weekend was the first in B.C. under a long list of public health orders and recommendations that came into effect on Thursday.The orders, which include mandatory masks in indoor public spaces and social gatherings that are restricted to members of the same household, will be in effect until at least Dec. 7. All indoor and outdoor events of any size have been suspended — that means popular events like the Stanley Park Christmas Train and VanDusen Botanical Garden's Festival of Lights in Vancouver have been put on hold.Henry clarified Monday that despite some confusion over the weekend, movie theatres must also close for now.Initially, stricter orders to slow the spread of COVID-19 only included the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions, which were seeing a disproportionate spike in case numbers.Monday marks 16 days since Henry enacted those first regional orders. It takes at least 14 days, the incubation period for COVID-19, to be able to determine whether those measures are working.During Monday's briefing, Henry compared the pandemic to an Iron Man triathlon competition, with "three different, strenuous legs."We got through the swim — just barely. And now we're on the bike ride and we've got some big hills to climb ahead of us," she said."Right now, we have a distance to go. The next leg is not in sight."The final leg of this pandemic will only come when a vaccine is available, Henry explained.New measures and restrictionsSocial gatherings in B.C. are now restricted to household members only. That means no one should be meeting for social reasons with anyone outside of their immediate household, although a physically distanced walk with a friend or arranging for grandparents to pick up the kids from school is still acceptable.People who live alone can create a small exclusive "bubble" with one or two others, Henry has said.Health Minister Adrian Dix said Monday that there can be no bartering or compromise when it comes to the orders that are currently in place."We cannot negotiate with the virus. We can't deal with it that way — there's no litigation to be had," he said.In response to questions about how much notice event organizers might receive about when they're able to reschedule because the current orders are being lifted, Henry said she didn't have an answer."Things we were able to do in the summer — we had a buffer, we had the weather on our side. We can't get away with that anymore. We will see if that is going to make a difference over the next coming weeks," she said.The new mandatory mask mandate is a requirement for workers and members of the public to wear face coverings in all retail environments, restaurants and indoor public spaces, including common areas of workplaces, except when eating or drinking.The order for mandatory masks does not include schools.Henry said Monday that schools aren't public places where strangers can come and go at will. Instead, the same people are spending time together every day.However she said that masks are encouraged within school environments, particularly for adults.
LONDON — Drugmaker AstraZeneca said Monday that late-stage trials showed its COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective, buoying the prospects of a relatively cheap, easy-to-store product that may become the vaccine of choice for the developing world.The results are based on an interim analysis of trials in the U.K. and Brazil of a vaccine developed by Oxford University and manufactured by AstraZeneca. No hospitalizations or severe cases of COVID-19 were reported in those receiving the vaccine.AstraZeneca is the third major drug company to report late-stage data for a potential COVID-19 vaccine as the world waits for scientific breakthroughs that will end a pandemic that has pummeled the world economy and led to 1.4 million deaths. But unlike the others, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine doesn’t have to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, making it easier to distribute, especially in developing countries.“I think these are really exciting results,” Dr. Andrew Pollard, chief investigator for the trial, said at a news conference. “Because the vaccine can be stored at fridge temperatures, it can be distributed around the world using the normal immunization distribution system. And so our goal … to make sure that we have a vaccine that was accessible everywhere, I think we’ve actually managed to do that.”The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in one of the dosing regimens tested; it was less effective in another. Earlier this month, rival drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna reported preliminary results from late-stage trials showing their vaccines were almost 95% effective.While the AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at 2 degrees to 8 degrees Celsius (36 degrees to 46 degrees Fahrenheit), the Pfizer and Moderna products must be stored at temperatures approaching minus-70 degrees Celsius (minus-94 Fahrenheit).The AstraZeneca vaccine is also cheaper.AstraZeneca, which has pledged it won’t make a profit on the vaccine during the pandemic, has reached agreements with governments and international health organizations that put its cost at about $2.50 a dose. Pfizer’s vaccine costs about $20, while Moderna’s is $15 to $25, based on agreements the companies have struck to supply their vaccines to the U.S. government.All three vaccines must be approved by regulators before they can be widely distributed.AstraZeneca applied for approval of its vaccine candidate in Canada on Oct. 1, under a special process that is allowing Health Canada to review COVID-19 vaccines for use at the same time as the vaccines are finishing their final clinical trials. Pfizer and Moderna have also applied for the rolling-review process.Canada signed a deal with AstraZeneca at the end of September to secure 20 million doses of the highly touted vaccine. The federal government has not said when those doses would be available to Canadians, but they can't be distributed here until Health Canada gives the vaccine the green light for use.Oxford researchers and AstraZeneca stressed they weren’t competing with other projects and said multiple vaccines would be needed to reach enough of the world’s population to end the pandemic.“We need to be able to make a lot of vaccine for the world quickly, and it’s best if we can do it with different technologies so that if one technology runs into a roadblock, then we’ve got alternatives, we've got diversity,'' professor Sarah Gilbert, a leader of the Oxford team, told The Associated Press. “Diversity is going to be good here, but also in terms of manufacturing, we don’t want to run out of raw materials.”AstraZeneca said it will immediately apply for early approval of the vaccine where possible, and it will seek an emergency use listing from the World Health Organization, so it can make the vaccine available in low-income countries.The AstraZeneca trial looked at two different dosing regimens. A half-dose of the vaccine followed by a full dose at least one month later was 90% effective. Another approach, giving patients two full doses one month apart, was 62% effective.That means that, overall, when both ways of dosing are considered, the vaccine showed an efficacy rate of 70%.Gilbert said researchers aren't sure why giving a half-dose followed by a larger dose was more effective, and they plan to investigate further. But the answer is probably related to providing exactly the right amount of vaccine to get the best response, she said.“It's the Goldilocks amount that you want, I think, not too little and not too much. Too much could give you a poor quality response as well ...,'' she said. "I’m glad that we looked at more than one dose because it turns out to be really important.”The vaccine uses a weakened version of a common cold virus that is combined with genetic material for the characteristic spike protein of the virus that causes COVID-19. After vaccination, the spike protein primes the immune system to attack the virus if it later infects the body.Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said the finding that a smaller initial dose is more effective than a larger one is good news because it may reduce costs and mean more people can be vaccinated with a given supply of the vaccine.“The report that an initial half-dose is better than a full dose seems counterintuitive for those of us thinking of vaccines as normal drugs: With drugs, we expect that higher doses have bigger effects, and more side-effects,” he said. “But the immune system does not work like that.”The results reported Monday come from trials in the U.K. and Brazil that involved 23,000 people. Of those, 11,636 people received the vaccine — while the rest got a placebo.Overall, there were 131 cases of COVID-19. Details on how many people in the various groups became ill weren’t released Monday, but researchers said they will be published in the next 24 hours.Late-stage trials of the vaccine are also underway in the U.S., Japan, Russia, South Africa, Kenya and Latin America, with further trials planned for other European and Asian countries.Researchers said they expect to add the half dose-full dose regimen to the U.S. trial in a “matter of weeks.’’ Before doing so they must discuss the changes with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.The AstraZeneca trials were paused earlier this year after a participant in the U.K. study reported a rare neurological illness. While the trials were quickly restarted in most countries after investigators determined the condition wasn’t related to the vaccine, the FDA delayed the U.S. study for more than a month before it was allowed to resume.AstraZeneca has been ramping up manufacturing capacity, so it can supply hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine starting in January, Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said earlier this month.Soriot said Monday that the Oxford vaccine’s simpler supply chain and AstraZeneca’s commitment to provide it on a non-profit basis during the pandemic mean it will be affordable and available to people around the world.“This vaccine’s efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against COVID-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency,’’ Soriot said.British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he felt “a great sense of relief” at the news from AstraZeneca.Britain has ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine, and the government says several million doses can be produced before the end of the year if it is approved by regulators.Just months ago, “the idea that by November we would have three vaccines, all of which have got high effectiveness … I would have given my eye teeth for,” Hancock said.From the beginning of their collaboration with AstraZeneca, Oxford scientists have demanded that the vaccine be made available equitably to everyone in the world so rich countries can't corner the market as has happened during previous pandemics.Leaders of the world's most powerful nations on Sunday agreed to work together to ensure “affordable and equitable access" to COVID-19 drugs, tests and vaccines.“If we don’t have the vaccine available in many, many countries, and we just protect a small number of them, then we can’t go back to normal because the virus is going to keep coming back and causing problems again," Gilbert said. “No one is safe until we’re all safe.”___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreakDanica Kirka And Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
The CP Holiday Train is a tradition that many hold dear in Medicine Hat. This year, the train is going to have a different look compared to previous iterations. Canadian Pacific is holding a virtual concert this year, so people can still take live music in while not crowding outside with hundreds of others. “Unfortunately because of COVID-19, we had to make the choice to hold the train virtual this year,” said CP spokesperson Salem Woodrow. “The spirit will continue with the Holiday Train at Home Concert.” The concert will launch at 6 p.m. on Dec. 12 on the Canadian Pacific Facebook page. “Even though it’s not in-person, we’re happy to bring the train to communities this year,” said Woodrow. The concert will be headlined by Canadian rock band, The Trews and singer Serena Ryder. Jojo Mason, Logan Staats and Kelly Prescott will also be performing. As is tradition, people will be encouraged to donate to their local food bank as part of the Holiday Train experience. “We know it’s been a hard year for everyone, but we encourage people to donate as best they can this year, and to be as generous as they’re able to be,” said Woodrow. Canadian Pacific will be making donations to food banks in all municipalities that the train usually stops in. The Holiday Train has been around for 22 years, and has stopped all around North America. In its first 21 years, the train has raised more than $17 million and has collected nearly five million pounds of food for food banks. People can find CP on social media platforms by searching for Canadian Pacific.Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News
A former chief of Siksika Nation and Blackfoot leader, Isapo-muxika, is one of several historical figures under consideration to be featured on the Bank of Canada’s new $5 bill. Eight shortlisted candidates are being considered for the new note selected from a list of 600 eligible nominees from a six-week public consultation process that ended March 11, 2020. Over 45,000 Canadians participated in the process. Isapo-muxika or Sahpo Muxika, known more commonly as Crowfoot, was born circa 1830 near Belly River, Alta. and died April 25, 1890 near Blackfoot Crossing. Crowfoot was a leader of the Blackfoot Confederacy and known for his judicious use of diplomacy, and for being an advocate for peace between Indigenous nations and with settlers. He was instrumental in the Treaty 7 negotiations, and in preventing the Blackfoot Confederacy from participating in the North-West Resistance of 1885. Later in life, he also fostered peace with neighbouring Indigenous peoples. Others shortlisted for the $5 bill include Pitseolak Ashoona, Robertine Barry (“Françoise”), Binaaswi (Francis Pegahmagabow), Won Alexander Cumyow, Terry Fox, Lotta Hitschmanova, and Onondeyoh (Frederick Ogilvie Loft). The list will be submitted for consideration to the Minister of Finance. Each candidate will be judged on enacting positive change, being a national icon, universality (impacting Canada, reflecting values), uniqueness, and relevancy. The selected candidate will be announced in early 2021.Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
SOUTH BRUCE – Sixty-four per cent of South Bruce residents would vote ‘no’ to a deep geological repository (DGR) if a vote were held today, according to results from an independent survey held in October. Sixteen per cent of respondents indicated they would vote for the proposal while 20 per cent said they were not sure. A total of 284 adult residents participated in the survey. The survey intended to represent the adult population of South Bruce. Protect Our Waterways – No Nuclear Waste (POW-NNW) commissioned Mainstreet Research, one of Canada’s top public opinion and market research firms, to ask residents of South Bruce “if a community vote were held today would you vote for or against creating a deep underground storage facility in South Bruce for high-level radioactive nuclear waste?” Residents were also asked how informed they felt about the issues. Sixty-four per cent answering they feel either very informed or somewhat informed. Only 13 per cent said they felt not informed at all. “This is a clear and resounding rejection of the proposed DGR,” Michelle Stein, president of POW-NNW said, “and residents feel informed enough to make the decision that they are not a willing host.” These findings echo the Municipality of South Bruce’s smaller poll from September 2020, which indicated that 74 per cent of residents want a referendum to vote on the project and 81 per cent of residents disagree with the municipality’s 36 principles for determining the community’s willingness to host the project. “Mayor Buckle and council have said repeatedly they are ‘willing to listen,’” added Ron Groen, a board member for POW-NNW. “I expect Mayor Buckle to listen to this message from a clear majority of the community and tell the NWMO our community is not a willing host.”Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
Michigan election officials certify Democrat Joe Biden's 154,000-vote victory in the state (Nov. 23)
Don't worry, he wasn't actually injured.
Lawyers for a doctor who was alleged to be the source of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Campbellton region last May entered a not guilty plea on his behalf Monday to charges of failing to self-isolate. Dr. Jean Robert Ngola is charged with violating the Emergency Measures Act by allegedly failing to self-isolate for 14 days after travelling to Quebec.Christian Michaud and Joël Étienne, lawyers representing Ngola, appeared by phone to enter the not guilty plea. Ngola, who is now based in Louiseville, Que., was not present. Most of the discussion Monday centred on disclosure of evidence in the case from the Crown to the defence. Ngola's lawyers say they are still missing important documents from various parties like the RCMP and Vitalité Health Network. Provincial court Judge Suzanne Bernard scheduled another hearing by phone on Jan. 4 to discuss disclosure of evidence and to determine if a trial date can be set. Bernard indicated another judge will handle the trial that's expected to last a day, though didn't say why. Premier Blaine Higgs blamed an "irresponsible" medical professional who travelled to Quebec for personal reasons for the Campbellton outbreak who he said "was not forthcoming about their reasons for travel upon returning to New Brunswick" and didn't self-isolate.Higgs didn't name the person, but Ngola was almost immediately identified as the individual and became the subject of threats and racism, his lawyers allege.Ngola disputes he is 'patient zero' and contact tracing casts doubt on whether he was the source.
It only seemed right, says artist Jay Odjick, that he should take his artwork to a whole new level. “I think its important that we see ourselves portrayed in a positive light and I want to bring that from TV to books into clothing now,” said Odjick. “We need to see positive heroic Indigenous depictions on the streets and on our bodies.” Odjick launched his WarriorUP clothing line late last week. WarriorUP includes T-shirts, hoodies, jogging pants, socks, leggings and other workout gear. On Nov. 17, Odjick teased his newest creations on Facebook with the single word “Tomorrow.” Because he is well-known as the creator of Kagagi, the first-ever animated Indigenous superhero television series, which first came to life in a graphic novel, his followers figured he was launching another work of graphic fiction. But instead, Odjick surprised everyone with his clothing line, which includes, among other artwork, an Indigenous man and woman as superheroes. “The First American, Captain Indigenous” has a medicine wheel on his shoulder, wields a Navajo shield, and sports a star on his chest. The female figure is entitled “Girlpowered” and Odjick describes the young woman, whose face is in profile, as “classy, simple, not overdone.” Another logo is entitled “Skoden Club.” “Skoden is a meme that’s spreading,” said Odjick. “It’s a little bit rowdy.” He explains “Skoden” as a very quick oral version of “let’s go then.” His fourth design is a blue thunderbird, which depicts power. The WarriorUP line is all about doing things. Especially in this time of the coronavirus when so many people would rather be couch potatoes, Odjick says, WarriorUP gear emphasizes the need to work out and partake in a fitness regime. But it’s also about standing up for Indigenous rights. “WarriorUP isn’t about combat or violence. It’s about taking a stand for things you care about or believe in,” said Odjick. There’s pride that comes in having an Indigenous superhero like Kagagi or someone like Helen, the main character in the Robert Munsch children’s picture book Blackflies, which Odjick illustrated. “When I was growing up there were no superheroes or children in books who looked like me,” said Odjick. And there’s not a lot of Indigenous apparel out there, either. Odjick says that right now he is focused on reaching First Nations people. While he knows Blackflies, which was a narrative shared with Munsch by a First Nations family, found a reading audience with non-Indigenous people, Odjick says his “primary goal” is to bring “cool designs” and a sense of pride to First Nations people with their own apparel. Odjick, who is Algonquin from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation in Quebec, would like to expand his WarriorUP gear to include artwork from other First Nations illustrators. It is important to him that that work be authentic. It’s not his place, he says, to re-create Coast Salish art. He’ll be reaching out personally to artists from the West Coast to see if they may be interested in joining his brand, but that will be phase two or three of his business, once he has the time. “I have a hard time delegating,” he said. “I like to be accessible.” So for now, his energy will be focused on building up his line with his four designs. Fittingly, his apparel also includes face masks, which will forever remind people that WarriorUP was launched in 2020 during COVID-19. The WarriorUP line also includes coffee mugs, cell-phone cases, beach towels, stickers, wall tapestry, a throw pillow and tote bag. Odjick says his venture shows that anything can be accomplished once a person puts their mind to it. “Anyone can do something like this. You don’t have to have deep pockets. You can make it on your own,” he said. WarriorUP gear is available online only through WarriorUp | Teespring. Once COVID-19 is under control and Odjick can attend powwows and other events, he will have stock available for sale. “WarriorUP is for somebody who stands up, gets up, and does something,” said Odjick. Windspeaker.comBy Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
Two prominent Saskatoon support agencies were closed Monday after staff tested positive for COVID-19.The Saskatoon Food Bank will stay closed until at least Wednesday. Prairie Harm Reduction, a safe consumption site, is closing for two weeks.The Food Bank had three positive cases of COVID-19 identified in the workplace, two this past weekend. One was a staff member who was off last week, said executive director Laurie O'Connor.The building will be sanitized when closed and O'Connor said the canned and packaged goods should be all right.Prairie Harm Reduction runs out of a building on 20th Street W. and attracts dozens of people every day."We've already reviewed and compiled a list to work with Public Health to contact trace for those folks," said executive director Jason Mercredi.Mercerdi said the worker is one of 42 on staff. He estimated that the person had contact with about 100 people.He said the decision to close the doors was tough but necessary."Our organization is the only warm-up spot in Pleasant Hill. A lot of people come through our doors," he said.What's yours? CBC Saskatchewan wants to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you. Share your story with our online questionnaire.
Victory is always sweet in municipal politics, said Mayor Duane Favel, and this year, victory has meant starting his fifth term as leader of the Northern Village of Île-à-la-Crosse. Duane defeated fellow mayoral candidate Peter Durocher with 323 votes to 257, with 580 total votes cast. This will be a long four years of council, Favel said, with many challenges facing northern Saskatchewan communities and with COVID-19 those challenges are going to get bigger, he said. In a previous interview before the election, Duane said physician retention and high water levels have been a challenge for the community for years. Joining Duane at the council table will be incumbents Vincent Ahenakew, Bodean Desjarlais, Myra Malboeuf, and Gerald Roy, and new councillors Noel McLean and Kevin Favel. Having a mix of old and new councillors is good to have for both continuity and bringing new voices to the table, Duane said. “It's nice to have a council who clearly has a good background on some of the things we've been working on and to bring those two councillors up to speed. Certainly, their voices will be heard as well.” Mentoring the new councillors will be an important step in the coming term, Duane said. Duane said he would like to thank the outgoing councillors who have stepped away from the table, including Durocher, who decided to run for mayor. The open spots allowed for two new voices to join the conversation and Duane said he is excited to work with this new council. Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) is putting $500,000 from the Ending Violence Association of BC towards sexual assault response service programs over the next three years. The acquisition of the funding, announced by the ONA Nov. 20, is set to build on the work already carried out by the ONA’s “You Empowered and Strong” (YES) program. The program supports Syilx Okanagan Nation individuals, families and communities dealing with the impacts of trauma caused by violence including sexual assault and human trafficking. The funding is in line with the 231 outlying calls to justice coming out of the The Final Report on the National Inquiry Into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, released in 2019, which includes the development of “self-determined and Indigenous-led solutions and services.” The YES program was launched after the ONA Wellness Committee identified needs to address family violence in the Okanagan Nation in 2015. In July 2019, the ONA Chiefs Executive Council passed a Tribal Council Resolution to support the calls to justice out of the Final Report and the continuation of the YES program. Each community determines how to provide the services the YES program offers baed on individual community needs. “The roots of violence toward Syilx women and girls can be traced back to the trauma and systemic racism that communities have experienced over years of colonization. The ONA remains committed to ensuring that Syilx individuals and families across the Nation have proper support, safety and healing,” said Chief Clarence Louie, ONA Chairman. “Through such initiatives as this we are taking decisive action to provide access to community-drive, culturally appropriate and effective services. This work must continue.”Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle
The provincial governments of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island, announced Monday morning that anyone arriving to the provinces from other regions in the Maritimes will have to self-isolate for 14-days, breaking down the Atlantic bubble.
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey and Germany were at loggerheads on Monday after a German frigate enforcing an arms embargo against Libya intercepted a Turkish freighter in the Mediterranean sea and carried out what a senior Turkish official dismissed as an “illegal" search.Turkey said personnel from the German frigate Hamburg were flown by helicopter aboard the freighter Rosaline-A on Sunday as its sailed off the Libyan coast to carry out an hours-long search.Germany’s Defence Ministry said Turkey ordered a halt to the search, forcing the German personnel to depart before completing their work. During their search, the German team had found no cargo that contravened the arms embargo, German Defence Ministry spokesman Christian Thiels told reporters in Berlin.This was the second incident between Turkey and naval forces from a NATO ally country enforcing an arms blockade against Libya. In June, NATO launched an investigation over an incident between Turkish warships and a French naval vessel in the Mediterranean, after France said one of its frigates was “lit up” three times by Turkish naval targeting radar when it tried to approach a Turkish civilian ship suspected of involvement in arms trafficking.A Turkish government official said the German warship’s personnel boarded Rosaline-A without Turkey’s permission in violation of maritime laws. They ended the search around dawn after “understanding that there was nothing but humanitarian aid, biscuits and other material such as paints on board,” the official said.The Rosaline-A continued on its way to Misrata after the search, the official said, adding that Turkey planned to lodge formal complaints about the incident. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with Turkish government rules.Thiels, the German Defence Ministry spokesman, said the German crew requested permission to board.“Upon receiving no reply, a German search team was brought by helicopter to the freighter and commenced the search, and the crew was ‘co-operative',” Thiels said.While the team continued its search, German authorities were notified by Turkey that they did not allow it. The search was then ended and the team sent back to the frigate, Thiels said.The German official said the order to board the ship came from mission's operational headquarters in Rome.__Associated Press writer David Rising in Berlin contributed.Suzan Fraser, The Associated Press
At a briefing Monday on how COVID-19 is affecting Horizon Health Network, president and CEO Karen McGrath said, "we could easily be overwhelmed with a very few new cases." McGrath said each of the regional Horizon Health centres tries to keep three to five medical beds open, and two to three ICU beds are kept open at each of the five largest hospitals to have room for a surge in COVID-19 patients."That doesn't sound like a very large number and it's not a very large number," said McGrath."So if, in fact, you have seven or eight people being admitted in a very short time, then in addition to everybody else we're providing care for, that small number could really impact the system and we could become overwhelmed really quickly."McGrath said, despite possible COVID fatigue, people should follow provincial guidelines and do what they can to stop the spread of the respiratory virus because only a few cases can impact the entire system."What happens is then we work very hard to get people out of hospital," said McGrath.She said if numbers of COVID-19 patients start to rise the first step is to cancel surgeries.64 staff isolatingMcGrath said 64 Horizon staff members are currently in isolation. She said there are not staff to fill in for these vacancies. "We are actually looking hour by hour as to how we staff particular areas," said McGrath.McGrath described the ICUs, emergency rooms and medical beds as "mission critical," meaning that these areas have to be properly staffed."That probably means when we get to a certain level, we are redeploying staff from other areas," and other services like surgeries are then cancelled. Stan Cassidy outbreakHorizon Health Network and New Brunswick Public Health are investigating a potential COVID-19 exposure at Horizon's Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation in Fredericton.McGrath said that about five patients and five staff who had direct contact with the staff member were tested, along with all other staff. Patients at the centre are also being tested for COVID-19.She said outpatient services have been cancelled for at least a week, while people receiving inpatient care will remain at the centre, but extra precautions are being taken."We have isolated patients within our facilities," McGrath said.She said the health care worker who tested positive for COVID on Saturday was not working at other places within Horizon.
The Nova Scotia government is using $21.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief money to purchase thousands of new computers for students and upgrade servers and Wi-Fi systems in schools.The news comes several days after two schools were shut down and moved to at-home learning for two weeks due to several COVID-19 cases.Education Minister Zach Churchill said the province will buy 32,000 new computers, 24,000 of which have already been ordered and are expected to arrive by next month. The rest are to come in the new year.This is in addition to the 14,000 devices the province has already purchased. During a virtual briefing, Churchill said the level of need was determined by surveys submitted earlier this year by students and parents, as well as local input from regional education officials. The minister said the new supply would be able to meet demand."This is about ensuring that there's not a digital divide in our education system, that all of our students have equitable access to the tools they need to learn and succeed, even in an at-home learning environment," he said.The computers are coming from IMP following a tender process.A silver lining for the departmentThe timing is particularly relevant because on Friday the province closed Auburn Drive High School in Cole Harbour and Graham Creighton Junior High School in Cherry Brook for 14 days after three cases of COVID-19 were detected between the two schools.When schools were shut down last spring and learning moved to an at-home model, it caused a number of problems for families and teachers. Churchill said much has been learned from that experience and he expects things to go more smoothly this time.Along with ensuring people who need technology have it, there are guidelines in place to help teachers and other staff and options such as teleconferences, USB drives for the sharing of work and appointments to attend schools in cases where students do not have high-speed internet at home.If there is a silver lining to the situation, Churchill said it's that his department has been forced to consider technological capacity and assess who does and does not have access to digital learning tools sooner than perhaps was otherwise planned."I don't see us moving back from this. In fact, I see us enhancing our ability to utilize technology in the learning environment at school and at home for the long run," he said.Erring on the side of cautionIn announcing the school closures on Friday, Premier Stephen McNeil acknowledged that it was as much about addressing concerns parents, students and staff had about the situation as it was anything else. Churchill said Monday that officials will err on the side of caution when it comes to determining whether a school should shift to a blended learning model or full at-home learning."Even if the risk may be low, we want to make sure that we're responding in a way that minimizes the risk of spread to the best of our ability."Nova Scotia's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Strang, has confirmed that evidence of community spread now exists in the greater Halifax area and his office has started announcing new restrictions. As of Monday, there were 51 known active cases of COVID-19 in the province.The funding announcement is in addition to the $40 million the province announced in August to help with the restart of the school year. Although the issues with technology were well established before September, Churchill said his department was awaiting access to the money from Ottawa before it could act.It's his hope the upgrades to servers and Wi-Fi systems will be completed before the end of the school year. The funding also includes money for 10 new full-time positions to help support the new devices, infrastructure upgrades and general at-home learning needs.MORE TOP STORIES