Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann in the long-running sitcom “Gilligan’s Island,” died Wedneday of causes related to COVID-19 in Los Angeles. She was 82.
Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann in the long-running sitcom “Gilligan’s Island,” died Wedneday of causes related to COVID-19 in Los Angeles. She was 82.
WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers and conservative groups opposed President-elect Joe Biden's forthcoming immigration plan Tuesday as massive amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally, underscoring that the measure faces an uphill fight in a Congress that Democrats control just narrowly. In a further complication, several pro-immigration groups said they would press Biden to go even further and take steps such as immediate moratoriums on deportations, detentions and new arrests. Coupled with the discomfort an immigration push could cause for moderate Democrats, liberals' demands illustrated the pressures facing Biden as four years of President Donald Trump's restrictive and often harsh immigration policies come to an end. “It simply wouldn't have happened without us," Lorella Praeli, co-president of the liberal group Community Change, said of Biden's victory. “So we are now in a powerful position." Biden plans to introduce the legislation shortly after being inaugurated Wednesday, a move he hopes will spotlight his emphasis on an issue that's defied major congressional action since 1986. Its fate, as written, seemed in doubt. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who will become Senate majority leader this week, said Trump's impeachment trial, confirmation of Biden's Cabinet nominees and more COVID-19 relief will be the chamber's top initial priorities. “I look forward to working together with him" on the measure, Schumer said — a choice of words that might suggest changes could be needed for it to pass Congress. Biden's proposal would create an eight-year pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants, set up a processing program abroad for refugees seeking admission to the U.S. and push toward using technology to monitor the border. The measure was described by an official from Biden's transition team who described the plan on condition of anonymity. With an eye toward discouraging a surge of immigrants toward the U.S.-Mexico boundary, the package's route to citizenship would only apply to people already in the U.S. by this past Jan. 1. But it omits the traditional trade-off of dramatically enhanced border security that's helped attract some GOP support in the past, which drew criticism on Tuesday. “A mass amnesty with no safeguards and no strings attached is a nonstarter,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "There are many issues I think we can work co-operatively with President-elect Biden, but a blanket amnesty for people who are here unlawfully isn’t going to be one of them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., often a central player in Senate immigration battles. “Total amnesty, no regard for the health or security of Americans, and zero enforcement," Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who like Rubio is a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender, said in a Monday tweet. That view was shared by Mark Krikorian, executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, which favours curbing immigration. “Past proposals at least accepted the concept of turning off the faucet and mopping up the overflow. This is nothing but mopping up and letting the faucet continue to run," Krikorian said. Rosemary Jenks, top lobbyist for NumbersUSA, which also wants to limit immigration, said the measure seems likely to fail in the Senate. It would need at least 10 Republicans to join all 50 Democrats to overcome a filibuster that would kill the measure. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said, “Moving an immigration reform bill won’t be easy, but I think it’s possible." He cited a 2013 massive overhaul that narrowly passed the Senate, only to die in the GOP-run House. Menendez and Rubio were part of a bipartisan “Gang of 8" senators that helped win Senate approval. Under Biden's legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfil other requirements. From there, it’s a three-year path to naturalization if they pursue citizenship. For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements. Biden is also expected to take swift executive actions, which require no congressional action, to reverse other Trump immigration actions. These include ending to the prohibition on arrivals from predominantly Muslim countries. The legislation represents Biden's bid to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of Trump's restrictive policies and mass deportations. It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years. Biden allies and even some Republicans have identified immigration as a major issue where the new administration could find common ground with the GOP to avoid the stalemate that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades. That kind of major win, even if it involves compromise, could be critical for Biden. He'll be seeking legislative victories in a Congress where Republicans are certain to oppose other Biden priorities, like rolling back some of the GOP’s 2017 tax cuts and increasing federal spending. Democrats will control the 50-50 Senate with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. Democrats currently control the House 222-211, with two vacancies. ___ Barrow reported from Wilmington, Delaware. AP writer Elliot Spagat in San Diego also contributed to this report. Alan Fram, Lisa Mascaro And Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — The COVID-19 vaccine rollout is highlighting the disconnect between the way Canadians see their role in the world and reality, according to international affairs experts. Ottawa is facing pressure to help poorer countries access COVID-19 vaccines, but it is also being pulled internally by provinces demanding their citizens be vaccinated as quickly as possible. The federal government says it will donate hundreds of millions of dollars to help developing countries vaccinate their citizens. But Federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand has said Canada will do "whatever it takes'' to get more vaccine delivered to the country sooner — including, she said, by upping the price it is willing to pay. David Hornsby, professor of international affairs at Carleton University, said the pandemic has shed light on an inward-looking trend that has been developing in the country for decades. Over the past 25 to 30 years, Hornsby said in a recent interview, Canada has gone from having a “very broad and inclusive definition of national interest” to one that is “very narrow and very much focused and located on what is immediately relevant to Canadians.” Canada’s role in international organizations also declined over that period, he added. Canada is certainly not alone in wanting to help itself before it helps others. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization, this week warned that the world is “on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure” as rich countries make deals to secure vaccine and drive up prices. While more than 39 million doses of vaccine have been administered in 49 higher-income countries, said Tedros, who goes by his first name, only one country that the WHO considers lowest income has given out any vaccine — a total of 25 doses. But on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada had made the right move by signing bilateral deals with drug makers — the exact sort of deals criticized by Tedros. "We took extra care to sign more contracts with more potential vaccine makers than most of our allies and indeed have secured more doses per person than any other country," Trudeau told reporters. Jason Nickerson, humanitarian affairs adviser for Doctors Without Borders, says he's worried wealthy countries such as Canada will vaccinate people who are at lower risk of developing serious cases of COVID-19 before people at high risk in poorer countries get their shots. "I think there's just a straight moral obligation to vaccinate people who are at a higher risk of developing the disease, developing severe complications and dying from it when we have a vaccine that could potentially prevent all of those things from happening," Nickerson said in a recent interview. Maxwell Smith, a medical ethicist at Western University and a member of Ontario’s Vaccine Distribution Task Force, said it makes sense that Canadian governments want to get vaccines as fast as they can, but Canadians, he said, also need to recognize that vaccines are a scarce global public good. "Everyone really needs it and would benefit from it,” he said in a recent interview. “That's not to say that Canada doesn't have a particular obligation to its citizens and shouldn't be trying to do what we're doing in getting as many vaccines as quickly as possible into this country. But I hope that it's being balanced against our obligations, also, to those in other countries and our obligations based in our humanity.” Federal International Development Minister Katerina Gould said she doesn't think the idea of inoculating Canadians quickly while helping other countries access vaccines is mutually exclusive. “We're going to ensure that we vaccinate our own population, but at the same time, support global multilateral efforts to vaccinate those who otherwise would not have access to a COVID-19 vaccine,” she said in an interview Monday. But Canada is facing criticism from groups that say it needs to act faster to support global efforts, especially because it has pre-purchase agreements for more doses of vaccine than any other country in the world. Anne-Catherine Bajard, a policy manager with Oxfam Canada, said Canada has made a strong commitment to COVAX, an international organization that aims to help lower-income countries access vaccines. But she'd like to see Canada start contributing to the COVAX vaccine pool immediately, rather than waiting to vaccinate all Canadians first. It's not just the right thing to do from a humanitarian perspective, she said in an interview Friday. There’s also an element of self-interest. “We're not going to stop the pandemic if we do it one country at a time," she said. While the federal government has “secured access” to nearly 400 million doses, Gould said most of those doses remain hypothetical. Only two of the seven vaccines that Ottawa has the right to buy have been approved by Health Canada. “We don't actually have a closet full of hidden vaccines," she said. "These doses don't yet exist." Gould, who co-chairs a COVAX governance body, said Canada is one of the top five donors to the ACT-Accelerator, the international organization that runs COVAX. In total, the federal government said it has committed $865 million in funding to the organization in addition to any donations of surplus vaccine. While the federal government did not provide a timeline for that commitment, according to data from Gavi, the ACT-Accelerator's parent organization, Canada has committed to provide $600 million in direct funding between 2021 and 2025 and to provide $246 million to COVAX this year. And while Canada might be more inward-looking today than in generations past, Hornsby noted the country remains deeply integrated into the global economy and that many Canadians have family overseas. That means Canada can’t isolate itself from the rest of the world and only focus on vaccinating people here, he said. Finding a "happy medium" is difficult, he added. "There's going to be clear winners and clear losers." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. ——— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press
When Dave Smith was offered a subsidized Toronto bachelor apartment in January, it was the culmination of nearly two decades spent on-and-off the city’s social housing waitlist. “I applied, I think this was around 2001 or so,” Smith, 41, said by phone from the downtown shelter where he’s lived for roughly a year. When he first applied for housing, he was struggling to make rent, and later turned to couch-surfing. “It was really, really rough at the time.” But as he waited for a chance at a subsidized unit, Smith’s application was bumped from the waitlist several times. He’d missed some of the requirements — check-ins and updates to his file — needed to stay in the years-long line, said his current housing worker, De-Shawn Lett. It’s a situation Lett sees frequently. And too often, she said, her clients didn’t even realize they’d lost their spot in the housing line — a symptom of what she sees as a lack of accessible information. But this year, that could change. Toronto plans to roll out a new, digitized system to handle its social housing waitlist — a list that, as of January, has more than 81,000 names. According to the city, under the new system, applicants will be updated electronically about any changes to their files, will be able to confirm their interest annually online — currently a manual process — and will be reminded digitally when they need to update the information in their file. The city hopes that the new system will fill empty units faster, as vacancy rates in Toronto Community Housing have steadily increased under COVID-19. The plan is to move from a system where applicants wait idly for offers, to a choice-based system, where applicants nearing the top of the queue can select units of interest from online vacancy listings. “We know right now it is frustrating for people, and there is a sense that they don’t get enough good information,” said Mary-Anne Bedard, general manager of Toronto’s Shelter, Support and Housing Administration (SSHA). The new system, she said, “will put the control in their hands.” The current waitlist process has been criticized for being inefficient. In 2019, Toronto’s auditor general found that just 13 per cent of offers were accepted. Some people couldn’t be contacted when offers went out, while others declined, which they could do up to three times. Those issues cost the city $7 million in 2018 alone, the auditor found, and left units empty. The city aims to roll out its new waitlist system at the same time it adopts a provincially mandated one-offer rule, which will see anyone who rejects a social housing offer without extenuating circumstances lose their place in line. Doug Rollins, SSHA’s director of housing stability services, said the one-offer rule would have been challenging under the current system — with applicants receiving offers “without much warning,” often after years-long waits. Jim Dunn, a professor at McMaster University with expertise in social housing, said a key concern with one-offer systems was applicants accepting units only out of fear about losing their spot in line, then immediately looking for a transfer elsewhere. “You’re not going to improve successful tenancies by forcing people into units they don’t really want,” Dunn said. That’s the kind of issue the city is hoping a choice-based housing offer model will mitigate. Units will be listed for a minimum of two weeks, Rollins said, then offers will go to whoever has the highest standing among those who expressed interest, based on chronology and priority. Some details of the new system aren’t yet ironed out, including how high someone will have to be on the waitlist in order to view listings. While both Dunn and Lori Oliver — a Queen’s University doctoral candidate whose research also involves social housing — agreed that having a choice-based model will likely fill empty units faster, both noted that demand will still outstrip availability. “Small measures to more rapidly house individuals are not going to help the flow of individuals entering this waitlist,” Oliver said. Right now, the city warns of a seven-plus year wait for subsidized bachelor units, and a wait of more than a decade for anything larger. “The need is still more units, more money for housing subsidies, and better functioning buildings (that) people want to live in, and people want to stay in,” said Dunn. Still, Dunn believes a choice-based model will be “advantageous,” since applicants can choose based on their most current needs — rather than receive offers simply based on what’s listed in their file. The new system sounds good Lett, but she hesitates to say how effective she thinks it’ll be before roll-out. “I hope it does work,” she said. “For now, it’s just a vision.” Victoria Gibson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
VICTORIA — British Columbia's representative for children and youth says she has heard harrowing stories from those who were involuntarily hospitalized for a mental illness without access to legal advice. Jennifer Charlesworth has released a report with input from youth who say they were restrained, medicated and secluded against their will. Charlesworth is calling on the B.C. government to amend the Mental Health Act to allow youth to have access to a legal advocate while they're in care. She says that while the Health Ministry believes Indigenous youth are overrepresented when it comes to being detained in hospital, it lacks data on how many youth are being affected. Charlesworth says that's troubling because young people are being retraumatized when what they need is care that is culturally appropriate. She says over a decade, the number of children held under the Mental Health Act has increased an alarming 162 per cent, bringing into question the voluntary system of care and treatment. The province paused legislation last July to amend the act after Charlesworth and some First Nations groups said youth worried about being detained would fear asking for help. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — A Canadian neonatal intensive care nurse who spoke at an anti-lockdown rally in Washington, D.C., has been fired, her employer said on Tuesday.The London Health Sciences Centre in London, Ont., confirmed its termination of Kristen Nagle, who had been suspended since November after attending a similar rally in the city.Nagle was one of two Canadian nurses who drew attention for speaking in Washington on Jan. 6. before supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol, leading to five deaths.In a statement, the London hospital said it suspended Nagle without pay in November for actions "not aligned" with its values and then began an internal investigation. That investigation was now complete, the hospital said."While we are not able to address the specifics of the investigation, we can confirm that the nurse has been terminated with cause," the statement said. "Safeguarding the health of our patients and their families, staff and physicians is of the utmost importance and remains our top priority."Nagle, a 14-year registered nurse, could not immediately be reached for comment.A petition calling for Nagle to be allowed to continue practising as a registered nurse garnered the 1,500 signatures it aimed to collect by noon on Thursday before now pushing to reach 2,500. "People are attacking this human who has an impeccable patient/nurse relationship," the petition states. "She has never brought any harm to them, nor would she ever put herself in a position to cause harm."Among other things, the petition states Nagle took no part in the Capitol protests and was only in D.C. because a summit organized by a group called Global Frontline Nurses had been moved from Florida to the American capital. It also says she has self-quarantined as required. "There are countless nurses who understand that something is not right with the system right now and are terrified from speaking out for fear of getting fired or have their licenses stripped," the petition states.Those signing the online petition called Nagle's fight one of free speech. "Freedom of speech is imperative in a democratic society," said one signatory, identified as Amanda Nafziger. The College of Nurses of Ontario has previously said it was investigating both Nagle and Sarah Choujounian, a registered practical nurse since 2004. The college said it could not provide details and had no further comment on Tuesday.Nagle and Choujounian both spoke at the Jan. 6 rally organized by Global Frontline Nurses, which maintains "fraud is rampant" regarding the COVID-19 crisis inside and outside hospitals.At the summit, Nagle said nurses were being threatened for speaking out or holding contrary views. She slammed policies she said isolate new mothers at a critical time."We are sharing truth with you whatever the cost may be,'' Nagle said. "Nurses, it is our time to rise."Choujounian had spent most of her career at a north Toronto nursing home until last year, has publicly decried COVID-19 vaccines as "experimental" and "unsafe." The founder of a group called Nurses Against Lockdowns, she has called the vaccine promotion and use a "crime against humanity."Global Frontline Nurses has called on nurses to come forward ahead of a news conference on Jan. 21.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden will take place in a Washington on edge, after the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol unleashed a wave of fear and unmatched security concerns. And law enforcement officials are contending not only with the potential for outside threats but also with rising concerns about an insider attack by troops with a duty to protect him. There have been no specific threats made against Biden. The nation's capital is essentially on lockdown. More than 25,000 troops and police have been called to duty. Tanks and concrete barriers block the streets. The National Mall is closed. Fencing lines the perimeter of the U.S. Capitol complex. Checkpoints sit at intersections. The U.S. Secret Service, which is in charge of the event, says it is prepared. But law enforcement officials have been monitoring members of far-right extremist and militia groups. They have grown increasingly concerned about the possibility such groups could stream into Washington and spark violent confrontations, a law enforcement official said. Even in the hours before the event, federal agents were monitoring “concerning online chatter,” which included an array of threats against elected officials and discussions about ways to infiltrate the inauguration, the official said. And 12 National Guard members were removed from the security operation after vetting by the FBI, including two who had made extremist statements in posts or texts about Wednesday's event. Pentagon officials wouldn't give details on the statements. Two other U.S. officials told The Associated Press that all 12 were found to have ties with right-wing militia groups or to have posted extremist views online. The officials, a senior intelligence official and an Army official briefed on the matter, did not say which fringe groups the Guard members belonged to or what unit they served in. The officials told the AP they had all been removed because of “security liabilities.” The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, confirmed that Guard members had been removed and sent home but said only two cases were related to inappropriate comments or texts related to the inauguration. He said the other 10 cases were for potential issues that may involve previous criminal behaviour or activities but were not directly related to the inaugural event. Their removal from the massive security presence at the nation’s capital came amid worries from U.S. defence officials about a potential insider attack or other threat from service members following the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 by Trump supporters. The FBI has been working to vet all 25,000 National Guard in town. Officials have said the Pentagon has found no intelligence so far that would indicate an insider threat. But the FBI has also warned law enforcement officials about the possibility that right-wing fringe groups could pose as members of the National Guard, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the matter. Over the summer, a man carrying a handgun and an assault rifle was arrested in Los Angeles and charged with impersonating a National Guard member during a protest. Actual Guardsmen confronted him when they noticed things out of place on his uniform. Investigators in Washington are particularly worried that members of right-wing extremist groups and militias, like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, could descend on Washington to spark violence, the law enforcement officials said. Some of the extremist groups are known to recruit former military personnel and train extensively and have frequented anti-government and political protests. That concern intensified significantly after investigators identified members of right-wing extremist groups participating in the Capitol riot. The nation's capital has been on edge since the deadly insurrection. A fire in a homeless camp roughly a mile from the Capitol complex prompted an evacuation Monday during a rehearsal for the inauguration. The arrests of two people with guns who entered the checkpoints set off concerns, though the arrests had no apparent connection to the inauguration. Federal law enforcement officials have also been wary of increased surveillance of military and law enforcement checkpoints and other positions. Some National Guard troops have reported people taking pictures and recording them, said the law enforcement officials, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing security matters. In a related problem, the Secret Service issued a bulletin over the weekend about what it sees as an “uptick” in National Guard troops posting pictures and details of their own operations online. The AP obtained the message sent to all National Guard troops coming to Washington. The bulletin read, “No service members should be posting locations, pictures or descriptions online regarding current operations or the sensitive sites they are protecting” and urged them to stop immediately. Asked about the bulletin, a spokesperson for the Secret Service said the agency “does not comment on matters of protective intelligence.” Neither Hokanson nor Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman would provide details on the comments or texts made by the two Guard members. Speaking at a Pentagon news conference, Hokanson said one was identified by his chain of command and the other was identified through an anonymous tip. “Much of the information,” Hoffman said, “is unrelated to the events taking place at the Capitol or to the concerns that many people have noted on extremism. These are vetting efforts that identify any questionable behaviour in the past or any potential link to questionable behaviour, not just related to extremism.” Hoffman said officials aren’t asking questions right now of those who were flagged. But later, he said, “we will address them, whether it’s through law enforcement, if necessary, or through their own chain of command.” ___ LaPorta reported from Delray Beach, Florida. James Laporta, Lolita C. Baldor And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
KENOVA, W.Va. — Griffith & Feil Drug has been in business since 1892, a family-owned, small-town pharmacy. This isn't its first pandemic. More than a century after helping West Virginians confront the Spanish flu in 1918, the drugstore in Kenova, a community of about 3,000 people, is helping the state lead the nation in COVID-19 vaccine distribution. West Virginia has emerged as an unlikely success in the nation's otherwise chaotic vaccine rollout, largely because of the state's decision to reject a federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens and instead enlist mom-and-pop pharmacies to vaccinate residents against the virus that has killed over 399,000 Americans. More shots have gone into people’s arms per capita across West Virginia than in any other state, with at least 7.4% of the population receiving the first of two shots, according to state data. West Virginia was the first in the nation to finish offering first doses to all long-term care centres before the end of December, and the state expects to give second doses at those facilities by the end of January. “Boy, have we noticed that. I think the West Virginia model is really one that we would love for a lot more states to adopt,” said John Beckner, a pharmacist who works at the Alexandria, Virginia-based National Community Pharmacists Association, which advocates for pharmacies across the country. It's early in the process, but that has not stopped Republican Gov. Jim Justice from proclaiming that the vaccine effort runs counter to preconceived notions about the Mountaineer State. “Little old West Virginia, that was thought of for hundreds of years, you know, as a place where maybe we were backward or dark or dingy,” Justice said last week. Instead, it turns out that “West Virginia has been the diamond in the rough,” Justice said on CBS’ "Face the Nation" on Sunday. Rather than relying on national chains, 250 local pharmacists set up clinics in rural communities. The fact that residents who may be wary of the vaccine seem to trust them makes a difference. “As my uncle always told me, these people aren’t your customers, they’re your friends and neighbours,” said Ric Griffith, the pharmacist at Griffith & Feil in Kenova, a town near the Kentucky state line. A chatty raconteur and former mayor of Kenova, he can recall generations of patrons frequenting the shop, which is almost unchanged since the 1950s, with a soda fountain and jukebox in the front and prescriptions in the back. Griffith, 71, began taking over the pharmacy from his father in the early 1990s and was elected to the House of Delegates as a Democrat last year. His daughter, Heidi Griffith Romero, 45, followed into the family business and is also administering shots. Holding a vaccination clinic at the town high school, he recalled his uncle telling him he lost four classmates to the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed more than 50 million people worldwide. “And it was a tragedy that I thought I would never be involved with,” he said, taking a break from giving vaccines to teachers aged 50 and over. When Mark Hayes, a middle school guidance counsellor in Kenova, walked up to receive his first dose, he spotted Griffith, who holds local celebrity status for hosting an extravagant annual Halloween pumpkin-carving party that attracts thousands. “I recognized him right away,” Hayes said. “‘The Pumpkin King? Are you giving me the shot?’” Kevin Roberts, a 59-year-old school bus driver in Kenova, said “it makes a difference” for a pharmacist he knows to administer the shots. “I hope that a lot of these skeptics change their mind,” he said. Officials also credit a 50-person command centre at the state’s National Guard headquarters in the capital of Charleston. Inside a cavernous hall, leaders of the vaccine operation and state health officials sit between plexiglass dividers to oversee shipments of the precious doses to five hubs. From there, deliveries go to drugstores and local health departments. CVS has so far declined to work with state officials on vaccinating people at its stores, but Walgreens is participating and has joined in to hold clinics at some nursing homes, officials said. The federal partnership involving both companies would have allowed Washington officials to dictate the terms of nursing home vaccinations, said Marty Wright, the head of the West Virginia Health Care Association, which represents health care companies. “If the state would've activated the federal plan, the state would've had zero control over the situation,” Wright said. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised West Virginia's efforts to vaccinate the elderly. “Expanding eligibility to all of the vulnerable is the fastest way to protect the vulnerable,” Azar said Tuesday at an Operation Warp Speed meeting. He also highlighted Connecticut as a bright spot in the vaccine rollout. Given West Virginia's success so far, leaders are now seeking more doses so they can open vaccinations for more groups. The Griffith & Feil store has had to decline shots for out-of-state customers who caught word of West Virginia's success. The governor recently lowered the age of eligibility for members of the general public to 70. The efforts have not been without errors. The Boone County Health Department was barred from distributing the vaccine last month after it mistakenly gave 44 people an antibody treatment instead of vaccines. The state began vaccinating school workers aged 50 or older less than two weeks ago. The governor wants in-person learning to resume at as many schools as possible by Tuesday, long before teachers will have received their second vaccine doses. As of Sunday, over 130,100 first doses have been administered, and 23,066 people have received both shots in the state with a population of about 1.78 million people. Nearly 55,800 of the first doses have gone to residents aged 65 and older. Mitchel Rothholz, who leads immunization policy at the American Pharmacists Association, said other governors would be wise to enlist local pharmacies. “Especially at a time when you have vaccine hesitancy and concerns in vaccine confidence, having access to a health care provider like a community pharmacist provides a comfort level to the patients and communities,” Rothholz added. ___ Associated Press Writer John Raby contributed to this report. Cuneyt Dil, The Associated Press
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times eastern):1:50 p.m.Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting zero new COVID-19 infections today.The province is dealing with five active reported cases.One person is recovering in hospital with the disease.The province has reported a total of 396 infections and four deaths linked to the novel coronavirus.---1:40 p.m.Manitoba is reporting 111 new COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths. With numbers decreasing in recent weeks, the government is proposing to ease several restrictions on business openings and public gatherings by the end of the week. The possible changes, subject to public consultation, include allowing non-essential stores, hair salons and barbershops to reopen with capacity limits. Another proposed change would ease the ban on social gatherings inside private homes to allow two visitors at a time.---1:30 p.m.Quebec Premier Francois Legault is calling on the federal government to ban all non-essential flights to Canada.Legault says he's worried that people travelling to vacation destinations will bring new variants of COVID-19 back to the province.While the premier says it may be difficult to determine which flights are essential, he says it's clear that flights to sun destinations are non-essential.---12:45 p.m.Procurement Minister Anita Anand says she has spoken to Pfizer and does not expect any more interruptions to its Canadian deliveries after mid-February.Anand says Pfizer is contractually obligated to ship four million doses to Canada by the end of March.Canada expects its shipments from Pfizer to be larger than previously expected from the middle of February until the end of March to make up for smaller shipments over the next month.---12:25 p.m.Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin says Canada will get no doses of vaccine from Pfizer at all next week.Fortin, the vice-president of operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, says this week's shipment is almost one-fifth smaller than expected.That means only 171,093 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will arrive over the next two weeks, instead of the 417,300 doses previously expected.Fortin says the deliveries over the first two weeks of February have yet to be confirmed, but Pfizer is still expected to meet its contractual obligation to ship four million doses to Canada by the end of March.---11:20 a.m.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says any Canadians who still have international trips planned need to cancel them.The variants of the novel coronavirus identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil could change the situation rapidly and he warns that Canada could impose new restrictions on the border at any time, without warning.---11:15 a.m.Quebec is reporting a significant drop in new COVID-19 infections today with 1,386 new cases.The province also reported 55 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including 16 that occurred in the prior 24 hours.Health officials say hospitalizations rose by nine, to 1,500 and 212 people were in intensive care, a drop of five.Quebec has reported a total of 245,734 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 9,142 deaths linked to the virus.---10:50 a.m.Prince Edward Island is reporting two new cases of COVID-19 today.Chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison says the new cases involve a woman in her 40s who is a contact of a previously reported case, and a woman in her 20s who recently travelled outside Atlantic Canada.There are now seven active reported cases in the province.P.E.I. has reported 110 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.---10:35 a.m.Ontario is reporting 1,913 new cases of COVID-19 today, likely under-reported due to a technical error in Toronto.Health Minister Christine Elliott says that Toronto is reporting 550 new cases of the novel coronavirus.Over the past three days, Toronto reported 815 new cases, 1,035 new cases and 903 new cases.There were 46 more deaths linked to the virus in Ontario.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. The Canadian Press
Katie Green has been interested in art since she could hold a pencil. Originally from Maryland, she describes herself as having lived “kind of all over the place.” For the last seven years she’s called Richmond home, and is perhaps best known as a caricature artist who goes by the name “Cartoon Katie.” Green’s parents were very supportive of her desire to have a career as an artist. “They were always getting me the little ‘how to draw Mickey Mouse’ books,” she says. As an art student, she studied visual effects and animation, but was doing caricature art on the side. The style appeals to her partially because of its similarities to animation. “I really like being a little sillier with the drawing,” she says. “I can take a picture of stuff, or I can spend a lot of time rendering perfect details. Mimicking life is impressive, but for me it’s not as fun, not as creative—I want (my art) to express something a little different than what you can normally see.” After graduating with a bachelor of fine arts degree, Green worked at a Los Angeles studio as a visual effects artist. And when that studio opened a branch in Vancouver, she was moved up north, still taking caricature gigs occasionally on the side. Eventually she decided to leave the film industry and pursue caricature art full-time. First looking up what kind of city permits she would need to be a caricature artist, Green says the City of Richmond suggested she contact the Harbour Authority. When she did, she was given a patch of grass outside the Gulf of Georgia Cannery to sell art from. “I do a bunch of markets and things, and what I primarily do are events—like Songs in the Snow, or people’s birthday parties, or charity things,” says Green. “(At events) I’ll go and perform, and rather than have people pay to get each drawing like at a market, I’m just drawing as many of the guests as I can in a set amount of time, like an entertainer.” Now an independent business owner, Green covers events from birthday parties to dry grads to business holiday parties. Sometimes she works with other artists at larger events, and she also teaches some classes at local community centres. Many of her gigs come through networking, where someone sees her at an event or market and asks her to work their event or activity as well. “At any kind of celebration party, caricature can fit right in because it’s a customized souvenir,” she says. Green has a process with each drawing: she begins by imagining a person’s head shape, trying to decide how much space it will take up. But usually, while the face shape is the first thing she thinks of, it’s the last part she draws. “People always say I start with the nose, but in my brain I’m starting with a lot of other shapes and things first,” she says. “The nose is in the middle, so if I get it down first I don’t have to draw on top of something to get it the right shape.” Sometimes when she sees people in public, Green imagines how she would draw them. “It’s a thought process that I can’t turn off,” she says. For instance, she might see someone on a bus with an interesting face, or have a conversation with someone who makes a noticeable facial expression. But because she knows she can’t whip out a sketchbook and start drawing without permission, she tries to remember shapes to recreate later. “Inspiration strikes when I see certain faces or certain features, (even) when I’m not drawing,” says Green. Her own personal style has changed over time, depending on what she’s interested in and what she feels like making. The COVID-19 pandemic has totally changed her style, for instance, as well as the way she’s been drawing. “I don’t really feel like I have one specific style, I’m just always trying to be funny, I want it to look good, and I want people to like it,” she says. Because of the humorous nature of caricature, Green says sometimes people don’t respond positively. She describes her art as an illustration rather than a recreation of a photograph, and always tries to have samples available so people know what to expect. “Even though I’m doing art every day, every day seems to be different, I have different challenges to problem-solve, I’m coming up with a new way to deal with something,” she says. One of the challenges this year was the pandemic, of course, which created a distinct lack of work opportunities for many artists. “Everyone was out of work—we had our livelihoods cancelled for some unknown amount of time,” says Green. Some artists created virtual set-ups, including Green. She began with free virtual caricature parties, then began networking with other artists on big virtual events. “There’s been a lot of trying to keep the art community lifted up, while also trying to figure out how to keep my business going.” Virtual events have become more successful and consistent, although not without some technical challenges. Green says as well as doing art, she also provides some technical support to people who may not necessarily know how to turn on their camera, for example. After the events, she emails out drawings so people can access them. During online drawing events, Green uses a tablet and stylus to create her art. She usually shares her screen so people can see what she’s drawing as it’s being created, while also seeing her face as she draws. Normally, she balances drawing on paper and drawing digitally, as she recognizes the complementary skill sets. But despite the challenges, Green is still optimistic. She says inspiration comes from everywhere, especially laughter and “anything fun.” “I don’t feel that it’s making fun of somebody. I know people get that mentality with caricature, with the editorial side of it where you’re usually making fun of politicians, but from a retail and event standpoint it’s more a celebration of what makes people unique rather than making fun of them,” she says. “When I see a unique face, it’s definitely fun—but it’s fun in a positive way, not in a negative way.” Over the years she’s worked on some interesting projects, including children’s storybooks, logos for businesses, and orders for board game or card game art design. But one project that stood out to her was an ongoing collaboration with a Danish man who wanted to create a book of idioms. “They were all in Danish, so he was using Google Translate to help communicate with me,” says Green. “But I had to be illustrating the imagery that would be associated with it, not the meaning.” The language barrier created some communication challenges, but also yielded some fun drawings. “That project was super fun, the guy was really nice and I work with him all the time—but it was one of those cases where every day was a different joke we were coming up with because it made no sense to the project,” she says. When she’s not drawing, Green likes to play video games to hang out virtually with friends, or watch movies with her husband. As a freelance artist, she appreciates being able to work on whatever she’s interested in. Recently, she’s been making a lot of tutorials to help other artists. “The cool part about being freelance and working independently is that I don’t have to dream about a project—I get to work on it when I want to, as long as I don’t have too much other work at the same time.” Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
After four years, U.S. President Donald Trump will be leaving office as President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into the position on Jan. 20, 2021. The weeks leading up to Trump’s departure have been tumultuous, with a siege on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, five federal executions, and 143 presidential pardons, just to name a few pivotal moments.Trump began the day by speaking to a crowd at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before boarding Air Force One. He is traveling to his golf club, Mar-a-Lago, in Florida, and will not be attending Biden’s inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C.Supporters of the 45th U.S. President gathered in West Palm Beach, Fla. to greet Trump’s motorcade when it arrived in the city.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
Canada will not be receiving any doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine next week, but Nova Scotia's premier says the province is prepared to deal with the delay. Premier Stephen McNeil said the province is continuing to reserve second doses of COVID-19 vaccine until a continuous supply can be guaranteed. "If you have received your first shot or are in the process of receiving your first shot, we will have a second shot for you," McNeil said at a news briefing Tuesday. Last week, Pfizer said it would temporarily reduce shipments of its vaccine to Canada. The pharmaceutical giant is pausing some production lines at a facility in Belgium in order to expand long-term manufacturing capacity. "We continue to work with the federal government and it is our hope that this temporary shut down will not last long and any supply issues will be resolved as soon as possible," McNeil said. According to a statement from the province, Nova Scotia won't receive 975 doses during the week of Jan. 25. Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health, said Nova Scotia was already expecting a reduction of 13,500 doses in January and February. "It simply means we have to slow things down," Strang said at the briefing. "We only have so much vaccine available so we'll continue to work through our clinics, through our priority groups." Strang said any reductions in February will be added to the supply the province receives in March. He also said the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which was required to be stored at temperatures between –80 C and –60 C, can now be shipped throughout the province while thawed, but under strict conditions. "This does give us more flexibility to transport, store and administer this vaccines in the long-term care facilities, especially," he said. "It's one of the reasons we're able to put a greater emphasis and greater priorities on long-term care facilities." However, three more cold storage sites are expected to be set up in Amherst, Antigonish and Bridgewater by the end of January. Each site will have a freezer suitable for the Pfizer vaccine, a regular freezer for the Moderna vaccine and refrigerator space for vaccines expected to be approved in the future. Vaccine rollout breakdown The province has received 23,500 doses of the vaccine since Dec. 15, which includes 9,550 doses that arrived on Jan. 13-14, according to officials at a technical briefing that was not for attribution on Tuesday. Half of the doses that arrived last week have been stored to be used as second shots. Strang said a shipment of 5,850 doses will arrive later this week. As of Monday, 8,520 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to health-care workers and long-term care residents, staff and caregivers in Nova Scotia. Of those vaccinated, 2,215 have received a second dose. There are now clinics immunizing health-care workers in all four health zones in the province, as the first vaccines were administered in the northern zone on Tuesday. Zoe Ahern, a nurse who works in the emergency department at Colchester East Hants Health Centre in Truro, was the first health-care worker in the region to receive the vaccine. Nova Scotia has developed a phased approach to distributing the vaccines. Phase 1 has already begun and it will continue until the end of April. In the next 30 days, immunization clinics for health-care workers are expected to be opened at the IWK, at Yarmouth Regional Hospital and St. Martha's Hospital in Antigonish, adding to the four existing sites. In the next 60 days, the province will also start running prototype clinics for individuals over 80 in Halifax and Truro. Elderly Nova Scotians in these areas can expect to receive a letter from the province's Medical Services Insurance, or MSI, with instructions about how to book their appointment online or by phone. The province will also conduct prototype clinics in First Nations and African Nova Scotia communities. Health-care workers at Cumberland Regional Hospital and South Shore Regional Hospital will also be vaccinated during this time. In the next 90 days, mass immunization clinics for the targeted groups will be established in the communities with cold storage sites. There are currently six cold storage sites operating in Nova Scotia, in Yarmouth, Kentville, Truro, Sydney and two in Halifax. The province will also establish prototype clinics at multiple pharmacies, primary health-care centres and outreach clinics during this phase. Clinic volunteers needed Strang said the Nova Scotia College of Nursing has started issuing conditional licences to retired nurses for free so they can help with immunization clinics. He said 125 have received licences in six days. Strang also said other health-care profession regulators, including the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Doctors Nova Scotia, the Pharmacists Association of Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists, have also been issuing licences to retired clinicians to help with vaccinations. The province is also looking for volunteers outside the health-care industry. Anyone who wishes to volunteer at immunization clinics may apply on the Nova Scotia's health authority's website. 4 new cases Nova Scotia reported four new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. One new case is in the province's northern health zone and is a close contact of a previously reported case, according to a news release from the Department of Health and Wellness. The other three are in the central zone and are related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. The people are self-isolating. One of the infected individuals is a student who virtually attends two Nova Scotia universities. The student lives off-campus. Strang said at the briefing that the outbreak at Eden Valley Poultry in Berwick, N.S., is officially over as of Monday. The plant had to shut down in December after a handful of workers tested positive for the virus. There are now 22 known active cases in the province, down three from Monday's report. No one is in hospital with the virus. Nova Scotia Health labs completed 2,016 tests on Monday. Atlantic Canada case numbers MORE TOP STORIES
WASHINGTON — Janet Yellen, President-elect Joe Biden's choice as Treasury secretary, said Tuesday that the incoming administration would focus on winning quick passage of its $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan, rejecting Republican arguments that the measure is too big given the size of U.S. budget deficits. “More must be done,” Yellen told the Senate Finance Committee during her confirmation hearing. “Without further action, we risk a longer, more painful recession now — and long-term scarring of the economy later.” Democrats voiced support for the Biden proposal while Republicans questioned spending nearly $2 trillion more on top of nearly $3 trillion that Congress passed in various packages last year. Various Republicans questioned elements of the Biden proposal such as providing an additional $1,400 stimulus check to individuals earning less than $75,000. They also objected to the inclusion of such long-term Democratic goals as boosting the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., argued that this was cause the loss of jobs and was coming at a time that thousands of small businesses such as restaurants had one out of business. Yellen said that the increase in the minimum wage would help millions of frontline American workers who are risking their lives to keep their communities functioning and often working two jobs to put food on the table. “They are struggling to get by and raising the minimum wage would help these workers,” she said. Despite policy differences, Yellen, who would be the first woman to be Treasury secretary after being the first woman to be chair of the Federal Reserve, is expected to win quick Senate confirmation. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, who will become chairman when Democrats take over the Senate, said it was his hope that Yellen could be confirmed by the full Senate as soon as Thursday. Biden last week unveiled a $1.9 trillion relief plan that would provide more aid to American families and businesses and more support for vaccine production and distribution as well as providing support for states and localities to avoid layoffs of teachers and first responders. Many Republicans raised the soaring budget deficits as a reason to be cautious in passing further relief. Last year, the budget deficit climbed to a record $3.1 trillion. Yellen said that she and Biden were aware of the country's rising debt burden but felt fighting the pandemic-recession was more important currently. “Right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big,” she said. “In the long run, I believe the benefits will far outweigh the costs, especially if we care about helping people who have been struggling for a very long time.” Yellen was nominated to be chair of the Fed by Barack Obama and she stepped down in February 2018 after President Donald Trump decided not to nominate her for a second four-year term. Since leaving the Fed, Yellen has been a distinguished researcher at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think-tank . In the financial disclosure forms filed with the committee, Yellen listed more than $7 million in speaking fees she has received from a number of top Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs and Citigroup since leaving the Fed. Yellen has agreed to recuse herself from Treasury matters involving certain firms that have compensated her for her talks. Yellen's Treasury nomination was supported in a letter from eight previous Treasury secretaries serving both Republican and Democratic administrations. Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week. MOVIES — Diane Lane, Kevin Costner and Lesley Manville are a formidable trio in “Let Him Go,” a slow-burn Western about a couple who travels from Montana to North Dakota in the mid-1960s in search of their 3-year-old grandson. Lane and Costner play the grandparents, who lost their own son in an accident and who try to accept their ex-daughter-in-law’s new husband. But things get tense when they realize this new family is not exactly made up of good people. Thomas Bezucha wrote and directed this adaptation of Larry Watson’s novel which film will finally be available to rent for streaming starting Tuesday. — “99 Homes” director Ramin Bahrani has taken on the ills of American capitalism and now turns his gaze to the caste system in India in his riveting adaptation of Aravind Adiga’s “The White Tiger.” Adiga’s debut novel told a Dickensian story about the rise of an ambitious driver in a rigged system and won the Man Booker Prize in 2008. The adaptation, on Netflix Friday, stars Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Bollywood star Rajkummar Rao and newcomer Adarsh Gourav. Chopra Jonas, in particular, is a standout as an India-born but America-raised woman who does not agree with the ways of her wealthy husband’s Indian family’s ways. “The White Tiger” shows her acting chops in a way that American productions have thus far failed to. — “Our Friend” stars Casey Affleck and Dakota Johnson as a couple and parents to young girls who discover that she has cancer. They quickly find themselves overwhelmed by the burdens of her disease and keeping a household together and ask their college friend (Jason Segel) to come live with them and help. But the temporary situation turns more permanent then they thought. The film, from director Gabriela Cowperthwaite (“Blackfish”), is adapted from Matthew Teague’s Esquire article about his own experience. It’ll be available to rent on demand starting Friday. — AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr MUSIC — After a hectic 2020, all you need is the smooth and soothing sound of Rhye to help you start the new year right. Rhye, the R&B musical project by Mike Milosh, releases a new album Friday called “Home.” The 13-track set is full of plush and warm tunes that will make you feel like you’re instantly being massaged at a spa with the best candle scent burning in the background. For an even better time, check out the music video for Rhye’s “Black Rain,” which appears on the new album and stars Golden Globe-winning actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson dancing shirtless for 4 minutes. Taylor-Johnson also directed the clip. — Third time’s the charm for R&B singers Keyshia Cole and Ashanti: Their “Verzuz” battle was postponed twice and will now take place Thursday. Fans can watch the singers trade hits at 8 p.m. EST at the “Verzuz” Instagram page or Apple Music. — Saturdays are for Seventeen: The 13-member K-pop group will hold a virtual concert on Saturday, which begins at 4 a.m. EST. Tickets cost $45. — AP Music Editor Mesfin Fekadu TELEVISION — The rise and impact of one of the first female rap groups is dramatized in the Lifetime movie “Salt-N-Pepa” (8 p.m. EST Sunday). Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandra “Pepa” Denton, played respectively by GG Townson and Laila Odom, record a tune for a co-worker’s project and ultimately end up Grammy-winning artists who help change the music genre. Performances of Salt-N-Pepa songs including “Let’s Talk About Sex,” “What a Man,” “Shoop” and “Push It” are featured in the movie, which counts Queen Latifah among its executive producers and Mario Van Peebles (“New Jack City,” “Empire”) as its director. Monique Paul co-stars as the group’s DJ, Spinderella. — Writer, director and actor Edward Burns first made his mark with the 1995 film “The Brothers McMullen,” about a trio of Irish Catholic brothers from Long Island. In the Epix series “Bridge and Tunnel,” Burns returns to the New York setting circa 1980 and with a different set of characters: 20-somethings chasing Big Apple dreams but still attached to their working-class hometown. They include Jimmy (Sam Vartholomeos), a photographer who re-connects with ex-girlfriend Jill (Caitlin Stasey) and runs up against their conflicting career goals. Burns plays Jimmy’s dad in the six-episode series debuting 9 p.m. EST Sunday. — TNT’s “Snowpiercer” is back for season two with Sean Bean (“Game of Thrones”) aboard the post-apocalyptic drama as Mr. Wilford, mastermind of the global-circling railway built to save a slice of humanity on a frozen Earth. The debut season ended with warring passengers achieving a tenuous peace and Daveed Diggs’ Layton in charge. But there’s big trouble on the tracks ahead, pitting Layton and Jennifer Connelly’s Melanie against Wilford and the daughter Melanie thought had died. Instead, she’s become Wilford’s disciple. “Snowpiercer” airs 9 p.m. EST beginning Monday, Jan. 25. — AP Television Writer Lynn Elber ___ Catch up on AP’s entertainment coverage here: https://apnews.com/apf-entertainment. The Associated Press
GEORGETOWN – Holland College's president recalls a time when he struggled to find a job because for every job there was a surplus of workers trying to get it. "I can tell you without any degree of uncertainty that that is not the case anymore," Alexander (Sandy) MacDonald said. These days, industries such as early childhood care, resident care and correctional policing need workers, but either there aren't enough available or there are barriers keeping people from attaining the necessary skills, he said. "I can't think of a single industry on P.E.I. that isn't short on labour." MacDonald is hopeful that the college's new strategic plan will help to counter this with its four guiding principles, which he outlined during a presentation at Kings Playhouse in Georgetown on Jan. 12. The principles are innovative and flexible programming, support and inclusion, environmental leadership and corporate innovation. "Our budget (will be) framed around these four things," he said. The college has already adapted some of its programs around the first principle. Last year, the college's early childhood care program partnered with workplaces so students could start the program and learn the basics, then jump into work while still enrolled in the two-year program. Similarly, students pursuing a Red Seal apprenticeship would normally have to take time off work to attend the college's programming, which could be a deterrent for students who have to prioritize a steady income. Moving forward, Red Seal students will be able to continue working while taking part in virtual education. "(Now) they're earning and learning at the same time," MacDonald said. "It's not that there's anything new in the content, it's just in how we deliver it." As well, the college's bioscience program has partnered with UPEI via a joint program that mixes the college's expertise in applied learning with the university's focus on theory. In addition, an entry-level cook position was added to the college's culinary program as many restaurants don't need a fully-trained chef, MacDonald said. The second principle is about better supporting the college's diverse student base, such as people of ethnicity, people with learning disabilities or people with past traumas or addictions. About $300,000 has been set aside toward one day constructing a student support centre. "We have four counsellors now," MacDonald said. "We probably should have eight." The third principle pertains to responding responsibly to the impacts of climate change, such as by reviewing all programs to see about using greener techniques or by reassessing the possibility of including a transit pass in student union fees. As well, the college recently submitted a report to government outlining a potential centre that would act as a headquarters for P.E.I.'s 24 watershed groups, MacDonald said. The fourth principle, which involves the intent to invest in effective partnerships, opportunities and technologies, has proven challenging. That’s because it requires the college to change or restructure how it operates, such as by framing its budget around the four principals. "Because we want to make sure we're spending every nickel as efficiently as possible," he said. Twitter.com/dnlbrown95 Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian
Specific details about workplace outbreaks of COVID-19 are not made public in most of Canada. Toronto is starting to make the information available, arguing that transparency increases accountability, but others wonder whether ‘naming and shaming’ does more harm than good.
LONDON — The Premier League is looking into why West Ham apparently struck an agreement with West Bromwich Albion for Robert Snodgrass not to play in Tuesday's game as part of the winger's transfer between the two clubs. West Brom manager Sam Allardyce disclosed details of the transfer to his relegation-threatened team two weeks ago to explain the absence of Snodgrass. “That was an agreement between the clubs that this game he would not be allowed to play," Allardyce told broadcaster BT Sport ahead of the match in east London. "We could only get the deal done with that agreement.” West Ham is portraying it as a “gentleman's agreement” rather than a formal part of the transfer. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
More people are going to be recruited as fisheries officers over the next couple of years because of an increasing number of retirements. DFO is predicting about 100 people will need to be hired in the next two years alone. Glen Gillespie, the acting area chief for conservation and enforcement in P.E.I., calls it "one of the best jobs in the world." "You're outdoors, you're dealing with the public, dealing with fishers and stakeholders. You're in the community promoting compliance of regulations and there's a tangible result that you see as a fishery officer in your work." The training involves 16 weeks in the classroom, including nine at the RCMP training facility in Regina. After that, the first 30 months are taken up with on-the-job training, with a starting salary of around $53,000. More from CBC P.E.I.
La Ville de Forestville dénonce des actes de vandalisme perpétrés en fin de semaine dernière dans les sentiers de la Baie-Verte. Une passerelle, nouvellement aménagée, a été volontairement saccagée par des vandales. « Je trouve cela vraiment désolant et déplorable, c’est un manque de respect à l’ensemble de la collectivité », commente la mairesse de Forestville, Micheline Anctil. La Ville ne peut toutefois pas encore chiffrer à combien s’élèvent les dommages, mais une somme de 27 800 $ a été investie récemment dans les sentiers. « Nous investissons temps et argent, nous nous battons pour obtenir des subventions pour que les citoyens soient aidés financièrement. Mais un sans conscience vient briser et on recommence deux fois », d’ajouter Mme Anctil. La mairesse est claire : « quand on refait la même chose deux fois, on n’améliore pas d’autres espaces et équipements, et la deuxième fois, ce sont les citoyens qui paient ». Quiconque a des informations sur cet événement est invité à joindre la Ville de Forestville.Johannie Gaudreault, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Haute-Côte-Nord
As President Donald Trump entered the final year of his term last January, the U.S. recorded its first confirmed case of COVID-19. Not to worry, Trump insisted, his administration had the virus “totally under control.” Now, in his final hours in office, after a year of presidential denials of reality and responsibility, the pandemic’s U.S. death toll has eclipsed 400,000. And the loss of lives is accelerating. “This is just one step on an ominous path of fatalities,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University and one of many public health experts who contend the Trump administration’s handling of the crisis led to thousands of avoidable deaths. “Everything about how it’s been managed has been infused with incompetence and dishonesty, and we’re paying a heavy price,” he said. The 400,000-death toll, reported Tuesday by Johns Hopkins University, is greater than the population of New Orleans, Cleveland or Tampa, Florida. It's nearly equal to the number of American lives lost annually to strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, flu and pneumonia combined. With more than 4,000 deaths recorded on some recent days — the most since the pandemic began — the toll by week's end will probably surpass the number of Americans killed in World War II. “We need to follow the science and the 400,000th death is shameful,” said Cliff Daniels, chief strategy officer for Methodist Hospital of Southern California, near Los Angeles. With its morgue full, the hospital has parked a refrigerated truck outside to hold the bodies of COVID-19 victims until funeral homes can retrieve them. “It’s so incredibly, unimaginably sad that so many people have died that could have been avoided,” he said. The U.S. accounts for nearly 1 of every 5 virus deaths reported worldwide, far more than any other country despite its great wealth and medical resources. The coronavirus would almost certainly have posed a grave crisis for any president given its rapid spread and power to kill, experts on public health and government said. But Trump seemed to invest as much in battling public perceptions as he did in fighting the virus itself, repeatedly downplaying the threat and rejecting scientific expertise while fanning conflicts ignited by the outbreak. As president he was singularly positioned to counsel Americans. Instead, he used his pulpit to spout theories — refuted by doctors — that taking unproven medicines or even injecting household disinfectant might save people from the virus. The White House defended the administration this week. “We grieve every single life lost to this pandemic, and thanks to the president’s leadership, Operation Warp Speed has led to the development of multiple safe and effective vaccines in record time, something many said would never happen,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere. With deaths spiraling in the New York City area last spring, Trump declared “war” on the virus. But he was slow to invoke the Defence Production Act to secure desperately needed medical equipment. Then he sought to avoid responsibility for shortfalls, saying that the federal government was “merely a backup” for governors and legislatures. “I think it is the first time in history that a president has declared a war and we have experienced a true national crisis and then dumped responsibility for it on the states,” said Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care policy think-tank . When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tried to issue guidelines for reopening in May, Trump administration officials held them up and watered them down. As the months passed, Trump claimed he was smarter than the scientists and belittled experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top authority on infectious diseases. “Why would you bench the CDC, the greatest fighting force of infectious disease in the world? Why would you call Tony Fauci a disaster?” asked Dr. Howard Markel, a medical historian at the University of Michigan. “It just doesn’t make sense.” As governors came under pressure to reopen state economies, Trump pushed them to move faster, asserting falsely that the virus was fading. “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” he tweeted in April as angry protesters gathered at the state capitol to oppose the Democratic governor’s stay-at-home restrictions. “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” In Republican-led states like Arizona that allowed businesses to reopen, hospitals and morgues filled with virus victims. “It led to the tragically sharp partisan divide we’ve seen in the country on COVID, and that has fundamental implications for where we are now, because it means the Biden administration can’t start over," Altman said. “They can’t put the genie back in the bottle.” In early October, when Trump himself contracted COVID-19, he ignored safety protocols, ordering up a motorcade so he could wave to supporters outside his hospital. Once released, he appeared on the White House balcony to take off his mask for the cameras, making light of health officials' pleas for people to cover their faces. “We’re rounding the corner,” Trump said of the battle with the virus during a debate with Joe Biden in late October. “It’s going away.” It isn’t. U.S. deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 100,000 in late May, then tripled by mid-December. Experts at the University of Washington project deaths will reach nearly 567,000 by May 1. More than 120,000 patients with the virus are in the hospital in the U.S., according to the COVID Tracking Project, twice the number who filled wards during previous peaks. On a single day last week, the U.S. recorded more than 4,400 deaths. While vaccine research funded by the administration as part of Warp Speed has proved successful, the campaign trumpeted by the White House to rapidly distribute and administer millions of shots has fallen well short of the early goals officials set. “Young people are dying, young people who have their whole lives ahead of them,” said Mawata Kamara, a nurse at California’s San Leandro Hospital who is furious over the surging COVID-19 cases that have overwhelmed health care workers. “We could have done so much more.” Many voters considered the federal government’s response to the pandemic a key factor in their vote: 39% said it was the single most important factor, and they overwhelmingly backed Biden over Trump, according to AP VoteCast. But millions of others stood with him. “Here you have a pandemic," said Eric Dezenhall, a Washington crisis management consultant, "yet you have a massive per cent of the population that doesn’t believe it exists.” Adam Geller And Janie Har, The Associated Press
Like many in Saskatchewan, Regina homeowners Loretta and Blair McClinton are still cleaning up after last week's big winter storm. Last Wednesday night, their decades-old backyard spruce tree snapped in the 100 km/h wind gusts. "All of a sudden I heard a loud cracking noise. My husband was still sleeping and I said, 'I think something's hit the house,'" Loretta remembered. "Then we looked [out the window] and we just went, 'Oh, my God!' We just couldn't believe what we saw." She said they first checked the attic to make sure the tree didn't go through the roof — and, luckily, it didn't. "It's just astonishment, really. It was unbelievable. The tree's 80 feet tall [about 24 metres]," Loretta said. "I've had thoughts in my mind that if it ever fell over, what would happen? So to see it actually blow over was just incredible." Loretta said it's "an immense relief" their home and fence weren't damaged at all by the tree; only a gas line, which was disrupted by its roots, had to be repaired. "We were so lucky that it basically landed on our elm tree, which held it up. If it had came down, it probably would have crashed on the side of our house and probably our neighbour's house," she said. "Who knows what could have happened? It was a pretty traumatic event." On Thursday, the McClintons brought in a crane to remove the spruce. "It's going to be a loss because it was such a beautiful tree. Now, it's so open," Loretta said, noting they have plans to landscape their backyard in the spring. "It's kind of a good thing that this happened before we accomplished that."