In a late-evening speech Friday night, Joe Biden didn’t declare victory, but said he was confident one was coming soon as he promised to work for all Americans.
In a late-evening speech Friday night, Joe Biden didn’t declare victory, but said he was confident one was coming soon as he promised to work for all Americans.
ATLANTA — After weathering criticism for certifying President Donald Trump's narrow election loss to Democrat Joe Biden, Republican officials in Georgia are proposing additional requirements for the state's vote-by-mail process, despite no evidence of systemic fraud or irregularities. Two state Senate committees held hearings Thursday to begin a review of Georgia’s voting laws. Republicans are zeroing in on a plan to require a photo ID for ballots cast by mail. Voting rights activists and Democrats argue that the change isn't necessary and would disenfranchise voters. Biden beat Trump by just over 12,500 votes in Georgia, with Biden receiving nearly twice as many of the record number of absentee ballots as the Republican president, according to the secretary of state's office. A recount requested by Trump was wrapping up and wasn't expected to change the overall outcome. Trump, who for months has sowed unsubstantiated doubt about the integrity of mail-in votes, has also made baseless claims of widespread fraud in the presidential race in Georgia. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff have vehemently rebuffed those claims, stating unequivocally that there is no evidence of systemic errors or fraud in last month's election. Yet Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp, both Republicans who have been publicly lambasted by Trump, have joined the push to require a photo ID for absentee voting. “Voters casting their ballots in person must show a photo ID, and we should consider applying that same standard to mail-in balloting,” Kemp said in remarks streamed live online. Kemp faced accusations of voter suppression during his successful 2018 run for governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams, an election he oversaw as Georgia's previous secretary of state. He vehemently denied the allegations. Kemp faces reelection — and a possible rematch against Abrams — in 2022. Raffensperger also has suggested allowing state officials to intervene in counties that have systemic problems with administering elections and broadening the ways in which challenges can be posed to votes cast by residents who don’t live where they say. The photo ID idea has support among several members of the state legislature, including Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan. “I don't think there should be different standards for the same process,” Dugan said in an interview. Republican House Speaker David Ralston has been skeptical of voting by mail, telling a local news outlet in April that increased mail voting “will be extremely devastating to Republicans and conservatives in Georgia.” Political analysts have said that typically more Democrats than Republicans use mail-in ballots. Ralston later said he was not talking about his party losing an advantage but the potential for fraud. “We must do everything in our power to ensure votes are not stolen, cast fraudulently or plagued by administrative errors,” he said in a statement this week. Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said in an interview with The Associated Press that currently anyone who knows someone’s name, address and date of birth can request an absentee ballot on that person’s behalf. She said that while signature matches provide some security for mail-in ballots, the process should be shored up. One way to do that could be to require a person's driver's license number or a photocopy of a separate form of ID, she said. “We need to secure all avenues that we can of absentee ballots so we never have a candidate run around this state again saying the election was stolen because of absentee ballots,” she said. While Republicans seem ready to press forward with the photo ID requirement during the upcoming legislative session, Democrats and civil rights organizations are raising alarms. With no evidence of widespread fraud or other problems in the election, it doesn’t make sense to talk about measures that could ultimately prove to be barriers to voting, said Andrea Young, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. “What is the problem that you’re trying to solve?" she asked. “The rule should be first, ‘Do no harm’ when it comes to democracy, and whenever there are more restrictions being put on a process, you run the risk of disenfranchising Georgia citizens.” Young says adding a photo ID requirement for absentee voting would be harmful because “we know that these barriers have a different impact on African American voters, on younger voters and, in this instance, on seniors who have certainly earned the right” to vote. State Sen. Jen Jordan, an Atlanta Democrat, echoed Young’s concerns, saying Republicans were offering solutions in search of a problem. “What this says to me is that they just don’t want people voting," Jordan said. “And they specifically don’t want Democrats voting, or people that don’t support their chosen candidates voting, and they’re going to try to make it as hard as possible." Democrats and voting rights groups have for years sought to decrease rejections of absentee ballots in Georgia, arguing that minorities have been disproportionately affected. Absentee ballots are sometimes rejected because signatures on the outer envelope are deemed not to match signatures in the voter registration system, or because the envelope is not signed at all. An agreement signed in March to settle a lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party spells out a standard process that must be used statewide to judge the signatures. That agreement has been the subject of much of Trump's online ire, and he has incorrectly said it “makes it impossible to check & match signatures on ballots and envelopes.” Ben Nadler And Kate Brumback, The Associated Press
An outbreak of COVID-19 on the third floor of the rehab unit of Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare (HDGH) has grown to 23 cases, according to the hospital.In a news release Wednesday, the hospital said that six patients and 17 healthcare workers have tested positive for the virus. It added that it's still waiting on some test results from the weekend.The hospital first declared an outbreak at its rehab unit on Sunday."In consultation with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, HDGH has paused all admissions to our inpatient Restorative Care programs. Both Windsor Regional Hospital and Erie Shores HealthCare are aware of this," the release reads. "This includes CMC, Palliative and Rehab. We will also be pausing all transfers out to Long Term Care etc. This will be assessed every 24 hours. Further, we will be cohorting all COVID-19 positive patients on the third floor of our Rehabilitation Unit."In an interview with CBC's Afternoon Drive, HDGH President and CEO Janice Kaffer said that two of the patients had been transferred to acute care at Windsor Regional Hospital, three are still at HDGH, and one has been discharged.In spite of the outbreak, Kaffer was optimistic it could be addressed."[The outbreak] has put some additional strain on all of us," she told Afternoon Drive host Chris dela Torre. "But our people are stepping up, they're continuing to come into work, and we're doing the best we can."She said the the investigation by the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit with respect to the origins of the outbreak continues."Our focus at the hospital has been addressing the outbreak, containing it, and making sure our staff and our patients have the supports and that the needs are met across the hospital," she said.Kaffer said HDGH has about 20 test results pending from the affected area, and that testing across the hospital will continue this week.She added that they're expecting to see some positive results among the 1200 staff at the hospital that will be from community spread, and not related to the outbreak.The hospital said the outbreak is not affecting outpatient and mental health programs. Those will will be continued so long patients and clients wear personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times, and that patients who require a family member to be present for their care only have one visitor, who is expected to follow all instructions given by staff."It is important to note that Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare is and remains a safe place for outpatient and mental health visits," the release said."During this difficult time, services at this time will not look the same. Individuals should expect delays and should anticipate that they are expected to wear an approved mask."
Don never thought he'd end up homeless, but that's what happened to the 58-year-old earlier this year. The St. John's man — CBC is withholding his surname — said that for most of his adult life he had steady employment and a place to live.But Don got divorced and had difficulty holding down a job due to mental illness. When Newfoundland and Labrador went into lockdown in March, he had just moved out of his apartment. "I was about to move from a rental property I had, and at the time, with the pandemic," he said. "I really had nowhere to go.… I was never homeless in my life until this year." Don has been living in a shelter for seniors on Prince of Wales Street in St. John's since then. It's called Connections for Seniors and it's a shelter for people over the age of 55. Co-founder and executive director Mohamed Abdallah said the eight-bed facility has been full since it opened in early 2018. Abdallah said he and his co-founder saw a need in the community and went into action."I remember we said, 'Let's not complain about it and let's start to do something about it.'"To date, the organization has helped more than 450 people, and running it has become Abdallah's full time job.The people who come to the shelter are also given meals and transportation to appointments. Abdallah called it a "wrap-around service" to help people navigate the health-care system and find permanent housing. For him, helping seniors is also about respect."We still need our seniors' experience. We still need their wisdom, we still need to respect our elders," he said. Demand rising Older adults, like Don, without proper housing are not alone.Thousands of seniors in the St. John's area are in need of more affordable, and accessible, housing, says Elizabeth Seigel, director of information and referral services at Seniors NL.Seigel said in 2019 she got about 500 calls from people who needed a place to live, some of them urgent. "Quite often it does mean that people are living in 'not great' situations. Sometimes they go into rooming houses. We've heard cases of elder abuse because people are sort of forced into situations that they wouldn't otherwise be in." When people get older their housing needs change, said Seigel. Income can change, especially if one loses a spouse. "They can't live in their house anymore because of accessibility, mobility.… It's hard keeping up with snow clearing, that sort of thing," Said Seigel.After January's massive blizzard, Seigel's office got even more calls."We heard from so many people who said, 'I just can't do it anymore,'" she said. Many new options There are a number of new facilities being built — and opening up this fall — specifically for seniors, on the Northeast Avalon. Seigel said that proves the need is rising, but added some of them come at a great cost — probably $3,000 to $4,000 if you include food, she said."People have to realize that that's for a certain segment of the population, and the other segment of the population probably doesn't have a place to go." Seigel said many of the lower-cost and subsidized options have significant wait times. For example, she said, the 54 independent living cottages at St. Luke's in the west end of St. John's can have wait times of up to 10 years.Subsidized units from Newfoundland and Labrador Housing can be a one- to two-year wait said Seigel, but seniors don't have that kind of time. "When people decide to move, it's because they need to immediately," she said.Shelter expansion Abdallah hopes to help more seniors who need immediate shelter. Connections for Seniors is working with the City of St. John's to provide more supportive housing units in the near future. That's the kind of solution that Deputy Mayor Sheilagh O'Leary is pushing for. She said the city operates more than 450 units in its non-profit housing division.O'Leary told The St. John's Morning Show that many of those are geared toward seniors, such as the two-bedroom apartments at Riverhead Towers on Hamilton Avenue, 11 units on Campbell Avenue and a newer building on Convent Square. She said there is an application process and that wait times vary, but it's longer for the most affordable units.O'Leary said demand for affordable housing is rising."We have a long way to go in terms of serving the needs of people with housing insecurity in the community — and with the pandemic, we are seeing more and more people moving in this direction." She said the city is working to make land available and hopes to partner with more organizations, and the private sector, to build more affordable homes. As for Don, he said things are looking brighter. He said he's close to securing a unit from NL Housing thanks to Abdallah and the staff at Connections for Seniors."It looks like I'm on the road to recovery and finding my own place through them helping me," he said. "They don't turn their back on you. I think it's amazing."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
A group representing francophone and Acadian communities on P.E.I. is encouraging Islanders to write to their MPs about modernizing the federal Official Languages Act. Société acadienne et francophone de l'Île-du-Prince-Édouard (SAF'Île) says the 50-year-old act is out of date and that's creating inequalities in the way Islanders receive French-language services. "If we say that we are a bilingual country, then the federal government really needs to put the means and resources to live up to it," said Isabelle Dasylva-Gill, executive director of SAF'Île (formerly the Société Saint-Thomas d'Aquin).Lack of bilingual workforce Dasylva-Gill said one of the big issues is a lack of a bilingual workforce to provide services in areas such as child care, education, and health care. And that affects francophones trying to access services in their first language."If you want to register your child for French-language daycare [on P.E.I.], well most of the time there is a huge waiting list," said Dasylva-Gill."Because there are not the resources available to be able to have a spot."When that happens, said Dasylva-Gill, parents must put their kids into English-language daycare, which can lead to assimilation.Dasylva-Gill emphasized that the act also affects anglophones on P.E.I., in particular parents who want their children to have equal access to learn French through an immersion program. "If you don't have the resources to provide those programs, that's where the act is not living up to the demand," Dasylva-Gill said. Group says act not accountable enough She said that if Islanders feel they are not getting equal treatment under the act, it's hard to know where to speak up about it. "The mechanisms that are in place are not reliable enough to make sure that the act actually is respected by the federal institutions."The act also includes targets for bilingual immigrants who can work in the health care and education sectors.> As a society, we have a responsibility to make our voices heard — Isabelle Dasylva-Gill, SAF'Île"Year after year, there is less than two per cent of immigrants that settle outside of Quebec that are French speaking," said Dasylva-Gill. She said it's an asset for all businesses to be able to employ more bilingual workers, which helps the economy. "Really, it's the act of all Canadians when you think about the bigger picture." SAF'Île wants Islanders to send a letter to their MP about modernizing the Official Languages Act, and it has a template on its website. "As a society, we have a responsibility to make our voices heard," said Dasylva-Gill.More from CBC P.E.I.
The push to buy local this holiday season is overwhelming some Manitoba business owners, who are struggling to keep up with the avalanche of online and curbside orders. While the business is welcome, it's pushing many to the limit and for some, including McNally Robinson Booksellers, it still won't pull them out of the red this year."The amount of labour that this style of selling requires is two, maybe three, times higher than normal," co-owner Chris Hall said. "On the other side of that, this a fraction of the sales we would be normally getting — so we're earning much less [and] working much harder."Inside the normally bustling Grant. Avenue bookstore, phones are ringing off the hook, online orders are surging and staff are working tirelessly to process and package hundreds of parcels for pickup and delivery. One of the biggest challenges, Hall says, is that the business isn't set up to operate as online retailer."We're reaching our physical limit," he said. "We don't have enough space to literally stage the items that need to be picked up; we don't have enough computers to put more people on; we don't have more phones to answer more phone lines."He is warning customers new orders may face delays of seven to 14 days.Meanwhile, with revenue almost halved due to the shutdown of in-person shopping, the company is staying afloat thanks to pandemic wage and rent subsidies."By the time the week before Christmas comes we would be about twice as much [volume] as this week," he said. "But we can't get to twice as much of what we're doing right now, so we're going to be way down."Winnipeg candle-company Coal and Canary, is feeling the heat too.Online sales have skyrocketed much to the surprise of owner and creative director Amanda Buhse — who is first to admit you can't smell her candles online.Candle company fielding over 500 orders a day"We basically are working around the clock to try and keep up with the demand in the orders," she said.Buhse has tripled her team, added night and weekend shifts and is working 16-hour days herself just to keep up. The business is averaging 500 to 1,000 orders per day, she said, adding they sell across Canada and the United States.Trade shows and in-person shopping, the company's biggest drivers of revenue, have evaporated with pandemic restrictions so the record online sales success has been a happy surprise.The company has already exceeded last year's sales by 50 per cent, Buhse said, adding she attributes much it of it to Canadians' commitment to buy local."It's crazy," she said. "We have just been so blown away by the incredible support, of people that had never even shopped local before the pandemic happened and now they're looking at local options."At Toad Hall Toys, in Winnipeg's Exchange District, staff have turned off the phones as they work to process the volume of online orders as fast as they can."Between that and answering the door for pickup orders, it is all the seven of us can handle," said a note from the shop's staff posted to Instagram. Small business owners face burnout: CFIBThe Canadian Federation of Independent Business found small business owners are feeling the pressures of the pandemic and facing burnout as they enter the holiday shopping season.A recent national survey found close to half of small business owners said their mental health has suffered during the pandemic and 45 per cent said they have worked significantly more hours."It's been a very rocky start for a lot of retailers and other businesses too, that rely on the holiday season," said Jonathan Alward, director of the Prairie region."Even though the buy local in Manitoba surge has been very helpful, a lot of businesses still aren't anywhere near normal."In Manitoba, 48 per cent of the province's businesses are fully open, 35 per cent are fully staffed and just 24 per cent are making normal sales, Alward said.The challenges vary widely depending on the sector, he said, adding some are faring better than others."Think of any boutique — if you miss this season, your next season is going to be spring or summer," he said. "You're flush with inventory you've paid for and you can't move. It's a big concern."For many businesses, the pivot to online and curbside also comes with a price. "There's so many added costs, whether you're looking at more labour costs to do curbside pickup or delivery or, you know, you have a lot of costs associated with trying to keep your staff and any customers that can come in as safe as possible," he said. "I think we're going to see a lot of sales missed out on because of that lack of in-person interaction."In an effort to drive consumers to buy local, Winnipeg business owner Obby Kahn launched GoodLocal.ca, a one-stop online shop with dozens of Manitoba vendors."Think of Amazon and Etsy, but local," he said. "Everything good, everything local we want on our platform, you order it, we package it for you on one nice box."Since launching in September, the site was averaging 20 orders a week. Sales gradually started to pick up as Manitoba moved to orange and then red on the pandemic response scale.Last week, the site pulled in more than 700 orders forcing Khan to shut it down to catch up and increase capacity."It was panic," he said. "We weren't set up for that. We've had to move warehouses twice already. So we said, you know, we have to hit a little bit of a pause, kind of figure out our systems."He said the site will be up and running again shortly and he is grateful for the support.He hopes Manitobans continue to be mindful of where they spend their money this season and the year ahead."Think about that," he said. "Think of how that can help a family and have an immediate impact on our Winnipeg and our economy and everything going on in this great city."
BRUSSELS — A senior legal adviser said Thursday that the European Union’s top court should reject Hungary’s attempts to overturn a European Parliament action aimed at holding the country to account for what lawmakers consider to be a breach of the bloc’s values. Advocate General Michal Bobek recommended that the European Court of Justice “dismiss Hungary’s action as unfounded.” Advocates General routinely provide legal guidance to the ECJ. Their opinions aren't binding on the Luxembourg-based court, but are followed in most cases. The EU parliament launched a procedure in 2018 to force Hungary’s EU partners to sanction the government in Budapest over concerns about the country’s constitutional and electoral systems, the independence of its judiciary, corruption and conflicts of interest, as well as fundamental rights concerns. The “Article 7” procedure was contained in a resolution that was adopted in a 448-197 vote, while 48 lawmakers abstained. Hungary argued that had the abstentions been taken into account, the vote wouldn't have achieved the required two-thirds majority. In Bobek’s opinion, a person who abstains from a vote asks to be counted as neither in favour nor against a proposition, and to be treated as if they weren't voting at all. He also said that EU lawmakers had been informed more than a day before the poll that abstentions wouldn't be counted as votes cast. It’s the first time the parliament has launched such a procedure. The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, has also taken similar action against Hungary. If four-fifths of Hungary’s 26 EU partners agree “there is a clear risk of a serious breach” of the bloc’s values, Budapest could lose its voting rights. The EU’s treaty says the bloc “is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.” The Associated Press
The Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) says it is looking into several instances of uninvited strangers joining online classes and disrupting lessons.Nathalie Seskus, a Grade 7 St. Alphonsus School student — and the daughter of a CBC employee — said that since moving online this week, her class has been crashed by uninvited strangers more than once."It happened in two calls — one on [a] Google meeting, one on Zoom, where people who aren't part of our school or class have just been joining in calls," Seskus said.Seskus, 12, said the students and teacher can tell when someone uninvited had joined their chat rooms because of their usernames."We noticed because we're always supposed to use our real names when we're on calls. When we don't, we're asked to change them," she said. "In one case, when we were on a Zoom meeting, a man who was posing as a student had a random username."Seskus said the teacher told him to leave because he wasn't part of her class."She had kicked him out of the meeting and he joined again," Seskus said.She said in the other case, the intruder claimed to be a new student. "But he sounded like a man, not a child," Seskus said. "Everyone in the class was telling our teacher to kick them out. So she did, and we didn't see him pop up again."Disruptions were more common in the springBryan Szumlas, chief superintendent of the CCSD, said these disruptions are definitely happening — but were more common in the spring."For example, zoom back from March to June, there were some security issues with them, but they have since improved their technology significantly," Szumlas said. "It has been assessed by our Calgary Catholic technology team and it is a platform that we are comfortable with."Szumlas said the process of moving all Grade 7 to 12 students online this week was bound to include hiccups along the way. "What I did hear wasn't a huge problem," Szumlas said. "But I did hear about it in one or two classrooms where a teacher never clicked on a security feature and consequently [people outside the class joined]."We suspect it was just another student playing a prank and jumping into a class and making an inappropriate comment and then taking off."Szumlas said these types of incidents are taken very seriously and investigated fully."When something like this happens, obviously the teacher would communicate that to the principal and the principal would then start an investigation," Szumlas said. Szumlas said that should an incident be criminal, then the principal would also contact Calgary police, adding that police have not yet been required.Moving students onlineThe superintendent said the direction from the province to move older students online came relatively quickly."There was only four or five days for teachers to prepare," he said. "So the direction that we've given our teachers is that, use whatever platform you're comfortable with, so that we can continue the continuity of education."We've tried to give our teachers choice here. And I think we live in a world today that is so full of different technologies that are improving continuously, that having that rich variety is only good for our staff and good for our students."Szumlas said the district is constantly working with staff to help them understand some of the new security features on Zoom and other online platforms."One of the measures is that all students need to wait in the waiting room and then be admitted by the teacher and the teacher by clicking a few buttons within Zoom can lock in the student names and also prevent other people from accessing the room," he said.Calgary Board of Education experienceThe Calgary Board of Education said this is not an issue it has been seeing."We have not heard of incidences of strangers being a part of online lessons with our students," said the CBE in an emailed statement.The majority of the CBE's online learning takes place through Google Classrooms or D2L, according to the district."Classroom spaces, physical or digital, are learning environments specific for guiding interactions between teachers and students," the statement read.The CBE said there have been instances where a parent or guardian pops in on a lesson. "Caregivers entering a classroom space without invite and without following all of our guidelines are asked to leave and reminded of the importance of privacy for all students," the statement read."In most cases, our school-based administrators share the expectations of the classroom and parallel these expectations with face-to-face learning environments, and parents or caregivers are very understanding and receptive."
More than 50 people who live in the western P.E.I. community of Forestview have signed a petition calling on the provincial government to move high-voltage power lines away from their homes.The lines run along Howlan Road and carry electricity generated at the West Cape wind farm.The province did remove three-quarters of the lines in 2008, says local resident Clyde Penney, and promised at that time to move the rest once future wind turbines were established in that area."We're asking now for government to live up to that responsibility and to remove the lines," said Penney.After more than a decade of lobbying, the residents of the area say the time to move the lines is now, as the province plans a $44 million project to establish a 106-kilometre transmission line to transport energy from a future 40-megawatt wind farm in Skinners Pond to a substation in Sherbrooke, near Summerside. It's planned for 2025.Penney said 52 impacted residents have signed the petition.He said they're not against the turbines, just against the lines running by their homes."In some cases they're only 25 feet from the houses," said Penney, adding that the lines devalue their properties and pose a potential health risk."The birds won't even land on them."'Just devastated'The residents want to see the lines relocated away from homes on the road.Juanita Gallant told CBC News when they rerouted the other lines back in 2008, she and her neighbours thought all the lines would be moved."But they stopped about a quarter of a kilometre from our house. That was it. We were just devastated," she said."They rerouted everything from here right through to Summerside, but they didn't reroute this bunch of homes right here," said her husband, Ricky."They should've done that from the start."Their MLA, Robert Henderson, has asked the government to follow through on its commitment, suggesting it use the poles, wire and insulators along the new route of its wind energy corridor."They're right in their front yards," he said. "The community has been very patient."Penney wrote to Energy Minister Steven Myers in August, but said he has not heard back yet.In the legislature Tuesday, Myers said he doesn't know where the new power corridor will be located, but he's willing to meet with residents to discuss their concerns.A spokesperson with Maritime Electric said the company was not aware of any recent issues or concerns in that area, and it would be up to the province to decide whether to move the lines.More from CBC P.E.I.
TORONTO — Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment's giant kitchen is open again.MLSE and its partners, who combined to donate 500,000 meals to front-line workers and community agencies from April to June, are reintroducing the 'Bringing Toronto Back to its Feet" program.Starting this week, the goal is to distribute more than 130,000 meals in early December.Scotiabank Arena will again be used to assemble the meals, which can be stored and frozen. They will later be distributed to community agencies and families who are struggling. MLSE’s chefs and food and beverage staff, along with other company employees, will prepare the meals for distribution.MLSE chairman Larry Tanenbaum. calls this holiday season "one of the most challenging that we have known."“This program will play a small part in helping our neighbours enjoy their holiday season as we all look forward to a better year ahead in 2021,” he said in a statement.Solidarity Kitchens, created by La Tablee des Chefs and financially supported by the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada emergency fund, has given grants to Canadian initiatives, including Bringing Toronto Back To Its Feet, with a goal of creating two million meals for those in need across the country.“As the pandemic continues to impact our communities and we approach the holiday season, there is no better time to come together to support those in need and we want to thank everyone who is helping to make a return of this important program possible, including MLSE’s ownership group and our founding corporate partners,” said MLSE president and CEO Michael Friisdahl.Second Harvest, the largest food rescue organization in Canada, along with a network of local suppliers and sponsors, are supplying fresh ingredients daily to the MLSE team.The chefs will then turn those supplies, along with other food purchased or donated to the program, into ready-to-heat meals meeting a variety of dietary needs. The meals will delivered five days a week.The meal donation program sees MLSE chefs spread out in Scotiabank Arena kitchens, physically distanced as they cook using giant 120-litre pots. Routes have been set up in the arena to control the flow of traffic and food, from the loading dock to kitchen to meal assembly line.The chefs stay in the kitchen. Others take the food from the kitchen to an open space in the arena to be assembled and packaged into meals. Earlier this year, that was the arena floor. This time, the meals are being put together in the concourse.Once cooked, the food is cooled in fridges, then assembled quickly and covered, wrapped and refrigerated again to await distribution and reheating.At its peak, the MLSE-led program produced 13,000 meals per day, providing meals to more than 75 community agencies and front-line health-care workers and their families at 25 hospitals and health-care facilities in the Greater Toronto Area.“We have heard first-hand about the incredible impact these prepared meals have on the lives of people struggling with hunger and limited access to food programs,” said Lori Nikkel, CEO of Second Harvest. MLSE is working with food hygiene experts and Toronto Public Health to ensure the safety of the meals and of the people preparing them.MLSE owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, Raptors, Argonauts, Marlies and Toronto FC.\---Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
UK officials have claimed that Brexit allowed them to fast-track approval of a COVID-19 vaccine.View on euronews
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A mysterious object temporarily orbiting Earth is a 54-year-old rocket, not an asteroid after all, astronomers confirmed Wednesday. Observations by a telescope in Hawaii clinched its identity, according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The object was classified as an asteroid after its discovery in September. But NASA’s top asteroid expert, Paul Chodas, quickly suspected it was the Centaur upper rocket stage from Surveyor 2, a failed 1966 moon-landing mission. Size estimates had put it in the range of the old Centaur, which was about 32 feet (10 metres) long and 10 feet (3 metres) in diameter. Chodas was proven right after a team led by the University of Arizona's Vishnu Reddy used an infrared telescope in Hawaii to observe not only the mystery object, but — just on Tuesday — a Centaur from 1971 still orbiting Earth. The data from the images matched. “Today’s news was super gratifying!,” Chodas said via email. “It was teamwork that wrapped up this puzzle.” The object formally known as 2020 SO entered a wide, lopsided orbit around Earth last month and, on Tuesday, made its closest approach at just over 31,000 miles (50,476 kilometres). It will depart the neighbourhood in March, shooting back into its own orbit around the sun. Its next return: 2036. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press
A fishing tournament organizer and TV personality has brought his business to New Brunswick after being fined $9,000 and losing his Ontario fishing licence for not reporting the nearly 200 dead bass he threw into a dumpster.Ben Woo was convicted of failing to abide by the terms and conditions of the licence allowing tournament organizers to transport fish to be weighed and measured before they were returned live to the water. After the incident, Woo relocated to southern New Brunswick, where he's continued to organize fishing tournaments under the name B1 Fishing, including two in partnership with the City of Fredericton. According to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, 195 dead bass were found after Woo's tournament on the St. Lawrence River near Gananoque on July 15, 2019. Of that number, 188 were in plastic bags at the bottom of a dumpster. It's one of the largest fines handed out, and one of the most serious violations the department has recorded. "This was by far the most heinous one I've ever seen," said Greg Bourne, a staff sergeant who has been with the Ontario ministry for 21 years.Bourne said anglers called in the tip about the fish-dumping on the opening day of the two-day weekend tournament. "People who were at the tournament called our communication centre and complained that there seemed to be a lot fish dying at this bass tournament," said Bourne. Bourne said someone was dispatched on the second day of the tournament to check it out but was reassigned to another call. An officer didn't make it to the marina where the fish were being kept until the day after the tournament ended. But anglers also contacted Bruce Tufts, a professor at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., head of the Freshwater Fisheries Conservation Lab, and the biologist who helped craft Ontario's guidelines for handling fish during tournaments. They sent him photos of the fish — some already dead — in the tank where they were kept after being measured and weighed. Tufts said the pictures bothered him so much he barely slept that night. "I called my lab manager at 6 o'clock in the morning and said 'This is really bugging me, there's got to be a ton of dead fish down there,'"Tufts, along with some of his students and another angler, got permission from the marina owner to search the area for what they suspected would be a large number of dead bass. They were later joined by a conservation officer from the Ministry of Natural Resources. "We started finding dead fish in the bushes," said Tufts. "We found a few dead fish in the water." Tufts said a marina employee pointed them to a dumpster. "In the bottom, there were 17 bags of smallmouth bass that were the biggest, best, broodstock in our fishery," said Tufts.According to both Tufts and Bourne, the fish died as a result of lack of oxygen and inadequate water temperatures in the holding tank where they'd been placed after being weighed.The Ontario ministry requires that if more than five per cent of the fish caught during the tournament die while in the possession of the event, the government must be immediately contacted. "We believe the organizer was negligent in the way he handled the fish, and that's what resulted in the deaths of so many," said Bourne.Tufts said the fish were double-bagged, and other garbage had been piled on top. Woo originally faced 11 charges, including giving a false statement to a conservation officer, but in the end pleadedguilty to one: failing to abide by the terms and conditions of a licence. Move to New Brunswick Woo and his family moved to Tracyville, about 28 kilometres south of Fredericton, last year.The former Montreal resident is prohibited from holding a fishing licence in Ontario, but that does not bar him from fishing in other provinces. He said his move to New Brunswick was for personal reasons and not an effort to circumvent the Ontario penalty. Inthe wake of his conviction, he said, he's no longer hosting fishing tournaments."Absolutely 100 per cent done with that," Woo said this week. "And to be very transparent that not only due to this, but it's also due to COVID."But Woo and B1 Fishing did host tournaments this past summer and he was scheduled to host an event in Fredericton as recently as October. That event was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.Until his recent conviction, Woo had also been partnering with the City of Fredericton on tournaments.The City of Fredericton hosted two B1 Fishing tournaments in 2019. Both took place after the Gananoque tournament, but the city said it worked with the Department of Natural Resources to ensure proper fish handling. "However, we will not be working with Mr. Woo on future tournaments," wrote Bobby Despres, Fredericton sport tourism co-ordinator. "Protecting our natural environment is the city's top concern and we want to work with organizers who are fully committed to this principle." Woo also has a working relationship with the New Brunswick Department of Tourism. The fishing show he hosts, Fish East, is set to premiere this month on the Wild Television Network and the website states: "Woo sets out to explore the East Coast through a nine-episode series filmed exclusively in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia."The government of New Brunswick is listed as a partner with the production. Woo denies hiding fishWoo claimsthe only thing he did wrong was to not immediately contact the Ontario government after more than five per cent of the fish caught died on the first day of the tournament. He said he filed a report with the ministry on the Tuesday following the tournament, then resubmitted a more detailed report the following Friday. He said his only option was to throw the fish in the garbage. "What would be the other option, take them off-site? I'm not sure where we would have put them," said Woo. "Or do we go and announce to everybody 'Hey, we have 200 dead fish here, what do we do?' I'm not sure that would have been the politically correct thing to do. There's no precedent here." "We panicked," Woo wrote on the B1 Fishing Facebook page when explaining why fish were thrown in the garbage. He denies trying to hide them. Woo thinks whatever killed the fish is still uncertain. Water quality blamed "This was an anomaly," said Woo. "It never happened before; it's never happened since."Woo points the finger at the venue, the river water quality, as one of the factors in what happened to the fish."But certainly, there was no negligence on our side of things as far as the procedure or the fish handling is concerned," said Woo. Woo said he takes full responsibility and regrets what happened.
SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — Hundreds of thousands of masked students in South Korea, including 41 confirmed COVID-19 patients, took the highly competitive university entrance exam Thursday despite a viral resurgence that forced authorities to toughen social distancing rules.About 426,340 students were taking the one-day exam at about 1,380 sites across the nation, including hospitals and other medical facilities where the 41 virus patients and hundreds of other test-takers in self-quarantine sat separately from others, according to the Education Ministry.The annual exam, called “Suneung,” or College Scholastic Ability Test, is crucial in the education-obsessed country, where job prospects, social standing and even who you marry can often depend on which university you attend.Defence and land ministries said they temporarily banned military exercises and stopped air traffic to reduce noise during the English-language listening parts of Thursday’s exam, as they did in past years. Government offices and many private companies asked their employees to come in late, and the country’s stock market delayed its opening to clear roads for test-takers.This year’s exam had been originally scheduled for November but was delayed due to the virus outbreak. Experts say on-and-off online classes have widened the gap between high achievers and low performing students due to reduced interaction with teachers, digital distractions and technical difficulties.“If the exam had been delayed again, our kids would have felt much more psychological pressure ... I think it’s fortunate the exam is taking place now,” said Kim Sun-wha, the mother of a test-taker. “I hope everyone will avoid making mistakes, do their best and get good results.”Mothers hugged their children and patted their backs before they entered a temporary exam site set up at a high school in Seoul. One shouted, “Don’t be nervous! Do Well!” and another screamed “Cheer up!”Students were required to have their temperature taken before entering the test sites, wear masks throughout the exam and maintain their distance from each other. They had to bring their own water and lunch because they weren't allowed to use water purifiers or drinking fountains at the sites or go outside to get meals. Those with a fever were to go to separate testing areas. There were a total of 1,383 sites, an increase of 198 from last year, according to the Education Ministry.In recent days, the government has urged the public to stay home and avoid social gatherings as much as possible to provide a safe environment for those taking the exams. Park Yu-mi, an anti-virus official in Seoul, said authorities asked companies to have at least one-third of their employees work from home.There are worries that the nationwide exam could accelerate the spread of the virus.During a briefing Thursday, health official Lee Sang-won said he felt “really sorry” that he had to ask students to be vigilant and avoid gatherings even after the exam is over.“I’d like to offer words of consolation to test-takers who have studied and come to take the exam under a particularly difficult situation,” Lee said. “I want to tell you to put aside stress and enjoy yourselves fully (after the test), but it’s regrettable that I can’t say that under the current situation.”South Korea has relatively successfully contained previous viral outbreaks this year thanks to its internationally acclaimed rapid tracing, testing and treatment strategy, combined with the widespread public use of masks. But it’s now grappling with a spike in infections after it eased distancing rules in October. Authorities last week restored stringent distancing restrictions in the greater Seoul area and other places.On Thursday, South Korea reported 540 new cases, taking the total to 35,703 with 529 deaths.___Associated Press journalists Kim Tong-hyung and Kim Yong Ho contributed to this report.Hyung-Jin Kim, The Associated Press
Whitefish River First Nation says the community voted not to ratify the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement (ANGA). The ANGA is a self-government agreement between the Anishinabek Nation on behalf of its member First Nations and the Government of Canada. Those who choose to ratify the agreement will have the power to enact laws on how they wish to elect their chief and council, how their First Nation government will operate and be managed, who their citizens will be and how they want to protect and promote the Anishinaabe language and culture. “First drafted in 1995, this governance agreement reflects the vision those past chiefs had for a better future,” said Whitefish River First Nation Chief Shining Turtle (Franklin Paibomsai) in a letter written on Dec. 1. “Today, the agreement includes provisions for self-government and funding for language, citizenship, elections and band support. It’s a good agreement – but it did not resonate with you.” Members of the Whitefish River First Nation community voted online from Nov. 1 to 30, by mail-in ballot, or in-person at the Administration Office on Nov. 28. The results were tallied on the evening of Nov. 30 – out of 314 total votes cast, 167 individuals voted “no” to ratifying the agreement and 145 individuals voted “yes.” This was the First Nation’s 2nd ratification vote on the ANGA. “Voting on agreements such as this one can be tough, and there may be strong feelings all around,” said Shining Turtle. “Know that those feelings are there because we as a community are passionate and committed to building a better future for the next seven generations. On that, we can agree.” The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government. firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @SudburyStar Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star
Judy Havers says she used to like going outside, getting coffee at Boston Pizza, watching animals in the park and, most of all, feeding the feral cats she's nourished and taken comfort from for the last six years. That's all out of reach now. Havers, 60, is a resident of Providence Place, a Moose Jaw care home dealing with one of the many COVID-19 outbreaks hitting Saskatchewan's extended care homes.Havers is not infected, unlike four other residents and seven staff confirmed to have tested positive at the home, according to a statement management gave CBC News six days ago. "But we're all under lockdown," Havers said over the phone Wednesday from her single room, where she's been largely cooped up in her wheelchair for days.The isolation imposed by COVID-19 has taken a toll on her mental health, Havers says — quickened her already short temper, fed her depression, even given her the shakes because of how powerless she feels. "Sometimes I get really lonely because there isn't anybody to talk to," she said. "I find it very, very constricting being in the room all the time. "I miss going outside." 'Zero chance' of lower numbers by Christmas: profOn Tuesday, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe offered a ray of hope for care home residents and their families. Moe said people might be able to visit loved ones in care homes for two or three days during the holiday season, provided the rate of COVID-19 transmission decreases over the next two weeks and depending on the advice he receives from Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province's chief medical health officer."This is the goal," Moe said of Christmas visits, before adding another caveat. "People need to adhere to the measures that are in place [now]."Moe said care-home staff face the risk of transmission every day they go to work, but that they lessen that risk by wearing appropriate personal protective equipment and being cautious."The same may be true, potentially, for families that would want to visit in a long-term care," Moe said.He pointed to Quebec, where "there's going to be a little bit of a different standard so that families would be able to come together for those few days."Kyle Anderson, an assistant professor in the college of medicine at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, said it took Quebec about six weeks from the implementation of its new restrictions to start seeing active case numbers go down."There is zero chance Saskatchewan will have lower active case numbers on Christmas than we are right now, and right now we have seniors dying daily," he said."We need to commit to these measures, not look for ways to circumvent them."Anderson has been closely tracking the daily number of new COVID-19 cases. He created a video that shows the surge in cases among Saskatchewan seniors beginning in mid-November — right around the time outbreaks in care homes began, he said. "We need to keep our vulnerable safe for the next three or four months," Anderson said. "This might seem like too much to ask of us, and ask of them, after such a hard year, but we do the hard things now so we can enjoy the bountiful harvest at the end of the season. This is the Saskatchewan way."'I'm afraid it will spread'At Providence Place in Moose Jaw, Havers said that while it would be nice to see someone in person, she's wary of allowing visits again. She said some residents at her care home are worried about further COVID-19 spread."If it was too much of a risk for us, I'd just as soon not see anybody and stay safe," she said of Christmas visits. "I have some pre-existing conditions and I'm just really afraid of getting COVID in here. I'm afraid it will spread like it did in those homes back east."The day before Moe's comments, Health Minister Paul Merriman said people should plan to see their loved ones at Christmas. It's just a matter of whether they'll do that in person or virtually, he said. Merriman was asked if family members who test negative might be allowed to visit homes."The problem with a negative test is somebody can be negative, tested in the morning and could have picked it up on the way," he said. "We want to make sure that the individuals in that home are safe."> If it was too much of a risk for us, I'd just as soon not see anybody and stay safe. \- Judy HaversOn Thursday, Dr. Shahab said that every time the province relaxes restrictions, "you see a bit of a rebound" in cases.He said the province has seen outbreaks in many different settings, but that those in long-term care homes are the most "high risk out of all the outbreaks that we're seeing in terms of impact on residents and staff and families." Outings restricted for last 2 weeksHealth officials declared an outbreak at Providence Place on Nov. 18, according to an update sent to families that day.The day before, the Ministry of Health announced it was halting visits to all long-term care homes except for people visiting patients in end-of-life care. Providence Place said at the same time it was suspending all outings for its residents, a decision it would revisit in four weeks.Havers said she gets some fresh air because she still goes to a hospital three days a week for dialysis. She keeps in touch with a sister living in Nanaimo, B.C., via texts and FaceTime.But it's hard watching other people face the full brunt of restrictions, she said. "You see the residents [whose] family was here every day … giving them extra attention, washing them, talking to them, bringing them treats, whatever," she said. "Now, all of a sudden, even if they have dementia or Alzheimer's or something, I think they still realize that they're alone. It's not their fault, but I don't think they understand that."As of Thursday, the outbreak numbers at Providence Place were stable among staff and residents, said Georgia Hutchinson, the facility's executive director. "Our spiritual care, recreation and other redeployed staff are focusing on supporting and assisting our residents to cope with the effects of isolation in the outbreak," she said. "The SHA does provide mental health supports to our residents as they are required."On Tuesday, Moe was asked why he would get people's hopes up about visits given recent modelling from the Saskatchewan Health Authority that projects a continued rise in COVID-19 cases."It may not be possible," Moe said. "But is it my place to provide hope and to provide opportunity, to provide some targets for the people of the province to work towards between now and December the 25th? "I think it is."
Nova Scotia first responders have had a hand in creating a new website intended to help their colleagues recognize when they need mental health support.Debbie Fortune and her husband, Jason, have both been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder while working as paramedics in Cape Breton.Fortune said her husband left his job in 2012, and it took years for him to get a diagnosis and proper treatment.There weren't many PTSD resources available to civilians, she said, so the couple went to a military support group and were surprised to find people with different jobs had the same experiences."That was one of the turning points for us, to just feel like we're not alone," said Fortune."People understand this, and we're not failures. We're injured and that's OK. We can deal with an injury. When you don't know you have an injury, where do you begin to try to get better?"PTSD not always easy to recognizeIt's easy enough to identify an injury when someone has broken a bone or is bleeding, she said, but PTSD is not immediately obvious to the person with the disorder.It is also complicated and can't always be tied to a particularly bad incident, Fortune said."It's often not those very traumatic experiences," she said. "It's more of those sad moments, the day-to-day things that you witness being in people's homes."The couple had ups and downs even after Jason's diagnosis. Fortune said she and her husband separated for a while, but eventually got back together after his care improved.It was a shock when her own diagnosis came just this summer.While getting help was easier, Fortune said she struggled to even acknowledge she had the disorder.'I should have known'"It was very unexpected," she said. "I should have known. I was well versed in the symptoms. How could I possibly have this?"Fortune is currently off work, but said she is getting help and plans to return to her job in January.She was among a group of police officers, firefighters, nurses and experts in workers compensation that helped create a new mental health website allowing first responders and their loved ones to identify when help is needed."I am hoping that my experience with my own diagnosis and my own journey to try to heal, is something that I can say to people, 'There is a way back,'" said Fortune.Janet Hazelton, president of the Nova Scotia Nurses' Union, was also on the committee and said there is still stigma around mental health and it may be more prevalent among first responders.She said the number of workplace claims for mental health from first responders has increased, demonstrating the need for the new website."It doesn't hurt just to check in through the website and you can talk to counsellors or you can do it virtually," Hazelton said. "First responders need to understand that it's OK. It's OK to acknowledge that a traumatic event has affected your mental health, and you need to be not ashamed to seek help."Fortune said Nova Scotians have had a particularly hard time this year with COVID-19 and the mass shooting. While the website is geared toward first responders, it has information and tools that anyone can use."There are going to be people that are affected by that, and not necessarily because they're a first responder," she said.MORE TOP STORIES
A 39-year-old man was shot and killed Wednesday in Laval. The provincial police major crimes unit has taken over the investigation due to the shooting's possible link to organized crime. The shooting happened around 9 p.m. on De la Fabrique Street in the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul neighbourhood.As of this morning, investigators are still at the scene and a large security perimeter has been set up. There have been no arrests.It is Laval's third homicide of the year.
The Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) said he was "disappointed" to hear the federal government acknowledge it would not meet the deadline it set for itself to end all long-term boil water advisories in First Nations.The announcement was made on Wednesday by federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller, who instead announced more than $1.5 billion in long-term funding to help build "a sustainable system that ensures that First Nation communities have access to safe drinking water now and for generations to come."Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler welcomed the announcement of more money for long-term solutions, but said the announcement still doesn't address the needs of people today."It's disheartening for our communities, including Neskantaga [First Nation]. You know, their members are still here in Thunder Bay at a hotel. We don't know when the repatriation process will begin. And it's not just Neskantaga in NAN territory. We have a total of  boil water advisories impacting communities, including my own community of Muskrat Dam since 2004," said Fiddler."So it's something that we've been living with for a long time now."It was during the 2015 federal election that Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau promised to end all boil water advisories on First Nations within five years — which later translated to March 2021. The government even created a website page to track their progress.But during a briefing on Wednesday, senior officials with Indigenous Services Canada said they expect 22 First Nations will still be under a boil water advisory beyond the spring of 2021.The federal minister added the goal of March 2021 "was made to drive forward actions to address drinking water issues and … this approach has worked.""Over 600 water and wastewater projects have been initiated in First Nations communities; 97 long-term drinking water advisories were lifted and importantly, 171 long-term advisories were prevented [by resolving the issues before a short-term advisory turned into a long-term one]," Miller said.He added that the long-term funding will help end all boil water advisories, cover ongoing maintenance costs and improve the training and retention of water plant operators in communities.Fiddler said moving forward, the federal government must commit to doing this work in close collaboration with First Nations."We will feel a bit more comfortable about all this when we see all these commitments in writing and a commitment to work with us in a way that reflects true partnership."
Ontario's annual greenhouse gas emissions rose for the first time in nearly a decade during the first year the Ford government was in power.It's a sign that the province's climate change targets are in jeopardy, according to a new report. The report, to be released Thursday by the group Environmental Defence, calls the increase "a big step backwards" in Ontario's progress toward reducing carbon emissions."Ontario is trending dangerously in the wrong direction on climate change, and the gap between Ontario's carbon reduction targets and actual emissions levels is growing," says the report, a copy of which was provided to CBC News ahead of Thursday's publication. The report — entitled Ontario Climate - Yours to Recover — also says the government has an opportunity to make investments that would both stimulate economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and reduce emissions, yet hasn't made moves to do so. The latest federal figures, which are published with a two-year lag time, show the province's emissions rose by 10 megatonnes (MT) in 2018 over the previous year. This marks Ontario's first annual increase in emissions since 2010, the year the province's economy emerged from the last recession. The increase in emissions in 2018 means the government will have to make even more reductions than previously promised just to hit its own targets, said Sarah Buchanan, clean economy program manager for Environmental Defence. "Yes, it's possible they could still meet their 2030 carbon reduction targets, but it's becoming increasingly distant of a possibility," said Buchanan. "It's something that we don't have the luxury of time to fix."The government remains committed to its emission reduction target for 2030, said a spokesperson for Environment Minister Jeff Yurek. "We have taken some important steps over the past two years to lower greenhouse gas emissions in the province," said Yurek's press secretary Andrew Buttigieg in a statement. The report argues some of the government's most significant steps actually contribute to higher emissions. Shortly after forming government in 2018, Premier Doug Ford scrapped Ontario's cap-and-trade system, cancelled home energy efficiency programs and eliminated incentives to purchase electric vehicles. Yurek's predecessor as environment minister, Rod Phillips, now the finance minister, set new, less-stringent targets for reducing emissions in what the government dubbed the Made-In-Ontario Environment Plan. The plan proposed about 18 MT of reductions in annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2030: * Renewable fuels: 3.5 MT. * Natural gas conservation: 3.2 MT. * Electric vehicles: 2.9 MT. * Industrial emission performance standards: 2.7 MT. * Technological innovations: 2.7 MT. * Federal clean fuel standard: 1.3 MT. * Emission reduction fund: 0.7 MT. * Other policies: 1.1 MT."Our plan is an evolving document, and our estimates will continue to evolve as policies and commitments are reviewed and refined, and as we begin to see results of initiatives already in motion," said Buttigieg. The Environmental Defence report examines how much progress Ontario has made on each of those promised reductions. It builds on work by the province's auditor general last month that concluded the government is at risk of missing its emission targets. A significant portion of the top source of reductions, renewable fuels, would come from boosting the minimum renewable content (such as ethanol) in gasoline to 15 per cent. Last week the government announced a slower timetable for the change than previously planned. Also last week, the government waffled on whether its target for natural gas conservation — its second largest proposed source of emission reductions — is actually a target at all. In a letter to the Ontario Energy Board, Yurek and Bill Walker, the associate minister for energy, said the 3.2 MT figure for reduced emissions is merely "an estimate of the potential for actions related to natural gas conservation" and "is not intended to be a prescriptive target." "There's been no action, not even a hint of action towards implementing and expanding natural gas conservation programs," said Buchanan. When Ontario's emission figures for 2020 are published, they will almost certainly show a drop from 2019 because of the pandemic's impact on commuter habits and industrial output. Environment Defence argues that such a drop would not be evidence that the Ford government is making progress on climate change, nor would it be sustained if the government continues on its current path. The government's plans for economic recovery from COVID-19 don't reflect a climate-friendly approach, says the report. "Ontario's recovery actions announced to date have not incorporated any programs promised in the Environment Plan to reduce GHG emissions, despite many actions with high potential for economic stimulus," the report says."This is a missed opportunity to invest in proven job-creating solutions like public transit, energy efficiency, and green building."Environmental Defence accuses the government of "adopting an outdated view of economic stimulus based on accelerating large infrastructure projects like highways, which will make climate change worse."The organization points to the proposed Highway 413, to run from the northern part of Vaughan through Caledon to where the 401, 403 and 407 intersect. The government in turn points to two recent announcements that auto sector giants will retool their Ontario assembly plants for production of electric vehicles: Ford in Oakville, and Fiat Chrysler in Windsor. "We will continue to look to industry, who we are counting on to do their part to drive innovative solutions that will help us meet our goals for the environment and climate change," said Buttigieg.
France will on Thursday start investigating dozens of mosques suspected of fomenting Islamist ideology to combat the rising threat of religious extremism, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said. The government has launched what it calls an unprecedented action against "separatism" following several Islamist attacks in France this autumn, including the beheading of a teacher who had shown his class caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad. Darmanin said 76 mosques out of the more than 2,600 Muslim places of worship had been flagged as possible threats to France's Republican values and its security.