Ellie the Great Dane loves her toys and the cardboard they come with. Maybe Ellie should lower her fiber intake as she gets filmed farting on camera!
Ellie the Great Dane loves her toys and the cardboard they come with. Maybe Ellie should lower her fiber intake as she gets filmed farting on camera!
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
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA is considering a second firing of its moon rocket engines after a critical test came up short over the weekend, a move that could bump the first flight in the Artemis lunar-landing program into next year. The space agency had aimed to launch its new Space Launch System, or SLS, rocket and an empty Orion capsule by the end of this year, with the capsule flying to the moon and back as a prelude to crew missions. But that date could be in jeopardy following Saturday’s aborted test. “We have a shot at flying it this year, but we need to get through this next step," said Kathy Lueders, head of NASA's human spaceflight office. All four engines fired for barely a minute, rather than the intended eight minutes, on the test stand at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The countdown rehearsal for the 212-foot (65-meter) core stage — made by Boeing — included the liquid hydrogen and oxygen tanks, as well as the all necessary computers and electronics. On Tuesday, NASA attributed the automatic shutdown to the strict test limits meant to protect the core stage so it can be used on the first Artemis flight. The hydraulic system for one engine exceeded safety parameters, officials said, and flight computers shut everything down 67 seconds into the ignition. Two other engine-related issues also occurred. NASA said it can adjust the test limits if a second test is deemed necessary, to prevent another premature shutdown. Engineers will continue to analyze the data, as managers debate the pros and cons of proceeding with a second test firing at Stennis or shipping the rocket straight to Florida's Kennedy Space Center for launch preparations. Some of that Kennedy work might be able to be streamlined, Lueders said. This core stage can be loaded with super-cold fuel no more than nine times, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told reporters Tuesday evening. A second full-blown test firing would reduce the remaining number of fill-ups. The Artemis program is working to put astronauts back on the moon by 2024, a deadline set by the Trump administration. It's uncertain how the incoming White House will approach that timeline. In its annual report Tuesday, the Aereospace Safety Advisory Panel urged NASA to develop a realistic schedule for its Artemis moon program and called into question the 2024 date for returning astronauts to the lunar surface. On the eve of his departure from NASA, Bridenstine, a former Republican congressman from Oklahoma, stressed that key programs like Artemis need to encompass multiple administrations, decades and even generations. It's crucial , he said, that "we've got buy-in and support from all of America and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.” ___ 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
FORT ERIE, Ont. — Police are investigating after the bodies of two women were found inside a house in Fort Erie, Ont. Niagara Police say they received a call early Monday morning about a disturbance that possibly involved a firearm. They say officers found the bodies when they arrived at the house. Homicide and forensic units have taken over the investigation. A portion of a regional roadway was shut for most of Tuesday as police asked people to stay clear of the area. Investigators want anyone with information to contact them. 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. The Canadian Press
VICTORIA — The British Columbia government must do a better job of protecting its computer systems from cybersecurity threats, says auditor general Michael Pickup. An audit of five government ministries found only Education and the information branch of Citizens' Services provided strong protections against potential threats, he said Tuesday. The audit concluded the ministries of Finance, Health and Natural Resources as well as much of Citizens' Services did not have adequate cybersecurity practices to manage its information technology systems, Pickup told a news conference. The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally. Pickup said organizations with poorly managed security practices are vulnerable to attacks. "These weaknesses could hinder the ability of the ministries to develop and implement appropriate safeguards to protect their IT assets from cybersecurity threats," he said. The audit found security standards at the ministries lacked specific definitions of roles and responsibilities, said Pickup. It also found inappropriately maintained inventories, including unauthorized devices on networks and records that were missing important data, he said. "The established policies and standards, they lack specific guidelines to identify and manage IT assets for the purpose of managing cybersecurity risks," Pickup said. The audit makes seven recommendations, all of which have been accepted by the government. Pickup said he expects the audit's findings to be discussed by members of the legislature who sit on committees overseeing information technology services. "These reports are tools for the folks in the legislature to then look to government and hold them accountable on why are these things happening to start with and how does government improve," he said. Pickup said his office is also planning a future review of the government's computer systems during the COVID-19 pandemic because many government employees are working from home. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
Pembroke – With only 10 new COVID-19 cases in the last week in the region, Renfrew County and District Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Cushman is encouraging residents to continue to be vigilant as they await the vaccine roll-out. “We are through the middle of January and we are seeing a turn-around,” he said on Monday afternoon. “Keep it up. Let’s bring on the vaccines and get through this.” After weeks of rapidly increasing numbers, the last week has seen the new cases trickle down to one or two a day. Currently there is one person in hospital with COVID from the district. He said they are in an Ottawa hospital and had significant co-morbidity issues. While outbreaks have all but been eliminated with one outbreak remaining at a long-term-care home, he cautioned this can “turn on a dime” and people need to continue to be cautious. Fortunately, area residents can enjoy being outdoors, he said. “We need to keep doing this,” he said. “Renfrew County is not a densely populated urban centre. Get out and get some fresh air. Stick to members of your household.” With December being the worst month for COVID cases, January seems to be improving slightly. He pointed out with seven people in isolation and no new cases on Tuesday, things were looking up. “We are seeing the fruit of the hard work everyone is doing since the Boxing Day lockdown,” he said. This contrasts with December and even the first 10 days in January where the numbers were increasing. The district, which includes not only Renfrew County but Nipissing and South Algonquin, has seen a total of 296 cases of COVID since the pandemic began in March. There has been one death early on. Numbers had begun to spike in November and December but are levelling off now significantly with only seven people currently in self-isolation with a diagnosed case of COVID. “We are seeing the drop off because of the lockdown and co-operation,” he said. With the numbers that low in the county the province might be looking at these numbers and pursuing a more regional approach again, he noted. “I don’t want to speak for Mr. Ford (Ontario Premier Doug Ford),” he said. “Maybe in another week or so we can re-assess, and certain jurisdictions can open up.” If the colour-coding system were in place, Renfrew County would be considered green right now, he said. One of the issues with the zones was people travelling from the grey (lockdown) zones to red, orange, yellow and green zones, he clarified. “And I do understand there is a lot of spillage when people find the rural areas and green zones,” he said. While many families are awaiting a provincial announcement on Wednesday about school re-opening, Dr. Cushman said this will be a provincial and school board decision. One concern by many is the impact on mental health the lockdown is having. It is not only affecting seniors isolated in long-term-care homes but children not able to go to schools and people in abusive relationships, including many others. “It is terrible,” he said of the mental health impact. “The collateral damage is almost on par. You can’t deal with one without the other.” Vaccine Roll-Out Stating he understands the desire to see businesses re-open and people able to congregate again, Dr. Cushman said it is important to wait on the vaccine roll-out and plans are in place to vaccinate the most vulnerable in early February in the county. “The latest is we think we do the long-term care homes the first of February,” he said. “We are very committed to that. “We have been advised that we can expect to receive Pfizer and/or Moderna vaccines in early February, but there has been no confirmation of the number of doses,” he noted. However, a clear plan is in place on how the vaccines will be administered. “We’ve seen examples of spoilage in other centres,” he said. “That will not happen here.” Each long-term care home has a plan in place to vaccinate residents and staff, he said. “We are ready to go,” he said. “We are working with each home and they have a plan.” In this first phase, the province has announced the vaccine will be rolled out to health care workers, adults in First Nations, Metis and Inuit populations and recipients of chronic home health care. Phase 2 is expected to begin in late winter and will expand to include additional congregate care settings and adults over 70. Phase three will expand the roll-out. Dr. Cushman said he remains concerned about travel as a risk factor for people in the area, noting cases have come in from travel to other regions, including Ottawa. As well, people should not let their guard down in the workplace or at home. “Don’t congregate in the work setting,” he stressed. As far as being outdoors, people don’t have to wear a mask if they are alone but should take one along in case it is impossible to keep physically distant, he said. While very few fines have been issued in the district, the health unit did go public on a few fines late last year. With the new State of Emergency order brought in by the province last Thursday, Dr. Cushman explained now by-law officers and police can also issue fines. “It means we have more means of enforcement,” he said. The health unit has received calls about some people breaking the Stay-At-Home order and lockdown order, he said. “We did have some chatter in one small neighbourhood,” he said. “We investigated and it was more chatter than reality.” In the meantime, he reminded area residents standard COVID-19 precautions go a long way and are the best way to prevent the spread of the virus. Area residents are reminded to: get the flu shot; stay home if sick; avoid contact with people who are ill; practice physical distancing (two metres); wear a mask/face covering when physical distancing cannot be maintained; wash their hands, and use the COVID Alert App. COVID testing continues in the county with 51,243 tests completed. Testing is done by appointment and anyone needing a test must call RCVTAC at 1-844-727-6404 to schedule a testing time. Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader
WASHINGTON — Troops in riot gear lined the sidewalks, but there were no crowds. Armored vehicles and concrete barriers blocked empty streets. Miles of fencing cordoned off many of the nation's most familiar landmarks. Joe Biden was safely sworn in as president in a Washington on edge, two weeks after rioters loyal to former President Donald Trump besieged the Capitol. Law enforcement officials contended not only with the potential for outside threats but also with rising concerns about an insider attack. Officials monitored members of far-right extremist and militia groups, increasingly concerned about the risk they could stream into Washington and spark violent confrontations, a law enforcement official said. There were a few scattered arrests but no major protests or serious disruptions in the city during Biden's inauguration ceremony. As Biden put it in his address: “Here we stand just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen. It will never happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Not ever.” After the deadly attack that killed five on Jan. 6, the Secret Service stepped up security for the inauguration early, essentially locking down the nation's capital. More than 25,000 troops and police were called to duty. The National Mall was closed. Checkpoints were set up at intersections. In the hours before the event, federal agents monitored “concerning online chatter,” which included an array of threats against elected officials and discussions about ways to infiltrate the inauguration, the official said. In right-wing online chat groups, believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory expressed disappointment that top Democrats were not arrested for sex trafficking and that Trump did not seize a second term. Twelve National Guard members were removed from the security operation a day earlier after vetting by the FBI, including two who had made extremist statements in posts or texts about Wednesday's event. Pentagon officials would not give details on the statements. The FBI vetted all 25,000 members in an extraordinary security effort in part over the presence of some ex-military in the riot. 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 issues that may involve previous criminal behaviour or activities but were not directly related to the inaugural event. The FBI also warned law enforcement officials about the possibility that members of right-wing fringe groups could pose as National Guard troops, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the matter. Investigators in Washington were particularly worried that members of right-wing extremist groups and militias, like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, would descend on Washington to spark violence, the law enforcement officials said. Some of the groups are known to recruit former military personnel, to train extensively and to have frequented anti-government and political protests. In addition to the thousands of National Guard troops, hundreds of law enforcement officers from agencies around the country were also brought into Washington. The increased security is likely to remain in the nation's capital for at least a few more days. ___ Associated Press writers Lolita Baldor in Washington and James LaPorta in Delray Beach, Florida, contributed to this report. Ben Fox, Colleen Long And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
A new OPP detachment has opened its doors in Moosonee. The $20-million facility has 11 holding cells, closed-circuit television technology (CCTV), a modern infrastructure design to meet technological requirements and other security features, according to a Ministry of the Solicitor General news release Located at 16 Butcher Rd., the approximately 18,000-square-foot facility is a satellite station that is a part of the OPP James Bay Detachment. "This modern, new workspace allows our Moosonee detachment members to enhance their policing services and support to many vast, remote communities and First Nations territories that present significant land and air accessibility challenges," OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique said in the news release. "This important modernization project demonstrates the commitment we share with our government to preserve public safety and uphold the law." The new building is accessible and was designed to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Standard, which recognizes buildings with reduced environmental impacts, according to the government announcement. It was built as part of the $182-million OPP Modernization - Phase 2 project. Announced in 2018, the modernization project replaced nine aging OPP facilities across the province. All nine detachments were built by Bird Capital OMP Project Co Inc. The initiative was delivered by Infrastructure Ontario through its public-private partnership (P3) model. Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com
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.
CALGARY — A Crown prosecutor says he will be seeking an adult sentence for an accused teen if he is convicted in a Calgary police officer's death. Doug Taylor made the comment at the start of a bail hearing Tuesday for the 18-year-old. The accused was 17 when he was charged earlier this month with first-degree murder in the death of Sgt. Andrew Harnett, so cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The officer was hit and dragged while attempting to stop an SUV with plates that didn't match on New Year's Eve. Paramedics and fellow officers tried to revive him, but he died in hospital nearly an hour later. Police allege the youth was driving the vehicle and a 19-year-old, who also faces a charge of first-degree murder, was a passenger. "I, of course on behalf of the attorney general, have just filed a notice of intention by the attorney general to apply for an adult sentence," Taylor told court. An adult sentence for a young offender convicted of first-degree murder is life in prison with no parole eligibility for 10 years. Taylor said the Crown is also opposing the young man's release from custody. The co-accused in the case, Amir Abdulrahman is to appear in court Feb. 4. His lawyer, Balfour Der, has said he intends to seek bail on Feb. 12. Court documents indicate that, at the time Harnett was killed, Adbulrahman was wanted on outstanding warrants on several charges, including assault and failing to appear in court. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021 — Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
The province urged the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench on Tuesday to dismiss an application for a judicial review of the UCP government's decision to allow open-pit coal mining on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. "There's no getting around the fact that the decision to rescind the coal policy may be seen as an unpopular one to some Albertans," said Melissa Burkett, a lawyer for the government. "However, an unpopular decision is not an unlawful decision," she told the virtual court hearing via video conferencing. Burkett says the courts are not the venue to resolve the issue, arguing such a policy change is within the mandate of elected officials. "This case is a classic example of what happens when courts are turned into political arenas," she said. "The rescission of the coal policy was driven by economic, social, political factors. It was a core, high level policy decision, and it's immune from this court review," she said. Landowners, environmental groups, municipalities and First Nations are hoping the court will force the government to revisit its decision to rescind the province's long-standing coal policy that was brought in under former premier Peter Lougheed in 1976. They're trying to persuade Justice Richard Neufeld to order a judicial review of the decision to rescind the policy that had protected the eastern slopes of the Rockies — and the headwaters that flow from them — for almost 45 years. However, during the two-day hearing that started Tuesday morning, Burkett says the policy is redundant and outdated since the province has since implemented a robust, regulatory framework that would review exploration and mining applications through Alberta's energy regulator. "The coal policy really is obsolete because there's a framework in place now that was not there in 1976." Not obsolete, says ranchers' lawyer Richard Harrison, the lawyer for two ranchers who are seeking the judicial review, argued the nearly half-century old policy is not obsolete. He told the hearing that it's been used as a means to protect the area from coal development for decades. "The coal policy was a document that was consistently enforced by the respondents [the Alberta government] over the course of 44 years," Harrison said. He said it was used as a mechanism to prevent the exploration and development of coal extraction in certain land classifications in southwestern Alberta. "It was used right up until the time that the coal policy was rescinded by the respondents in March of 2020." Harrison says a proposed open-pit coal mine near his clients' property will have a profound effect. Mac Blades is one of the ranchers seeking the judicial review. Harrison says Blades owns land and holds grazing rights for his cattle near an area being explored by Australian-based Atrum Coal. Harrison said a conveyor belt that would be a part of the proposed open pit coal mine would be located near the confluence of the Oldman and Livingstone rivers, a source of water that Blades is licensed to use for his cattle. "The impact of a proposed coal project on my client's ability to earn an income is profound," he said. "It will affect every single aspect of his pecuniary interest on his grazing lease." "And it will affect every single aspect of both my clients' ability to earn an income on those grazing leases," he said. Harrison is expected to conclude his submission to the court Wednesday morning, followed by a response from the Alberta government. Earlier, several groups who plan to seek intervenor status in the request for a judicial review agreed to consolidate, to reduce duplication of their arguments and potentially speed up the hearing process. Justice Neufeld still has to hear arguments from those hoping to join the application. A number of groups were represented during the hearing, including the M.D. of Ranchland, the Alberta Wilderness Association, the Alberta Hiking Association, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, the Livingstone Landowners Group and the Alberta chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. A lawyer representing Cabin Ridge Project Ltd., an Alberta-based coal company, also attended via video link. A request to adjourn the hearing by a lawyer representing the Ermineskin, Kainai, Siksika and Whitefish First Nations was dismissed. Landowners and First Nations behind the legal challenge are expected to argue the government was in breach of their constitutional rights because it had a "duty to consult" them before the policy change was made. If the province's application for a dismissal fails, the actual judicial review would go ahead at some point in the future.
BERLIN — Teenager Florian Wirtz scored for Bayer Leverkusen in a 2-1 win which dealt Borussia Dortmund its latest Bundesliga setback on Tuesday. Dortmund, which was held 1-1 at home by lowly Mainz on Saturday, slumped to its second defeat in six games under new coach Edin Terzic. Dortmund could fall 10 points behind Bayern Munich at the top on Wednesday when Bayern visits struggling Augsburg. Leverkusen moved second after bouncing back from its 1-0 loss at Union Berlin. Leipzig, which is just behind Leverkusen on goal difference, hosts Union on Wednesday. It was a lacklustre display from Dortmund, which only threatened briefly in the second half and was fortunate not to concede more with Moussa Diaby missing several good chances after he opened the scoring. The unhurried Nadiem Amiri played a cross-field pass that Diaby controlled with his first touch and swept past Dortmund ’keeper Roman Bürki with his next in the 14th minute. Diaby continued to cause problems after the break before Dortmund’s first real chance in the 54th. Marco Reus almost set up Erling Haaland but the 17-year-old Wirtz managed to clear. Thomas Meunier missed another good chance for the visitors before Julian Brandt equalized against his former team in the 67th when Raphaël Guerreiro laid the ball off for him to fire inside the far corner. Brandt almost scored again a minute later, but Edmond Tapsoba cleared off the line. Dortmund paid the price in the 80th when Wirtz scored after Meunier lost the ball. It fell to Patrik Schick and he combined with Diaby, who crossed for the unmarked Wirtz to unleash an unstoppable shot past Bürki for his fourth Bundesliga goal. HERTHA HUMBLED Goals from Sebastian Rudy and two from Andrej Kramaric gave Hoffenheim a 3-0 win at Hertha Berlin that will increase the pressure on coach Bruno Labbadia. Hertha had hopes this season of challenging for European qualification but it has dropped to 14th in the 18-team division with only one win in its last seven games. Wolfsburg moved fifth with a 2-0 win at Mainz, and Borussia Mönchengladbach rode its luck to beat Werder Bremen 1-0. Nico Elvedi’s header was enough for Gladbach. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP CiaráN Fahey, The Associated Press
BOSTON — A Massachusetts-based political scientist and author is accused of secretly working for the government of Iran while lobbying U.S. officials on issues like nuclear policy, federal authorities said Tuesday. Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi was arrested by FBI agents at his home in Watertown, Massachusetts, on Monday, officials said. He is charged in New York City federal court with acting and conspiring to act as an unregistered agent of Iran. Afrasiabi, an Iranian citizen and a lawful permanent resident of the United States, was expected to appear in court later Tuesday. An email seeking comment was sent to his attorney. Authorities said that Afrasiabi has been paid by Iranian diplomats assigned to the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations in New York City since at least 2007, while making TV appearances, writing articles and lobbying U.S. officials to support the Iranian government's agenda. In 2009, Afrasiabi helped an unidentified congressman draft a letter to President Barack Obama about U.S. and Iranian nuclear negotiations, according to court documents. He never disclosed that he was working for Iran, officials said. After the U.S. military airstrike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, Afrasiabi told Iran’s foreign minister and permanent representative to the United Nations that Iran should “end all inspections and end all information on Iran’s nuclear activities pending a (United Nations Security Council) condemnation of (the United States’) illegal crime,'" according to court documents. Assistant Attorney General John Demers said Afrasiabi meanwhile portrayed himself "to Congress, journalists and the American public as a neutral and objective expert on Iran." “Mr. Afrasiabi never disclosed to a Congressman, journalists or others who hold roles of influence in our country that he was being paid by the Iranian government to paint an untruthfully positive picture of the nation," William Sweeney, assistant director-in-charge of the FBI's New York Field Office, said in a statement. Alanna Durkin Richer, The Associated Press
La ville de Grande-Rivière et de nombreux acteurs de l’industrie de la pêche dénoncent l’inaction de Québec et d’Ottawa vis-à-vis un projet d’agrandissement du parc d’hivernement du port municipal. Amorcées à l’automne 2018, les démarches sont dans une impasse, ministères et gouvernements se renvoyant la balle, au désarroi des élus et des pêcheurs. «On ne demande pas la charité, on veut de l’équité», lance d’emblée le maire de Grande-Rivière, Gino Cyr. Depuis deux ans, son administration multiplie les démarches afin de faire approuver un projet d’agrandissement du parc d’hivernement de la municipalité, sans succès. D’un ministère à l’autre, «on se renvoie la balle», dénonce-t-il. Avec les années, les espaces disponibles dans les parcs de la péninsule gaspésienne se font de plus en plus rares. «Les bateaux sont toujours plus gros et les grands parcs de la région sont presque pleins. Le besoin est criant», explique le homardier et vice-président de l’administration portuaire de Grande-Rivière, Vincent Gallagher-Duguay. Aussi, un nombre grandissant de crabiers des provinces atlantiques viennent entreposer leurs bateaux dans les parcs gaspésiens. Les glaces se libérant plus rapidement du côté québécois, la pêche pourraiy débuter plus tôt. Ces embarcations, souvent plus grosses, ont priorité sur les petits homardiers, qui doivent se trouver d’autres endroits pour passer l’hiver. De nombreux acteurs locaux, allant des associations de pêcheurs jusqu’aux transformateurs, souhaitent donc voir apparaître de nouvelles places pour entreposer les homardiers, comme le demande la Ville de Grande-Rivière. Cette dernière a proposé aux différents ministères un projet qui ferait passer son parc d’hibernation à 48 places pour les petits bateaux. En plus d’ajouter des espaces d’entreposage, l’administration portuaire de Grande-Rivière souhaite installer une grue-portique ainsi qu’une rampe adaptée sur le site, rendant la mise à l’eau et l’hivernation des embarcations beaucoup plus sécuritaires. «En ce moment, on utilise une remorque archaïque, mal adaptée et dangereuse. En 2017, on a échappé un homardier avec cette remorque artisanale. Qui va prendre la responsabilité si un accident survient?», se demande le maire. La communauté met la main à la poche Le coût du projet, estimé à un peu plus de deux millions $, serait en partie assumé par la communauté, qui a déjà récolté 200 000$ en ce sens. Au moyen d’une contribution de leur part, les pêcheurs financeraient 300 000$ supplémentaires si le projet devait voir le jour. La municipalité souhaite que les gouvernements se partagent le reste de la facture, mais elle se bute à des barrières administratives. «Il n’y a pas de flexibilité dans les programmes. Après trois ans de démarches, le ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation (MEI) nous a ramenés à la case départ en faisant valoir la non-admissibilité du projet aux programmes et en renvoyant la responsabilité de ce dossier au MAPAQ qui n’a pas de programme pour soutenir ce genre de projets», dénonce le maire de la municipalité, dont l’économie est étroitement liée à la pêche. M. Cyr dénonce aussi la rigidité du Fonds des pêches du Québec. «La majeure partie des budgets sont toujours disponibles. Encore un exemple éloquent que ce dernier répond très peu aux besoins de l’industrie! Des changements de fond sont nécessaires rapidement». Des précédents sur la Côte-Nord et aux Îles-de-la-Madeleine Les acteurs locaux s’indignent surtout de la différence de traitement qu’a reçu leur projet si on le compare à d’autres installations similaires récemment financées à 100% par les gouvernements. Au cours des dernières années, les Îles-de-la-Madeleine et la Côte-Nord ont toutes deux vu des agrandissements dans leurs parcs d’hivernement, entièrement financés par les gouvernements via des décrets et des enveloppes dédiées. «Nous connaissons le traitement qu’ont reçu les projets des Îles et de la Côte-Nord : Nous sommes aussi des pêcheurs du Québec», conclut le vice-président de l’Administration portuaire de Grande-Rivière. MM. Cyr et Gallagher-Duguay souhaitent obtenir une rencontre avec le ministre de l’Agriculture, des Pêches et de l’Alimentation du Québec, André Lamontagne, dans le but que celui-ci signe un décret pour financer le projet. Simon Carmichael, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Soleil
Trapped for months in Southwestern Ontario by COVID-19 travel restrictions in their Caribbean homeland, some migrant farmworkers from Trinidad and Tobago will finally fly home Friday. But many are opting to stay put, hoping to avoid a catch-22: not being able to return to Canada to work in the spring when the next growing season begins. “It’s been a really long ordeal . . . some people have been waiting for months,” said Ken Forth, president of Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services, a non-profit that helps co-ordinate processing requests for foreign seasonal workers. “I can’t imagine what it would be like to be stranded here.” Ongoing COVID-19 travel woes with the border-locked Caribbean nation stranded nearly 400 Trinidadian migrant workers in Ontario late last year. A flight home is set for Friday, with more workers having received travel exemptions required by Trinidad and Tobago that before were few and far between. Schuyler Farms near Simcoe employs about 100 Trinidadian workers, and until this week, few had made it home. Owner Brett Schuyler said 18 of his workers — all those who want to — will be on this week’s flight back. “It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “Everyone just has to get their (COVID-19) tests done, have a negative result, and it should all come together, which I’m very glad for.” Trinidad requires workers to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their flight. Schuyler said the workers were left in limbo for months, awaiting word from Trinidad on flights home and whether they'd get travel exemptions. But despite the option to head home, about 70 Trinidadian workers at Schuyler Farmers are staying put. “Some of the reasoning behind the group that stayed is out of fear of not getting back to Canada,” Schuyler said. “Last spring, people that were set to come up in March didn’t end up coming until July. This fall, people trying to get home, there are huge delays again.” Canada’s new requirement that incoming travellers show a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of their flight also could be a “potential hurdle” for returning workers, Schuyler said. Last month, Ontario extended health-care coverage and provided financial aid to the stranded migrant workers. Immigrant, Refugees and Citizenship Canada enacted a temporary public policy, in effect until Feb. 21, to let stranded workers apply for temporary status, get a six-month open work permit and be eligible for employment insurance. Forth couldn't estimate how many Trinidadian migrant workers were still stranded in Ontario as of late January, as small numbers have flown out since December. After Friday's flight to Trinidad and Tobago, only one more will be needed to get the rest of those who want to go, back home, he said. No date has been confirmed for that flight. “At the first of December, there was no light at the end of the tunnel, now they will get home,” Forth said. “I feel for the people too because the unknown was the big problem.” firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter.com/MaxatLFPress Max Martin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press
A Saskatchewan First Nation near North Battleford will receive about $127 million to settle a land claim that dates back to 1905. The Mosquito, Grizzly Bear's Head, Lean Man First Nation lost over 5,800 hectares of reserve land in the Battlefords area in 1905. In a claim filed with the Specific Claims Tribunal in 2014, the band alleged the federal government illegally took and sold the land. The government denied the claim in 2014. But in a joint statement regarding validity and compensation filed with the tribunal on Dec. 21, 2017, the federal government agreed the loss of land was "invalid." The compensation hearing looked at the agricultural production in the lost land to determine the loss of its use and benefits since 1905. The tribunal determined the current market value of the land at $15.5 million, effective Sept. 21, 2017. The tribunal assessed the value of its loss through Dec. 31, 2019, at $111,433,972. The combined amount is $126,933,972. "Although the agreement did not describe the events and actions that breached Crown fiduciary duty, the evidence introduced in the compensation phase of the proceeding reveals that the Crown took a surrender vote in contravention of the statutory requirement that permitted only members of the Grizzly Bear's Head and Lean Man Bands to vote, and later accepted and acted on the surrender," the tribunal wrote in its decision. "This was, from the outset, a breach of the duty of ordinary prudence. This breach occurred within a Treaty relationship, with respect to a Treaty reserve, and the breach led directly to the permanent alienation of Treaty reserve land from the Claimant." The First Nation began the land claim back in the 1990s and spent decades fighting the government for compensation.
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Mayor John Spencer considers himself and his town lucky: though Port aux Basques, N.L., is a nine-hour drive away from specialized health care in St. John's, at least it's connected by a modern highway. Residents in need of cancer care in such nearby towns as Isle aux Morts or Burnt Islands first have to drive a pockmarked, two-lane road through the crags of Newfoundland's southwestern tip before they even hit the main route to the capital. Spencer emphasizes there is no resettlement program at play. "But it's happening," he said in an interview Tuesday. "People are moving to areas where they can avail of services, and medical is number one." Newfoundland and Labrador's crushing debt and plans for an economic recovery have so far dominated discussion since Liberal Leader Andrew Furey called an election Friday. But on Monday, as Furey stood outside a long-term care centre to announce improvements, hands reddening in the cold, the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association flipped the switch on its own campaign pleading with party leaders to address critical problems in health care, beginning with the 90,000 people in the province — one in six residents — who don't have a family doctor. "These people are more likely to be admitted to hospital, more likely to be treated by multiple providers who do not know them well, and are more likely to have unnecessary tests," Dr. Lynette Powell, the association's president, told reporters. Powell is also a family physician in Grand Falls-Windsor, in central Newfoundland. In an interview Tuesday, Powell said many young Newfoundland and Labrador physicians are put off by the fee-for-service payment structure, which puts an emphasis on quantity rather than quality of care. "High volumes are what's rewarded, and most young physicians coming out are not trained to see huge volumes of patients. They're trained to provide good quality care." It also leads to burnout, Powell said — a claim backed up by a recent report from the Harris Centre at Memorial University in St. John's, which says 36 per cent of the province's physicians are dissatisfied with their work-life balance, compared to 26 per cent in Canada. Fourteen per cent had plans to leave the province, whereas the same was true for just three per cent of doctors elsewhere in Canada. The medical association is asking leaders to set goals for retaining more graduates from Memorial University's medical school. Powell stresses that people who grew up in Newfoundland and Labrador want to stay, doctors included. But they can easily wind up the only medical professional in town, always on call, and always overworked, she said. "It's all well and fine to live in rural Newfoundland and have a Ski-Doo, but if you can never get on it, you've lost some of why we stay here," she said. Newfoundland and Labrador is the most sparsely-populated province in the country, as well as the oldest and most rapidly aging, particularly in rural areas. Spencer estimates the average age in Port aux Basques is about 55. That makes for an expensive, challenging health-care system, Powell acknowledges. That same report that looked at physician satisfaction says that even with a shortage, Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest number of family physicians per capita in Canada. The province estimates it will spend $3.4 billion dollars, or 40 per cent of its budget, on health care this fiscal year. Powell said the association supports Furey's economic task force, assembled in the fall to look at the how the province can restructure its services to be more cost-effective. The Progressive Conservatives and the NDP have been critical of the team, saying it's likely to recommend privatization and austerity measures. Voters will head to the polls on Feb. 13 before seeing a first draft of the team's recommendations, due on Feb. 28. Furey, a surgeon, has acknowledged the association's concerns and said his party is committing to filling gaps in the system. On Tuesday, he promised to invest more in telehealth and digital platforms allowing patients to connect with doctors virtually. Spencer said he supposes that telehealth services are the way things have to go. He knows of people in his community who need medical care in St. John's, and simply can't afford the long commute and the costs of hotels. "We know the gap is widening in relation to those who have and those who don't have, and it becomes very, very difficult," he said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. The Canadian Press
Far from deterred by a lengthy layoff after getting her left knee scoped, Carli Lloyd is back with a steadfast resolve as the United States pushes toward the Tokyo Olympics. Lloyd's recovery work was on display Monday night in Florida when she played the full 90 minutes in the team's 4-0 victory over Colombia. Not bad for a veteran player who is 38 and hadn't played since last March. “I'm pretty happy with where I'm at physically, after an injury,” she said. “You know, having somewhat of a minor scope, I guess as people say, isn't really minor. So it took me a ways to get back and rebuild myself again.” Lloyd last played in the 2020 SheBelieves Cup. She did not play for her National Women's Soccer League team, Sky Blue, in last summer's Challenge Cup tournament or the league's fall series. She also missed the national team's final camp of 2020 and a match against the Netherlands. "She’s coming off a knee scope and playing 90 minutes. I think that’s incredible,” coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “She did a great job, assisted on two goals, helped us win the ball back, played for 90 minutes in high tempo. I think it was just a good example for some of the younger players in terms of what it takes to be on the next level.” Lloyd is probably best known for her hat trick in the U.S. victory over Japan to win the 2015 World Cup in Canada. She had a more limited role when the United States won the 2019 World Cup in France, but she still finished the year with 16 goals to lead the team. Lloyd also got attention for kicking a 55-yard field goal when she visited a Philadelphia Eagles' practice, leading to speculation, some serious and some not, about a possible shot at the NFL once she retires from the national team. But even during her recovery, Lloyd did not consider hanging up her soccer cleats. “It wasn't a question of not returning,” she said. “You know this was the longest hiatus and longest break mentally that I think I've ever had in my career. I've been fortunate enough with injuries, I've broken a lot of bones (but) this was my first surgery. I thought I'd make it throughout my career without surgery. I was pretty close." If Lloyd makes the 18-player squad for Tokyo, it will be her fourth Olympics. At the Beijing Games, she scored in overtime for a 1-0 victory against Brazil in the final. Four years later, she scored both goals in the gold-medal match against Japan at Wembley Stadium, becoming the only player to score winning goals in consecutive Olympic finals. While she was recovering from the knee injury with her husband, Lloyd reconnected with her family after years of estrangement. She also cut ties with her long-time coach, James Galanis. “I think it’s been pretty cool that things have come full circle for me. My family was at the start of my career and now they’re getting to be part of it at the end,” she said. Lloyd drew heat on social media Monday, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, when she and several U.S. teammates did not kneel for the national anthem. The team wore warmups that proclaimed Black Lives Matter. “I think the beauty of this team is that we stand behind each other no matter what,” she said. “Players decided to kneel, some players decided to stand, and at the end of the day we have each others' backs. I think ultimately we're all here to support one another in any way that we can, and that's what's amazing about this team.” The United States will play Colombia again Friday to conclude its January training camp. The next event on the team's schedule is the SheBelieves Cup in February. The already-delayed Olympic Games in Tokyo are looming, if the event is held. Lloyd has said in the past that she intends to retire following the Olympics. For now, the only thing missing for her is the goals. She had chances Monday but couldn't find the back of the net. “But I've also got to focus on where I am right now and where I want to be, and just keep plugging along,” she said. “I think it (scoring) is going to come, I just need to be patient. I can't beat myself up about it. But there's other roles for me to play besides scoring goals.” ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Anne M. Peterson, The Associated Press
The United States swore in its 46th President on Jan. 20, 2021. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris attended their inauguration in Washington, D.C. with a slew of distinguished guests, but few onlookers as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a need for social distancing.Several past presidents were in attendance, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr., however the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, did not attend. Trump flew to his golf club in Florida earlier in the day. Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence did attend the ceremony with his wife.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
Renfrew – It’s expected the Community Safety and Well Being Plan the town is to have prepared by the extended deadline of July 21 will be met. Councillor Sandi Heins, who is co-chair of the advisory group creating the plan, is happy the Solicitor General extended the deadline from January 21. “We will meet the date,” she said. There are four areas in each local plan that will help make communities safer and healthier: social development, prevention, risk intervention and incident response. As part of the Police Services Act effective January 1, 2019, municipalities are required to develop and adopt community safety and well-being plans working in partnership with a multi-sectorial advisory committee comprised of representation from the police service board and other local service providers. For the area of Renfrew, the committee was formed in late 2019 and in early January 2020, hired Pat Finnegan to lead them through the steps of creating the plan, said Coun. Heins. There are six municipalities partnered with Renfrew: Admaston/Bromley, Horton, Whitewater Region, Arnprior, McNab/Braeside and Greater Madawaska. “Each of those municipalities have representatives on the advisory committee,” she said. “We are working with the Renfrew (OPP) Detachment Commander and of course under the leadership of Pat Finnegan to put together that plan.” Fire Chief Kevin Welsh, fire committee chair Jeff Scott and herself represent Renfrew, she said. “We’ve been working through various exercises to get the writing of the plan,” she said. Currently, they are working on qualifying the risks and how they may be handled. Next is the public consultation, which could be challenging in these COVID times, she said. “We have a unique committee and they have lots of expertise on how we might handle that (public meeting),” Coun. Heins said. Following the meeting, the report should be finalized and into council’s hand by mid-June, she said. Each municipality must pass it and it will then be listed on the website. There will be work with the plan for the rest of 2021. In Renfrew and the municipalities in the lower part of the Valley, a situation table has already been formed, which retired OPP Sgt. Brian Schutt has been leading since January 2017 under retired OPP Detachment Commander Colin Slight, Coun. Heins said. “We’re a big step ahead already having that Situation Table in place,” she said. The Situation Table is composed of many social service agencies, family and children’s services, health unit, mental health and housing, she said. “Representatives of those groups come together once a month and deal with the various situations, so that we’re not wasting our services on having everybody go to a situation when it should be housing, or a mental health issue,” she said. “They are co-ordinating that, so we’re really well-established in that and we’re lucky to have that here already in place and working very well.” Connie Tabbert, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader
ROME — Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte won a crucial confidence vote in the Senate late Tuesday, keeping his wobbly coalition afloat for now, but with such a shrunken majority it will make it extremely hard to effectively govern a country reeling from the pandemic. The vote went 156 to 140 in his favour, There were 16 abstentions, thanks to a coalition ally that bolted the centre-left government last week. An absolute majority in the Senate is 161, so to pass critical legislation, including aid to help Italy's battered economy, Conte will likely have to resort often on support from outside his coalition. Had he lost the confidence vote in Parliament's upper chamber, Conte would have been required to resign. But without absolute command of a majority there, he could still opt to hand in his resignation to Italian President Sergio Mattarella, in a bid to be tapped anew to try to cobble together a revamped, more dependable coalition. In the lower Chamber of Deputies, where the 16-month-old government holds a more comfortable margin, Conte won a first confidence vote on Monday. THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below. Premier Giuseppe Conte appealed in Parliament for a second straight day Tuesday for crucial support to keep his government afloat after the defection of a small but key coalition party as Italy struggles with a second surge of the COVIC-19 pandemic that has seen citizens subject to months of degrees of lockdown. "With today’s vote, I trust that the institutions will be able to repay the trust of citizens in order to put behind us this great act of irresponsibility as soon as possible,” Conte said. He was referring to ex-Premier Matteo Renzi's yanking his small Italia Viva (Italy Alive) centrist party from the centre-left government, in part to protest what Renzi saw was Conte's holding too much control on how more than 200 billion euros (dollars) of European Union recovery funds are spent. Conte on Monday clinched what amounted to a confidence vote in the lower Chamber of Deputies, securing a 321-259 victory after Renzi's party deputies abstained. Without the backing of Renzi and his 17 fellow senators, Conte went into Tuesday's vote in the upper chamber of Parliament facing an even more uphill battle for him and his government to stay in power, since the centre-left coalition's majority in the Senate is narrower than what it enjoys in the Chamber of Deputies. “Numbers are important, today even more so. But even more important is the quality of the political project,’’ Conte said. “We ask all the political forces to help us relaunch with the maximum speed and help us repair the damage to citizens’ trust that the crisis has produced.” Renzi, in replying to Conte in the Senate Tuesday, hammered away at what he contended was the government's less-than-bold response to fighting the pandemic, including in how funds will be spent to revive Italy's battered economy, already stagnant for years before COVID-19 struck. "In view of the pandemic, there's a need for a stronger government,” Renzi added in attacking Conte. But even surviving the Senate vote, Conte’s government still risked being hobbled going forward, since he would have to count on lawmakers outside his coalition to help pass legislation. Conte largely staked his hope on winning votes from senators outside both his government and the centre-right opposition. Among those were the tiny ranks of senators-for-life, who only occasionally come to Parliament to cast votes. In a sign of support, Liliana Segre, a Holocaust survivor and senator-for-life who travelled from Milan to vote. A representative said that Segre, 90, has not yet received a vaccine against the coronavirus. Segre was made a senator-for-life by Italy's president to honour her work in keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive by speaking to students in schools throughout the nation. The government crisis heightened demands by the opposition for an election two years early. But President Sergio Mattarella is considered unlikely at this point to choose that option, given the difficulty of organizing a campaign and vote during a pandemic. Conte has boasted of his efforts to secure pandemic-recovery aid from the European Union. In Brussels, EU officials were following Italian political developments with concern. EU Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis expressed hope that Italy's “political instability would not compromise” Italy's already “substantial” preparation of the recovery plan. He noted that Italy is by far the largest recipient of the pandemic funding. A key source of irritation between Conte and Renzi has been who gets to control how the pandemic relief funds that hard-hit Italy are spent. Barry reported from Milan. Nicole Winfield in Rome and Raf Casert in Brussels contributed. Frances D'Emilio And Colleen Barry, The Associated Press