Florida Attorney Daniel Uhlfelder, who has been dressing up as the Grim Reaper, breaks down the COVID-19 situation in Florida, and delivers a warning about COVID-19 risks.
A Dartmouth, N.S., woman says she was racially profiled by Halifax Regional Police officers during an arrest early Tuesday morning.Kayla Borden, a local musician and music promoter, said she was driving home from her cousin's home in Bedford around 1 a.m. AT Tuesday when a police vehicle pulled up beside her near the intersection of Seapoint and Windmill roads in Dartmouth.Once she stopped, she said five or six police vehicles surrounded her with their flashing lights on."I was terrified ... This broke my legal rights as a law-abiding citizen ... and no Black, Indigenous, woman, man or child should have to go through this," said Borden.She said two white officers approached her and yelled at her to put her hands on the steering wheel. She said she did, but was then told to get out of the car.Borden said her window was rolled down and an officer reached in and opened the door, pulled her out and told her she was under arrest."I didn't know what was going on. I froze up," she said.Borden said she was taken to the back of her car and was handcuffed. She said she then asked why she was being arrested."The cop that arrested me told me: 'We will see in a minute.'"Borden said another officer approached her and asked if she knew why she was pulled over. She said no.Borden said she was told her vehicle's lights were off while she was driving on the Bedford Highway. She said that wasn't true."Then he moved on to the next excuse and was like, 'You didn't pull over when I had my [flashing] lights on,'" she said.Borden told the officer that she didn't see any flashing lights from the police vehicle. She did see flashing lights behind her when she was on the Bedford Highway about five minutes prior, but the vehicle passed her.She said the officer asked what kind of car she was driving and she said a Dodge Avenger.Borden said that's when the officer told her that they had been pursuing a white man in a Toyota during a "high-speed chase."> I was being arrested, handcuffed and questioned without any laws being broken or any clear communication on why I was being detained. \- Kayla Borden"I responded to him and told him I was driving an Avenger and obviously, I'm not a white man" she said.The officers then told her that she was no longer under arrest, but they still took her information, including her licence and registration."They came over and basically was like, 'I'm sorry about that. Have a good night,'" she said.That morning, Borden went to Halifax Regional Police headquarters on Gottingen Street to ask if they had any record of the night's incident or the high-speed chase.She was told there was no record of either, but was given the number to the East Division in Dartmouth."They said the exact same thing to me," she said.It was only after a friend of Borden's spoke with the detachment that they found an incident number and the name of the investigating officer, which was given to Borden.A 2019 report on racial profiling revealed that Black people in Halifax were six times more likely to be street checked than white people. Street checks allow police officers to document information about a person they believe could be of significance to a future investigation, and record details such as their ethnicity, gender, age and location.Later that year, street checks were banned in Nova Scotia and police Chief Dan Kinsella issued a historic apology to the Black community, acknowledging the institutional racism within the police that made Black men, women and children fearful of police.Halifax Regional Police confirmed Tuesday evening that a report has been issued related to Borden's incident."We are aware of the events that occurred on July 28 involving our officers ... Due to the ongoing investigation we are not able to provide further comments at this time," Const. Dylan Jackman said in a emailed statement Wednesday.Borden has since filed a formal complaint with Halifax police."I was being arrested, handcuffed and questioned without any laws being broken or any clear communication on why I was being detained," she said.Borden said she wants the Halifax Regional Police to ensure that all officers take anti-racism training that addresses anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism. She also would like to see police detachments be relocated outside of Black and marginalized communities."They do not deserve to be in our communities because they do not know how to treat us," she said.Borden also requested that the city defund the Halifax police, with the money being redirected to community development programsBorden wants to warn others after her experience with police."They don't care about the impact of the harm and violence they bring to Black and Indigenous bodies," she said.MORE TOP STORIES
Twenty-four years after he faked his own death and fled the U.S. for Halifax, serial predator William Shrubsall was sentenced Wednesday in a New York state court for bail jumping.Shrubsall, 49, has been incarcerated in the U.S. since January 2019, after a controversial parole decision allowed for him to be deported back to his home state.At the hearing Wednesday, Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. sentenced Shrubsall to two to six years for bail jumping. Shrubsall was granted an unconditional discharge for criminal contempt."The defendant is a highly manipulative and violent man, and frankly, I think he has lost the right to walk among us given his past criminal history," district attorney Caroline Wojtaszek told CBC News.Shrubsall, who now goes by the name of Ethan Simon Templar MacLeod, is already serving a sentence of 26 months to seven years for the 1995 sexual assault of a 17-year-old girl, for which he was found guilty in absentia.Shrubsall was on trial for that crime in May 1996 when he fled the country and left a suicide note that said he was going to jump into Niagara Falls.Once Shrubsall serves the sentence for sexual assault, he will begin serving time for bail jumping, which means he could be out in a little under three years.Shrubsall appeared at Wednesday's sentencing via a video feed, wearing a mask and glasses. He said he regretted that his actions meant the 17-year-old victim of the 1995 sexual assault didn't have closure."My aunt suffered obviously, as well, for my actions and I sincerely regret that," he said, referencing his aunt, June Epp, who put up bail money for him more than two decades ago.Within days of fleeing Niagara Falls in 1996, Shrubsall turned up in Halifax where he lived under a series of assumed names, including Ian Thor Greene and Joe Thunder.Canadian crimesIn February 1998, Shrubsall beat a 24-year-old woman with a baseball bat while she was working her shift at a store on Upper Water Street and stole money from the till. The vicious attack left the woman in a coma and her fractured skull had to be reconstructed.In May of that year, Shrubsall followed a woman home from the New Palace Cabaret and then ambushed her and sexually assaulted her in a driveway on Tower Road. The beating was so bad that the woman's contact lenses had to be surgically removed.Shrubsall was finally captured in June 1998 after an incident at his residence at the Sigma Chi fraternity on South Street. When a woman tried to use a phone to call a cab to leave, Shrubsall beat, choked and sexually assaulted her.Shrubsall was later charged for the three incidents, as well as criminal harassment of an ex-girlfriend, and was found guilty.Reaction from victimsAt least three of Shrubsall's Canadian victims watched the proceedings via Skype Wednesday.T.C., the ex-girlfriend who was criminally harassed, cannot be named due to a publication ban on the case."There was no remorse or understanding on his part for what he's done, and clearly no change in the individual," she said.Tracy Jesso, who was attacked by Shrubsall in May 1998, previously had the publication ban lifted on her name. She said "today's sentencing was fair, although two to six years is kind of vague."K.C., the victim in the June 1998 incident that led to Shrubsall's arrest, also cannot be named due to a publication ban. Watching the sentencing made her think about how the Parole Board of Canada's November 2018 decision led to what happened today."I feel worse about what the parole board did than what happened to me in the beginning," she said."We had the opportunity to do the right thing [and keep him behind bars] and I believe that it was the wrong decision made for financial reasons and I just don't see how that's OK when it comes to women's safety."Dangerous offender designationShrubsall was declared a dangerous offender by Canadian authorities in 2001 and was given an indeterminate prison sentence, but was granted parole in November 2018.Shrubsall's lengthy criminal record dates back to his teenage years. In 1988, at age 17, he beat his mother to death with a baseball bat hours before his high school graduation, where he was to be the valedictorian.The decision to grant Shrubsall parole in Canada was met with outrage by his victims, Nova Scotia's justice minister, the Crown attorney who prosecuted Shrubsall and the lead detective who worked his case.In making its decision, the Parole Board of Canada said it considered factors such as the "extreme violence" associated with his crimes, the sexual component present in certain cases and the harm inflicted, and weighed it against things such as his "satisfactory" institutional behaviour, completion of core programming and ongoing counselling."The psychologist concluded that you continue to present as a high risk to reoffend sexually and that there is no institutional programming that would reduce your risk to a point where it would be manageable in the community," reads the November 2018 decision.A CBC News investigation revealed that at the November 2018 parole hearing, Shrubsall downplayed his culpability in some of his Halifax crimes and made factual misrepresentations that were not challenged by parole board members, although it's unclear what impact his false and misleading statements had on their final decision.At the hearing, Shrubsall also revealed his plans for post-incarceration life. He said he had an offer to manage the accounting books for a trucking company that would be run by a man named Norman Walters.When the parole board members asked how Shrubsall knew Walters, he said he was incarcerated with him. But the two board members didn't ask for additional information and no mention was made of Walters's record of violent sex offences.When Shrubsall was deported to the U.S., he tried to have the bail jumping charge dropped, arguing that his right to a speedy trial was violated.Last fall, Kloch Sr. ruled that wasn't was the case."Though a lengthy delay, the initial reason must be laid solely at the defendant's feet," wrote Kloch. "He failed to appear for trial in New York; fled to Canada; committed and was convicted of several violent crimes and received a lengthy term of incarceration at the hands of the Canadian authorities."In January, Shrubsall pleaded guilty to bail jumping and criminal contempt.MORE TOP STORIES
OTTAWA — A new media organization's plan to host all four Conservative leadership candidates for a debate Wednesday was thrown into disarray when two of the contenders dropped out.Leslyn Lewis announced hours before the Toronto event her doctor had ordered her to stay away because she is battling an ear infection and has a fever, though she has tested negative for COVID-19.Shortly after, Peter MacKay declared he wouldn't go either, saying it wouldn't be fair if only three of the four candidates were onstage, and called for the event to be rescheduled.The event was organized by the newly formed Independent Press Gallery of Canada, run by Candice Malcolm, a conservative columnist and analyst.They decided to go forward with back-to-back "fireside chats" with the two remaining candidates, Erin O'Toole and Derek Sloan.Lewis is ill and organizers wish her well, Malcolm said, but MacKay, who lives in Toronto made a choice."Leadership is about resiliency, courage and trust and voters can judge for themselves what they think of Peter MacKay's last minute decision to renege on his commitment and abandon this event," she said. In his statement Wednesday, MacKay said he had been in debate prep when he learned Lewis couldn't make it."I was looking forward to taking part in tonight's debate to articulate my positive vision for the figure of the Conservative party and because of the role the Independent Press Gallery is taking in promoting free and fair speech," he said.Lewis said missing a chance to participate in a debate hosted by the organization was a disappointment."I want to thank the Independent Press Gallery for their understanding, and I look forward to continuing to connect with voters from my home over the next little while I recover and am able to meet with people in public once again," she wrote.The debate comes as Conservative party members are filling out their ballots and sending them back by mail to party headquarters. The deadline for them to be returned is Aug. 21, and a winner is to be announced shortly after.Lewis has been making steady gains in the race since she entered as a relative newcomer earlier this year.Many party members have been posting photos of their marked ballots on social media, and while those are just a fraction of the 269,000 people eligible to vote, it has become common to see her name marked in second place on the ranked ballot the party uses.While MacKay has aimed his campaign at the centrist voters within the party, Lewis, O'Toole and Sloan are competing for voters from more right-wing side of the party. For all three, a key objective for Wednesday had been to make the case for a first-choice ranking on the ballot by contrasting themselves with their rivals in front of an audience largely expected to be long-time grassroots party members.Instead, moderator Andrew Lawton did one-on-one interviews with Sloan and O'Toole individually.He pressed them on a range of issues including whether more "conservative" judges need to be appointed, why free-market conservatives still support government regulations of some agricultural commodities, their approaches to immigration and party and national unity.The Conservative party did host two official leadership debates in June and all four candidates appeared at those, which were broadcast by the party and multiple national news organizations.The one organizing Wednesday's event grew out of the last federal election. Lawton, along with Malcolm and several others, is part of the True North Centre for Public Policy.The centre, a registered charity, describes itself as a non-governmental, non-partisan organization conducting research and investigative journalism.During the 2019 election, True North and Rebel Media were denied access to the official leaders' debates on the grounds they were advocacy groups, not media outlets.They went to court to fight for accreditation and won. The experience, Lawton said Wednesday, prompted the creation of the new organization as a home for independent media.To be a member of the new gallery, journalists must sign a declaration they will not accept any government funding, and sign onto a statement of journalistic ethics and principles.What kind of relationship Conservatives have with Canada's right-wing media outlets has long been under scrutiny. In the 2017 leadership race and after, many stopped doing interviews with the Rebel after several controversies involving reporters for the outlet appearing to promote racist theories and ideas. In this campaign, Sloan and Lewis have done one-on-one interviews with the Rebel, and both they and O'Toole have sat down with True North.During the event Wednesday, Sloan said his campaign is now just largely ignoring media requests from mainstream outlets as they don't help his efforts to reach conservatives.In mid-May, True North had published a piece attacking MacKay for refusing to sit down with its reporters for an interview, accusing him of being afraid to face their reporters.MacKay has granted interviews to other conservative outlets, his campaign says. He has also skipped out on other leadership debates, including two hosted by groups of Conservative riding associations in both B.C. and Ontario.He cited scheduling conflicts in both cases. This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 29, 2020.Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
The closure of the City Centre Inn and Suites in Saskatoon due to numerous health and safety violations led to many people losing their home and now it's shining a light on Saskatoon's housing market.The City of Saskatoon's affordable housing situation will be examined in a Canada-wide research project, including a University of Saskatchewan research team partnering with researchers across the country, to look at just how affordable housing programs affect vulnerable people and their families."I think people may have been surprised at their [some of the tenants'] reluctance to leave these conditions," said Isobel Findlay, co-director of the Community-University Institute for Social Research at the U of S."That tells us a lot about the importance of stable housing. People want a place to call home. People need a place to call home in order to participate fully in society."Findlay and her research colleagues will study how different forms of affordable rental housing impact the lives of marginalized people by looking at those in greatest need, and which types of programs — like cash benefits or rent supplements — create the best outcomes for those who need to access them. Saskatoon's homelessness problemThe $1.3-million study examines rental housing programs in three regions: Atlantic Canada, Ottawa and the prairies — with Saskatoon as a major focus.Aside from the closure of the former Northwoods Inn and Suites, Saskatoon has a history and geography which makes the city interesting for the study. "We have been leading the Point-In-Time (PiT) Homelessness Counts since 2008," said Findlay. According to 2018 PiT Count data, 85.5% of those reporting homelessness in Saskatoon self-identified as Indigenous."And so there's a very real need to understand what's going on," said Findlay. More than 50 per cent of people reporting homelessness in Saskatoon went through the child welfare system, she added."We need to understand the decades of disinvestment in affordable housing that led to mass homelessness as a phenomenon."Canada's National Housing Strategy, which was announced in 2017, is a more recent attempt to combat homelessness.According to the government of Canada, the 10-year plan costs $55+ billion and aims to cut chronic homelessness by 50% as well as remove 530,000 families from housing need. Province and city in charge of inspectionsWhile the five-year-study can't provide immediate solutions, the need for a change in the inspection system became clear when details of the living conditions at the City Centre Inn and Suites were published. "Their [the Saskatoon Fire Department's] job is not to be public health inspectors but to look at fire code issues," said Mayor Charlie Clark in an interview on Tuesday."As they went and inspected the site on some of these fire code issues, they also identified many public health concerns." Saskatoon's assistant fire chief Yvonne Raymer said on Monday motels require an annual fire inspection. The last one at the place on Idylwyld Drive North took place in January 2019. "At that time the fire department didn't determine that a full closure was necessary," said Clark. "Over time the things didn't get better, they got worse, and we got to the point where a full closure was necessary. And this is not something taken lightly because it means displacing all of the people living there out of their homes."Regarding provincial inspections, motels and hotels are no longer licensed under the Public Accommodation Regulations and, as unlicensed facilities, only get inspected in response to complaints as well as on a follow-up basis, according to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health.Motel inspected dozens of timesSaskatchewan public health officials have been attempting to work with management of the motel for several years in order to provide safe housing, the agency wrote in a statement.It said 27 inspections were made since 2015. The SHA did not say when it last inspected the City Centre Inn and Suites. The Ministry of Social Services also provided a statement, saying they don't have the mandate to inspect housing units in the private market, noting that "like every other adult citizen across our province, income assistance clients are free to make their own decisions on where to live and use their shelter benefit to support that choice."Clark said there needs to be the right level of inspections and accountability measures in place by the provincial government to ensure housing conditions are safe."There's an opportunity … when the provincial government is providing social assistance to also make sure that having landlords providing housing to people that's being funded by these provincial supplements to make sure that that housing is safe."A provincial program used to provide money for the Saskatoon Fire Department to inspect rental accommodations until it was cut in 2016. "We had a stronger partnership [with the province] in place up until 2016," said Clark. "This is a sign of what happens when we don't have the proper capacity to do this. I believe it's time where we ... rebuild partnerships like this." More affordable housing requiredThe city is interested in helping support the development of more affordable housing, the mayor said, noting that there is more demand out there right now.After finding mostly temporary homes for the former tenants of the City Centre Inn and Suites last week, the challenge is now to help people get into long-term homes.Out of 119 individuals connecting with support teams last Thursday, 74 are currently served through an Income Assistance Program, the Ministry of Social Services said in a written statement.Findlay hopes the nation-wide study will help bring awareness to the public about the issues of homelessness and affordable housing."Unsafe conditions, people living in precarious conditions, this cost us all dearly because they can't participate fully."
Saskatchewan's premier and chief medical health officer said Wednesday they were disappointed to learn of hockey teams travelling to Manitoba to participate in a private tournament.On Tuesday, CBC News reported that five teams had travelled from Saskatchewan to Winnipeg to participate in a private hockey tournament on the weekend of July 16 to 19. The Saskatchewan government recommends against non-essential travel to other provinces. Under Saskatchewan's reopening plan, guidelines for sports and activities state: "Tournaments and interprovincial competition are not permitted." Premier Scott Moe said it was disturbing that people would be selfish enough to not cancel a hockey tournament while others in Saskatchewan were making significant sacrifices by foregoing events like weddings or funerals to abide by COVID-19 regulations."I'm just disappointed that a few teams would put the entire safe restart of the province at risk," he said. "Here is a prime example of a group of people putting their own self-interests ahead of the greater public health and safety of their neighbours, of their family and of their community." Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province's chief medical health officer, said he too was disappointed to learn of the teams' participation in an interprovincial hockey tournament. Specifically, he said was disappointed to learn that some teams took measures to hide their identities, including listing players only by their initials, changing the team names and telling parents not to post on social media about the tournament. "There will be a follow-up to understand why this happened and appropriate steps will be taken" Shahab said. "We've always been very progressive in enforcement of public health orders and we will advise based on the initial assessment."The Saskatchewan Hockey Association (SHA) said in an interview that the teams were playing in unsanctioned games, so they cannot be punished by the organization.However, SHA General Manager Kelly McClintock noted punishment may be handed out at a local level. "A lot of those people are involved in our programming in the fall and the winter and some of those people at local minor hockey have upset local minor hockey people," he said."There might be some things locally, maybe some people aren't allowed to coach. But that's up to a local minor hockey association." Steve Silvernagle, GM of the Wheatland Wild — an organization that sent four teams to Winnipeg — has not yet commented on the situation. Team officials previously told CBC News there was a misunderstanding created by an email conversation with the province's business response team, which led them to believe they were okay to travel and participate in the tournament.The Saskatchewan government confirmed late Tuesday evening that its business response team had given the wrong advice in an email in response to an inquiry after the tournament."This message has since been retracted and corrected to be consistent with government public health messaging provided by the SHA. Currently, interprovincial travel is discouraged, but not banned. Interprovincial travel for competition for tournaments is not permitted at this time," said the government email.
VANCOUVER — There are more COVID-19 infections from outbreaks at a British Columbia berry packing plant and on Haida Gwaii, contributing to the provincial total of 41 new cases announced Wednesday.A statement from provincial health officials says there are now 31 cases connected to Fraser Valley Packers Inc. in Abbotsford and there have been 20 positive tests on Haida Gwaii.It also says an alert has been issued about community exposure for anyone who was at the Liquid Zoo night club in Kelowna from July 15 to 18.A COVID-19 outbreak at the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver has been declared over after an infant tested positive almost two weeks ago.There have been no additional fatalities and the death toll from the illness stands at 194 people.The total number of positive tests for COVID-19 in B.C. is 3,562, including 259 active cases and 3,109 people who have recovered.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 29, 2020. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Spurred on by President Donald Trump's demand to pull troops out of Germany, the U.S. will bring about 6,400 forces home and shift about 5,600 to other countries in Europe, American defence leaders said Wednesday, detailing a Pentagon plan that will cost billions of dollars and take years to complete.The decision fulfills Trump's announced desire to withdraw troops from Germany, largely because of its failure to spend enough on defence. A number of forces will go to Italy, and a major move would shift U.S. European Command headquarters and Special Operations Command Europe from Stuttgart, Germany, to Belgium.The future of the plan is uncertain, at best, since it relies on support and funding from Congress, and a number of members have voiced opposition. And it may not survive at all if Trump isn't reelected.Lawmakers have condemned the troop cuts as a gift to Russia fueled by Trump's spite at Germany. But Defence Secretary Mark Esper defended the plan Wednesday, saying that while the decision was “accelerated” by Trump’s orders, the moves also promote larger strategic goals to deter Russia, reassure European allies and shift forces farther east into the Black Sea and Baltic regions.“We’re moving forces out of central Europe, Germany, where they’ve been since the Cold War," Esper said, adding that it will shift U.S. forces east, closer to Russia, "where our newest allies are.”Trump, however, reasserted his very narrow reason Wednesday, telling reporters, “We’re reducing the force because they’re not paying their bills. It’s very simple. They’re delinquent.” He added that he might rethink the decision to pull troops out of Germany "if they start paying their bills.”Trump has repeatedly accused Germany of failing to pay bills, which is a misstatement of the issue. NATO nations have pledged to dedicate 2% of their gross domestic product to defence spending by 2024, and Germany is still short of that goal, at about 1.4%.Esper said the military moves will cost in the “single digit” billions of dollars, though bringing troops home could reap some future deployment savings. Some smaller units could move within months, and the plan leaves about 24,000 troops in Germany.Twenty-two Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee sent a letter to Trump saying a reduced U.S. commitment to Europe’s defence would encourage Russian aggression. And Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, on Wednesday called the plan a “grave error,” saying it's a slap in Germany's face that will do lasting harm to American interests.NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, meanwhile, welcomed the U.S. move and said Washington has been consulting allies on the matter recently. Trump’s announcement on the withdrawal in June blindsided the alliance.Germany’s Defence and Foreign Ministries, in a joint statement, noted the announcement, and said that “planning is not yet complete and may be subject to further adjustments.” Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended Germany’s defence spending, saying that it has increased and that the country will continue to work toward the 2% benchmark.Under the plan, the Air Force's 52nd Civil Engineering Squadron could be the first to move, going from Germany to Italy, said Gen. Tod Wolters, head of U..S. European Command. An Air Force F-16 squadron and several other small units are also slated to go to Italy.Following the announcement, a lawmaker with Germany's opposition Left Party, which has its roots in the former East German communist party and has urged a U.S. troops withdrawal, called the plan “far from sufficient.”“Wars are waged all over the world through the U.S. bases in Germany, including drone attacks that violate international law,” said Tobias Pflueger, deputy party leader with the Left.The Pentagon announcement is closely tied to the plan to increase the U.S. troop presence in Poland, a shift long desired by Warsaw and Polish President Andrzej Duda.Officials said the troop moves will require construction at bases in the U.S., specifically to accommodate the Army's 2nd Cavalry Regiment, which will move from Vilseck, Germany, to a yet-undetermined location in America.Germany is a hub for U.S. operations in the Middle East and Africa. The decision to keep nearly half the forces in Europe is a clear move by the Pentagon to assuage allies by avoiding the complete withdrawal of 12,000 troops out of the region. And spreading forces into the east signals to Russia that the U.S. is not reducing its commitment to the region and remains ready to protect Eastern Europe from Moscow's aggression.Sen. Jim Inhofe, the Republican chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has voiced support for the plan while acknowledging it will take “months to plan and years to execute.”Trump announced last month that he wanted to cut the number of active-duty U.S. troops in Germany from roughly 36,000 to fewer than 25,000. Shifting forces out of the country had long been rumoured and is in line with Pentagon efforts to put more troops in the Indo-Pacific.But Trump has tied the move to his anger over the NATO spending issue, branding Germany “delinquent” for failing to meet the NATO goal and asserting that the Germans have long shortchanged the U.S. on trade and defence.At a Rose Garden event last month with Duda, Trump said some of the troops from Germany would go to Poland. On Wednesday, officials suggested that Poland may get some additional rotational forces that would go in and out of Europe. Lithuania has also pressed for a U.S. troop presence, but was not mentioned.Under an agreement announced last year, the U.S. said it was sending about 1,000 more troops to Poland, and progress is being made to prepare for those moves.Overall, the U.S. has about 47,000 troops and civilian personnel in Germany. Most of the 36,000 on active duty are in a handful of larger Army and Air Force bases including Ramstein Air Base, a regional hub. There also are 2,600 National Guard and Reserve forces and almost 12,000 civilians there.___Associated Press writers Zeke Miller in Washington, David Rising in Berlin, Lorne Cook in Brussels and Jari Tanner in Helsinki contributed to this report.Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press
WINNIPEG — A Manitoba First Nation has begun the process of creating its own child welfare system under controversial federal legislation that allows Indigenous groups to enact their own laws.Opaskwayak Cree Nation has retained a Winnipeg law firm and says it will consult with members in the coming months to develop the law to take charge of their children in care."The imposition of federal and provincial laws on Opaskwayak children and families has not worked for us," said Christian Sinclair, the onekanew, or chief of the First Nation on Wednesday.Bill C-92, which includes a massive overhaul of Indigenous child welfare across the country, came into effect in January.Indigenous groups are to give notice of their intent to exercise jurisdiction or request a tripartite co-ordination agreement with the federal and provincial governments. They would develop or implement existing laws related to child welfare and those would prevail over federal and provincial laws.There is no funding attached to the legislation, but the federal government signed an agreement with the Assembly of First Nations earlier this month to establish a "joint fiscal table." It was described as a forum for Ottawa and First Nations to negotiate funding agreements for communities that develop their own child welfare laws."Whatever the cost was going to be we are fully prepared to do it because we are talking about nationhood, the well being of our nation," Sinclair said.He said the First Nation is looking at spending around $500,000 of its own funding to develop the law. He acknowledged it may be more difficult for other First Nations without the same level of membership or funds.There are about 130 Opaskwayak on-reserve children in care and roughly 65 off reserve. The community is about 625 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg near The Pas.Sinclair said the community will develop what's called Wahkohtowin law, based on their own laws as Ininewak people. It will focus on prevention as well as rebuilding and maintaining healthy families.Indigenous Services Canada said last month that the department had received letters or documents from 24 Indigenous communities across the country requesting jurisdiction or showing interest in moving in that direction. It did not say whether they include any others in Manitoba. The department said at the time it was working with communities to identify next steps.The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs has previously criticized the federal law saying it missed key pieces to protect children. The group instead wanted approval to implement its own child welfare legislation.The federal bill also requires consultation with the province to take over jurisdiction."It doesn't matter what the province thinks or the feds … Everything that they've ever tried to do or impose or implement on us has never worked, and it never will because it misses the spirit and intents of how we approach things as a nation," Sinclair said.Manitoba's families minister has slammed the legislation and its rollout. Heather Stefanson has said work needs to be done to reduce the number of children in care. She said Ottawa's plan is not clear and could leave children at risk of falling through the cracks.Stefanson has voiced concerns about children connected to multiple communities, data sharing between agencies and how the federal government will ensure equity in care.There are about 10,000 children in care in Manitoba and about 90 per cent are Indigenous.The final draft of Opaskwayak's child welfare law is expected to be completed in October. The community then plans to give notice to the federal government to enter into a "Co-ordination Agreement," which would ensure that financial arrangements are in place to implement it in a year."Opaskwayak refuses to inherit the appalling funding inequities of the current child welfare system," Sinclair said.Harold Cochrane, one of the lawyers assisting in drafting the law, said it will have a large impact on the community. He said current child welfare is apprehension based and pits families against the system.Overhauling the system will not be easy but is necessary, he said."The system that has been imposed on our people for decades has broken our families in a lot of ways and we need a system that is responsive to that rather than one that is adversarial."This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2020.The Canadian Press
The Alberta government is revamping how it regulates oil and gas producers in an attempt to start addressing the province's swelling inventory of inactive oil and gas wells.The biggest change will be introducing a requirement for companies to spend a minimum amount of money every year toward cleanup of oil wells, pipelines and facilities.Alberta has more than 90,000 inactive wells, in addition to 73,000 abandoned wells that have been dismantled but not fully reclaimed. The estimated cost of cleanup varies greatly but is considered to be in the tens of billions of dollars.The government will formally announce the new program on Thursday. Many experts are welcoming the changes, even though it may not result in companies having to spend more money on reclamation work.Energy Minister Sonya Savage is hopeful the new annual targets will help to address the problem."It's like paying down a mortgage. You've got a target and every year you're chipping away at it, paying it down and eventually you'll have that mortgage paid off. That's what the inventory reduction and the requirement for annual spending targets will do," she said in an interview."Over time, we will get that cleaned up."Savage said companies may be required to spend at least four per cent of the estimated cost of their inactive wells, which would increase over time.Still, the exact percentage is still to be determined and it's not clear whether there will be any enforcement, which will be the responsibility of the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER)."We'll work with industry to make sure they can reach those targets. You can't be setting targets too high that they can't meet. That's not helpful for anyone," she said."The AER will work on what kind of feasible penalties, if any, there would be. But we're telling them these [spending targets] need to be mandatory."The provincial government will give the regulator extra powers to gauge the financial health of companies, with the goal of intervening earlier when producers begin to struggle, which raises the risk that their cleanup liabilities may not be addressed.That's a good approach, according to Tristan Goodman, president of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada, which represents small- and medium-sized oil and gas producers. He worked at the AER several years ago."As a former regulator, what you're looking for there is to understand the financial position of those companies and how to make sure that the companies know the regulator is paying greater attention to them." Goodman said the finer details of the changes will be important, but in general, he supports the overhaul of the program. At this point, he said, it is not clear whether there will be an added financial burden on industry, depending on how much individual companies are already spending on cleanup."I think in some cases there could be. I think that is acceptable," he said."The best outcome … is to make sure companies are consistently spending and consistently reclaiming as they go, and when that doesn't happen, that's when you get into a situation where you do have a potential broader problem."To this point, Alberta has relied on a liability management system that is supposed to make sure companies are financially healthy enough to pay for cleanup later on.If a company's estimated assets fall below the cost of its environmental liabilities, the AER can collect a security deposit.But the regulator has been using a formula based on out-of-date commodity prices that inflated the assets of companies. As a result, companies were not asked to put down large enough security deposits for future cleanup.The energy minister is describing the changes as a bold step after decades of inaction by former governments, even as the problem grew larger year after year.Some critics have called for the introduction of timelines for when wells need to be cleaned up similar to the rules in some other jurisdictions in North America. Savage said timelines would be ineffective because other provinces and states don't have the same magnitude as Alberta's number of inactive wells.The total cleanup bill and possible environmental damage from inactive wells is a difficult problem to tackle, said Lucija Muehlenbachs, an economist at the University of Calgary who specializes in the energy industry."We're in so much trouble. I think, with the liabilities situation of old oil and gas wells in Alberta, that this program probably won't change that much, but it's certainly a step in the right direction," she said. "We will have inactive wells and probably a lot of inactive wells for many years to come."Landowners will now have a way to address old wells on their property that are sitting idle as they will be able to nominate sites to the regulator for cleanup. The oil and gas company would then have to justify why it is not reclaiming the well."I've been trying to get governments to address this for decades," said Keith Wilson, a property rights lawyer. "I do think this is a positive for landowners, a positive for the environment."Alberta's existing rules for regulating the cleanup of old wells were "a farce," said Wilson, and the new system will start addressing the longstanding problems with inactive wells in the province.The changes come at a time when the industry is in a precarious position with historically low commodity prices in recent months.Many critics were lobbying the provincial government to introduce stricter rules, although they also acknowledged there couldn't be too much of a burden on industry, or else many companies could become insolvent and more wells would be left without an owner.
At long last, it's time to see whether the defending champion Toronto Raptors can run it back.The Raptors were riding a four-game winning streak, capped by a solid road win in Utah on March 9, when Jazz centre Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting the league to suspend the season.Toronto had been enjoying a surprisingly successful campaign: second in the East after losing Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green in free agency, thanks largely to the emergence of Pascal Siakam as an all-star.Now, the title defence picks up nearly five months later from the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., where 22 teams will live in a bubble environment to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as the rest of the season is played out.Players began arriving in early July and are tested daily for the virus.The road to the NBA Finals will be familiar in some ways. After eight regular-season games to finalize playoff seeding, the NBA will launch its regular playoff format, with one twist for teams in contention for the eighth seed.The Raptors aren't worried about that. Sitting 6.5 games behind the No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto likely won't be able to improve its position. Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics sit three games back of the Raptors — a tough gap to make up in just eight games, but definitely possible.Toronto's first game is Saturday night against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.Bubble lifeThe league's latest coronavirus report on Wednesday revealed zero positive tests among all players. That's the second straight blank report.The bubble, then, seems to be working, even as some players have left and re-entered.New Orleans Pelicans phenom Zion Williamson left for a family emergency, but after four days of quarantine — and daily negative tests — upon his return, was cleared to rejoin his team. Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams left for a similar reason, but was caught going for wings at a strip club in Atlanta. He's currently back in Florida in the middle of a 10-day quarantine because of that visit.The NBA will use three courts at Disney: The Arena, Visa Athletic Centre and HP Field House. Players, when on the sidelines, will sit in assigned chairs, physically distanced from each other.Of course, they'll eventually get up and sweat on each other on the court. But the optics are nice.For fans, the league has been experimenting with fake crowd noise from the NBA2K video game. A live feed featuring 300 virtual fans projected along the sidelines will be used for some games.During Raptors games, play-by-play man Matt Devlin and analysts Jack Armstrong and Leo Rautins will do their jobs from studios in Toronto. Social justice movementFans will also notice that player names will be absent from the backs of jerseys for the first four days of games. As part of the NBA's social justice movement, players were allowed to choose from a list of 29 league-approved messages to wear on their jerseys instead.Seven Raptors will don a 'Black Lives Matter' message, Kyle Lowry chose 'Education Reform' and Serge Ibaka is going with 'Respectez Biso' — a French dialect translation of 'Respect Us.'After the first four days of games, the messages will remain, but player names will be restored below the numbers on jerseys.The phrase, 'Black Lives Matter' will also be painted on all three courts. And it's expected players will participate in some form of demonstration during the playing of the American national anthem, and perhaps during the Canadian anthem too. At the WNBA opener, players left the court before the anthem played.Led by head coach Nick Nurse, the Raptors recently began an initiative urging American expats living in Canada to vote in the upcoming presidential election.Back to basketballIt was just one year ago the shine of a championship began to fade and questions arose about the new-look Raptors. Sure, they maintained the guts of their roster, but gone were two key starters in Leonard and Green.The 2019-20 Raptors answered those questions emphatically. Led by the veteran Lowry, the Raptors evolved into a plucky, hard-working, intelligent basketball team. At the pause, Toronto ranked second in defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) while maintaining 12th in offence.Placing in the top 10 in both categories is typically the sign of a true title contender, and the Raptors nearly managed it while overcoming injuries to almost every player of significance on the roster.Now, the team is finally healthy, Marc Gasol got skinny and the players seem ready to prove themselves on the Florida stage.Nurse will be key during the post-season. Likely to win coach of the year, he proved his adaptability in last year's playoff run, from switching Leonard onto Bucks star Giannis Antentokounmpo in Game 3 of the conference finals to coming up with creative defensive solutions to stop Stephen Curry in the Finals.Similar adaptability should be of utmost importance amid these unusual circumstances.But Antentokounmpo stands in the Raptors' way once again. His Bucks improved on last year's impressive regular season, but now have even more to prove after fizzling out in the playoffs. The Greek Freak is in line to win consecutive MVP awards — and may have used quarantine to improve his one weakness: shooting.Leonard, last season's answer to Antentokounmpo, now plies his trade for the L.A. Clippers. That means Siakam and third-year forward OG Anunoby will be forced into bigger defensive roles, should the Raptors and Bucks meet.It also means team defence, the Lowry identity and Nurse's creativity — qualities that made these Raptors who they were — must stand out even more in order to reach a second-straight Finals.The longest one-season championship reign ever will soon come to an end. Can some Disney magic help the Raptors make it two in a row?
OTTAWA — In the wake of revelations that Finance Minister Bill Morneau and his family had overseas trips sponsored by the WE organization, experts in the charitable sector say covering a donor's travel costs is an unusual practice.Morneau told the House of Commons finance committee last week he had freshly repaid WE Charity more than $41,000 in expenses for trips he and his family took to Kenya and Ecuador in 2017 to see and take part in some of its humanitarian work.WE Charity said the trips were meant to be free and that covering expenses for potential sponsors is nothing out of the ordinary for its organization, or for the international development sector."From time to time, on a complimentary basis, WE Charity invites potential supporters to see the impact of its global projects," WE told The Canadian Press in a statement."Many international charities and humanitarian agencies operate in a similar manner," WE had said in a separate statement released to journalists last week.But Elizabeth Gomery, founding partner of the charitable consulting firm Philanthropica, says paying for rich donors to travel overseas is not common practice. "Usually — and I've never seen a case other than the one with respect to WE Charity — the donor pays their own way," she said."I can genuinely say that it's extremely rare to see a case where a charity foots the bill for a high-net-worth individual to visit the work that they're doing overseas."Ann Rosenfield, a principal at Charitably Speaking who has over 20 years of experience in the sector, agreed."Generally, charities are extremely conservative about underwriting costs," she said."Charities feel very conscious of being mindful stewards of donor dollars, and we tend to ask people who are generous to us to underwrite their own expenses so that we are being very, very careful about the dollars that we're spending."WE said offering complimentary trips to sponsors and potential donors has been an effective practice, eliciting millions in donations from donors after their trips.WE co-founder Craig Kielburger testified Tuesday that Morneau's wife, Nancy McCain, was already in Kenya in July 2017 to view the work of other charities she sponsors when WE invited her and her daughter to stay at WE-owned accommodations."In our mind, it was an invitation to a very prominent Canadian family, Ms. McCain, who's very philanthropic and very beneficial," Kielburger said.Six months later, WE hosted Morneau and his family again in Ecuador, where the organization picked up the tab for accommodations, food and "build site supervision, as they were building the schools and working on a service trip," Kielburger told the Commons finance committee Tuesday.Morneau said he always planned to personally cover all the amounts, and he previously reimbursed flight and hotel costs of $52,000 for the excursions. However, last week he said he was surprised to discover additional costs of $41,366 had been covered by the charity when going over receipts ahead of his testimony.He immediately repaid them and has apologized for the error.WE said the Morneau family stayed in WE-owned accommodations because their programs are located in rural regions with "limited to no alternative accommodation options."But Gomery said she finds this problematic. WE lodges are owned by ME to WE, a for-profit entity that is a sister organization of WE Charity."The lodges that they're affiliated with are super expensive," she said, noting that they operate on a for-profit basis. "It's a little bit messy, to be honest."Asked if free stays for donors at the ME to WE lodges means WE Charity is purchasing services from its for-profit social enterprise, WE said ME to WE "has contributed millions more in cash to WE Charity than WE Charity has purchased in services such as trip hosting."In its statement, the organization listed ME to WE's key purposes, which includes "hosting at ME to WE travel locations WE Charity donors who are visiting charity projects and youth service trip scholarship" — activities that have helped raise "tens of millions of dollars" in donations.WE also stressed that 100 per cent of ME to WE's profits "have either been donated to WE Charity or reinvested to grow the social mission."There has been an ongoing debate in humanitarian circles about whether these kinds of trips are a form of "poverty tourism" for wealthy North Americans to gawk at people in underdeveloped towns and villages.Rosenfield said these visits should happen only when those being visited are full partners in the endeavour."People can and should have agency," Rosenfield said.Ultimately, it depends on the individual situations and conditions and how a donor visit could impact the people on the ground, she added. "If it is in the interests (of) the people at that location for someone to visit them, that's a very important consideration."Gomery said she believes international trips for donors are an important tool for some organizations to allow sponsors to see the impact of their donations first-hand, as long as it is done appropriately and sensitively.She believes the real ethical questions revolve around why WE Charity picked up the tab for the wealthy minister of finance and his family overseas."I would not be comfortable with that if I was donor to WE Charity. I'd be pretty angry about that, to be honest."Both Morneau and Trudeau are being investigated by the federal ethics commissioner for not recusing themselves during discussions about selecting WE to run the $912-million Canada Student Service Grant program.WE backed away from the sole-sourced contract earlier this month, citing the controversy that has dogged the agreement.Earlier this month, WE announced it had launched a formal review of its organization aimed at simplifying its program offerings and making governance and structural changes. It said that included "evaluating the future of ME to WE, with the goal of a clearer separation of the social enterprise from the charitable entities."This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 29, 2020.Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press
Einstein the talking parrot and Jeff are in the family room enjoying each other's company. Einstein asks, "What's a Turkey?" and imitates a rooster sound. Jeff corrects Einstein and says, "No, that's a rooster". Einstein knows the sound of a turkey, but he continues to be stubborn and gives Jeff the wrong answers. Jeff persists and Einstein continues to reply incorrectly just to irritate Jeff. Finally, Einstein asks Jeff, "Monkey?" and makes a barking dog sound. Jeff finally realizes that Einstein is teasing him and has no intention of giving Jeff the correct answers. Once again, outwitted by a parrot! Einstein the Talking Texan Parrot is a silly, smart, and popular parrot who loves to talk and entertain! He knows the names of several animals and likes to make their sounds. In addition to his silly vocalizations, he likes to have conversations with his owners, talking, doing animal sound imitations, and acting silly. He also enjoys singing and dancing in some of his video compilations. With his amazing talking abilities and funny antics, Einstein the talking parrot’s videos will keep you entertained for hours! Einstein parrot is also famous for some of his silly quotes and sayings. Online, Einstein, the talking parrot is popular across many social media platforms. Einstein’s favorite places to talk at home is perched on the shower wall, in the kitchen on his drawer, and on his screened-in back porch. As stated on his website, Einstein’s mission statement: “To entertain and bring joy, to foster the human-parrot bond, and to convey that parrots are deserving of immeasurable amounts of patience, nurturing, and companionship.” Einstein’s website, einsteinparrot.com is designed to inform you about the care of parrots and also entertain you. As previously mentioned, Einstein is popular on many social media sites such as YouTube @einsteinparrot, Instagram @einsteinparrot, Twitter @einsteinparrot, and Facebook @einsteintexanparrot. Living with a parrot is a big commitment. Parrots live a very long time. A parrot such as Einstein can live to be 50 or 60 years old. Many larger parrots like Macaws can live to be 100 years old. They all require a lot of care, proper nutrition, training, time, and patience. Parrots need a lot of attention and lots of toys and activities to keep from being bored. Parrots are also expensive, a large cage is an investment, and plenty of play perches to spend out of cage time. Specialized veterinarian care is also required. Most of all they require your companionship and a forever home. Many people decide after the first few years of parrot ownership that the responsibility is too great and the parrots become neglected and sometimes abandoned. When that happens they are sent to parrot rescue facilities to be adopted by a new family or some spend their lives in sanctuaries. It is often said, “Having a parrot is much like raising a raising a 2 to 3-year-old child for the rest of your life!”
VICTORIA — Parents, students and teachers anxious about the coming school year received an outline Wednesday about British Columbia's plans for a safe return to full-time classes during the COVID-19 pandemic.Education Minister Rob Fleming said most students from kindergarten to Grade 12 will return to B.C. schools starting Sept. 8.Enhanced safety measures and more resources to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will allow the province to move ahead with school restart plans, he said."We are maximizing the number of students who are returning to class," Fleming said at a news conference. "We had 200,000 students attend school in June and that has given us some important information. We do know there's no substitute for in-class learning."He said classes are essential to the mental and academic development of students and the plan will support and ensure their health and safety.The plan was developed with a committee of teachers, parents, First Nations, principals, trustees, school boards, support workers and health and safety officials. It builds on the experiences from June when students had the option of attending part time, Fleming said.On the advice of provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, students will be organized into learning groups to reduce the number of people they come in contact with, cutting the risk of transmitting the novel coronavirus, he said.Henry said the groups for elementary and middle-school students will be no greater than 60 people and the secondary school groups will be up to 120 people."Looking to September, school is going to look and feel different," she said. "We know schools can safely reopen if community transmission is low."But the union representing teachers said the plan is not ready and needs more work."The reopening needs to be safe, careful, and get the buy-in of teachers, support staff, parents, and students," Teri Mooring, BC Teachers' Federation president, said in a statement. "Bringing everyone back all at once, even with some version of a cohort model, on the first day after the Labour Day long weekend, is too much, too soon given the many unanswered questions in (Wednesday's) announcement."Henry said the learning groups will limit the potential for COVID-19 transmission and make contact tracing easier. She said if transmissions occur within schools the plan will have to be flexible and adjustments made.Fleming told the legislature Tuesday that the plan includes measures nimble enough to react to the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19.Henry said large gatherings of students at assemblies and competitive sporting events between schools will not be held this fall. But she said the plan provides schools opportunities to be innovative about engaging students.Andrea Sinclair, president of the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils which represents the parents of 565,000 students, said the plan has the support of most parents who believe the best place for their children is in the classroom.The learning groups allow children to return to a safe environment, she said. "Research tells us that school closures disrupt the learning process and the long-term outcomes of students."But parents should be prepared for possible changes to the way classes are structured in September, said Stephanie Higginson, president the B.C. School Trustees Association.She said school districts may change the semester system or class scheduling to better adhere to learning groups."We really have to erase everything from the chalk board and start again," Higginson said. "It's going to take a little while for districts to think about how to implement this."Fleming said his government is putting up $45.6 million to ensure safety measures, including increased cleaning of high-contact surfaces, an increased number of hand-hygiene stations and the availability of masks.School districts will post the final back-to-school details online by Aug. 26, he said.Staff and students, or kids' parents, will be expected to watch daily for symptoms of COVID-19."The safety of students and staff is paramount, and government will continue to make science-based decisions, following the expert advice of Dr. Henry and her public health team," said Fleming.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 29, 2020.Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
A small Canadian mining company says it has found a way to mine nickel without spewing a ton of carbon into the atmosphere — an engineering challenge that no less than Elon Musk says is the key to producing the energy to power the world's future transportation needs.Canada Nickel Company is in the midst of setting up a facility near Timmins, Ont., that CEO Mark Selby said can extract the metal virtually carbon-free.At least one prominent nickel user is excited. Musk, the CEO of electric car company Tesla, needs nickel to satisfy his company's insatiable appetite for batteries.The process hinges on the rock in question being what's known as serpentine rock, a type of mineral-rich ore that sucks carbon out of the atmosphere when mined.The company's property sits on one of the dozen largest known deposits of nickel sulphide on Earth, and about 90 per cent of it is the type that can absorb carbon, Selby said in an interview with CBC News. "When they are exposed to air, they naturally absorb CO2 in a spontaneous reaction."That's an obvious advantage, but the appeal doesn't end there. Conventional mining often uses a lot of natural gas and diesel to power activities, but that's not the case in Northern Ontario."All of the electricity ... will be hydroelectric — and because we have access to it, we can also look at using hydroelectric trolley trucks and electric shovels in place of diesel-powered ones," Selby said.Many metal mines also have to ship the raw material over extensive distances for processing, and there's a similar process for waste product. But that, too, won't be the case at the company's one-stop-shopping site."The beauty of it is that there's nothing that we have to specifically invent here," Selby said. "It's just taking a bunch of existing technologies and taking advantage of the location of where we're at."In order to produce the amount of nickel needed for an electric car battery, a conventional nickel mine would produce about four tonnes of carbon dioxide. Canada Nickel's approach could get that down to practically zero.The project faces a few hurdles, including environmental assessments by local authorities, as well as a number of internal assessments about profitability and determining exactly how much carbon dioxide the rock in question will be able to remove from the atmosphere. It's on track for approval sometime next year and to start producing maybe a year after that if all goes well.Project could bring hundreds of jobsThe result could be one of the largest nickel sulphide mines in the world, a $1 billion investment that will produce hundreds of jobs for decades to come for the local economy — and take a much lighter environmental toll than other forms of nickel mining."Timmins is one of a very handful of unique locations globally that could really make that happen," Selby said.Musk had a message for nickel miners in the company's second-quarter earnings call earlier this month:"I'd just like to re-emphasize, any mining companies out there, please mine more nickel," Musk said. "Wherever you are in the world, please mine more nickel and don't wait for nickel to go back to some high point that you experienced some five years ago or whatever, go for efficiency."Nickel has a high energy density, which makes it especially useful for cathodes. The metal is doubly in demand because Tesla is in the process of phasing out the use of cobalt in its batteries."Tesla will give you a giant contract for a long period of time if you mine nickel efficiently and in an environmentally sensitive way. So, hopefully, this message goes out to all mining companies. Please get nickel," Musk said.About half of the nickel in the world currently comes from the South Pacific — either from the Philippines, Indonesia or the tiny island nation of New Caledonia. On paper, Canada Nickel's facility would be an ideal supplier for Tesla because it is closer to the company's production chain in California and to Nevada, where it makes batteries — which is perhaps why Musk welcomed news of the project on his Twitter feed recently.Selby said the idea for the project has been in the works for a while, but the interest Musk has drawn to the venture could be serendipitous because of the attention he commands."It's good to have a good idea, but it's also good to get the timing right," he said.
A scientist from P.E.I. who now works with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratories in California had a hand in naming a section of alien land, as part of his role in the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission, and went with a name from his home province: Prince Edward Island National Park.Peter Willis is one of the investigative scientists for the rover's SuperCam instrument, which will enable the rover in its mission to collect ground samples from Mars in the search for signs of past life on the Red Planet.Well before the launch of the rover, happening Thursday in Cape Canaveral, Fla., scientists had to map a section on Mars known as the Jezero Crater in order to prepare for the possibility that the rover may drive through it. The crater was parcelled out, and the science team was allowed to submit naming suggestions for each section.Willis said the plan was to name each square of land after a national park, from anywhere in the world. So, the Islander went with Prince Edward Island National Park."I even gave some rationale. Most people just put down and said 'I like this park,' but you know Prince Edward Island actually has some quite similar mineralogical aspects to Mars," Willis said."All the bright red clay, there's those materials actually in place in the Jezero Crater and all over Mars, so people really like it and picked it immediately."The Perseverance's travels will depend on where it lands next year, but Willis said there is always a chance it could travel through the section of land named for P.E.I."If we did drive through it, then that would be really cool because I'm presuming, and none of this is set in stone, but I'm presuming that we could get to pick a bunch of names from P.E.I. for the different things inside the quadrant," he said.Willis said this project is the most involved he's been in a rover mission, but he's disappointed that he won't get to be at the launch site, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic."We're quite disappointed because we were going to be in Florida. I actually had never participated in a launch before — I wasn't going to go to a launch until I worked on something and I made a substantial contribution myself, so this would have been my first in-person launch in Cape Canaveral," Willis said."We were going to have the family and a whole bunch of folks from P.E.I. come down for it, but they closed it all off for of course the health concerns, so now everything's moved to a virtual format. But you know, we're going to make the best of it and we feel the less of the connection with other people over this, we really had wished we could have been there."Instead, Willis and his family will have some friends over to their home to watch the launch on a projector.While the rover isn't expected to land on Mars until February 2021, Willis said there is still a lot of work to be done — especially if the COVID-19 pandemic means people working remotely.Staff will be running simulations and scenarios to figure out what, exactly, the rover will do when it lands."There's all sorts of different software tools that are, quite frankly, not finished yet, so we have to finish all the software tools and practice using them and get everybody trained, and there's hundreds of people who are going to participate in the operation," Willis said."And then on top of it we have to plan for the fact that we may be doing all of this — it's very reasonable to assume that we're going to be doing almost all of the operations remotely, which is going to be a first for us."More from CBC P.E.I.
French energy giant Total says it is writing off $9.3-billion (US$7 billion) worth of oilsands assets in Alberta and cancelling its membership in the Calgary-based Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. Total now considers oil reserves with high production costs that are to be produced more than 20 years in the future to be "stranded" given its carbon reduction targets and because the resource may not be produced by 2050, the Paris-based company said Wednesday. It will take writedowns worth $7.3 billion related to its 24.6 per cent ownership in the Fort Hills oilsands mine operated by partner Suncor Energy Inc., the company said, and its 50 per cent stake in the Surmont thermal oilsands project operated by partner ConocoPhillips.
TORONTO — Ontario's pediatric hospitals have updated their recommendations for a safe return to school full-time, offering guidelines on the logistical challenges facing educators this fall.Among the key recommendations from doctors at Toronto's SickKids hospital and other health officials from across the province is that high-school and middle-school students wear masks when distance can't be maintained, however younger children aren't expected to wear them.Dr. Jeffrey Pernica, the medical director of infectious diseases at McMaster University in Hamilton, says there's a "lack of evidence" on whether the routine use of masks in a school setting provides more benefit than harm."Being in school is not the same as going to a grocery store or restaurant and that is why the guidance should not necessarily be the same," he said.Pernica says masks, when not worn correctly, may increase the chance of transmission rather than decrease it, and there are concerns with proper storage of masks when not in use.They can also distract children and pose a barrier to communication by taking away non-verbal facial cues in speech, he said."Many adults find it challenging to wear masks for a full day so it seems unreasonable to ask children to do the same."The doctors noted that their guidelines are based on current epidemiology. If that changes within a given region, the recommendations will also change.While there have been recent talks of returning to school on a part-time basis, with distanced-learning supplementing the rest of the week, the doctors would prefer to see full-time, in-person schooling.That would be best for children, from educational, mental health and social development standpoints, says Dr. Sloane Freeman of Unity Health Toronto.Freeman says parents are already reporting a decline in the mental health of their children since being out of school since March, while behavioural problems have increased.Freeman also pointed out how some children rely on school as a safe place."When children are not in school, there are fewer opportunities to monitor and identify children at risk of abuse and neglect," she said. "Another significant concern when we think about distance learning or educational disparities (is) children with socio-demographic risk factors face barriers to online learning."Dr. Michelle Science of SickKids says "a bundle of measures" will eliminate risk of COVID-19 transmission within schools rather than one specific precaution.Things like daily screening for symptoms, physical distancing when possible and cohorting younger children — keeping them with the same group throughout the day to eliminate mixing between classes and years — should also be in the return plan, she added.Dr. Chuck Hui of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, says a distance of one metre instead of two might be enough among elementary-school students, though two metres is still ideal among older kids."It's difficult to enforce distancing during important developmental play in younger children."Screening, whether done by a parent at home or someone on school grounds, would help make sure sick kids aren't coming to class in the first place, Science said. Hand hygiene and environmental cleaning are other important safety measures.The doctors say evidence is mounting that young children don't play a "significant role" in spreading COVID-19, compared to teenagers and other adults. They also say young children may be less susceptible to getting the infection in the first place.Dr. Ronald Cohn, the president and CEO of SickKids, says multiple reports around the world suggest children account for 5 to 10 per cent of COVID infections. The 0-19 age range is represented in 7.5 per cent of infections in Canada.Teenagers, however, seem to spread the disease at a similar rate to adults, Cohn added, which is why the doctors included mask-wearing recommendations for high-school students and teachers when distance can't be followed.While young children are likely to experience mild or no symptoms, a multi-system inflammatory syndrome could be related to the novel coronavirus, Cohn said. But he notes that condition is "extremely rare" and treatable."It is, however, important to emphasize that we are still lacking conclusive data, especially as it relates to the transmission of COVID in children," Cohn said. "And we need to carefully watch and evaluate emerging evidence."Cohn says they've had "open and constructive dialogue" about reopening schools with the Ontario government, which is expected to unveil its plan for a return to school in the coming days.Wednesday's document came six weeks after SickKids unveiled its initial recommendations, and five weeks before the school year is set to begin.Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Wednesday getting children back to school safely will be a "tough challenge.""Everyone's nervous when you're dealing with kids," he said. "There's going to be two million kids going back to class, and (about) 140,000 teachers — that's concerning."Dr. Ari Bitnum of SickKids says there's "no question" schools are going to need more resources — like employing screeners and more teachers — for the recommendations to work.Science said employers should put in place supports for parents to stay home when they have a sick child. That would extend to school staff as well, she added.Cohn said a full-time, in-person return to Ontario schools in September can only happen if the prevalence and transmission of COVID-19 in the community remains low.Placing an exact number of what the rate of transmission should be before reopening, or before having to close down again, is hard to do, however."We should focus on ... putting out fires as they come up, rather than shutting down everything based on a specific number," said Bitnum. "You could have a scenario, for example, where there's 300 cases in a particular small region and the attention needs to be focused on that region rather than the province as a whole."I think the strategy of robust testing and mitigation when local outbreaks occur is a strategy we should aim for."This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 29, 2020Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau will be in the hot seat today for a rare prime ministerial appearance at a House of Commons committee, facing questions about his role in the simmering controversy involving the WE organization.MPs on the finance committee will grill Trudeau about the events that led to his Liberal cabinet asking the WE Charity to oversee a $912-million program that provides grants to students and graduates for volunteering.Trudeau's chief of staff Katie Telford was also scheduled to testify today.Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre warned that if the prime minister doesn't fully answer questions from opposition MPs about his own and his family's ties to the WE organization, they will call him back again."We want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth," Poilievre told reporters in Ottawa Wednesday.The Conservatives say many of their questions for Trudeau will revolve around hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees paid to members of his family for appearing at WE events, along with related expenses.WE had previously confirmed that Trudeau's mother, Margaret Trudeau, was paid about $250,000 for 28 speaking appearances at WE-related events between 2016 and 2020 and his brother Alexandre has been paid $32,000 for eight events.WE co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger testified Tuesday that Trudeau's wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau has participated in seven WE Days and received an average of $3,618 for each event, to cover her expenses. That works out to $25,326 in total.The Conservatives are now calling on federal ethics czar Mario Dion to widen his probe of Trudeau to include travel expenses WE covered in addition to speaking fees for his mother, wife and brother."What else is he hiding in this affair?" Poilievre said Wednesday.On Wednesday, Dion sent letters to Conservative and NDP MPs saying he is widening his investigations into trips Finance Minister Bill Morneau and his family participated in that were sponsored by the WE organization.Morneau told the Commons finance committee last week he had freshly repaid WE Charity more than $41,000 in expenses for trips he and his family took in 2017 to see and take part in some of the organization's humanitarian work.NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he believes details that have emerged since the program was announced suggest the deal awarding WE the Canada Student Services Grant program was never about students, but about helping close friends of the Liberals and of Trudeau."That is deeply troubling," he said Wednesday in Burnaby, B.C."A prime minister should work for people, should work for Canadians, should not be working in the interest of enriching his or her family or his or her close friends."This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2020.Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press
A top American health expert is praising Canada for not succumbing to "vaccine nationalism" because of its efforts to push for fair global distribution of a cure for the COVID-19 pandemic. Thomas Bollyky, director of the global health program at the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations, says that sets Canada apart from the United States and European countries that are making moves to pre-buy massive amounts of potentially viable vaccines for their own populations. "Canada has a record to be proud of in this pandemic," Bollyky, who also teaches law at Georgetown University, said in an interview.
As nature lovers and conservationists, my wife and I are fortunate enough to live in a remote wilderness area of the Greater Kruger National Park in South Africa. While living in the wild, you get to see nature in its full glory on a daily basis with all its amazing sights and sounds. Being keen gardeners, we have established an indigenous garden around our house over the years. One of the benefits of living in such a wild area is the many wild bird species that visit our garden during the day. I was in the house one afternoon during a weekend, when I suddenly heard my wife calling me to come outside to the garden. When I got outside, I was confused and amused at the same time, watching my wife spraying a Grey Go-away-bird with her water spraying bottle. I ran back inside to get my camera. Not only does the Grey Go-away-bird have a name that surprise most people, it is also one of the most common and easy recognizable birds in the African bush. This dull looking grey bird, with its funky upright crest, is actually one of the most reliable birds to call out an alarm when any sort of danger such as predators, snakes or raptors are spotted in the area. When this bird sounds an alarm, all animals usually respond by getting away from the danger area. Hence the name. My wife explained that she was out in the garden, using her small watering spray bottle to water some of the plants with a fine water mist. While busy watering her plants, my wife noticed a Grey Go-away-bird coming to land in a bush right next to her. While it is common having these birds visiting our garden, none of us have ever experienced the birds to be been keen on interacting with us. The bird sat and looked at my wife spraying the plants. My wife looked at the bird and the bird intimately stared back at her and the water bottle. During this little stare down session, my wife then decided to spray a little water at the bird, seeing that it was fairly dry and warm that afternoon. What followed was the hilarious interaction between my wife and the Grey Go-away-bird which I managed to capture in this video. It seemed like the bird absolutely loved having the water sprayed on its body. My wife turned up the tempo with more repetitive sprays. The bird amazingly reacted by starting to lift its wings, ‘asking’ to get sprayed all over the lower body and areas covered by the wings. At the same time, the bird would turn from the one side to the other side, ‘guiding’ my wife where to spray, making sure majority of its body got covered with the water. The bird never stopped enjoying it and I was totally fascinated by this bird’s behavior as we have never interacted with these birds before. If we had a larger watering spray bottle, it would have carried on for much longer. Once the water was finished, the bird gave us one last look and disappeared back into the wild. We were totally amazed by this bird pulling in for a cool down body spray on demand.