Borchy the carefree ferret opens the zipper to this bean bag, climbs inside and guts all the filler, making a huge mess in the process. The cleaning took a very long time!
Borchy the carefree ferret opens the zipper to this bean bag, climbs inside and guts all the filler, making a huge mess in the process. The cleaning took a very long time!
Hello, royal watchers. This is a special edition of The Royal Fascinator, your dose of royal news and analysis. Reading this online? Sign up here to get this delivered to your inbox. The revelations just kept coming Sunday night as Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, gave Oprah Winfrey — and a worldwide television audience — their view on why they had to leave the upper echelons of the Royal Family. The reasons were many, but amid all they had to say, there was one statement that stood out and seems particularly serious for the House of Windsor: Meghan's declaration that a senior member of the Royal Family had worries about the colour of the skin of their first child before he was born. In an interview Monday on CBS This Morning, Winfrey said Harry told her neither Queen Elizabeth nor Prince Philip were part of conversations about Archie's skin colour. "I think it's very damaging — the idea that a senior member of the Royal Family had expressed concern about what Archie might look like," Carolyn Harris, a Toronto-based royal author and historian, said in an interview late Sunday night. Meghan told Winfrey the concern had been relayed to her by Harry, and when questioned further on it, Harry refused to offer more specifics, saying it's a "conversation I'm never going to share." And that, Harris suggests, speaks to the seriousness of the matter. "It's very clear that Harry didn't want to go into details feeling that it would be too damaging for the monarchy." WATCH | Royal Family expressed concerns about son's skin colour, Meghan tells Oprah: It will take time to digest the impact of all that Harry and Meghan had to say to Winfrey. But some early comments in the British media this morning suggest Harry and Meghan's account will have a profound impact. "They have revealed the terrible strains inside the palace. They have drawn a picture of unfeeling individuals lost in an uncaring institution. They have spoken of racism within the Royal Family. This was a devastating interview," the BBC's royal correspondent, Jonny Dymond, wrote in an online analysis. "But Harry describing his brother and father as 'trapped,' and Meghan revealing that she repeatedly sought help within the palace only to be rebuffed is a body blow to the institution." 'A damning allegation' The Guardian reported that Harry and Meghan telling Winfrey of conversations in the Royal Family about Archie's skin colour is "a damning allegation that will send shockwaves through the institution and send relations with the palace to a new low." Many themes and issues developed over the two-hour broadcast, which sprinkled lighter moments — they're expecting a girl, they have rescue chickens and Archie, age almost two, has taken to telling people to "drive safe" — with much more serious concerns, including the lack of support they say they received, particularly as Meghan had suicidal thoughts. WATCH | Meghan had suicidal thoughts during royal life: "A theme that emerges again and again, and it's something that Harry explicitly states in the interview, is the Royal Family being concerned with the opinion of the tabloid press," said Harris. "This may very well have influenced decisions not to speak out about the way Meghan was being treated and that may have influenced some other decisions as well." One of those might be the question of security, something that was of considerable concern to the couple when they learned royal support for it would be withdrawn. "The Royal Family has frequently in the past received bad press regarding minor members ... receiving security,"said Harris. 'Negative headlines' "There were a lot of negative headlines regarding Beatrice and Eugenie continuing to receive security and their father's [Prince Andrew's] insistence they receive security despite being comparatively minor members of the Royal Family who do not undertake public engagements representing the Queen." There was also a sense out of Sunday's interview that issues that troubled the Royal Family in the past may still be a worry now. "Even in the 21st century after all of the problems that the Royal Family encountered in the 1990s with the breakdowns in the marriages of Prince Charles and Prince Andrew … there still doesn't seem to be a consistent means of mentoring new members of the Royal Family," said Harris. Meghan said she had to Google the lyrics for God Save the Queen, and was filled in at the last minute about having to curtsy to Elizabeth just before meeting her for the first time. Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, pose for a picture at a Buckingham Palace reception following the final Queen's Young Leaders Awards ceremony in London on June 26, 2018. Both Meghan and Harry spoke warmly of the Queen during the interview Sunday night.(John Stillwell/Reuters) Throughout the interview, Harry and Meghan repeatedly expressed respect and admiration for the Queen, if not for how the Royal Family as an institution operates. But there is considerable murkiness around just who may be responsible for some of the more serious issues they raised. "We know they respect the Queen and have a good personal relationship with the Queen. We know that Meghan had a conflict with Kate but says Kate apologized and Meghan forgave her and she doesn't think Kate's a bad person," said Harris. Lacking 'specific details' "But when it comes to who made racist comments about Archie's appearance or who was dismissive directly of Meghan's mental health, [on] that we don't have specific details." High-profile royal interviews such as this — particularly one by Harry's mother Diana, in 1995 — have a track record of not turning out as the royal interviewees may have intended, and it remains to be seen the lasting impact of this one. Harris sees parallels with Diana's interview, as she "spoke frankly" about a lack of support from the family, and felt that she had been let down by Prince Charles. Meghan spoke with Winfrey before they were joined by Harry.(Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese/Reuters) Harry talked of hoping to repair his relationship with his father — "I will always love him but there's a lot of hurt that happened" — but said he felt really let down, and noted a time when his father wasn't taking his calls. Harris expects the interview will prompt further critical scrutiny of Charles, and Harry's older brother Prince William. The relationship with William has already been under intense scrutiny, and is clearly still a delicate matter for Harry, who hesitated noticeably before responding as Winfrey pressed him on it. "Time heals all things, hopefully," Harry said. How Buckingham Palace responds to all this remains to be seen. Generally, the public approach in matters such as this is silence, and a determination to be seen as carrying on with regular duties. Whether a member of the family might make a more informal comment — say in response to a question from someone at a public event — also remains to be seen. WATCH | Meghan says Royal Family failed to protect her and Prince Harry: But from what did emerge Sunday evening, there is a sense that whatever efforts the House of Windsor has made to put a more modern face on the monarchy, they appear not to have yielded the fruit that might have been hoped. "There's been some elements of modernization, but it's very clear that the institution has difficulty adapting to the needs of individuals who marry into the Royal Family," said Harris. "It's clear that Meghan came away from her experiences feeling that she was not supported or mentored in her new role." Sign up here to have The Royal Fascinator newsletter land in your inbox every other Friday. I'm always happy to hear from you. Send your ideas, comments, feedback and notes to firstname.lastname@example.org. Problems with the newsletter? 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CALGARY — Kevin Koe's Wild Card Two team defeated Canada's Brad Gushue 9-7 on Sunday night to hand the defending champions their first loss at the Canadian men's curling championship. Down one with hammer coming home, Koe put the pressure on by sitting three. Gushue was a tad heavy with his final draw and Koe picked it out for the victory. Koe improved to 4-0 after seven draws at the WinSport Arena while Gushue fell to 2-1. In other late games, Quebec's Michael Fournier beat Prince Edward Island's Eddie MacKenzie 10-4, Ontario's John Epping crushed Nunavut's Peter Mackey 16-1 and Nova Scotia's Scott McDonald defeated Greg Smith of Newfoundland and Labrador 11-4. Koe is hoping to win a record fifth career Tim Hortons Brier title as skip. Gushue, from St. John's, N.L., has won the Brier in three of the last four years. Quebec and Ontario moved into a second place tie in Pool B at 3-1. Gushue was tied in fourth place with Saskatchewan's Matt Dunstone. Koe's Alberta-based team beat P.E.I. 12-5 in the morning draw. "Our schedule is a little back-heavy in terms of the favourites in the pool, which is probably a good thing," Koe said after the early win. "We've (had) a few games to figure some stuff out and play some real games for the first time in a long time. "Now we're looking forward to the challenges ahead." Gushue offered a significant test from the start, opening with hammer and scoring a deuce when Koe was heavy with his last draw. The defending champion had rare back-to-back misses in the second end and Koe took advantage by scoring three. Koe made a draw for two in the sixth for a 5-3 lead but Gushue pulled even with a hit for a pair. Koe was forced to one in the eighth and Gushue made a draw for two to take the lead in the ninth. With the victory, Koe improved to 38-26 in career head-to-head matchups against Gushue. In the afternoon draw, Wayne Middaugh - who's throwing fourth stones for the injured Glenn Howard on Wild Card Three - led the Ontario-based rink to a 12-2 rout of Yukon's Dustin Mikkelsen. Middaugh moved into a first-place tie with idle Manitoba atop the Pool A standings at 2-0. "Now we've hopefully learned a few things and we can keep playing at a good level with the really top teams that are here," Middaugh said. With the game well in hand, Howard came on for the last two ends to play lead for the first time in his long career. He has moved into the alternate role at the 10-day event as he's nursing sore ribs. New Brunswick's James Grattan dropped a 6-5 decision to Alberta's Brendan Bottcher to leave both teams at 2-1. Wild Card One's Mike McEwen and Northern Ontario's Brad Jacobs were also 2-1 after afternoon victories. McEwen's Manitoba-based rink topped B.C.'s Steve Laycock 10-7 while Jacobs beat Greg Skauge of the Northwest Territories 7-5. Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan picked up morning wins. Epping defeated McDonald 12-7, Fournier trounced Mackey 15-1 and Dunstone doubled Smith 6-3. Nova Scotia was alone in sixth place in Pool B at 2-2, ahead of P.E.I. (0-3), Nunavut (0-3) and Newfoundland and Labrador (0-4). B.C. (0-2), N.W.T. (0-3), and Yukon (0-3) remained winless in Pool A. The preliminary round continues through Thursday night. The top four teams in each pool will advance to the two-day championship round. The semifinal and final are set for March 14. The champion will represent Canada at the world men's curling championship next month in the same Canada Olympic Park venue. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2021. Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter. The Canadian Press
Deliveroo announced plans to launch what could be the biggest London listing in more than seven years on Monday, after the British food delivery firm's business surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, although it still posted a loss for 2020. The initial public offering (IPO) is expected to value Deliveroo at more than $7 billion, based on a $180 million private funding round completed in January with backers including minority shareholder Amazon, the world's most valuable company. That would make it the biggest London IPO by market cap since Royal Mail in 2013.
Marcellin Gbazaï n’est pas un Bleuet comme les autres. Unique chauffeur de taxi d’origine africaine de Saguenay, fier de l’être, il se joue de ses clients pour casser la peur des différences. « Le taxi, c’est un autre genre de clientèle, ce sont des vieilles madames, ce sont de vieux monsieurs, raconte-t-il, le sourire en coin. Une fois, une madame est montée dans mon taxi. Avant de monter, ça a pris dix minutes ! Elle regardait par la fenêtre, pas certaine. D’abord, elle voit les tresses rastas. Elle voit les piercings. Elle voit le noir. Elle voit mon masque. Moi… je riais sous mon masque ! Je me disais, “toi, je vais t’avoir, t’inquiète”. Elle prend de longues secondes à ouvrir la porte et, finalement, monte dans le taxi. Je lui dis “bonjour”. Elle ne me répond même pas. “Madame, vous avez passé une belle journée ?”. Elle ne me répond pas. “Vous savez quoi, aujourd’hui, il fait beau, c’est malade !” Rien. Là, on arrive, je gare le taxi et je dis : “Alléluia ! Vous êtes arrivée saine et sauve !” Et là, elle rit, incapable d’arrêter. À un moment donné, j’avais presque peur tellement elle riait. Elle me dit : “Monsieur, vous savez quoi, vous avez réussi à m’enlever ce que j’avais dans ma tête.” » Ces moments de rire, de bonheur et de légèreté, c’est le véritable salaire de Marcellin Gbazaï. « C’est ça qui montre qu’au Saguenay, il y a de l’espoir. Un client qui est satisfait, c’est une âme gagnée pour le vivre-ensemble. » Avec un clin d’œil, il confie tout de même obtenir d’excellents pourboires. « Mon boss me dit : “Comment tu fais ?” J’ai pas le choix. Je suis en mission pour dire aux gens qu’on va vivre ensemble. » Également chauffeur d’autobus, l’Ivoirien d’origine carbure à ce vivre-ensemble. « Quand je parle du vivre-ensemble, il n’y a pas de blanc, il n’y a pas de noir, il n’y a pas de vert. C’est une seule personne. Nous sommes des êtres humains condamnés à vivre ensemble. » Depuis son arrivée à Saguenay « sur un coup de tête », il n’a cessé d’aimer son nouveau pays. « L’accueil des Saguenéens, c’est incomparable. Moi, je les appelle les Africains blancs. C’est la même énergie. Ils ne te connaissent même pas et ils te disent d’aller visiter leur maison. Monte ! Va où tu veux ! Vas-y !, dit-il en feignant l’incrédulité. Quoi ? Je suis passé par Nice. En France, même si je suis chez des amis, je reste au salon ! » C’est au Saguenay qu’il trouve d’ailleurs l’amour. Les yeux pleins de vie, il dit « voir ses enfants grandir dans le monde que Martin Luther King avait rêvé ». Et n’allez pas lui parler de vivre ailleurs que dans le royaume qu’il fait sien. « Moi, je ne me vois pas comme un Noir. Je me vois comme un Bleuet pure laine. Ma couleur là, non. C’est Marcellin le Saguenéen. Ça s’arrête là. » À pleins gaz Pour remplir sa mission vers le vivre-ensemble, Marcellin Gbazaï ne s’arrête pas à son taxi, qu’il nomme « son bureau de sensibilisation ». Lorsqu’il est arrivé dans la région, il y a 11 ans, il a ouvert la première épicerie africaine de la région. Même si elle est maintenant fermée depuis six ans, les gens lui en parlent encore. « Parmi ma clientèle, 60 % n’était pas africaine, elle était saguenéenne », rappelle-t-il. Peu après, il a publié un magazine sur l’immigration nommé Terre d’accueil, que des difficultés financières ont contraint à la fermeture. Qu’importe, il travaille maintenant sur un projet d’organisme, nommé « Vivre-ensemble ». « Quand on parle du racisme aujourd’hui, c’est tous les jours. N’attendons pas que les gens meurent pour se souvenir de l’importance de la sensibilisation et du vivre-ensemble. Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir. Tous les jours, il faut chercher à faire des projets. Les gens oublient vite. » Il aura fallu une pandémie pour qu’il « reprenne son souffle ». En temps normal, il ajoute à son horaire déjà surchargé des visites dans toutes les écoles de la région. De Baie-Comeau jusqu’à Dolbeau-Mistassini, il y instille le vivre-ensemble. Conte, exposition, musique, danse : tout peut servir à ouvrir les perspectives. « Tout ce que je fais, ce n’est pas anodin, c’est ma manière de sensibiliser. » Par exemple, devant une classe difficile, il se remémore avoir donné un devoir sur les origines du café. « Le lendemain, une des élèves me revient en me parlant de son père. Parce que son père n’aimait pas les Noirs, elle-même me dit ça. La professeure me dit que ça a changé la vie de son père. Son père a appelé à l’école. Il voulait s’excuser. Il ne savait pas d’où venait son café du matin. Ça vient de la Côte d’Ivoire, du Brésil, du Ghana. La petite fille, elle a été ma messagère. » Tout cela ne se fait pas sans récolter quelques insultes au passage. C’est le destin de ceux qui innovent se dit-il. « Une personne ouvre la porte, et les autres rentrent. » Ses concitoyens le traitent parfois de fou, mais rien ne l’ébranle. « Il faut te calmer. On est au Saguenay ici. Tu sais, les gens, ils n’aiment pas les trucs de Noirs », lui a-t-on dit un jour. Pas démonté du tout, Marcellin Gbazaï réplique. « De quoi vous parlez, là ? Je le vois quand je donne des cours de danse africaine. Ils adorent ça ! » Sa persévérance a certainement fait évoluer les mentalités à Saguenay. Il dit avoir vu de nouvelles épiceries ethniques ouvrir, les noms de famille se diversifier, les politiques évoluer. « Il faut apprécier le peu qu’on a d’abord et, ensuite, on passe à autre chose. » Jouer au trait d’union Il n’y a pas que la méfiance des locaux qu’il doit désarmer, mais celle des nouveaux arrivants aussi. « Des fois, quand il y a des Africains qui me voient dans mon taxi, ils ont peur d’ouvrir la portière, fait-il en riant. La sensibilisation, c’est pas juste chez les Saguenéens. Non ! C’est aussi les Africains, les immigrants. Il faut leur faire comprendre que, si tu restes dans ton coin en pensant que c’est tout blanc, le Blanc va aussi penser que c’est tout noir. Si tu ne penses pas que tu n’es que noir, si tu penses que tu as le droit d’être ici, que tu respectes ce qu’on te demande, que tu fais ton travail et que tu n’emmerdes personne, parle aux gens et tu verras qu’ils sont ouverts. » Pour atteindre sa cible du vivre-ensemble, Marcellin Gbazaï fait flèche de tout bois. Il organise aussi en temps normal quantité d’événements pour croiser les parcours. Les immigrants ne sont pas que des travailleurs, concède-t-il, mais des humains avec des besoins sociaux. « On veut des immigrants pour travailler en région. Mais ils viennent et puis ils partent ! Ils font ça tout le temps. Le gouvernement paye des millions, des billets d’avion pour venir visiter. Oui, c’est beau. Ils viennent deux ans, trois ans et après repartent. Il manque quelque chose. Il manque l’accompagnement. Il manque les activités pour qu’ils se sentent ici chez eux. C’est sur ce truc-là que je veux travailler. Je ne m’arrêterai pas. » Pour tous ceux qui sont intéressés, Marcellin Gbazaï les attend les bras ouverts. « Envoie-moi un message ! Je vais te montrer que le premier jour quand tu viens, tu es chez toi. Le deuxième jour, tu es chez toi. Toute la vie que tu passes au Saguenay, tu es chez toi. » Jean-Louis Bordeleau, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Devoir
The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd was delayed until at least Tuesday morning as the judge contended with a last-minute order by a higher court to reconsider adding an additional murder charge. Chauvin appeared in court dressed in a navy blue suit and tie, a white shirt and a black face mask, jotting notes in a yellow legal pad on the table before him. Judge Peter Cahill of the Hennepin County district court has set aside three weeks for jury selection alone, mindful of the difficulties finding impartial Minneapolitans in a case that has convulsed a nation and in which an image of the victim — a selfie of Floyd faintly smiling — has become an international icon of racial justice.
Earlier this month, Loren Hughes, a longtime resident of the U.S. Virgin Islands, noticed specks of an oily substance covering his home, as well as those owned by his neighbors. For Hughes, 46, it brought back memories of the last time St. Croix's long-idled refinery was operating, roughly a decade earlier. The refinery restarted last month, bringing back hundreds of jobs - but for nearby residents, they say it also brought difficulty breathing, headaches and watery eyes.
Sunday's Games(All Times Eastern) NHLN.Y. Islanders 5 Buffalo 2 Tampa Bay 6 Chicago 3 Carolina 4 Florida 2New Jersey 1 Boston 0Washington 3 Philadelphia 1Pittsburgh 5 New York Rangers 1Nashville 4 Dallas 3 (SO)Ottawa 4 Calgary 3 (SO)---NBAAll-Star GameTeam LeBron 170 Team Durant 150---AHLHershey 4 Binghamton 3Rockford 4 Iowa 3Bakersfield 5 Ontario 1---MLB Spring TrainingPittsburgh 13 Baltimore 1Minnesota 8 Tampa Bay 4Detroit 5 Toronto 1St. Louis 8 Houston 5Atlanta 5 Boston 4N.Y. Yankees 4 Philadelphia 0Miami 4 N.Y. Mets 4Colorado 1 Chicago White Sox 0Oakland 9 Cleveland 4San Francisco 9 Cincinnati 4Texas 4 L.A. Dodgers 3Arizona 5 Chicago Cubs 4Kansas City 4 San Diego 3L.A. Angels 6 Seattle 2 The Canadian Press
When Elon Musk's Tesla became the biggest name to reveal it had added bitcoin to its coffers last month, many pundits were swift to call a corporate rush towards the booming cryptocurrency. Yet there's unlikely to be a concerted crypto charge any time soon, say many finance executives and accountants loath to risk balance sheets and reputations on a highly volatile and unpredictable asset that confounds convention. "When I did my treasury exams, the thing we were told as number one objective is to guarantee security and liquidity of the balance sheet," said Graham Robinson, a partner in international tax and treasury at PwC and adviser to the UK's Association for Corporate Treasurers.
NEW YORK — It’s sleepy by Donald Trump’s standards, but the former president's century-old estate in New York's Westchester County could end up being one of his bigger legal nightmares. Seven Springs, a 213-acre swath of nature surrounding a Georgian-style mansion, is a subject of two state investigations: a criminal probe by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and a civil inquiry by New York Attorney General Letitia James. Both investigations focus on whether Trump manipulated the property's value to reap greater tax benefits from an environmental conservation arrangement he made at the end of 2015, while running for president. Purchased by Trump in 1995 for $7.5 million, Seven Springs drew renewed scrutiny as he prepared to leave office and was on the cusp of losing legal protections he had as president. Vance issued new subpoenas in mid-December, and a judge ordered evidence to be turned over to James' office nine days after Trump departed Washington. Other Trump legal woes, such as inquiries into his attempts to influence election officials and payments made on his behalf to women alleging affairs, have dominated the headlines. But former Manhattan prosecutor Duncan Levin said white-collar investigators go wherever the paper trail leads. “While a tax issue related to a conservation arrangement might not be as sexy as a hush-money payment, prosecutors are likely to focus on any violation of law that they find,” Levin said. “Remember, the authorities got Al Capone on tax evasion.” Seven Springs is an outlier in a Trump real estate portfolio filled with glossy high-rises and gold-plated amenities. It is listed on his website as a family retreat, although Trump hasn’t been there in more than four years. At the heart of the estate is the mansion built as a summer getaway in 1919 by Eugene Meyer, who went on to become Federal Reserve chairman and owner of The Washington Post. In 2006, while pushing a plan to build luxury homes on the property, Trump floated the idea that he and his family were going to move into the mansion, but that never happened. Brand new, the 28,322-square-foot dwelling featured more than a dozen bedrooms, an indoor swimming pool, a bowling alley and a tennis court. Meyer's daughter, the late Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, was married at Seven Springs in 1940. In her memoir “Personal History,” Graham described ambivalent emotions about going there, writing: “The older I got, the more I disliked the loneliness of the farm, but in my childhood days, it was, as I wrote my father when I was 10, ‘a great old Place.’” At one point, Meyer owned about 700 acres. A philanthropic foundation established by him and his wife, Agnes, gifted 247 acres to the Nature Conservancy and the remaining land and buildings that made up Seven Springs to Yale University in 1973, after Agnes Meyer's death. The estate changed hands again when the foundation took it back from Yale and operated a conference centre there before passing the real estate holdings to Rockefeller University, which eventually sold it to Trump. Trump paid about $2.25 million under the list price for Seven Springs, acquiring the land as part of an effort to jumpstart his fortunes after a series of failures in the early 1990s, including casino bankruptcies and the sale of his money-losing Trump Shuttle airline. Trump envisioned transforming it into his first championship-calibre golf course, with an exclusive clientele and lofty membership fees. He hired an architecture firm to plot fairways and greens but abandoned the effort when residents voiced concerns that lawn chemicals would contaminate neighbouring Byram Lake, a local source of drinking water. Trump’s then tried building houses. He proposed putting up 46 single-family homes, and after that plan also met community opposition, 15 mansion-sized dwellings which he described in 2004 as “super-high-end residential, the likes of which has never been seen on the East Coast.” The project was held up by years of litigation and no homes were ever built. In 2009, Trump made a splash by allowing Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi to pitch his Bedouin-style tent on the Seven Springs property north of New York City because he had no other place to stay for a U.N. visit. Trump initially suggested he didn’t know Gaddafi was involved, but later conceded he “made a lot of money” renting the land to the Libyan leader. Local officials halted work on the tent and Gaddafi never stayed there. His development plans dashed, Trump opted for a strategy that would allow him to keep the property but reduce his taxes. He granted an easement to a conservation land trust to preserve 158 acres (60 hectares) of meadows and mature forest. Trump received a $21 million income tax deduction, equal to the value of the conserved land, according to property and court records. The amount was based on a professional appraisal that valued the full Seven Springs property at $56.5 million as of Dec. 1, 2015. That was a much higher amount that the evaluation by local government assessors, who said the entire estate was worth $20 million. Michael Colangelo, a lawyer in the New York attorney general's office, outlined the central question involving the Seven Springs easement at a hearing last year regarding a dispute over evidence. “If the value of the easement was improperly inflated, who obtained the benefit from that improper inflation and in what amounts?” Colangelo said. “It goes without saying that the attorney general needs to see the records that would reflect the value of that deduction, as it flowed up to intermediate entities, and ultimately to Mr. Trump, personally.” A message seeking comment was left with Trump’s spokesperson. In the past, the Republican ex-president has decried the investigations as part of a “witch hunt.” Seven Springs caught investigators’ attention after Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen told a congressional committee in 2019 that Trump had a habit of manipulating property values — inflating them in some cases and minimizing them in others to gain favourable loan terms and tax benefits. Cohen testified that Trump had financial statements saying Seven Springs was worth $291 million as of 2012. He gave copies of three of Trump's financial statements to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform during his testimony. Cohen said the statements, from 2011, 2012 and 2013, were ones Trump gave to his main lender, Deutsche Bank, to inquire about a loan to buy the NFL's Buffalo Bills and to Forbes magazine to substantiate his claim to a place on its list of the world's wealthiest people. Trump, on his annual financial disclosure forms while president, said the property was worth between $25 million and $50 million. New York's attorney general was first to act. James issued subpoenas to commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield for records relating to its assessment work on Trump’s behalf; to law firms that worked on the Seven Springs project; and to Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, for records relating to its annual financial statements and the conservation easement. James also subpoenaed zoning and planning records in 2019 from the three towns Seven Springs spans. Vance followed with his own subpoenas in December. One town clerk said investigators were given “boxes and boxes of documents” in response. They included tax statements, surveying maps, environmental studies and planning board meeting minutes. James’ investigators have interviewed Trump’s son, Eric Trump, an executive vice-president at the Trump Organization and the president of the limited liability company through which it owns Seven Springs; Trump’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg; and lawyers Trump hired for the Seven Springs project who specialize in land-use and federal tax controversies. The investigators have yet to determine whether any law was broken. Vance, who like James is a Democrat, hasn’t disclosed much about his criminal probe, in part because of grand jury secrecy rules. The district attorney's office has said in court papers that it is focusing on public reports of “extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization.” Documents filed in connection with the criminal investigation — buoyed by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month granting Vance access to Trump’s tax records — have listed Seven Springs among possible targets. Along with the mansion, Seven Springs has a Tudor-style home once owned by ketchup magnate H.J. Heinz, and smaller carriage houses that Trump’s adult sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, have said served as “home base” when they visited the estate to hike and ride ATVs. During his presidency, Trump himself opted for higher-profile properties like his Bedminster, New Jersey golf course and his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, where he’s been living since leaving the White House. The New York Times reported last year that Trump’s tax records showed he classified the estate not as a personal residence but an investment property, enabling him to write off more than $2 million in property taxes since 2014. ___ Follow Michael Sisak on Twitter at twitter.com/mikesisak Michael R. Sisak, The Associated Press
Née en 1892 à Lisbon, dans le Maine, soeur Marie-Raphaël (Amélie Bérubé) des Soeurs dominicaines de l’Enfant-Jésus décède à l’âge de 87 ans. Le parc de la rue Le Mercier à Matane rappelle son nom. En 1935, elle fonde le premier hôpital dans l’ancien Hôtel Belle Plage vacant depuis 1933 avec 30 chambres meublées. Elle l’a dirigé jusqu’en 1943. Rappelée à Québec Alors que sont entreprises des démarches pour la construction de ce qui deviendra, en 1950, l’actuel hôpital, soeur Marie-Raphaël est rappelée à Québec pour occuper le poste d’économe générale de sa communauté. À travers ses occupations, elle trouve le temps de fonder, en 1956 à Québec, le Pavillon Saint-Dominique des Soeurs dominicaines, un centre de soins de longue durée. Tant de bonheur Le 6 décembre 1975, à l’occasion d’une cérémonie soulignant le 40e anniversaire de l’arrivée des Soeurs dominicaines à Matane, soeur Marie-Raphaël déclare : « Nous avons goûté tant de bonheur dans ce milieu choisi (…) Si les premières heures ont eu des souffrances, elles ont été submergées par la bienveillance et l’aide de ceux qui nous facilitaient la tâche ». En 1824, augmentation d’une lieue de front du territoire de la seigneurie par le comte Dalhousie, gouverneur du Canada, en faveur de Jane McCallum, et de ses enfants issus de Simon Fraser. Donc à trois lieues et demie de front. En 1892, élection générale au Parlement de Québec; le conservateur Edmund James Flynn (1847-1927) s’empare du comté de Matane. Lorsque le premier ministre du Québec, Louis-Olivier Taillon démissionna de ses fonctions en juin 1896, il est désigné premier ministre et commissaire des Travaux publics du 11 mai 1896 au 24 mai 1897. Né à Percé, il est le fils de James Flynn, pêcheur, et d’Elizabeth Tostevin. Réélu dans Gaspé en 1897 puis en 1900, élu dans Nicolet. Il ne s’est pas représenté en 1904. Chef de l’Opposition de 1897 à 1904, il a été, enfin, candidat conservateur défait dans Dorchester aux élections fédérales de 1908. En 1909, engagement de Luc Duret comme constable spécial à 10 $ par mois pour remplacer Félix Desrosiers et Charles Bouffard révoqués. En 1992, le traversier Camille-Marcoux parvient à quitter le port de Matane après avoir été immobilisé 9 jours par la présence d’une banquise de 7 mètres d’épaisseur. Romain Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Monmatane.com
WATERFORD, Pa. — Jill Biden sees a teachable moment in the depths of the coronavirus pandemic. The first lady sat in a socially distanced circle in the library at Fort LeBoeuf Middle School in Pennsylvania, listening and taking notes as parents expressed relief that the school had reopened and their kids were back in the classroom. One mother talked about the “bumpy patches” of online learning and said reopening “has been so to the T” that she doesn't worry about her son and daughter. Another mom said the district included parent input and she was comfortable her children were in a “safe environment.” A teacher herself, Biden praised the small circle of parents, teachers and administrators for working together to help reopen Fort LeBoeuf. And she repeated a message she had delivered earlier that day while visiting Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Meriden, Connecticut. “We've been through really tough, hard times, but I think the one good thing about educators that I love — and that includes the cafeteria workers, the bus drivers, the teachers, everyone involved — is we’ve all learned from this," Biden said of the pandemic and its emotional, social and human toll. “We’re all going to take everything that we’ve learned and are going to turn it into opportunity to make things better for students as we move forward," she said. ___ The first lady seems intent on turning every aspect of her new job into an opportunity, for that matter, especially anything related to her triple passions for education, fighting cancer and supporting military families. A few days after she became first lady, Biden told governors' spouses during a virtual meeting at the White House that her new platform is “one that I would never let go to waste.” She's long been focused on education, having taught at a high school, a psychiatric hospital and community colleges for more than three decades. She's still teaching, virtually from the White House, and pining for the day she can go back to the classroom. Finding a cure for cancer also motivates her and President Joe Biden. The couple lost son Beau to brain cancer in 2015 at age 46. Her parents died of cancer and one of her sisters had a stem cell transplant. Doctors also gave the dreaded breast cancer diagnosis to four of her girlfriends within a one-year period in the 1990s. The Bidens also advocate for service members and their families, an appreciation that stems from Beau Biden's service in the Delaware Army National Guard, including a deployment to Iraq. Jill Biden intends to revive a military family support program that she led with former first lady Michelle Obama when Biden's husband was President Barack Obama's vice-president. Jill Biden quickly set her agenda as first lady by highlighting all three of her longtime causes in her first weeks. She has been busy with virtual meetings, teaching her community college English class, official travel, running errands in the Washington area and moving the family’s dogs into the White House. Even the light blue scrunchie she wore in her hair has gone viral. Biden, known for springing surprises and practical jokes, also is intent on injecting some levity into things as her husband faces daunting crises: She woke him up to show him giant hearts she had displayed on the White House front lawn for Valentine's Day. “She’s off to a fast start, and I think a very solid one,” said Myra Gutin, author of “The President’s Partner: The First Lady in the Twentieth Century.” ___ The first lady is also keeping a robust travel schedule despite the pandemic. Her first official outing was to a non-profit community health centre in Washington to highlight services for cancer patients. From there, she made a detour to personally deliver chocolate chip cookies to National Guard troops stationed at the U.S. Capitol. She recently travelled to Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond to tour its Massey Cancer Center, where researchers study the socioeconomic and cultural factors that contribute to disparities in cancer outcomes. In the coming days, Biden plans to visit U.S. military installations in Washington state and California and hear from families about their needs. Biden also met virtually with the leaders of teachers’ unions, the spouses of defence officials and governors, military kids and their teachers, and government cancer researchers, among others. She sent prerecorded remarks to several conferences, and taped a public service commercial with Champ and Major, the family German shepherds, urging people to wear face masks. Tammy Vigil, author of “Melania & Michelle: First Ladies in a New Era,” said Biden's experience as the spouse of a longtime U.S. senator and vice-president was an asset that helped her quickly put together a staff. She also didn't need time to figure out the issues she wanted to focus on. ___ There apparently are no incognito errand runs for Jill Biden. Unlike some recent first ladies who tried to hide their identities on unofficial outings in the Washington area, as Michelle Obama once did on a shopping run to Target, Jill Biden goes out as herself. Stephen Bota said he knew a VIP visit was in the offing when plainclothes U.S. Secret Service agents showed up unannounced at his DuPont Circle newsstand in late January, but they left him to guess about who it would be. Hours later, Jill Biden walked through the door. “I was kind of, ’Oh my God, it’s the first lady,” Bota, an immigrant from Kenya who owns The Newsroom, recalled in an interview. He and his employees — just his wife and sister-in-law — are featured in a photo with the first lady now on display in the store. “I told her that we are so grateful that she came to see us,” Bota said. Biden also bought coffee at Brewer's Cafe in Richmond and confections at The Sweet Lobby on Capitol Hill, both of them Black-owned. The president, for his part, stopped his motorcade after church one Sunday for son Hunter Biden to pick up a bagel order. “She seems more inviting,” Vigil said, noting that everyone can relate to running errands. With the purchases, the Bidens appear to be encouraging support for small businesses, which generate most of the jobs in the U.S. but are struggling to survive the pandemic. They also seem to be signalling that they will be participants in city life. Former President Donald Trump went only to his hotel near the White House or his golf club in northern Virginia. For dinner in a city with a robust restaurant scene, he opted to dine exclusively at the hotel restaurant. His wife, Melania Trump, never made a show of outings in the Washington area in an unofficial capacity. ___ After Jill Biden released a photo of herself at the counter of The Sweet Lobby, the boutique bakery wasn't the only thing that became an instant hit. The powder blue scrunchie holding up the first lady's hair went viral. Biden said she had no idea until daughter Ashley called to tell her. “I said, ‘What scrunchie?’ I didn't know what she was talking about,” the first lady told talk-show host Kelly Clarkson during an interview at the White House. “I still don't understand it.” Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
CALGARY — Drake Batherson scored the game-winning goal in a four-round shootout to give the Ottawa Senators a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. Connor Brown, Ryan Dzingel and Colin White each scored a goal for the Senators (9-17-1) in regulation. Tim Stutzle also scored a shootout goal. Mark Giordano, Johnny Gaudreau, and Noah Hanifin scored for Calgary (11-12-3). Matthew Tkachuk added a shootout goal of his own in the loss.Matt Murray made 30 saves for Ottawa. Jacob Markstrom made 18 saves for Calgary. Brown scored the first goal of the game with 6:12 to play in the first. He fired the puck from behind the right face off circle. The puck redirected off a Flames defenceman before sliding through Markstrom's legs. Dzingel scored for the second consecutive game to give his team a 2-0 advantage before the intermission. He finished a two-on-one play, taking a pass from Chris Tierney before tapping the puck past Markstrom. Ottawa Senators forward Austin Watson and Calgary Flames forward Zac Rinaldo fought each other within the opening three minutes of the second period, in the hopes of sparking their respective teams. It worked, briefly, for the Flames. Giordano scored his third of year 88 seconds later, firing a shot that deflected off Senators' forward Josh Norris before beating Murray.But the Senators would restore their two-goal advantage thanks to Colin White's seventh goal of the season less than four minutes later. Gaudreau scored in the third period to bring the Flames, once again, within a goal. It was his 11th of the season. The Flames would finally even the scoreline thanks to a goal from Hanifin with over eight minutes to go in regulation. It was the second goal in two games for the Flames defenceman.Calgary thought they had the game won later in the third as Brown tried to give the Senators the lead with his second of the night. With Markstrom out of position, the puck struck the right leg of Flames defenceman Juuso Valimaki and away from the goal. The Flames and Senators hoped overtime would decide things, but to no avail. Batherson's shootout winner would give the Senators two points and leave the Flames with just one. NOTES: The Flames had eight power play opportunities Sunday night, but only scored once with the man advantage....This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2021. The Canadian Press
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — A series of explosions at a military barracks in Equatorial Guinea killed at least 20 people and wounded more than 600 others on Sunday, authorities said. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema said the explosion at 4 p.m. local time was due to the “negligent handling of dynamite” in the military barracks located in the neighbourhood of Mondong Nkuantoma in Bata. “The impact of the explosion caused damage in almost all the houses and buildings in Bata," the president said in a statement, which was in Spanish. The defence ministry released a statement late Sunday saying that a fire at a weapons depot in the barracks caused the explosion of high-calibre ammunition. It said the provisional death toll was 20, adding that the cause of the explosions will be fully investigated. The country's president said the fire may have been due to residents burning the fields surrounding the barracks. State television showed a huge plume of smoke rising above the explosion site as crowds fled, with many people crying out “we don’t know what happened, but it is all destroyed.” Images on local media seen by The Associated Press show people screaming and crying running through the streets amid debris and smoke. Roofs of houses were ripped off and wounded people were being carried into a hospital. Equatorial Guinea, an African country of 1.3 million people located south of Cameroon, was a colony of Spain until it gained its independence in 1968. Bata has roughly 175,000 inhabitants. Earlier, the Health Ministry had tweeted that 17 were killed. The ministry made a call for blood donors and volunteer health workers to go to the Regional Hospital de Bata, one of three hospitals treating the wounded. The ministry said its health workers were treating the injured at the site of the tragedy and in medical facilities, but feared people were still missing under the rubble. The blasts were a shock for the oil rich Central African nation. Foreign Minister Simeón Oyono Esono Angue met with foreign ambassadors and asked for aid. “It is important for us to ask our brother countries for their assistance in this lamentable situation since we have a health emergency (due to COVID-19) and the tragedy in Bata,” he said. A doctor calling into TVGE, who went by his first name, Florentino, said the situation was a “moment of crisis” and that the hospitals were overcrowded. He said a sports centre set up for COVID-19 patients would be used to receive minor cases. Radio station, Radio Macuto, said on Twitter that people were being evacuated within four kilometres of the city because the fumes might be harmful. Following the blast, the Spanish Embassy in Equatorial Guinea recommended on Twitter that “Spanish nationals stay in their homes." ___ Joseph Wilson reported from Barcelona, Spain. ___ A previous version of this story was corrected to show that state television is TVGE, not TGVE. Sam Mednick And Joseph Wilson, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The United States and South Korea have reached agreement in principle on a new arrangement for sharing the cost of the American troop presence, which is intended as a bulwark against the threat of North Korean aggression. The State Department's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs said the deal includes a “negotiated increase” in Seoul's share of the cost, but it provided no details. The Bureau wrote on Twitter that the agreement, if finalized, would reaffirm the U.S.-South Korean treaty alliance as “the linchpin of peace, security and prosperity for Northeast Asia.” The negotiations had broken down during the Trump administration over a U.S. demand that Seoul pay five times what it previously had paid. The U.S. keeps about 28,000 troops in South Korea. The Wall Street Journal, which was first to report the agreement, said it would last through 2025. Robert Burns And Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
They plan to set out for another day of fishing in the area of the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers, though his expectations are low. "There are no big fish anymore," said Tin Yusos, 57. In the past, he could get a haul of about 30 kilogram (66 lb) of fish a day.
Ontario pharmacists start a COVID-19 vaccine program this week at 330 locations to provide the AstraZeneca vaccine to customers aged 60 to 64 as lockdown restrictions ease in two major regions.
Nominations for this year’s Everyday Hero Awards are now open. The Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) is looking for the school community to select a person who went above and beyond in the school system. Nominations are open until March 26 and are collected digitally. “This year more than ever, it is important to host these awards to celebrate folks in our system, have something positive to look forward to, and also to recognize those individuals who go beyond what is expected of them to contribute to a positive and thriving learning and working environment,” said board chair Martha MacNeil. Winners will be honoured during a virtual ceremony on May 10 at 7 p.m. More information at the virtual ceremony will be communicated by the board closer to the date. The first ceremony was held for the 2007 to 2008 school year. The board of trustees established the Everyday Hero Awards to celebrate staff, students and community members in our school system. “The Everyday Hero Awards are important to our Board because their goal is to publicly recognize those individuals in our school system who continually go above and beyond for students and staff,” said MacNeil. Eligible candidates for the awards include UGDSB employees, students, community members or volunteers. Nominations can be for an individual or for a group that has made a difference to the school system. “When nominating an individual or group, people should reflect on whether the nominee performs their duties at a high level at all times, has made a significant school or system-related achievement, or has a unique circumstance that would be considered worthy of recognition,” said Megan Sicoli, communications administrative officer. Criteria for the award include the performance of duties at a high level, a significant school or system-related achievement, a specific innovation or achievement of substantial value or importance to the system, or a unique circumstance considered worthy of recognition by the board. “Nominators should also consider that the selection committee takes into consideration not only the achievements of the nominee but also the quality of the nomination package,” said Sicoli. “That said, before submitting their nomination package, nominators should look at whether they have supporting documentation from more than one person or organization and that their nomination package was put together with quality and care.” Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
The world’s most renowned hockey dad, remembered for having a “love for life” and being important to the “culture of Canada” by his legendary hockey son, was laid to rest on Saturday. Walter Gretzky’s funeral took place at St. Mark’s Anglican Church in Brantford, Ont., but was significantly scaled back from anywhere near the scope and grandeur fitting the mark he left, with capacity limited to 30 per cent due to pandemic protocols. “I don’t think I met a prouder Canadian than my dad,” Wayne Gretzky said of his father. Dozens of community members, including throngs of youngsters donning hockey uniforms, gathered outside the church, located near the home where Gretzky raised his family. Wayne told the sombre gathering of family and friends that his father, who suffered a brain aneurysm in the early 1990s and had a decade-long battle with Parkinson’s disease, had sustained a bad hip injury a few weeks ago. Gretzky clung to life for 21 days, with his family sitting with him, similar to how he fought after numerous other debilitating health complications over the years. He died March 4. He was 82. “We thought weeks ago that the end was here,” Wayne told the mourners. “He had a love for life and he didn’t want to leave.” Wayne called his late father a remarkable man who had a “heart of gold.” He said the world would be better off if there were many more people like him. “It’s been a tough time,” Wayne said. He thanked the community for leaving food and sandwiches as the family waited for the worst. Wayne told a fond story about how his father missed the birth of one of his sons, Brent, so that the two of them could attend a tournament in Whitby. When bothered by family and friends about missing the birth of his boy, an irritated Gretzky responded, “Yes, but we got the trophy,” Wayne recounted. “Every grandchild loved him,” Wayne said describing Walter’s close relationship to his grandchildren. “They understand how important he was, not only to our family but to the culture of Canada.” Gretzky was remembered as a man of faith who cherished family, hockey and church. The gathering also heard how he treated everyone equally and was willing to volunteer his time and raise money for charities. “Walter was great with kids, our kids, and all those kids he coached in minor league over the years, and those kids who came up to him for an autograph,” said Tim Dobbin, the former parish priest at St. Mark's who presided over the funeral. He left that church late last year. " The retired Bell telephone technician was often referred to as Canada’s most famous hockey dad. Son "Wayne tweeted the news of his father’s death on behalf of the family late Thursday: “He bravely battled Parkinson’s and other health issues these last few years but he never let it get him down ... He was truly the Great One and the proudest Canadian we know. We love you Dad.” Walter Gretzky rose from humble beginnings to become the patriarch of this country’s most legendary hockey family. Wayne honed his skills in a backyard rink that Walter built for his children and neighbourhood kids. It was dubbed “Wally Coliseum.” That’s where he taught his sons the basics of the game. Walter was born on the family farm in Canning, Ont., in 1938, where his mom made “good, old country Polish food,” including perogies that were “second to none,” he wrote in his autobiography, “On Family, Hockey and Healing.” His father, from Russia, specialized in making wine. Walter went to work for Bell Canada as a technician after finishing school, and is reported to have lost hearing in one ear after an on-the-job injury. He stayed with the company until 1991, when he retired after 34 years. Wayne had barely learned to walk when Walter had him out on his backyard patch of ice, teaching him to skate. His eldest son became a child phenomenon at hockey, annually scoring hundreds of goals and skating rings around older, stronger kids. Walter also coached two other sons. Keith Gretzky is assistant general manager of the Oilers. Brent Gretzky played 13 games in the NHL, all with Tampa Bay, and played a season in the Maple Leafs system when the top farm team was in St. John’s, N.L. Friends recalled that Walter was also an astute coach of other boys in the Brantford minor hockey system, including former Boston Bruins tough guy Stan Jonathan. In 1991, three days after his 53rd birthday, Gretzky suffered a stroke." In 2007, he was named to the Order of Canada, recognized for his contributions to minor hockey and support for numerous charities and non-profits, including the Canadian National Institute for the Blind and the Heart and Stroke Foundation. In 2010, he carried the Olympic torch hours before the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Winter Games. Two years later, Gretzky was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease." That same year, an elementary school in Brantford was named in his honour. Walter Gretzky’s wife, Phyllis, died in 2005. He leaves behind daughter Kim and sons Wayne, Keith, Glen and Brent. With files from Star staff Jason Miller is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering crime and justice in the Peel Region. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him on email: email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @millermotionpic Jason Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
VICTORIA — Health authorities across British Columbia announced locations for COVID-19 vaccine centres Sunday, the day before some of the province's oldest residents could start booking appointments to get their first shots. Vaccine call centres are set to open Monday morning to make COVID-19 vaccine appointments for people 90 and older, and Indigenous people 65 or older, as well as those who identify as Indigenous elders. Island Health officials said Sunday 19 community sites across Vancouver Island have been identified to administer COVID-19 vaccines and 25 community sites in the Vancouver Coastal Health region will be used as clinic locations. The Interior, Northern and Fraser health authorities say they will confirm vaccination sites with people when they book a COVID-19 appointment. "We recognize that there's lots of people that are eager to call in and get going (Monday), so just another reminder that please, unless you are in that category of over 90 or Indigenous over 65 or you identify as an elder, please don't call next week so we can get through this important population,'" said Victoria Schmid, Island Health's pandemic planner. "Your turn will come," she said at a news conference Sunday. "We just need everyone to be patient right now." People can contact their health authority and book appointments for themselves or their spouse, and family members or friends are permitted to schedule an appointment on someone else's behalf, Schmid said. People will be asked to provide the person's first and last name, date of birth, postal code and personal health number and will be asked for an email address or text number to confirm the COVID-19 vaccine appointment, she said.. People born in 1936 or earlier can start calling for appointments on March 15 and those born in 1941 or earlier can start scheduling their shots on March 22. Schmid said she expected the appointments to last about 30 minutes, which includes a 15-minute waiting period following the administration of the vaccine. She suggested people wear short sleeves to make it easier to give the vaccine and not to forget a mask. A support person to can accompany people to the vaccine clinic, she said. Schmid said sites for the community clinics were chosen for their accessibility and comfort and familiarity for Indigenous people. "Ease of access was really important to us," she said. "We really tried to keep a travel time to no more than 15 minutes within urban areas. We want to make sure these sites are accessible for individuals with mobility challenges." Immunization clinics will also be held at Indigenous friendship centres in Victoria, Port Alberni and Port Hardy, Schmid said. Vancouver Coastal Health said in a news release its clinics will be located cross Metro Vancouver and the Squamish and Whistler areas and the Sunshine Coast. The clinics will be held at community, friendship, senior and cultural centres and other regional sites. The health authorities plan to have B.C.'s population of elderly people, ranging in age from 80 to more than 90 years and Indigenous people 65 and older and elders, vaccinated against COVID-19 by April 12, Schmid said. She said a person 90 years and older who calls next week for a COVID-19 vaccination will get their appointment within one week. "They have a week to register for the following week's vaccination appointment," said Schmid. "After that, we're going to move to register those over 85 and then moving down the week after to those over 80." Island Health's Dr. Mike Benusic said he's optimistic about the vaccination rollout. "The announcements we're giving right now provide me with such a sense of hope," he said. "The fact is right now we have 25 times the number of people vaccinated within Island Health than people who have had COVID-19 within Island Health, and we're only going to see that number sky rocket in the next few weeks and months." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2021. Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
BEIJING — China’s foreign minister warned the Biden administration on Sunday to roll back former President Donald Trump’s “dangerous practice” of showing support for Taiwan, the island democracy claimed by Beijing as its own territory. The claim to Taiwan, which split with the mainland in 1949, is an “insurmountable red line,” Wang Yi said at a news conference during the annual meeting of China’s ceremonial legislature. The United States has no official relations with Taiwan but extensive informal ties. Trump irked Beijing by sending Cabinet officials to visit Taiwan in a show of support. “The Chinese government has no room for compromise,” Wang said. “We urge the new U.S. administration to fully understand the high sensitivity of the Taiwan issue” and “completely change the previous administration’s dangerous practices of ‘crossing the line’ and ‘playing with fire,’” he said. President Joe Biden says he wants a more civil relationship with Beijing but has shown no sign of softening Trump’s confrontational measures on trade, technology and human rights. Surveys show American public attitudes turning more negative toward China, which is seen as an economic and strategic competitor. Wang gave no indication how Beijing might react if Biden doesn't change course, but the ruling Communist Party has threatened to invade if Taiwan declares formal independence or delays talks on uniting with the mainland. The State Department later reiterated that the Biden administration's support for Taiwan was rock-solid and that the U.S. stood with its regional friends and allies, including “deepening our unofficial ties with democratic Taiwan.” “We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected representatives," said the statement issued late Sunday in Washington. Wang’s comments in a wide-ranging, two-hour news conference reflected Beijing’s increasing assertiveness abroad and rejection of criticism over Hong Kong, the northwestern region of Xinjiang and other sensitive topics. Wang defended proposed changes in Hong Kong that will tighten Beijing's control by reducing the role of its public in government. He dismissed complaints that erodes the autonomy promised to the former British colony when it returned to China in 1997. The changes announced Friday follow the arrest of 47 pro-democracy figures in Hong Kong under a national security law imposed last year following months of anti-government protests. Beijing needs to protect Hong Kong’s “transition from chaos to governance,” Wang said. The proposal would give a pro-Beijing committee a bigger role in picking Hong Kong legislators. That would be a marked reduction of democracy and Western-style civil liberties in Hong Kong. Mainland officials say they want to make sure the territory is controlled by people deemed patriots. “No one cares more about the development of democracy in Hong Kong than the central government,” Wang said. He said the changes will protect the “rights of Hong Kong residents and the legitimate interests of foreign investors.” Also Sunday, Wang rejected complaints Beijing’s treatment of predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang amounts to genocide. Human rights researchers say more than 1 million people, many of them members of the Uyghur minority, have been sent to detention camps. Chinese officials say they are trying to prevent extremism. “The so-called existence of genocide in Xinjiang is absurd. It is a complete lie fabricated with ulterior motives,” Wang said. He blamed “anti-China forces” that he said want to “undermine the security and stability of Xinjiang and hinder China’s development and growth.” Joe McDonald, The Associated Press