Joe Biden's meeting Thursday with a group of Democratic and Republican governors is his latest attempt to fight through President Donald Trump's unprecedented attempt to block the president-elect's transition to power. (Nov. 19)
Joe Biden's meeting Thursday with a group of Democratic and Republican governors is his latest attempt to fight through President Donald Trump's unprecedented attempt to block the president-elect's transition to power. (Nov. 19)
China's embassy in the Philippines has denounced the United States for "creating chaos" in Asia, after a visiting White House envoy backed countries in disputes with China and accused Beijing of using military pressure to further its interests. During a trip to Manila on Monday, national security adviser Robert O'Brien underscored the U.S. commitment to Taiwan and told the Philippines and Vietnam, countries both locked in maritime rows with China, that "we've got your back". "It shows that his visit to this region is not to promote regional peace and stability, but to create chaos in the region in order to seek selfish interests of the U.S.," the embassy said in a statement issued late Monday.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday vowed to defend the democratic island's sovereignty with the construction of a new fleet of domestically-developed submarines, a key project supported by the United States to counter neighbouring China. Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has been for years working to revamp its submarine force, some of which date back to World War Two, and is no match for China's fleet, which includes vessels capable of launching nuclear weapons. At a ceremony to mark the start of construction of a new submarine fleet in the southern port city of Kaohsiung, Tsai called the move a "historic milestone" for Taiwan's defensive capabilities after overcoming "various challenges and doubts".
The staff tested positive last week and Maxwell was checked for the virus on Nov. 18 using a rapid test which was negative, the prosecutors said in a letter to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan. Maxwell was placed in quarantine at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn for 14 days, said the letter. Maxwell has not shown any symptoms of COVID-19 and will be tested again at the end of her two-week quarantine.
B.C.'s health-care workers are pleading with the public to heed health orders while bracing for difficult working conditions as COVID-19 cases in the province continue to rise.On Monday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced there were another 1,933 cases of COVID-19 over the last three days and 17 more deaths.This comes just over two weeks after restrictions were initially put in place in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health authorities, and a few days after those restrictions were extended to cover the entire province. Christine Sorensen, president of the B.C. Nurses' Union, says nurses are frustrated when they see people continue to gather in groups and not follow the guidelines because that increases transmission and puts additional pressure on the health-care system."It puts greater demands on the staff that also fairly tired, looking for a bit of a rest and a break and really not seeing anything coming in the next few months, particularly with the holiday season coming and people wanting to mix and mingle with their friends and family," Sorensen said. Dr. Kathleen Ross, the president of Doctors of B.C., says the prospect of burnout is looming closer for many front line health-care workers. "Many of us are afraid to go home for fear of infecting our loved ones and many more of us drop our clothes at the door and run to the shower before we even greet our family," said Ross. "We're adjusting to the new normal ... but of course we cannot expect that surge capacity to last forever."And both Ross and Sorensen point out it is not just front line health-care workers shouldering the burden, but additional staff like cleaning crews and maintenance workers who keep the whole health-care system operational."There are lots of unsung heroes in the system, not just in the emergency rooms where there are doctors and nurses taking care of our most acutely ill," Sorensen said. Sorensen says she worries the spike in cases could escalate to point where essential health-care workers are kept on the job even if they've been exposed."[I'm] very concerned [about that]. Nurses are dedicated and they do want to continue working, but if we get enough nurses exposed or sick, we won't have enough nurses to deliver healthcare," she said. Ross says this is a crucial moment."If everyone does their part, if we all step forward and follow the public health guidelines as they have been laid out, then we'll get there. But we have to do it all together."
Grand River watershed — The Grand River Conservation Authority held an emergency board meeting this week to discuss the province’s proposed changes for conservation authorities and to plan its response. “I’m asking us to be as thoughtful as possible about what is non-negotiable going forward,” Grand River Conservation Authority Chair Helen Jowett said to open the discussion. In its summary, the staff report detailing the changes expressed the significance of the planned changes: “If enacted, some changes will significantly impact the role of a conservation authority board to establish programs and services. “As well, the proposed amendments will enable Regulations that will either limit or completely change the role of conservation authorities to protect Ontario’s environment and ensure people and property are safe from natural hazards.” The most impactful proposed change is to mandate that only municipal councillors will be allowed to sit on a conservation authority board, and that board members’ fiduciary duty must be to their individual municipalities rather than to the conservation authority, according to Samantha Lawson, the Chief Administrative Officer for the Grand River Conservation Authority. Lawson and Jowett both feel this will put individual interests of municipalities above the watershed as a whole. “We work together to look after the entire watershed because water knows no boundaries. And it works for us,” says Jowett. “We are concerned that it could undermine that watershed approach, which is very successful currently.” Other changes introduced in schedule six of Bill 229 — the Protect Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act (Budget Measures) — include: allowing the province to intervene in the conservation authority permitting process at any time and make any decisions with or without use of watershed-level science remove or limit a conservation authority’s ability to appeal decisions to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal and remove a conservation authority’s (not yet proclaimed) ability to give a stop work order in the case of harmful activity. Staff at the Grand River Conservation Authority feel the proposed changes will limit any meaningful authority, and interfere with the watershed approach. The Grand River Conservation Authority board voted to approve the report prepared by staff. A cover letter summarizing the conservation authority’s stance will be added. Together these will be sent to the Premier, Ministers of Environment, Conservation and Parks, Natural Resources, Municipal housing and Affairs and Finance, watershed MPPs, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Rural Ontario Municipal Association and circulated to watershed municipalities. The entire staff report can be viewed on the conservation authority’s website.Leah Gerber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Waterloo Region Record
WASHINGTON — Janet Yellen is in line for another top economic policy job — just in time to confront yet another crisis.Yellen, President-elect Joe Biden's apparent choice for treasury secretary, served on the Federal Reserve's policymaking committee during the 2008-2009 financial crisis that nearly toppled the banking system.She became Fed chair in 2014 when the economy was still recovering from the devastating Great Recession. In the late 1990s, she was President Bill Clinton's top economic adviser during the Asian financial crisis.And now, according to a person familiar with Biden's transition plans, she has been chosen to lead Treasury with the economy in the grip of a surging viral epidemic. The spike in virus cases is intensifying pressure on companies and individuals, with fear growing that the economy could suffer a “double-dip” recession as states and cities reimpose restrictions on businesses.Yet many longtime observers of the U.S. economy see Yellen as ideally suited for the role.“She is extraordinarily talented,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at auditing firm Grant Thornton. “She is the right person at this challenging time. She has worked every crisis."If confirmed, Yellen would become the first woman to lead the Treasury Department in its nearly 232 years. She would inherit an economy with still-high unemployment, escalating threats to small businesses and signs that consumers are retrenching as the worsening pandemic restricts or discourages spending.Most economists say that the distribution of an effective vaccine will likely reinvigorate growth next year. Yet they warn that any sustained recovery will also hinge on whether Congress can agree soon on a sizable aid package to carry the economy through what Biden has said will be a “dark winter” with the pandemic still out of control.Negotiations on additional government spending, though, have been stuck in Congress for months.Yellen has favoured further stimulus, including more money for state and local governments, which she has said need “substantial support” to avoid further job cuts. Rescue aid for states has been a major sticking point in congressional negotiations.Nathan Sheets, chief economist at PGIM Fixed Income and a former senior Fed and Treasury official, said that Yellen could effectively use the “bully pulpit” during what are likely to be difficult negotiations with Senate Republicans."Yellen," Sheets said, “has a unique ability ... to communicate about economics and economic policies in terms that resonate with individuals.”She will also have the opportunity to work with Fed Chair Jerome Powell, with whom Yellen enjoys a close relationship after having worked together at the Fed, to restart several emergency lending programs. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last week that the programs will expire, as scheduled, at the end of this year — a decision that critics warn will unnecessarily hamstring the Fed.Powell objected to the Treasury's move, though he agreed to return money that Congress had authorized to backstop the lending.The most likely credit programs to be renewed, economists say, would be one that supported states and cities and a second, the Main Street Lending program, that targeted small and mid-sized businesses.Neither program has made very many loans. But just the understanding that those backstops existed lent confidence to the financial markets. Economists say Yellen could allow Powell to offer more generous terms to increase the programs' use.The 74-year-old Yellen, long a path-breaking figure in the male-dominated economics field, was the first woman to serve as Fed chair, from 2014 to 2018.“She is an icon,” said Stephanie Aaronson, a vice-president at the Brookings Institution and a former top economist at the Fed. “Having a female chair meant a lot to a lot of people.”Yellen was known as a highly prepared, sometimes demanding but down-to-earth manager who was popular with the Fed's staff.“I have never met anyone who has worked for or with Janet who has an unkind word to say about her," said Claudia Sahm, a former Fed economist. "She is the kind of person who uplifts her staff.”Under Yellen's tenure, the central bank began a seminal shift of its policy focus away from fighting inflation, which has been quiescent for decades, to trying to maximize employment, the second of its two mandates. That process culminated this summer when Powell announced that the Fed planned to keep rates ultra-low for a time even after inflation has topped the central bank's 2% annual target level, rather than raising rates pre-emptively.As Fed chair, Yellen won praise for her attention to disadvantaged groups, including the long-term unemployed, at a time when financial inequalities were widening across the economy. She made numerous visits to employment training centres to spotlight the need for training programs to equip people for good jobs.During the 2008-2009 financial crisis, transcripts of the Fed's meetings show that Yellen was more prescient than most other Fed officials about the potential for a deep recession and weak recovery afterward.Yellen is well-known on Capitol Hill after years of testifying as Fed chair to Senate committees about the economy and interest rate policy. During those years, she frequently clashed with Republican lawmakers who accused her of keeping rates too low for too long after the 2008 financial crisis. Some of them charged that Yellen and her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, had elevated the risk of runaway inflation and asset bubbles that could destabilize financial markets.None of those fears came to pass. On the contrary, under Bernanke and Yellen — and later, under Powell — the Fed's more difficult challenge became raising inflation merely to the Fed's annual 2% target level. It has yet to do so consistently.Yellen, a Democrat, had served only one four-year term as Fed chair when President Donald Trump decided to replace her with Powell, a Republican, despite Yellen’s desire to serve another term. That move broke a four-decade tradition of presidents allowing Fed chairs to serve at least two terms even if they had first been nominated by a president of the opposing party.After leaving the Fed, Yellen became a distinguished fellow in residence at the liberal Brookings Institution in Washington, signalling her continuing interest in financial policymaking.When she stepped down from the Fed in early 2018, Shawn Sebastian, co-director of the Fed-Up coalition, a collection of progressive groups, called Yellen's departure “a loss for working people across the country." He hailed her efforts to take on “economic inequality, racial disparities in the economy, the role of women in the workplace and the need for more diversity at the Fed.”Yet some progressives have also criticized Yellen for the Fed's December 2015 decision to raise its benchmark rate from near zero, where it had been pegged since late 2008 in the midst of the financial crisis. That rate hike, which caused a sharp increase in the value of the dollar, contributed to a slowdown in U.S. economic growth in 2016 and is now seen by many economists as having been premature.Yellen is married to George Akerlof, a Nobel Prize-winning economist whom she met in a Fed cafeteria in 1977. They have one son, Robert, who is an economics professor.___AP Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger contributed to this report.Christopher Rugaber And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Miss Vickie's Canada says some of its potato chips that were part of a recall in Eastern Canada earlier this month due to possible glass contamination were inadvertently shipped west. The company says the chips were only shipped to retail customers in Alberta, Brandon, Man., and Moose Jaw, Sask, and that it's working with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to co-ordinate a voluntary recall. It says 630 bags are involved, and they have very specific "guaranteed fresh" dates and "manufacturing codes." Consumers who have purchased the chips should not eat them and are urged to throw them out or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. At the beginning of November, Miss Vickie's recalled some chips sold online and in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada due to what it said was "isolated reports of the presence of a small piece of glass found at the bottom of the bag." The CFIA says on its website there have been reported injuries associated with the products. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020. The Canadian Press
A B.C. surgeon who called his preteen patient a "loose woman" during an appointment has been fined and reprimanded by his professional regulator.Dr. Bruce Taro Yoneda, an orthopedic surgeon based in Victoria, has admitted that he "engaged in unprofessional conduct by using sexualized language during a surgical consult," according to a public notice posted Friday by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C.Yoneda also acknowledged telling the same young patient he would give her a "lube job," and admitted he did not give her a full explanation before he began questioning her about her menstrual cycle.The college's inquiry committee, which investigates complaints against doctors, "was critical of the registrant's admitted conduct and concluded that his use of inappropriate language displayed a lack of insight," the notice says.As part of a consent agreement with the college, Yoneda has been fined $7,500, received a formal reprimand and has had his registration as a doctor transferred to "conditional" status. He's also agreed to take courses in clinical communication and professionalism.
As COVID-19 rages on in Canada, a researcher in Alberta is being recognized for her work on a mask that can kill viruses within five minutes of contact.
An opposition lawmaker called on Tuesday for Malaysia to outlaw online hate speech, accusing authorities of downplaying the gravity of an issue highlighted by a Reuters investigation into abuse on Facebook of Rohingya refugees and undocumented migrants. Citing the Reuters report on rising xenophobia online in Malaysia in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, lawmaker Chan Foong Hin asked the Communications and Multimedia Ministry last week to state its plans to combat such hate speech.
Residents were given proper notice of a vote to remove Fort Simpson's liquor purchasing restrictions, according to N.W.T. finance minister Caroline Wawzonek. MLA for Nahendeh Shane Thompson – also a minister – posted to Facebook on Monday regarding concerns constituents had raised about the plebiscite held on November 12. Specifically, the post related to concerns about how much public notice was provided leading up to the vote and how to contact the official in charge of it. Residents ultimately voted overwhelmingly in favour of lifting alcohol restrictions in the community. Of 730 eligible voters, 240 cast a ballot and 175 of those were in favour of removing restrictions. The Department of Finance, which oversees liquor regulations in the N.W.T., is now in the process of implementing the result, which may take several weeks. Thompson's post relayed a message he had received from Wawzonek addressing concerns. “Based on all of the information I have received to date, I am confident in the integrity of the plebiscite held in the village of Fort Simpson,” Wawzonek's message to Thompson reads. Wawzonek states some residents who attend school away from Fort Simpson believe they did not receive adequate notice of the plebiscite. She concludes, however, that there was sufficient notice within the village, on Facebook, and through the media in the weeks and months before the vote. She adds returning officer Tammie Cazon fulfilled her duties in the Local Authorities Elections Act by providing public notice of the plebiscite, including details on how and where to vote. Wawzonek says Cazon met legislative requirements by posting public notices in five locations – the bank, the Northern store, the Unity store, the Nahanni Inn and Pandaville restaurant. “It is not the responsibility of the returning officer to locate and notify every resident of the community who may not be currently living in the community. That would be an impossible task," Wawzonek writes. "Voters bear some of the responsibility for informing themselves about how to exercise their democratic right to vote.” The final concern regards the returning officer’s email address and confusion about how to reach Cazon. Wawzonek again asserts faith in the process, saying her department confirmed with Cazon only one email address was distributed for voters to use. Proxy voting was an option in the plebiscite but, according to Wawzonek, Cazon did not receive any emails related to proxy voting. The community of Fort Simpson requested the plebiscite after a petition with more than 150 signatures from residents was turned in to the village council late last year, asking for action to try to remove the restrictions. Restrictions are set to be lifted in the coming weeks, though an exact date has not been set. Once the regulations are changed and restrictions lifted, the village is still bound to pandemic-related alcohol restrictions, which limit customers to a maximum of $200 per day at any liquor store in the territory and six mickeys (375-ml bottles) of spirits in a 24-hour period.Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio
NEW YORK — “Jeopardy!” record-holder Ken Jennings will be the first in a series of interim hosts replacing Alex Trebek when the show resumes production next Monday. Producers announced Monday that Jennings, who won 74 games in a row and claimed the show's “Greatest of All Time” title in a competition last year, will host episodes that air in January. A long-term host to replace Trebek, who died of cancer on Nov. 8, will be named later. “By bringing in familiar guest hosts for the foreseeable future, our goal is to create a sense of community and continuity for our viewers,” the show's executive producer, Mike Richards, said. The show is in its 37th year of syndication, and Trebek was its only host. It is still airing shows that Trebek filmed before his death. Art Fleming hosted earlier editions of the game show, including the original “Jeopardy!” that debuted in 1964 on NBC and aired for a decade. Richards said “Jeopardy!” will air repeat episodes for the holiday weeks beginning Dec. 21 and 28, meaning Trebek's final week of shows will air starting Monday, Jan. 4. Jennings' episodes begin on Jan. 11. The Associated Press
VANCOUVER — A lawyer for a man who spent 37 years in prison for the murder of a toddler says the British Columbia Appeal Court should first consider new evidence in the case he believes involved a miscarriage of justice. Thomas Arbogast said Monday that Phillip Tallio pleaded guilty in 1983 based on "ineffective assistance" from his lawyer at the time. Tallio was 17 when he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his 22-month-old cousin Delavina Mack, who court has heard had been sexually assaulted in a home in the northern community of Bella Coola. Tallio, now 54, told the court last month that he wasn't aware of the implications of the plea agreement his trial lawyer had him sign when he was a teenager. Arbogast said DNA evidence the Crown has rejected because it does not point to Tallio as the perpetrator could have made a difference at his trial because experts have testified it is reasonable, relevant and credible. "You say that that is the basis on which to set aside a guilty plea, even if the plea was otherwise entered in conformity with the law?" asked Justice S. David Frankel, one of three judges on the appeal panel. "Yes," Arbogast replied, referring to three other cases with valid guilty pleas he outlined that were found to be unreliable based on subsequent information. He said the Crown's view that a voluntary and valid guilty plea is the end of the matter and requires no further analysis may be acceptable in most cases considered by the Appeal Court, but not in cases like his client's. Tallio, who is out on bail, received a life sentence without chance of parole for 10 years as part of a plea agreement. He was never released from prison because he refused to admit his guilt to the parole board. The opinion of a second psychiatrist was particularly problematic during the trial, Arbogast said. The Crown and defence counsel relied on the statement, he said. "That caused an entire string of events to unfold with respect to the plea," he said, adding that the opinion "could not have been used as proof of the truth in 1983." The court has heard the second psychiatrist wrote in a letter dated May 17, 1983, that Tallio made incriminating statements about the crime scene. The first psychiatrist who met with Tallio several times starting when he arrived at a psychiatric institute for a court-ordered assessment on April 25, 1983, found the teen had a low IQ but was not necessarily mentally ill. Arbogast said Tallio's compelled placement at the institute the following day was without consent and done on the basis of an assessment of his fitness to stand trial and mental health. He said questions on whether statements to psychiatrists in that context could be used as proof of the truth were before the courts as far back as the 1960s before amendments in 1992 allowed them to be used to discredit an accused but not as evidence against them. Arbogast said trial counsel would not have been involved in plea negotiations if the second psychiatrist's statement "was not in play." "There was no other cogent evidence to support guilt that was admissible," he said. Rachel Barsky, another of Tallio's lawyers, said testimony last month from experts suggests DNA tests by a lab in Texas on the girl's tissue samples taken during an autopsy do not positively point to Tallio as the perpetrator. Barsky said later testing done at the B.C. Institute of Technology was contaminated. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020. Camille Bains, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — A new poll suggests many Canadians are gaining weight because they're eating more and exercising less during COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly one-third of respondents in the survey conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies said they have put on weight since March, compared to 15 per cent who said they lost weight over that time.As well, about one-third of respondents said they're exercising less, while 16 per cent said they're working out more since the first wave of the pandemic landed in Canada in the spring.Jack Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadian Studies, suggested that one reason may be a rush for comfort food to deal with pandemic-related anxieties.Respondents in the survey who said they were "very afraid" of COVID-19 were more likely to report gaining weight, eating more and exercising less. "The more anxiety you have, the more likely it is that you know you're eating more," Jedwab said."People who are least anxious about COVID (are) the ones that are not eating more than usual and are not gaining weight."The online survey of 1,516 Canadians was conducted Oct. 29-31 and cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, an associate professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa, said there are plausible reasons to connect weight gain or loss with the pandemic, but he hadn't seen any studies to convince him that's the case. Some people are "not reliant on restaurants constantly" and "cooking more frequently in their homes," which Freedhoff said may be leading to weight loss or better dietary choices. Others are eating more, he said, relying on comfort food "because they're anxious as a consequence of the pandemic, or the tragedies that have gone on in their lives."Jedwab said the country needs to also be mindful of mental health issues that can affect the physical health of Canadians. "With the winter coming, it'll be even more challenging, in some parts of the country, to maintain a healthy lifestyle in terms of walking, in terms of doing basic things that will help us address our anxieties," he said, pointing to lack of access for some to gyms subject to local lockdowns.Some of those exercise classes have gone online. Gabriel Shaw, a kinesiologist from Victoria, B.C. said he has offered virtual classes to give his clients an chance to be physically active.Shaw said the classes don't provide people with a sense of community like in-person classes, which he said is important for some people to exercise consistently. "The best bet for people is to find a way they can enjoy it. That might be going out for a social distance walk or hike or run or bike with a friend," Shaw said. "That might be finding a Zoom thing that you can get on like dancing or even other activities where you have friends."Shaw said people should also try learn a new skill like dancing, yoga, rock climbing, or take up running to keep things fresh and enjoyable, which is key to exercising long and well. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020—— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press
China launched an ambitious mission on Tuesday to bring back material from the moon's surface for the first time in more than 40 years - an undertaking that could boost human understanding of the moon and of the solar system more generally. (Nov. 24)
At the regular Esterhazy town council meeting on Wednesday, more concerns regarding the West sign corridor were brought to the council’s attention. At an earlier council meeting a motion was passed to go forward with 4x8 signs for the West sign corridor—it was previously only 8x8 signs on the corridor. Without having a firm plan in place for the sign corridor since 2017, the council wanted to ensure as many signs as possible fit on the corridor. There are over 20 names on the sign corridor waiting list and the best way to give more businesses an opportunity was to move from 8x8 signs to 4x8 signs. No business with a sign up on the West sign corridor is under contract, but the town plans to provide them with the opportunity to update their signs to fit the new mandated size. One of the previous sign owners isn’t happy with the decision because they’ve kept their sign up to date and put money into it and doesn’t think it’s fair they’ll have to change their sign. Both councillors Tenille Flick and Vern Petracek understood the frustration of the sign owner because they don’t believe it’s fair to force someone to change their sign when they’ve been keeping it up to date and following the previous rules. “We made a decision and we have to stick to our guns,” said Councillor Randy Bot. “If we don’t change the signs then we won’t have sign space for the new plan,” said Councillor Maggie Rowland. “We can’t change the plan for one sign.” Economic Development Director Tammy MacDonald says that nothing has been approved by the town since 2017 so any work done was never brought to the town’s attention. MacDonald felt that all the signs should be the same size and abide by the same rules and with this plan the town will own the signs which will allow them to enforce their own policies. “The person never approached the town about renewing their contract,” said Mayor Grant Forster. “To make it work for everyone else we have to hold firm on this.” The council will not be making any changes to the sign corridor motion already passed and will be moving forward with their plan. “We’re still going forward with it,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “What happened was before 2017 there were one-year contracts put in place for the sign corridor. The town at that time gave a bunch of specifications for those signs. Some of the people—there were eight spots—abided by it and some didn’t, but this is one of the people who abided by it well. “They spent money and made sure the sign was there, but nothing was ever followed through with us after in terms of renewing the contract. Now that we’re changing it, this business is upset with the changes. This new plan has been worked on since 2017 to make these changes so we can have a nice sign corridor with more signs.” Sign corridor tender awarded The council passed a motion to award Timco Construction the tender for the West sign corridor. Timco Construction will be constructing and installing the posts for the signs. The construction and installation work will cost $625 per unit with up to 32 units to be installed for a total of $20,000 plus any applicable tax. The West sign corridor was budgeted in the 2020 budget and the council agrees in the coming years they’ll make the cost back with the new larger sign corridor and consistent contracts between the town and businesses with signs. Arena kitchen to remain closed With no response to previous tenders put out for the Dana Antal Arena kitchen, the council has decided to look into setting up a vending machine. The council looked at two options prior to the vending machine decision, to hire someone to run the kitchen or ask for volunteers. Given the circumstances with Covid-19 this year, council believes neither option seems plausible. The addition of a vending machine offers food with low maintenance and no health risks for those serving or buying food. The council says this is a short-term solution and will continue to look for volunteers in the future. “The vending machine is a good Covid-19 specific solution for the time being,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “We’re going to look at the information necessary to put a vending machine in and talk to the contractor out of Yorkton to see if we can get a one-year deal with them or up until March or April of next year. There’s nobody looking for this type of work right now and I think we’re better off to just have vending machines so there’s availability for something in the building.” NoneRob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma and five other states will participate in pilot projects to better co-ordinate investigative efforts surrounding cases of missing or murdered Indigenous peoples, U.S. Attorneys Trent Shores and Brian Kuester announced Tuesday. The U.S. Department of Justice projects created protocols for federal, state and tribal investigative agencies to work together and with victims’ families when American Indian or Alaska Native jurisdictional boundaries are crossed, said Shores of the Northern District of Oklahoma. The key, according to Shores, is developing a co-ordinated effort with different tribes and their individual cultures and practices. “We know that Indian Country knows Indian Country best and tribal leaders and tribal citizens know best what will work for their community,” Shores said. “Too often we have tried to find a one size fits all” solution when what may work in Oklahoma does not apply in other states and regions. The first pilot project will launch in Oklahoma and is joined by the Cherokee and Muscogee (Creek) nations, whose Principal Chiefs, Chuck Hoskin, Jr. and David Hill said the project recognizes tribal sovereignty while helping protect their citizens. “No matter what ... reservation we call home we all have the same goal, public safety (and) a successful future for those residing in our state,” Hill said. Shores said the project will focus on both missing and murdered Indigenous peoples, but in Oklahoma is likely to have greater impact on missing persons cases. Homicide cases, Shores said, often are well defined as to which agency has jurisdiction, but missing persons cases may not even involve a crime, such as when a person flees an abusive relationship. Shores said similar projects are planned in Alaska, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana and Oregon. The U.S. Department of Justice last year launched a national strategy to address missing and murdered Native Americans that later expanded. The program includes $1.5 million to hire co-ordinators in 11 states, including Oklahoma. An Associated Press investigation in 2018 found that nobody knows precisely how cases of missing and murdered Native Americans happen nationwide because many cases go unreported, others aren’t well documented and no government database specifically tracks them. Ken Miller, The Associated Press
On Sunday evening the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) identified a positive COVID-19 case in three individuals at Ecole St. Mary High School in Prince Albert. In a news release by the Prince Albert Catholic School Division on Sunday evening the division explained that communication has been shared with the specific classroom/cohort, as well as the school community. These cases have not been school acquired according to the division. There had been several cases reported in October at St. Mary. The SHA is proceeding with their assessment of the situation, and all individuals deemed to be close contacts are being notified. “The classrooms/cohorts impacted by this case, barring any other cases, are required to Self-Isolate until midnight on Dec. 1 and these classrooms/cohorts will be move to remote learning until the isolation period is complete,” the division said in a release. These specific classrooms/cohorts are advised to contact 811Healthline for advice. “École St. Mary High School will resume classes Nov. 23 for all other students and staff that are not deemed to be close contacts. Public Health officials are advising all students and staff to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms daily and not to enter the school if ill.” No further information was made available citing privacy concerns. “Our thoughts and prayers are with this member of our school community, and we hope they are doing well.” They emphasized that everyone has a shared responsibility to decrease the risk of COVID-19 entering schools. “Thank you to everyone for continuing to be diligent in performing daily health screening, staying home if ill, calling HealthLine 811 if exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, practicing proper hand hygiene, maintaining physical distancing as much as possible, wearing a mask when appropriate and doing everything we can to keep each other safe,” the release stated.Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
WARSAW, Poland — Police detained several people and charged a female photojournalist with assaulting a police officer as women-led protests over abortion rights flared up again on Monday in Poland.Soon after the protest in Warsaw began, police arrived and forcibly removed people, including photojournalist Agata Grzybowska.It was the first case of a reporter being detained during the month of protests that have rocked Poland after a high court ruled in favour of a near-total abortion ban.Officers dragged Grzybowska away as bystanders called on them to stop, saying that she was a journalist. A large group then gathered outside the police station in central Warsaw where she was taken, rallying on her behalf as they waited hours for her release.After she was let go, Grzybowska said that she was charged with assaulting an officer, something she denied. In video footage of the incident circulating in Polish media, Grzybowska does not appear to act aggressively to the officers.She told The Associated Press that an officer appeared to be angered by her use of a flash when she took photos and that he kicked her.Police spokesman Mariusz Ciarka said on TVN24 that police did not realize at the time of her arrest that she was a journalist, though she can be seen in videos holding up her press credentials.Lawmakers from the centrist opposition party Civic Platform went to the police station to intervene on behalf of the reporter and another detained person. One of them, Sen. Bogdan Klich accused police of growing increasingly aggressive toward protesters, in quotes carried by the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper.The protests, organized by the group Women's Strike, have been occurring regularly ever since the country's constitutional court issued an Oct. 22 ruling that further tightens an abortion law that was already one of the most restrictive in Europe.Women and many others have reacted with rage to a step they believe deprives citizens of a fundamental freedom. They have been defying the risk of contagion and a ban on gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic to join demonstrations that have drawn hundreds of thousands of people across the nation of 38 million people.The protests have also come to encompass other grievances against the conservative ruling party, including the detentions of people taking part in the demonstrations.On Monday, protesters blocked traffic in Warsaw while others gathered in front of the Education Ministry building in an expression of solidarity with teachers who have been threatened with disciplinary reprisals by the education minister for supporting the protests.Several people handcuffed themselves to the ministry gate and and a large banner was hung reading, “Free abortion and free education.”One woman glued her hand to the gate of the Education Ministry and the police worked for about an hour to unglue her before she was taken away in an ambulance.As mass protests have continued, the government has so far not taken the legal action needed for the abortion ruling to take effect..Vanessa Gera, The Associated Press
Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro was forced to defend an absent Premier Jason Kenney in the legislature Monday for his silence about the surge in COVID-19 cases. Kenney was forced into quarantine two weeks ago after he was exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19. The premier has been silent since his last public appearance via teleconference on Nov. 12. A spokesperson said his isolation period ended Monday. In the past 10 days, Alberta's case numbers have set new records. On Nov. 12, there were 860 new and 8,305 active cases. Alberta Health reported 1,549 new and 13,166 active cases on Monday. Rachel Notley, leader of Alberta's Official Opposition NDP, asked in Monday's question period about Kenney's absence, noting 73 Albertans have died due to COVID-19 over the last 10 days. "That's 73 families who have suffered unimaginable loss, yet the premier is not to be heard, not even to share his condolences," Notley said. "In the meantime, our cases have exploded, our health system is on the brink, and our economy is in jeopardy. Why haven't we heard from him?" Notley said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, has been left to report case numbers on her own. The NDP said Kenney made time for an online appearance via Zoom on Saturday with the Canada India Foundation. In response, Shandro said the NDP was being ridiculous. "This is, again, how the NDP continue to politicize the pandemic response, continue to politicize COVID," he said. "They know that the premier is in self-isolation, and they know that after he's done isolation, of course, he's going to be able to return to being able to participate in the press conferences that are held with Dr. Deena Hinshaw." The priorities implementation committee of cabinet met on Monday. Hinshaw said at a news conference beforehand that she would attend the meeting and make recommendations about possible next steps. The government last announced restrictions on Nov. 12, which critics said didn't go far enough. Restaurants and bars had to start closing at 11 p.m. and group fitness classes and team sports were suspended for at least two weeks.