Global News correspondent Abigail Bimman breaks down the latest developments in Canada’s fight against the coronavirus.
Global News correspondent Abigail Bimman breaks down the latest developments in Canada’s fight against the coronavirus.
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped nine of her most trusted allies in the House to argue the case for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. The Democrats, all of whom are lawyers and many of whom have deep experience investigating the president, face the arduous task of convincing skeptical Senate Republicans to convict Trump. A single article of impeachment — for “incitement of insurrection” — was approved by the House on Wednesday, one week after a violent mob of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol. At the time, lawmakers were counting the votes that cemented Trump’s election defeat. As members of the House who were in the Capitol when it was attacked — several hiding under seats as rioters beat on the doors of the chamber — the Democrats are also witnesses to what they charge is a crime. So are the Senate jurors. “This is a case where the jurors were also victims, and so whether it was those who voted in the House last night or those in the Senate who will have to weigh in on this, you don’t have to tell anyone who was in the building twice what it was like to be terrorized,” said California Rep. Eric Swalwell, one of the managers. It is unclear when the trial will start. Pelosi hasn’t yet said when she will send the article of impeachment to the Senate. It could be as soon as next week, on President-elect Joe Biden’s first day in office. The managers plan to argue at trial that Trump incited the riot, delaying the congressional certification of the electoral vote count by inciting an angry mob to harm members of Congress. Some of the rioters were recorded saying they wanted to find Pelosi and Vice-President Mike Pence, who presided over the count. Others had zip ties that could be used as handcuffs hanging on their clothes. “The American people witnessed that,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., one of the managers. “That amounts to high crimes and misdemeanours.” None of the impeachment managers argued the case in Trump’s first impeachment trial last year, when the Senate acquitted the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The House impeached Trump in 2019 after he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden’s family while withholding military aid to the country. Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, another manager, says the nine prosecutors plan to present a serious case and “finish the job” that the House started. A look at Pelosi’s prosecution team in Trump’s historic second impeachment: REP. JAMIE RASKIN, MARYLAND Pelosi appointed Raskin, a former constitutional law professor and prominent member of the House Judiciary Committee, as lead manager. In a week of dramatic events and stories, Raskin’s stands out: The day before the Capitol riots, Raskin buried his 25-year-old son, Tommy, after he killed himself on New Year’s Eve. “You would be hard pressed to find a more beloved figure in the Congress” than Raskin, says House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who was the lead manager during Trump’s first trial. He worked closely with Raskin on that impeachment investigation. “I know that part of what gives him strength to take on this burden that he now carries is knowing that this is something that would be enormously meaningful to his son.” REP. DIANA DEGETTE, COLORADO DeGette, who is serving her 13th term representing Denver, is a former civil rights attorney and one of Pelosi’s go-to allies. The speaker picked her to preside over the House during the first impeachment vote in 2019. DeGette said Pelosi trusted her to do it because she is “able to to control the passions on the floor.” She says she was surprised when Pelosi called to offer her the prosecutorial position but quickly accepted. “The monstrosity of this offence is not lost on anybody,” she says. REP. DAVID CICILLINE, RHODE ISLAND Cicilline, the former mayor of Providence and public defender, is in his sixth term in Congress and is a senior member of the Judiciary panel. He was heavily involved in Trump’s first impeachment and was one of three original authors of the article that the House approved on Wednesday. He and California Rep. Ted Lieu began writing the article together, in hiding, as the rioters were still ransacking the Capitol. He tweeted out a draft the next morning, writing that “I have prepared to remove the President from office following yesterday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.” REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO, TEXAS Castro is a member of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs panels, where he has been an outspoken critic of Trump's handling of Russia. He was a litigator in private practice before he was elected to the Texas legislature and came to Congress, where he is in his fifth term. Castro’s twin brother, Julian Castro, is the former mayor of San Antonio and served as former President Barack Obama’s secretary of housing and urban development. Julian Castro ran in the Democratic primary for president last year. REP. ERIC SWALWELL, CALIFORNIA Swalwell also serves on the Intelligence and Judiciary panels and was deeply involved in congressional probes of Trump’s Russian ties. A former prosecutor, he briefly ran for president in 2019. “The case that I think resonates the most with the American people and hopefully the Senate is that our American president incited our fellow citizens to attack our Capitol on a day where we were counting electoral votes, and that this was not a spontaneous call to action by the president at the rally,” Swalwell said. REP. TED LIEU, CALIFORNIA Lieu, who authored the article of impeachment with Cicilline and Raskin, is on the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs panels. The Los Angeles-area lawmaker is a former active-duty officer in the U.S. Air Force and military prosecutor. “We cannot begin to heal the soul of this country without first delivering swift justice to all its enemies — foreign and domestic,” he said. DEL. STACEY PLASKETT, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS Because she represents a U.S. territory, not a state, Plaskett does not have voting rights and was not able to cast a vote for impeachment. But she will bring her legal experience as a former district attorney in New York and senior counsel at the Justice Department — and as one of Raskin's former law students. “As an African American, as a woman, seeing individuals storming our most sacred place of democracy, wearing anti-Semitic, racist, neo-Nazi, white supremacy logos on their bodies and wreaking the most vile and hateful things left not just those people of colour who were in the room traumatized, but so many people of colour around this country," she said Friday. REP. JOE NEGUSE, COLORADO Neguse, in his second term, is a rising star in the Democratic caucus who was elected to Pelosi’s leadership team his freshman year in Congress. A former litigator, he sits on the House Judiciary Committee and consulted with Raskin, Cicilline and Lieu as they drafted the article the day of the attack. At 36, he will be the youngest impeachment manager in history, according to his office. “This armed mob did not storm the Capitol on any given day, they did so during the most solemn of proceedings that the United States Congress is engaged in,” Neguse said Thursday. “Clearly the attack was done to stop us from finishing our work.” REP. MADELEINE DEAN, PENNSYLVANIA Like Neguse, Dean was first elected when Democrats recaptured the House in 2018. She is also a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and is a former lawyer and member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She says she hopes the prosecutors can convince the Senate and the American people “to mark this moment" with a conviction. “I think I bring to it just the simple fact that I’m a citizen, that I’m a mom and I’m a grandma," Dean said. "And I want my children, my grandchildren, to remember what we did here.” Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
Santé Canada a approuvé le traitement d'entretien ONUREG de Bristol Myers Squibb Canada qui vise les patients en rémission d'une leucémie myéloïde aiguë. Il s'agit d'une première au pays pour ce type de traitement. ONUREG est un inhibiteur métabolique nucléosidique à prise orale qui agit en empêchant la croissance des cellules cancéreuses. Il s'incorpore dans les éléments constitutifs des cellules, interférant avec la production de nouvel ADN et de nouvel ARN. Ce mécanisme entraînerait la mort des cellules cancéreuses dans les cas de leucémie. Celui-ci peut être utilisé par des patients qui ont obtenu une rémission complète ou une rémission complète avec rétablissement hématologique incomplet après un traitement d'induction avec ou sans traitement de consolidation et qui ne sont pas admissibles à une greffe de cellules souches hématopoïétiques. «Bien que la majorité des patients atteints de leucémie myéloïde aiguë obtiennent une rémission complète avec une chimiothérapie intensive, de nombreux patients en rémission connaîtront une récidive de la maladie, surtout s'ils n'étaient pas éligibles à une greffe de cellules souches», a précisé le Dr Andre Schuh du Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, par voie de communiqué. Par ailleurs, la leucémie myéloïde aiguë est la forme la plus courante de leucémie aiguë chez l'adulte. On estime que 40 à 60 % des patients âgés de 60 ans et plus et que 60 à 80 % des patients âgés de moins de 60 ans obtiendront une rémission complète après une chimiothérapie d'induction. Toutefois, 50 % d'entre eux connaîtront une récidive dans l'année qui suit. En cas de récidive, la survie à long terme est de six mois en moyenne. Les résultats de l'étude d'approbation ont montré que la survie globale médiane était significativement plus longue avec ONUREG en comparaison avec le placebo.Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
HALIFAX — The rugged point of land upon which sits the Peggys Cove lighthouse will be getting a much-needed facelift this summer. Plans were announced today to build a large viewing platform to improve access to the site and, at times, prevent people from venturing onto the rocks when storms roll in. The $3.1-million deck is expected to be completed by the end of June. The wood and concrete structure will include steel guardrails that look like fishing nets. The lighthouse and nearby fishing village attracted more than 700,000 visitors in 2018. Nova Scotia is contributing $1.7 million to the project and the federal government is covering the rest of the bill. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
Plusieurs municipalités au nord de la MRC de Lac-Saint-Jean-Est choisissent de ne pas augmenter le compte de taxes des citoyens en 2021. Les différents conseils municipaux ont notamment décidé d’adopter des budgets semblables à l’année précédente. Ainsi, à l’Ascension-de-Notre-Seigneur, le taux de taxes foncières demeurent à 0,66 $ par tranche de 100 $ l’évaluation. Quant au budget, il se voit ainsi augmenté de 233 970 $, passant de 3 649 607 $ en 2020 à 3 883 577 $ en 2021. Il en va de même pour les taxes des immeubles non résidentiels qui demeurent à 1,25 $ / 100 $ ainsi que les immeubles industriels à 1,92 $ / 100 $. Les coûts associés aux services d’aqueduc (137 $/logement), aux égouts (53 $/logement) et à l’assainissement des eaux usées 116 $/logement) sont également maintenus. La municipalité prévoit plusieurs travaux en 2021, soit la réfection d’infrastructures des 2e rue Nord, 3e rue Nord, 4e avenue Ouest, la route de l’Église, le rang 5 Ouest et le rang 7 Ouest. Enfin, le réseau d’aqueduc sera prolongé jusque dans les secteurs de la Scierie Remabec, de la Scierie Lemay et du secteur de villégiature de la Baie Moreau. Saint-Ludger-de-Milot À 1,02 $ / 100 $, les taux de taxes résidentielles et agricoles demeurent les mêmes. Le taux industriel reste quant à lui à 1,90 $ / 100 $. Le taux non résidentiel diminue légèrement, passant 1,80 $ à 1,75 $ / 100 $ en 2021. Au chapitre du budget, celui-ci est diminué de 65 813 $ par rapport à 2020, passant de 1 537 399 $ à 1 471 586 $. En outre, la municipalité entend débourser 228 972 $ pour divers amortissements. Saint-Nazaire Du côté de Saint-Nazaire, la municipalité maintient aussi le même taux de taxes foncières que l’an dernier, à 1,05 $ / 100 $ d'évaluation. Le budget se retrouve quant à lui légèrement diminué, passant de 3 586 391 $ en 2020 à 3 496 923 $ pour 2021. Enfin, elle prévoit injecter 959 100 $ pour le service de la dette. Sainte-Monique Pour toute catégorie d’immeubles, le taux de taxes diminue cette année, passant de 0,85 $ à 0,80 $ / 100 $ d’évaluation. En ce qui a trait aux coûts liés à l’aqueduc, au service d’égouts et de matières résiduelles, ceux-ci sont de 350 $, 100 $ et 240 $ respectivement par foyer. Le budget passe de 2 913 321 $ en 2020 à 2 631 313 $ cette année. 107 526 $ seront destinés à divers frais de financements.Julien B. Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Lac St-Jean
Herbert Kickl claimed that children would play "not the slightest role" in spreading the virus.View on euronews
Clive village council divided up funds granted from the provincial government intended to offset financial difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was made during the regular meeting of council Jan. 11, held via Zoom to meet pandemic protocols. Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Carla Kenney provided council with a report on community response to the provincial government’s Municipal Operating Support Transfer (MOST) grant that’s been offered to Alberta municipalities to offset COVID-19-related financial difficulties. Clive previously decided it’s MOST grant would be large enough to also offer help within the community after village expenses were covered. Kenney reported the village has spent about $21,000 addressing the pandemic and estimated the village would also incur about another $2,000 in the future. Noting Clive’s MOST grant was just under $75,000, this would leave roughly $52,000 to divide among community groups which have also suffered at the hands of COVID-19. After the village publicly advertised the opportunity, Kenney gave councillors a chart showing groups that responded and the amounts they reported losing as a result of COVID-19. In total, the groups claimed losses in the neighbourhood of $123,000. The groups which responded included the Ag Society, community hall, curling club, figure skating club, Family & Community Support Services (FCSS), public library, minor hockey, Little Red Hen and the Morton Historic Centre. Coun. Susan Russell stated she wasn’t sure how some of the groups calculated their losses, as the dollar amounts seemed a bit large in some cases. However, Russell stated she felt in the interests of fairness it would be important to give something to each group. Mayor Luci Henry noted village staff did speak with the groups to examine their claims and ensure everything was eligible for the MOST program. Kenney noted lots of groups had lost revenue due to cancelled registrations as a result of the pandemic. “I’m pretty confident these are realistic losses in revenue,” said Kenney. Coun. Norma Penney asked if FCSS and the library were eligible for other provincial programs. Kenney responded both organizations fit the MOST profile as they had financial losses due to COVID-19. She added that Lacombe County also has MOST funds which they may or may not disperse to Clive organizations such as the Ag Society. Penney suggested reimbursing organizations for personal protective equipment (PPE), then dividing the remaining funds among the groups. Kenney estimated that, after covering the losses each group claimed for purchasing PPE, the MOST funds would be able to cover about 38 per cent of their claimed financial losses. The CAO noted each group would be asked to provide documentation illustrating their losses. Councillors passed a motion authorizing the village to offer this help to the community.Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review
OTTAWA — Canada's international development minister says the world's first inoculation of a refugee with a COVID-19 vaccine this week is an important milestone in ending the pandemic everywhere. Karina Gould tells The Canadian Press that inoculating the world's most vulnerable people offers a glimmer of hope that the pandemic can be brought under control everywhere. A woman living in the northern Jordanian city of Irbid who had fled northern Iraq became the first United Nations registered refugee to receive the vaccine on Thursday. Before the pandemic Canada committed $2.1 billion in security, humanitarian and development funds to help Jordan and neighbouring Lebanon cope with the massive influx of refugees they face due to the crises in Syria and Iraq. Since the pandemic, Canada has committed more than $1 billion to international efforts to buy vaccine doses for low- and middle-income countries. Rema Jamous Imseis, the Canadian representative for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, says if refugees aren't vaccinated they run the risk of infecting people in their host national populations. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
While the City of Medicine Hat was able to quickly get power to back to residents during a Wednesday wind storm, the work is far from over for electrical crews. The city dealt with multiple power outages Wednesday in Medicine Hat, Redcliff and other surrounding areas. The outages were brought on by downed power lines, and trees falling into power lines. “Around mid-morning customers started experiencing multiple momentary outages,” said electric distribution operations manager Jeff Sandford. “We had some customers experience longer outages, depending where they were. “The longer outages ranged from an hour to four and a half hours.” With power back on, residents do not need to worry but may see city crews working for weeks. “We’re not even close to finished cleaning,” said Sandford. “We weathered the storm and made things safe. We did everything we could to get power back on quickly. “We’re repairing damage around the city, but we’re finding new damage as we go. “We’ll be working long days for at least the next two weeks to get a handle on the damage.” Sandford says there is a lot to fixing power lines than lifting a pole back up and putting it in the ground. “We need to make sure it’s safe to go back up – we can’t have anyone get hurt,” he said. “It’s a long process and there’s a lot to it, but our crews are great at it and they work hard. “If people see crews working, just give us space and don’t get too close.” Sandford says residents are encouraged to contact the city if they see a downed power line or are experiencing power loss.Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News
TORONTO — Ontario is reporting 2,998 new cases of COVID-19 today and 100 more deaths linked to the virus.Due to database software consolidation, 46 deaths reported in Middlesex-London that occurred earlier in the pandemic are included in Ontario's daily report today.Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 800 new cases in Toronto, 618 in Peel Region and 250 in York Region.She also says there are 161 new cases in Waterloo and 153 in the Niagara Region.There were 15,609 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine administered in Ontario since yesterday's report for a total of 174,630 total doses administered.Ontario is also reporting nearly 76,500 tests completed since the last daily update.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
The global death toll from COVID-19 topped 2 million Friday as vaccines developed at breakneck speed are being rolled out around the world in an all-out campaign to vanquish the threat. The milestone was reached just over a year after the coronavirus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The number of dead, compiled by Johns Hopkins University, is about equal to the population of Brussels, Mecca, Minsk or Vienna. It is roughly equivalent to the population of the Cleveland metropolitan area or the entire state of Nebraska. While the count is based on figures supplied by government agencies around the world, the real toll is believed to be significantly higher, in part because of inadequate testing and the many fatalities that were inaccurately attributed to other causes, especially early in the outbreak. It took eight months to hit 1 million dead. It took less than four months after that to reach the next million. “Behind this terrible number are names and faces — the smile that will now only be a memory, the seat forever empty at the dinner table, the room that echoes with the silence of a loved one,” said U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres. He said the toll “has been made worse by the absence of a global co-ordinated effort.” “Science has succeeded, but solidarity has failed,” he said. In wealthy countries including the United States, Britain, Israel, Canada and Germany, millions of citizens have already been given some measure of protection with at least one dose of vaccine developed with revolutionary speed and quickly authorized for use. But elsewhere, immunization drives have barely gotten off the ground. Many experts are predicting another year of loss and hardship in places like Iran, India, Mexico and Brazil, which together account for about a quarter of the world’s deaths. The Associated Press
Libyan authorities on Friday released two bodies found in mass graves in the city of Tarhouna after the Tripoli government retook it in June from Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA). They are among the first to be identified since the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) began exhuming scores of bodies from numerous sites in and around Tarhouna. Last week Human Rights Watch said hundreds of Tarhouna residents were abducted or reported missing after the local Kaniyat militia took control there in 2015.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — New NASCAR team Trackhouse Racing has brought entertainer Pitbull on as an ownership partner for an organization making its debut next month at the Daytona 500. Trackhouse made the Friday announcement with a video on Twitter in which the Grammy winner is featured dancing to an “I believe we will win” chant. He also holds signs that say: “Knuckle Up, Fight Hard. Buckle Up. Fight hard." The Cuban-American, known also as “Mr. Worldwide," joins NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan as celebrity owners entering NASCAR this year. Jordan is a part owner of 23XI Racing with Denny Hamlin. “I've been a fan of the NASCAR story since the movie ‘Days of Thunder,’" Pitbull said in a statement. “We are going to show the world NASCAR is not only a sport but a culture.” Pitbull noted the announcement coincided with his 40th birthday on Friday: “So get ready! Dale!” he ended with his signature tagline that translates to “Let's go!” Trackhouse was launched late last year by former driver Justin Marks, who struggled to find a charter that guarantees entry into every Cup Series race on the schedule. He ultimately leased one from Spire Motorsports to get his organization on the grid. The team has hired Daniel Suarez to drive the No. 99 Chevrolet but it will not be NASCAR's first pairing of a Latino driver and team owner. Juan Pablo Montoya, a Colombian, drove for Chip Ganassi Racing when it was part owned by Felix Sabates, a Cuban. Suarez is Mexican. Jenna Fryer, The Associated Press
“Stay Home, Stay Safe, Save Lives” - that’s the motto for the week as Ontario hits another COVID-19 milestone, reaching more than 5,000 deaths from the virus. In light of this statistic, new measures that the province has announced gives local by-law officers more authority to ensure the public complies with the new measures, as well as authority to ticket and fine those who don’t. On Tuesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the second state of emergency for the province, effective immediately, along with a mandatory stay-at-home order, commencing today (Thursday). These new restrictions require all Ontarians to stay at home unless going to grocery stores, pharmacies, or medical appointments. Further restrictions will be in place for workplaces. All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close by 8 p.m. Under the Reopening Ontario Act, both individuals and businesses that do not fall in line with these newly imposed measures could face fines and up to a year in jail, according to the Solicitor General. Uxbridge By-Law Services said Tuesday that enforcement of the measures continues to be a joint effort between municipal law enforcement officers, the Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS), the Region of Durham Health Department, and various government of Ontario provincial offences officers. Kristina Bergeron, manager of Uxbridge By-Law Services, said that enforcement will be conducted both proactively and complaint based. “If residents have observed a violation, they are asked to report the violation to the Durham Regional Police Service non-emergency number at 905-579-1520 or submit a complaint online at www.drps.ca under Online Services - Community Concerns. DRPS is the main point of contact for complaints, and matters deemed required to be addressed by municipal law enforcement will be dispensed to us through DRPS,” said Bergeron. On Tuesday, the province also shared new modeling data showing the infection curve set to take a steep rise in the next few weeks. With a positivity rate of more than five percent in all age groups, a survey by the government showed that only a third of the population is actually following Public Health guidelines in a manner that will help to end the pandemic. Dr. Matthew Anderson, president and CEO of Ontario Health, fears that Ontarians are not afraid as they were in the first wave of the virus. “When you’re a bit younger, you feel a bit immortal. But we’re not. And we are seeing trends where people who are younger are getting COVID, and while the mortality rate may not be as high, we can certainly see continued morbidity for those people. So there’s really no one who should consider themselves immune until they are vaccinated.” Over the past four weeks there has been a 72 per cent increase in hospitalizations and a 61 per cent increase in ICU patients. Half of the province’s hospitals have run out of capacity and can no longer take patients for emergencies such as traumas from accidents, heart attacks or emergency surgeries. This type of ICU occupancy can compromise care across the province. As of Monday evening, another eight cases of the UK variant, V117, were found in Ontario. Dr. Anderson said that if this new strain spreads through community transmission, Ontario residents can expect to see the case curve rise close to vertical by the end of January. By Tuesday evening, more than 133,000 doses of the COVID vaccine had been administered in Ontario, with over 6,000 Ontarians fully vaccinated with a second dose. “We have hope on the horizon, it’s in sight, it's in reach,” said Ford. To get ‘herd immunity’, experts say approximately 60 to 70 per cent of the population will need to be vaccinated. A group of North Durham doctors and medical administrative staff are working to get the vaccination serum into the Uxbridge community and say that once it is here, the community will be informed. Uxbridge currently has 14 active cases with only one of those being hospitalized. According to the Durham Region Public Health website, both Reachview Village and Uxbridge Cottage Hospital still have outbreak status. For more, visit durham.ca/covidcasesJustyne Edgell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Uxbridge Cosmos
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — New Jersey's top gambling regulator is threatening to fine sports books operating in his state that ask customers to cancel requests to cash out money from their accounts, saying the practice is ongoing and “unacceptable.” In some cases, sports books have offered to give players cash bonuses if they cancel withdrawal requests, according to David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. In a letter posted Wednesday to the division's website, Rebuck did not name the sports books who have engaged in this practice, nor did he say how many complaints the division has received of such activity. But he wrote that trying to talk customers out of withdrawing funds from their accounts violates numerous state rules. “Patrons who request withdrawals have the right to receive their funds as expeditiously as possible," he wrote. "Operators should clearly understand that the Division will take regulatory action and impose civil penalties whenever patrons are improperly encouraged or incentivized to rescind their withdrawal requests for the purpose of resuming gaming activity.” New Jersey has become the national leader in sports betting in the U.S., taking more than $6 billion worth of such wagers last year. In December, its casinos and horse tracks took nearly $1 billion in sports bets, setting the latest in a string of national records for the most money wagered on sports in a single month. Its regulatory structure is considered to be among the most stringent in the nation, and has served as a model for numerous other states as they adopted their own sports betting legislation over the past three years. Still, the head of the Stop Predatory Gambling organization on Friday accused the New Jersey attorney general's office, which oversees the DGE, of “moral hypocrisy” for launching high-profile litigation against the opioid industry, while treating sports books with much more leniency. “This is a naked attempt by online gambling operators to get citizens to lose more money,” said Les Bernal, the group's director. “What New Jersey should be doing is suspending and fining them, not just some long-winded letter threatening future action.” The attorney general's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. This kind of activity is not limited to New Jersey. The United Kingdom's Gambling Commission recently ordered its licensees to stop “reverse withdrawal options" until further notice out of concern over gamblers who may engage in excessive betting during coronavirus lockdowns. New Jersey regulations do not require withdrawals to be processed immediately; an unspecified amount of time can be taken to verify a customer's identity and investigate any fraud or money laundering concerns. But as soon as those concerns have been laid to rest, the customer must be given his or her money without further delay, officials said. “In the period between a withdrawal request and the actual release of funds to the customer, patrons reported contact from providers encouraging or enticing them to reverse the withdrawal request and wager the funds,” Rebuck wrote. “It has been reported by some patrons that they were even offered bonus money to reverse a pending withdrawal request.” He said such an offer of bonus money would be considered “an aggravating factor” in any disciplinary action against a sports book. Richard Schwartz, president of Rush Street Interactive, which operates PlaySugarhouse.com in New Jersey, said his company approved more than 75% of online player cash-out requests “in real time” during the fourth quarter of last year. “Our automated payout system protects our players by enabling them to cash out quickly so they don’t otherwise cancel their payout requests and continue gambling with their winnings,” he said. ___ Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC. Wayne Parry, The Associated Press
An ongoing BC Hydro power outage has left nearly 4,000 customers without electricity in Kitimat. According to BC Hydro’s outage map, the outage started at 11:09 a.m. and the cause is under investigation. Crews are on their way and are expected to arrive around 11:45 a.m. The outage is affecting 3885 customers and stretches north of Dewberry St., west of Wakita Ave., and east of Dyke Blvd.Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News
Belle Phillips is not your ordinary student. The young woman not only decided to make the most out of her education, but also to help other Onkwehón:we students achieve their full potential. She knew that being part of Concordia University’s Indigenous Directions Leadership Council (IDLC) would support her in doing just that. Last fall, the 21-year-old Kahnawa’kehró:non was chosen to fill the only undergraduate seat on the IDLC. When Phillips received the email sent to all Onkwehón:we students, most undergrads would have brushed it off, but the position sparked something in her. “And what’s the worst in trying?” she said. Phillips started her one-year contract in October with IDCL. The organization’s goal is to morph the university into being a more inclusive and respectful environment for all Onkwehón:we. With community member Donna Kahérakwas Goodleaf, Phillips is now part of a proud line of six other Kanien’kehá:ka that previously sat on the council. And it certainly will not end there. She explained that some of her mandate’s responsibilities are to increase community engagement, to bring more support and educate the Concordia community about Onkwehón:we culture, language and issues. It’s all about Indigenizing Concordia. “For me, it means that Indigenous people feel like they have a place in such a big community,” said the second-year student. “There are so many students and groups that sometimes Indigenous students tend to feel like they don’t know where they fit.” Not knowing where to fit is something that Phillips experienced firsthand after she graduated from Kahnawake Survival School as a recipient of the Tionores Muriel Deer scholarship. When she started CEGEP at Champlain College, in St. Lambert, Phillips noticed the lack of representation. “It was me, my brother and his girlfriend and only a few others that represented the Indigenous population,” said Phillips. She said that back then, it felt like Onkwehón:we students weren’t even on the college’s radar. The group wanted more, something that resembled what Onkwehón:we resource centres provided at John Abbott College or Dawson College. They formed the Indigenous Student Ambassadors, to offer support to First Nations students. “Our goal was to decolonize the campus at Champlain,” said Phillips, “and within the first year of forming the group, we even got an official location.” Phillips grew up in Kahnawake and remembers always wanting to be involved with the culture and representation - but didn’t find her footing right away. “After high school, I went into nursing, but turned out I hated it,” said Phillips, who’s now pursuing her BA in Human Relations with a concentration in Community Development and a minor in First People Studies. For the past two years, she’s been working part-time at Tewatohnhi’saktha in Kahnawake as the Youth Programs assistant. The job, in addition to school and being part of IDLC is quite a challenge, acknowledged Phillips. However, she said she’s deeply committed to IDLC and hopes to make a real difference at Concordia. “I want to create a safe space for Indigenous students to be,” said Phillips. “I feel like there’s a taboo around Indigenous students pursuing post-secondary education, and I really have an interest in developing courses and classes that incorporate Indigenous ways of learning.” Phillips still has a few semesters to go before graduating and sitting on the IDLC will surely allow her to reach her goals. firstname.lastname@example.orgVirginie Ann, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door
MADRID — The Spanish region of Catalonia is postponing regional elections planned for Feb. 14 until May 30 because of a strong surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. The new date was agreed on by the region’s parliamentary parties Friday and formally announced later by the regional government. It says the change will give authorities more time to bring the virus spread under control and people a better chance to vote. The virus incidence rate in Catalonia on Thursday was at 561 per 100,000 inhabitants, which is high but still below Spain's national average of 575. The region has imposed strict movement restrictions between towns and non-essential stores can only open Monday to Friday. Critics of the date change say pro-independence governing parties in Catalonia hope it might weaken the electoral impact of highly popular Spanish Socialist Health Minister Salvador Illa, who recently announced his candidacy. Polls suggest Illa could upset the balance of power in the region. Separatist parties currently control the Catalan government. The separatist movement, which is supported by roughly half the region's 7.5 million residents, wants to create a republic for the wealthy northeast corner of Spain. The region’s political situation is still heavily dominated by the jailing in 2019 of nine political figures for their role in a secession push two years earlier. Catalonia has been operating without a president since former leader Quim Torra was barred from public office last year for disobeying the country’s electoral law in 2019 — when he displayed banners in a public building calling for the imprisoned separatists to be released. The Associated Press
Hydro-Québec wants to help New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo build a green energy “superhighway” from Canada to New York City. The provincial utility said it would participate in a solicitation announced by the governor on Jan. 13 for “transmission arteries to bring renewable energy from upstate and Canada” to the Big Apple. During his “State of the State” address Wednesday, Cuomo unveiled plans for a 400-kilometre, $2.5-billion “Green Energy Transmission Superhighway,” part of a larger strategy to foster a “green economy” in the Empire State. The governor characterized the state transmission grid as “antiquated,” and said it was leading to “bottlenecks,” which he argued were ultimately passed on to New Yorkers as “congestion costs” on their utility bills. The transmission plan, said Cuomo, would “create opportunities to maximize the use of renewable energy for the parts of the state that still rely on polluting fossil-fuel plants.” “Supercharging the new transmission superhighway will be vital to completing New York's nation-leading green economic recovery and accelerating renewable energy development programs,” he said. Cuomo’s plan is the latest push in a years-long public and private effort to connect more of Canada’s abundant and largely non-emitting electricity with New York City — the most populous city in the United States — and the neighbouring Long Island region. The two regions collectively eat up two-thirds of the state's power demands. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's 2019 Green New Deal, for example, envisioned all city operations running on 100 per cent “zero-emission Canadian hydropower” within five years. Quebec Premier François Legault also put forward a strategy to become the "battery of the American northeast.” Meanwhile, in the private sector, Transmission Developers, a subsidiary of the Blackstone Group, has been proposing the Champlain Hudson Power Express, that would run a 536-kilometre high-voltage line under Lake Champlain and the Hudson River. Organizations have faced opposition, however, as to whether hydropower is as non-emitting as once previously thought, as well as questions over the best route for any transmission lines and whether they would interfere with wilderness. Riverkeeper, which advocates for clean water in the state, has raised concerns that the Quebec utility would have to create new hydro dams in order to provide enough power to New York City. Hydro-Québec spokesperson Lynn St-Laurent told Canada’s National Observer that the utility was “in a position, today, that it can serve new contracts without new build-out of hydropower facilities.” She also noted that New York’s expansion of its Clean Energy Standard in October 2020 meant that “all forms of hydroelectricity, including hydro from Québec, are recognized as clean and renewable sources.” St-Laurent said the utility welcomed Cuomo's announcement. “Hydro-Québec will participate in the solicitation that was issued by the state, and will offer its full support to New Yorkers in achieving their decarbonization goals,” she said. “A new transmission interconnection between Québec’s hydropower system and New York City can lead to extensive environmental and reliability benefits for New York.” Cuomo’s green-economy strategy also involves the “largest offshore wind program in the nation,” a 2,490-megawatt project involving two wind farms off Long Island, as well as facilities for manufacturing, operating and maintaining offshore wind turbines. And the governor plans to build “nearly 100 renewable energy projects,” from solar farms to onshore wind farms, and one hydroelectric facility. New York is also looking at deploying storage technologies, such as large-scale battery storage. Asked how it saw the “power express” project working in relation to the governor's public push for transmission lines, Jennifer Laird-White, vice-president of external affairs at Transmission Developers, said the company has “long been dedicated to the development of privately funded clean energy transmission.” “We commend Governor Cuomo's bold commitment to reducing pollutants and improving public health by investing in important green infrastructure that will diminish our dependence on fossil fuels while creating thousands of clean energy construction jobs for New Yorkers,” said Laird-White. Carl Meyer / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National ObserverCarl Meyer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
FORT FRANCES, ONT., — A 30-year-old man in Fort Frances is facing a series of break and enter related charges. On Jan. 11, shortly after 8 a.m., Rainy River Ontario Provincial Police responded to a break and enter at a local business on First Street East in Fort Frances, according to a police news release. As a result, Thomas Atkinson, 30, of Fort Frances was charged with break and enter, theft under $5,000, mischief under $5,000, possession of property obtained by crime and possession of heroin. A day later, on Jan. 12, police responded again to a break and enter report at a pharmacy in Fort Frances shortly after 2 p.m. As a result, Atkinson was charged with break and enter, theft under $5,000 and possession of property obtained by crime. On Jan. 13, police attended a break and enter at two separate pharmacies in Fort Frances. Atkinson was taken into custody and charged with two counts of break and enter and two counts of possession of property obtained by crime. Police say the investigation remains ongoing and anyone with information regarding the break and enters is urged to call OPP at 1-888-310-1122. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
“Parasite” director Bong Joon Ho has been selected as jury president of the 78th Venice International Film Festival, organizers said Friday. The Oscar-winner will preside over seven jurors to hand out the festival’s top awards, including the prestigious Golden Lion. He’ll be the first South Korean to hold the post. In a statement, the director said he is, “Honoured to be woven into its beautiful cinematic tradition. As president of the jury — and more importantly as a perpetual cinephile — I’m ready to admire and applaud all the great films selected by the festival. I’m filled with genuine hope and excitement.” Festival director Alberto Barbera remarked upon the historic nature of the selection. “We are immensely grateful to him for having agreed to put his passion as a cinephile attentive, inquisitive and unprejudiced, at the service of our festival," Barbera said. "The decision to entrust the Jury to a Korean filmmaker, for the first time in the festival’s history, is also confirmation that the Venetian event embraces the cinema of the entire world, and that directors from every country know they can consider Venice their second home.” The Venice Film Festival was one of the only major film festivals to proceed in person last year amid the pandemic. The 78th edition is set to run from Sept. 1-11. Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press