Hilary Duff is feelin’ herself. The Younger star, 32, said that she’s finally “found what works for me” with her diet and exercise routine, and showed off her hard work with a bikini selfie.
Hilary Duff is feelin’ herself. The Younger star, 32, said that she’s finally “found what works for me” with her diet and exercise routine, and showed off her hard work with a bikini selfie.
In a moment of nation-splintering turmoil, an incoming American president, Abraham Lincoln, travelled by train to his inauguration in Washington, D.C., in a nerve-racking ride cloaked in disguise as he faced threats to his life. Now, 160 years later, an incoming president has cancelled plans for a train ride to Washington. It was supposed to be a symbolic journey highlighting Joe Biden's decades-long habit of riding the rails to D.C. each day from his family home in Delaware. Instead, it has taken on a sad new symbolism, of an American capital clenched shut in fear of political violence at Wednesday's inauguration. The question nagging at residents here, and at security analysts, is whether the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was the worst of a passing storm, a one-off, or the start of a dark era of political violence. What's already clear is this will be no normal inauguration. The American capital has transformed into a heavily armed and tightly barricaded fortress. "Clearly, we are in uncharted waters," Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser told a news conference last week, urging tourists to stay away from her city during the inauguration. Fences are now up around Washington's downtown. Thousands of soldiers are patrolling the streets, bridges are blocked, parking garages are shut, bicycle-sharing services are suspended, Airbnb reservations are cancelled, and residents are being urged on neighbourhood chat groups against renting rooms to tourists. Suspicion strikes Capitol Hill neighbourhood Security concerns are most acute in the neighbourhood near the Capitol. Lawyer Matt Scarlato already has an overnight bag packed in case unrest spills into his neighbourhood and he's forced to flee the city with his family. He lives near one of the new security barriers near Capitol Hill, where police are forcing residents on some streets to show ID if they want to access their home. Scarlato was working from home the day of the riot in the Capitol building, when unexploded bombs were found near political party offices. He received a message from his son's daycare urging parents to immediately come pick up their children. Scarlato grabbed a baseball bat and tossed it in the car for the ride to the daycare. "It was a minute-by-minute escalation," Scarlato said. "We were all just sitting in the house saying, 'What the hell is going on?'" A longtime resident of the area, he compared the recent panic to a smaller-scale version of what he witnessed during the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. On the day of the Capitol riot, he was concerned by the sight of an unfamiliar RV on his street given the reports of bombs in Washington and the recent explosion in Nashville. For her part, Monica Ingram, a retired health-care administrator, was rattled yesterday morning by the sound of helicopters hovering over the same Capitol Hill neighbourhood. Around that same time, the congressional precinct was ordered evacuated. The panic was the result of an explosion and fire nearby, caused by a propane tank in a homeless encampment. Ingram said people now look at each other differently, warily. Ingram saw a man taking pictures of streets near the Capitol the other day and she worried whether he was up to something nefarious. "We're suspicious of each other now. It's sad," she said. "It's very disheartening, upsetting. It's like I don't even know this country anymore." WATCH | Staff and media scramble as a blast goes off during inauguration rehearsal: Some call for indoor inauguration She's among the many people with mixed feelings about whether this inauguration should even be happening in public. Ultimately, she prefers it going forward, as opposed to moving to a makeshift indoor location, in order to deliver a message: that this country won't buckle in fear. There is, however, a part of her that hopes Biden might throw another inaugural party, a year from now, a real festive party, after this pandemic, and this panic. Biden should have a "redo" inauguration, she said. "It's so sad that president-elect Biden has to be sworn in like this. It should be a day of joy for this country." There's no guarantee this place will feel safer in a year. Mark Hertling, a retired lieutenant-general who led U.S. soldiers in Europe, said he worries about whether the United States is now entering an era of political insurgency. And he's not alone. One-time riot or preview of insurgency? Some analysts who study domestic political violence have warned for years (in thesis papers and books and government reports) that the conditions existed for an American insurgency on the right. Those conditions include a proliferation of guns, a surge in ex-military joining militia groups, two increasingly hostile political parties, and a split along racial and cultural lines in a rapidly diversifying country. A 2018 book, Alt-America, charts how membership in armed militia groups skyrocketed after the election of a first Black president, Barack Obama, in 2008, and these fringe groups began showing up at political protests. Alleged members of such militias are now accused of participating in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, where numerous people were dressed in paramilitary-themed clothing and several could be heard in the crowd warning they'd be back with weapons. "Welcome to the reality of other countries," said Greg Ehrie, who led FBI domestic terrorism units and is now vice-president of law enforcement and analysis at the Anti-Defamation League. "There is sort of an underlying belief that if we can get through Wednesday, this stops and then it moves on. And that's just not true.… This is going to be something we're going to be living with for several years — this heightened sense of security." Details released since the siege of the Capitol suggest things could have been worse. Jan. 6 could have been worse One man arrested that day allegedly had two guns and enough materials to make 11 Molotov cocktails, and another allegedly had a loaded gun, spare bullets and a gas mask. A federal prosecutor said one air force veteran who carried plastic handcuffs intended to take hostages. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City said in a YouTube video she believed she was going to die during the riot in the Capitol and that she experienced a traumatic event she declined to discuss: "Many, many, many members of Congress were almost murdered," she said in the video. "We were very lucky [to escape]." One police officer died as a result of injuries sustained during the riot. Another said he narrowly survived the angry mob and described how he was Tasered while some wanted to take his gun and kill him with it. Joseph Young, a professor at American University in D.C. who studies the factors that drive political violence, usually in other countries, said he is bothered by the trends he sees. "More and more, my work has been applicable to the United States," he said in an interview. "[And that's] troubling." A word of historical caution He said it's wrong, however, to conclude this is a more violent political era than the 1960s and 1970s. The U.S. experienced hundreds of terrorist attacks back then, from white-supremacist church bombings to political assassinations to the activities of the left-wing group Weather Underground, which bombed the Capitol, the State Department and other government buildings. But he's still worried about the current U.S. situation. As are the authorities preparing for inauguration day. The Pentagon has authorized the Washington, D.C., National Guard to carry weapons on domestic soil amid ongoing worries about the possible use of explosives. About 25,000 National Guard troops from D.C. and several states were expected to be part of the security operation. National Guard members are being screened themselves for any extremist affiliations. A Secret Service member was reportedly under investigation over political comments related to the Capitol riot posted on Facebook. Jared Holt, an expert who monitors extremist chatter online, said it has gotten quieter lately. He said he was extremely worried before Jan. 6 about the heated and violent rhetoric he saw in online platforms. People were posting tips for smuggling guns into Washington and maps of the underground tunnels connecting the Capitol to lawmakers' offices. Those same forums erupted in joy after the attack. "It was initially jubilation," said Holt, of the Digital Forensic Research Lab at the Washington-based Atlantic Council think-tank. "They were thrilled. They felt incredibly accomplished. [Now], the cohesion between groups has eroded." It became clear within hours of the riot that it might backfire — against those involved and against Donald Trump. It failed to stop the vote to certify Biden's election win. Then it led to Trump's swift impeachment in the House. WATCH | Preparations underway to fortify U.S. capital ahead of inauguration day: Has the threat already receded? Some rioters in the Capitol who posted triumphant images of themselves on social media have been arrested or fired from their jobs, with their posts used as evidence against them. Social media platforms are either limiting extremist rhetoric and shutting out Trump, are offline altogether (Parler), or are unusually slow (Gab). Holt now worries that violent rhetoric is moving to tighter channels that are harder to monitor publicly, such as Telegram and other private messaging apps. So residents of Washington, D.C., and the country as a whole, enter this historic transition week in a fog of uncertainty, about whether they've just witnessed a dark passing moment in the life of the American republic or a sombre omen. "It looks like a police state down here. We've never seen it like this," Emilie Frank, a communications professional, said in an interview a few days ago, referring to the imposing concrete-and-metal labyrinth being erected downtown. "It would normally be bustling, everybody's excited [for the inauguration]. But it's silent, blocked off, police cars everywhere." She doesn't know if any of this will be necessary. But she'd rather have this than the under-preparation by authorities that the city witnessed on Jan. 6, she said. "So, even if it's just [for] show, it's better than nothing, I guess," she said. "If some people will be convinced they should stay away after seeing all this stuff in place, then that's good." WATCH | Ex-FBI agent on the new domestic terrorism:
A grieving Vancouver mother wants answers after the shrine she maintained for years in her daughter's memory was removed without any notice. The shrine, near East 7th Avenue and St. Catherines Street in East Vancouver, was established near the spot where Marlene Thistle's daughter, Janice Nicole Bryant, 33, was shot and killed on May 23, 2017. Bryant's killer has not been found. "Someone took it upon themselves to remove the memorial, and dump it right there like it was garbage," said Thistle. "My daughter is not garbage." Thistle put up the memorial — which had flowers, statues of angels and a cross — just a few metres from where Bryant was shot. "She was a genuine human being. She had a huge heart, was very loving," Thistle said. "She'd give the shirt off her back to anyone in need." Thistle said the memorial was both a way of honouring her daughter and keeping a light on her unsolved case. The removal of the memorial has been devastating, she said. "When I witnessed it, it was like her being gone all over again, the moments of her being shot," Thistle said. "What if this memorial site was for your daughter, your sister or your mother? Really sit back and think about the impact of how you would feel as an individual to find a memorial destroyed like it was." In an email to CBC, both the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Park Board say their staff were not responsible for taking down the memorial. City officials did note, however, that there had been several requests from the public to remove it due to its location and sight lines from the adjacent roads. Thistle said the memorial had taken years to build up, but she is committed to putting it back together for her daughter. "Until her murder case is solved, I will set it up again."
BEIJING — China is now dealing with coronavirus outbreaks across its frigid northeast, prompting additional lockdowns and travel bans. The country reported a total of 118 newly confirmed cases Tuesday — most of them in Jilin province, the Hebei region just outside Beijing and Heilongjiang province bordering Russia. A fourth northern province, Liaoning, has also imposed quarantines and travel restrictions to prevent the virus from further spreading, part of measures being imposed across much of the country to prevent new outbreaks during during February’s Lunar New Year holiday. Authorities have called on citizens not to travel, ordered schools closed a week early and conducted testing on a massive scale. ___ THE VIRUS OUTBREAK: — Japan’s prime minister vows to hold the already postponed Olympics this summer as proof of victory over virus — Israel trades Pfizer vast troves of medical data for the continued flow of its hard-to-get vaccine — Brazil approves two coronavirus vaccines, ones by Sinovac and Oxford-AstraZeneca — China's economy grows in 2020 as it rebounds from virus, likely only major economy to expand — Britain vows to give all adults 1st shot of the virus by September — Tennis players find ways to keep fit even during hotel room quarantines in Australia __Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak ___ HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING: WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Travelers to New Zealand from most other nations will need to show negative coronavirus test results before boarding as of next Monday. New Zealand recently imposed the test requirement for travellers from the U.S. and Britain, and authorities said Tuesday that it is being extending to all other countries, with the exception of Australia and a handful of Pacific Island nations. Travelers returning from Antarctica are also exempt. COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says New Zealand has some of the strictest border measures in the world. There is currently no community spread of the virus in New Zealand, with all known infections among travellers who have been put into quarantine at the border. Most travellers are required to spend two weeks in quarantine upon arrival. ___ WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming White House press secretary says his administration does not intend to lift coronavirus travel restrictions for Europe, the U.K., Ireland and Brazil. The message from Jen Psaki came Monday evening after the White House said President Donald Trump had lifted the restrictions for those countries, effective Jan. 26. Psaki then tweeted: “On the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26.” She added, “In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19.” Trump imposed the travel restrictions early in the pandemic to slow the spread of the coronavirus to the U.S. They prevented most people without American citizenship or residency from travelling to the U.S. from the affected regions. ___ OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has announced a plan to set up coronavirus vaccination sites statewide with help from the National Guard and others as part of an overall goal to vaccinate 45,000 people a day. Inslee said Monday that while the goal is currently higher than the current allotment of vaccine the state is receiving from the federal government, the state is working to get the infrastructure in place now for when the supply increases. He says the state is now vaccinating between 13,000 and 15,000 people a day. The governor also announced a public-private partnership with business, health care and labour entities on areas ranging from co-ordination of volunteer vaccinators to communications support. ___ JACKSON, Miss. — More than 100,000 people in Mississippi have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and officials are taking further steps to administer the state’s supply of shots more efficiently, Gov. Tate Reeves said Monday. Inoculation rates in Mississippi have lagged far behind most of the U.S., according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But Reeves insisted Monday that health officials are making changes to speed things along. The state’s website for making vaccine appointments has been upgraded to handle increased traffic, and more people are answering calls from those booking by phone, he said. Meanwhile, state officials are working to free up more shots for the general population aged 65 and older by getting several thousand doses from nursing homes that received more than they need, Reeves said. ___ LOS ANGELES — California’s state epidemiologist is urging a halt to more than 300,000 coronavirus vaccine doses by Moderna because some people who received it needed medical treatment for possible severe allergic reactions. Dr. Erica S. Pan is recommending that vaccine providers stop using one lot of the Moderna vaccine pending completion of an investigation. She says less than 10 people who were inoculated at a single vaccination site needed medical attention. But she also said serious reactions to vaccinations are extremely rare. The virus has claimed more than 33,000 lives in California. ___ MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced on Monday the state will open nine community sites this week to vaccinate adults over 65, pre-kindergarten through 12th grade educators, school staff and child care workers. The program opens the state’s vaccine rollout beyond the first high-priority group that includes healthcare workers and long-term care residents and staff. The nine sites will start inoculating people Thursday by appointment-only due to the small number of available doses. The announcement comes after the Democratic governor accused the Trump administration of “lying” when he and six other governors asked for permission to receive their states’ second doses from a national stockpile to ramp up vaccination efforts. The governors were told by federal officials that the administration would release the federal reserve of doses, but later learned the stockpile had already been exhausted. ___ BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota reported on Monday zero coronavirus deaths for the fifth time this month, although the fatality rate by population continues to be among the worst in the country. The state’s death count, which stands at a total of 1,384, is the sixth highest per capita in the country at 185 deaths per 100,000 people, according to John Hopkins University researchers. North Dakota’s 14-day rolling average of daily new cases has decreased by more than 27%, according to The COVID Tracking Project data. The state has experienced a steady decline in daily new cases since the virus case count peaked in mid-November. It now ranks 48th per capita in the U.S. for new cases over the last two weeks. A statewide mask mandate that was enacted in mid-November was allowed to expire Monday morning. ___ ST. LOUIS -- More than 172,000 people in St. Louis County have registered for the COVID-19 vaccine, but the the local health department so far has only received 975 doses, county Executive Sam Page said Monday. The county expects more doses to arrive Tuesday but it was unclear how many, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Page also urged residents to be honest about the information they use to register for vaccinations, saying some have falsely claimed to be health care workers or brought along family members who are ineligible at this time. A new inoculation phase began Monday in Missouri that allows older people and those with certain pre-existing conditions to be vaccinated. ___ PRAGUE — The fast-spreading coronavirus variant first identified in the U.K. has been found in the Czech Republic, a health official said Monday. The National Institute of Public Health confirmed its findings after it announced over the weekend it was testing suspected samples. Health Minister Jan Blatny says the variant accounts for about 10% of all sequenced samples in in the country. No further details were provided. The country of 10.7 million has reported 891,852 confirmed coronavirus cases and 14,449 deaths since the start of the pandemic. The daily infection rate has been in decline since Jan 6., prompting the government to allow stores selling stationary and children’s clothes and shoes to reopen. The country still remains under a tough lockdown with a nighttime curfew. ___ MADRID — Spain’s Health Ministry has confirmed 84,287 new known coronavirus cases since Friday amid a post-Christmas virus surge. The ministry also reported 455 deaths over the weekend. Monday’s figures brought the total number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic to 2.34 million and known deaths to 53,769. Spain’s 14-day incidence rate for 100,000 inhabitants rose to 689, from 575 on Friday. Coronavirus patients currently occupy 33% of ICU beds, up from 30% on Friday. Despite the substantial daily increases, Health Minister Salvador Illa on Monday insisted the measures taken by each of Spain’s 17 regions are enough to quell the increase, ruling out a total lockdown. Spain’s health emergency chief Fernando Simon said that the country could be at the peak of the latest surge or getting close to it. ___ ROME — For the first time in three weeks, Italy’s daily caseload of known coronavirus infections dropped below 10,000 on Monday. Health Ministry figures reported 8,825 additional cases since Sunday, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 2.4 million since the start of the pandemic. Sicily has the nation's highest daily caseload. Italy registered 377 deaths for a second straight day. The nation’s known COVID-19 death toll of 82,554 is the second highest in Europe. ___ MADRID — The tiny British colony of Gibraltar says it has lost more people to the coronavirus since the start of the year than from any other single cause in the past century. Gibraltar, with a population of some 34,000, has posted 38 deaths since Jan. 1. “Even in war, we have never lost so many in such a short time,” Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said on Monday. He said 21 people had died from the virus in the past three days, bringing the colony's total virus deaths to 45 since the start of the pandemic. Located on Spain’s southern coast, Gibraltar has recorded some 4,000 cases. It has been under lockdown since the beginning of January. ___ BERLIN — Swiss authorities say they have placed two hotels under quarantine and ordered all guests and employees to be tested after a new variant of the coronavirus was detected among them in the upscale skiing resort of St. Moritz. Local authorities said Monday they have also closed down skiing schools, regular schools and kindergartens. Officials did not reveal the names of the two affected facilities, but Swiss media said both were luxury hotels. In addition to tests at the hotels, all residents of St. Moritz were being asked to be tested on Tuesday. Authorities ordered all residents to wear protective masks, and asked people to reduce their contacts to prevent the further spread of the virus. “The health office is concerned,” authorities of the Graubuenden canton said in their statement. “The variant of the virus is clearly more contagious than the one that’s currently predominant globally.” Swiss media reported that the variant of the virus detected in St. Moritz was the one first found in South Africa. ___ MOSCOW -- Backers of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V say it has been approved in Turkmenistan, an ex-Soviet nation in Central Asia that hasn’t officially reported any infections so far. The Russian Direct Investment Fund that bankrolled the development of the shot announced Monday that health officials in Turkmenistan approved Sputnik V “under the emergency use authorization procedure.” It wasn’t immediately clear whether Russia would ship the vaccine to Turkmenistan any time soon. The vaccine is still undergoing advanced studies among tens of thousands of people needed to ensure its safety and effectiveness. Nevertheless, the shot last month was rolled out in a large-scale vaccination campaign in Russia. It has also received regulatory approval in several other countries, and immunization with Sputnik V has started in Belarus and Argentina. Turkmenistan, a gas-rich nation of 5.9 million, hasn’t reported any coronavirus infections, but authorities have shut restaurants and non-food stores and recommended that the population wears masks to protect against dust and unspecified infectious agents. However, the British ambassador to the capital, Ashgabat, said last month that he had contracted the virus. The Associated Press
Ankara has imposed advertising bans on Twitter, Periscope and Pinterest after they failed to appoint local representatives in Turkey under a new social media law, according to decisions published on Tuesday. Under the law, which critics say stifles dissent, social media companies that do not appoint such representatives are liable for a series of penalties, including the latest move by the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK). It has caused concern as people turn more to online platforms after Ankara tightened its grip on mainstream media.
MEXICO CITY — Authorities in Mexico's Gulf coast state of Veracruz said Monday that 12 men were killed and their bodies dumped on a roadside in what may have been a dispute between cattle ranchers. The killings occurred in the rural town of La Choapas, near the border with the neighbouring state of Tabasco. Veracruz Gov. Cuitláhuac Garcia wrote in a statement that “initial investigations suggest a division between ranchers and helpers from La Choapas and Uxpanapa.” He added that “abuses and threats between them led to this unfortunate outcome.” The region is south of the crime-ridden city of Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz. The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen is calling on Congress to do more to fight a deep pandemic-induced recession, saying the threats of a longer and even worse downturn are too great to cut back on support now. “Without further action, we risk a longer, more painful recession now — and long-term scarring of the economy later,” Yellen said in testimony prepared for her confirmation hearing Tuesday before the Senate Finance Committee. Yellen, who will be the first female treasury secretary in the nation's history, is expected to have little trouble winning approval in a Senate that will be narrowly controlled by Democrats once two Democratic senators from Georgia are seated. In her testimony, Yellen, who was also the country's first female chair of the Federal Reserve, said that the quick action Congress took by passing trillion-dollar rescue packages last spring and an additional $900 billion relief measure last month were successful in “averting a lot of suffering.” But she said that even with the extraordinary government help, the pandemic has still caused “widespread devastation.” “Eighteen million unemployment insurance claims are being paid every week. Food bank shelves are going empty. The damage has been sweeping and as the president-elect said last Thursday, our response must be too,” Yellen said. “Over the next few months, we are going to need more aid to distribute the vaccine, to reopen schools, to help states keep firefighters and teachers on the job,” Yellen said. She said more support would also be needed to keep unemployment benefit checks going out and to help families who are going hungry or in danger of being homeless. Biden last week unveiled a $1.9 trillion relief plan that would provide more aid to American families, businesses and local communities and provide more support for vaccine production and distribution. While Democrats have endorsed the effort, many Republican lawmakers have expressed concerns about the price tag given soaring federal budget deficits. Yellen said that she and Biden were aware of the country's rising debt burden. “But right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big,” she said. “In the long run, I believe the benefits will far outweigh the costs, especially if we care about helping people who have been struggling for a very long time.” The Senate Finance Committee hearing with Yellen on Tuesday is one of several that the Senate will be holding as the incoming Biden administration tries to get its top Cabinet officials in office quickly. Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
TOLEDO, Ohio — An Ohio police officer was shot and killed after an hourslong armed standoff that resulted in gunfire Monday, police said. Toledo Police Officer Brandon Stalker, 24, died after the shooting that sent both him and the suspect to the hospital, Police Chief George Kral said at a Monday night news conference. Negotiators had tried for hours to get the suspect to surrender peacefully. Stalker leaves behind a fiancée and a child. He had joined the police department in July 2018. “Very sad day for the city of Toledo and specifically the Toledo police department,” Kral said. "He was an amazing police officer.” The suspect's condition wasn't disclosed. Kral said the standoff started at about 4 p.m. when officers noticed a man with warrants out for his arrest in connection to cathedral vandalism smoking outside a home in a residential neighbourhood. Officers approached the man, who fled brandishing a firearm and entered a nearby home. Police set up a barrier around the home and a SWAT team was called in, Kral said. After hours of unsuccessful negotiation, police used tear gas to force him out. He then exited holding two guns, firing. Police shot back, striking the subject. One of the suspect's shots hit Stalker, Kral said. Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said his city's department “has had to endure too many dark and terrible days in the last six months," with the July on-duty killing of 26-year-old Officer Anthony Dia and the unexpected death of an officer just a few weeks ago. “This has been a very difficult time,” Kapszukiewicz said. “It is a very difficult day for the city." Gov. Mike DeWine has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff. Police said they would provide an update on the standoff Wednesday. The Associated Press
Justin Timberlake may just have had a second baby boy, but he's got an album about to pop, too!
EDMONTON — Shea Weber's goal held up as the game-winner as the Montreal Canadiens beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 Monday night. Rookie Alexander Romanov and Arttuti Lehkonen also scored for Montreal (2-0-1), which beat Edmonton (1-3-0) for the second time in three nights. The Habs also trounced the Oilers 5-1 on Saturday. Goalie Jake Allen made 25 saves in his debut for the Canadiens Montreal’s penalty kill was key in the victory, shutting down Oilers snipers Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on seven power plays. Mikko Koskinen stopped 31-of-34 shots for Edmonton. He conceded a short-handed goal 12:15 into the third period after Lehkonen broke up a pass in his own zone and sprinted up the ice with the puck on his stick. He put a quick snap shot past Koskinen for his first of the season, and put Montreal up 3-0. Edmonton clawed a goal back with just over two minutes to go, though, with Devin Shore popping a snap shot past Allen for a short-handed tally. Koskinen allowed one to get past earlier in the game on a Montreal power play with seconds to go in the second period. Edmonton had the man advantage when McDavid was called for hooking, leading to 1:20 of 4-on-4 hockey before the Habs got a 40-second power play to close out the frame. With about 11 seconds left on the clock, Montreal's Jeff Petry drove through the slot and Shore careened into Koskinen. Meanwhile, Weber launched a shot from the side of the net and Koskinen made the initial stop. He couldn't control the rebound, though, which bounced back out to Weber. The defenceman batted it in off Koskinen's back as he lay in the crease with Shore underneath him. The goal was instantly called off, with the official saying Petry caused goalie interference when he sent Shore crashing into his netminder. Montreal coach Claude Julien elected to challenge the call and, upon review, the officials agreed, giving Weber his first goal of the season and a 2-0 lead for Montreal. Montreal already had a first-period tally from Romanov, who opened the scoring 9:53 into the game with a shot from just below the blue line. The puck rocketed through traffic and past Koskinen stick side for the Russian rookie's first NHL goal. Montreal selected Romanov, 21, 38th overall in the 2018 draft. The Canadiens scored on one of its five power plays. Montreal had to kill off three penalties in the first period alone, including more than 30 seconds of 5-on-3 play. Edmonton had some promising opportunities across the stretch -- including a big shot from McDavid that ricocheted off the knob of Allen's stick -- but the Habs didn't surrender a goal. As a crucial part of the penalty kill, Weber played 9:10 in the first frame alone. Montreal will open a three-game series with the Canucks in Vancouver on Wednesday. The Oilers will be in Toronto the same night to battle the Leafs. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. The Canadian Press
SANTIAGO, Chile — A powerful earthquake struck in northwestern Argentina near the border with central Chile just before midnight Monday, shaking people in parts of both countries. There were no reports of injuries or serious damage, though some power outages were reported in the quake area. The U.S. Geological Survey said the tremor had a preliminary magnitude of 6.4. Its epicenter was 27.6 kilometres (17 miles) southwest of the Argentine town of Porcito and struck at a depth of 14 kilometres (nearly nine miles). The quake was followed by a magnitude 5.0 aftershock about a quarter hour later and then at least five more strong aftershocks in the next hour ranging from magnitude 5.3 to 4.8, the USGS said. Argentine media said some houses reportedly were damaged in the small down of Media Agua and at least one road was said to have been disrupted, but there were indications of injuries. Electricity also failed in spots and some goods were shaken from supermarket shelves, the reports aid.. People in the quake zone reported there was panic when the initial quake struck and said they spent anxious hours as the aftershocks brought new shaking. Strong movement was felt in Chile's capital, Santiago, which is about 300 kilometres (186 miles) from the area hit by the quake. Chilean officials said there were no damage reported in that nation. The Associated Press
DETROIT — The resiliency, culture and heroism of Black Americans and the African diaspora will be the central theme of a virtual event that will celebrate the nation’s diversity on the eve of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris is slated to speak at Tuesday's event, “We Are One,” which will also honour the historic nature of her being the first Black and South Asian woman to become U.S. vice-president. Black voters nationwide helped deliver Biden’s presidency, overwhelmingly supporting him from the start of his White House bid. Black-led organizing work across the nation galvanized voters of colour and contributed to historic turnout in key battleground states. Tony Allen, CEO of the inaugural committee, said the programming will “honour acts of resilience, heroism, and commitment to unity” from Black, Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities "as the coalitions that make up our nation come together to celebrate a new chapter in our history." Several of the nation’s top Black leaders will deliver remarks, including House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, a close ally of Biden whose endorsement in South Carolina widened Biden’s winning margin and started his avalanche of March primary victories. Among other speakers: Stacey Abrams, whose voter registration and education efforts helped flip Georgia blue for Biden; Rep. Cedric Richmond; Congressional Black Caucus Chair Rep. Joyce Beatty; Sen. Cory Booker; and the incoming senator from Georgia, Rev. Raphael Warnock. The event will pay homage to the legacy of the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities, as well as Black sororities and fraternities. Harris is the first HBCU graduate and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority member to be vice-president. The sorority’s international president and CEO, Dr. Glenda Glover, and Howard University President Dr. Wayne Frederick will deliver remarks. The event will feature musical performances and appearances from activists and celebrities. It'll be hosted by Terrence J and feature Leslie Jones, DJ D-Nice, and Black cultural icons such as Frankie Beverly, The O’Jays, and Rapsody. The celebration also includes a Battle of the Bands and features several HBCUs, including: Delaware State University, Howard University, the Texas Southern University Debate Team, Florida A&M University Marching 100, Grambling State University World Famed Marching Band, Jackson State University Sonic Boom of the South, Louisiana Leadership Institute All-Star Marching Band, South Carolina State University Marching 101, Southern University Human Jukebox Marching Band, and the Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands. The event is part of five planned days of programming under the inaugural’s theme of “America United.” It will air Tuesday from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET on social media and on select channels, including Urban One, Revolt TV and The Choice channel on Peacock, NBCUniversal's streaming service. ___ Kat Stafford is an investigative reporter on The Associated Press’ Race and Ethnicity team. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/kat__stafford. Kat Stafford, The Associated Press
Ethel Lockrey, 97, and a resident of Silver Fox Estate in Salisbury said people might be surprised at what she and some other seniors have come up with while under lockdown at their retirement residence: floor curling. The game bears some resemblance to regular curling, except there are little wheels under the stones, and of course the absence of ice, said another resident, Doug Sentell, 83, adding that a smooth surface is still important. "I think people would be surprised to know such a game exists. It's fantastic,” said fellow resident Glenna Brugess, 91, adding that she really enjoyed playing and thinks she could be good at it. This week, the seniors had a faceoff: women versus men, said Sentell. The women's team won, he said The women’s team’s most senior senior was certainly a big part of their success, though she is very humble, Sentell said. Lockrey, who many referred to in interviews as “Speedy Ethel” said she thinks “people would be surprised that at 97 years old I can play." "I like to curl. It exercises my whole body and I feel that's important,” she said. Sentell said this week’s game was only the second time he and his fellow residents have given the new game a shot, but noted their skills have improved considerably. “The first time we were flipping the stones upside down,” he said, sharing that his biggest tip would be not to push too hard initially. “We had 10 playing this time. The first time there were maybe four or five that tried, with more as spectators,” said Sentell, adding that people have been learning by watching. Jason Wilson, operator of Silver Fox Estate, said the home, which opened in May during the pandemic, has hired a full-time wellness coordinator, who has been organizing everything from curling to chair fitness. Residents can’t have visitors nor can they participate in off-site visits right now, he said. The home is their household bubble, he said. But while opening during a pandemic was a nightmare from a business perspective, Wilson said, the positive side has been really getting to know each resident slowly and watching residents grow closer to each other than they perhaps would have been otherwise. “They rely on each other. They take care of each other,” he said. From crib, to bingo, to chair exercises, they do activities together, said Wilson. And now, of course, they curl together. Sentell said he thinks as they get more players interested they could explore the possibility of a tournament. “I think this could take off,” he said. Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
If you think the world of politics could do with more consensus making and working across the aisles (and at this point, really, who doesn’t), then a new series from TVO might be right up your alley. Political Blind Date returns Tuesday, Jan. 19at 9 p.m. ET on TVO, tvo.org, and the TVO YouTube channel. Each of the six half-hour shows matches two politicians with differing points of view and sends them out into the community on a “date.” There likely won’t be any hook ups…But hopefully they’ll find some common ground? Of particular interest to Sun Peaks Independent News readers is the Jan. 26 episode on pipeline politics. In it, Green Party MP Elizabeth May (Saanich-Gulf Islands, B.C.) and Cathy McLeod, shadow minister for Crown-Indigenous Relations and Conservative MP (Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, B.C) will unwrap the pros and cons of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion and its impact on Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities across British Columbia. What does the building of a second parallel pipeline mean for those living along its route is among the issues that will be discussed. Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
Some provincial authorities saw encouraging signs in the fight against COVID-19 on Monday, even as experts warned that it's too soon to draw conclusions from the data and provinces scrambled to deal with a looming shortage of Pfizer vaccines. Officials in both Quebec and Manitoba noted that case numbers have dropped slightly in recent days and suggested that their populations' efforts to control the virus could be paying off. Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba's chief public health officer, said case numbers in his province appeared to be dipping. "We’re definitely not out of the woods," he told a news conference as the province reported 118 cases. "We certainly still have a long way to go before we can return to normal." Roussin said the province is looking at easing some restrictions in the coming days, but that any changes would be gradual. Quebec reported 1,634 new COVID-19 cases, which included about 200 from the previous day that weren't noted because of a delay. The province had broken the 3,000-case mark in early January and has a seven-day rolling average of more than 1,900 cases a day. Health Minister Christian Dube noted on Twitter that the Quebec City region in particular had seen a decline in the number of new infections recently, which he saw as a sign that "the sacrifices that we're asking of Quebecers are bearing fruit." However, he asked Quebecers to continue their efforts in order to reduce the number of hospitalizations, which rose Monday after three straight days of decline. Universite de Montreal public health professor Benoit Masse said it will take another week or two to know whether the downward trend will be sustained and to gauge the impact of the recently imposed curfew. He said the province should know more by Feb. 8, when curfew restrictions are set to lift. Ontario also reported its lowest number of COVID-19 cases since early January, with 2,578 new infections, but the province completed a little more than 40,000 tests Sunday, compared with more than 60,000 the day before. British Columbia reported 301 new cases on Monday, its lowest increase in over two months. However, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the risk of spreading the virus remains high. She said there is increased transmission in the Interior and Northern health regions because of social gatherings, which are what caused a jump in infections in B.C.'s Lower Mainland a few months ago. Nova Scotia also reported no new cases for the second time this month. The news was less positive in New Brunswick, where the Edmundston region entered the province's highest pandemic-alert level, ushering in new restrictions on businesses in the region after a record-breaking number of new cases on Sunday. The province reported 26 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday after recording 36 the day before. Provinces were also reviewing their vaccine programs to contend with a reduced supply of Pfizer-BioNTech doses after the company said last week it was cutting back on promised deliveries over the next month as it works to expand production. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Monday that his province was pausing appointments for people to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine due to the supply shortage. "Even with a new shipment of Pfizer expected later this week, we won't have enough supply to continue with new first-dose appointments," he said, adding that the province had set aside vaccines for people who were due for their second doses, and those appointments would continue. Manitoba stopped booking new appointments over the weekend, but health officials announced Monday that those bookings would resume, with room for about 4,000 new appointments this week and next. Ontario also acknowledged it was working with a supply crunch that would see its next two shipments of Pfizer vaccine reduced by 20 per cent and 80 per cent respectively. Health Minister Christine Elliott said the situation would last until late February or early March when larger shipments begin to arrive. Ontario announced that a new hospital set to open in Vaughan, Ont., would be used to relieve a capacity crunch because of rising COVID-19 admissions. Elliott and Premier Doug Ford said the Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital would add 35 new critical care beds and 150 medical beds to the province's bed capacity. Hospital capacity has been a concern in many provinces, with doctors in Ontario and Quebec being told to prepare for the possibility of implementing protocols to decide which patients get access to life-saving care in the case of extreme intensive care unit overcrowding. Nationally, COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are still increasing, according to Canada's chief public health officer. Dr. Theresa Tam noted that hospitalizations tend to lag one or more weeks behind a surge in cases. "These impacts affect everyone, as the health-care workforce and health system bear a heavy strain, important elective medical procedures are delayed or postponed, adding to pre-existing backlogs," she wrote in a statement. She said an average of 4,705 COVID-19 patients a day were being treated in Canadian hospitals during the last seven days, including an average of 875 in ICUs. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. — With files from Steve Lambert, Shawn Jeffords and Sidhartha Banerjee Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
A Kamloops man is likely to avoid jail time, after he said he panicked when he found his roommate dead in his apartment before hiding his body and disposing of it near a dumpster. Shane Brownlee, 52, pleaded guilty to one count of interference with a dead body in a Kamloops courtroom on Thursday. His roommate, David Boltwood, 65, was found dead and rolled up in a carpet behind 170 Carson Cresc. in North Kamloops on Nov. 29, 2019. Police initially suspected a homicide, but an autopsy later determined Boltwood died of natural causes. On Thursday, court heard the two men met about a month earlier and Brownlee invited Boltwood, who was homeless and had health issues, to live with him at his 170 Carson Cresc. home. According to an agreed upon statement of facts, Boltwood died sometime after Nov. 7, when Brownlee was served an eviction notice. About a week later, two people cleaning a common area in the building noticed a foul smell around Brownlee’s apartment unit. A photo taken by the building manager on Nov. 19, as part of the eviction process, showed a zebra-patterned carpet rolled up in one of the bedrooms. Unbeknownst at the time, it contained Boltwood’s decaying body. Sometime after Nov. 19, Brownlee moved Boltwood’s body, contained in the rug, to a storage locker across the hall. Many witnesses also reported smelling a strong odour coming from that part of the building. On Nov. 23, Brownlee asked a 15-year-old boy who lived in the area to help him move out of his apartment and the two moved a large cardboard box containing the zebra-print carpet outside to the building’s dumpster. It was caught on security camera footage. Five days later, two passersby noticed the concealed body and reported it to police. After police issued a press release about the discovery, the teenager called to report he had unknowingly aided Brownlee in disposing of a body. He also told police Brownlee poured Febreeze on the box, telling him it contained urine soaked blankets. Boltwood’s autopsy, conducted on Dec. 3, 2019, revealed he died of complications with emphysema. Bed sores on his body indicated he was immobile before his death, but there were no other physical signs of injury. The day before Boltwood’s body was found, Brownlee stole his girlfriend’s car, He was later arrested in Jasper, Alta. In his statement to police, Brownlee said he panicked when he came home from grocery shopping to find Boltwood deceased and was adamant he did not murder him. Asked by police why he did not call for help when he found the body, Brownlee said he suffered from anxiety and did not handle death well. He was formally charged with the offence last July. Crown prosecutor Camille Cook suggested a two-year conditional sentence order and up to three years of probation, meaning Brownlee would serve up to five years in the community on conditions that include: a curfew, refraining from using drugs and alcohol, having no contact with the teen, attending counselling and completion of 100 hours of community service. Mitigating factors in the case included: Brownlee’s confession to the crime and positive steps taken to turn his life around. Defence lawyer Kristjan Thorsteinson said Brownlee should be given a conditional sentence order ranging from six months to one year and only a year of probation. He said his client at the time of the offence was struggling with mental health issues and was severely addicted to alcohol and cannabis. In the time since, however, he has become sober, does volunteer work and reconnected with family. “It was wrong of me to run away from the situation and I’m here to accept the consequences,” Brownlee said in court. “Forgive me for what I have done.” Boltwood’s brother Benjamin, who KTW interviewed shortly after his brother’s body was discovered, was in the courtroom for the hearing. At the time he told the newspaper he thought his brother had freezed to death outside. Aggravating factors of the case were that Brownlee took away the ability for Boltwood’s family to properly mourn and lay him to rest in a way fitting to them, and that Brownlee did not seek help when he discovered the deceased. Brownlee’s criminal record, which includes a few incidents of violence and threats as well as possession of stolen property files, is also being considered. Kamloops provincial court Judge Ray Phillips has reserved judgement and a date will be determined on Monday, Jan. 18. Michael Potestio, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kamloops This Week
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Capitol complex temporarily locked down during a rehearsal for President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration after a fire in a homeless encampment roughly a mile away sent a plume of smoke into the air and caused security concerns in an already jittery city. The false alarm briefly interrupted Monday's rehearsal for Wednesday's inauguration ceremony, a quadrennial exercise in which stand-ins take the roles of Biden and other VIPs and the U.S. Marine Band goes through its paces, including practicing “The Star-Spangled Banner” for Wednesday’s performance by Lady Gaga. Rehearsal resumed not long afterward, accompanied by frequent passes by a helicopter patrolling the skies over the Capitol. Law enforcement officials said there was no threat to the public and the fire was not believed to be a threat to the inauguration. Local firefighters put out the blaze quickly. The evacuation of some participants and the lockdown were ordered by the acting chief of Capitol Police in an abundance of caution, officials said. But the fast decision to lock down underscores the fear that has gripped Washington since the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters and prompted extraordinary measures ahead of the inauguration. Armed protests planned for this past weekend around the country were mostly a bust, but anxiety is still skyrocketing. U.S. Secret Service tightened security in and around the Capitol a week early in preparation, and the city centre is essentially on lockdown with streets blocked, high fencing installed and tens of thousands of National Guard and other law enforcement officers stationed around the area. But U.S. defence officials, worried about a potential insider attack or other threat from service members involved in securing the event, pushed the FBI to vet all of the 25,000 National Guard troops coming into the area. Acting Defence Secretary Christopher Miller said in a statement Monday that vetting of National Guard troops continues and that the Pentagon has found no intelligence so far that would indicate an insider threat. Still, the Secret Service issued a bulletin over the weekend about what it sees as an “uptick” in National Guard troops posting pictures and details of their operations online. The Associated Press obtained the “all concerned” message sent to all the National Guard troops coming to Washington. Without getting into specific postings, the bulletin said, “No service members should be posting locations, pictures or descriptions online regarding current operations or the sensitive sites they are protecting” and urged them to stop immediately. Asked about the bulletin, a spokesperson for the Secret Service issued a statement saying it “does not comment on matters of protective intelligence.” President Donald Trump has refused to attend the inauguration, the first time a sitting president has not attended since Andrew Johnson, though Vice-President Mike Pence will be there as well as other former presidents. Capitol police spokeswoman Eva Malecki said there were currently no fires on or within the campus. “Members and staff were advised to shelter in place while the incident is being investigated,” she said in a statement. Firefighters were called to the homeless encampment shortly before 10:15 a.m., where a woman who lived there had a portable heater with a flammable gas tank, fire department spokesman Vito Maggiolo said. The woman, who was injured but declined medical treatment, told firefighters that the flames spread quickly and her possessions were burned. The fire was extinguished almost immediately after firefighters arrived. Participants were ushered from the West Front of the Capitol. Those who had gathered for a walk-through, including a military band, were directed to head indoors and moved in the direction of a secure location inside the Capitol complex. People involved in the rehearsal said security officials yelled “this is not a drill.” The lockdown was lifted about an hour later. Five people died in the Jan. 6 riot, including a police officer. ___ Associated Press writers Zeke Miller and Michael Balsamo in Washington and James LaPorta in Delray Beach, Florida, contributed to this report. Andrew Taylor, Colleen Long And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
Montreal resident Alexandre Cherton checked his street for any orange "no parking" signs before leaving his car next to the curb. There weren't any, so he headed into his apartment, thinking his car would be safe from tow trucks for at least another day since the city will remove any vehicle blocking snow-removal operations. Cherton was dismayed when he finally noticed the signs at 9 p.m., but he wasn't allowed outside. The province's curfew went into effect an hour before and moving his car before 5 a.m. would mean risking a hefty fine. That gave him a two-hour window Monday to get his car safely out of harm's way, as towing could start as early as 7 a.m. "This morning we had to wake up earlier to put the car elsewhere, make sure we don't get fined or get towed," Cherton said. "So it could be managed a little bit better by the city." Sud-Ouest Coun. Craig Sauve says he is looking into Cherton's complaints. "You know there's thousands and thousands and thousands of these signs that go up and down every day but we can trace it back hopefully and help him with this," he said. But the city has put in a few extra measures this year, recognizing the curfew is creating a bit of a headache for car owners who need to move their vehicle when the infamous "no parking" signs go up. The second snow-removal operation of the season started on Sunday at 7 a.m., with hospitals, access to public transit networks and major arteries a top priority. In a statement, the city says parking-prohibited signs, which are usually installed up until 8 p.m. for snow-loading starting the next day at 7 a.m., will be installed before 7 p.m. This is aimed at giving people an extra hour to move their cars before curfew. Montreal also added nearly 3,000 free parking spaces to various municipal facilities for a total of 8,400. These spaces are available during snow-loading operations. Additionally, the city says people can park for free in any off-street park-and-ride spots between 3 p.m. and 5 a.m. during snow-removal days. Of course, the parking lots are sometimes closed when snow-removal operations are scheduled there as well, the city says. Due to the curfew, snow-removal vehicles will stop activating their sirens after 7:30 p.m. to warn people to move their car. While residents are expected to adhere to both the snow-removal signs and the curfew, Montreal police will use their best judgment in an exceptional case where a car must be moved, the city says. Issuing fines for a curfew violation is completely up to the discretion of officers. The city publishes all information about snow operations, free parking spaces and towing on its website.
(ANNews) – A coalition promoting harm reduction policies to manage the opioid poisoning crisis is calling on the Alberta government to restore funding for Lethbridge’s supervised consumption site after a police investigation found funds the United Conservatives said were missing. The AIDS Reduction Community Harm Education and Support Society (ARCHES), which operated the busiest supervised consumption site in North America, was forced to shutter at the end of August after a government-ordered audit reported that $1.6 million in funding was missing. This resulted in a police investigation, which found the money and no basis for criminal charges. In light of these developments, Albertans for Ethical Drug Policy — a coalition of advocates, healthcare workers and people who use drugs — has issued a release telling Associate Minister of Addictions and Mental Health Jason Luan to reverse his decision to close the site. On March 5, 2020, the government issued a report on supervised consumption sites, which was explicitly prohibited from discussing the efficacy of the sites in favour of examining their social and economic impact on surrounding residents and businesses. Its methodology was lambasted by experts. That same day Luan announced an audit of ARCHES, which the coalition says suggests it was politically motivated. “In July 2020, Jason Luan used the findings of this audit as a justification to defund and closed down supervised consumption services (SCS) in Lethbridge, a deliberate and ideological approach that led to individual and community harms at an alarming rate,” the release notes. In just the first three-quarters of 2020, Lethbridge had 42 opioid poisoning deaths, more than double the number in 2019. Additionally, Lethbridge had the highest opioid death rate out of 100,000 people of the province’s seven largest cities at 51.1. Red Deer was the second-highest with 39.1, according to provincial data released in December 2020. Dr. Susan Adelmann, a physician who works at the Blood Tribe Medical Clinic’s detox facility in Standoff, says Lethbridge’s rate is the country’s highest and possibly North America’s. “It is so inappropriate for them to have closed that place,” she said. Adelmann wrote an open letter to Luan, which was signed by three other doctors, prior to the conclusion of the police investigation, calling on the government to reconsider its closure. The letter cited the inadequacy of the mobile site that replaced it, which operates 20 hours a day and can serve three people at a time. ARCHES, by contrast, was open 24-7, and had 13 injection booths, as well as two inhalation rooms. There was an inverse relationship between use of the supervised consumption site on the one hand, and deaths and EMS calls on the other, reported independent journalist Kim Seiver. And according to a 2017 literature review in Canadian Family Physician, opioid treatment is “far more effective” than abstinence-only recovery. Indeed, Alberta Health Serves has an explicit policy in support of harm reduction. Albertans for Ethical Drug Policy says the COVID-19 pandemic and opioid crisis have exacerbated each other, which makes harm reduction all the more crucial. “We know that COVID-19 has pushed many at-risk of overdose into isolation and has made the current drug supply more volatile than ever before. Any disruption in existing services across this province is a death sentence to our most vulnerable Albertans,” the group says. “Lethbridge ARCHES clients have done nothing to deserve being cast out into the street during a dual health crisis.” Jeremy Appel is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Alberta Native News. Jeremy Appel, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alberta Native News
The Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority’s public health officials announced a COVID-19 outbreak in the community of Black Lake First Nation on Jan. 17. The outbreak was connected to an increasing number of confirmed cases linked to both a mass gathering and travel out of the community. Officials are notifying the public that individuals who tested COVID-19 positive attended a wake/funeral event in Black on New Year’s and Jan. 1 and 2, 2021when the individuals were likely infectious. A contract tracing investigation is currently underway. Public health officials are advising individuals who were at these events on the dates specified to immediately self-isolate if they have had or currently have any symptoms of COVID-19. The also advise to call HealthLine 811 or a community health clinic to arrange for assessment and testing. “All other individuals who are not experiencing symptoms should self-monitor for 14 days from the date of last exposure, it is important to note that individuals may develop symptoms from two to 14 days following exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19,” the release explained. Symptoms of COVID-19 can vary from person to person but some common symptoms include a new or worsening cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, temperature equal to or over 39 C, feeling feverish, chills, fatigue or weakness, muscle or body aches, now loss of smell or taste, headache, gastrointestinal symptoms and feeling very unwell. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
A Quebec woman has been ordered to pay a $100,000 fine after she pleaded guilty to using fake credentials to get hired as a nurse by the Jonquière hospital and work there for 20 years. Nathalie Bélanger, 51, pleaded guilty to six out of nine criminal charges of fraud and forgery. Along with the hefty fine, she was also sentenced to community service and two years minus a day in jail. However, she will not serve her time behind bars. In Canada, a judge can decide that a person's sentence, if it is less than two years, may be served in the community with certain conditions instead of jail. This happens when the court is confident that the offender will not endanger the safety of the public. Bélanger pleaded guilty to six criminal charges of fraud and forgery. Quebec Court Judge Pierre Lortie agreed with the prosecution and defence that Bélanger had expressed remorse for her actions which began with her falsified curriculum vitae. The woman worked as a nurse at the Jonquière hospital despite allegedly having no training in nursing. She was charged for providing the employer with false documents, including a diploma, a nursing license and proof that she had paid her membership fees to the Quebec Order of Nurses. She's alleged to have used the licence number of another accredited nurse who has the same name and also works in the region, the documents say. The regional health authority, the Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS) du Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, discovered the alleged fraud when Bélanger registered for a training program, and someone realized her date of birth didn't match their records. An investigation was launched in the spring of 2019, and Bélanger was fired. Both Bélanger's lawyer, Luc Tourangeau, and prosecutor, Michaël Bourget, agreed the woman did not represent a threat to public health. "There is no evidence that she put people's safety at risk, which could have resulted in a custodial sentence," said Bourget."There is nothing to show that she could not do her job." Bourget said the woman was even responsible for training others. There were some cases where, in the operating room, doctors noticed she struggled with certain medical devices, but that wasn't enough to give her away, said Tourangeau. "On the other hand, for the patients, there was no problem," he said.