A hoodwinker sunfish spotted at a popular dive site called Eric's Pinnacle in Monterey Bay, Calif., August 2019. (Joe Platko and JR Sosky)
A hoodwinker sunfish spotted at a popular dive site called Eric's Pinnacle in Monterey Bay, Calif., August 2019. (Joe Platko and JR Sosky)
Former President Donald Trump has clashed again with his Republican Party, demanding that three Republican groups stop using his name and likeness for fundraising, a Trump adviser said on Saturday. The adviser, confirming a report in Politico, said lawyers for Trump on Friday had sent cease-and-desist letters to the Republican National Committee, National Republican Congressional Campaign and National Republican Senate Campaign, asking them to stop using his name and likeness on fundraising emails and merchandise.
HONG KONG — A group of 11 Hong Kong pro-democracy activists accused of subversion will stay in jail for at least another five days while judges consider whether to release them on bail, a court said Saturday. The group, which includes three former legislators, will have hearings Thursday and on March 13, the High Court said. A court agreed this week to release them but prosecutors appealed the decision. They are among 47 people who were charged under a national security law imposed on the Chinese territory last year by the ruling Communist Party after pro-democracy protests. They were arrested after opposition groups held an unofficial vote last year to pick candidates for elections to the territory’s Legislative Council. Some activists planned, if elected, to vote down major bills in an attempt to force Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to resign. The national security law was imposed following months of rallies that began over a proposed China extradition law and expanded to include demands for greater democracy. The law prompted complaints Beijing is undermining the “high degree of autonomy” promised when the former British colony returned to China in 1997, and hurting its status as a business centre. People convicted of subversion or other offences under the law can face penalties of up to life in prison. Hong Kong traditionally grants bail for non-violent offences but the new law says bail cannot be granted unless a judge believes the defendant “will not continue to commit acts endangering national security.” On Friday, four of the 47 people charged were released on bail after prosecutors dropped a challenge to the decision. The group due to appear in court Thursday includes former legislators Helena Wong, Jeremy Tam and Kwok Ka-ki. The next hearing for the 47 defendants is May 31. The Associated Press
OTTAWA — A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the judicial warrant process at Canada's spy agency — an issue that made headlines last summer — stretch back at least nine years. Internal reviewers found several of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service's preparatory steps for the execution of warrant powers needed strengthening. Among the shortcomings were insufficient training of personnel and a lack of quality-control measures. In underscoring the importance of the process, the report notes warrants are authorizations issued by a federal judge that enable CSIS to legally undertake actions, including surveilling people electronically, that would otherwise be illegal. "Failure to properly apply or interpret a warrant at the time of its execution exposes the Service to the risk of its employees committing unlawful actions, and in certain situations, criminal offences," the report says. "The investigative powers outlined in warrants must be exercised rigorously, consistently and effectively." Potential misuse of these powers could result in serious ethical, legal or reputational consequences that might compromise the intelligence service's integrity, the report adds. The Canadian Press requested the 2012 audit under the Access to Information Act shortly after its completion, but CSIS withheld much of the content. The news agency filed a complaint through the federal information commissioner's office in July 2013, beginning a process that led to disclosure of a substantial portion of the document more than seven years later. CSIS operates with a high degree of secrecy and is therefore supposed to follow the proper protocols and legal framework, particularly concerning warrants, said Tim McSorley, national coordinator of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, which includes dozens of civil society organizations. "Seeing a report like this, it just raises a concern ... to what degree they're really following that framework with the most rigour possible." CSIS can apply to the Federal Court for a warrant when intrusive collection techniques are needed because other methods have failed or are unlikely to succeed. Once a judge approves a warrant but before it is executed, a step known as the invocation process takes place. It involves a request from CSIS personnel to use one or more of the authorized powers and a review of the facts underpinning the warrant to ensure appropriate measures are employed against the correct people. However, the reviewers found CSIS policy did not "clearly define or document the objectives or requirements of the invocation process." "When roles and responsibilities are not documented, they may not be fully understood by those involved. As a result, elements of the process may not be performed, or be performed by people who do not have sufficient knowledge or expertise to do so." Overall, the report found the invocation process "needs to be strengthened" through a clear definition of objectives, requirements and roles, and better monitoring, training and development of quality-control procedures. In response, CSIS management spelled out a series of planned improvements for the auditors. But concerns have persisted about the spy service's warrant procedures. A Federal Court of Canada ruling released in July said CSIS had failed to disclose its reliance on information that was likely collected illegally in support of warrants to probe extremism. Justice Patrick Gleeson found CSIS violated its duty of candour to the court, part of a long-standing and troubling pattern. "The circumstances raise fundamental questions relating to respect for the rule of law, the oversight of security intelligence activities and the actions of individual decision-makers," he wrote. Gleeson called for an in-depth look at interactions between CSIS and the federal Justice Department to fully identify systemic, governance and cultural shortcomings and failures. The National Security and Intelligence Review Agency, the key watchdog over CSIS, is examining the issues. Another review, completed early last year by former deputy minister of justice Morris Rosenberg, called for improvements, including better training and clarification of roles, but stressed they would not succeed unless the "cultural issues around warrants" were addressed. CSIS spokesman John Townsend said the intelligence service continuously works to improve training and updates its policies and procedures accordingly, informed by audits, reviews and best practices. The Rosenberg review prompted CSIS to launch an effort last year to further the service's ability to meet its duty of candour to the court, resulting in a plan that was finalized in January, Townsend said. "The plan includes specific action items directed at ensuring the warrant process is more responsive to operational needs, documenting the full intelligence picture to facilitate duty of candour and ensuring CSIS meets expectations set by the Federal Court," he said. "In addition to training on CSIS's duty of candour already provided under the auspices of the project, additional training on a variety of operational issues including warrant acquisition will be developed by the project team and offered to employees." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 6, 2021. Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
A Northwest Territories committee is changing its process for determining species at risk with the goal of better reflecting Indigenous and community knowledge. The N.W.T. Species at Risk Committee (SARC) made the announcement in a news release Tuesday. It says it will now use two separate sets of criteria based on Indigenous and community knowledge, and scientific knowledge, respectively. The final species assessment can be supported by criteria from either, or both, knowledge systems, depending on the best available information, the release says. "Around the world, accepted standards for species at risk assessments are based strongly in western science," Leon Andrew, chair of the Northwest Territories Species at Risk Committee, said in a statement. "However, there is increasing acceptance that Indigenous and community knowledges are systems of knowing in their own right that do not need to fit within a model of, or be verified by, western science." Both knowledge systems to exist as equals The release says it became "clear" to the committee that the assessment process needed to be "rethought and rebuilt" so that it "recognizes the local, holistic, eco-centric and social-spiritual context of Indigenous knowledges." The new guidelines are consistent with the Convention on Biological Diversity, it says. "Through a more balanced and holistic approach to species assessment, SARC hopes to provide room for both knowledge systems to exist and interact as equals," the release reads in part. The committee's assessment process and objective biological criteria now significantly differ from those used by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, according to the release. The new assessment process will be applied for the first time to the re-assessment of polar bears in April 2021. The committee says it will regularly review the effectiveness of the new assessment criteria.
WARSAW, Poland — A bus carrying dozens of Ukrainian citizens rolled off an embankment into a ditch in Poland, killing six people and injuring 41, Polish media reported on Saturday. The accident occurred around midnight on the A4 motorway near the town of Jaroslaw, which is in southeastern Poland near the border with Ukraine. TNV24, a private all-news station, reported that the bus had a Ukrainian license plate and was travelling with 57 Ukrainian citizens, including two drivers. A large rescue operation early Saturday involved dozens of firefighters, paramedics and helicopters to transport the injured to hospitals. There was no immediate cause given for the accident. Ukrainians travel for work to Poland, a European Union state on Ukraine's western border. Ukrainians fill gaps in the labour market in Poland, which has experienced fast economic growth in recent years. The Associated Press
The Dalai Lama, who is 85, was administered the first shot of the coronavirus vaccine on Saturday at a hospital in the north Indian hill town of Dharamsala.
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan handily won a vote of confidence from the National Assembly on Saturday, days after the embarrassing defeat of his ruling party’s key candidate in Senate elections. Khan secured the votes of 178 members of the lower house of Parliament, which is comprised of 340 lawmakers. The 11-party opposition alliance — the Pakistan Democratic Movement —boycotted the assembly’s special session. Khan needed 172 votes to show a simple majority and dispel any suggestion he had lost the support of the majority of lawmakers in the National Assembly. In the National Assembly, Pakistan's lower house, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party has the support of 180 members, including 157 members from Khan's party and 20 members from allied parties and two independents. The need for the confidence vote arose after former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in Senate elections Wednesday defeated Hafeez Sheikh, the finance minister in Khan’s Cabinet. The Senate vote was seen as a test for Khan, who came to power in the 2018 parliamentary elections. It boosted the number of Senate seats for the opposition, which has a slight, 53-47 majority over Khan and wants Khan to step down. Responding to the opposition demand, Khan decided to seek the vote of confidence, noting that it was the democratic right of lawmakers from his own party to vote against him if they oppose his policies. Frustrated over the defeat of Sheikh, Khan criticized election authorities who he said failed to ensure a free and fair vote. Earlier, he claimed that 15 or 16 lawmakers from his party “sold” their vote but they could not be identified because the vote is done by secret ballot. “In August 2018 Imran Khan got 176 votes to become prime minister and today he secured 178 votes to show his majority in the house,” said Asad Qaiser, the speaker of the lower house, after the vote. Khan said his party members went through agony after the Senate vote but now he wants to make the country great. “We have to apprise our young generation about the purpose of the creation of Pakistan,“ he said. “Pakistan was created to make a welfare Islamic state and not made to generate politicians like (former president Asif) Zardari and (former Prime Minister) Nawaz Sharif, who have been accused of corruption. The resolution of confidence was presented to the assembly by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Members who voted in favour of Khan signed a register and then entered the Parliament building lobby. Outside Parliament, opposition leaders from the former ruling party Pakistan Muslim League argued heatedly with Khan’s supporters. Zarar Khan, The Associated Press
SYDNEY, Australia — Sydney’s annual iconic Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras went ahead on Saturday, only in a different format due to coronavirus restrictions. It was being held at the Sydney Cricket Ground, where people can socially distance in their seats rather than on the traditional route down Oxford Street. Up to 23,000 spectators will be allowed in the stands while the performers will be on the pitch. Organizers say this year’s parade will move away from the traditional large floats and instead focus on the outlandish pageantry of costumes, puppetry and props. Face masks will be mandatory for participants and there will be temperature checks and screening at entry points. Meanwhile, LGBTQI rights protesters have been given the green light to march down Oxford Street in a separate event before the parade. Health officials in New South Wales state agreed to make an exception to the 500-person limit on public gatherings after organizers agreed to enhanced contact-tracing processes. The marchers are protesting social issues including transphobia, the mandatory detention of asylum-seekers and the criminalization of sex work. The Associated Press
Muslim women and women from other faiths will gather online Saturday for a special event to mark International Women's Day, which takes place on Monday. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Women's Association is bringing together presenters from different perspectives under the banner "Women as Nation Builders." The organization says the event is about celebrating and fostering excellence, along with challenging misconceptions about the contributions of women from different backgrounds in establishing successful societies. "It's a very unique and extraordinary event for women, by women," said Maham Anna Malik with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women's Association. "Our goal is to provide a forum for women from diverse backgrounds to build connections with a shared respect and mutual understanding. "We have Christian speakers, Indigenous speakers, Sikh speakers, Muslim speakers and other guests with women attending from across the prairies." The virtual event takes place at 4 p.m. MST with hundreds of women expected to take part. The list of attendees includes dignitaries, faith leaders and academics. The program includes presentations from female faith leaders, elected officials, multimedia presentations and an interactive question and answer segment. "We feel it's important to empower women, to provide a safe, encouraging and educating dialogue to learn the essential role of women as leaders and nation builders across faiths," said Malik. "Despite our differences, we have so much in common." For more information on the webinar, click here.
After questioning in the legislature Friday from Liberal Heath MacDonald, Prince Edward Island Health Minister Ernie Hudson has committed to opening a supervised injection for drug users in the province, but did not put a timeline on when that might happen. Supervised injection sites can be found in most major cities across Canada. Staff do not supply or administer illegal drugs, but are there to supply clean needles, test a consumer's drugs for fentanyl, and to watch and help if anything goes wrong, such as an overdose. Depending on staffing, they might also offer other help for users, such as accessing social services and shelter. In question period in the legislature Friday, Hudson said he personally thinks supervised injection sites are a good idea, and his government will more forward with opening one, but that he needs time to discuss implementation with experts. "I do support it, I will move forward on this, I'm not going to stand here and give a date though," Hudson said. "Are we going to have safe injection site harm reduction in the next week, in the next two weeks? No, that's not going to happen. And at the end of the day, what is this going to look like? I really couldn't say," Hudson said. Hudson said he would be discussing the matter with groups such as the harm-reduction group PEERS Alliance (formerly AIDS P.E.I.). Advocates for harm reduction on the Island have been calling on the government to create a supervised injection site as soon as possible. Overdose deaths on P.E.I. From January to September of last year, six people died of opioid overdoses on P.E.I., three of them involving fentanyl. A week ago, P.E.I.'s coroner said a young woman died after accidentally consuming cannabis laced with fentanyl. Health Minister Ernie Hudson didn't make an announcement of a supervised consumption site on Friday, but under questioning he did commit to one. (P.E.I. Legislature) Just last week in neighbouring New Brunswick, the government announced it plans to implement overdose prevention sites this year as part of a new mental health and addictions strategy. A harm reduction group there, Ensemble Moncton, estimated the sites would each cost $100,000 to $300,000 a year to run, and would be less elaborate than a supervised injection site. Some supervised injection sites, like one opened last year in Saskatoon, are in the same building as drop-in centres which offer coffee and food, and family and shelter supports. More from CBC P.E.I.
NAIROBI, Kenya — The death toll has risen to at least 20 after a vehicle packed with explosives rammed into a popular restaurant in Somalia’s capital on Friday night, with 30 wounded, the government news agency reported Saturday. The Somali National News Agency cited the Aamin ambulance service for the death toll. Police spokesman Sadiq Ali Adan blamed the attack on the local al-Shabab extremist group, which is linked to al-Qaida and often targets Mogadishu with bombings. The Luul Yamani restaurant also was attacked last year. Some houses near the restaurant collapsed after the dinnertime blast, and police said that caused a number of deaths. Security in Mogadishu had been especially heavy, with thousands of government forces deployed in anticipation of a planned demonstration on Saturday by an alliance of opposition leaders over the country’s delayed national election. The demonstration was later postponed. The Associated Press
YANGON, Myanmar — Security forces in Myanmar again used force Saturday to disperse anti-coup protesters, a day after the U.N. special envoy urged the Security Council to take action to quell junta violence that this week left about 50 peaceful demonstrators dead and scores injured. Fresh protests were reported Saturday morning in the biggest city of Yangon, where stun grenades and tear gas were used against protesters. On Wednesday, 18 people were reported killed there. Protests were also reported in Myitkyina, the capital of the northern state of Kachin, Myeik, in the country’s far south where police fired tear gas at students, and Dawei in the southeast where tear gas was also used. Other places included Kyaikto, in the eastern state of Mon, Loikaw, the capital of Kayah state in eastern Myanmar, and Myingyan, a city where one protester was killed on Wednesday. The escalation of violence has put pressure on the world community to act to restrain the junta, which seized power on Feb. 1 by ousting the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The coup reversed years of slow progress toward democracy in Myanmar, which for five decades had languished under strict military rule that led to international isolation and sanctions. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party led a return to civilian rule with a landslide election victory in 2015, and with an even greater margin of votes last year. It would have taken a second five-year term of office last month, but instead she and President Win Myint and other members of her government were placed in military detention. Large protests have occurred daily across many cities and towns. Security forces responded with greater use of lethal force and mass arrests. At least 18 protesters were shot and killed last Sunday and 38 on Wednesday, according to the U.N. Human Rights Office. More than 1,000 have been arrested, the independent Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said. U.N. special envoy for Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener said in her briefing to Friday’s closed Security Council meeting that council unity and “robust” action are critical “in pushing for a stop to the violence and the restoration of Myanmar’s democratic institutions.” “We must denounce the actions by the military,” she said. “It is critical that this council is resolute and coherent in putting the security forces on notice and standing with the people of Myanmar firmly, in support of the clear November election results.” She reiterated an earlier appeal to the international community not to “lend legitimacy or recognition to this regime that has been forcefully imposed and nothing but chaos has since followed.” The Security Council took no immediate action. Council diplomats said Britain circulated a draft presidential statement for consideration, a step below a legally binding resolution. Any kind of co-ordinated action at the U.N. will be difficult because two permanent members of the Security Council, China and Russia, are likely to veto it. Schraner Burgener earlier this week warned Myanmar’s army that the world’s nations and the Security Council “might take huge, strong measures.” “And the answer was, ‘We are used to sanctions, and we survived those sanctions in the past,’” she said. When she warned that Myanmar would become isolated, Schraner Burgener said “the answer was, ‘We have to learn to walk with only a few friends.’” The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies urged immediate protection for all Red Cross volunteers and health workers. The statement came after video from a surveillance camera that was circulated widely on social media showed members of an ambulance crew in Yangon being savagely beaten after they were taken into custody by police on Wednesday. “We express profound sadness that Myanmar Red Cross volunteers have been injured while on duty providing lifesaving first aid treatment to wounded people, in line with fundamental principles of humanity, neutrality and impartiality. Red Cross volunteers should never be targeted," the federation said. The Associated Press
CAIRO — A trailer-truck crashed into a microbus, killing at least 18 people and injuring five others south of the Egyptian capital, authorities said. The country’s chief prosecutor’s office said in a statement the crash took place late Friday on a highway near the town of Atfih, 100 kilometres (62 miles) south of Cairo. The Cairo-Assiut eastern road, located on the eastern side of the Nile River, links Cairo to the country’s southern provinces and is known for speeding traffic. Police authorities said the truck’s tire exploded, causing it to overturn and collide with the microbus. The victims were taken to nearby hospitals, the statement said. The truck driver was arrested. Traffic accidents claim thousands of lives every year in Egypt, which has a poor transportation safety record. The crashes are mostly caused by speeding, bad roads or poor enforcement of traffic laws. The country’s official statistics agency says around 10,000 road accidents took place in 2019, the most recent year for which statistics are available, leaving over 3,480 dead. In 2018, there were 8,480 car accidents, causing over 3,080 deaths. The Associated Press
A provincewide, year-long book club is about to be launched on P.E.I., and everyone is invited to join in by picking up a copy of Desmond Cole's The Skin We're In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power. The club grew from an idea during February's Black History Month events at the University of Prince Edward Island. Organizers mulling a book club decided to expand it to all Islanders. This is a perfect opportunity to read a book like this all together. — Yolanda Hood "It just made sense, especially because so much has been going on in the past year concerning BIPOC people in Canada and of course the United States," said Yolanda Hood, the metaliteracy and student engagement librarian at UPEI. "Right now there are so many people who want to learn more, and want to know more, about what's going on with BIPOC people in our community. This is a perfect opportunity to read a book like this all together." They've formed a group called P.E.I. Community Reads, which can be found on Facebook, and the official launch will be March 16. 'It's such an exciting thing that this is happening, and I wish I could be there for it in person,' says author, journalist and activist Desmond Cole.(Doubleday Canada, Chris Young/Canadian Press) "We just became really excited and decided 'Yeah, let's do this!'" Hood said. How will it work? The club is seeking volunteers in communities across P.E.I. to help lead monthly chapter discussions. They've reached out to interest groups including P.E.I.'s Black Cultural Society and Indo Canadian Association of P.E.I. Meetings will be both virtual and face to face. The book cataloguing injustice and anti-Black racism in Canada in 2017 is divided into months, with each telling a different story, so it's already perfectly portioned for a book club. Hood said everyone can start together on the March chapter in the book, but participants are welcome to read the first two chapters on their own. "We thought that having it year-long would be a more comfortable pace for people and give them time to think about the book, the chapter, the experiences," Hood said. 'We want everyone on the Island to feel like they can participate in this,' says Hood. (Sara Fraser/CBC) She notes "it's a heavy book," and they wanted people to take time to process the information and experiences shared in it, and discuss it with others. Why this 'heavy' book? When Cole published it in February 2020, The Skin We're In immediately became one of the best-selling books in Canada, hitting bookshelves during Black Lives Matter marches and protests here and around the world. UPEI and the P.E.I. Public Library Service have both stocked extra borrowing copies of The Skin We're In for the book club. (Josie Enemuoh) It chronicles Cole's personal journalism, activism and experiences alongside stories that made headlines across the country, including refugees crossing the Canada-U.S. border in the middle of winter and the death of Somali-Canadian Abdirahman Abdi at the hands of the Ottawa police. "So often we — we meaning Canada — like to look at the U.S. and say gosh, it's so horrible over there! Look at the horrible things Americans are doing to BIPOC people!" Hood said. "It's very easy for us to overlook the fact that these same things are happening, unfortunately, in Canada." Cole's consistent linking of individual experiences back to systemic racism will lead readers to consider how racism has been woven into the fabric of modern North America. "Those systems that have been put in place, were put in place because of white supremacy, and to hurt a group of people in order to reward another group of people," Hood said. Desmond Cole says choice unexpected Cole, 38, said he is honoured his book was chosen for the club, calling the news unexpected and "heartwarming." 'It's also an opportunity for Islanders who live these concerns every day to really have their voices heard as well,' says Cole of the book club discussions.(Kate Yang-Nikodym) What does he hope Islanders take away from The Skin We're In? "I hope that they see the stories that I am talking about reflected in their own communities and their own lives," he said. "I also hope that if they've been hearing Black people, Indigenous people and others in their communities talking about these issues, and dismissed that before — didn't inquire, didn't understand why people were talking about those issues in Prince Edward Island — I hope they'll take a second look at that now." He said P.E.I., in common with the rest of Canada, has a history of colonialism and anti-Blackness that he'd like to see people learn about, "not running from it, not feeling defensive or in denial about it, but really just confronting it and beginning to grapple with that history that is affecting all of us today." The book club has invited Cole to come to P.E.I. when possible, and he said he is eager to come to discuss the book and meet with P.E.I.'s Black community. How will people get their hands on the book? P.E.I.'s Public Library will provide community leaders with some book club kits, which include eight to 10 books, and librarians have ordered extra copies for borrowers. Hood said they're hoping to be able to lend electronic copies of the book too. The club will also get a hand from the Rotary Club of Charlottetown and UPEI's Rotaract Club, which will each donate some books to those who can't afford the $29.95 cost. Hood said people can contact her through the P.E.I. Community Reads Facebook page and she will arrange to get them a copy. This information in this book, these experiences, they matter to all of us. — Yolanda Hood UPEI's library has stocked extra copies, and Hood said anyone with a P.E.I. library card can borrow them. The Bookmark in Charlottetown will give a 15-per-cent discount to customers who indicate they are taking part in this book club. "We always think of P.E.I. as this warm community that's kind to each other," Hood said. "And you know, we've heard a lot of brown people in various venues speak about the fact that that's not really always the case." (CBC) For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here. More from CBC P.E.I.
Cecile Joan Moosomin walks across the land her ancestors have walked across for centuries. For Moosomin and her family the land is precious — it's life. Coming to a clearing in the woods, her partner Gale and her daughter Angel-Sky listen intently as she reads about the history of the land and the hangings that took place in the North Battleford area in 1885, and talks about what that history means for her. Now, as a member of the Mosquito Grizzly Bear's Head Lean Man First Nation, she's wondering what kind of history she and her band will write in the years to come. The band's leadership has just ratified a land-settlement claim over a century-old breach by the federal government involving 5,800 hectares and worth $127 million — but now, the 40-year-old grandmother is wondering if it was worth it. "If this land is gone, then it's gone. We can't get it back," she said. Calls for a referendum Cecile Moosomin and her daughter Angel-Sky near the Battlefords on Feb. 25, 2021. Moosomin, who says land is life to her and her family, says she's trying to start a dialouge with band leadership to hold a referendum on a $127-million land settlement reached earlier this year, as she wants to ensure the land preserved for future generations like her daughter.(Morgan Modjeski/CBC) Moosomin stressed her intent is not to spur division within her community, and shr is approaching the situation from a place of "peace and reconciliation." She now wants to see a referendum, giving each band member a chance to have a say in the decision, which she says will affect the bands for generations to come. "Everybody should have had an equal opinion about where this settlement was coming from exactly," she said. "Not just consultation with only certain groups of people — we're all people — our kids growing up, we should be informed." Cecile feels the land settlement, which was announced and published earlier this year, is a "band-aid" solution to a complex violation of the treaties that needs to be properly justified, noting she feels the current settlement does not go far enough. She says with land, people can teach future generations to become self-sufficient, leading to more stable and long-term growth. "Our children, the ones in the future, what are they going to think about $127 million," she asked. "That's going to go away. It's not about the money. We just want something good for our people." Decision reached but work not over: Chief Chief Tanya Aguilar-Antiman, who was elected to the Mosquito Grizzly Bear's Head Lean Man council in 2019, said in an interview that the aim of leadership is to be as transparent as possible with its members around the settlement. She acknowledged there should have been a referendum held among membership in 2012 when then leadership were in the early stages of bringing forward the claim, but says she does not know why it did not take place, noting that leadership had signed a trust agreement, which usually lays out the specifics of a claim, on behalf of the bands was "never, ever shared with our people. "What normally would have happened is, yes, absolutely, there would have been a community referendum, there would have been some dialogue and some sharing of information, however that never happened," she said. I've always said as a leader, as the chief, I will not fight my people." - Chief Tanya Aguilar-Antiman Aguilar-Antiman explained band leadership was only made aware of the trust agreement in November, causing leadership to wonder why a community-wide vote never took place. She also noted while the tribunal has ruled on the matter, community leaders are still looking at exploring amendments to the trust detailed by past leadership, which includes "amendments of how we can engage and involve our membership." Chief Tanya Aguilar-Antiman says there should have been a referendum held in 2012, but is not sure why leadership at the time did not take the steps to hold one. However, she says the current aim of leadership is to be transparent and accountable to its members, noting they'd be willing to explore the possibility of a referendum.(Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs) She stressed while she cannot explain "why former leaders in 2012 did what they did without telling the people," but says the leaders of today, while ready to consult with community elders, will operate in an open and straightforward manner, even as they have to make some tough and timely decisions. "Moving forward, it's 2021 and as leaders of today, that's something we want to continue to do, is to be transparent, be accountable to our members and work with our people," she said. "I've always said as a leader, as the chief, I will not fight my people." She noted the band is actually in the process of appealing portions of the decision, noting band leadership weren't satisfied with all of the tribunal's finding and she says that work continues. For her, she said the option of a referendum is something they'd be willing to explore, as they want to try and set a good example for the generations to come, but noted elder voices in the community must be considered and heard, as they were instrumental in making the land claim a reality. "It's the little ones that we're molding," she said. "To become stronger and better leaders than what we are today." Moosomin said she feels the chief's willingness to have a discussion about the land settlement as it proceeds is "really wonderful," calling it a communication breakthrough between band members and their leadership. Officials from the specific claims tribunal said it has to decline comment due to the fact tribunals and courts do not speak to decisions or matters proceeding before them, but confirmed the matter is now before the Federal Court of Appeal.
The manager of the laboratory responsible for processing a huge spike in COVID-19 tests in the past week says staff are doing "an incredible job" of keeping pace with the demand. "Of course I'm biased here because I'm in the middle of it," said Charles Heinstein, the manager of the primary microbiology lab for the central zone. "It's been definitely some of the busiest times of my career here in Nova Scotia Health, but we're hanging in here." Staff have been scrambling to process thousands of tests. Records have been broken three times this week, culminating in 6,875 tests processed on Tuesday. Not bad for a lab whose testing capacity is about 5,000. 'It's hard to sustain' "What we have the ability to do is stretch our capacity on a given day," Heinstein said. "For us to sustain almost 7,000 tests ... it's hard to sustain that for any period of time. So we can sustain it for two or three days, but then it has to draw down back to a more sustainable capacity." Before COVID-19 hit, the microbiology lab would process about 600-800 tests per day, and in the particular section where the molecular COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are analyzed, "big weeks in there would be 150 to 200 samples in the whole week," Heinstein said. "The scale of what's going on … is pretty impressive." Heinstein said while the lab has the ability to analyze about 10,000 tests per day, it's the clerical work associated with processing tests — verifying names, health card numbers and dates of birth, as well as labelling the samples with a barcode that tracks that information — that slows the system down. But over the next month or two, some new technology may speed up that process, Heinstein said. The lab has been drawing from every available resource within the system, as well as recruiting new workers and training them quickly to tackle the work. "All hands on deck is really what we've been preaching." A swab is taken at a pop-up COVID-19 testing site on the Dalhousie University campus in November.(Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press) As Nova Scotians continue to heed the calls from Dr. Robert Strang, the chief medical officer of health, to get tested, Heinstein's lab is always gearing up for the next big wave. He said after the lab saw a spike in testing last April and again in November, staff analyzed what worked and what didn't. The time will come for that again, but for now, lab workers are just trying to get through the current influx. "It's a bit of controlled chaos," Heinstein said. "So that's a little bit frazzled, but then on the opposite side of that is, staff are really proud, they're really happy, they're really invested in getting COVID tests out for Nova Scotians…. It's pretty neat to see the amount of teamwork." Testing FAQ Do daily stats of tests completed include rapid tests? No. The rapid tests completed at pop-up sites across the province are not included in the daily or cumulative figures. To date, 27,760 rapid tests have been conducted. Does the daily testing statistic reflect how many people were tested, or how many tests were processed in the lab? The daily stat shows how many PCR tests (non-rapid tests) were finished being processed in the lab. Does the number of new positives announced each day necessarily reflect swabs that were collected the day before? No. The number of positive cases is not necessarily based on the tests collected the day before, but rather the tests that were finished being processed in the lab the day before. So, for example, if 6,551 tests were processed on Wednesday, and on Thursday three new cases were announced, it doesn't mean the three positive swabs were collected on Wednesday. They may have been collected before Wednesday, but the lab only got around to processing them on Wednesday. Is the processing of tests prioritized in any way? Yes. Staff prioritize tests for people who need results urgently — for example, people who are about to be admitted to hospital or undergo surgery or be transferred to a long-term care facility. Why do test results sometimes come back at different times — even days apart — if two or more people got tested at the same time? The lab uses different systems to process tests so they can use a variety of reagents and not be limited to one supplier. Since the systems function differently — for example how the samples are loaded and how many samples can be loaded at the same time — the results can come back at different times. Why do some negative test results get delivered by email, while others get delivered with an automated phone call? If there is an error in the email address, if an email hasn't been opened after 24 hours, or if someone doesn't have a Nova Scotia health card, an automated call will be used instead. MORE TOP STORIES
CAMEROON, Cameroon — An attempt to get U.N. Security Council approval for a statement calling for an end to violence in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region and to spotlight the millions in need of humanitarian assistance was dropped Friday night after objections from India, Russia and especially China, U.N. diplomats said. Three council diplomats said Ireland, which drafted the statement, decided not to push for approval after objections from the three countries. The press statement would have been the first by the U.N.’s most powerful body on the Tigray crisis, which is entering its fourth month. Fierce fighting reportedly continues between Ethiopian and allied forces and those supporting the now-fugitive Tigray leaders who once dominated Ethiopia’s government and alarm is growing over the fate of Tigray’s 6 million people. No one knows how many thousands of civilians have been killed. On Tuesday, U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock warned that “a campaign of destruction” is taking place, saying at least 4.5 million people need assistance and demanding that forces from neighbouring Eritrea accused of committing atrocities in Tigray leave Ethiopia. The proposed statement made no mention of foreign forces or sanctions -- two key issues -- but did call “for an end to violence in Tigray.” The draft statement also noted “with concern” the humanitarian situation in Tigray, “where millions of people remain in need of humanitarian assistance” and the challenge of access for aid workers. It called for “the full and early implementation” of the Ethiopian government’s statements on Feb. 26 and March 3 committing to “unfettered access.” Council diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because consultations were private, said China wanted the statement to focus only on the humanitarian situation, with no reference to the violence in Tigray. India only wanted a minor change, and Russia reportedly supported its ally China at the last minute, the diplomats said. Accounts of a massacre of several hundred people by Eritrean soldiers in the holy city of Axum in Tigray have been detailed in reports by The Associated Press and then by Amnesty International. Federal government and regional officials in Tigray both believe that each other’s governments are illegitimate after elections disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Human Rights Watch echoed the reports on Friday, saying Eritrean armed forces “massacred scores of civilians, including children as young as 13," in the historic town of Axum in Tigray in November 2020. It called on the U.N. to urgently establish an independent inquiry into war crimes and possible crimes against humanity in Tigray. Edith M. Lederer, The Associated Press
Juliana Aguero of London, Ont., knew she was going to have a tough time buying a house after she separated from her husband. "Every time, I lost the offer for $100,000 or something like that. It was crazy," said Aguero, who made about 10 offers on homes within a span of three months. The average price of a home in London is now more than $600,000. Aguero, who moved to Canada from Colombia 11 years ago, has two children with her ex-husband. The couple decided they wanted to live in the same neighbourhood — near Victoria Hospital — and raise their children together. Aguero is shown with her ex-husband, David Cuellar, and their children, Valeria and Santiago, when the couple was still married.(Submitted by Juliana Aguero) That's when Aguero found a three-bedroom condo listed for $330,000. It seemed like a good deal; other units in the building were listed for $20,000 more. Aguero offered $375,000. Paying it forward "When my realtor came, she actually started with Juliana's offer," said Damian Devonish, a London-based therapist with three children. "[She] said, 'This is a really touching story. I know your heart and I know that you will want to give it to her.'" Without her knowledge, Aguero's realtor had included a letter with her offer, detailing her client's backstory. Devonish, also a recent immigrant, arrived in Canada eight years ago from Barbados and believes strongly in paying it forward. "We don't know how life will treat us 10, 15, 20 years from now. So the best thing to do is to live it well today." Devonish, who moved to London from Barbados eight years ago, is shown with his three children, Destiny, Caden and Dasha. (Submitted by Damian Devonish) "I really didn't have a lot of money when I came to Canada," He said. "I was having difficulty getting a job because I needed a vehicle." Devonish found a car on Kijiji and remembers how the seller agreed to take $500 less for it, and he also threw in a set of winter tires. And that's why when Devonish reviewed all of the offers on his condo, and Aguero's was the lowest by about $50,000, he still accepted it. "I just feel so blessed," said Aguero, who takes possession of the home on May 6. "I've cried. I cannot believe there are people like Damian," she said. During an interview on CBC's London Morning, Aguero spoke directly to Devonish: "I'm absolutely sure you will receive many, many blessings in different ways. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart." For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here. (CBC)
The 27-nation EU also wants Washington to ensure the free flow of shipments of crucial vaccine ingredients needed in European production, the FT report on Saturday said. "We trust that we can work together with the U.S. to ensure that vaccines produced or bottled in the U.S. for the fulfilment of vaccine producers' contractual obligations with the EU will be fully honoured,” the FT quoted the European Commission as saying. EU countries started inoculations at the end of December, but are moving at a far slower pace than other rich nations, including former member Britain and the United States.
New rules governing how temporary foreign workers can isolate upon entering New Brunswick are sowing fears about significantly higher expenses for farmers this year. Spring is around the corner and New Brunswick farmers are preparing to bring in another crop of foreign workers, mostly from Mexico and the Caribbean. However, unlike last year when workers were allowed to self-isolate in shared dwellings on their employer's property, the provincial government has said they'll now need to isolate for 14 days in accommodations that don't include shared amenities. According to a Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour memo shared with CBC News, that means temporary foreign workers won't be able to stay in accommodations that have shared sleeping quarters, shared bathrooms and showers, shared kitchen facilities or shared laundry facilities. The memo suggests employers rent hotel rooms for their workers for the 14-day period. "These changes are public health measures to minimize the risks related to the highly transmissible variants of the COVID-19 virus," the memo states. For Tim Livingstone, co-owner of Strawberry Hill Farm near Woodstock, N.B., the new rules put an added burden he's not sure he can handle. Tim Livingstone, co-owner of Strawberry Hill Farm, said he could have to spend up to $5,000 to have his workers self-isolate upon arriving in New Brunswick.(Mike Heenan/CBC) Last year, three workers he brought in were able to self-isolate in a home where they shared common amenities. While it only had one kitchen, it did have a bedroom with its own bathroom in the event one of them became sick and needed to be separated from the others. "Now, with these new rules, the house can only have one person because there's only one kitchen, even though there's, you know, multiple bedrooms and you even have two sets of laundry," Livingstone told CBC's Shift New Brunswick. "It means that we're going to most likely ... be required to put them in a motel somewhere, where they can be completely isolated for those 14 days." Livingstone said he estimates that if he had to foot the bill to put his workers in a motel, he'd possibly end up spending up to $5,000. For other farmers who expect to bring in more workers, that figure could be significantly higher, he said. On top of that, he said some farmers already went through the costly process last year of setting up accommodations for workers to isolate in shared dwellings on their property, with one farmer he knows spending $170,000 to do so. "So it's bringing a new expense, a new hurdle, right at a time when, you know, we're getting into the season, we're buying inputs, we're trying to get things lined up and all of a sudden now what we were counting on no longer fits the rules." At Friday's COVID-19 briefing, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said she had "no clear answer" to the concerns raised. After a 2020 plagued by pandemic and drought, the province's new rules will only make life harder for farmers, and potentially consumers, said Lisa Ashworth, president of the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick. Lisa Ashworth, president of the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick, said the new rule by the province could worsen New Brunswick's problem of food insecurity.(Submitted by the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick) With farmers still feeling the economic effects of a less-than-stellar year, some won't be able to plant this year if the new rules remain in place, she said. And while New Brunswick has typically relied on importing its produce from other parts of the world, strains on production elsewhere could even jeopardize that in the future, she said. "We don't want to go into another season handicapping our own province's food security if we don't have to," she said. "It's a delicate balance and that is the challenge. We want to have rigorous health and safety protocols, but they have to be realistic and they have to be economically viable at the end of the day or people will simply not plant crops."