Details with meteorologist Tyler Hamilton.
Details with meteorologist Tyler Hamilton.
(NASA/JPL-Caltech - image credit) When the Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars last month, it arrived with a B.C.-made tool in its figurative tool belt. The six-wheeled, plutonium-powered U.S. rover landed on the red planet on Feb. 18, with a mandate to drill down and collect tiny geological specimens that will be returned to NASA in about 2031. That drilling will be done using a drill bit tip designed and manufactured by a company based in Langford, B.C. "It has great wear and fraction resistance so it is perfect for a Mars application," said Ron Sivorat, business director for Kennametal Inc., during an interview on CBC's All Points West. The drill bit tip is made from K92-grade tungsten carbide blanks, which Sivorat said are one of the toughest grades used for drilling here on earth and he is confident it will be good enough for Mars. According to Sivorat, the company has had a relationship with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 2014, when the space agency first began ordering and testing Kennametal Inc. drill bit tips. In 2018, the company learned NASA wanted to work with it to build a bit for Perseverance. Sivorat said staff built the drill bit to NASA's specifications and then sent it to the agency who finessed it somewhat for its Mars mission. When Perseverance landed safely on the fourth planet from the sun, it was an exciting moment for Kennametal Inc. employees, many of whom watched the landing online and are continuing to check on Perservance's daily progress updates. "We know that we are going to be part of, in one way or another, an historical event that will be remembered for many years to come," said Sivorat. Sivorat said he expects the drill bit built in B.C. to start penetrating the surface of Mars in the next couple of weeks. And B.C. is not the only Canadian province with a connection to Perseverance. Canadian Photonic Labs, based in Minnedosa, Man., manufactured a high-speed and highly-durable camera that played an instrumental role in landing the rover. The Manitoba company's relationship with NASA dates back roughly 15 years, he said — but much of the work that's happened in that time has been cloaked in secrecy.
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until the end of March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors on Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry also says first responders and essential workers may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Tuesday: ENGLAND Manchester City looks to make it 21 straight wins in all competitions by beating Wolverhampton to move 15 points clear in the Premier League. Wolves has caused City issues recently, beating Pep Guardiola's side home and away last season, but does not have star striker Raul Jimenez this time round as he recovers from a fractured skull. “The history against them shows us how tough it is and we know it perfectly," Guardiola said. “We know exactly the type of game we have to play — to be so intense but, at the same time, calm." City is in the middle of a hectic period featuring games every three or four days so will rotate again, with Raheem Sterling, Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva among those likely to be recalled. Manchester United is City's nearest challenger, 12 points back, and plays Crystal Palace on Wednesday. GERMANY Borussia Mönchengladbach has lost all three games since the club announced that coach Marco Rose will be joining Borussia Dortmund next season. The teams meet in the German Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday, when Rose will hope to end the negative spiral against his future employers. Gladbach’s troubles started before Rose’s departure was made known. It hasn’t won its last five Bundesliga games. While Gladbach has been on a slump, Dortmund’s fortunes are looking up after three wins in a row including a 4-0 rout of Schalke in the derby and a 3-2 win at Sevilla in the Champions League. Coach Edin Terzic seems to be enjoying his role now the pressure has been taken off with Rose’s arrival at the end of the season. Both teams know the German Cup is a realistic chance of a trophy with reigning champion Bayern Munich already knocked out of the competition. ITALY Injury-hit Juventus needs a win against lowly Spezia to boost its faltering title defence. The nine-time defending champion drew at Hellas Verona 1-1 last weekend to leave it 10 points behind Serie A leader Inter Milan, albeit having played a match less. Juventus will still be without Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Juan Cuadrado, Arthur and Paulo Dybala, who are all injured. Forward Álvaro Morata could recover enough for a place on the bench. Also, Lazio could move level with fourth-place Atalanta if it wins at home to relegation-threatened Torino. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
The County of Stettler council waived over $4,000 in tax penalties after a business forgot to pay their taxes on time. The decision was made at the Feb. 10 regular meeting of council streamed on the municipal YouTube channel. Councillors read a report submitted by Sharon Larsen, tax and utilities clerk, noting a local unnamed business apparently forgot to pay their taxes and were requesting the thousands of dollars in late penalties be forgiven. “A ratepayer is requesting council to consider forgiveness on the November 2020 penalty and the February 2021 penalty,” stated Larsen’s memo to council. “The ratepayer is requesting forgiveness on the November penalty of $2,239.39 and February 2020 penalty of $1,970.66. “As this is a new taxable property in 2020 with the current unpredictable environment they had unintentionally missed the payment deadline. “The 2020 levy was paid on Jan. 29, 2021.” It was noted in the memo, county staff recommended councillors waive either part or all of the penalties. Larsen said in her memo and at the council meeting councillors, last October, stated they would consider forgiveness of certain penalties due both to the economic situation and the COVID-19 pandemic. Coun. James Nibourg asked if the county still mailed out tax notices on time. County Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Yvette Cassidy answered the taxpayer in question is a new business that had some staff working from home due to the pandemic and apparently the municipal tax bill got missed in the shuffle. Larsen noted at the meeting the February penalty was based on the amount of taxes that were still outstanding. The staff memo stated that the Municipal Government Act (MGA) grants the authority to councillors to waive taxes and penalties if councillors feel it is equitable to do so. Coun. Ernie Gendre stated he didn’t have a problem waiving the penalties because the county should be supporting business not discouraging business. Councillors approved waiving all of the penalties to the unnamed business by a 6 to 1 vote, Nibourg the lone dissenter. Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review
MILAN — Fashion is off the hamster wheel, taking a deep breath that is allowing some freshness to seep into the once relentless cycle. “It is so weird thinking about fashion, and the kind of hamster wheel of fashion, and how we never had a break and always complained about it,’’ Marc Jacobs said during a Milan Fashion Week video chat with Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons post-digital show. “And then you get a break, and you complain.” Instead, he said, he was taking the moment to watch others, and be inspired. Milan Fashion Week of mostly womenswear previews for next fall and winter wrapped a nearly all-digital edition on Monday. Only one designer — Daniel Del Core, marking his brand's debut — held a live runway show for a small number of guests. While the bustle of live shows with the parade of itinerant fashionistas decamping from New York to London, Milan and finally Paris was missed, designers also were stimulated by the slower pace of the pandemic-era fashion cycle. Austrian designer Arthur Arbesser shrank his collection to just 25 looks, which he presented in visits to his Milan studio and video calls, opting out of a digital runway show. For the creations, he upcycled textiles from previous collections that had been stashed in a studio cubbyhole. The designer revitalized them either by printing a new design on the other side, in the case of a pretty pleated skirt, or printing over the original with a different pattern, in the case of a black architectural detailing over a striped cotton. Arbesser said the enforced quiet of the COVID-19-era restrictions, along with the necessity of saving money, pushed other creative forces to the fore. He and his team created a patchwork mini-dress out of cotton, silk and technical nylon, and they experimented with Shibori hand-dying for a wool mini skirt. The collection bears Arbesser’s love of prints, this season’s inspired by an actual painter’s palette that he picked up at a flea market, which he mashes up with geometrical patterns and materials that range from soft silk jersey to wool to knits. “I felt it was important to keep writing this story, my little story, keep adding chapters,’’ Arbesser said of his 8-year-old brand. “I am happy that even doing something so reduced, so little, while at the same time producing quality, you can still be seen, you can actually sell your production.” Global masters Dolce&Gabbana took a technological leap forward with a no-holds-barred, youth-inspired collection featuring technical textiles in bold hues intermingled with hologram finishes, metallic glimmers and even multi-colored Styrofoam beads, for a feast of colorful confections. The 140 looks included some reinterpretations of Domenico Dolce and Stefan Gabbana’s iconic pieces — including Madonna’s bejeweled bodysuit and corsets worn by dancers in Prince’s “Cream” video — from the early days when Dolce&Gabbana helped define the bold sexiness of the 1990s. The result was a mix of Dolce&Gabbana’s trademark tailoring, often under strands of layered pearls and gold, alongside more futuristic elements that bely our new protective bearing: elaborate eye shields, plastic sneaker coverings and transparent slickers. Underlining this leap forward, a humanoid robot developed by the Italian Institute of Technology acted as master of ceremonies for the digital runway show. “The collection is a tribute to this generation that asks us about the 1990s,” Dolce said during an in-person presentation of the looks at the designers' showroom. The designers said the younger generation’s idea of sexy is much freer of preconceived notions than in the past, meaning men can wear lace T-shirts without a second thought. “It has nothing to do with sexuality,’’ Gabbana said. “It is almost a euphemism; it’s about pleasing themselves.” Giorgio Armani staged separate digital men's and women's collections in his own theatre both around a replica of a gorilla statue dubbed Uri that has been part of his personal home decor for decades. This green version of Uri evoked the designer's support of wildlife preservation, but also echoed the collections' ties to the natural world. Prints and designs that can be interpreted as leaves, or water lilies, or simple sea creatures, provided the motif for elegantly relaxed looks. The fashion world also paid tribute to creative colleagues in the theatre, which have been mostly empty in Italy since the start of the pandemic. Pierpaolo Piccioli staged the Valentino Fall/Winter 2020/21 collection live to empty seats in Milan’s Piccolo Theater, while the singer Cosima hauntingly intoned Sinead O’Conner’s lyrics: “It’s been so lonely without you here.” The Valentino collection was a sombre affair, fitting the moment. It featured tailored jackets that have been reconstructed into capes, layered with pointy-collared white shirts, skin-fitting tops with seemingly hand-cut holes. For women, there was a movement in flouncy miniskirts peeking out of jacket hems, while feminine flourishes like ruffles on shirts were employed with discipline. Accessories featured studded bags and boots. Milan designer Francesca Liberatore had planned an extravagant show in a Milan theatre with holographic effects, but decided against it in solidarity with theatre creatives who can't occupy that space. “I had the moral problem. How could I do a show in a theatre at this moment when artists themselves cannot recite in this place?” Liberatore said by phone. Instead, her virtual show featured an actor on an empty stage, and two-dimensional models, like paper dolls, in creations including reinvented trenches in camouflage, representing the state of siege society is living under in the pandemic. Colleen Barry, The Associated Press
The Rideau Waterway Land Trust (RWLT) has launched a fundraising campaign to purchase a large property on Opinicon Lake near Chaffey’s Lock. The 30-hectare (74-acre) piece of land in the heart of the Rideau Canal, Ontario’s only World Heritage Site, is also within the Frontenac Arch UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The location provides critical habitat for many species-at-risk, the RWLT said in a release on Monday, Mar. 1, 2021. The Frontenac Arch also provides a “land bridge” that connects the boreal forest of the Canadian Shield to the forests of the Adirondack and Appalachian Mountains. The organization says this link helps to maintain genetic diversity in plant and animal life as our climate continues to undergo change. According to the release, the land abuts provincially significant wetlands, is near the Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS), and has been used for scientific research and education. The current owners now wish to sell the land and its acquisition is an ideal project to help the Trust celebrate its 25th year of successful operation. Since it’s incorporation in 1996, the RWLT has been able to preserve 20 significant properties through ownership and conservation easement while expanding its area of interest to include all the communities within the Rideau Corridor from Kingston to Ottawa. If RWLT is successful in this fundraising campaign, they say the property will be added to the Land Trust’s collection. A map of the properties protected by the RWLT can been seen here, and includes the popular Rock Dunder hiking trail near Morton, Ontario. The property up for purchase was once owned by Don and Mary Warren. Don was one of the founders of the Rideau Waterway Land Trust, an educator and activist who led the community’s resistance to the plan to electrify the Rideau Canal’s locks in the 1960s, according to the release. The organization says Mary was an enthusiastic supporter and was instrumental in convincing Don to purchase this property in 1965. The opportunity to establish the Warren Nature Reserve is a fitting tribute to their foresight, RWLT said in the release. RWLT is seeking to raise $120,000 towards the $435,000 project cost by April 2021; all donations will be used to leverage matching government funding. The RWLT expects the government funding to cover 40 per cent of the land acquisition cost, providing they are able to raise the other 60 per cent. RWLT has a very short timeframe to raise these funds, and say any and all donations from local communities would be greatly appreciated. Anyone interested can learn more about this project at www.rwlt.org/warren. Donations can be made at www.rwlt.org/donate, noting “Warren Property” in the donation comments. All donations will receive a charitable receipt. Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
B.C. is moving into the second phase of its immunization plan, vaccinating seniors in the community aged 80 and up over the course of this month. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also said the second dose of the three approved vaccines—Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca—will be delayed to four months or 16 weeks, to provide more protection to more people sooner. Henry said the initial dose provides “a very high level of real-world protection.” In Phase 2, more than 400,000 people in B.C. will receive their first vaccine dose from March to early April, including: • seniors and high-risk people residing in independent living and seniors' supportive housing (including staff); • home-care support clients and staff; • Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, Inuit) peoples born in or before 1956 (65 years and older); and • seniors born in or before 1941 (80 years and older). Today, first-dose immunizations begin for those living and working in independent living centres and seniors' supportive housing, as well as home-care support clients and staff. Health authorities will directly contact those in this priority group to book appointments—there is no need to call. Beginning Monday (March 8), seniors aged 80+ and Indigenous peoples aged 65+ who are not living in independent living or seniors' supportive housing can make one call to book their appointment through their local health authority call centre according to a staggered schedule. This is to avoid long waits and system overload. Immunization clinic locations will be confirmed at time of booking, with vaccinations starting as early as March 15: • March 8: Seniors born in or before 1931 (90 years+) and Indigenous people born in or before 1956 (65 years+) may call to book their vaccine appointment; • March 15: Seniors born in or before 1936 (85 years+) may call to book their vaccine appointment; and • March 22: Seniors born in or before 1941 (80 years+) may call to book their vaccine appointment. Health authority contact information, complete call-in schedules, hours of operations and step-by-step instructions on how to call to book an appointment for yourself, for a family member, for a friend or neighbour will be available on March 8, here: www.gov.bc.ca/bcseniorsfirst "We can now see the light at the end of what has been a difficult and challenging time for us all. To get us through, we need to continue to work together and support each other," said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer. "We are working hard each and every day to make sure that everyone who wants a vaccine gets one, and my new provincial health officer order significantly expands the range of health professions and occupations who can support our immunization clinics, including dentists, midwives, pharmacy technicians, paramedics, firefighters and retired nurses." For health professionals who want to sign up to support B.C.'s immunization efforts as immunizers, visit: https://forms.hlth.gov.bc.ca/registry-covid-19 Immunizing other priority groups identified in Phase 2, many of whom have already received their first dose, is also underway, including: • Indigenous communities, Indigenous Elders, hospital staff, community general practitioners and medical specialists not immunized in Phase 1; • vulnerable populations living and working in select congregate settings; and • staff in community home support and nursing services for seniors. In mid-April, Phase 3 will begin mass vaccination of people aged 79 to 60 years, and people aged 16+ who are extremely clinically vulnerable, at community immunization clinics throughout B.C. Mobile clinics will be available in some rural communities and for people who are homebound due to mobility issues. In Phase 3, British Columbians will register and book their appointments to receive their first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine through an online registration tool. People born between 1942 and 1946 (ages 79-75), and Indigenous peoples born between the years of 1956 and 1960 (ages 64-60), will be able to register for an appointment online or by phone by March 31. As of last week, 252,373 people in B.C. have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including 73,808 who have received their second dose. “Although there is light at the end of the tunnel, we are far from out of this,” said Premier John Horgan. “We have a long way to go.” Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has eased slightly more restrictions tied to COVID-19. Libraries can now open at 15 per cent capacity and gyms can now host indoors low-impact group activities, like Pilates and tai chi. Kenney had been expected to ease rules in other areas, such as retail capacity and hotels, but he says the COVID numbers have hit a plateau and they need more time to assess just to be safe.
(George Mortimer/CBC - image credit) A fire department in Cape Breton is extending its recruitment period for four volunteer positions, saying the pandemic has made it more difficult to enrol members. Chief John Chant, a 27-year veteran of Glace Bay's fire service, said the department launched its membership campaign earlier this year and will accept applications until April 5. "Usually we run it for 30 days and we have enough applications to start the process, but due to COVID and some of the medical criteria we have, it's hard for people to get a medical slip from a doctor now and get a physical," he said. The fire department on Reserve Street currently has 40 volunteers along with career staff. The Glace Bay volunteer fire department provides extensive training to new members. Chant said he highly recommends volunteer service, even though it means running into a burning building when other people are running out. "It has to be something that's in your heart and soul," said Chant. "You have to want to help the public, you have to want to get out of bed at 3 o'clock in the morning when you've got to work at 8 o'clock in the morning the next day. Someone who doesn't mind giving of themselves." Chant said it's the role of a firefighter to protect someone's property while staying as safe as possible in a dangerous situation. But not every call is an adrenaline rush. The fire station on Reserve Street is accepting applications until April 5. Some are unusual, like a cat stuck in a wall, said Chant. "We've done animals over cliffs, we've done changing batteries for elderly people," he said. "Sometimes people call 911 and we go into their house and solve problems for them very quickly, but for them, it was the worst day of their life." Chant said the successful applicants will go through an extensive, six-month program that includes learning from a textbook as well as on-the-job training. "It's everywhere from fire behaviour to how to put a ladder up and drag a hose," he said. "It's very vigorous and it's very educational." MORE TOP STORIES
Un train qui circulait sur le chemin de fer QNS&L a déraillé la nuit dernière. Un porte-parole de la compagnie IOC mentionne aucun blessé. La voie demeure fermée pour le moment, afin d’y effectuer des réparations. « Rio Tinto confirme qu’un déraillement impliquant un train d’IOC s’est produit sur le QNS&L au mille 175 (au Labrador) la nuit dernière. Il n’y a eu aucun blessé et les mesures nécessaires ont été prises pour assurer la sécurité des lieux. Nos équipes sont à pied d’œuvre pour effectuer les réparations requises pour rouvrir la voie le plus tôt possible. », précise un porte-parole de la Compagnie minière IOC. Transport Ferroviaire Tshiuetin mentionne également dans un communiqué, que dû à des circonstances hors de leur contrôle, le départ des voyageurs fût annulé ce matin, 1er mars. La billetterie de Sept-Îles est également fermée pour la journée, et les appels sont transférés aux bureaux de Schefferville. Karine Lachance, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
(David Bajer/CBC - image credit) Another year of business tax relief is on the way in Calgary after city council unanimously supported a plan to spend $43 million to cap increases and support those impacted by the pandemic. The plan would spend $13 million to keep non-residential property taxes to a limit of 10 per cent higher than last year in order to help soften the ongoing issue of businesses outside the core picking up the financial slack for Calgary's hollowed out downtown. The remaining $30 million would be used for a yet-to-be-defined relief program for local businesses. The details of that targeted support are expected to be unveiled at council on March 22. Debate in council focused on the need to ensure small businesses that are directly impacted by the pandemic receive the funds they need and money does not flow to larger corporations with a more robust balance sheet. Band-Aids and focused relief Coun. Jeff Davison, who brought the motion to council, said using the phased tax program, which offsets spiking tax rates, benefits too many businesses that have profited. "One of the things we need to do is figure out a better way that we can support local," he said. Coun. Druh Farrell, who recently announced she would not seek re-election, said she was supporting the plan but stressed it was yet another Band-Aid solution to a persistent civic issue. "We need to focus on the problem, not the symptom of the problem, which is the tax shift," she said. "We need to focus on downtown recovery. So again, I urge all members of council to get involved in the downtown strategy. It's all-encompassing, and it will require at least a decade, perhaps more, of concerted effort by by the City of Calgary." The city has long relied on a downtown stuffed with head offices and the resulting staff to help cover a big portion of the money flowing into city accounts, a model that collapsed alongside the price of oil. Property taxes function in such a way that tax money that has disappeared from the downtown towers must be covered by businesses outside the core, leading to the potential for massive increases. The vacancy rate downtown is hovering around 30 per cent and values have plummeted. The province responds Council over the past few years has alleviated that pressure by consistently approving one-time allocations of reserve money in order to limit increases despite concerns it is simply pushing the issue down the road. Since 2017, the city has spent over $200 million on tax relief for businesses. Last fall, city council opted to give non-residential properties a small tax cut overall. However, some business properties where land values went up will still face double-digit tax hikes in 2021. On Monday, the minister of jobs, economy and innovation, Doug Schweitzer, penned an op-ed in the Calgary Herald saying the province will form a working group to look at helping Calgary's downtown. He promised town halls on the issue through the coming months. That was met with skepticism from Calgary's mayor later in the day. "Well, minister, with all due respect, welcome to the party. We're happy to have you and we need your help. We don't need town halls for the next four to five months, we've been working on this for years," Naheed Nenshi said. "Business owners have spoken — business owners who are here, business owners who want to be here. We will be presenting a downtown strategy to council in the next few weeks based on all of that input, and we're really happy to have the province on board, but don't reinvent the wheel." Meanwhile, Calgary Chamber of Commerce CEO Murray Sigler said in an emailed statement that the organization welcomes the relief for businesses but hopes to see other changes made to alleviate property tax increases for businesses in the coming years. "The city's current financial position demands thoughtful and creative solutions to reduce costs and generate revenue without placing the tax burden on businesses and the citizens they employ and serve. Today's measures point us in the right direction. But many businesses in Calgary will still see property tax increases next year due to structural problems within the tax system, and the shift of the tax burden from the highrises in our downtown to businesses outside of the core," read Sigler's statement in part. "We must ensure fairness and sustainability in our property tax system. We urge city council to shift the non-residential to residential tax ratio, reduce the cost and increase the effectiveness of local government, make better use of non-revenue generating city-owned land, and contribute to reimagining the municipal-provincial relationship."
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia's COVID-19 vaccination-booking web page is experiencing technical issues the first day it opened to people aged 80 and over.The Health Department said today on Twitter its web page has been temporarily disabled as a precaution after booking service CANImmunize reported a slowdown because of high traffic volume.The department says CANImmunize is investigating and in the meantime, people who want to book an appointment can do so by telephone — although it says call volumes are also high.About 48,000 people in Nova Scotia are at least 80 years old and are eligible to get shots at a series of community clinics scheduled to open this month across the province.Health officials are reporting one new case of COVID-19 today and a total of 35 active known infections.They say that as of Sunday, the province had administered 32,856 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with 12,845 people having received a booster shot.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
(CBC - image credit) With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continuing to decline, Alberta eased some public health restrictions on Monday to allow fitness centres and libraries to partially reopen. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney made the announcement at a news conference on Monday. "Today, I am here to announce that Alberta is ready to safely and cautiously enter Step 2 of our path forward," Kenney said. "I want to thank every Albertan who has responsibly observed [public health] measures through Step 1 over the past several weeks to protect lives and our health-care system in the process. "I know this has not been easy, especially with cold weather in February limiting our ability to gather outdoors. But the sacrifices Albertans have made are the reason that we're able to take another step forward today. COVID-19 is still here and it is still very much a threat to our health and our health-care system. Still, over the past few months, Alberta has made tremendous progress." Libraries will be allowed to reopen as of Monday with 15 per cent of fire-code capacity and fitness centres will be allowed to resume low-intensity individual and group workouts for adults, Kenney said. Numbers down The premier highlighted the progress made in reducing case numbers and hospitalizations, which peaked at about 950 patients and have now dropped to 257, which is about 200 below the threshold the province set for entering Step 2. "Our long-term care and designated-supportive living facilities, typically called nursing homes, have seen cases plummet," Kenney said. "Thankfully, active cases in our long-term care facilities have now declined by more than 95 per cent from December's peak, and the active cases in designated-supportive living facilities for seniors have dropped by over 92 per cent. Kenney was joined at Monday's news conference by Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health. On Feb. 8, the province moved into Step 1 of its reopening, when restaurants and bars were permitted to reopen for indoor service. At the time, Kenney said, there were 432 COVID-19 patients in hospitals, with 76 in intensive care. On Monday, Alberta reported two more deaths and 291 new cases of the illness, with 247 patients being treated in hospitals, including 48 in intensive-care beds. Another 35 cases of a more-contagious variant of the coronavirus were confirmed over the past 24 hours. "All of which means that we're not out of the woods," Kenney said, "but we can continue taking small steps forward as we go into Step 2." 'Careful approach' As a precautionary measure, possible changes to current restrictions for retail, hotels, banquets, community halls and conference centres have been delayed, the premier said, given that the province has seen a slightly increase recently in the testing positivity rate and the number of active cases. No decision has been made about easing the remainder of those Step 2 restrictions , Shandro said, but they will not necessarily be delayed until Step 3 begins. Those changes "could come before Step 3," he said. WATCH | Kenney discusses province's 'careful approach' to easing restrictions Kenney said if the numbers continue to decline and the province is satisfied the variants are under control, the measures could "absolutely" be taken as part of Step 2. The province is taking a "careful approach" to reopening, Kenney said, and despite the fact that hospitalizations are well below Step 2 thresholds, there has been a small increase in the daily number of new variant cases. "I know that many Albertans want us to relax many more health measures today, but we cannot and we must not allow exponential growth to start to take hold, driven by these new, more contagious variants," he said. "To every Albertan that is worried that we're moving too slowly, and who longs for life to get back to the way things used to be, I hear your concerns, I share them. We all want to get back to that place as soon as possible. But for that to happen, the game-changer is the vaccine. Kenney called it "incredibly frustrating and totally unacceptable" that Canada ranks 40th in the world for per-capita inoculation against this virus and again called on the federal government to catch up with the rest of the world. "To every Albertan that is worried that we're moving too fast, I hear you as well. Please know that we're watching the spread of this virus very closely. By moving to Step 2 we are protecting both lives and livelihoods, and taking a safe step forward for Alberta." Variants cause for vigilance It's critical that Albertans continue to avoid indoor social gatherings, Kenney said. Any easing of restrictions increases the chance that the virus will spread, Shandro said. The variants are estimated to be 30 to 50 per cent more infectious than the common strain of the virus, the health minister said. "Now that the variants are in Alberta, we have to be even more vigilant, even as we ease measures." The province will wait "at least three weeks" before the cabinet COVID-19 committee makes a decision about moving forward with Step 3, Shandro said. "So please stay the course and abide by the public health measures, and remember that the lower that we bend the curve the more we can safely open up in the weeks ahead."
A group of opponents of the Trans Mountain expansion project planned to be at the Kamloops Law Courts on Monday (March 1) to support those who were arrested last fall in the city during demonstrations agains the work. Miranda Dick, spokesperson for the We, the Secwépemc Unity Camp to Stop the Trans Mountain Pipeline, said eight protesters were attending court on Monday following their arrests on Oct. 15 and 17, 2020. Dick said the court has not made it clear to them if the charges against them are civil or criminal in nature. Dick said court has refused to accept documents from hereditary Secwépemc Chief Henry Sawses that indicate the courts have a lack of jurisdiction on Secwépemc territory. Dick said the Secwépemc Nation members and their allies are gathering to support those arrested as they “assert their rights and take on the systemic and environmental racism inherent to the same courts that continue assert jurisdiction with no legal rights to do so.” The protesters set up an encampment near a Trans Mountain worksite off Mission Flats Road last fall. Intent on staying there permanently in a bid to stop the pipeline project, which is crossing the Thompson River at that location, the camp was dismantled by the protesters at the onset of winter, with a vow to return in the spring. Work by Trans Mountain crews at that site to pull the new pipeline underneath the river was halted shortly afterwards when the company ordered a project-wide work stoppage to review its safety practices after an on-the-job death in Edmonton and serious injury to a person in Burnaby. There have also been more than 90 cases of COVID-19 workers along the Edmonton-to-Burnaby route. Construction was scheduled to resume in early February, though some sites in Kamloops remain quiet. The protesters argue the pipeline twinning project is being done on unceded Secwépemc territory. They have also cited safety concerns for the river and salmon populations within it, along with concerns about the safety of the ongoing project. The protesters have said they represent the will of the Secwépemc people and contend First Nations band councils that do support the pipeline project have been bought off to do so. The Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation has a $3-million mutual benefits agreement with Trans Mountain. On Oct. 15, 2020, five protesters were arrested following a demonstration at the Mission Flats worksite. Some were arrested at an entranceway to the beachside worksite after refusing to leave, while others were arrested after climbing on machinery on the south side of the road. Other protesters in the area that day told KTW April Thomas, Billie Pierre, Romilly Cavanaugh, Lorelei Dick and Chief Sawses were arrested. Four people were arrested on Oct. 17 at the gate to the project worksite near Kamloops Airport. All four are believed to be women with the We, the Secwépemc Unity Camp, including group spokesperson Miranda Dick. Michael Potestio, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kamloops This Week
Travis Alkins never met Nadire Atas and she doesn’t know him from a hole in the ground. But that didn’t stop the southern Ontario woman from including the East Ferris carpenter in a tangled web of lies posted online to get back at her enemies. And despite a ground-breaking Superior Court of Justice decision in January and the arrest of Atas in Toronto last month, her dirty deeds continue to smear the reputations of 150 victims. See: Caplan v. Atas, 2021 ONSC 670 “I just want to make sure people know it's not true and how easily people can be tarnished by somebody they don't even know just by posting something online,” Alkins said, referring to how he and others are labelled as pedophiles and whatever else that might embarrass them. “And you can't get it removed.” Go ahead and Google his name for yourself to see what the married father of two children and local small business owner is up against. First to pop up are posts on websites like thecheatalert.com, adulterers.org and catfished.net with his name, business and local communities screaming across the screen in bright big letters: “Pedophile…Beware of this monster.” Look a little further down the list of Internet search suggestions and there’s even a Wordpress story with his name and photo inserted in an actual pedophile ring article. “Hopefully people don’t believe everything they read on the Internet these days but I’d like to get it clear that I am not associated with it at all,” Alkins said. The court ruling and the Atas story has made headlines in the New York Times and has been covered by the CBC, but victims like Alkins are too numerous and not mentioned specifically. Another court judgment expected later this month will name all 150 in an attempt to exonerate them. Also part of the ruling, Atas is required to hand over the passwords and alias names she used to find and remove as many of the anonymous postings as possible. But they doubt they can get them all off the Internet. Many of the websites are protected by American “freedom of speech” laws where online platforms are not responsible for what is published. And some of them are set up to charge fees for removing content, something akin to “blackmail.” Travis Alkins was targeted because his wife Melanie has an aunt who worked for a law firm that was hired to repossess property Atas lost as she went bankrupt. The court found she scoured the law firm’s available staff lists and then went after their relatives. “Her targets included people she was seeking revenge on, including my Aunt, whom she believed to have ruined her life,” said Melanie Alkins, describing how they were included. “Ms. Atas found my Aunt's family member’s names through my Grandfather’s obituary online, then searched on social media for images, and inserted them into fake news articles.” The Alkins first noticed the posts in 2017 but didn’t realize what was going on and who was doing it at first. Her aunt was targeted as part of her work in 2008 and hadn’t realized how far it had reached into her extended family. “I didn't know really about Travis being attacked until my niece reached out to me and said, ‘Do you know anything about this or what we can do about it?’ And I said, ‘Well, actually, I know who it is and we are doing something about it,’” Christina Wallis of Wallis Law in Belleville, ON recalled. “This has been a nightmare for my family members and others,” Wallis said, describing how she left the original law firm and moved away from Toronto as an attempt to get away from the links to posts about her but it didn’t work. Wallis said Ontario law needs to catch up to the Internet because most of the defamation law and court precedents were written before the world wide web. “Our Libel and Slander Act in Ontario is very, very old and has not been updated. It's really written for the times of newspaper print. It doesn't deal with the Internet,” she said, noting the few judgments that do reference the Internet don’t include proper ways of making things right. “The remedies aren't there to stop this and it's not properly addressed. “So the hope is that this case prompts the government to take a look at the defamation laws in Ontario and maybe throughout Canada and take a look at the impact that the Internet has on defamation and maybe change those laws.” See: Ontario Superior Court recognizes new cause of action addressing internet harassment The official judgment is still being hammered out, Wallis said, but it will declare Atas as the poster of these defamatory posts, including a list of the website URLs and victims, and that they are not true. Atas, she said, will also be ordered to remove them with a schedule and designates available to ensure it’s done because she’s banned from using any device connected to the Internet. Wallis said there’s still a long road ahead of them, adding they are still dealing with contempt charges when Atas didn’t follow previous court injunctions and the ruling also will be likely appealed. “This should not be allowed to happen and people should not be allowed to falsely put things on the Internet that destroys or adversely affects people's lives,” Wallis said. “I think free speech is important and people should be able to comment, but they need to do so responsibly.” Wallis feels bad about her work impacting those connected to her, such as her niece and her husband. “I vouch for Travis's character,” she said. “He's an upstanding citizen. He's a business man in this community. He's a family man. He's a wonderful person. And I am so sorry that this has happened to him as a result of my dealings in my law practice as I am other family members. It's just tragic. And if I can help clear his name, I want to do that.” The Alkins are tired of it all and looking forward to not having to worry what people might find online. “It has been four years now since we first noticed the Internet attacks against Travis,” Melanie Alkins said. “We tried to have them removed, with no success. This has been extremely upsetting and stressful, as we do have young children … it’s difficult to even know how far her damage has reached.” Travis Alkins said the situation gets more serious as his children get older and have their friends over and begin to play more sports. These kinds of rumours spread among parents behind the scenes and could end up hurting his children. He also hoped to help coach their teams and it’s not clear how this impacts the required police reference checks. “I'm not one to look for attention, so this is kind of hard for me, but it is what it is and I would like to get it clear that I am not associated with it at all,” he said. None of his customers or people they know have approached them and said they saw what’s online yet, he said. “They might not say anything because it is kind of an awkward topic,” he said. Wallis said it’s a lot more complex than people would initially think. “A lot of the websites are really extortion sites,” she said, explaining how someone can put these lies on a variety of platforms that republish them over and over again. “They take these posts from other websites and they post them on their own site. And then they contact the victim and say they’ll remove this posting if you pay us, for example, $5,000. “And so these websites are really extortion sites and some people do pay, and then they say, ‘OK, there's more postings. So if you want those removed, we require more money. Look how successful we were. We got the last one,’” she said. “We need the laws changed now throughout North America and not just in Canada, but United States as well, to stop this type of activity that's ruining people's lives,” Wallis said. Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
The Dragonfly Collective is an organization based out of Sprucedale that hopes to boost community spirit in the Township of McMurrich/Monteith. The Community Foundation Grey Bruce recently announced that it would be funding nine social purpose organizations in Central Ontario, and the Dragonfly Collective was awarded $25,000 to help with completing a business plan for its planned café and community hub. Dragonfly Collective chair Vicky Roeder-Martin said she was ecstatic to find out about the funding allotment. “It’s been a huge bonus,” said Roeder-Martin. “It’s basically a research-type grant so (we can) finish our business plan and get our professionals in line; someone to work on the website and get accountants lined up — to help move the project forward.” As it stands, the Dragonfly Collective is waiting to hear back from the Township of McMurrich/Monteith on the appraisal of the land the collective hopes to obtain, which is on George Street just off of Highway 518. “When I applied, I was hoping we’d have the land and be further along,” she said. “But it’s awesome, it’s very encouraging to receive the grant.” The Dragonfly Collective hopes to offer a café and community hub in Sprucedale to empower community members to share their skills and passions with one another through a variety of programming for all ages, as well as showcase local artisans and entrepreneurs. COVID-19 has made things difficult for Roeder-Martin and the rest of the Dragonfly Collective to hold events to promote the proposed café. “We wanted to have some events so people can find out what we’re doing as well as start doing some things that people can be part of, like fundraisers to get people interested,” she said. The Dragonfly Collective hopes to hear an update on land acquisition at the next McMurrich/Monteith council meeting. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
PRISTINA, Kosovo — Kosovo’s prime minister-designate has found himself in a difficult diplomatic position ahead of taking the post following his country’s diplomatic ties with Israel. Albin Kurti of the Self-Determination Movement party, or Vetevendosje!, is expected to be Kosovo’s next prime minister after his party won the Feb. 14 parliamentary election. On Monday, Kurti met with the Turkish ambassador in Pristina, and Kosovo’s decision to open an embassy in Jerusalem was among the topics of discussion. “The place where the embassy will be located is to be considered following checking of the documentation of the outgoing government,” said a statement issued after the talks. On Feb. 1, Kosovo established diplomatic ties with Israel and decided to open an embassy in Jerusalem — becoming the first European country and Muslim-majority one to make such plans. It followed the U.S. and Guatemala in doing so. Most countries’ embassies are in Tel Aviv. Kosovo's decision was taken when outgoing Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti met with Serb President Aleksandar Vucic at the White House in September with then-President Donald Trump. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned Kosovo that the move could damage future relations with his country. “I believe that it would be beneficial to avoid such a move that would cause great damage to Kosovo,” Erdogan said. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote that “I attach much importance to Kosovo’s decision to open its embassy in Jerusalem and I look forward to hosting you in Israel for its inauguration.” The letters sent in February were published by Kurti’s spokesman, Perparim Kryeziu, on his Facebook page as part of congratulations from world leaders on his victory. Last week, Kosovo sent its ambassador to Israel. Palestinians claim east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war and later annexed, as the capital of a future state. Most of the international community doesn't recognize the Israeli annexation of east Jerusalem and says the competing claims to the city should be resolved through negotiations. Kosovo’s Parliament declared independence from Serbia in 2008, nine years after a U.S.-led 78-day NATO airstrike campaign against Serbia to stop a bloody crackdown against ethnic Albanians — most of whom are Muslim — in Kosovo. Most Western nations have recognized Kosovo’s independence, but Serbia and its allies Russia and China have not. ——- Suzan Fraser contributed to this report from Ankara, Turkey. Zenel Zhinipotoku And Llazar Semini, The Associated Press
Chatham-Kent is trending in the right direction. Chatham-Kent will move from ‘Red-Control’ to ‘Orange-Restrict’ under Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework. The move into Orange indicates Chatham-Kent saw a weekly incidence rate of 25 to 39.9 new cases per 100,000 residents. Based on the latest data, Chatham-Kent will move from ‘Red-Control’ to ‘Orange-Restrict’ in the Framework effective Monday, March 1, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. Windsor-Essex is expected to remain in ‘Red-Control’ for at least another week. The move brings some changes as Chatham-Kent changes restriction levels. Among the biggest changes is regarding gathering sizes in organized venues. Under ‘Orange-Restrict’, up to 50 people can now gather indoors and 100 outdoors as long as physical distancing can be maintained in places such as restaurants. Additionally, religious services can now move to 30 percent capacity indoors or 100 people outdoors. The limit on private gatherings remains at 10 for indoors and 25 outdoors with distancing and masking protocols in place. However, health officials continue to recommend not gathering indoors. While many restrictions that were in place under ‘Red-Control’ will continue, locations such as restaurants and bars may now remain open until 10 p.m. Additionally, dancing, singing, karaoke and musical performances are allowed with restrictions. Movie theatres and performance venues can also reopen with a limit of 50 people indoors and a number of restrictions in place, including masking, screening and collection of contact information. Despite the numbers trending in the right direction, Mayor Darrin Canniff said now is not the time to be complacent. “The more people that get vaccinated, the better off we’ll be,” said Canniff. “The light is at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine. We just need to be patient for another few months and, hopefully, most of this will be behind us after that.” On February 26, a third COVID-19 vaccine, “AstraZeneca,” was approved by Health Canada. A fourth vaccine, being developed by Johnson & Johnson, is still awaiting approval. “I’m really hoping that Health Canada approves it soon,” said Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health, “A single-dose product that only needs refrigeration; wow, we can really work with that and get it distributed in a widespread way. The vaccines that need freezing are very effective, but they’re cumbersome to transport and to deal with.” Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News
Regina– Usually one can bank on spring breakup being announced around March 15, give or take, but with warm weather in the forecast for southern Saskatchewan, the Ministry of Highways announced on March 1 that winter weights were coming off for highways in southern Saskatchewan. Effective March 1, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., winter weight designations for some highways in southern Saskatchewan were removed. Allowable weights will return to normal regulation weights on these 52 specific roads in 101 rural municipalities, the ministry said in a release. Winter weights typically run from about November to March. Once the road bed freezes it can withstand heavier truck loads without being damaged. This allows shippers to carry more weight during the winter months. Ministry of Highways staff carefully monitor conditions to ensure this return to regulation weight happens at the appropriate time and highways are protected from potential damage. As an example of the warm weather expected, Estevan’s forecast highs according to Environment Canada for the week are 5 C on Monday, March 1, 5 C again on Tuesday, 7 C on Wednesday, 10 C on Thursday, 11 C on Friday and 15 C on Saturday. Regina’s forecast is similar to Estevan’s, and Swift Current’s goes even higher, with a forecast high of 19 on Saturday, March 6. The early onset of spring breakup will have a significant impact on Saskatchewan’s winter oil drilling season, which usually starts to shut down the second week of March. As it stands now, drilling activity for this winter is already down substantially, according to Rig Locator. On March 1 there were 24 active drilling rigs in Saskatchewan, compared to 63 on the same day in 2020 and 49 in 2019. To check which highways are impacted by weight restrictions, visit www.saskatchewan.ca/truckingweights. Information about winter weight orders is updated twice weekly, with new information published on Tuesday and Fridays. To view the interactive map showing winter weight restrictions and spring road bans, visit www.saskatchewan.ca/highwayhotline and scroll down to restrictions. Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
VANCOUVER — A lawyer for the Huawei executive facing extradition to the United States says there's evidence showing the case against her is "manifestly unreliable" and he wants that evidence admitted to the record. Meng Wanzhou's lawyer Frank Addario says emails between staff at the telecom giant and international bank HSBC show the bank was well aware that Huawei controlled another company called Skycom, therefore Meng wasn't responsible for any violation of U.S. sanctions again Iran by the bank. He told the B.C. Supreme Court hearing that staff at HSBC knew that Skycom was sold to Canicula, that Canicula was Skycom's parent company and that Huawei controlled the Canicula account. Addario is asking the judge to admit affidavits including emails and bank account information into evidence to support the defence team's case at Meng's committal hearing, to be heard in May. Meng was arrested at Vancouver's airport in 2018 on a request by U.S. officials who allege she misrepresented the relationship between Huawei and Skycom, causing HSBC to violate U.S. sanctions against Iran. Both she and Huawei deny the allegations. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press