While Taylor Swift caught some flak after endorsing Vice President Joe Biden, Howard Stern is all about her relatively new political activism.
While Taylor Swift caught some flak after endorsing Vice President Joe Biden, Howard Stern is all about her relatively new political activism.
China's embassy in the Philippines has denounced the United States for "creating chaos" in Asia, after a visiting White House envoy backed countries in disputes with China and accused Beijing of using military pressure to further its interests. During a trip to Manila on Monday, national security adviser Robert O'Brien underscored the U.S. commitment to Taiwan and told the Philippines and Vietnam, countries both locked in maritime rows with China, that "we've got your back". "It shows that his visit to this region is not to promote regional peace and stability, but to create chaos in the region in order to seek selfish interests of the U.S.," the embassy said in a statement issued late Monday.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday vowed to defend the democratic island's sovereignty with the construction of a new fleet of domestically-developed submarines, a key project supported by the United States to counter neighbouring China. Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has been for years working to revamp its submarine force, some of which date back to World War Two, and is no match for China's fleet, which includes vessels capable of launching nuclear weapons. At a ceremony to mark the start of construction of a new submarine fleet in the southern port city of Kaohsiung, Tsai called the move a "historic milestone" for Taiwan's defensive capabilities after overcoming "various challenges and doubts".
The staff tested positive last week and Maxwell was checked for the virus on Nov. 18 using a rapid test which was negative, the prosecutors said in a letter to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan. Maxwell was placed in quarantine at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn for 14 days, said the letter. Maxwell has not shown any symptoms of COVID-19 and will be tested again at the end of her two-week quarantine.
Salt that crystallizes with sharp edges is the killer ingredient in the development of a reusable mask because any COVID-19 droplets that land on it would be quickly destroyed, says a researcher who is being recognized for her innovation.Ilaria Rubino, a recent PhD graduate from the department of chemical and materials engineering at the University of Alberta, said a mostly salt and water solution that coats the first or middle layer of the mask would dissolve droplets before they can penetrate the face covering.As the liquid from the droplets evaporates, the salt crystals grow back as spiky weapons, damaging the bacteria or virus within five minutes, Rubino said."We know that after the pathogens are collected in the mask, they can survive. Our goal was to develop a technology that is able to inactivate the pathogens upon contact so that we can make the mask as effective as possible."Rubino, who collaborated with a researcher at Georgia State University in Atlanta to advance the project she started five years ago, was recognized Tuesday with an innovation award from Mitacs. The Canadian not-for-profit organization receives funding from the federal government, most provinces and Yukon to honour researchers from academic institutions.The reusable, non-washable mask is made of a type of polypropylene, a plastic used in surgical masks, and could be safely worn and handled multiple times without being decontaminated, Rubino said.The idea is to replace surgical masks often worn by health-care workers who must dispose of them in a few hours, she said, adding the technology could potentially be used for N-95 respirators.The salt-coated mask is expected to be available commercially next year after regulatory approval. It could also be used to stop the spread of other infectious illnesses, such as influenza, Rubino said.Dr. Catherine Clase, an epidemiologist and associate professor of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, said the "exciting" technology would have multiple benefits.Clase, who is a member of the Centre of Excellence in Protective Equipment and Materials in the engineering department at McMaster, said there wasn't much research in personal protective equipment when Rubino began her work."It's going to decrease the footprint for making and distributing and then disposing of every mask," she said, adding that the mask could also address any supply issues.The Public Health Agency of Canada recently recommended homemade masks consist of at least three layers, with a middle, removable layer constructed from a non-woven, washable polypropylene fabric to improve filtration.Conor Ruzycki, an aerosol scientist in the University of Alberta's mechanical engineering department, said Rubino's innovation adds to more recent research on masks as COVID-19 cases rise and shortages of face coverings in the health-care system could again become a problem.Ruzycki, who works in a lab to evaluate infiltration efficiencies of different materials for masks and respirators, is also a member of a physician-led Alberta group Masks4Canada, which is calling for stricter pandemic measures, including a provincewide policy on mandatory masks.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.Camille Bains, The Canadian Press
B.C.'s health-care workers are pleading with the public to heed health orders while bracing for difficult working conditions as COVID-19 cases in the province continue to rise.On Monday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced there were another 1,933 cases of COVID-19 over the last three days and 17 more deaths.This comes just over two weeks after restrictions were initially put in place in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health authorities, and a few days after those restrictions were extended to cover the entire province. Christine Sorensen, president of the B.C. Nurses' Union, says nurses are frustrated when they see people continue to gather in groups and not follow the guidelines because that increases transmission and puts additional pressure on the health-care system."It puts greater demands on the staff that also fairly tired, looking for a bit of a rest and a break and really not seeing anything coming in the next few months, particularly with the holiday season coming and people wanting to mix and mingle with their friends and family," Sorensen said. Dr. Kathleen Ross, the president of Doctors of B.C., says the prospect of burnout is looming closer for many front line health-care workers. "Many of us are afraid to go home for fear of infecting our loved ones and many more of us drop our clothes at the door and run to the shower before we even greet our family," said Ross. "We're adjusting to the new normal ... but of course we cannot expect that surge capacity to last forever."And both Ross and Sorensen point out it is not just front line health-care workers shouldering the burden, but additional staff like cleaning crews and maintenance workers who keep the whole health-care system operational."There are lots of unsung heroes in the system, not just in the emergency rooms where there are doctors and nurses taking care of our most acutely ill," Sorensen said. Sorensen says she worries the spike in cases could escalate to point where essential health-care workers are kept on the job even if they've been exposed."[I'm] very concerned [about that]. Nurses are dedicated and they do want to continue working, but if we get enough nurses exposed or sick, we won't have enough nurses to deliver healthcare," she said. Ross says this is a crucial moment."If everyone does their part, if we all step forward and follow the public health guidelines as they have been laid out, then we'll get there. But we have to do it all together."
An opposition lawmaker called on Tuesday for Malaysia to outlaw online hate speech, accusing authorities of downplaying the gravity of an issue highlighted by a Reuters investigation into abuse on Facebook of Rohingya refugees and undocumented migrants. Citing the Reuters report on rising xenophobia online in Malaysia in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, lawmaker Chan Foong Hin asked the Communications and Multimedia Ministry last week to state its plans to combat such hate speech.
WASHINGTON — Janet Yellen is in line for another top economic policy job — just in time to confront yet another crisis.Yellen, President-elect Joe Biden's apparent choice for treasury secretary, served on the Federal Reserve's policymaking committee during the 2008-2009 financial crisis that nearly toppled the banking system.She became Fed chair in 2014 when the economy was still recovering from the devastating Great Recession. In the late 1990s, she was President Bill Clinton's top economic adviser during the Asian financial crisis.And now, according to a person familiar with Biden's transition plans, she has been chosen to lead Treasury with the economy in the grip of a surging viral epidemic. The spike in virus cases is intensifying pressure on companies and individuals, with fear growing that the economy could suffer a “double-dip” recession as states and cities reimpose restrictions on businesses.Yet many longtime observers of the U.S. economy see Yellen as ideally suited for the role.“She is extraordinarily talented,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at auditing firm Grant Thornton. “She is the right person at this challenging time. She has worked every crisis."If confirmed, Yellen would become the first woman to lead the Treasury Department in its nearly 232 years. She would inherit an economy with still-high unemployment, escalating threats to small businesses and signs that consumers are retrenching as the worsening pandemic restricts or discourages spending.Most economists say that the distribution of an effective vaccine will likely reinvigorate growth next year. Yet they warn that any sustained recovery will also hinge on whether Congress can agree soon on a sizable aid package to carry the economy through what Biden has said will be a “dark winter” with the pandemic still out of control.Negotiations on additional government spending, though, have been stuck in Congress for months.Yellen has favoured further stimulus, including more money for state and local governments, which she has said need “substantial support” to avoid further job cuts. Rescue aid for states has been a major sticking point in congressional negotiations.Nathan Sheets, chief economist at PGIM Fixed Income and a former senior Fed and Treasury official, said that Yellen could effectively use the “bully pulpit” during what are likely to be difficult negotiations with Senate Republicans."Yellen," Sheets said, “has a unique ability ... to communicate about economics and economic policies in terms that resonate with individuals.”She will also have the opportunity to work with Fed Chair Jerome Powell, with whom Yellen enjoys a close relationship after having worked together at the Fed, to restart several emergency lending programs. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last week that the programs will expire, as scheduled, at the end of this year — a decision that critics warn will unnecessarily hamstring the Fed.Powell objected to the Treasury's move, though he agreed to return money that Congress had authorized to backstop the lending.The most likely credit programs to be renewed, economists say, would be one that supported states and cities and a second, the Main Street Lending program, that targeted small and mid-sized businesses.Neither program has made very many loans. But just the understanding that those backstops existed lent confidence to the financial markets. Economists say Yellen could allow Powell to offer more generous terms to increase the programs' use.The 74-year-old Yellen, long a path-breaking figure in the male-dominated economics field, was the first woman to serve as Fed chair, from 2014 to 2018.“She is an icon,” said Stephanie Aaronson, a vice-president at the Brookings Institution and a former top economist at the Fed. “Having a female chair meant a lot to a lot of people.”Yellen was known as a highly prepared, sometimes demanding but down-to-earth manager who was popular with the Fed's staff.“I have never met anyone who has worked for or with Janet who has an unkind word to say about her," said Claudia Sahm, a former Fed economist. "She is the kind of person who uplifts her staff.”Under Yellen's tenure, the central bank began a seminal shift of its policy focus away from fighting inflation, which has been quiescent for decades, to trying to maximize employment, the second of its two mandates. That process culminated this summer when Powell announced that the Fed planned to keep rates ultra-low for a time even after inflation has topped the central bank's 2% annual target level, rather than raising rates pre-emptively.As Fed chair, Yellen won praise for her attention to disadvantaged groups, including the long-term unemployed, at a time when financial inequalities were widening across the economy. She made numerous visits to employment training centres to spotlight the need for training programs to equip people for good jobs.During the 2008-2009 financial crisis, transcripts of the Fed's meetings show that Yellen was more prescient than most other Fed officials about the potential for a deep recession and weak recovery afterward.Yellen is well-known on Capitol Hill after years of testifying as Fed chair to Senate committees about the economy and interest rate policy. During those years, she frequently clashed with Republican lawmakers who accused her of keeping rates too low for too long after the 2008 financial crisis. Some of them charged that Yellen and her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, had elevated the risk of runaway inflation and asset bubbles that could destabilize financial markets.None of those fears came to pass. On the contrary, under Bernanke and Yellen — and later, under Powell — the Fed's more difficult challenge became raising inflation merely to the Fed's annual 2% target level. It has yet to do so consistently.Yellen, a Democrat, had served only one four-year term as Fed chair when President Donald Trump decided to replace her with Powell, a Republican, despite Yellen’s desire to serve another term. That move broke a four-decade tradition of presidents allowing Fed chairs to serve at least two terms even if they had first been nominated by a president of the opposing party.After leaving the Fed, Yellen became a distinguished fellow in residence at the liberal Brookings Institution in Washington, signalling her continuing interest in financial policymaking.When she stepped down from the Fed in early 2018, Shawn Sebastian, co-director of the Fed-Up coalition, a collection of progressive groups, called Yellen's departure “a loss for working people across the country." He hailed her efforts to take on “economic inequality, racial disparities in the economy, the role of women in the workplace and the need for more diversity at the Fed.”Yet some progressives have also criticized Yellen for the Fed's December 2015 decision to raise its benchmark rate from near zero, where it had been pegged since late 2008 in the midst of the financial crisis. That rate hike, which caused a sharp increase in the value of the dollar, contributed to a slowdown in U.S. economic growth in 2016 and is now seen by many economists as having been premature.Yellen is married to George Akerlof, a Nobel Prize-winning economist whom she met in a Fed cafeteria in 1977. They have one son, Robert, who is an economics professor.___AP Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger contributed to this report.Christopher Rugaber And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Miss Vickie's Canada says some of its potato chips that were part of a recall in Eastern Canada earlier this month due to possible glass contamination were inadvertently shipped west. The company says the chips were only shipped to retail customers in Alberta, Brandon, Man., and Moose Jaw, Sask, and that it's working with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to co-ordinate a voluntary recall. It says 630 bags are involved, and they have very specific "guaranteed fresh" dates and "manufacturing codes." Consumers who have purchased the chips should not eat them and are urged to throw them out or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. At the beginning of November, Miss Vickie's recalled some chips sold online and in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada due to what it said was "isolated reports of the presence of a small piece of glass found at the bottom of the bag." The CFIA says on its website there have been reported injuries associated with the products. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020. The Canadian Press
A B.C. surgeon who called his preteen patient a "loose woman" during an appointment has been fined and reprimanded by his professional regulator.Dr. Bruce Taro Yoneda, an orthopedic surgeon based in Victoria, has admitted that he "engaged in unprofessional conduct by using sexualized language during a surgical consult," according to a public notice posted Friday by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C.Yoneda also acknowledged telling the same young patient he would give her a "lube job," and admitted he did not give her a full explanation before he began questioning her about her menstrual cycle.The college's inquiry committee, which investigates complaints against doctors, "was critical of the registrant's admitted conduct and concluded that his use of inappropriate language displayed a lack of insight," the notice says.As part of a consent agreement with the college, Yoneda has been fined $7,500, received a formal reprimand and has had his registration as a doctor transferred to "conditional" status. He's also agreed to take courses in clinical communication and professionalism.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 6:25 p.m. EST on Nov. 23, 2020:There are 337,555 confirmed cases in Canada._ Quebec: 133,206 confirmed (including 6,842 deaths, 115,367 resolved) _ Ontario: 105,501 confirmed (including 3,505 deaths, 88,992 resolved) _ Alberta: 48,421 confirmed (including 476 deaths, 34,779 resolved) _ British Columbia: 27,407 confirmed (including 348 deaths, 19,069 resolved) _ Manitoba: 14,087 confirmed (including 236 deaths, 5,353 resolved) _ Saskatchewan: 6,708 confirmed (including 37 deaths, 3,807 resolved) _ Nova Scotia: 1,190 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,074 resolved) _ New Brunswick: 445 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 349 resolved) _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 321 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 294 resolved) _ Nunavut: 134 confirmed (including 2 resolved) _ Prince Edward Island: 69 confirmed (including 64 resolved) _ Yukon: 38 confirmed (including 1 death, 22 resolved) _ Northwest Territories: 15 confirmed (including 10 resolved) _ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved) _ Total: 337,555 (0 presumptive, 337,555 confirmed including 11,521 deaths, 269,195 resolved)This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020.The Canadian Press
Many Islanders reacted to news of P.E.I. opting out of the Atlantic bubble by sharing the sentiments of Premier Dennis King — it's unfortunate but necessary.King announced that as of 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, non-essential travel in and out of P.E.I. would not be permitted, though he did allow for some flexibility for people rushing to get home.Opposition leader Peter Bevan-Baker of the Green Party tweeted his support for the premier's decision. "I was glad to hear that P.E.I. is temporarily leaving the Atlantic bubble to protect Islanders' health," he said.Penny Walsh-McGuire, CEO of the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce, said she encourages Islanders to take the opportunity to shop local this holiday season.> This temporary closure of the P.E.I. border is a layer of precaution that will allow our business community to continue to operate and to avoid entering the full lockdown situations we see in other parts of Canada. — Penny Walsh-McGuire"While it is unfortunate that we are moving towards further restrictions, the chamber supports the decision to keep Islanders safe and businesses open, especially as case numbers rise across the country," she said in a release."This temporary closure of the P.E.I. border is a layer of precaution that will allow our business community to continue to operate and to avoid entering the full lockdown situations we see in other parts of Canada."Lennox Island First Nation Chief Darlene Bernard said she and many in the Mi'kmaq community travel between the provinces to visit family and friends, but credited King and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison making the "prudent" decision in the interest of all Island residents."I understand the second wave is coming and I think we're all seeing it across the country and right now P.E.I. is the place to be, right, so we have to try to stay here and shop here and keep things going here in our province," she said."We all know, when we move, that little bug moves, so we have to stop its movement."Testing on Lennox IslandBernard said she and a number of others were tested at a temporary COVID-19 clinic set up Friday on Lennox Island after cases began to spread in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. She said all those tests came back negative."We do travel quite a bit between our communities, to Big Cove and places like that, because our families are very close and that's why we had the testing done on Lennox, too, because we had people coming in from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia areas and we were travelling outside of the province as well just getting ready for Christmas and all those kinds of things."Some people CBC P.E.I. spoke with in Charlottetown also supported the new travel restrictions.Holland College student Lilly Warner said she is disappointed because it could mean she won't be able to spend the holidays with family in Halifax, but thinks it is best for public safety.Dylan Echlin, who is from Toronto but lives in Charlottetown, said he knew it would be unrealistic to think he would be able to visit family over the holidays due to cases in Ontario. "It's something they needed to do for sure just because of the impact of what's going on in the rest of the world and how many cases are evolving with Moncton and Halifax."More from CBC P.E.I.
Residents were given proper notice of a vote to remove Fort Simpson's liquor purchasing restrictions, according to N.W.T. finance minister Caroline Wawzonek. MLA for Nahendeh Shane Thompson – also a minister – posted to Facebook on Monday regarding concerns constituents had raised about the plebiscite held on November 12. Specifically, the post related to concerns about how much public notice was provided leading up to the vote and how to contact the official in charge of it. Residents ultimately voted overwhelmingly in favour of lifting alcohol restrictions in the community. Of 730 eligible voters, 240 cast a ballot and 175 of those were in favour of removing restrictions. The Department of Finance, which oversees liquor regulations in the N.W.T., is now in the process of implementing the result, which may take several weeks. Thompson's post relayed a message he had received from Wawzonek addressing concerns. “Based on all of the information I have received to date, I am confident in the integrity of the plebiscite held in the village of Fort Simpson,” Wawzonek's message to Thompson reads. Wawzonek states some residents who attend school away from Fort Simpson believe they did not receive adequate notice of the plebiscite. She concludes, however, that there was sufficient notice within the village, on Facebook, and through the media in the weeks and months before the vote. She adds returning officer Tammie Cazon fulfilled her duties in the Local Authorities Elections Act by providing public notice of the plebiscite, including details on how and where to vote. Wawzonek says Cazon met legislative requirements by posting public notices in five locations – the bank, the Northern store, the Unity store, the Nahanni Inn and Pandaville restaurant. “It is not the responsibility of the returning officer to locate and notify every resident of the community who may not be currently living in the community. That would be an impossible task," Wawzonek writes. "Voters bear some of the responsibility for informing themselves about how to exercise their democratic right to vote.” The final concern regards the returning officer’s email address and confusion about how to reach Cazon. Wawzonek again asserts faith in the process, saying her department confirmed with Cazon only one email address was distributed for voters to use. Proxy voting was an option in the plebiscite but, according to Wawzonek, Cazon did not receive any emails related to proxy voting. The community of Fort Simpson requested the plebiscite after a petition with more than 150 signatures from residents was turned in to the village council late last year, asking for action to try to remove the restrictions. Restrictions are set to be lifted in the coming weeks, though an exact date has not been set. Once the regulations are changed and restrictions lifted, the village is still bound to pandemic-related alcohol restrictions, which limit customers to a maximum of $200 per day at any liquor store in the territory and six mickeys (375-ml bottles) of spirits in a 24-hour period.Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio
Suncor Energy says it will become the operator of Syncrude by the end of next year.The Calgary-based energy company currently owns a 59 per cent stake in the Syncrude joint venture, alongside Imperial Oil at 25 per cent, Sinopec Oil Sands Partnership at nine per cent, and CNOOC at seven per cent. Suncor said all joint owners have agreed in principle but that formal approval will still be required. Mark Little, Suncor's president and chief executive officer, said the move presents a big opportunity for the company and other joint owners. Little said "synergies" of $300 million each year are expected, and the company aims to achieve a cash operating cost of $30 Cdn. per barrel of oil and 90 per cent utilization. He said job losses are expected on the administrative side of the business and more details will be clarified going forward. "What's happening now is, instead of having a duplicate structure, now Suncor will take over that and the two organisations essentially will become one. And now we can bring the talents and capability on both sides of the fence to try to make this business as strong as possible," he told CBC. Little said many families have members who work at both operations and that the companies will be stronger together. "As neighbours for almost 50 years, Syncrude and Suncor have enjoyed a close relationship and a long, proud history in the region," Little said in a Monday news release. Syncrude is the largest single source crude oil producer in Canada, and is located in the Athabasca oilsands near Fort McMurray in northern Alberta, where Suncor also has operations. Mike MacSween, executive vice president for Suncor's upstream, said Suncor and Syncrude are working together to ensure the transition is done safely and thoughtfully."The oilsands are a large, complex business, we need talented people to run the facilities and Syncrude has a very experienced, skilled workforce that are committed to the region," he said.Syncrude said on Twitter that it will continue to keep employees and partners informed as it works through the transition process."We're proud of our employee's expertise and commitment to responsible oilsands development. Their contributions will continue to play a strong part in this new chapter," the company's post read.
China launched an ambitious mission on Tuesday to bring back material from the moon's surface for the first time in more than 40 years - an undertaking that could boost human understanding of the moon and of the solar system more generally. (Nov. 24)
Before the province builds a correctional facility off County Road 44 in North Grenville, the 182-acre parcel of land will get one more agricultural use. On Friday, Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MPP Steve Clark announced that the province has authorized the land for use to host the 2022 International Plowing Match and Rural Expo (IPM). "I'm pleased that our government has formally cleared the way for North Grenville to host the 2022 International Plowing Match on the former Kemptville College lands, bringing this prestigious event back to Leeds and Grenville," said Clark. While the 182-acre property won't hold the entire plowing match, it was a key component to hosting the event in North Grenville, according to regional plowmen's association board chairman Harry Bennett. "The land in question, which is the site of the new prison, will hold the tented city – so all the exhibitors - and we'll also use that land for the horse plowing and VIP plowing," said Bennett. Parking and the RV park will spill over across the road (County Road 44) onto municipal land, but more room is still needed. "We will need more land for the competition plowing, but that hasn't been finalized yet," said Bennett. The IPM was last held in Leeds and Grenville in 2007 when it was hosted by Rideau Lakes Township. Next year's IPM will be hosted in Lindsay. It takes about two to three years to organize each IPM, with the help of anywhere from 400 to 500 volunteers, according to Bennett. "The International Plowing Match and Rural Expo is a staple event for Ontario's farmers, which showcases our renowned agriculture sector to visitors from around the world," said Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman. Gaining permission to use the provincial acreage in North Grenville has been an ongoing negotiation for the past year. "MPP Clark was certainly in favour of us using the land, and we believe he was pushing for us to have it, so we're very grateful for that," said Bennett. Clark had requested use of the site after being approached by the Ontario Plowmen’s Association and local organizers. "The Plowing Match is an incredible opportunity for us to highlight our region's rich agricultural history and to show the world that we remain on the leading edge of food production and agri-business innovation," said Clark, adding the event is expected to attract tens of thousands of visitors to the community, providing an economic boost and creating new opportunities for investment. The Ontario Plowmen's Association, which has existed since 1911, has been organizing IPMs for more than 100 years. "The first plowing match was held in 1913 on Sunnybrook farm, the site of Sunnybrook Hospital today; it's only been cancelled a handful of times, once in 1918 due to the Spanish Flu, and a couple of times during World War II when farmers couldn't leave their farms, and then this year with COVID," said Cathy Lasby, executive director of the Ontario Plowmen’s Association.Heddy Sorour, Local Journalism Initiative, Brockville Recorder and Times
Parks Canada has announced it will push back the opening of its popular online parks reservation system from January to April in 2021.The plan is designed to allow for fewer cancellations due to changed plans, as well as to allow people to plan their vacation closer to the time they will travel, Parks Canada said.The change was announced on social media on Monday. The reservation system will be open to campers and travellers in April for dates starting in May 2021, through March 2022.The online reservation system services 38 national parks and historic sites, including popular Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper, Alta., and is often overwhelmed with reservations on opening days. In past years, campsites or so-called oTENTiks, which are cabin-like structures maintained by Parks Canada, have been snatched up very quickly, and would-be campers have waited hours for the chance to snap up a spot in the system.This year, the opening dates are staggered from coast to coast, with B.C. opening the reservation system first on April 6, followed by Alberta on April 9, working eastward to the final opening dates of April 26 for Newfoundland and Labrador.Each province has staggered dates for different parks. For example, in Alberta, Jasper opens April 9 while Banff opens April 12. There is a complete list on the Parks Canada website.For early spring or winter camping,reservations are already open for dates up to the end of March 2021, and the next reservation opportunities, starting in April 2021, will open December 16, 2020.COVID-19 safety is also a factor. The Parks Canada website says the agency is working closely with Indigenous partners and communities to ensure safe numbers in the parks, as well as safe tourism and camping practices.For more information on national parks and to book a reservation, go to the Parks Canada Reservation Service or call the reservation line at 1-877-RESERVE (1-877-737-3783).
A Regina curling rink has paused its season to deep clean the premises after a COVID-19 outbreak at a bonspiel, said a message posted to the rink's website.The outbreak happened at a seniors and masters bonspiel held at Highland Curling Club in Regina Nov. 13 to 15. The tournament included divisions for senior men and women in the 50 and up category, as well as a masters division for men aged 60 and older.There were four divisions with a maximum of eight teams per division, so as many as 128 people could have attended the tournament.In a letter to members posted to the club's website, general manager A.J. Scott said it was an "extremely isolated" event. "The rink was closed to the public and kept exclusively for the athletes competing in the event," the letter said. "We only ran two sheets at any single time, as well as made sure to run only the men's or women's divisions at one time. The teams all respected our safety protocols we have here at the rink and routine scheduled cleaning was done more than every 60 minutes as well as after every draw."Bonspiel continued after team reported symptomsOn the Saturday evening of the tournament, a team pulled out due to flu-like symptoms. Scott wrote that the club asked the remaining teams "if they felt safe and confident enough to want to continue play," and all the teams said they did, so the tournament finished as planned.Early in the week of Nov. 16, the club received a notice that members of the team that pulled out had COVID-19."Since that time, we slowly started hearing that several more players from teams that were experiencing symptoms also went and got tested and they too came back with positive results," the letter to members says. The letter says none of the people who tested positive have been in the rink since being tested.Tournaments not permitted under reopen planScott said in the letter that a COVID-19 compliance officer who visited the rink after the outbreak was "pleased" with their preparations and safety protocols.The government's Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan says tournaments are not permitted. When asked whether a bonspiel like this would qualify as a tournament, a government official pointed to a stipulation in the plan that "Competition, including play-offs, ranked and round-robin competition, is permitted within established mini-leagues and for individual sports."Initially, the letter on the website said the rink would be open for business "as usual," but the club later updated the site to say they had paused the season for two weeks."This wasn't an easy decision but we have decided it is the safest and most responsible option to keep our members and our staff protected," read the updated letter, signed by Scott and club president Kevin Fetsch."We need to do our part to help get Regina back to the safer place it was a few short weeks ago."CBC News reached out to Highland Curling Club, but they didn't immediately respond.
John Kerry, one of the leading architects of the Paris climate agreement, is getting one more chance to lead the fight against climate change after President-elect Joe Biden named the longtime senator and former secretary of state as climate envoy for national security.Biden's team gave little immediate detail on Monday about how he envisioned Kerry shaping the new job, which many on social media and on all sides of the climate-action spectrum were quick to dub “climate czar.” But the transition team made clear that it will be a prominent role, with Kerry becoming the first member of the National Security Council to focus exclusively on climate change.It was one of Biden’s first steps in making good on campaign pledges to confront climate damage from fossil fuel emissions more broadly and forcefully than any previous U.S. administration. And it's a sign of how the incoming administration is heeding warnings that natural disasters from global warming will weaken U.S. defence and spur conflicts around the globe.“America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is,” Kerry tweeted. “I’m proud to partner with the President-elect, our allies, and the young leaders of the climate movement to take on this crisis as the President’s Climate Envoy.”At 76, Kerry has the stature to help him make deals with foreign governments on global climate efforts. But he's up to a half-century or more older than the activists who pushed climate change to the forefront of national politics over the past four years.Varshini Prakash, the executive director of the Sunrise Movement climate group, whose members skew younger, called the appointment a “very good move,” saying Kerry combined a long track record on climate issues with a commitment “to engaging and listening to young voices.” But Prakash called for Biden to go further and create a new domestic federal office to push agencies on climate efforts.The incoming administration’s move comes after four years in which President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris climate accord, promoted more drilling of climate-damaging oil and gas and mining of coal, and steadily dismantled Obama administration efforts to rein in fossil-fuel emissions.Biden has pledged to get the U.S. back into the Paris climate accord. After 2018 midterm elections in which young progressives like New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez succeeded in pushing climate change toward the front of the U.S. political agenda, Biden in his presidential race promised a $2 trillion plan to overhaul the nation’s transportation and power sectors and buildings to curb fossil fuel emissions.Kerry was a senator from Massachusetts, failed Democratic presidential candidate against George W. Bush in 2004, and Obama’s second secretary of state from 2013 to 2017.In the Senate, Kerry in 2010 was one of the main authors of one of the biggest legislative pushes to date by the Congress to limit fossil fuel emissions. It failed.Kerry's former Democratic colleagues in Congress praised his appointment.Kerry brings “diplomatic and political expertise” and “knows better than anyone how to ensure this crisis receives the international attention it so desperately needs,” said Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.Brett Hartl, government affairs director for the Center for Biological Diversity environmental advocacy group, welcomed the incoming Biden administration’s move on Kerry.But “it is important somewhere in Biden’s administration,” particularly in climate, to see “not just the same people and actors we have seen before on these issues,” Hartl said.Other environmental advocates — some of whom want the U.S. to pivot away from all fossil fuels within a few years — were more acerbic. Wenonah Hauter of Food and Water Action said Kerry’s record was far too tepid on limiting fossil fuels. “Kerry’s proposals are tired ideas from years past that will do little or nothing to address our climate crisis,” Hauter said in a statement.The U.S. military has warned in a series of reports that climate change is a security threat on many fronts. That includes “through direct impacts on U.S. military infrastructure and by affecting factors, including food and water availability, that can exacerbate conflict outside U.S. borders,” the federal government’s most recent, grim climate report said.Ellen Knickmeyer, The Associated Press
Stocks ended at record highs on Tuesday while bitcoin and oil prices also rose as political uncertainty subsided after U.S. President-elect Joe Biden got the formal go-ahead to begin his transition to the White House. Short of spelling out his defeat after repeated false claims that he had won the Nov. 3 race, President Donald Trump said Monday he told the federal agency that must sign off on the presidential transition to begin the process. Japan's Nikkei closed at its highest since 1991, European stocks ended at their highest since February and Wall Street's Dow Industrials hit a record high above 30,000, with reports of Biden's nomination of former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen further enticing risk-taking investors.
A Barrie man who told court he has two months left to live has been sentenced to an additional 96 days in jail. Daniel Blight, 70, appeared in the Ontario Court of Justice via a video feed from the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene without a lawyer Friday, pleading guilty to two counts of arson, another of assault and breaching a court order to report to a probation officer. Court heard he had set fire to a couple of garbage cans at the Barrie bus terminal in October as well as another in front of a Dunlop Street bar. He also stabbed another resident at a residential building in Allandale with a knife in May, although that man required no immediate medical attention. “I’m dying of cancer, I’ve got two months left to live,” Blight told the Ontario Court of Justice in Barrie, adding he needs drugs that cost $2,500 monthly and he can’t find a place to live. He indicated he doesn’t have any relatives in the Barrie area and has no access to housing, but he has saved up enough through monthly government cheques to pay for a place to live. A lawyer appointed as a friend of the court for the hearing said social workers are available through the jail to help inmates upon release and should be able to assist with housing. Justice Nancy Dawson said an aggravating factor in sentencing was his criminal record, dating back to 2013, which included assault convictions. She gave him credit for the 36 days he spent in jail waiting for his day in court, ordering him to serve an additional sentence of 96 days. During an appearance by phone a week earlier, Blight told the court he wanted to plead guilty, but had difficulty hearing the proceedings. “I can’t hear you,” he told the court then. “My ass is on the line. Put me on that video machine.” Court was told at the time that Blight was staying in an area of the Penetanguishene jail that was on lockdown pending the outcome of another inmate’s COVID-19 test and the video suite was unavailable to him. At Friday’s hearing using that video feed, Blight confirmed he could see and hear the proceedings. Eight years ago, Blight was hospitalized after jumping out of his Blake Street apartment as it burned. Margaret Anne 'Peggy' Smith, 61, who was visiting hinm, died as a result of the blaze on May 29, 2012. The province's Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) investigated and reported that there were two possible ignition sources, but the cause was listed as undetermined. An unnamed owner of the house converted into a four-plex was later charged with a series of offences under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, including failing to check doors in fire separations, failing to maintain smoke alarms, failing to maintain closures in a fire separation door, and failing to keep the exits free of obstructions. The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs later reported that fines had been issued as a result. It added that the local fire department never previously charged homeowners for fire code infractions and that a zero tolerance to infractions was then adopted.Marg. Bruineman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, barrietoday.com