WASHINGTON — The Defence Department took more than three hours to dispatch the National Guard to the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol despite a frantic request for reinforcement from police, according to testimony Wednesday that added to the finger-pointing about the government response. Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, told senators that the then-chief of the Capitol Police requested military support in a 1:49 p.m. call, but the Defence Department's approval for that support was not relayed to him until after 5 p.m., according to prepared testimony. Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol. That delay stood in contrast to the immediate approval for National Guard support granted in response to the civil unrest that roiled American cities last spring as an outgrowth of racial justice protests, Walker said. As local officials pleaded for help, Army officials raised concerns about the optics of a substantial National Guard presence at the Capitol, he said. “The Army senior leadership” expressed to officials on the call “that it would not be their best military advice to have uniformed Guardsmen on the Capitol,” Walker said. The Senate hearing is the second about what went wrong on Jan. 6, with national security officials face questions about missed intelligence and botched efforts to quickly gather National Guard troops that day as a violent mob laid siege to the U.S. Capitol. Even as Walker detailed the National Guard delay, another military official noted that local officials in Washington had said days earlier that no such support was needed. Senators were eager to grill officials from the Pentagon, the National Guard and the Justice and Homeland Security departments about their preparations for that day. Supporters of then-President Donald Trump had talked online, in some cases openly, about gathering in Washington that day and interrupting the electoral count. At a hearing last week, officials who were in charge of security at the Capitol blamed one another as well as federal law enforcement for their own lack of preparation as hundreds of rioters descended on the building, easily breached the security perimeter and eventually broke into the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the rioting. So far, lawmakers conducting investigations have focused on failed efforts to gather and share intelligence about the insurrectionists’ planning before Jan. 6 and on the deliberations among officials about whether and when to call National Guard troops to protect Congress. The officials at the hearing last week, including ousted Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, gave conflicting accounts of those negotiations. Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, told senators he was “stunned” over the delayed response and said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting rapidly escalated. Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar, one of two Democratic senators who will preside over Wednesday's hearing, said in an interview Tuesday that she believes every moment counted as the National Guard decision was delayed and police officers outside the Capitol were beaten and injured by the rioters. “Any minute that we lost, I need to know why,” Klobuchar said. The hearing comes as thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol and as multiple committees across Congress are launching investigations into mistakes made on Jan. 6. The probes are largely focused on security missteps and the origins of the extremism that led hundreds of Trump supporters to break through the doors and windows of the Capitol, hunt for lawmakers and temporarily stop the counting of electoral votes. Congress has, for now, abandoned any examination of Trump’s role in the attack after the Senate acquitted him last month of inciting the riot by telling the supporters that morning to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. As the Senate hears from the federal officials, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman will testify before a House panel that is also looking into how security failed. In a hearing last week before the same subcommittee, she conceded there were multiple levels of failures but denied that law enforcement failed to take seriously warnings of violence before the insurrection. In the Senate, Klobuchar said there is particular interest in hearing from Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, who was on the phone with Sund and the Department of the Army as the rioters first broke into the building. Contee, the D.C. police chief, was also on the call and told senators that the Army was initially reluctant to send troops. “While I certainly understand the importance of both planning and public perception — the factors cited by the staff on the call — these issues become secondary when you are watching your employees, vastly outnumbered by a mob, being physically assaulted,” Contee said. He said he had quickly deployed his own officers and he was “shocked” that the National Guard “could not — or would not — do the same." Contee said that Army staff said they were not refusing to send troops, but “did not like the optics of boots on the ground” at the Capitol. Also testifying at the joint hearing of the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees are Robert Salesses of the Defence Department, Melissa Smislova of the Department of Homeland Security and Jill Sanborn of the FBI, all officials who oversee aspects of intelligence and security operations. Lawmakers have grilled law enforcement officials about missed intelligence ahead of the attack, including a report from an FBI field office in Virginia that warned of online posts foreshadowing a “war” in Washington. Capitol Police leaders have said they were unaware of the report at the time, even though the FBI had forwarded it to the department. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the report was disseminated though the FBI’s joint terrorism task force, discussed at a command post in Washington and posted on an internet portal available to other law enforcement agencies. Though the information was raw and unverified and appeared aspirational in nature, Wray said, it was specific and concerning enough that “the smartest thing to do, the most prudent thing to do, was just push it to the people who needed to get it.” Mary Clare Jalonick And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now says the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that means going from a three week interval to a full four months. "NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first," the committee said in a statement. Prior to this new recommendation, NACI had said that the maximum interval between the first and second shots of the Moderna vaccine should be four weeks, the interval for the Pfizer-BioNTech product should be three weeks and the interval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be 12 weeks. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. Since first doses of all three vaccines have been shown to dramatically increase immunity to the disease, or to significantly reduce the illness associated with contracting COVID-19, the committee said stretching the interval would help protect more Canadians sooner. NACI said that it reviewed evidence from two clinical trials that looked at how effective the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were after a single dose. Those studies, NACI said, showed the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines started providing some level of protection 12 to 14 days after the first dose. By the time the second dose was administered — 19 to 42 days after the first — the first shot was shown to be 92 per cent effective. Population studies find lower protection Outside of clinical trials, NACI looked at the effectiveness of a single shot of these two vaccines in the populations of Quebec, British Columbia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. NACI said that analysis showed the effectiveness of a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine was between 70 per cent and 80 per cent among health care workers, long-term care residents, elderly populations and the general public. "While this is somewhat lower than the efficacy demonstrated after one dose in clinical trials, it is important to note that vaccine effectiveness in a general population setting is typically lower than efficacy from the controlled setting of a clinical trial, and this is expected to be the case after series completion as well," NACI said. The committee said that published data from an AstraZeneca clinical trial indicated that delaying the second dose 12 weeks or more provided better protections against symptomatic disease compared to shorter intervals between doses. Earlier this week, before NACI changed its interval advice, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Henry said data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and countries around the world showed a "miraculous" protection level of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The head of Moderna's Canadian operations, Patricia Gauthier, said Monday that the company's own trials, and the conditions under which the vaccine was approved by Health Canada, are tied to a four-week interval. "That being said, we're in times of pandemic and we can understand that there are difficult decisions to be made," Gauthier said. "This then becomes a government decision. We stand by the product monograph approved by Health Canada, but governments ... can make their own decisions." Gauthier said she was not aware of any studies done or led by Moderna on what happens when the interval between the first and second doses is changed from four weeks to four months. 'We have to do it safely and watch carefully' Dr. David Naylor, who has been named to a federal task force charged with planning a national campaign to see how far the virus has spread, said the data have been "very encouraging." "The evidence is there for the concept of further delay," Naylor told CBC News Network's Power & Politics today. "We [had] trial data from earlier showing that going out from 90 days, a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective. So things are triangulating." He said health officials need to pay close attention to the data coming out of other countries to determine if the protection provided by the first dose remains strong four months after it was administered. "We do it because we can cover more people with a single dose of the vaccine, spread the protection, prevent more severe disease and prevent fatalities, and the evidence is clear that that's what you can do if you spread those doses out widely. But we have to do it safely and watch carefully," Naylor told host Vassy Kapelos. Watch: The evidence is there for the 'concept of further delay' of second doses: Dr. Naylor: Storage and transport recommendations also changed Health Canada also announced today that after reviewing a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech, it would authorize changes to the way the vaccine is handled in Canada. The new rules allow the vaccine to be stored and transported in a standard freezer with a temperature of between -25 C and -15 C for up to two weeks, instead of the previous requirement that it be stored in ultra-cold conditions of -80 C to -60 C. Vials of the vaccine stored or transported at this higher temperature for no longer than two weeks remain stable and safe and can then be returned to ultra-cold freezers once, said the department.
THUNDER BAY — Two Thunder Bay youth detention facilities will close permanently by April 30, the Ontario government has announced. Due to a reduction of youth being admitted into custody and detention in Ontario since 2004, several youth justice facilities including the Jack McGuire Centre and JJ Kelso Youth Centre in Thunder Bay have been significantly underused. “A focus on prevention and education programs has contributed to an 81 per cent reduction of youth admitted into custody and detention,” a spokesperson with the ministry of children, community and social services said in an emailed statement. In 2019 and 2020, Jack McGuire Centre, a male youth detention centre in Thunder Bay, had a utilization rate of 29 per cent and JJ Kelso Youth Centre, a female youth facility, had a utilization rate of 12 per cent, the ministry said. “Youth who resided in these facilities are from northern communities were transferred to remaining facilities in the northern region,” the ministry said. The decision to close these facilities comes from recommendations made by the auditor general. These actions will address the significant under-utilization, build a sustainable system that will fully support youth in conflict with the law and will allow the government to reinvest more than $39.9 million annually into programs that support Ontario families and communities," the statement said. The facilities will no longer be operational by April 30. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
SOUTH DUNDAS – Declining program use and the resignation of a staff member has prompted changes to the municipality’s recreation department. Some of the changes had been decided before the resignation of Recreation Program Coordinator Jamie Scott. Scott left his position February 16th. Declining use of the municipal swimming lesson program at the Morrisburg and Iroquois Beaches prompted a review early in 2020. Before the pandemic, the municipality rostered up to nine summer students for that position. This year that number will drop to six, three each for the Morrisburg and Iroquois Beaches. South Dundas Communications Coordinator Kalynn Sawyer Helmer explained that this is based on the programming needs and budget. “Six lifeguards will be able to cover the shifts necessary without affecting the swimming lessons,” she said. In 2020, the municipality consolidated swimming lessons and hired only two lifeguards to operate the lessons due to the pandemic. Recreation programming will take a different look due, in part, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The recreation coordinator position was a full-time position, but with Scott’s departure, that role will be a part-time position for the time being. “Due to the resignation of the Programming Coordinator earlier this month, Council and staff met to discuss the future of that role,” Sawyer Helmer said. “It was felt that during the COVID-19 pandemic a part-time position would be sufficient to fill the needs of the Municipality.” The part-time coordinator position will be advertised in the coming months. “Senior management will then be able to monitor the position and re-evaluate the job details if needed as the pandemic eases,” she said. Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader
Physical distancing measures meant to keep Canadians safe during the pandemic have had an unintended consequence for the people keeping tabs on the nation's spies: they can't always access the classified information they need to do their jobs. The National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA), the watchdog set up to monitor the activities of Canada's national security and intelligence sector, says the pandemic has slowed its work. "The COVID-19 pandemic caused delays in response times and provision of briefings from departments under review," said NSIRA spokesperson Tahera Mufti. "These were compounded by limitations on workers allowed in our own offices at a given time, due to public health considerations." The pandemic problems were flagged in NSIRA's recently published plan for the coming year. "The physical distancing precautions required by the COVID-19 pandemic might continue to be needed in 2021–22. This would limit employees' access to NSIRA offices and to classified physical and electronic documents," says NSIRA's plan for 2021-2022. "Such restrictions could slow NSIRA's ability to deliver on its mandate in a timely way and limit the frequency and type of outreach NSIRA can do in person." Because of the nature of the material they work with, NSIRA staff operate in a top secret environment with strict rules about holding, analyzing and exchanging classified security and intelligence information. Those rules make it almost impossible for staff to take work files home. NSIRA was launched in the wake of the Liberals' national security legislation overhaul in 2019. It's tasked with providing independent, expert review of national security and intelligence activities across all federal departments and agencies. It also reviews all national security complaints against the RCMP, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Communications Security Establishment, as well as complaints involving security clearances. "The resource constraints of those organizations might continue to be compounded next year by disruptions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. This presents a risk of hindering NSIRA's ability to deliver on its mandate in a timely way," says the 2021-2022 plan document. Mufti said the pandemic has slowed NSIRA's hiring process. The agency employs about 75 people but needs about 100, including many with top secret security clearances. "The typical challenges associated with hiring highly skilled, security-cleared staff were compounded by the pandemic," Mufti said. In its first annual report, started before the pandemic but published late last year, NSIRA found the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service's use of publicly available geo-location data without a warrant might be breaking the law.
YEREVAN, Armenia — Thousands of opposition supporters rallied in the Armenian capital Wednesday to demand the prime minister's resignation, amid a heavy presence of security forces. Nikol Pashinyan has faced opposition demands to step down since he signed a November peace deal that ended fierce fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, in which Azerbaijan routed the Armenian forces. The political tensions escalated last week when the military’s General Staff demanded Pashinyan's resignation, and he responded by firing the chief of the General Staff, Col. Gen. Onik Gasparyan. On Wednesday, more than 10,000 opposition demonstrators rallied outside the parliament building at a time when Pashinyan arrived to attend a session. As part of tight security measures, security agents armed with sniper rifles took positions in the building's windows and on its roof and remotely controlled stun grenades were placed in a park outside. Vazgen Manukyan, a veteran politician whom the opposition named as a prospective caretaker prime minister, denounced the security measures as an attempt by Pashinyan to scare his opponents. The prime minister's order to dismiss the chief of the General Staff is subject to approval by Armenia’s largely ceremonial president, Armen Sarkissian, who has refused to endorse it. Some legal experts argued that the order would take effect automatically following Sarkissian's failure to contest it in the nation's high court, but others pointed to legal caveats that could allow the top military officer to stay on. Manukyan, the opposition leader, warned that if Pashinyan manages to force the military chief out, the army would likely disobey the prime minister. As part of manoeuvring to defuse the political crisis, Pashinyan offered to hold a snap parliamentary vote later this year but rejected the opposition's demand to step down before the vote and let a caretaker successor take the helm. Pashinyan has faced opposition demands to resign since Nov. 10 when a Russia-brokered peace deal ended six weeks of intense fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh. The agreement saw Azerbaijan reclaim control over large parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas that had been held by Armenian forces for more than a quarter-century. Pashinyan, a 45-year-old former journalist who came to power after leading large street protests in 2018 that ousted his predecessor, still enjoys wide support despite the defeat in the fighting that lasted 44 days and killed more than 6,000. He has argued that the peace deal was the only way to prevent Azerbaijan from overrunning the entire Nagorno-Karabakh region, which lies within Azerbaijan but was under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a separatist war there ended in 1994. Russia has deployed about 2,000 peacekeepers to monitor the peace deal. ____ Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report. By Avet Demourian, The Associated Press
By Jamie Mountain Local Journalism Initiative Reporter HILLIARDTON – A young Kerns Township girl has been named Ducks Unlimited Canada’s newest Wetland Hero. Lucy Harrison, 10, has been volunteering at the Hilliardton Marsh Research and Education Centre for roughly the last three years and was nominated for the program by research and education coordinator Bruce Murphy. Harrison said that after learning Murphy had nominated her for the program, she contemplated what she should do. “I decided to write a letter to the government about saving wetlands and I sent that letter and I’m hoping to get a response,” she explained in a telephone interview. “For the marsh I’m hoping to plant more trees, trying to make more wetlands and getting more people involved with nature and everything. People in the cities, they come up here and all of a sudden it’s this big change and I want people to see that the marsh is important, and everywhere else with the wetlands, and if we don’t show that then the government might say it’s not important anymore and cut it down and I want to save that.” According to the Ducks Unlimited Canada website, Wetland Heroes are young people under the age of 25 “who make a difference by taking action to conserve and protect Canada’s wetlands. They can be individuals, classes, schools or community youth clubs or groups.” Murphy said that Harrison is the first person the Hilliardton Marsh has ever nominated for the program and she would likely be the only one in Ontario named to it this year. “Basically it’s a program to encourage kids to become involved in their communities,” he explained in a telephone interview. “I’m not that totally familiar with it but it sounds pretty exciting, and to have someone from our own community getting it. She’s the only one from our community that has that designation.” There are many ways that Wetland Heroes can take action against wetland loss, including writing letters, talking to politicians, raising money, enhancing habitat or increasing awareness. A NATURAL Murphy noted that Harrison has been helping on and off at the marsh over the last three years. When Harrison started at the marsh, she helped enter data into the popular citizen science app e-Bird. Soon after that she started helping with other tasks around the marsh, including checking nets and banding birds. Murphy said that bird banding isn’t normally taught to kids younger than 10, but Harrison showed a natural ability that she could handle it. “She was more of an observer at the beginning and then really it’s in the last year that she really started to get some skills that she was able to help out a bit more,” he noted. “When we’re doing the banding, the nets are really tricky. It’s kind of a fussy little skill to take birds out of the net. It’s not that it’s that difficult, it just takes patience and you really do have to have a fairly good finger dexterity, which most of the time young kids don’t have. But Lucy, she was just a natural. I know she does a lot of sewing and stuff like that, so maybe that’s accounted for it.” Murphy said often the marsh has adults who struggle with getting birds out of the nets, so to have a 10-year-old who was able to do it so efficiently was “quite remarkable.” “We’ve had a couple of kids over the years that were kind of a natural at doing it but the other thing is you also have to have kids that have enough maturity, which is odd to say for a 10-year-old. The kids just have to have the right temperament and willingness to be teachable, really. So that’s what we found with Lucy, she was just kind of a natural and she’s really patient, so all of the attributes that you need for that to happen she possesses.” Over the past three years, Harrison has spent over a thousand hours at the marsh. She’s extracted hundreds of birds from nets and banded them. As her confidence has grown, so too has her love of the natural world. “When I first met her, she was so quiet,” said Murphy. “She’s become much more confident since coming here. It’s been a real joy to see.” Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker
OTTAWA — Efforts to boost Canada's ability to produce vaccines are among over 100 research projects receiving new federal money. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $518 million Wednesday he says will support the work of nearly 1,000 researchers. The projects receiving the cash also include ocean sensors to track climate change and setting up a digital archive to house records related to residential schools. The vaccine-related funding will be directed to the researchers from the Universite Laval-affiliated hospitals in Quebec City. Their aim is to create a public vaccine production program that will help develop and test vaccines and launch related startup companies. Frustration that Canada is reliant on foreign manufacturers to access the COVID-19 vaccine has led to calls to boost Canada's domestic capabilities. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Les déplacements interrégionaux lors de la semaine de relâche inquiètent grandement le Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) de la Côte-Nord. La présence répertoriée des variants de la COVID-19 dans la province, dont la souche sud-africaine qui affecte une douzaine de personnes en Abitibi-Témiscamingue au moment d’écrire ces lignes, effraie le médecin-conseil en santé publique au CISSS, Richard Fachehoun. « Leur introduction dans la région pourrait entraîner une augmentation rapide du nombre de cas », a-t-il souligné en conférence de presse vendredi. Le Dr Fachehoun a rappelé que le protocole de gestion des entrées est toujours en vigueur sur l’ensemble du territoire nord-côtier. Toute personne qui entre en Côte-Nord doit respecter un isolement préventif de sept jours et éviter les interactions sociales pendant 14 jours. Sa maisonnée est aussi invitée à respecter ce confinement préventif. Le protocole est plus strict pour tout individu provenant de l’extérieur de la région qui veut entrer en Minganie, en Basse-Côte-Nord ou dans Caniapiscau : un dépistage à l’arrivée et un second au jour 7 sont exigés. Mise à jour de la vaccination Le portrait de la vaccination en Côte-Nord est très satisfaisant aux yeux du président-directeur général par intérim du CISSS, Claude Lévesque. En date du 2 mars, ce sont 17 629 personnes qui ont reçu le vaccin. Près de 95 % des résidents des CHSLD et 90 % des aînés en résidences privés ou ressources intermédiaires ont accepté d’être vaccinés. Environ 4000 travailleurs de la santé, dont 2668 en contact étroit avec la clientèle, ont reçu une dose. Les adultes de la Minganie qui n’ont pas été vaccinées lors de la campagne de la mi-février pourront recevoir une dose du vaccin de Moderna dès que la compagnie en livrera, a expliqué la directrice de la vaccination COVID-19 du CISSS, Nathalie Castilloux. Le premier ministre Justin Trudeau a confirmé la semaine dernière que le Canada recevra 1,3 million de doses de Moderna d’ici la fin mars. Le CISSS de la Côte-Nord se prépare à recevoir des vaccins de Pfizer-BioNTech au courant du mars. Les personnes ayant reçu le vaccin il y a 12 semaines pourront recevoir leur seconde dose, tandis que la balance sera utilisée pour une première injection aux individus de 70 à 79 ans à Sept-Îles et Baie-Comeau. En zone orange depuis le 22 février, la Côte-Nord n’a enregistré que de faibles hausses du nombre de cas dans la dernière semaine. Au moment d’écrire ces lignes, le total s’élevait à 354 cas enregistrés depuis le début de la pandémie, dont 4 actifs et 347 guérisons. Le bilan de la Minganie est immobile à 17 personnes infectées. Laurence Dami-Houle, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Portageur
Ana Estrada, who is confined to her bed, says she feels "happy and content" about a historic decision by Peruvian officials to allow her an assisted death, a remarkable ruling in this mostly Roman Catholic country where euthanasia is illegal. "It is an individual case, but I hope it serves as a precedent," Estrada, 44, told Reuters, after the ministries of justice and health decided late on Tuesday to respect a judge's ruling that she has the right to "a dignified death." "I think it is an achievement not only of mine, not only of my cause, but also an achievement of law and justice in Peru," Estrada said with a muffled and broken voice.
CHARLOTTETOWN — The health orders that closed schools and most non-essential businesses on Prince Edward Island for three days will end at midnight tonight. Premier Dennis King said today the 11,000 COVID-19 tests conducted since the weekend provide confidence restrictions can be eased. The restrictions were imposed after clusters of COVID-19 cases emerged in Charlottetown and Summerside. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison is reporting one new case of COVID-19 today involving a woman in her 20s who is a close contact of a previously reported case.Morrison says results from about 800 tests are still pending, so there may be more positive cases.There are 22 active reported cases in the province — the highest number since the start of the pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Capitol Police say they have intelligence showing there is a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the U.S. Capitol on Thursday. The revelation was detailed in a statement from the Capitol Police. It comes at the same time the acting police chief is testifying before a House subcommittee. The statement differs from an advisory that was sent to members of Congress by the acting House sergeant-at-arms this week, saying that Capitol Police had “no indication that groups will travel to Washington D.C. to protest or commit acts of violence.” The threat comes nearly two months after thousands of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in a violent insurrection as Congress was voting to certify Joe Biden’s electoral win. So far, about 300 people have been charged with federal crimes for their roles in the riot. Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died. The threat appears to be connected to a far-right conspiracy theory, mainly promoted by supporters of QAnon, that Trump will rise again to power on March 4, which was the original presidential inauguration day, until 1933, when it was moved to Jan. 20. Many of the accounts that helped promote and organize the Jan. 6 riots on platforms like Facebook and Twitter have since been suspended, making it more difficult for the groups to organize. ___ Associated Press writers Nomaan Merchant, Colleen Long and Alan Fram contributed to this report. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
Loving classic films can be a fraught pastime. Just consider the cultural firestorm over “Gone With the Wind” this past summer. No one knows this better than the film lovers at Turner Classic Movies who daily are confronted with the complicated reality that many of old Hollywood’s most celebrated films are also often a kitchen sink of stereotypes. This summer, amid the Black Lives Matter protests, the channel’s programmers and hosts decided to do something about it. The result is a new series, “ Reframed Classics,” which promises wide-ranging discussions about 18 culturally significant films from the 1920s through the 1960s that also have problematic aspects, from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and Mickey Rooney’s performance as Mr. Yunioshi to Fred Astaire’s blackface routine in “Swing Time.” It kicks off Thursday at 8 p.m. ET with none other than “Gone With the Wind.” “We know millions of people love these films,” said TCM host Jacqueline Stewart, who is participating in many of the conversations. “We’re not saying this is how you should feel about ‘Pyscho’ or this is how you should feel about ‘Gone with the Wind.’ We’re just trying to model ways of having longer and deeper conversations and not just cutting it off to ‘I love this movie. I hate this movie.’ There’s so much space in between.” Stewart, a University of Chicago professor who in 2019 became the channel’s first African American host, has spent her career studying classic films, particularly those in the silent era, and Black audiences. She knows first-hand the tension of loving films that also contain racial stereotypes. “I grew up in a family of people who loved classic films. Now, how can you love these films if you know that there’s going to be a maid or mammy that shows up?” Stewart said. “Well, I grew up around people who could still love the movie. You appreciate some parts of it. You critique other parts of it. That’s something that one can do and it actually can enrich your experience of the film.” While TCM audiences will know her as the host of Silent Sunday Nights, this past summer she was given a bigger spotlight when she was selected to introduce “Gone With the Wind” on HBO Max to provide proper context after its controversial removal from the streaming service. She remembers drafting her remarks for that while also concocting this series. “I continue to feel a sense of urgency around these topics,” she said. “We’re showing films that really shaped the ways that people continue to think about race and gender and sexuality and ability. It was really important for the group to come together to think about how we can work with each other and work with our fans to deepen the conversations about these films.” TCM hosts Ben Mankiewicz, Dave Karger, Alicia Malone and Eddie Muller will also be part of many conversations. The films that they’ve selected aren’t under the radar novelties either. As Stewart said, “they’re the classics of the classics.” The series, which runs every Thursday through March 25, will also show “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” “Gunga Din,” “The Searchers,” “My Fair Lady,” “Stagecoach,” “Woman of the Year” and “The Children’s Hour.” The selections allow the hosts to think about Hollywood films more broadly, too. For “Psycho,” which will be airing on March 25, the hosts talk about transgender identity in the film and the implications of equating gender fluidity and dressing in women’s clothes with mental illness and violence. It also sparks a bigger conversation about sexuality in Alfred Hitchcock films. During the “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” conversation on March 18, they talk about why the film adaptation has a less feminist ending than the stage play, and Henry Higgins’ physical and psychological abuse of Eliza Dolittle. Not feeding her and stuffing marbles in her mouth are played for cute laughs in the film. Is it a commentary on misogyny or just plain misogyny? And on the “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” night, airing March 11, Stewart discusses the complex legacy of Sidney Poitier. “His career is so important for the ways that white Americans really started to have more sympathy and understanding of Black people. But at the same time, there are aspects of his films that are clearly oriented primarily to white audiences,” Stewart said. “That opens up all kinds of complications for Black viewers who felt that he wasn’t a representative of the race as a whole.” Companies have lately taken to adding disclaimers before shows and films depicting outdated or stereotypical characters and themes. And in some instances, films have just been made unavailable. Disney has said that it’s 1946 film “Song of the South” will never be on Disney+. The classic film podcast “ You Must Remember This ” has an excellent series about the controversial movie and how it came to be. The goal of “Reframed Classics” is to help give audiences the tools to discuss films from a different era and not just dismiss or cancel them. And Stewart, for her part, doesn’t believe that you can simply remove problematic films from the culture. “I think there’s something to be learned from any work of art,” Stewart said. “They’re all historical artifacts that tell us a lot about the industry in which they were made, the cultures that they were speaking to.” —- Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
Scuba diving in the Galapagos Islands is a thrill like few others on earth. The ocean is full of life here with a diversity that is unlike any other place of earth. The underwater volcanic structures and unique combination of ocean currents support a rich abundance of life. Sharks thrive here and scuba divers are thrilled to see them during their underwater adventures. But these scuba divers were not so thrilled when they finished exploring and underwater cave and they headed back to the open ocean. They found a group of sharks had entered the cave and were resting just inside the opening. White tip sharks are not likely to attack humans, unless provoked, but the divers were not able to pass through the narrow chamber without coming into direct contact with the 9-10 foot beasts. This would definitely be inviting trouble and the divers would be unable to easily turn and retreat back inside the caverns. The moment provided an excellent opportunity to gets some spectacular footage of the unusual scenario with the sharks backlit in an eerie fashion. The scuba divers had planned their dive well and they had plenty of reserve air at this point in the dive. They calmly waited and watched the sharks and eventually all of them swam out into the open water, leaving the exit clear. But for a few minutes, the large sharks in the exit were an intimidating sight indeed! People who venture beneath the waves are wise to remember that they are the visitors, or even intruders in this mysterious domain. Incorrect behaviour here can have immediate and disastrous consequences. The ability to stay calm during unexpected challenges is crucial to survival in a world where your air supply is limited.
The iconic Kingbridge Centre is evolving, after providing unique services over the last two decades. Founded in 2001 by John Abele, cofounder of Boston Scientific and a global leader in the field of less invasive medicine, the centre’s vision encompassed a passion for technological inventions, concepts and ideas made to benefit communities and society as a whole. Abele’s involvement in these areas influenced him to envision a living learning place that supports innovation where groups of people could come together to collaboratively solve problems. This year, Abele made the decision to retire, entrusting the ownership of the Kingbridge Centre to the Pathak Family Trust and its affiliated entity Ekagrata Inc. The Kingbridge Centre will continue to deliver world-class residential convening, leadership development, corporate training, conferencing and retreat services while being committed to engaging with local community. The Pathak Family Trust is committed to upholding the standard of innovation, discovery, and excellence long represented by the Kingbridge Centre, and to continue the strong partnerships with local community, government and academia. Kingbridge’s new Chairman, Prashant Pathak, has been involved in Abele’s vision and mission alongside the Kingbridge team for over 15 years and is excited to carry on the legacy of collective learning, problem solving, leadership development and innovation. Abele will continue to advise Pathak and the rest of the Kingbridge team as chairman emeritus. General Manager of the Kingbridge Centre, Lisa Gilbert, who shares a similar passion for creating learning and collaborative problem solving infrastructures, will continue to work with clients, oversee business operations and evolve the vision with Pathak and the Kingbridge team. King Mayor Steve Pellegrini and King-Vaughan MPP and Education Minister Stephen Lecce toured the facility last week. “I want to say a heartfelt thank you to Mr. Abele for his service to the King community and his vision for The Kingbridge Centre, providing a living learning space for community to come together,” said Lecce. “I am thrilled that Kingbridge Centre will continue to be a centre of excellence for innovation and entrepreneurship in the heart of our community under the leadership of Mr. Pathak. I am committed to supporting jobs and growth in King as we look to drive Ontario’s economic recovery.” Pathak has begun to expand The Kingbridge vision by engaging with key stakeholder partners to harness the infrastructure of the Kingbridge Centre to drive economic prosperity by accelerating ground breaking innovations that drive community transformation, and scale up environmental initiatives which make a positive impact in the world. Food, agriculture, energy, and water are four of the key focus areas of the Kingbridge Centre aligned with economic priorities of King Township and York Region. Programming will be developed and offered to support these objectives, help foster the leaders and convene people who are interested to explore new ideas and collaboratively solve problems from a higher level of thinking, creativity and skills and shared purpose. “We are excited that Mr. Pathak is committed to growing the strong tradition of innovation at the Kingbridge Centre,” said Mayor Steve Pelligrini. “King Township is a very special place, with a rich inheritance of protecting the environment and growing fresh produce to feed the world. Having a place that fosters citizen-led innovations contributing to enhancing those legacies is a wonderful opportunity for our community to imagine and realize the next chapter of King Township.” The Kingbridge Centre is currently serving as a Temporary Transitional Shelter for York Residents in need, through a partnership with The Regional Municipality of York and Salvation Army. “On behalf of York Regional Council, I commend Kingbridge Centre for their ongoing commitment to collaboration and innovation,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. “Kingbridge Centre has been an exceptional community partner in helping keep our residents safe during the pandemic; opening their doors to some of our most vulnerable residents and offering temporary transitional shelter to self-isolate during COVID-19. York Region welcomes future opportunities to partner and support our community together.” Looking beyond the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kingbridge Centre team is looking forward to being a partner in supporting economic recovery efforts, and growing innovative businesses. Pathak’s extensive global network, experience with risk capital investing and building businesses will support those efforts. Plans will be announced later this spring. In the meantime, Kingbridge Centre will continue to be a strong community partner. Mr. Abele, Mr. Pathak and Lisa Gilbert warmly welcome you to the Kingbridge Centre and look forward to many years of learning, collaboration and innovation. Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, King Weekly Sentinel
The Healthy School Foods Program has adjusted its menu this term to offer items more familiar to Island students. “Some families loved the old menu,” said Katelyn McLean, the registered dietitian who has been leading the program. “But maybe the menu items were a bit too unfamiliar, especially in rural areas.” As a food literacy initiative, last semester’s pay-what-you-can lunch menu included items intended to introduce students to new ingredients and foods such as butter chicken, hummus or taco bowls. Some of the lesser known items discouraged some students from ordering the meals rather than trying new foods, according to Ms MacLean. Through talking with parents and students, she has witnessed, the definition of familiar food varies greatly in the province. “When we were developing the new menu and asking some students what they thought, we tried chili with a roll. One of the students had never heard of chili before. This student was in Grade 6.” Ms MacLean explained that the menu will continue to offer foods that are new to some. Providing hot, healthy foods daily even if they are familiar is still a component of food literacy. The pay-what-you-can model continues to ensure equitable access to healthy food for all students. This may be even more crucial as families deal with economic fallout from the pandemic. Ms MacLean didn’t have specific numbers but families paying the full price of $5 for a meal is less than projected. “There are a lot of factors going into that. One being we launched this program in the middle of a pandemic,” she said. Overall the program has been well received. Local vendors had served more than 235,000 meals to Island students by the program’s 24th week running in February. Jayme Brown, Marlee Howlett and Lauren Howlett, Grade 7 students at Souris Regional School have all tried the lunches. They say the program is something that should definitely continue. “It’s great to have a reasonable price for lunches that are good quality,” said Marlee who knows not everyone in her school can afford a cafeteria meal every day. “Some of it is amazing; for the most part it is really good,” Lauren said. Occasionally Lauren has skipped items that didn’t personally appeal to her. “There was a stir-fry I just wouldn’t eat,” she said. The group, however, loves items such as pulled pork and potatoes or spaghetti. They all noted the menu appears to have improved over time. Ms MacLean said that could be attributed to vendors getting used to the flow of things or to the work necessary to come up with a new menu and with Canada’s Smartest Kitchen. Canada’s Smartest Kitchen helped Ms MacLean and her team to thoroughly review what students would like and helped to refine recipe instructions right down to the weights of each ingredient. Jack Kristinsin is in Grade 3 at Souris Regional. After finishing a meal he approved of (carrots, mashed potatoes, turkey and gravy) he said he likes the lunches most of the time because he gets a nice hot meal rather than a sandwich that gets “squished” in his lunch box. Just as his peers said, Jack doesn’t like all of the meals. Chloe LaBrech, in Grade 12, says she likes the convenience of pre-ordering online. She doesn’t have to rush in the morning to make a lunch and cafeteria food can be expensive. Ms MacLean sees improving food literacy and maximizing the program’s potential as a marathon of work rather than a sprint. “It’s something that will evolve.” Ms MacLean looks forward to reviewing Island schools’ curriculum and identifying gaps that could be filled. Right now Food Literacy items are learned in science, health, home economics and cooking classes. “I think we’ve already done a good job of incorporating nutrition information and the Canada Food Guide information into the curriculum,” she said. Other areas of Food Literacy could likely use some attention, Ms MacLean said. “Where does our food come from, how do you grow it? How do you prepare it? How does a potato get from the ground to our plate?” She expects Island students could gain a better understanding of answers to these questions. Right now various local food vendors make and deliver the hot meals to most Island schools. However a non-profit has been developed and its board is looking to hire and organize staff to prepare and deliver the meals possibly by September. Ms MacLean said a variety of models may work in tandem next year. Some vendors may continue to provide the meals alongside the non-profits. Rachel Collier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Graphic
A King Township artist’s work is part of the charge, improving awareness for our province’s “sheroes.” Schomberg’s Giovannina Colalillo has applied her talents to promotional art for the Ontario Federation of Labour. The OFL’s March 8 Project has been supporting women’s organizations across Ontario as they rise, resist, and organize for equality across our province. This year, as the project enters its 11th year, they are honouring this work with the theme: “Sheroes Persist.” According to the organization, it has been an unprecedented past year for everyone around the globe, especially women, who are predominantly front-line workers, and the proverbial grease in more economic engines. The image includes a fist, which represents fighting for the rights of women from all backgrounds. The rose represents the rise from a special poem during the suffrage movement. “Bread and Roses” is a political slogan as well as the name of an associated poem and song. It originated from a speech given by American women’s suffrage activist Helen Todd. A line in that speech about “bread for all, and roses too,” inspired the title of the poem Bread and Roses by James Oppenheim. The poem was first published in The American Magazine in December 1911. The phrase is commonly associated with the successful textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts, between January and March 1912, now often referred to as the “Bread and Roses strike.” The slogan pairing bread and roses, appealing for both fair wages and dignified conditions, found resonance as transcending “the sometimes tedious struggles for marginal economic advances” in the “light of labor struggles as based on striving for dignity and respect,” as Robert J. S. Ross wrote in 2013. “I have incorporated a rose in all the posters and pin for the past 11 years. Its like finding Waldo.” She said she’s thrilled with the outcome. “I love working with the Ontario Federation for 11 years,” she said. The reaction so far has been very positive and the images will be released for the International Women’s Day celebrations. Her work also contains something more, a poignant message. “As an illustrator, I create images that deliver a message. I use my art medium to convey messages that are important to me such as anti-racism, women rights, etc.” Colalillo pointed out she recently refused a big illustration project for a vaping company owned by a huge U.S. tobacco company, because she believes these products are not good for one’s health and that they aim their advertising towards young people. “My illustration designs would have had cancer causing health warnings across the top of them. My mother died of cancer at a young age.” Colalillo is continually quoting on various freelance illustration and design projects. She recently quoted on an book illustration project. For more, visit her website at http://www.giovannina.com or email email@example.com Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, King Weekly Sentinel
OTTAWA — A Conservative MP has joined the chorus of voices calling for an end to COVID-19 lockdowns. Ontario MP David Sweet says the pandemic-related restrictions are causing huge psychological and economic damage.He says the public health measures should focus on vulnerable communities, not healthy individuals.Sweet took part in non-essential travel earlier this year and was then removed from his post as chair of a House of Commons committee. He isn't seeking re-election.He's not the only Conservative MP who has expressed frustration with the existing level of COVID-19 restrictions. Several have also spoken out against the new hotel quarantine and testing regime for incoming travellers to Canada. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 10:30 a.m. Ontario is reporting 958 new COVID-19 cases today. The province says 17 more people have died from the virus. More than 27,000 tests were completed to compile the data. The province says 27,398 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered since the last daily update. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Toronto police say a man who was in a position of authority with the Royal Canadian Air Cadet Program has been charged with sexual assault. The force says the man was with the cadet program in Toronto in November 2019 and allegedly sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl. They say the 27-year-old man surrendered to police on Feb. 24 and is no longer in his position of authority. Police say the man faces charges that include sexual assault and sexual exploitation of a young person. He is scheduled to appear in court on April 12. Police say there may be other alleged victims. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press