Volunteers in South Padre Island, Tex., have rescued about 2,500 sea turtles who ran ashore to escape icy waters and are now being warmed at a convention centre.
Volunteers in South Padre Island, Tex., have rescued about 2,500 sea turtles who ran ashore to escape icy waters and are now being warmed at a convention centre.
LOS ANGELES — Tiger Woods was seriously injured Tuesday when his SUV crashed into a median, rolled over and ended up on its side on a steep roadway in suburban Los Angeles known for wrecks, authorities said. The golf superstar had to be pulled out through the windshield, and his agent said he was undergoing leg surgery. Woods was alone in the SUV when it crashed into a raised median shortly before 7:15 a.m., crossed two oncoming lanes and rolled several times, authorities said at a news conference. No other cars were involved. The 45-year-old was alert and able to communicate as firefighters pried open the front windshield to get him out. The airbags deployed, and the inside of the car stayed basically intact and that “gave him a cushion to survive the crash,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. Both of his legs were seriously injured, county Fire Chief Daryl Osby said. They said there was no immediate evidence that Woods was impaired. Authorities said they checked for any odor of alcohol or other signs he was under the influence of a substance and did not find any. They did not say how fast he was driving. The crash happened on a sweeping, downhill stretch of a two-lane road through upscale Los Angeles suburbs. Sheriff’s Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who was the first to arrive at the wreck, told reporters that he sometimes catches people topping 80 mph in the 45 mph zone and has seen fatal crashes there. “I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive,” Gonzalez said. Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend as the tournament host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, where he presented the trophy on Sunday. He was to spend Monday and Tuesday filming with Discovery-owned GOLFTV, with whom he has an endorsement. A tweet Monday showed Woods in a cart smiling with comedian David Spade. According to Golf Digest, also owned by Discovery, the TV shoot was on-course lessons for celebrities, such as Spade and Dwyane Wade, at Rolling Hills Country Club. Woods, a 15-time major champion who shares with Sam Snead the PGA Tour record of 82 career victories, has been recovering from Dec. 23 surgery on his lower back. It was his fifth back surgery and first since his lower spine was fused in April 2017, allowing him to stage a remarkable comeback that culminated with his fifth Masters title in 2019. He has carried the sport since his record-setting Masters victory in 1997 when he was 21, winning at the most prolific rate in modern PGA Tour history. He is singularly responsible for TV ratings spiking, which has led to enormous increases in prize money during his career. Even at 45, he remains the biggest draw in the sport. The SUV he was driving Tuesday had tournament logos on the side door, indicating it was a courtesy car for players at the Genesis Invitational. Tournament director Mike Antolini did not immediately respond to a text message, though it is not unusual for players to keep courtesy cars a few days after the event. Woods feared he would never play again until the 2017 fusion surgery. He returned to win the Tour Championship to close out the 2018 season and won the Masters in April 2019 for the fifth time. He last played Dec. 20 in the PNC Championship in Orlando, Florida, an unofficial event where players are paired with parents or children. He played with his son, Charlie, who is now 12. Woods also has a 13-year-old daughter. During the Sunday telecast on CBS from the golf tournament, Woods was asked about playing the Masters on April 8-11 and said, “God, I hope so.” He said he was feeling a little stiff and had one more test to see if he was ready for more activities. He was not sure when he would play again. Athletes from Mike Tyson to Magic Johnson and others offered hopes that Woods would make a quick recovery. “I’m sick to my stomach,” Justin Thomas, the No. 3 golf player in the world, said from the Workday Championship in Bradenton, Florida. “It hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident. Man, I just hope he’s all right.” Crews used a crane to lift the damaged SUV out of the hillside brush. The vehicle was placed upright on the street and sheriff’s investigators inspected it and took photos. Then it was loaded onto a flatbed truck and hauled away Tuesday afternoon. This is the third time Woods has been involved in a car investigation. The most notorious was the early morning after Thanksgiving in 2009, when his SUV ran over a fire hydrant and hit a tree. That was the start of shocking revelations that he had been cheating on his wife with multiple women. Woods lost major corporate sponsorships, went to a rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi and did not return to golf for five months. In May 2017, Florida police found him asleep behind the wheel of a car parked awkwardly on the side of the road. He was arrested on a DUI charge and said later he had an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine for his back pain. Woods later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and checked into a clinic to get help with prescription medication and a sleep disorder. Woods has not won since the Zozo Championship in Japan in fall 2019, and he has reduced his playing schedule in recent years because of injuries. The surgery Tuesday would be his 10th. He has had four previous surgeries on his left knee, including a major reconstruction after he won the 2008 U.S. Open, and five surgeries on his back. ___ Ferguson reported from Jacksonville, Florida. Stefanie Dazio And Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press
ATLANTA — Fueled by Black turnout, Democrats scored stunning wins in Georgia in the presidential and U.S. Senate races. Now, Republicans are trying to make sure it doesn't happen again. GOP lawmakers in the once reliably red state are rolling out an aggressive slate of voting legislation that critics argue is tailored to curtail the power of Black voters and undo years of work by Stacey Abrams and others to increase engagement among people of colour, including Latino and Asian American communities. The proposals are similar to those pushed by Republicans in other battleground states: adding barriers to mail-in and early voting, major factors in helping Joe Biden win Georgia's 16 Electoral College votes and Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff take the two Senate seats that gave Democrats control of the chamber. But one aspect of their plans, a proposal to eliminate early voting on Sundays, seems specifically targeted at a traditional get-out-the-vote campaign used by Black churches, referred to as “souls to the polls." It's led many to suggest Republicans are trying to stop a successful effort to boost Black voter turnout in Georgia, where they make up about a third of the population and have faced a dark history of attempts to silence their voices in elections. “It's a new form of voter suppression, the Klan in three-piece suits rather than white hoods,” said the Rev. Timothy McDonald III of the First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, which has participated in souls to the polls events. “They know the power of the Black vote, and their goal is to suppress that power.” In previous elections, souls to the polls campaigns were festive, with vehicles and people parading to election offices during early voting windows. Churches would sometimes playfully compete to see which could bring the most voters, said McDonald, who described the GOP legislation as “spiteful.” In Georgia and elsewhere, Republicans say proposals to tighten voting access are meant to bolster confidence in elections, though they have been some of the loudest proponents of meritless claims that the election was fraudulent. The Brennan Center for Justice, a public policy group, has counted 165 bills in 33 states this year meant to limit access to voting. In Georgia, Republicans control state government and have introduced dozens of legislative measures that would restrict voting access. GOP state Rep. Barry Fleming is chief sponsor of a wide-ranging proposal that would ban Sunday early voting, require a photo ID for absentee voting, limit the time when an absentee ballot could be requested, restrict where ballot drop boxes could be placed and curb the use of mobile voting units, among other changes. In committee hearings, Fleming has cast the legislation as “an attempt to restore the confidence of our public in our election system.” He didn’t respond to an email or phone message requesting comment. Nse Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project that Abrams founded in 2014, called the GOP measures a backlash “to our multiracial, multilingual progressive majority that is winning elections." Biden beat former President Donald Trump by roughly 12,000 votes, becoming the first Democrat to win a presidential contest in Georgia since 1992. Biden received nearly double the number of absentee votes as Trump in a state that became a major target of Trump’s baseless claims of fraud. Biden's win there was confirmed in three separate counts, including one by hand. "These measures, in our opinion, are not based on any objective, data-driven, evidence-based assessment of the issue but solely with the intention to undermine Black voters and other communities of concern,” said Democratic state Rep. Michael Smith, chairman of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus Policy Committee. Because Republicans control both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s office, at least some form of their proposals are likely to become law. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, also a Republican, has called for a photo ID requirement for absentee voting but has yet to back a specific proposal. His office said it was still reviewing the legislation. Republicans are trying to limit ways to vote that have been wildly popular. After states expanded access to mail-in and early voting during the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 70% of all ballots cast nationwide came before Election Day. An estimated 108 million people voted by mail, early in person or by dropping off absentee ballots. In Georgia, over 4 million voters cast early or absentee ballots. “They realize if they continue to allow individuals to vote by mail, it is going to be an uphill battle for Republicans to win at the polls and maintain their position,” Democratic state Rep. Debra Bazemore said. At the federal level, Democrats are pushing for a sweeping overhaul of how Americans vote. House Democrats are expected to vote next week on a measure that would establish federal election standards like early voting periods, same-day voter registration and other policies that Republicans have dismissed as federal overreach. And they are expected to introduce another bill to restore a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that had triggered federal scrutiny of election changes in certain states and counties with histories of discrimination. Georgia was among the states that previously had to get approval for voting changes. “If left to their own devices, Republicans will try to limit the ability of minority voters to exercise their fundamental right to vote,” said U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, a Georgia Democrat co-sponsoring the bill on federal election standards. “It's open season on voting rights in Georgia,” he said. ___ Izaguirre reported from Lindenhurst, New York. ___ Associated Press coverage of voting rights receives support in part from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The AP is solely responsible for this content. Anthony Izaguirre And Ben Nadler, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is moving slowly but surely toward reengaging with the Palestinians after a near total absence of official contact during former President Donald Trump’s four years in office. As American officials plan steps to restore direct ties with the Palestinian leadership, Biden’s national security team is taking steps to restore relations that had been severed while Trump pursued a Mideast policy focused largely around Israel, America's closest partner in the region. On Tuesday, for the second time in two days, Biden's administration categorically embraced a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something that Trump had been purposefully vague about while slashing aid to the Palestinians and taking steps to support Israel’s claims to land that the Palestinians want for an independent state. The State Department said Tuesday that a U.S. delegation attended a meeting of a Norwegian-run committee that serves as a clearinghouse for assistance to the Palestinians. Although little-known outside foreign policy circles, the so-called Ad Hoc Liaison Committee has been influential in the peace process since Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. “During the discussion, the United States reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to advancing prosperity, security, and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians and to preserve the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state,” the State Department said in a statement. “The United States underscored the commitment to supporting economic and humanitarian assistance and the need to see progress on outstanding projects that will improve the lives of the Palestinian people, while urging all parties to avoid unilateral steps that make a two-state solution more difficult to achieve,” it said. U.S. participation in the meeting followed a Monday call between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israel’s foreign minister in which Blinken stressed that the new U.S. administration unambiguously supports a two-state solution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is close to Trump, has eschewed the two-state solution. Biden spoke to Netanyahu last week for the first time as president after a delay that many found suspicious and suggestive of a major realignment in U.S. policy. Blinken, however, has spoken to Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi twice amid ongoing concern in Israel about Biden's intentions in the region, particularly his desire to reenter the Iran nuclear deal. In Monday's call, Blinken “emphasized the Biden administration’s belief that the two-state solution is the best way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace alongside a viable and democratic Palestinian state,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. The Trump administration had presented its own version of a two-state peace plan, though it would have required significant Palestinian concessions on territory and sovereignty. The Palestinians, however, rejected it out of hand and accused the U.S. of no longer being an honest peace broker after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, moved the U.S. embassy to the city from Tel Aviv, cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority, closed the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington and rescinded a long-standing legal opinion that Israeli settlement activity is illegitimate under international law, Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
Sudbury's board of public health has endorsed the idea that workers in Ontario should get permanent paid sick days. It doesn't mean it's going to happen. The motion will be forwarded to the Ontario government for consideration. The motion was included as part of the agenda for the regular monthly meeting of the board of the Public Health Sudbury and Districts, which was held as an online teleconference Thursday. The board was presented with several pages of information outlining the concern that some workers who have used up their sick days and cannot afford to take time off, would rather show up for work, even if they're sick or infectious, thus spreading their sickness around the workplace. In Ontario, most workers have the right to take up to three days of unpaid job-protected leave each calendar year due to a personal illness, injury or medical emergency. This is described as sick leave. Special rules apply to some occupations. Employees are entitled to up to three sick leave days per year once they have worked for an employer for at least two consecutive weeks. An employee who missed part of a day to take the leave would be entitled to any wages they actually earned while working, according to Ontario labour law. The concern is that a genuinely sick person might need more time off work and could lose their job if they miss too much time. PHSD Medical Officer of Health Dr. Penny Sutcliffe recommended the motion as a way to prevent Ontario workers from having to choose between unpaid time off work or continuing to go to work when they are sick. She outlined her position in a briefing note to the board. "Paid sick leave provisions are essential to protect the health of individual workers, their workplaces, and the broader community, which has become even more evident with the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has had widespread economic impacts, increasing the level and depth of poverty across the country," Sutcliffe wrote. "Inequitable access to paid sick days in Canada has significant impacts on income and health. Income alone is the single strongest predictor of health and individuals and families require a stable source of income to meet their basic needs for health and well-being. Paid sick leave provisions are essential to protect the health of individual workers, their workplaces, and the broader community, which has become even more evident with the COVID-19 pandemic," the note continued. The motion stated that staying at home is one of the most effective containment strategies for disease. It also noted that paid sick days actually create savings in the health-care system and eventual savings for the businesses by not causing more sickness in the workplace. "Despite clear evidence and public health directives to stay home when sick, workers without paid sick days are forced to choose between sacrificing their financial security to comply with public health measures or going to work while sick to support themselves and their families," Sutcliffe added, quoting a report from the Decent Work and Health Network. The motion was approved unanimously by the board of health. Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
THUNDER BAY — A new website launched this week features various services and tools to support victims and survivors of local human trafficking, says the co-chair of the Thunder Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking. Thunder Bay has been identified as one of the top six hubs in Ontario for human trafficking says Kristal Carlson, human trafficking youth and transition worker at Thunder Bay Counselling and co-chair of the Thunder Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking. “This crime is rampant in Thunder Bay,” she said Monday, Feb. 22. The website was created to provide victims and survivors of human trafficking with access to free services and to also spread awareness and education in the community about the crime. “The Thunder Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking created the website to help community members, potential survivors and business people alike to be able to acknowledge, identify and potentially intervene if they should see human trafficking in young peoples’ lives,” Carlson said, adding the crime is often under-reported. For women, only one in 10 will report and for men only one in 20 will report to police, Carlson said. “It is such an under-reported crime so any sex-based crime we know that only six per cent will ever end in conviction so it is really hard to convince people to come forward when there is not the likelihood that something will happen,” she said. And while groups such as the Thunder Bay Coalition To End Human Trafficking exist to support victims of the crime, it is important to note they do not classify themselves as a “rescuing people” group, Carlson said. “We support individuals to move forward when they are ready in the way that is going to best suit them in their current situation,” she said. Last year alone, through various programs across the Coalition more than 60 people were successful in leaving their current situation, Carlson said. The creators of the new website also hope to address misconceptions around human traffickers that are often presented in media and movies. “Human trafficking, more times than not, is somebody being exploited by the person they identify as their boyfriend, their best friend or somebody that they know so that happens in more than 85 per cent of cases,” she said. The other most common form of trafficking is the exploitation of young people by family members, extended family members, caretakers or guardians. “More times than not it’s happening by the person they believe to be their boyfriend, girlfriend or best friend,” Carlson said. The website also teaches individuals how to identify signs and risk factors of human trafficking. “We also want to raise the education in the city of Thunder bay because we are identified as one of the top six hubs in the province of Ontario and Ontario makes up two-thirds of all human trafficking that takes place in our country,” Carlson said. Carlson also points out that coming forward doesn’t mean individuals have to report to the police. “The Thunder Bay Police have started to do some really amazing work in being able to meet survivors exactly where they are at and not needing to move forward with charges but to support them for when they are ready to do that if they are ever ready to do that,” she said. “We just want [survivors] to know they are not alone and that there are people to support you no matter where you are, whether you are currently at risk, entrenched, or you looking to exit, there are people here to support you.” For more information, visit Thunder Bay Coalition’s new website by clicking here. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
Le Rocket de Laval a débuté sa nouvelle saison le vendredi 12 février, et ce, près d’un an après l’annulation du reste de la campagne 2019-2020 en raison de la pandémie de la COVID-19. Les joueurs du club lavallois ne semblaient pas trop rouillés par cette longue pause. Malgré la défaite en prolongation subie lundi, ils présentent toujours une fiche positive de 3-1-1. Les quatre premiers matchs les opposaient aux Senators de Belleville, tandis que le cinquième était disputé contre le Moose du Manitoba. «Je suis content pour les joueurs, car ils avaient tous hâte de jouer, mentionne l’entraîneur-chef Joël Bouchard. […] C’était un peu la continuité d’il y a neuf mois [quand l’équipe connaissait une excellente séquence] derrière le banc.» Jordan Weal, qui fait ses débuts avec le Rocket après avoir passé la dernière saison avec les Canadiens de Montréal, a eu un impact immédiat. Il a obtenu cinq points en autant de rencontres, ce qui le place au premier rang du club à ce chapitre. Le joueur de centre est suivi par Lukas Vejdemo et Jesse Ylönen qui ont tous deux obtenu quatre points depuis le début de la saison. Joseph Blandisi a quant à lui obtenu un doublé lors du match d’ouverture. Devant le filet, Cayden Primeau a obtenu trois des cinq départs des siens. Il présente une fiche de 2-1-0, un taux d’efficacité de ,897 et une moyenne de buts alloués de 2,34. En raison de la pandémie, les rencontres du Rocket seront disputées au Centre Bell pour l’ensemble de la saison. Aucun spectateur n’est admis sur place. Les joueurs doivent aussi s’habituer à jouer plusieurs rencontres consécutives face à la même formation. Côté hockey, d’autres adaptations sont de mises. Joël Bouchard compte sur une trentaine de joueurs disponibles tout au long de la saison, car ceux-ci ne pourront être retournés dans les rangs inférieurs quand l’effectif affichera complet. «Chaque joueur doit obtenir le temps de glace dont il a besoin, précise-t-il. Certains doivent être prêts pour le rythme de jeu de la LNH [Ligue nationale de hockey], d’autres doivent travailler pour devenir des professionnels. Tout cela est en prenant compte qu’ils n’ont pas tous le même âge et la même capacité physique. C’est un gros défi que de gérer autant de joueurs.» Rappelons aussi que le début de saison des équipes canadiennes de la Ligue américaine de hockey (LAH), qui jouent cette année dans une division commune, avait été retardé d’une semaine en raison de détails administratifs. Pour le moment, seul le calendrier de février a été diffusé. Également, aucune information n’a été dévoilée quant à la possibilité de disputer des séries. L’édition 2020-2021 de la formation lavalloise compte plusieurs nouveaux visages. Parmi ceux-ci, notons Ylönen et Joël Teasdale qui font très bien à leurs débuts dans l’uniforme rouge et bleu. Joël Teasdale disputait d’ailleurs ses premières rencontres en près de deux ans. Il avait subi une blessure importante au genou droit. L’ailier gauche a obtenu un but et une passe à son premier match. «J’étais vraiment excité pour cette première game, mentionne le principal intéressé. Je voulais essayer de faire les choses simples et ç’a porté fruit. Je veux continuer comme ça pour les matchs à venir.» Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, choix de septième tour des Canadiens en 2019, est un autre jeune joueur qui s’est démarqué jusqu’à maintenant. Il a été félicité par son entraîneur-chef lors d’un point de presse. «Je ne suis pas surpris et je le mets dans des situations importantes, car je sens qu’il est à sa place, explique Bouchard. Il joue vite dans sa tête. Il est un travaillant et il a l’éthique de travail. Il est un joueur le fun à diriger.» Les jeunes joueurs d’âge junior Kaiden Guhle et Jan Mysak se retrouvent aussi avec le club en raison de l’arrêt des activités dans leur ligue respective. L’échantillon des deux joueurs est toutefois limité: Guhle a seulement disputé un match en raison d’une légère blessure subie avant la saison, tandis que Mysak a joué dans les deux défaites de l’équipe. Malgré cet essor de jeunes joueurs, le Rocket compte sur les retours d’Alex Belzile, Yannick Veilleux, Laurent Dauphin et du capitaine Xavier Ouellet. Ceux-ci avaient tous contribué au succès du club qui a connu la meilleure saison de sa jeune histoire en 2019-2020. Leur contribution sera importante et Joël Bouchard se dit déjà satisfait de l’aide qu’ils apportent aux jeunes de l’organisation. Le pilote lavallois a aussi été questionné sur le désir de gagner de l’équipe malgré l’incertitude qui plane pour la suite. Sa réponse ne pouvait être plus convaincante. «Tant qu’il y aura un tableau indicateur, on va tout faire pour gagner. Dans la réalité de la ligue américaine, je me dois de développer les joueurs, mais on veut le faire dans un environnement gagnant», de conclure celui qui dirige le Rocket de Laval depuis mai 2018. Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
The Township of Perry does not support looking into changes for the regional fire training funding model. After its Feb. 17 meeting, council discussed a resolution put forward by the Township of McMurrich/Monteith to the seven municipalities involved in the regional fire training. On Dec. 12, the regional fire services committee met to discuss and agreed upon a one-fifth funding model to secure the training services of Gary Courtice. This is the third three-year term that Perry, Kearney, McMurrich/Monteith, Magnetawan, Burk’s Falls, Armour and Ryerson have signed on for. Perry’s mayor Norm Hofstetter said that he had no intention of going back and trying to renegotiate the funding model. Here are key quotes from the conversation: “ … It seems to me that the wrench that’s thrown into this is (McMurrich/Monteith) gets a little upset that Ryerson, Armour and Burk’s Falls are sharing a fire department and (McMurrich/Monteith) seems to think they’re getting a benefit from it, but I don’t look at it as that,” said Hofstetter. “I’m not interested in going back and renegotiating — as far as they want to see invoices before an invoice is paid … they seem to think that the training officer has an open agenda to order whatever he wants but he works withing his budget the same as all other departments do and at the end of the year it’s all reconciled the same way we do with our budgets. So, where I’m coming from you kind of get tired of doing the same thing over and over and if we do this, we’re taking huge steps backwards in training our firefighters,” said Hofstetter. “I do know it was a huge challenge to get where we’re at and I think all of the councils thought it was finalized at that committee meeting,” said Beth Morton, clerk-administrator. “ … McMurrich/Monteith is behind the eight ball here. Some of their councillors are just not up to speed as to where we’re at with this regional fire (committee) they’re just behind and they refuse to be educated so Reeve MacPhail is going to their meeting in March to set the record straight, so to speak, because it’s the fire chiefs’ realm now and they’re working to get a resolution together for the final thing,” said Coun. Margaret Ann MacPhail. “As one of the councillors here, I would like to see us stay the course.” “It looks like a lot of time has been put in and I don’t understand how they’d see that of Mr. Courtice because I’ve seen nothing but professionalism and that’s why we chose him … I agree with Coun. MacPhail and stay the course,” said Coun. Joe Lumley. “I don’t want to play these games anymore, we have a system that’s working and this all boils down to saving $2,000 to $3,000 is what they’d save if we move to another funding model,” said Hofstetter. The Township of Perry said it would not support looking into changes in the regional fire training funding model and would prefer remain status quo with what was decided at the Dec. 12 regional fire services committee meeting. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
WASHINGTON — Security officials testifying at Congress' first hearing on the deadly siege of the Capitol cast blame and pointed fingers on Tuesday but also acknowledged they were woefully unprepared for the violence. Senators drilled down on the stunning security failure and missed warning signs as rioters loyal to former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, in a misguided attempt to stop lawmakers from certifying President Joe Biden's election. Five people died in the attack, including a Capitol Police officer. The security officials lost their jobs, and Trump was impeached by the House on a charge of inciting the insurrection, the deadliest attack on Congress in 200 years. Trump was ultimately acquitted by the Senate. Here are some takeaways from the testimony: FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE Intelligence warnings of an armed uprising by extremist groups heading to the Capitol didn't rise to the level of alarm — or even get passed up the chain of command — in time for the Jan. 6 attack. Crucially, a key warning flare from the FBI field office in Norfolk, Virginia, of a “war” on the Capitol was sent the night before to the Capitol Police's intelligence division. But then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund testified that he only learned about it the day before Tuesday's hearing. Instead, Sund said he was bracing for demonstrations on par with other armed protests by mobs of Trump’s supporters in the nation's capital in November and December after the presidential election. “No entity, including the FBI, provided any intelligence indicating that there would be a co-ordinated violent attack on the United States Capitol by thousands of well-equipped armed insurrectionists,” he testified in written remarks about a conference call the day before the attack. The Democratic chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, said, “There was a failure to take this threat more seriously.” HE SAID, HE SAID As hundreds of rioters stormed the Capitol, breaking into the iconic building's windows and doors, sometimes in hand-to-hand combat with police, there are conflicting accounts from the security officials over what happened next. Sund, who had raised the idea of calling on the National Guard for backup days earlier, specifically recounted a 1:09 p.m. phone call he made to the then-sergeant-at-arms of the House, Paul Irving, his superior, requesting National Guard troops. Sund said he was told they would run it up the chain of command . Irving said he has no recollection of the conversation at that time and instead recalls a conversation nearly 20 minutes later. He said the 1:09 p.m. call does not show up on his cellphone log. As the riot escalated, Sund was “pleading” with Army officials for Guard troops in another phone call, testified Robert Contee III, the acting chief of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department, whose officers had arrived for backup. Contee said he was “stunned” at the delayed response from the military. Defence Department officials have said they offered National Guard troops days earlier but were rebuffed. Pentagon officials are scheduled to testify to the Senate next week. COMMON FACTS: ‘A PLANNED INSURRECTION’ At the start of the hearing, coming 10 days after Trump was acquitted by the Senate on the impeachment charge of inciting the insurrection, some common facts were agreed to. Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, the chair of the Rules Committee, asked the security officials if there was any doubt the riot was a planned attack and carried out by white nationalist and extremist groups. None of the witnesses disputed the characterization of the facts of Jan. 6. Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin read an alternative account, of mostly peaceful protesters festive that day, that he encouraged colleagues to consider. But in closing, Klobuchar restated the testimony: “There was clear agreement this was a planned insurrection.” ONE OFFICER'S PERSONAL STORY The hearing opened with Capitol Police Capt. Carneysha Mendoza, a 19-year veteran of the force, delivering a compelling personal account of being called at home that day as she was spending time with her 10-year-old before the start of her shift. She rushed to the Capitol only to find “the worst of the worst” scene of her career. A former Army veteran, she recounted the deadly mayhem, fending off rioters inside the building’s stately Rotunda, inhaling gas and suffering chemical burns to her face she said still have not healed. Her Fitbit recorded four hours of sustained activity, she said. The next night and following day she spent at the hospital consoling the family of Officer Brian Sicknick, who died after the attack. “As an American, and as an Army veteran, it’s sad to see us attacked by our fellow citizens,” Mendoza told the senators. TRUMP'S SHADOW The former president was hardly a presence at the first hearing. Instead, senators largely set aside their sharply partisan ways to drill down on the facts of what happened that day — on how to prevent it from happening again. Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., pointedly asked for the name of the commander in chief of the armed forces that day who was ultimately responsible for the military and security of the country. That drew out the former president's name. Among the senators on the panels are two of Trump's staunch allies who led the effort to overturn Biden's election victory — Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. ___ Associated Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick, Michael Balsamo and Lolita Baldor in Washington and Nomaan Merchant in Houston contributed to this report. Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
(Frank Gunn/Canadian Press - image credit) Public health officials are looking to contact six people who shared a ride in a van from Toronto to Ottawa last week, after a seventh occupant later tested positive for COVID-19. Ottawa Public Health (OPH) said the white van left Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre around 1 p.m. last Tuesday with six passengers and a driver aboard. OPH didn't name the private operator, but said the trip had been advertised on Kijiji. At the time, Toronto was still under a stay-at-home order, while Ottawa's was lifted that same day. OPH said the van arrived in Ottawa around 6 p.m., dropping off passengers at Bayshore Shopping Centre, Rideau Centre and St. Laurent Shopping Centre. The passenger who tested positive for COVID-19 would have been contagious at the time of the trip, OPH confirmed. Health officials recommend people only get into a vehicle with members of their own household. Anyone who has to share a ride with others should wear a mask, avoid sharing food and drinks, and stay home if they're sick. Anyone who thinks they may have travelled in the van last Tuesday is asked to contact OPH at 613-580-6744 to arrange a COVID-19 test.
A video obtained by Global News has gone viral showing the busy inside of a HomeSense in Vaughan, Ont. Taken on the first day York Region re-opened retail at 50 per cent capacity, the apparent lack of social distancing in the store has led to physicians voicing their concerns, and warnings over the province’s regional approach to relaxing restrictions. Miranda Anthistle has the details.
Sudbury's Community Drug Strategy group has published some fresh statistics that, as expected, reveal that the opioid addiction and overdose problems are still significant issues in the community. The stats are based on information accessed as of Feb. 3, 2021. The community drug strategy group includes membership from Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD), Greater Sudbury Police Service, Health Sciences North and the City of Greater Sudbury. Other members of the group include mental health agencies and several social wellness agencies. The updated opioid surveillance report was recently published by the drug strategy group on the PHSD website. According to the most recent statistics, the report said Greater Sudbury Paramedic Services had responded to 67 suspected "opioid-related incidents" in January of 2021. The report also compared that number to January of 2020, the same period last year, when the number was 38. The report also revealed that Greater Sudbury paramedics responded to a total of 683 suspected opioid-related incidents in 2020. This compared with the total of 468 incidents in 2019, the previous year. The numbers were different for actual emergency department visits for "suspected accidental overdoses" at Health Sciences North. Overdoses identified as intentional, or overdoses not related to opioids, have been removed, where identified. However, the numbers presented may include emergency department visits related to drugs or substances other than opioids. Statistics also showed a bit of a decrease in 2020 in year over year comparisons. The total number for 2019 was 579. The total number for 2020, during the pandemic, was lower at 562. Part of this might have been a reluctance to visit the hospital during the first wave of the pandemic. When compared to the numbers in 2019, the emergency room numbers declined in March, April, May, June, July and August of 2020. The number of suspected overdose visits at the emergency room in January 2021 was at 43, higher than January visits for both 2020 and 2019. In footnotes published with the numbers, it said the information is based on patient signs and symptoms, not on the final diagnosis. Overdoses identified as intentional, or overdoses not related to opioids, have been removed, where identified. However, the numbers presented may include emergency department visits related to drugs or substances other than opioids. Numbers were also provided in the report for confirmed opioid overdoses in the PHSD district in 2020, but the numbers were not complete for the year, nor were they specific to Sudbury. Many of the numbers were flagged as preliminary and subject to change. Additional statistics revealed that Naloxone doses were distributed in the Sudbury area in the past year by the thousands. The kits were distributed by PHSD, Réseau ACCESS Network and by local pharmacies. Altogether in 2020, nearly 23,000 Naloxone were distributed locally. A footnote in the report said the increase in the distribution is partially due to the number of agencies distributing the kits. Naloxone kits are free in Ontario and can be used in a timely manner to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
Blackburn, who had overseen mergers and acquisitions, Amazon's growing advertising business and its television studio, had been on sabbatical in 2020. His departure further paves the way for incoming Amazon CEO Andy Jassy to reshape the company's executive ranks when he succeeds founder and current chief Jeff Bezos this summer. Blackburn, who joined the company after drafting part of its initial public offering prospectus at Deutsche Bank, said in his departure note that he is not retiring, but declined to share his next move.
Le CIUSSS de l’Estrie-CHUS vient d’ajouter une nouvelle suite d’appareils à son laboratoire de Fleurimont qui permettra d’accélérer et de multiplier la capacité d’analyse de tests de dépistage de la COVID-19 en plus d’identifier plus rapidement la présence potentielle de variants dans la communauté. Cet équipement appelé le «Flow» peut traiter 1000 à 1200 échantillons par jour de manière automatisée. Il s’agit de quatre modules distincts qui remplacent les manipulations normalement effectuées par une armée de techniciens de laboratoire. Selon Dr Philippe Martin, chef médical au Service de microbiologie du département de médecine de laboratoire du CIUSSSE-CHUS, l’automatisation des opérations devrait permettre de réduire de 50 % les besoins en main-d’œuvre dédiée à l’analyse de tests de dépistage de la COVID-19. «Il faut comprendre que l’on pipette depuis le mois mars, donc on commençait à voir beaucoup de problèmes musculosquelettiques chez notre personnel de biologie moléculaire», souligne Dr Martin en citant notamment des maux d’épaules au sein de l’équipe qui travaille 24 heures par jour. Le système Flow permet d’analyse 96 échantillons à la fois et l’on peut recharger l’appareil avant la fin de la procédure en cours, ce qui accélère l’opération. Chaque lot peut être analysé en moins de quatre heures. On réussit ainsi à traiter une douzaine de lots avec un minimum d'une à deux personnes aux commandes. Le laboratoire de microbiologie de l’Hôpital Fleurimont a été désigné par le ministère de la Santé comme centre de dépistage de la COVID-19 dès le début de la pandémie, en mars 2020. Depuis, on a procédé à plus de 300 000 analyses d’échantillons en laboratoire. Afin d’améliorer l’efficacité de ses installations, le laboratoire de Fleurimont s’est doté de la série d’appareils COBAS 6800, en avril 2020. Ces équipements ont permis aux techniciens d’automatiser une partie de leurs tâches et de multiplier leur capacité de traitement d’échantillons. Le hic, c’est que le COBAS ne fonctionne qu’avec un seul type de réactif dont le fournisseur éprouve parfois des difficultés d’approvisionnement. De son côté, le Flow peut fonctionner avec divers types de réactifs. Cette suite d’appareils fait actuellement l’objet d’un prêt du ministère de la Santé, mais Dr Philippe Martin souhaite transformer ce prêt en acquisition permanente pour son équipe afin de servir éventuellement à d’autres types d’analyses. L’autre particularité très appréciée du Flow, c’est qu’il s’avère compatible avec l’interface informatique du CIUSSSE-CHUS. C’est-à-dire qu’au lieu de devoir inscrire manuellement chaque résultat de test dans le dossier du patient concerné, puis de transmettre l’ensemble des données à la santé publique, l’information est transmise électroniquement par l’appareil. Autre enjeu majeur, à l’heure où le Québec cherche à se protéger contre les différents variants du SRAS-CoV-2, le Flow permet d’effectuer rapidement le criblage des échantillons positifs. Depuis le 18 février, tous les tests positifs détectés à Fleurimont sont soumis au criblage. «C’est un autre test moléculaire, on détecte en fait une mutation qui est commune aux trois virus sous surveillance rehaussée, les variants britanniques, brésiliens et d’Afrique du Sud», explique Dr Martin, lui-même microbiologiste et infectiologue. Ces variants tant redoutés se propagent plus rapidement, ce qui rend d’autant plus important de repérer rapidement les éclosions afin d’intervenir et de les endiguer. Pour les identifier, il faut procéder à une analyse différente, mais elle peut s’effectuer sur le même appareil. Actuellement, ce criblage doit se faire à la main par le personnel en laboratoire. «Avec le système Flow, ce sera encore plus facile et plus efficace», se réjouit le chef de département. Ugo Giguère, Initiative de journalisme local, La Presse Canadienne
OTTAWA — Judges peppered a federal lawyer with questions Tuesday as the Canadian government argued a refugee pact between Ottawa and Washington is consistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Canada's lawyers contend the Federal Court misinterpreted the law when it declared in July that the Safe Third Country Agreement breaches constitutional guarantees of life, liberty and security. The court's declaration of invalidity was suspended for six months and later extended, leaving the law in place while a three-judge panel of the Federal Court of Appeal examines the issue. The two-day hearing is slated to proceed through Wednesday. Under the bilateral refugee agreement, which took effect in 2004, Canada and the U.S. recognize each other as safe places to seek protection. It means Canada can turn back a potential refugee who arrives at a land port of entry along the Canada-U.S. border on the basis the person must pursue their claim in the U.S., the country where they first arrived. Canadian refugee advocates have steadfastly fought the asylum agreement, arguing the U.S. is not always a safe country for people fleeing persecution. Several refugee claimants took the case to court along with the Canadian Council for Refugees, the Canadian Council of Churches and Amnesty International, who participated in the proceedings as public interest parties. In each case the applicants, who are citizens of El Salvador, Ethiopia and Syria, arrived at a Canadian land entry port from the U.S. and sought refugee protection. They argued in court that by returning ineligible refugee claimants to the U.S., Canada exposes them to risks in the form of detention and other rights violations. In her decision last year, Federal Court Justice Ann Marie McDonald concluded the Safe Third Country Agreement results in ineligible claimants being imprisoned by U.S. authorities. Detention and the consequences flowing from it are "inconsistent with the spirit and objective" of the refugee agreement and amount to a violation of the rights guaranteed by Section 7 of the charter, she wrote. "The evidence clearly demonstrates that those returned to the U.S. by Canadian officials are detained as a penalty." In a written submission filed in advance of the appeal hearing, the government says the court's decision should be overturned because the refugee agreement does not breach the principles of fundamental justice. The government argues McDonald made serious legal mistakes in striking down the pact. Federal lawyers say that in finding detention makes it more difficult for asylum claimants in the U.S. to access legal counsel, McDonald ignored evidence that about 85 per cent of asylum claimants in the U.S. are represented. During the appeal hearing Tuesday, Justice David Stratas questioned the notion the judge's findings were in error. "You would admit, wouldn't you that there is a risk that someone is turned back at the Canadian border and encounters the U.S. system, including detention, without counsel. That's a possibility?" he asked Martin Anderson, a lawyer for the government. Anderson replied that when one looks at the "totality of the evidence," it tends to support the notion more people have access to counsel in detention than not. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
A seemingly sharp decline of global COVID-19 cases has ignited exuberance among some infectious disease doctors and epidemiologists, even if they're not sure what exactly is causing that downward spike. Charts and graphs depicting the COVID burden among most countries, including Canada and the United States, are showing steep dives from all-time highs just weeks ago.Experts say a combination of factors is likely at play in the virus's apparent decline, including a seasonal aspect to SARS-CoV-2, some level of herd immunity in certain places, and the impact of lockdowns and our own behaviours. That the drop is happening now, amid the threat of more transmissible variants, seems a little confounding though, says Winnipeg-based epidemiologist Cynthia Carr."That is the really interesting part about this," she said. "We know these variants spread much faster and we've seen them becoming more dominant, but the numbers still aren't spiking the way we might have anticipated."Carr says the variants of concern — those first detected in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil — have been found in multiple countries and are quickly overtaking former strains in some places. In Berlin, for example, she notes the variant first detected in the U.K. is accounting for 20 per cent of new cases, up from 6 per cent two weeks ago. Carr suspects part of the reason for a lack of rising cases might be because governments have gotten better at setting public health guidance over the last year, and people have gotten better at adhering to them. But while the situation appears to be improving, Carr warns "we can't rest on our laurels now.""Once (the variants) account for 90, 100 per cent of all infections ... we could really see that escalation," she said.Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious disease physician in Mississauga, Ont., agrees people shouldn't assume the pandemic is over because global cases are dropping. But the worldwide decrease is a positive development that shouldn't be overlooked, he added.Chakrabarti says there are likely multiple reasons for the decline, with some countries' situations explained easier than others. Inoculation efforts might be credited in Israel, for example, where 87 per cent of the population has been given at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. Countries like Canada meanwhile, which were mostly locked down over the last six weeks, can point to restrictions and limited contacts as a plausible reason for their COVID decline.More than one factor could be working within different regions too, Chakrabarti added. And a possible seasonal aspect to the COVID virus may be an overarching theme.Infections from certain viruses tend to peak once per season before tailing off naturally, Chakrabarti says, like influenza, which usually spikes between November and January. Other coronaviruses have followed a similar pattern."Seasonality means that (viruses) get cycled at some point during the season," he said. "We don't know if that's 100 per cent the case with COVID. But it could be." While the timing of Canada's first COVID wave last spring would seem to go against the notion of seasonality, we weren't exposed to large quantities of the virus until March, so it didn't have a chance to circulate earlier, explains Chakrabarti.Some parts of the world including the U.S. may also be dealing with some level of herd immunity brought on by natural infection, Chakrabarti says, which could simplify, but not fully explain, their recent case drop.While exact numbers of total COVID infections are hard to gauge, Chakrabarti estimates undetected cases could be five to 10 times higher than reported cases, either because people were truly asymptomatic or had such minor symptoms that they never got tested."If you have a significant chunk of people who have been infected and have, maybe not necessarily full immunity but some degree of immunity, at the very least that should slow outbreaks," Chakrabarti said.There are problems with the notion of herd immunity, however.Dr. Prabhat Jha, an epidemiologist with the University of Toronto, says while experts believe people with past COVID infections may have some protection against the variants first detected in the U.K. and South Africa, that may not be the case with the one first found in Brazil.Jha points out that not all countries are experiencing decreases in COVID cases — Brazil is one area seeing either steady rates or possible increases — and he worries that labelling herd immunity as a reason for case decline may be dangerous."We don't know what herd immunity actually means," he said. "It's a theory that at a certain number of people infected, the virus just runs out of customers. But we have very little basis to understand what that level is."Jha says the potential reasons for the global decline are only theoretical right now. "No one really has a clear sense of why the cases are dropping," he said. "So I think one needs to be very cautious when talking about plausible explanations."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
SAN FRANCISCO — Poet, publisher and bookseller Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who helped launch and perpetuate the Beat movement, has died. He was 101. Ferlinghetti died at his San Francisco home Monday, his son Lorenzo Ferlinghetti told The Associated Press Tuesday. The cause was lung disease. His father died “in his own room,” holding their hands "as he took his last breath, his son said. Lorenzo Ferlinghetti said his father loved Italian food and the restaurants in the North Beach neighbourhood where he made his home and founded his famous bookstore. He had received the first dose of the COVID vaccine last week and was a month shy of turning 102. Ferlinghetti was known for his City Lights bookstore in San Francisco, an essential meeting place for the Beats and other bohemians in the 1950s and beyond. Its publishing arm released books by Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and many others. The most famous release was Ginsberg’s anthemic poem, “Howl." It led to a 1957 obscenity trial that broke new ground for freedom of expression. The Associated Press
REGINA — Eleven months into the COVID-19 pandemic, silence fills Regina's airport. Empty check-in counters line one side of the terminal while the odd employee moves behind reception along a row of vehicle rental desks. There's no one on the staircase passengers use upon arriving in Saskatchewan's capital city. The number of flights scheduled to land on Monday: four. “It’s almost like a ghost town," said James Bogusz, CEO and president of the Regina Airport Authority. Canada's aviation industry has been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, because of federal travel restrictions and public-health advice urging would-be travellers to stay home. Bogusz said he's concerned that any comeback in air travel could be hampered in Regina by service reductions to air-traffic control. Nav Canada, the non-profit body that runs the country's civil air navigation service, is reviewing airport towers in Regina and six other small Canadian cities. That has triggered concerns from local leaders about the effect on their airports and community businesses. “I don’t want a small town," said Bogusz. "I want my mid-size city airport back." The other airport towers under review are in St-Jean, Que., Windsor and Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario, Fort McMurray, Alta., Prince George, B.C., and Whitehorse, Yukon. At the heart of each review is whether air traffic at the airports warrants having a control tower as opposed to an advisory service for pilots. "We have to operate the right service, at the right place, at the right time," said Jonathan Bagg, Nav Canada's director of stakeholder and industry relations. "The COVID-19 pandemic does give us additional stimulus because of the financial environment; however, the studies are warranted regardless of COVID-19." He explained that an air traffic controller provides instructions to pilots during times including takeoff; an advisory service offers guidance through information that includes weather and runway conditions Bagg said the reviews will not compromise safety and Nav Canada is looking at air traffic numbers at the airports before the pandemic. Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens wants his city off the list because of its proximity to Detroit, which makes airspace more complicated. Dilkens, who also chairs the airport's board, questions how losing the airport's tower would affect attracting new airlines and routes. "Anything that causes them an additional level of concern that makes us less competitive — that’s our economic concern.” WestJet has said control towers don't influence its operations. Air Canada spokeswoman Angela Mah said losing towers "would have an impact on overall efficiencies as airline operations become significantly more complex." She cited possible delays at non-controlled sites and the need for additional fuel to cover delays or diversions to other airports. "These inefficiency factors all increase operating costs and can affect the overall commercial viability of routes." RJ Steenstra, president and CEO of the Fort McMurray Airport Authority, said closing its tower could affect future efforts to diversify tourism in the region. "German charter carriers will not fly to an airport that doesn’t have a tower," he said. “When so much of the industry is in flux, it’s not a good time to make a decision like this." Bagg said Nav Canada hopes to present by spring its recommendations for the seven towers to Transport Canada, which must give final approval. Six premiers have asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to delay a decision until after COVID-19 is under control enough so travel restrictions can be lifted. In a statement, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said Transport Canada would do its own safety review of any proposed changes. Dilkens said it would be a mistake for Ottawa to ignore economic implications. The government has spent million of dollars improving Windsor's airport. Notices about layoffs were issued to air traffic controllers last month, raising concerns that closures have already been decided. "This has eroded our trust in the process," said Bogusz. Bagg said letters were sent because the collective agreement requires employees be notified that their jobs may be at risk. The layoffs are subject to the outcome of the reviews. The Canadian Air Traffic Control Association, which represents air traffic controllers, has said about 60 jobs would disappear if the seven towers were closed. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2020 Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
MIAMI — Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Efrain Álvarez is on the 48-man preliminary roster for both the United States and Mexico for the Olympic men’s soccer qualifying tournament in North and Central America and the Caribbean. Now 18, Álvarez played for the U.S. at an under-15 tournament in 2016, then switched to Mexico and played for El Tri at the 2019 Under-17 World Cup. He attended U.S. national team training in December but did not appear in the exhibition against El Salvador in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The U.S. roster also included included Red Bull Salzburg midfielder Brenden Aaronson, Barcelona forward Konrad De La Fuente, PSV Eindhoven defender Chris Gloster and Norwich forward Sebastian Soto. The rosters released Tuesday by CONCACAF are nonbinding, and U.S. coach Jason Kreis may announce a training camp roster on Friday. Final 20-man rosters are due March 8. The U.S., which failed to qualify for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, opens Group A against Costa Rica on March 18 at the CONCACAF tournament in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Americans play the Dominican Republic on March 21 and complete Group A on March 24 against host Mexico. The top two teams in each group advance, and the semifinal winners qualify for the Olympics. Qualifying was postponed from last March due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and FIFA has kept the same eligibility rules that were first established, saying players must be born after Jan. 1, 1997. Clubs are not required to release players to teams for qualifying, so many top young players are expected to miss the tournament. Among those not on the U.S. roster are Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Gio Reyna and Josh Sargent. For the 16 nations reaching the Olympics, each may include three players over the age limit. The CONCACAF qualifiers will join Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Egypt, France, Germany, Ivory Coast, Japan, New Zealand, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea and Spain. The preliminary roster: Goalkeepers: Drake Callender (Miami), Matt Freese (Philadelphia), Jonathan Klinsmann (LA Galaxy), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose), David Ochoa (Salt Lake), Brady Scott (Austin) Defenders: Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy), George Bello (Atlanta), Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls), Marco Farfan (LA), Justen Glad (Salt Lake), Chris Gloster (PSV Einhoven, Netherlands), Aaron Herrera (Salt Lake), Aboubacar Keita (Columbus), Fredrick Kessler (New England), Maurico Pineda (Chicago), Donovan Pines (D.C.), Bryan Reynolds (Roma, Italy), Miles Robinson (Atlanta), James Sands (New York City), Auston Trusty (Colorado), Sam Vines (Colorado) Midfielders: Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg, Austria), Efrain Álvarez (LA Galaxy), Cole Bassett (Colorado), Gianluca Busio (Kansas City), Caden Clark (New York Red Bulls), Johnny Cardoso (Internacionale, Brazil), Hassani Dotson (Minnesota), Brooks Lennon (Atlanta), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago), Keaton Parks (New York City), Andres Perea (Orlando), Brandon Servania (Dallas), Tanner Tessmann (Dallas), Eryk Williamson (Portland), Jackson Yueill (San Jose) Forwards: Frankie Amaya (Cincinnati), Cade Cowell (San Jose), Konrad De La Fuente (Barcelona), Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland), Jesus Ferreira (Dallas), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado), Ulysses Llanez (Wolfsburg, Germany), Benji Michel (Orlando), Ricardo Pepi (Dallas), Sebastian Saucedo (Pumas, Mexico), Sebastian Soto (Norwich, England) ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
OTTAWA — The Trudeau government has agreed with the Senate that Canadians suffering solely from grievous and irremediable mental illnesses should be entitled to receive medical assistance in dying — but not for another two years.The two-year interlude is six months longer than what was proposed by senators.It is one of a number of changes to Bill C-7 proposed by the government in response to amendments approved last week by the Senate. The government has rejected another Senate amendment that would have allowed people who fear being diagnosed with dementia or other competence-eroding conditions to make advance requests for an assisted death.It has also rejected one other amendment and modified two others in a motion that was debated Tuesday in the House of Commons."I believe that C-7 is one important and prudent step in ensuring greater respect for the autonomy of a broader category of Canadians who are suffering intolerably," Justice Minister David Lametti told the Commons, expressing hope that the Senate will accept the government's "reasonable" proposals.Bloc Québécois MP Luc Thériault said his party will support the minority Liberal government's response, assuring it will pass.While the Bloc would have liked to go further to expand access to assisted dying, he said the bill does make some important progress on that front."It is very important to keep moving forward," Thériault told the Commons.Once approved by the Commons, the bill will go back to the Senate, where senators will have to decide whether to accept the verdict of the elected chamber or dig in their heels.Bill C-7 would expand access to assisted dying to intolerably suffering individuals who are not approaching the natural end of their lives, bringing the law into compliance with a 2019 Quebec Superior Court ruling.As originally drafted, the bill would have imposed a blanket ban on assisted dying for people suffering solely from mental illnesses.A strong majority of senators argued that the exclusion was unconstitutional, violating the right to equal treatment under the law, regardless of physical or mental disability, as guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.They voted to impose an 18-month time limit on the mental illness exclusion, which the government now wants to extend to two years.Lametti said he still believes the exclusion is constitutional and he "does not believe we are entirely ready" to safely provide assisted dying for people with mental illnesses. Nevertheless, he said the government has heard the concerns of Canadians who fear the exclusion may never be lifted and will, therefore, support a two-year sunset clause."We think 24 months is still an ambitious timeline to implement such an important change in Canada's MAID (medical assistance in dying) policy but it still provides a fixed timeline in the relatively near future," Lametti said.During the two-year interlude, the government is also proposing to have an expert panel conduct an independent review of the issue and, within one year, recommend the "protocols, guidance and safeguards" that should apply to requests for assisted dying from people with a mental illness.Until the exclusion is lifted, senators had wanted to clarify that it does not apply to people with neurocognitive disorders like Alzheimer's disease. However, the government has rejected that amendment.In rejecting advance requests, the government motion argues that the Senate amendment on that issue "goes beyond the scope of the bill" and requires "significant consultation and study," including a "careful examination of safeguards."Lametti said he knows many Canadians will be disappointed by the government's rejection of that amendment. But he said the issue should be examined during the legally required five-year parliamentary review of the assisted dying law, which was supposed to have begun last June but has yet to materialize.The government has agreed, however, to a modified version of a Senate amendment to finally get that review underway within 30 days of Bill C-7 receiving royal assent. The government is proposing the creation of a joint Commons-Senate committee to review the assisted-dying regime, including issues related to mature minors, advance requests, mental illness, the state of palliative care in Canada and the protection of Canadians with disabilities. The committee would be required to report back, with any recommended changes, within one year.The government has also agreed to a modified version of another Senate amendment to require the collection of race-based data on who is requesting and receiving medical assistance in dying.It is proposing to expand that to include data on people with disabilities and to specify that the information be used to determine if there is "the presence of any inequality — including systemic inequality — or disadvantage based on race, Indigenous identity, disability or other characteristics."That is in response to the strenuous opposition to Bill C-7 from disability rights advocates who maintain the bill sends the message that life with a disability is a fate worse than death. They've also argued that Black, racialized and Indigenous people with disabilities, already marginalized and facing systemic discrimination in the health system, could be induced to end their lives prematurely due to poverty and a lack of support services.Some critics have also raised concerns about unequal access to assisted dying for marginalized people, rural Canadians and Indigenous people in remote communities.The government's response did not satisfy either the Conservatives, who largely opposed the original bill, or the New Democrats, who object in principle to the unelected Senate making substantive changes to legislation passed by the Commons.NDP MP Charlie Angus criticized the "unelected and unaccountable Senate" for expanding assisted dying to "people who are depressed."Conservative MP Michael Barrett moved an amendment to the government motion, that would delete the proposed sunset clause on the mental illness exclusion.He further slammed the government for ignoring the concerns of disability rights advocates and signalled that his party will not go along with the government's "fevered rush" to pass what he called a "deeply flawed" bill."That's why we're here today, to stand up for them and be the voice that this government cannot ignore," Barrett said.The government is hoping to have the bill passed by both parliamentary chambers by Friday to meet the thrice-extended court-imposed deadline for bringing the law into compliance with the 2019 ruling.But with the Conservatives signalling that they may drag out debate on the Senate amendments, the government will ask the court on Thursday to give it one more month — until March 26.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press
While U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has released a plan that could see England put an end to COVID-19 restrictions by June 21 Canadian officials are still cautious about putting out exact dates.