It didn't take long for Phoenix to get sick of broccoli. Too funny!
It didn't take long for Phoenix to get sick of broccoli. Too funny!
A pioneering survey on cover crops in Ontario aims to provide more guidance and support to farmers and shape the future of cover crop research, extension and policy. “We need to hear directly from farmers to see what’s affecting them on the ground,” said Callum Morrison, a PhD student from University of Manitoba, who works with the Ontario Cover Crops Steering Committee to facilitate the survey. Morrison is hoping to get as many farmers in the area as possible to participate. “We’re just as interested in farmers who have grown cover crops as those who haven’t.” Cover crops are grown to cover and protect the soil after the harvest is over. Grown mostly in the fall and spring, the benefits of growing cover crops include reducing soil erosion, adding organic matter, reducing nutrient losses and improving soil fertility, according to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs website. Preliminary results of the survey show that the most common cover crops grown by 230 Ontario farmers are winter wheat (70 per cent), soy beans (24 per cent), corn (17 per cent) and niche crops. Sixty-three survey responders did not grow cover crops. Morrison said this survey is the first step. “This stage is about gathering info. Hopefully, farmers can look at the report (so) they can compare themselves to what other farmers are doing,” he said. A cover crop, Morrison said, is like a tool in a farmer’s tool box. “One cover crop may be good for alleviating compaction, (while) other crops might be good at fixing phosphorus. Farmers must decide what to do, see what can grow in their farm and what can fit in their (planting) window.” “It’s a decision that’s tied to that farm,” Morrison said. The survey’s goals include determining the current extent of cover cropping in Ontario, finding the reasons why cover crops are grown and identifying the benefits and problems farmers have experienced with cover crops. The survey also aims to identify what support farmers are in need of, and future areas of research. “In the future, the government might want to incentivize crop use and for that, we need data as to what’s happening currently, and what cover crops would help (farmers),” he said. The Ontario Cover Crop Feedback will be available until early spring and takes about 15-20 minutes to finish. To participate, visit surveymonkey.com/r/OntarioCoverCrop Yona Harvey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Smiths Falls Record News
Substantial increases in speed and avail-ability for broadband may be coming to Mono. Council heard a request from Rogers Communications Canada Inc., to support their application to the Federal government to become part of the Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) program. Their aim is to supply the entire town of Mono with Fibre Optic Internet service. Currently, much of Mono is underserviced by the available service providers and this prevents many residents and businesses from taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by digital communications.Broadband connectivity is a key priority for Mono Council and is in fact, part of their Corporate Strategic Plan. Rogers’ “leave no home behind,” plan is a true game changer for Mono.Rogers build strategy commitment is to bring broadband to entire areas of under-served homes. If it is approved, it will bring the needed broadband service, to house-holds and businesses to enable them to avail themselves of digital opportunities. Espe-cially, in the fields of business, education, health and public safety.One of the other benefits to the propos-al, is that there is no suggested cost to the Town. A notation made by Deputy Mayor John Creelman, who has been spearheading the drive for better internet service in Mono. To this end, the deputy Mayor was deeply involved with helping Vianet set up the an-tennae on the Town water tower. Another potential benefit is that if two ser-vice providers are eyeing the same territory, the funder, in this case the Federal govern-ment will be the one to decide who may op-erate where. Also, any service must be an open access one, meaning that third party users must be allow access to the service for a reasonable cost.The proposed service, will have a mini-mum download speed of 50 megabits per second and a minimum upload speed of 10 megabits per second. There are purportedly, several service providers interested in servicing Mono. CAO Mark Early mentioned that he had recently been approached by V-Media from Concord, who are also interested in supplying internet services to Mono.Deputy Mayor Creelman noted that the SWIFT program is set to go along Hwy.10, from the 10th Sideroad north through Camil-la. If Rogers and Vianet are prepared to ser-vice the rest of Mono, this will allow SWIFT to move into other parts of Dufferin County, not adequately services with broadband.Innovation Canada expects that 90 per cent of Canada will have access to high speed internet by the end of 2021. Individ-uals are encouraged to reach out to their internet service providers to notify them about the UBF and encourage them to apply for funding. Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish police have detained a suspected Iraqi Islamic State group militant and rescued a 7-year-old girl from Iraq’s Yazidi religious minority he had allegedly been holding captive, the state-run news agency reported Wednesday. The man, identified by his initials S.O., was detained in an early morning raid in the capital Ankara, the Anadolu Agency reported. Another person, identified as N.H.R., was also detained during the raid. The suspect had once served as an officer in the Iraqi army, the agency said, adding that police and the country’s intelligence agency had been monitoring his moves. They timed the raid so that the child wasn't placed at risk, the agency reported. The girl was later placed in the care of Turkey’s social services. The IS group attacked the heartland of the Yazidi community, at the foot of Iraq's Sinjar mountain, in 2014. Hundreds of Yazidis were killed and thousands of women and children were abducted, many forced into slavery. A day earlier, police detained a French IS suspect near the French Embassy in Ankara, Anadolu reported. The woman, who was identified as Sarah Talib, was taken into custody as she approached the embassy to allegedly seek repatriation to France. The pro-government Daily Sabah newspaper said Talib joined the IS group in Syria and is believed to have illegally crossed the border into Turkey. Anadolu Agency said the woman would be deported to France following her questioning by counterterrorism police. The Associated Press
(BAE Systems Inc./Lockheed Martin Canada - image credit) Canada's budget watchdog predicts construction of the navy's new frigate fleet could cost at least $77.3 billion — a number that could rise even higher if the frequently-delayed program faces any more setbacks. Yves Giroux, the parliamentary budget officer [PBO], said the overall price tag for building 15 Canadian Surface Combatants could hit $82.1 billion in the event the program is delayed by as much as two years. The Liberal government is basing Canada's new warships on the design of the British-built Type 26 frigate. The House of Commons government operations committee asked the budget office to crunch the numbers on other designs, such as the FREMM European multi-mission frigate and the Type 31e, another British warship. The French FREMM frigate Aquitaine in an undated file photo. Those estimates show the federal government could save money by dropping the existing program and going with the other designs. It could also save money by building a fleet that includes two classes of vessel, such as the Type 26 and one of the other warships. Giroux said the idea of a mixed fleet makes sense from a fiscal point of view, but he couldn't say whether it would agree with the federal government's vision of what it wants the navy to do. "It's a good way of saving costs, if the government is interested in cutting down on its costs," Giroux said in a virtual media availability following the report's release today. Depending on the ship, the savings could be substantial. Deep cuts to construction costs possible: PBO For example, the budget office estimated that ditching the existing program and switching entirely to the Type 31 frigate would cost $27.5 billion, a projection that includes a four-year delay. The cost of acquiring an entire fleet of 15 FREMM warships is estimated at $71.1 billion — somewhat comparable to the existing program. A mixed fleet using either one of the alternate designs and the existing Type 26 also would result in savings. Giroux acknowledged that such a scenario would mean the navy would have to invest in separate infrastructure, support and supply chains — something it is reluctant to do. But it might be a good idea from a larger perspective, he added, because a mixed fleet means "you don't put all of your eggs in one basket." Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux. As of last fall, the Department of National Defence was insisting it could build all 15 Type 26 frigates, under contract with Lockheed Martin Canada and Irving Shipbuilding, for up to $60 billion. Giroux said he hopes the department is correct for taxpayers' sake, but his team stands by its numbers. The department stuck by its estimate in a statement issued today — but acknowledged the difference in the cost estimates could be explained in part by the fact that PBO includes the project's associated provincial sales taxes, while the federal government does not. The statement said the decision to select the Type 26 design was made based upon the capabilities it will bring to the navy. "As the PBO noted, the other design options that they examined would have 'more limited' and 'modest' capabilities than our selected design," the statement said. "These reductions would impede the [Royal Canadian Navy's] ability to execute its assigned roles and missions to keep Canadians safe both at home and abroad." The department also categorically ruled out scrapping the program or going with another design. "This is not an option we will be pursuing," the statement said. "Selecting a new design at this stage in the project would lead to significant economic loss for Canada's marine industry and those employed in it. "It would have major operational impacts for the [Royal Canadian Navy], due to associated project delays and life-extension requirements, as well as increasing the costs to operate and maintain more than one class of ships in the future." In their response, the Conservatives focused on the delays that led to the higher cost projections. "The increased costs of the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) program are a direct result of Justin Trudeau's failures and the Liberals' mismanagement on this important procurement," said the statement, issued on behalf of Conservative defence critic James Bezan. "Conservatives continue to support our plan to revitalize the Royal Canadian Navy and the National Shipbuilding Strategy. But we do not support this ongoing Liberal dithering and costly delays to the CSC procurement." The latest report builds on an analysis prepared by the PBO office two years ago which projected a construction cost of $70 billion. The new numbers, Giroux said, reflect new information from the defence department about the size of the warships and the capabilities being built into them, as well as anticipated production delays. The outgoing president of Irving Shipbuilding, Kevin McCoy, told CBC News in an interview recently that the production timeline to build a Type 26 is seven-and-a-half years, which is two years longer than the five year timeline that had been built into the program. That means the navy won't see its first new frigate until 2031, on the current schedule. McCoy said in his interview that when the program started out under the previous Conservative government, the intention was to build a warship from scratch. He said it took several years and a change of government to convince Ottawa and the navy that doing so would be extraordinarily expensive — more expensive that the current program. A question of capabilities Dave Perry is vice-president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and one of the country's leading experts on defence procurement. He said that when you look at the defence department's tax explanation and consider the delays, the projections are not too far apart. He said he believes the only fair comparison is between the existing Type 26 design and the FREMM frigate because they have similar capabilities. "To use a boxing analogy, it is in the same weight class," said Perry. He said the choice to include the less capable Type 31e in the comparison struck him as odd. The PBO report notes the difference and acknowledges that the less expensive Type 31e is designed to operate mostly in conjunction with the larger Type 26, which has air defence capabilities, among other things. A mixed fleet, he said, is something policy-makers could consider and is something Canada has had in the past — but the notion extends far beyond simple budgeting. "We would be building a different navy, a significantly less capable navy," Perry said.
Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says allocating COVID-19 vaccine doses for Indigenous people in urban areas through the provinces is faster and more effective than delivery directed from Ottawa. He says he will be working with provinces and territories to ensure they prioritize Indigenous people in their immunization efforts, even as the National Association of Friendship Centres and other advocates call for more direct federal involvement.
European Union leaders will agree on Thursday to work on certificates of vaccination for EU citizens who have had an anti-COVID shot, with southern EU countries that depend heavily on tourism desperate to rescue this summer's holiday season. Lockdowns to slow the pandemic caused the deepest ever economic recession in the 27-nation bloc last year, hitting the south of the EU, where economies are often much more dependent on visitors, disproportionately hard. With the rollout of vaccines against COVID-19 now gathering pace, some governments, like those of Greece and Spain, are pushing for a quick adoption of an EU-wide certificate for those already inoculated so that people can travel again.
NEW YORK — Yara Shahidi believes that all studio parking spaces should be created equal, so having to park a little further back from set would be a small price to pay in the name of inclusivity. “Actors are literally numbered, and as much as they say it’s not in order of importance, they have a tendency to be,” said the “grown-ish” star. “I forget what set it was, but your proximity to the set, like your parking spot, was based on your number… The first thing that we said even before I was an EP, but just the lead on the show, is that it’s important to smash all hierarchy.” Abolishing old Hollywood norms is not a calculated objective for Shahidi, who also serves as an executive producer on the “black-ish” spinoff, but a byproduct of growing up in a millennial generation with inclusivity threaded into their world. While “grown-ish” follows its collegiate characters as they navigate young adulthood, Shahidi wants the series to also serve as an incubator for the young, talented minds behind the show. “What I love most about ‘grown-ish’ is really what happens behind the scenes — the introduction of new directors, of people from different spaces being able to use this as a launching pad for their own aspirations,” said the 21-year-old. “I’m looking forward to what that ripple effect will be for all of the shows that will come from the brains that have worked behind this.” “Grown-ish” recently began airing the second half its third season. Filming wrapped at the end of 2019, prior to the coronavirus pandemic and social justice movement, the two global events that defined 2020. But Shahidi, who also juggles her time reading scripts with studying textbooks as a Harvard student, says the show still remains topical with its youth-led prison divestment storyline, and the constant ebb and flow of young people figuring out their lives. The title of activist is often interchangeable with Shahidi's actor title. Last year, her We Vote Next nonpartisan organization was active in encouraging young people to vote, and it’s often mentioned that Oprah said she hopes to be alive to see Shahidi become president. “I really have to put my ability to focus really on my support network of incredible folks that have really helped me because I’d like to say that it is a walk in the park, even balancing school and work, but it takes a lot of people advocating for what I want,” said Shahidi. “So many of my peers aren’t given the space to be heard and listened to and not just in entertainment, but largely, whether it’s a school environment, whether it’s a home environment. And so the idea that I’ve been given multiple spaces in which I’m actively listened to is definitely a privilege.” But despite her position as lead and executive producer, being young and a woman — particularly a Black one — doesn’t guarantee that her ideas are always taken seriously. “We’re still in conversation with — I don’t know how many people — like, ‘I don’t know if you heard me the last time, but this point that I made wasn’t just to hear myself talk. It’s because it’s important to me.’” Recently, Shahidi kicked off Facebook Watch’s Black History Month special “Forward: The Future of Black Music” and appears in the new Will Smith-hosted docuseries “Amend.” She’s lending her voice to the upcoming animated “Paw Patrol: The Movie” and will star as Tinker Bell in Disney’s “Peter Pan & Wendy” film, as the company strives to make some of its classic stories, most portrayed by white characters, diverse in its live action remakes. Shahidi is part of a swelling group of young Black women in Hollywood, including Zendaya and her “black-ish” TV sister, Marsai Martin, who are producing projects and starting productions companies to ensure authenticity within their stories. Shahidi's 7th Sun Productions company, which includes her business-partner mother Keri Shahidi, is currently developing a new series called “Smoakland.” “There are times in which we are absolutely misheard by the people around us. And I think that, layered with just being two Black women in this industry, that can have ripple effects. And so, it’s been important in those times to be of a team and to be a part of this duo where we’re OK sitting down to have those tough conversations,” said Shahidi of her mother-daughter team. “I think what’s been especially freeing is that I know by no means do I represent in totality what it means to be a young Black woman, and it’d be unfair to present me as the representation of that. But through production, it is not limited to what characters can I or can I not play.” —- Follow Associated Press entertainment journalist Gary Gerard Hamilton at www.twitter.com/garyghamilton Gary Gerard Hamilton, The Associated Press
(Connell Smith/CBC - image credit) Sean Casey, whose Saint John council seat was declared vacant this week after he missed four meetings, says he had to get away from the city because he was suffering from depression. Casey said he's been travelling in Mexico since early January, and he made the trip for his mental health. His social isolation, autism and depression had become too much, Casey said as he answered questions from CBC News over Facebook Messenger. He's said he's spoken to psychiatrists and gone to mental health services, but this was not enough. "I haven't found anything that's helped, and I didn't expect to find anything that would." Didn't get permission Council declared Casey's Ward 2 seat vacant on Monday night after he missed four meetings in a row without permission. Mayor Don Darling said councillors had no other choice but to declare the vacancy because the rules are set under the provincial Local Governance Act In Saint John, Casey lived with his father, Larry Casey, who is worried about him. "He's been going to a counsellor to try to get help because he's depressed and in a bad way," the father said. Casey said his son ran for council in hopes of connecting with people, because his autism makes it hard to communicate. "I thought this would be good for him, being in a position like that, where a person that can't make friends, can't communicate, just stuck in the house all day, if he could get out and this would help them open up," he said. "I think it's all getting to him, coming to a head, with having no friends, nobody to hang with, it's just getting to him." But serving on city council did help, the father said. Reminded of travel warnings Darling said that when Casey sent council an email saying he'll be gone from Jan. 3 to Feb. 13, he replied urging Casey to heed the travel warnings. "I certainly wanted to be on the record that, you know, first of all, if you're travelling in the midst of all of this, that's not advisable and that you will be responsible for any of the implications," Darling said. "The councillor acknowledged that he understood that." If he had come back on Feb. 13, Casey would have missed only three meetings. But because he is still in Mexico he missed the fourth on Feb. 22. Darling said getting the email from Sean Casey that he would be away was surprising. "This is … certainly not normal circumstances to have somebody, you know, get up and leave." Darling said Casey did not indicate he's been ill and did not ask for permission to miss the council meeting. Saint John Mayor Don Darling says he asked Sean Casey to heed the government's recommendation to avoid non-essential travel. The Public Health Agency of Canada has been urging people to avoid all non-essential travel outside Canada because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the government has not outright banned international travel. Despite the federal caution, Casey said he feels virus measures in airports have been adequate to protect him. "I'm not very social, so I don't go out and party every night so that has probably helped," he said. "The COVID precautions have worked for me." Casey said he's gone to Bogota in Colombia, and Tijuana, Mexico City and Cancun in Mexico. "The trip hasn't gone to plan," he said. "I was not planning on going to that many places." He didn't say when he plans to come back to Canada, but he doesn't plan to run for council in the May municipal elections.
WASHINGTON — Several witnesses have been subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury considering charges against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is already facing state murder charges in the death of George Floyd, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The Justice Department’s federal civil rights investigation has been focused on Chauvin and some of the witnesses, including other officers who worked with Chauvin, according to the person, who could not publicly discuss the non-public proceedings and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. The New York Times first reported that a grand jury was hearing testimony against Chauvin. The Justice Department declined to comment. Jury selection begins in Chavin's state case on March 8 — he faces second-degree murder and manslaughter charges — with opening statements scheduled for March 29. Floyd, a Black man, died May 25 after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck while he was handcuffed and saying he couldn’t breathe. Floyd’s death sparked protests in Minneapolis and beyond and led to a nationwide reckoning on race. Three other officers — Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao — are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter and are scheduled to face trial in August. Like Chauvin, all three were fired soon after Floyd’s death. The increased federal grand jury activity in connection with Floyd’s death comes as the Justice Department, under President Joe Biden, is expected to focus more on civil rights issues, criminal justice overhauls and policing policies in the wake of nationwide protests over the death of Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement. At his confirmation hearing this week, Judge Merrick Garland, Biden’s nominee for attorney general, emphasized his commitment to combating racial discrimination in policing, telling the Senate Judiciary Committee that America doesn’t “yet have equal justice.” Former Attorney General William Barr had previously said that, as is standard department policy, the Justice Department was first going to allow a state prosecution to move forward before the federal investigation would be resolved. It’s unclear what specifically prompted the increased grand jury activity in the last few weeks, though most federal grand juries are discharged after about 18 months. Chauvin was prepared to plead guilty to a state charge of third-degree murder in Floyd’s death before Barr personally blocked the plea deal last year, two law enforcement officials with direct knowledge of the talks told the AP. Barr rejected the deal in part because he felt it was too soon as the investigation into Floyd’s death was still in its relative infancy, the officials said. The officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the talks. ___ Associated Press writer Doug Glass contributed from Minneapolis. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick's auditor general is warning of a crisis in the nursing home sector if the government doesn't address the shortage of spaces. Kim Adair-MacPherson says the number of seniors in the province is expected to double by 2036 and there are currently almost 800 seniors waiting for a nursing home placement. She says it's unclear how the province plans to address the demand. Social Development Minister Bruce Fitch says 600 new nursing home beds will be opened over the next five years. He says the procedure the government uses to request proposals for new nursing homes has been streamlined, which he says should speed things up. Cecile Cassista, executive director of the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents Rights, says the government should concentrate on helping seniors remain in their own homes instead of putting them into nursing residences. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Military veteran Eric Lalonde is surprised how quickly people are responding to a GoFundMe campaign to help purchase a new service dog for his post traumatic stress disorder. “I’m actually surprised and really appreciate it, I didn’t expect that much response,” Lalonde said of reaching the half-way mark toward the $4,000 goal. His wife, Caroline, set up the fundraiser last week with a link submitted to the East Ferris Post It Facebook page. The couple has lived in Astorville for the past eight years. Lalonde said he didn’t expect the support because members of the military don’t get that much respect in his home province of Quebec. “It’s very different, they don’t appreciate the military as much,” he said. Lalonde, 42, retired from the Canadian army last February after 23 years of service, including a decade as an infantryman with tours in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Kuwait. His last 13 years of service were spent being a supply clerk in North Bay. His current service dog, Nala, is an 11-year-old German Shepherd mix. They’ve spent several thousand dollars on her veterinarian bills and more than $1,000 on medicine for a failing pancreas and hip dysplasia. “It’s time to take her into retirement,” Lalonde said, noting they found it difficult to find a new service dog due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They explored getting a rescue dog but many of them have their own issues and groups that help veterans with PTSD get trained service dogs had long waiting lists. Money is also tight as they prepare to find a better-suited home in the area this summer. Home buyers are facing a seller’s market as residents in southern Ontario cash out of their properties and flee big cities. Lalonde said he likes this part of Canada and the quiet peace of the rural area, adding he hopes their next home is the last. “I’m not moving anymore,” he said. Caroline Lalonde described their situation in detail for the online fundraiser. “After his retirement, Eric was sure he was fine and didn’t need a service dog anymore as he was home and relaxed,” she wrote. “But after a few months, he found out the dog was doing more than just working with him every day. Nala is there to encourage him to get up in the morning and keep him moving during the day. “When Nala feels Eric is about to overreact for something or having a short fuse, she will go to see him and lick him until he takes care of her, so it changes Eric’s mind and calms him down. “She will also protect Eric from people who are approaching too fast or doesn’t reflect a good vibe while approaching,” she wrote. Nala’s health did a nose-dive starting last August when her Husky died at nine years old. “She doesn’t have the energy anymore, can’t walk more than a few minutes without having pain and every time she has to get up the stairs, we can tell on her face that she’s having bad pain,” she said. “Eric was looking to wait for the next litter, in summertime, but Nala is too sick and she needs to be able to teach the puppy how to be a good service dog and the more Eric waits, the less Nala will be able to do it,” she said. A service dog trainer introduced them to a breeder who moved Eric to the top of his list for a puppy that will be ready March 14. But they were scrambling to find the $2,500 plus HST for the purchase, special food, and related expenses while also supporting ongoing Nala’s medical care. “The training will be paid by the Citadel Canine so I’m only asking enough money to be able to pay for the dog. I will provide all the proof of payments and also show pictures when I have some,” Caroline added. “If I get more than Eric needs, that money will go for Nala’s veterinarian bill, for pain medications for her hips, and also for the puppy booster.” Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
OTTAWA — A new report says too many federal inmates in isolation aren't getting a few hours a day out of their cells, pushing them into territory that could be described as inhuman treatment or even torture. Citing federal data, the report says nearly three in 10 prisoners in isolation units didn't have all or any of the four hours out of their cells they are supposed to get, for two weeks at a time. A further one in 10 were kept in excessive isolation for 16 days or longer, which by international laws and Canadian rulings constitutes cruel treatment. The findings suggest the federal prison system is falling well short of the guidelines the Liberals ushered in for "structured intervention units" designed to allow better access to programming and mental-health care for inmates who need to be kept apart from other prisoners. Prisoners transferred to the units are supposed to be allowed out of their cells for four hours each day, with two of those hours engaged in "meaningful human contact." The report by two criminologists says there needs to be better oversight of how the units are managed, adding the results show Canada commits "torture by another name." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden's nominee to run the CIA told lawmakers Wednesday that he would keep politics out of the job and deliver “unvarnished” intelligence to politicians and policymakers. “I've learned that politics must stop where intelligence works begin,” William Burns told members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “That is exactly what President Biden expects of CIA.” Burns said the president "wants the agency to give it to him straight, and I plan to do just that and to defend those who do the same." The comments from Burns were aimed at drawing a contrast with the prior administration, when President Donald Trump faced repeated accusations of politicizing intelligence and he publicly disputed the assessments of his own intelligence agencies, most notably about Russian election interference. Burns is a former ambassador to Russia and Jordan who served at the State Department for more than 30 years under both Democratic and Republican presidents. His well-known status in diplomatic circles makes his confirmation likely. He acknowledged that he would be returning to government at a time of diverse international security threats, including from China, Russia, North Korea and Iran. Burns appeared before the committee one day after members held a hearing on Russian hacks that targeted the U.S. private sector and federal government agencies. He said that intrusion was a “very harsh wake-up call about the vulnerabilities of supply chains and critical infrastructure” and that the CIA had to work even harder to detect and prevent cyberoperations from abroad, to help attribute blame and to develop its own capabilities. He also said that "outcompeting China" would be a core national security priority in the coming years. Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
The territorial government is in favour of a national pharmacare bill that would see Canadians acquire universal public access to prescribed medication with expenses covered by the government. The proposed legislation, Bill C-213, is a private member’s bill put forth by Peter Julian, the New Democrat MP for New Westminster-Burnaby. Julian proposes a national single-payer pharmacare program that would “deliver better healthcare and improve the health and lives of millions of Canadians,” according to his party. “Canada is falling behind, being the only high-income country that has a universal healthcare system but does not include universal coverage of prescription drugs," the NDP says. "The lack of coverage results in one in five Canadians being unable to afford the medication their doctors prescribe.” The bill has its first parliamentary vote on Wednesday. Private members' bills typically have a low chance of being passed as they rarely acquire government backing. If passed, a national pharmacare program could be developed by next spring. In the N.W.T. legislature on Tuesday, health minister Julie Green said the bill could be a “game changer” in the way N.W.T. residents go about acquiring prescription medication. Green said only about 50 per cent of residents in the territory have pharmacy and medication coverage. “This would take in a lot of people who are currently left out,” she said. The minister said pharmacare had "not received the attention it deserves, primarily because it has coincided with the pandemic, and federal and territorial resources have been focused on that.” Green said that while the N.W.T. supported a national pharmacare program, the "fine print" would have to include provisions unique to the territory. “We wouldn’t want a boiler-plate system. We would want a system that suits our particular needs in the Northwest Territories,” she said, suggesting that would include long-term funding. Frame Lake MLA Kevin O’Reilly asked Green if the territory’s support had been communicated to the NWT's Liberal MP, Michael McLeod, before he casts his vote on Wednesday. Green said she was not sure what, if any, conversation on the matter had taken place with McLeod. Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio
Beijing-based ByteDance plans to move the chief of its Chinese news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, Zhu Wenjia, to Singapore to head global research and development for its hit short video app TikTok, two people familiar with the matter said. The role is newly created and would be the first senior R&D position for TikTok.
Ontario has announced new details of its vaccine rollout for residents aged 60 and older. Here's a look at the timeline issued by retired Gen. Rick Hiller, who is leading the province's vaccine effort: Third week of March: Vaccinations start for those 80 and older. April 15: Vaccinations start for those 75 and older. May 1: Vaccinations start for those 70 and older. June 1: Vaccinations start for those 65 and older. First week of July: Vaccinations start for those 60 and older. Essential workers could receive shots in May if supply allows but the government is still deciding who will be in that group. High-risk groups, including health-care workers who work directly with the public and Indigenous adults, will receive shots throughout. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — Canucks forward Antoine Roussel has been fined US$5,000 by the NHL for roughing in Vancouver's 4-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. The 31-year-old winger dropped his gloves and went after Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi along the boards midway through the second period. Puljujarvi was an unwilling participant in the fight and did his best to avoid Roussel's fists, but appeared to suffer a cut to the bridge of his nose. Roussel was handed a two-minute minor for roughing. He has 31 penalty minutes in 22 games this season. The Canucks (8-13-2) were up 3-0 towards the end of the first period before the Oilers (13-8-0) sparked a comeback with four unanswered goals. The two sides will meet again in Vancouver on Thursday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
BATON ROUGE, La. — Trashed on social media and censured by Louisiana Republicans, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy described himself Wednesday as “at peace” with his vote to convict former President Donald Trump at his impeachment trial and dismissed the scorching GOP backlash he's received. Louisiana's senior Republican senator said he does not believe the criticism represents the feelings of many of his party's voters. He said the censure he received from the leadership of the state Republican Party represented “a small group of people,” not the “broader Republican Party.” “I am such at peace with that vote. I say that knowing that I’m getting criticized, but I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution,” Cassidy said in a conference call with reporters on a variety of topics. Cassidy joined six other Senate Republicans in voting with Democrats on Feb. 13 to convict Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in an impeachment trial that saw the former president acquitted. Louisiana's other U.S. senator, Republican John Kennedy, voted against conviction. “I’ve received comments from folks who are Republican who object to the vote,” Cassidy said. “I’ve received a heck of a lot of folks who agree with me or, if they don’t agree with me, respect the kind of thought process that went into it.” He added: “There’s a diversity of opinion among Louisiana Republicans, even if there is not among a very small group of people.” Though the 57-43 Senate vote was short of the two-thirds majority needed to find Trump guilty, the seven GOP votes against Trump represented the largest number of lawmakers to ever vote to find a president of their own party guilty at impeachment proceedings. Some Republicans who voted to acquit Trump said they did not believe the Democrats proved their case that the former president was directly responsible for inciting hundreds of people to storm the Capitol building in a riot that left five people dead. Other Republicans said they simply did not believe Congress had jurisdiction over a president no longer in office. Cassidy has tried to change the conversation since the impeachment trial ended, sending out daily statements about a variety of subjects and talking about other issues, such as the confirmation hearings of President Joe Biden's cabinet appointments and recovery from the icy weather. But Trump supporters don't want to move on, and they've been slamming Cassidy on conservative talk radio and websites. They've called for Republicans to ban Cassidy from their events, and several local Republican groups have joined the executive committee of the state GOP in condemning Cassidy's vote to convict Trump. Cassidy, a doctor, overwhelmingly won reelection in November to a second term, with Trump's backing. Asked whether his vote to convict Trump could damage his chances of reelection in 2026, Cassidy replied: “It is six years off, but that's immaterial. I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution." ___ Follow Melinda Deslatte on Twitter at http://twitter.com/melindadeslatte. Melinda Deslatte, The Associated Press
Taisto Eilomaa’s daughter said there are two words spring to mind when thinking of her father. One is Skype. Barbara Major said her 91-year-old father is the only person she has ever known that speaks to so many people via the internet-based communication that he required a monthly paid account. The other is not a word you may be familiar with: Sisu. Eilomaa passed away Jan. 30 due to complications from COVID-19 at Finlandiakoti, an apartment building that is part of the Finlandia Village complex. If you are one of the many people of Finnish descent who make up the Sudbury community, then you’ll recognize this word, even if you can’t quite describe it. If you are English-only, there is not really a translation for it, but more of a ‘you know it when you see it,’ meaning. Start with the translation of the root word, sisus, which means ‘guts’ or ‘intestines’ and you begin to get an idea. It is reserved for the challenging moments in life. It defines those who overcome regardless of the obstacle they face and who do so with aplomb, intestinal fortitude, resilience, determination. Ténacité, or in Italian, tenace, for a passion that seems crazy to undertake, almost hopeless. The Finnish say it is the reason they survive, the reason they thrive. There is a common saying: “Sisu will get you through granite.” Taisto Eilomaa had sisu. It got him through coming to a new country at the age of 22 with no ability to speak the language. It got him through starting businesses from the ground up, like Lockerby Auto Service, later investing in business and creating success — Brown's Concrete Products Ltd., for one, as well as the Wanup Sand and Gravel Pit and Taisto’s Trucking. It allowed him to keep connections with his family wherever they were in the world, to contribute to his community as well as to his own family. You could say it also helped him when he lost his wife of 53 years; and when he was at his lowest, it could be sisu that allowed him to find love again. Also, it may have been the driving force behind a man who raced stock cars he built, loved scuba diving and got his pilot’s licence, Sisu got Eilomaa through granite and his community is better for it. Born Nov. 18, 1929, to Saima and Frances Eilomaa in Lohja, Finland, Eilomaa decided to immigrate to Canada in search of a better life. It might be fate that put him on that ship in 1951, for it was on that voyage he met a lovely woman named Laura Akkanen. They wed in 1952 and were married for 53 years before her passing at age 77, in 2005. Major, their daughter, wasn’t sure her father would survive. “When my mother passed away, I thought we would lose my dad as well. After 53 years of marriage, he seemed unable to move on.” But for sisu, he may not have. Though it took time, Eilomaa began to get re-acquainted with a long-time family friend, Riitta Nurmikivi, at a weekly card party and they soon formed a close relationship, and spent more than 14 years together. “Ironically,” said Major, “My mother would often joke that Riitta would take her place if she ever died before my father.” Nurmikivi would bring to Eilomaa’s life more family for him to dote over and he did just that. Major says they were a welcome addition who will also mourn for Eilomaa. “We will always cherish her in our family,” said Major. It was family that always gave Eilomaa his greatest joy; perhaps the source of his sisu. “If there is one thing my father had plenty of,” said Major, “is love for everyone he met, especially his family.” He loved his daughter dearly and he loved her daughter, his granddaughter, perhaps even more says Major. “As much as they showered me in love and compliments,” she said, “my parents took great pride in their granddaughter.” He adored her and told her so often. “In his later years,” said Major, “I would often catch my daughter wiping away tears only to learn that her grandfather had taken a moment to mention how much he loved her and how proud he was of the woman she became.” He also dearly loved his great-grandchildren, Clarke and Laura. He was also dedicated to his Finnish family as well, spending as much time in Finland — and on Skype — as possible. He learned to operate a computer at 60, “A two-finger keyboarder,” said Major and began extensive research and interviews to build a family tree. “Those connections were worldwide,” said Major. On one of his trips to Finland, Eilomaa filled a suitcase with 50 bound copies of the family tree to distribute to family. And that isn’t the only history Eilomaa was dedicating to preserving. Eilomaa was a member of the Finnish Canadian Historical Society since 1968 and dedicated so much of his time to preserve history of those of Finnish descent who settled in Sudbury, particularly through photography collection and archiving. Major remembers visiting her father at times and finding him surrounded in photos that he would arrange and display for Finnish celebrations, allowing everyone to see their history. The Finnish Canadian Historical Society have presented him with two awards in recognition of his outstanding service and lasting contribution. Eilomaa also received a certificate of appreciation and is an honorary member of the Voima Athletic Club, which he has been actively involved with since 1952. And as one of the founding members and a previous past president of the Finlandiakoti Finnish Rest Home Society, many in the community say his commitment to the vision is a large part of what made Finlandiakoti what it is today. He was also active in the Freemasons and the Shriners for more than 30 years. Of all the words that are used to describe the small bits of character that are revealed through actions, there are another few for Eilomaa: ‘My sweetheart’, ‘my darling’, ‘I love you’. But not for the reasons you might think. “One of his favourite things he used to say,” said Major, “is that when my mom and dad arrived in Canada, between the two of them, they had three suitcases and $50. But my dad knew how to speak only a little English and what he knew how to say in English was: ‘my darling, my sweetheart, I love you’.” And truly, with a little sisu, that will get you pretty far. Due to the pandemic, no funeral service will be held, but a Celebration of Life for Taisto Eilomaa will be held in both Sudbury and Finland, on a date to be determined. Jenny Lamothe is a Local Journalism Reporter at Sudbury.com, covering issues in the Black, immigrant and Francophone communities. She is also a freelance writer and voice actor. Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
By Jamie Mountain Local Journalism Initiative Reporter EARLTON – The Earlton Recreation Centre will be getting a full upgrade on its fire alarm system. Armstrong Township council passed the motion at its regular meeting Wednesday, February 10. Acting public works foreman Caleb Fotheringham explained to council that Gilles Lachapelle of GRL Electric examined the arena’s current fire alarm system on January 15 and determined that the main board and some heat sensors need to be replaced, and that a couple of sensors needed to be added. Fotheringham said he received quotes from GRL Electric to replace just the panel or to do a full system upgrade, which he said he favoured the latter. Fotheringham noted a full system upgrade is expected to cost $14,601 plus HST and the panel replacement would be $2,050 plus HST. “Personally I want to redo everything and get it done and have it priced and stuff and not have to worry about it,” he said. Councillor Theo Cull said that he was hesitant for the township to spend money on a building that is highly under-utilized. But at the same time, he said that he recognizes that had a maintenance program been followed perhaps the problems with the fire alarm system “would have been caught earlier on and cost less. Cull noted that he didn’t want to see Armstrong’s infrastructure age and become outdated, or become non-compliant with regulations and laws and thus was in favour of spending the money to upgrade the fire alarm system. “I would prefer to spend the money now, ensure the facility is safe and up to date and follow the recommendations of our acting public works superintendent who has initiated a maintenance program that will ensure better care is taken in the future.” Council agreed that while the cost for the upgraded system was pricey, it would be in the township’s best interest to keep its infrastructure in good standing. Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker