Natalie Sideserf of Sideserf Cake Studio in Austin, Texas creates a cake that looks just like a real eggplant! Check it out!
Natalie Sideserf of Sideserf Cake Studio in Austin, Texas creates a cake that looks just like a real eggplant! Check it out!
The A-list is back. How A-list? Try Lady Gaga and J. Lo. Inauguration officials announced on Thursday that the glittery duo would appear in person on Jan. 20, with Gaga singing the national anthem as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are sworn in on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, and Jennifer Lopez giving a musical performance. Foo Fighters, John Legend and Bruce Springsteen will offer remote performances, and Eva Longoria and and Kerry Washington will introduce segments of the event. Later that day, Tom Hanks will host a 90-minute primetime TV special celebrating Biden’s inauguration. Other performers include Justin Timberlake, Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato and Ant Clemons. Despite a raging pandemic that is forcing most inaugural events online, it was a sign that Hollywood was back and eager to embrace the new president-elect four years after many big names stayed away from the inauguration of President Donald Trump, hugely unpopular in Hollywood. The question: How would the star wattage play across the country as Biden seeks to unite a bruised nation? Eric Dezenhall, a Washington crisis management consultant and former Reagan administration official, predicted reaction would fall “along tribal lines.” “I think it all comes down to the reinforcement of pre-existing beliefs,” Dezenhall said. “If you’re a Biden supporter, it’s nice to see Lady Gaga perform.” But, he added, “what rallied Trump supporters was the notion of an uber-elite that had nothing to do at all with them and that they couldn’t relate to.” Presidential historian Tevi Troy quipped that the starry Gaga-J. Lo lineup was not A-list, but D-list — "for Democratic.” "When Democrats win you get the more standard celebrities,” said Troy, author of “What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House.” “With Republicans you tend to get country music stars and race-car drivers." Referring to Lady Gaga’s outspoken support for the Biden-Harris ticket, he said he was nostalgic for the days when celebrities were not so political. “Call me a hopeless romantic, but I liked the old days when Bob Hope or Frank Sinatra would come to these events and they were not overtly political,” he said. Still, he said, Biden’s unity message won’t be derailed. “In the end, I don’t think having Lady Gaga or J. Lo is all that divisive,” he said. Attendance at the inauguration will be severely limited, due to both the pandemic and fears of continued violence, following last week’s storming of the Capitol. Outside the official events, one of the more prominent galas each inauguration is The Creative Coalition's quadrennial ball, a benefit for arts education. This year, the ball is entirely virtual. But it is star-studded nonetheless: The event, which will involve food being delivered simultaneously to attendees in multiple cities, will boast celebrity hosts including Jason Alexander, David Arquette, Matt Bomer, Christopher Jackson, Ted Danson, Lea DeLaria, Keegan Michael-Key, Chrissy Metz, Mandy Patinkin and many others. Robin Bronk, CEO of the non-partisan arts advocacy group, said she's been deluged with celebrities eager to participate in some way. The event typically brings in anywhere from $500,000 to $2.5 million, and this year the arts community is struggling like never before. Bronk noted that planning has been a challenge, given not only the recent political upheaval in the country but also the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic. Given all that, did a celebration make sense? “I was thinking about this when we were trying to phrase the invitation,” Bronk said. “Do we celebrate? This is the most serious time of our lives.” But, she said, especially at a time when the arts community is suffering, it’s crucial to shine a spotlight and recognize that “the right to bear arts is not a red or blue issue. One of the reasons we have this ball is that we have to ensure the arts are not forgotten." The Presidential Inaugural Committee also announced Thursday that the invocation will be given by the Rev. Leo O’Donovan, a former Georgetown University president, and the Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Andrea Hall, a firefighter from Georgia. There will be a poetry reading from Amanda Gorman, the first national youth poet laureate, and the benediction will be given by Rev. Silvester Beaman of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Wilmington, Delaware. On the same platform, Biden sat in 2013 behind pop star Beyoncé as she sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at President Barack Obama's second inauguration. James Taylor sang “America the Beautiful,” and Kelly Clarkson sang “My Country, ’Tis of Thee.” At Trump’s inauguration in 2017, the anthem was performed by 16-year-old singer Jackie Evancho. A number of top artists declined the opportunity to perform at the festivities, and one Broadway star, Jennifer Holliday, even said she’d received death threats before she pulled out of her planned appearance. There was indeed star power in 2017, but most of it was centred at the Women’s March on Washington, where attendees included Madonna, Julia Roberts, Scarlett Johansson, Cher, Alicia Keys, Katy Perry, Emma Watson and many others. This year, signs are that Obama-era celebrities are returning. Dezenhall said that in the end, it's logical for organizers to go with the biggest talent. “Lady Gaga is as big as you can get, and she is very talented,” he said. “If I were being inaugurated and I could have Lady Gaga, I would take it.” Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
Toronto's speed enforcement cameras issued more than 53,000 tickets in their months of use, the city says, and appear to have led drivers to slow down in the areas where they were positioned. In about four and half months last year, the 50 automated devices led to some 53,090 tickets being handed out, the city said in a news release Friday. Further, as the initial enforcement window continued, there was a notable reduction in both the overall number of tickets issued and also the number of repeat offenders. The cameras first went into action on July 6, 2020, and all 50 remained in the their original locations until Oct. 31. Throughout November, the devices were rotated to new spots in stages. According to the city, the data from that period looks like this: July 6 to Aug. 5, 2020: 22,301 total tickets, with 2,239 repeat offenders. Aug. 6 to Sept. 5, 2020: 15,175 total tickets, with 1,198 repeat offenders. Sept. 6 to Oct. 6, 2020: 9,719 total tickets, with 604 repeat offenders. Oct. 7 to Oct. 31, 2020, the last full day before staff began moving cameras to new locations: 5,174 total tickets, with 251 repeat offenders. Throughout November, 721 tickets were issued, the city said. A speed camera situated on Renforth Drive near Lafferty Street in the riding of Etobicoke Centre issued the most tickets at 5,404. That device was also connected to the single biggest fine issued: $718 to a vehicle owner driving 89 km/h in a 40 km/h zone. Meanwhile, the most frequent repeat offender was a driver in Scarborough North, who received 17 tickets from a device located near Crow Trail and Bradstone Square. Data for December, 2020 is expected next month, the city said, and all of the automated cameras are expected to be moved again in the spring this year.
City of Whitehorse crews have been dealing with record amounts of snow on residential streets and roads. Equipment operators have been working steadily to plow the snow and dump it into bucket trucks, street by street. The trucks haul the snow to cleared-out areas known as snow dumps, most of which are close to the subdivision they are clearing. As one truck is loaded with snow, another is waiting to be filled by a loader operator. It is a big job — there are more than 600 lane kilometres of roadway to shovel. The exception is the Alaska and Klondike highways managed by the Yukon government. "With the large dump of snow that we had early this winter, we immediately recognized that snow storage was going to be an issue," said Richard Graham, manager of operations for the City of Whitehorse. "So we actually had contractors in with Cats, as well as Snowcats, to help us pile the snow even higher to make sure we have enough room for the season," Graham said there are 14 snow dumps around Whitehorse, but the biggest one is what's called the South Access Snow Dump. It's located by the dirt bike race track near Robert Service Way. "This is the largest snow dump that we have, just because everything downtown ends up here, and this is the only snow dump the city will permit for contractors to dump at as well," Graham said. "So any snow that is being removed from private property, for those that have permits, they can dump that snow here as well." He says the mountain of snow at the South Access Snow Dump is up to about 12 metres high in places. Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis says snow removal eats up 10 per cent of the city budget, with more than $3 million put aside for the work every year. "I probably get the most compliments in my role for the Christmas lights and the most complaints about snow," he said. Curtis said thousands of truckloads of snow will be hauled away this winter to the 14 snow dumps around Whitehorse, keeping a small army of city workers and contractors busy with plenty of overtime.
U.S. president-elect Joe Biden has unveiled a $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan to turn the tide on the pandemic, speeding up the vaccine rollout and providing financial help to individuals, governments and businesses.
The Township of Seguin and the other six municipalities that make up west Parry Sound have signed off on a letter, dated Dec. 1, to Ontario’s minister of the environment, conservation and parks. The letter states that they would like the ministry to reconsider the transition of the blue box from 2025 to 2024. What exactly is the blue box transition program? The Blue Box Transition program is being legislated by the Province of Ontario and means the responsibility of collecting and processing recyclable products will be on the manufacturers who make the items. What that means is the duty of recycling is being shifted to the manufacturers who produce the material rather than society. Will this effect how I put out my recycling? The government says there shouldn’t be any change of service. You may have to go to a different location to drop off your recycling, if rural, or you may have a new company that picks up your curbside blue box materials. When is this supposed to come into effect? For the municipalities that make up west Parry Sound — Parry Sound, Archipelago, Seguin, McKellar, McDougall, Carling and Whitestone — the change is supposed to come into effect in 2025; however, all seven municipalities have signed a letter to Minister Jeff Yurek requesting the transition take place in 2024. Why? The District of Muskoka is transitioning in 2024 and, currently, the west Parry Sound municipalities process blue box materials in Bracebridge. They are concerned about issues that may happen if the transition happens at a different time than Muskoka. Another concern is the fact the Greater Toronto Area is transitioning in 2023 and the expanded list of recyclables there will differ from what is offered in west Parry Sound for a time. Residents who migrate north for the summer may expect to recycle the same list of items, which may cause contamination in waste systems. Will this transition raise my taxes? Once the producers and manufacturers take over the recycling process, it’s going to save the taxpayers; however, prices for products may go up to pay for the manufacturers’ cost of processing the recycling. The Township of Seguin said at its Jan. 11 council meeting that the mayors from the seven municipalities would follow up on the letter once a response was received. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte worked the phones on Friday, trying to secure enough votes in parliament to allow him to stay in power after a junior ally quit the cabinet this week. There was growing confidence within the coalition that the government could stay afloat as a new, pro-government group formed in the Senate and the head of the country's influential bishops' association appealed for stability. Conte is due to address the lower house on Monday and the upper house Senate on Tuesday about the political chaos which was triggered by former premier Matteo Renzi in a row over the coalition's handling of the coronavirus and economic crises.
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped nine of her most trusted allies in the House to argue the case for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. The Democrats, all of whom are lawyers and many of whom have deep experience investigating the president, face the arduous task of convincing skeptical Senate Republicans to convict Trump. A single article of impeachment — for “incitement of insurrection” — was approved by the House on Wednesday, one week after a violent mob of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol. At the time, lawmakers were counting the votes that cemented Trump’s election defeat. As members of the House who were in the Capitol when it was attacked — several hiding under seats as rioters beat on the doors of the chamber — the Democrats are also witnesses to what they charge is a crime. So are the Senate jurors. “This is a case where the jurors were also victims, and so whether it was those who voted in the House last night or those in the Senate who will have to weigh in on this, you don’t have to tell anyone who was in the building twice what it was like to be terrorized,” said California Rep. Eric Swalwell, one of the managers. It is unclear when the trial will start. Pelosi hasn’t yet said when she will send the article of impeachment to the Senate. It could be as soon as next week, on President-elect Joe Biden’s first day in office. The managers plan to argue at trial that Trump incited the riot, delaying the congressional certification of the electoral vote count by inciting an angry mob to harm members of Congress. Some of the rioters were recorded saying they wanted to find Pelosi and Vice-President Mike Pence, who presided over the count. Others had zip ties that could be used as handcuffs hanging on their clothes. “The American people witnessed that,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., one of the managers. “That amounts to high crimes and misdemeanours.” None of the impeachment managers argued the case in Trump’s first impeachment trial last year, when the Senate acquitted the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The House impeached Trump in 2019 after he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden’s family while withholding military aid to the country. Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, another manager, says the nine prosecutors plan to present a serious case and “finish the job” that the House started. A look at Pelosi’s prosecution team in Trump’s historic second impeachment: REP. JAMIE RASKIN, MARYLAND Pelosi appointed Raskin, a former constitutional law professor and prominent member of the House Judiciary Committee, as lead manager. In a week of dramatic events and stories, Raskin’s stands out: The day before the Capitol riots, Raskin buried his 25-year-old son, Tommy, after he killed himself on New Year’s Eve. “You would be hard pressed to find a more beloved figure in the Congress” than Raskin, says House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who was the lead manager during Trump’s first trial. He worked closely with Raskin on that impeachment investigation. “I know that part of what gives him strength to take on this burden that he now carries is knowing that this is something that would be enormously meaningful to his son.” REP. DIANA DEGETTE, COLORADO DeGette, who is serving her 13th term representing Denver, is a former civil rights attorney and one of Pelosi’s go-to allies. The speaker picked her to preside over the House during the first impeachment vote in 2019. DeGette said Pelosi trusted her to do it because she is “able to to control the passions on the floor.” She says she was surprised when Pelosi called to offer her the prosecutorial position but quickly accepted. “The monstrosity of this offence is not lost on anybody,” she says. REP. DAVID CICILLINE, RHODE ISLAND Cicilline, the former mayor of Providence and public defender, is in his sixth term in Congress and is a senior member of the Judiciary panel. He was heavily involved in Trump’s first impeachment and was one of three original authors of the article that the House approved on Wednesday. He and California Rep. Ted Lieu began writing the article together, in hiding, as the rioters were still ransacking the Capitol. He tweeted out a draft the next morning, writing that “I have prepared to remove the President from office following yesterday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.” REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO, TEXAS Castro is a member of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs panels, where he has been an outspoken critic of Trump's handling of Russia. He was a litigator in private practice before he was elected to the Texas legislature and came to Congress, where he is in his fifth term. Castro’s twin brother, Julian Castro, is the former mayor of San Antonio and served as former President Barack Obama’s secretary of housing and urban development. Julian Castro ran in the Democratic primary for president last year. REP. ERIC SWALWELL, CALIFORNIA Swalwell also serves on the Intelligence and Judiciary panels and was deeply involved in congressional probes of Trump’s Russian ties. A former prosecutor, he briefly ran for president in 2019. “The case that I think resonates the most with the American people and hopefully the Senate is that our American president incited our fellow citizens to attack our Capitol on a day where we were counting electoral votes, and that this was not a spontaneous call to action by the president at the rally,” Swalwell said. REP. TED LIEU, CALIFORNIA Lieu, who authored the article of impeachment with Cicilline and Raskin, is on the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs panels. The Los Angeles-area lawmaker is a former active-duty officer in the U.S. Air Force and military prosecutor. “We cannot begin to heal the soul of this country without first delivering swift justice to all its enemies — foreign and domestic,” he said. DEL. STACEY PLASKETT, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS Because she represents a U.S. territory, not a state, Plaskett does not have voting rights and was not able to cast a vote for impeachment. But she will bring her legal experience as a former district attorney in New York and senior counsel at the Justice Department — and as one of Raskin's former law students. “As an African American, as a woman, seeing individuals storming our most sacred place of democracy, wearing anti-Semitic, racist, neo-Nazi, white supremacy logos on their bodies and wreaking the most vile and hateful things left not just those people of colour who were in the room traumatized, but so many people of colour around this country," she said Friday. REP. JOE NEGUSE, COLORADO Neguse, in his second term, is a rising star in the Democratic caucus who was elected to Pelosi’s leadership team his freshman year in Congress. A former litigator, he sits on the House Judiciary Committee and consulted with Raskin, Cicilline and Lieu as they drafted the article the day of the attack. At 36, he will be the youngest impeachment manager in history, according to his office. “This armed mob did not storm the Capitol on any given day, they did so during the most solemn of proceedings that the United States Congress is engaged in,” Neguse said Thursday. “Clearly the attack was done to stop us from finishing our work.” REP. MADELEINE DEAN, PENNSYLVANIA Like Neguse, Dean was first elected when Democrats recaptured the House in 2018. She is also a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and is a former lawyer and member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She says she hopes the prosecutors can convince the Senate and the American people “to mark this moment" with a conviction. “I think I bring to it just the simple fact that I’m a citizen, that I’m a mom and I’m a grandma," Dean said. "And I want my children, my grandchildren, to remember what we did here.” Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Divers found parts of the cockpit voice recorder on Friday as more personnel joined the search for wreckage and victims from an Indonesian plane that crashed last weekend in the Java Sea with 62 people on board. The aerial search for the crashed Sriwijaya Air jet was being expanded as well, said National Search and Rescue Agency mission co-ordinator Rasman, who uses one name. More than 4,000 search and rescue personnel are supported by 14 airplanes, 62 ships and 21 inflatable boats. They are using an underwater metal detector and remotely operated vehicle to search for human remains, the cockpit voice recorder and more wreckage. Divers narrowed the search for the cockpit voice recorder after finding some of its parts. “We have found the casing, the beacon and the CVR batteries. We need to search for the memory unit,” the commander of the navy's First Fleet Command, Abdul Rasyid, said Friday. “We hope it will be not far from them,” he said. Investigators have downloaded information from the plane's flight data recorder, which was recovered earlier this week. “There are 330 parameters and everything is in good condition. We are learning about it now,” said Soerjanto Tjahjono, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Committee. Families of those on board have been providing DNA samples to help identify them. National Police spokesperson Rusdi Hartono said 12 of the 62 victims had been identified as of Thursday, including a flight attendant and an off-duty pilot. The committee has said the crew did not declare an emergency or report any technical problems before the plane plunged into the sea minutes after taking off from Jakarta in heavy rain. They said it broke apart upon impact with the water, ruling out a midair explosion, because the debris field is concentrated and engine parts indicate it was running until impact. The 26-year-old Boeing 737-500 was out of service for almost nine months last year because of flight cutbacks caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The airline and Indonesian officials say it underwent inspections, including for possible engine corrosion that could have developed during the layoff, before it resumed commercial flying in December. Indonesia’s aviation industry grew quickly after the nation’s economy was opened following the fall of dictator Suharto in the late 1990s. Safety concerns led the United States and the European Union to ban Indonesian carriers for years, but the bans have since been lifted due to better compliance with international aviation standards. Edna Tarigan And Fadlan Syam, The Associated Press
Most hockey players are used to the occasional heartbreak over a lost game, but it really hurts when they can't even step on the ice. That's the situation for more than 150 minor hockey players in New Sarepta, a hamlet about 50 kilometres southeast of Edmonton. On Wednesday, the plant that provides ice for the rink at the community's Agriplex was turned off for the season because revenues have dried up due to COVID-19 restrictions. Officials say that means no more hockey at the arena until at least next fall. "We're looking at now 10 weeks without any revenue coming into the building (and) there's no guarantee that (on) Jan. 21 we can even look to get users back in," said Taylor Knopp, president of the New Sarepta & District Agricultural Society. That coupled with closure of the fitness facility and the inability to run other regular programs and events, including fundraisers, means finances are tight. "We have, I believe, seven caretakers on this year … we've had to lay off six of them," Knopp said. "We've just decided to take a step back, lick our wounds and work on doing some maintenance now so that next year we come back even stronger." Corey Nordin, president of the New Sarepta Minor Hockey Association, said parents and players will be disappointed. His sons, aged 11 and 13, have already had to give up baseball and jujitsu. "I know they're not happy about it, but they're numb to it I guess," he said. Nordin said hockey is a huge part of life in smaller communities. "If anything's important besides the economy and keeping the wheels rolling, it's kids' sports in my opinion," he said. "I think it's a very big, important thing for kids in their development." At the community's arena in the village of Irma, the ice making machine is still running but the rink hasn't been open since early December and revenues are dwindling. "We're getting to the point where if we're not able to open it right away, we're going to have to start refunding some user groups their money," said Mitch MacKay, chair of the arena board and coach for his daughter's team. MacKay, whose other two children also play minor hockey, said that would result in a pretty big deficit. "It's going to make opening up next year pretty questionable," he said. Arena is social hub MacKay said about 90 kids are involved in minor hockey in the community and the arena is a big part of the social fabric. "That's definitely the place to be on a Saturday morning, there's no doubt about it," he said. "Especially in the winter, that's one of the only ways the elderly people get out. They get out to watch the grandkids and great-grandkids, kind of the social hub of Irma." MacKay worries the closures of small businesses could also impact finances. "It's not as easy to go ask your small companies for donations and funding and volunteer work when a lot of them haven't been working themselves," he said. The situation prompted MacKay to write a letter to Premier Jason Kenney. "It was a little bit out of frustration, just watching the news and seeing all these other places that are busy and full and active right now, like ski hills," he said. "I was kind of just trying to get an answer, more than anything, of what the difference is between these facilities, and what makes what we're trying to do running an arena unsafe." He said he hopes the province will allow arenas to reopen before it's too late. "I do think that we've proven that we can safely operate with just the practices and the small cohort groups, and at least get that facility used." The province's current COVID-19 restrictions are in place until at least Jan. 21.
MONTREAL — Cogeco Inc. reported its first-quarter profit rose compared with a year ago as its revenue also climbed. The company says its profit attributable to owners of the corporation totalled $40.5 million or $2.53 per diluted share for the quarter ended Nov. 30, up from $31.3 million or $1.94 per diluted share a year earlier. Revenue was $646.4 million, up from $618.5 million. Cogeco owns radio broadcaster Cogeco Media as well as a controlling interest in Cogeco Communications Inc., a cable company with operations in Canada and the United States. Cogeco Communications reported a profit attributable to owners of the corporation of $106.7 million or $2.22 per diluted share for the quarter ended Nov. 30, up from $84.2 million or $1.70 per diluted share a year earlier. Revenue at Cogeco Communications totalled $618.9 million, up from $586.8 million. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:CGO, TSX:CCA) The Canadian Press
Atlanta rapper YFN Lucci is accused of being the driver in a gang-related drive-by shooting that left one man dead and another wounded, authorities said. The 29-year-old rapper turned himself in Wednesday, a day after Atlanta police announced murder charges against Lucci, whose real name is Rayshawn Bennett. Police said Bennett and other “gang members” drove through rival gang territory on Dec. 10 and two people inside the car opened fire, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported citing an arrest warrant. The rivals returned fire, hitting James Adams, 28, in the head, police said. Adams was “manually ejected” from the car and police later found his body lying in the road. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Later that day, Kevin Wright, 32, arrived at a fire station with a gunshot wound to his abdomen. He survived. Police said Ra’von Boyd, 23, was also in the vehicle during the shooting. Boyd and a 17-year-old juvenile were charged in the incident and were both arrested in Miami. A warrant was put out for Bennett's arrest Tuesday, charging him with murder, aggravated assault, participating in criminal street gang activity and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Before he surrendered to authorities Wednesday night, he released his latest music video on his Twitter and Instagram pages. Bennett's attorney Drew Findling said a “review of the initial evidence” provided “no basis for any criminal charges.” Lucci is best known for his 2016 song “Key to the Streets” featuring the Atlanta-area-based rap group Migos. The Associated Press
BRACEBRIDGE, Ont. — A boil water advisory has been lifted for an Ontario cottage country town affected by a water main break. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit says lab tests have confirmed the water in Bracebridge, Ont., is now safe to drink. The order lifted Thursday had been issued Jan. 10. The health unit says residents should run cold water for five minutes to ensure it’s running clean.Larger users like restaurants, hospitals and schools may have to run water for longer to ensure it isn't cloudy. People are also advised to replace water filters, drain water heaters, dispose of ice made after Jan. 10 and clean any appliances connected to the water.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
Québec souhaite mettre en valeur la participation et le leadership des femmes et des filles dans les secteurs du sport, du plein air et de l’activité physique. C’est pourquoi il fait appel à la Fondation Québec en forme, devenue M361, dont le siège social est à Trois-Rivières, pour la mise en place d’une stratégie globale de mobilisation en collaboration avec le ministère de l’Éducation. Le gouvernement a fait connaître son intention dans le cadre d’une annonce de recrutement d’organismes ciblés possédant l’expertise des enjeux liés aux femmes dans les secteurs du sport, du plein air et de l’activité physique. Son choix s’est arrêté sur Québec en forme à la suite d’un accord de gré à gré. Québec en forme était une organisation québécoise fondée en 2002, issue d’une entente de partenariat de 480 millions $ entre la Fondation Lucie et André Chagnon et le gouvernement du Québec. Son mandat était de promouvoir la bonne forme physique et la saine alimentation auprès des enfants de 0 à 17 ans. En septembre 2019, Québec en forme devient M361. Elle se transforme en une toute nouvelle organisation et redirige ses activités vers l’activité physique et la saine alimentation. En vertu du mandat accordé, M361 devra recruter des partenaires et experts oeuvrant en sport, plein air et activité physique pour la mise en commun des stratégies favorisant le recrutement et la rétention des femmes et des filles dans les domaines du sport, du plein air et de l’activité physique. Pour ce faire, ils devront valoriser et mettre en lumière des modèles féminins dans ces secteurs d’activité. Parmi les organismes ciblés figurent Égale Action et Fillactive. Le travail consistera à élaborer une image de marque pour lancer et accompagner la stratégie globale, produire des outils promotionnels, incluant une vidéo ainsi qu’un événement de lancement, tout en assurant le développement d’un site Web. Le projet doit prendre son envol l’automne prochain pour une période de deux ans. Malgré nos demandes d’entrevue par courriel, il n’a pas été possible de discuter avec la direction de M361 pour obtenir plus de détails.Denis Villeneuve, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
The Magnetawan First Nation, north of Parry Sound, was recently declared COVID-free, but the territory’s chief said he really wants to see the vaccine given to his community members as soon as possible. Chief William Diabo said that the Magnetawan First Nation was declared free of the coronavirus on New Year’s Eve. Nine members had been diagnosed with COVID-19 during December and all recovered, the last one being declared free of the virus and out of isolation on Dec. 31. That number represents almost 10 per cent of the community’s population of about 115 residents. Diabo had imposed a voluntary lockdown and a state of emergency when the virus first hit the territory in December. He said those orders have been lifted; however, he added that the territory is now covered by the Ontario-wide, province-imposed state of emergency and the restrictions that come with it, including a stay-at-home order. Diabo said that he is expecting a COVID vaccine rollout in the territory in the coming weeks. But he added that he understands they will have to wait their turn as front-line health-care workers, and residents of seniors’ residences, are vaccinated first. He added that he is still frustrated by some community members who are refusing the follow the COVID protocols. “I have a couple of people on my First Nation who are still not complying. One of them posted the damn thing on social media during the lockdown that they were having a gathering with people from four other households who were coming for breakfast over the holidays,” Diabo said. “That’s the worst thing, when you are a small community of 50 homes. You are best to stay in your own home. Don’t go to someone else’s — don’t let them come to yours.” Diabo said he is also frustrated by what he thinks is a lack of will by some police services to enforce the lockdown on First Nations territories. He said there are jurisdictional issues whereby he feels OPP and RCMP are reluctant to come onto the territory to issue tickets. The chief added that even if a person gets a ticket for having too many people in their home, there are no measures in place to keep them from repeating the infraction. As far as the vaccine rollout is concerned, Diabo believes Indigenous communities should follow seniors’ homes on the priority list. “That’s what I’ve been told. It’s a matter of getting the vaccine distributed. It’ll happen — I hope no later than the end of February but I hope sooner than that,” Diabo said. He added that the pace at which the vaccine is being rolled out is a concern, but he said that only when, and if, it appears the territory is not being given the priority it was promised will he begin to kick up dust and complain to officials. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in December that Indigenous communities would be given priority for vaccination after front-line health-care workers and other vulnerable people, including seniors. In an email, Parry Sound Muskoka MPP Norm Miller said he can understand the concerns of Indigenous leaders like Diabo. “Adults in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit populations where infections can have disproportionate consequences, including those living in remote or isolated areas, will be among the first to be offered the COVID-19 vaccine in the coming weeks,” Miller stated. “Given the previous case numbers in certain First Nation communities within the riding, I agree actions need to be taken as quickly as possible, and I have shared these concerns with the ministry. It is an unfortunate reality that the vaccine is now a finite resource which is why it is important to prioritize high risk areas first. I will continue to advocate on behalf of all high-risk populations in Parry Sound-Muskoka as we move forward.” John McFadden is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering Indigenous issues for MuskokaRegion.com, ParrySound.com and Simcoe.com. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.John McFadden, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
The City of Edmonton is set to sell a plot of land deemed a surplus school site for more than ten years, despite ongoing opposition from public interest groups. The city recommends selling the Kiniski Gardens site in southeast Edmonton at 38th Street and 38th Avenue to the Headway School Society of Alberta for $2.5 million, a report posted Thursday outlines. The proposed sale is up for discussion and approval at council's next executive committee meeting Monday. If council approves the sale, Headway plans to build a private school on the lot — a move that has its share of opponents. Wing Li, communications director for Support Our Students Alberta, is among several groups that think the site should remain in the public realm — like a park, seniors centre or community centre. "The municipality selling this is sort of counterproductive to what the municipal government should be doing, which is providing barrier-free access to resources for its citizens," she said. In an interview with CBC News Thursday, Li argued that if the sale goes through, it could set a precedent of encouraging private education. "That it's accepted that you can have these private identities within communities that have struggling public schools and diverting resources that are supposed to be for everyone." Headway secures bid The Kiniski Gardens surplus school site was listed for sale in March last year for $2,450,000 through a public offering. The city received six other offers, which remain confidential. The current Headway School is in Forest Heights in central Edmonton and many of its students live in Mill Woods. Moe Banga, Ward 12 councillor, said if Headway opened a school at the Kiniski Gardens site, it would mean many of its students wouldn't have to travel as far. "I'd say it's a good thing for people in the area," Banga told CBC News Thursday. On its website, the Headway School describes itself as a "culture-based academic school that offers Punjabi language as a subject." In 2017, principal J.S. Sidhu told CBC News that about 370 students spend an hour on the bus each way to attend the school. "It does cater to that community of course," Banga said. "I support this move because this is a regular school and people do need choices to send their kids to school." The site was an elementary school until 2009 when the Edmonton Public School Board declared the site surplus. When a site is deemed surplus, it's offered to other school districts. In this case, the Catholic school board and Francophone school boards did not express interest in using the site for another place of education. "Once a surplus school site has been declared surplus by the school boards, the City is free to dispose of the land to any party," the report says. In 2016, Headway inquired to buy the site from the city. At the time, a coalition of organizations led by Public Interest Alberta and the Edmonton and District Labour Council objected to the city selling the land to a private school. City council put the discussion on hold and asked administration to try to resolve the conflict. When there was still no resolution in October 2019, council directed administration to continue proceeding with the land sale. If the executive committee approves the sale, Headway can continue planning and anticipate starting construction in July 2022.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his entire Cabinet resigned Friday to take political responsibility for a scandal involving investigations into child welfare payments that wrongly labeled thousands of parents as fraudsters. In a nationally televised speech, Rutte said he had informed King Willem-Alexander of his decision and pledged that his government would continue work to compensate affected parents as quickly as possible and to battle the coronavirus. “We are of one mind that if the whole system has failed, we all must take responsibility, and that has led to the conclusion that I have just offered the king, the resignation of the entire Cabinet,” Rutte said. The move was seen as largely symbolic; Rutte’s government will remain in office in a caretaker mode until a new coalition is formed after a March 17 election in the Netherlands. The resignation brings to an end a decade in office for Rutte, although his party is expected to win the election, putting him first in line to begin talks to form the next government. If he succeeds in forming a new coalition, Rutte would most likely again become prime minister. The Netherlands is the third European country thrown into political uncertainty this week in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. In Estonia, the government resigned over a corruption scandal, while Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte’s governing coalition is at risk of collapse after a small partner party withdrew its support. Rutte said earlier this week that his government would be able to keep taking tough policy decisions in the battle against the coronavirus even if it were in caretaker mode. The Netherlands is in a tough lockdown until at least Feb. 9, and the government is considering imposing an overnight curfew amid fears about new, more contagious variants of the virus. “To the Netherlands I say: Our struggle against the coronavirus will continue,” Rutte said. On Thursday, the leader of the Dutch opposition Labor Party stepped down because he was minister of social affairs in a governing coalition led by Rutte when the country’s tax office implemented a tough policy of tracking down fraud with child welfare. Lodewijk Asscher’s decision put further pressure on Rutte ahead of Friday's Cabinet meeting. Ministers were to decide on their reaction to a scathing report issued last month, titled “Unprecedented Injustice,” that said the tax office policies violated “fundamental principles of the rule of law.” The report also criticized the government for the way it provided information to parliament about the scandal. Many wrongfully accused parents were plunged into debt when tax officials demanded repayment of payments. The government has in the past apologized for the tax office’s methods and in March earmarked 500 million euros ($607 million) to compensate more than 20,000 parents. One of those parents waited near parliament as the Cabinet met and said she wanted it to resign. “It's important for me because it is the government acknowledging, ‘We have made a mistake and we are taking responsibility,’ because it's quite something what happened to us,” Janet Ramesar told The Associated Press. Rutte plans to lead his conservative People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy into the March election, and polls suggest it will win the most seats. That would put Rutte, who has been in office for a decade at the head of three different coalitions, first in line to attempt to form the next ruling coalition. Deputy Prime Minister Kajsa Ollongren, who serves as interior minister, said as she entered Friday's meeting that “it is very important to be accountable and also to show responsibility in the political sense, and we are going to talk about that in the Council of Ministers today.” Mike Corder, The Associated Press
Some of the first recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine in the southern N.W.T. are reminding residents that it will help them stay safe. The statements come as the government found an undetected COVID-19 result in Hay River's wastewater earlier this week. Vaccine clinics popped up in three of the smaller South Slave communities this week: K'atl'odeeche First Nation, Enterprise and Kakisa. 'I'm going to do it for my community' April Martel, chief of K'atl'odeeche First Nation, was one of the first people in line for the Moderna vaccine on Wednesday. For a few days before the clinic, Martel had gone door-to-door with a translator, sharing vaccination information with elders in her community. Still, she got nervous as soon as she walked through the doors of the Chief Lamalice Complex with a team of nurses. "I was so excited to get it, but at the same time I was scared," Martel told CBC. She said she was reluctant at first because she knew it was a new type of vaccine, and didn't know how her body would react to it. She was convinced after seeing a long lineup of elders behind her, waiting for their dose. "I felt a little bit better, knowing that [the elders] are getting the vaccine," she said. "They're doing it for their community, so I was like I'm going to do it for my community." Martel said more than 100 people got the first dose of the vaccine that day. There were more who wanted to take it, she continued, but had to be turned away because they were sick or recently got the flu vaccine. More people got vaccinated after positive COVID wastewater test A few hours after being vaccinated, Martel's phone rang. It was Dr. Kami Kandola, the N.W.T.'s chief public health officer, calling to let her know that there was a positive COVID-19 result in Hay River's wastewater system. "I was like 'are you … kidding me, oh my god!'" Martel said. After posting the news on the nation's Facebook page, Martel said more people decided to head to the community centre to get their vaccine. For those who didn't make it, they'll be able to go back again in 28 days to get their vaccine. If they decide not to at that time, Martel said, she will still respect their choice — but she wants people to be comfortable knowing that elders in the community are getting the vaccine. "People were happy [Wednesday], so I just want to share that with people," she said. 'It's the smart thing to do' Enterprise resident Jim Dives was flagged down Thursday morning by a team of nurses looking for the community centre. Dives took them to the right place and helped them carry some of their medical supplies through the door. In the small hamlet of 130 people, appointments for the Moderna vaccine are first-come-first-serve. "They said, 'I guess you're first,'" Dives laughed. "Right place, right time." Dives describes himself as over 70, a little overweight and diabetic — all factors increasing his risk of contracting COVID-19 so he had "no qualms" getting the vaccine. "I think it's the smart thing to do," Dives said. "I think the Northwest Territories is primed to have a large outbreak and ... getting the vaccine is the easiest way to protect everybody." On his way out, Dives said he saw about 15 to 20 people waiting for their turn to get it. Enterprise has a large population of seniors, Dives said. He believes most people in the hamlet will be open to getting the vaccine. "The more people that get the vaccine, the better off we're going to be down the road because that's the only way to stop this thing," Dives said. Dives said he will continue to wear his mask, wash his hands and limit his gatherings even after getting the vaccine to minimize his risk as much as possible.
THE LATEST: B.C. health officials confirmed 509 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. on Friday. Another nine people have died. A total of 1,047 people in B.C. have lost their lives due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. There are 349 people in hospital, including 68 in intensive care. Active cases continue to fall in the province, with the tally at 4,604 active cases. To date, 75,914 people have received a COVID-19 vaccine in B.C. Thirteen more cases have been linked to the Big White community cluster. B.C. has identified its first case of the infectious coronavirus variant first seen in South Africa. B.C. is seeking legal advice on whether an inter-provincial travel ban is doable. The director of UBC's school of public health has resigned after travelling during the holidays. B.C.'s curve has started to bend down again following a bump after the holidays, but health officials are warning British Columbians to keep following public health measures as they watch for two confirmed coronavirus variants in the province. Health officials announced 509 new cases of COVID-19 in the province on Friday. Active cases continued to fall, with the tally now at 4,604. Another nine people have died from the virus, bringing the provincial death toll to 1,047. B.C. recorded one new health-care outbreak at the Hilltop House care home in Squamish, B.C. Interior Health has identified 13 additional cases of COVID-19 linked to the Big White Mountain community cluster. The total number of cases identified to date is 175. Of those, 110 reside on Big White Mountain. There are 32 active cases at the resort and 143 people who have recovered. Vaccine delay A total of 75,914 people have been vaccinated in B.C. so far. On Friday, the federal government announced that global pharmaceutical giant Pfizer will temporarily reduce shipments of its vaccine in order to expand manufacturing capacity at a facility in Belgium. That means fewer shipments of the Pfizer vaccine to Canada at least until March. Henry and Dix said they were were disappointed to hear about the delay. The province is working with the federal government to determine how the delay may impact the rollout in B.C. Officials said they would provide more information in the coming days. New variant Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced on Thursday the first confirmed case in B.C. of a more infectious coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa. Henry said health officials are investigating how the person in B.C. contracted the variant, as they have not travelled or been linked to any travellers. She also confirmed four total cases in the province of the variant linked to the U.K. All four cases have been traced and officials don't believe they have led to spread, Henry said. Both variants spread more easily and rapidly, and have led to surging cases in a number of countries. On Friday, during an interview on CBC's The Early Edition, Health Minister Adrian Dix said officials are concerned about another variant linked to Columbus, Ohio. Dix did not say there were any cases of the variant detected in B.C. at this time. Seeking legal advice on travel ban The B.C. government is getting legal advice to determine whether an inter-provincial travel ban would be doable — or constitutional — as a way to protect the province, as COVID-19 case numbers soar in other parts of Canada. Premier John Horgan on Thursday said he and other leaders would be speaking about the issue later in the day and on Friday during a virtual, two-day cabinet retreat, with the goal to nail down which options the government can take — if any — by the end of the summit. He said he hopes to announce an update on the issue early next week. Henry said she would not issue a public health order against inter-provincial travel. "It's hard to see how that is feasible in British Columbia, for many reasons," she said. "Our borders are very different. We have many ways that people can cross, particularly from Alberta." Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief medical health officer, says stopping non-essential travel would be a difficult decision for B.C., but it could reduce COVID-19 transmission by cutting the number of contacts. Tam said B.C.'s decision to seek legal advice reinforces the message that it isn't time to go on a cross-country vacation. UBC director resigns after holiday travel Peter Berman has resigned as director of the University of British Columbia's School of Population and Public Health just over a week after admitting to holiday travel during the school's winter break. Berman announced his resignation in a Friday statement posted online. He said it would take effect at the end of the day. Berman said in a letter posted last week that he travelled to Hawaii. Businesses deny Indigenous people entry CBC has learned that Save-On-Foods in Powell River, the Glen Lyon Restaurant in Port Hardy, and a dentist's office in Duncan, B.C., all refused service to Indigenous people, citing cases of COVID-19 in their communities as a reason. The businesses claimed they were trying to stop COVID-19 from spreading from nearby Indigenous communities. In a statement, Henry said the incidents were an issue of racism. "COVID-19 has illuminated longstanding inequities and in particular those faced by First Nations in B.C.," she said. "I want to add my voice to the chorus who have condemned such behaviour." What else you need to know Meanwhile, B.C.'s seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie is investigating what went wrong at Little Mountain Place in Vancouver — the location of B.C.'s deadliest care home outbreak. Forty-one residents infected with the virus have died, while 71 staff and 99 of 114 residents have tested positive. While a million British Columbians have already received their B.C. Recovery Benefit, more than 400,000 others are still waiting for their applications to be approved. The tax-free cash payout can mean up to $1,000 dollars for eligible families and $500 dollars for individuals. B.C.'s Finance Minister Selina Robinson said Wednesday that staff are working through a high volume of applications, and will continue to do so in the coming weeks. Dix says it's "very disappointing'' that some doctors in Vancouver jumped the queue to get a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Dix says there will be an investigation into these incidents. The province's vaccination strategy has been to maximize the number of people getting vaccinated by extending the interval between doses as far as possible. Some doctors and nurses have expressed concern over the dose interval, though Henry herself has said it falls within national and World Health Organization recommendations. B.C.'s health restrictions are in effect until at least Feb. 5 at midnight. The current orders include a ban on gatherings with people outside of one's immediate household. The province's non-essential travel advisory remains in place, including travel into and out of B.C., and between regions. READ MORE: What's happening elsewhere in Canada As of 4 p.m. PT on Thursday, Canada had reported 688,891 cases of COVID-19, with 77,956 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 17,383. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Common symptoms include: Fever. Cough. Tiredness. Shortness of breath. Loss of taste or smell. Headache. But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia. What should I do if I feel sick? Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911. What can I do to protect myself? Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean. Keep your distance from people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wear a mask in indoor public spaces. More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.
The McKellar Firefighter Association wants to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by volunteering to flood private skating rinks for McKellar residents. At McKellar's Jan. 12 council meeting, Coun. Don Carmichael commented that it was acting fire chief Ron Harrison’s idea. “We have very little public ice available,” said Carmichael. “And now (with) further restrictions of only five people can be together on an ice surface at any point in time, we have two options. One would be to flood public grounds which we would be responsible for or we can flood private grounds which is the responsibility of the homeowner.” In a report submitted to council, Ron Harrison wrote to request the use of the apparatus and equipment to assist in the initial flooding of at-home rinks to provide an opportunity for ratepayers to have additional activities to do at home to help stop the spread of COVID-19. “This is a fantastic initiative brought forth that will help the ratepayers of McKellar (by) staying home and skating,” Harrison said. “This will also pose benefit in the reduction of pressure on our municipal rink and reduce the use of the lake ice which can be unpredictable.” According to Carmichael, the fire department would be using the secondary tanker and portable pumps and said the initiative could be used as a training opportunity for the firefighters as well. “It would be another training opportunity to be doing this in freezing conditions which we don’t normally do unless in the event of a real fire,” he said. “So, this is a winter training opportunity in addition to providing a service to our private landowners.” But could it affect fire department response times? Coun. Marco Ancinelli, who is also a firefighter for McKellar, said that it wouldn’t as the fire department wouldn’t be using the main equipment. “It’s a different animal all together when you’re fighting a fire in the summertime or in the winter time so I think it’s great practice,” said Ancinelli. However, David Moore, a McKellar ratepayer, questioned the cost the township could incur with usage of the machinery that has been paid for by ratepayers. “Taking expensive township equipment onto private property seems to have insurance claim written all over it,” said Moore. “Should a malfunction or breakage occur, is there enough available equipment to contend with the next fire call?” But Carmichael said during the meeting that township staff had contacted the insurance carrier who provided suggestions on what landowners should be doing. For a ratepayer to have the fire department provide the initial flooding of their private rink, they must reach out to the township and request to have their rink flooded. Ratepayers will have to provide a site plan, sign a waiver and follow a checklist. The procedure also includes a visit from the fire department to ensure it can be done safely. While some ratepayers expressed their concerns online, Coun. Mike Kekkonen said that he thinks council has covered the due diligence aspect with any liability concerns. “With that, I feel comfortable with the firefighters giving their time,” said Kekkonen. “Some people might say that there’s a cost but then again if a child or a family gets a skating rink and have an enjoyable winter, that’s priceless.” Council voted unanimously in favour of the resolution approving the fire department to utilize the apparatus at the discretion of the acting fire chief to provide a free service to McKellar residents to flood ice rinks on private property. The fire department volunteer staff will not be paid an hourly rate nor accumulate points for this activity. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
ISTANBUL — Turkey’s president has criticized the United States for kicking his country out of the F-35 stealth jet program after Ankara purchased a Russian missile defence system, a move that also triggered U.S. sanctions. Speaking after Friday prayers in Istanbul, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey paid “very serious money” for the F-35 fighters but hasn't received them. “This is a very serious mistake that America, as an allied country, has done to us,” Erdogan said. “I hope with Mr. Biden assuming office and with discussions, he will take more positive steps and we can straighten this out,” he added. Turkey was removed from the F-35 program even though it produced some parts for the jets. The U.S. said the Russian system could jeopardize the safety of the F-35s. The U.S. halted the training of Turkish pilots and said Turkey would not be allowed to take final possession of the four aircraft it bought. Erdogan remained defiant, saying the country was in continued dialogue with Russia about a “second package” of the S-400 surface-to-air missile system and would discuss details at the end of the month. Turkey received the first batch of the system in 2019 and tested it in the fall. Washington also sanctioned four Turkish defence officials last month under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, a U.S. law aimed at thwarting Russian influence. The sanctions, which included a ban on issuing export licenses to Turkey’s Presidency of Defence Industries, were the first time the law was used to punish a NATO ally. “No country can decide on the steps we will take for our defence industry,” Erdogan said. The Associated Press