Host William Lou speaks with Michael Grange of Sportsnet to get an inside look at the negotiations behind Masai Ujiri's next contract.
Host William Lou speaks with Michael Grange of Sportsnet to get an inside look at the negotiations behind Masai Ujiri's next contract.
The U.S. House of Representatives delivered to the Senate on Monday a charge that former President Donald Trump incited insurrection in a speech to supporters before the deadly attack on the Capitol, setting in motion his second impeachment trial. Nine House Democrats who will serve as prosecutors in Trump's trial, accompanied by the clerk of the House and the acting sergeant at arms, carried the charge against Trump to the Senate in a solemn procession across the Capitol. Wearing masks to protect against COVID-19, they filed through the ornate Capitol Rotunda and into the Senate chamber, following the path that a mob of Trump supporters took on Jan. 6 as they clashed with police.
SYDNEY, Australia — Australia’s medical regulator has approved use of its first coronavirus vaccine, paving the way for inoculations to begin next month. The Therapeutic Goods Administration on Monday gave provisional approval for people aged 16 and over to use the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. Residents and workers at aged-care facilities, frontline healthcare workers and quarantine workers are among the groups being prioritized for the first doses. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed the development. He said Australia was among the first countries to complete a comprehensive process to formally approve a vaccine rather than just grant an emergency approval. Australia has an agreement for 10 million doses of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine and an option to buy more if supplies allow. Health Minister Greg Hunt said Monday the country overall had secured 140 million vaccines, one of the highest dosing rates per head of population in the world. The biggest of the pre-orders, conditional on regulatory approval, is 53.8 million doses of the vaccine made by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, 50 million of which would be made in Australia in a partnership with Melbourne-based biopharmaceutical company CSL. Australia is aiming to complete inoculations by October. The nation of 26 million people has reported fewer than 30,000 virus cases and a little over 900 deaths. In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region: — Australia has suspended its partial travel bubble with New Zealand after New Zealand reported its first coronavirus case outside of a quarantine facility in two months. Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said Monday the suspension would last for three days and was being implemented out of an abundance of caution. Travelers affected need to cancel or face two weeks in quarantine upon arrival. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she’d told Morrison she had confidence in New Zealand’s systems and processes, but it was up to Australia to decide how they managed their borders. Health officials in New Zealand say genome tests indicate the woman contracted the virus from another returning traveller just before leaving quarantine. However, there was no evidence the virus has spread further. Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the 56-year-old woman had recently returned from Europe. During her mandatory two weeks in quarantine, she tested negative twice. She developed symptoms at home later and tested positive. Officials say the woman appears to have caught the more infectious South African variant of the virus from another traveller on her second-to-last day in quarantine, and they’re investigating how the health breach happened. — Bangladesh received 5 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine from an Indian producer on Monday. Under a three-way agreement, it plans to buy 30 million doses from the Serum Institute of India in phases. A Bangladeshi company, Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd., received the 5 million doses as distributor for the South Asian country. Nazmul Hasan Papon, managing director of Beximco Pharmaceuticals, said the vaccine will be provided to government authorities across the country. The government is training thousands of volunteers to administer the vaccine. The country received 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine last Thursday as a gift from India, while Monday’s doses were purchased. The vaccine, manufactured under license by Serum Institute of India, will be given first to front-line workers, including doctors and nurses. Bangladesh has recorded more than 8.000 deaths from the coronavirus. — Sri Lanka's government says it will start administering a coronavirus vaccine this week. Sri Lanka is to receive a donation of 500,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from India on Wednesday and will begin inoculations the next day, the government said. It will first be given to health workers, the military and police. Sri Lanka has also ordered supplies of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, and separately is to receive enough vaccine for 20% of its population through COVAX, a program led by the World Health Organization and others. Last week, Sri Lanka’s National Medicines Regulatory Authority approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine amid warnings from doctors that front-line health workers should be quickly inoculated to prevent the medical system from collapsing. On Saturday, health minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi tested positive for COVID-19. The disease resurged in October with two new clusters, one at a garment factory and the other at a fish market. Sri Lanka has reported 58,429 case, with 283 fatalities. — A lockdown in part of Hong Kong's Kowloon neighbourhood was lifted Monday after thousands of residents were tested for the virus. The lockdown that began early Saturday covered 16 buildings in the working-class Yau Tsim Mong district. During the lockdown, residents were not allowed to leave their premises until they had tested negative for the coronavirus. The district has been at the centre of a worsening coronavirus outbreak, with over 160 cases reported over the first three weeks in January. Higher concentrations of the virus were also found in sewage samples, prompting fears the virus could be transmitted via poorly installed plumbing systems in subdivided units that lack ventilation. The government said in a statement early Monday that about 7,000 people were tested for the coronavirus during the lockdown, with 13 positive infections found. As of Sunday, Hong Kong has reported 10,086 cases of the coronavirus overall, with 169 deaths recorded. — South Korea has reported another new 437 infections of the coronavirus as officials raised alarm over an outbreak at a missionary training school. Around 130 students and teachers were found infected so far at the church-run academy in the central city of Daejeon. Prime Minster Chung Sye-kyun during a virus meeting called for health officials to deal swiftly with the outbreak at the Daejeon school and prevent transmissions from spreading further. South Korea throughout the pandemic has repeatedly seen huge infection clusters emerge from religious groups, including more than 5,000 infections tied to the secretive Shincheonji Church of Jesus that drove a major outbreak in the southeastern region in spring last year. “We cannot let that situation repeat,” Chung said. The numbers released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Monday brought the national caseload to 75,521, including 11 deaths. The Associated Press
William Joseph "Bill" Hireen was always easy to spot if you lived in Abbotsford, B.C. His unmistakable '91 Cavalier was covered in decals — everything from the Teamster's union to Canadian veterans — each representing a proud chapter in his life. He never missed a Remembrance Day ceremony. If the city council was in session, you'd better believe he was sitting four rows from the front on the left aisle in his usual seat. It even had his name on it. "From city councillors to the homeless, he could chat it up with all of them," said his daughter, Valerie Noble. Hireen, a Navy veteran, was diagnosed with COVID-19 in December. His battle lasted two weeks until his death on New Year's Eve. He's one of at least 11 people who have died following an outbreak at Menno Home, a care home in Abbotsford. More than 70 people have been infected. "When they gave us the phone call to tell us he tested positive, it was devastating," said Noble. "He wanted to fight it, and he did his very best." Proud of his service Hireen was born in Vancouver on March 23, 1927. He grew up in the city, before joining the Navy in the early 1940s. He served overseas during the Second World War, stationed in the United Kingdom. "I was one of the lucky ones," he once wrote in a letter after a local newspaper published a photo of him in mourning while attending a Remembrance Day ceremony. "My thoughts went back to the 1940s and the thousands wearing the same uniform as me who would never come back," he wrote. After he was discharged from the Navy, Hireen started a family in Vancouver. His eldest daughter, Valerie Noble, was born in 1953. Noble said her father was a devout Catholic and a great public speaker, never afraid to speak in front of the congregation. Noble's fond memories of her father include ice skating, camping adventures and a trip to Disney Land, and she also recalled her dad's love for driving and cars. He worked as a truck driver. "He was very proud of all his cars, everything from his VW Volkswagen to his '67 Chevelle. With every car, he put his own touches on," she said. At age 55, he was diagnosed with a spinal cord disease that paralyzed him from the waist down. Determined to stay behind the wheel, he had hand controls installed in his Cavalier so he could keep driving, which he did up until 2018. "He was very independent," Noble said, adding that she had registered him for handyDART, a paratransit service in B.C. "But he never used it once." A council fixture Hireen spent the last three decades of his life in Abbotsford, where he became one of the most well-known members of the community. He wouldn't miss Remembrance Day ceremonies, and he could always be spotted at school board, police board, and transit meetings. When it came to city council, his attendance record would give any elected official a run for their money. "I've been a city councillor for five terms, and as long as I can remember, Bill was a fixture in our chambers," said councillor Dave Loewen. Plaque part of Hireen's legacy One morning, while making his way to council chambers on crutches, he was greeted by mayor and council. They unveiled a plaque on his usual chair. "This seat is reserved for William J 'Bill' Hireen during council meetings," it read. "We'd always looked at Bill's chair, and if he wasn't there, someone would be asking about Bill," said Loewen. "He was someone who encouraged us, without words, that we were doing alright ... he affirmed us." Loewen says there are no plans to remove the plaque. It's part of Hireen's legacy that includes war medals, more than 200 blood donations, the respect of his peers and the love of his family. Hireen leaves behind three children, seven grandchildren and three great granddaughters.
One student poll in France found 72% had suffered recent psychological distress and more than a third had had depressive symptoms. View on euronews
For musicians Andrew Adoranti and Austin DiPietro, it's been tough not being able to perform in front of a live audience during the pandemic. The lockdown forced the duo to instead perform online, but on Sunday, they — along with a handful of other musicians — drove around the city performing for small groups outside of their homes. It's an initiative launched by Tom Lucier, the owner of Phog Lounge, and his business partner Ian Phillips. The restaurant offers customers a Sunday special: a hot meal and a live music show. Musicians they've partnered with perform along driveways, or on front lawns, while restaurant staff drop off poutine, pizza or other food and drink. Despite the snow and cold weather, Adoranti and DiPietro said it felt good to perform live again. "Any chance we can get to get out and play, especially for people? Yeah, it's nice to have as opposed to online," DiPietro said. "Anything like that is great." "It's definitely different because, you know, people are separated. They're smaller audiences. And to get the crowd that we previously had, it requires us to go to a bunch of different locations, whereas before it was everyone was in the same spot at the same time. But I think this allows it to be a little bit more intimate and make a deeper connection, or a closer connection, with the people that you're playing for," said Adoranti. "I think people are more appreciative of it for sure," DiPietro added. For customer Debbie Hazlett, the experience has been wonderful. "It's cold out here, but I don't very often get the chance to share this with my neighbours. So it's wonderful that everybody came out to see what was going on and just listen to the music and share some happiness for a change," she said, adding that she's glad to be supporting local businesses and local bands. "They exceeded my expectations. The music was great. They were all amped up and the whole neighborhood could hear them," she said. The restaurant has been running the initiative for six weeks. Lucier said five artists make about eight to 10 stops, averaging 30 to 50 shows per Sunday. "It has been the most lucrative, supportive thing we've seen for musicians out of all of the work we've done in the 17 years I've been at Phog," he said. "I haven't seen this kind of support financially for the musicians like I've seen in the past five weeks. It's startling, and it's definitely something that needs to continue for the betterment of creative people, for people who lend themselves to the cultural tapestry of not just Windsor, but of Canada." Lucier said the response has been "mind-boggling," adding that he's seen repeat customers requesting the Sunday special. Up to 50 shows a Sunday "It does not surprise me that it is mood altering. It is the kind of thing that brightens up an entire neighborhood. People realize how important this kind of thing is and they are extremely responsible with masks and social distancing and keeping their groups to less than five on their lawn or on their property or on the street to watch these things," Lucier said. "There's a level of respect for live music that I have never seen before. And it's obviously because people have been removed from it for so long, but it speaks volumes to the community to be able to back these artists, this many of them in a pandemic. And it speaks volumes to the artists' talent that they have been rewarded so heartily for their efforts because they're just so gifted," he continued. He said the initiative has been such a success so far that he plans to keep it going post-pandemic.
Before Wilf Doyle scratched the Set For Life ticket he had received for Christmas from his partner, Rowena King, he had a rule to follow. It was Jan. 7 and Doyle made sure to remove the Christmas tablecloth that was still on the table in their Gander home. “I said, ‘don’t you dare scratch that ticket on the tablecloth’,” recalls King. Whether Doyle’s adherence to the order had anything to do with what happened next can never be known, but if you suggest that it brought him good luck, it would be tough to argue. Because when he was finished, staring back at him were all the required number of Set For Life symbols, meaning he had won the grand prize. “I really didn’t believe it,” said Doyle. “It was a weird feeling.” As people tend to do in these situations, Doyle checked everything twice. They even called their daughter so she could provide a fresh set of eyes for confirmation. All agreed the numbers made Doyle a big winner. ”It is life-changing,” he said. The ticket was a part of a bundle the couple had purchased at the lotto booth at the Gander Mall as Christmas stocking stuffers for loved ones. King saved the last ticket for the stocking she had for Doyle. “I can’t say how I felt,” said King of first discovering it was the winning ticket. But she knows how it feels now. “It feels good.” Winners of the Set For Life grand prize are presented with a pair of options. They can choose to receive $1,000 a week for the next 25 years or take a one-time payment of $675,000. In this instance, the Gander couple elected to take the lump sum. The decision will pay immediate dividends. Where once they didn’t own a home, they do now. They’ve already picked out their dream house in Bay Roberts — quickly becoming a destination for jackpot winners — and have made a successful offer. They are especially looking forward to making the move since both have family in the Conception Bay North area. As well, their winnings will allow them to eliminate car payments; they recently purchased a new vehicle. They also have plans to purchase an RV sometime in the future. That will allow them to do some travelling around the province. “It could not have come at a better time,” said Doyle. Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement officials are examining a number of threats aimed at members of Congress as the second trial of former President Donald Trump nears, including ominous chatter about killing legislators or attacking them outside of the U.S. Capitol, a U.S. official told The Associated Press. The threats, and concerns that armed protesters could return to sack the Capitol anew, have prompted the U.S. Capitol Police and other federal law enforcement to insist thousands of National Guard troops remain in Washington as the Senate moves forward with plans for Trump's trial, the official said. The shocking insurrection at the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob prompted federal officials to rethink security in and around its landmarks, resulting in an unprecedented lockdown for Biden's inauguration. Though the event went off without any problems and armed protests around the country did not materialize, the threats to lawmakers ahead of Trump's trial exemplified the continued potential for danger. Similar to those intercepted by investigators ahead of Biden’s inauguration, the threats that law enforcement agents are tracking vary in specificity and credibility, said the official, who had been briefed on the matter. Mainly posted online and in chat groups, the messages have included plots to attack members of Congress during travel to and from the Capitol complex during the trial, according to the official. The official was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation publicly and spoke Sunday to the AP on condition of anonymity. Law enforcement officials are already starting to plan for the possibility of armed protesters returning to the nation's capital when Trump’s Senate trial on a charge of inciting a violent insurrection begins the week of Feb. 8. It would be the first impeachment trial of a former U.S. president. Though much of the security apparatus around Washington set up after the Jan. 6 riot and ahead of Biden’s inauguration — it included scores of military checkpoints and hundreds of additional law enforcement personnel — is no longer in place, about 7,000 members of the National Guard will remain to assist federal law enforcement, officials said. Gen. Dan Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said Monday that about 13,000 Guard members are still deployed in D.C., and that their numbers would shrink to 7,000 by the end of this week. John Whitley, the acting secretary of the Army, told a Pentagon news conference that this number is based on requests for assistance from the Capitol Police, the Park Police, the Secret Service and the Metropolitan Police Department. Whitley said the number is to drop to 5,000 by mid-March. Thousands of Trump’s supporters descended on the Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress met to certify Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential race. More than 800 are believed to have made their way into the Capitol during the violent siege, pushing past overwhelmed police officers. The Capitol police said they planned for a free speech protest, not a riot, and were caught off guard despite intelligence suggesting the rally would descend into a riot. Five people died in the melee, including a Capitol police officer who was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher. At least five people facing federal charges have suggested they believed they were taking orders from Trump when they marched on Capitol Hill to challenge the certification of Biden’s election victory. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. More than 130 people have been charged by federal prosecutors for their roles in the riot. In recent weeks, others have been arrested after posting threats against members of Congress. They include a Proud Boys supporter who authorities said threatened to deploy “three cars full of armed patriots” to Washington, threatened harm against Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., and who is accused of stockpiling military-style combat knives and more than 1,000 rifle rounds in his New York home. A Texas man was arrested this week for taking part in the riot at the Capitol and for posting violent threats, including a call to assassinate Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y ___ Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
Founders Hall in Charlottetown wants to develop its outdoor space to create a place where people can gather more safely during the pandemic. More people were allowed in churches and other places of worship Sunday after the province eased some COVID-19 measures this weekend. There have been no reported cases of influenza on P.E.I. this season, as well as fewer cases of coughs and colds, which the Chief Public Health Office credits to "unintended impacts" of pandemic restrictions. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases reported on P.E.I. remains 110, with seven still active. There have been no deaths or hospitalizations. New Brunswick reported 20 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, mostly in the Moncton and Edmundston regions. The province now has 334 active cases. Nova Scotia had a single new case of COVID-19 to report along with two recoveries, bringing the total of known active cases to 19. Also in the news Further resources Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — Samsung scion Lee Jae-yong and prosecutors have decided not to appeal a court ruling that convicted him for bribing South Korea’s former president for business favours, confirming a prison term of two and a half years for the country’s most influential corporate leader, according to lawyers and court officials on Monday. But Lee’s legal troubles aren’t over. He has been indicted separately on charges of stock price manipulation, breach of trust and auditing violations related to a 2015 merger between two Samsung affiliates. The deal helped strengthen Lee’s control over Samsung’s corporate empire. The bribery allegation involving Lee was a key crime in the 2016 corruption scandal that ousted Park Geun-hye from the presidency and sent her to prison. In a much-anticipated retrial of Lee last week, the Seoul High Court found him guilty of bribing Park and one of her close confidantes to win government support for the contentious merger between Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries, which helped strengthen Lee’s control over Samsung’s business empire. The deal faced opposition from some shareholders who argued that it unfairly benefited the Lee family and only succeeded with the support of a state-controlled national pension fund, one of Samsung’s biggest investors. Lee had portrayed himself as a victim of presidential power abuse and his lawyers criticized the ruling. But after mulling his options, Lee decided to “humbly accept” the High Court’s decision, his head attorney Injae Lee said. Prosecutors had sought a prison term of 9 years for Lee Jae-yong. In a statement released to the domestic media, they said the court was too lenient with Lee considering the severity of his crimes but they will not appeal because their biggest goal was to prove that the payments between Lee and Park were bribes. Samsung did not release a statement over Lee’s legal issues. Lee, 52, helms the Samsung group in his capacity as vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, one of the world’s largest makers of computer chips and smartphones. Like other family-run conglomerates in South Korea, Samsung has been credited with helping propel the country’s economy to one of the world’s largest from the rubbles of the 1950-53 Korean War. But their opaque ownership structures and often-corrupt ties with bureaucrats and government officials have been viewed as a hotbed of corruption in South Korea. While never admitting to legal wrongdoing, Lee has expressed remorse over causing “public concern” over the corruption scandal and worked to improve Samsung’s public image. He declared that heredity transfers at Samsung would end, promising the management rights he inherited from his father wouldn’t pass to his children. He also said Samsung would stop suppressing employee attempts to organize unions, although labour activists have questioned his sincerity. It’s not immediately clear what his prison term would mean for Samsung's business. Samsung showed no specific signs of trouble when Lee was in jail in 2017 and 2018. Prison terms have never really stopped Korean corporate leaders from relaying their business decisions from behind bars. The Supreme Court earlier this month confirmed a 20-year prison sentence for Park for the Samsung case and other bribes and extortion while she was in office from 2013 to 2016. Kim Tong-Hyung, The Associated Press
Officials with the Founders' Food Hall & Market want to expand the outdoor seating area next to the waterfront building to give it more of a street presence and create some space that works in these pandemic times. Port Charlottetown, which owns the building, is drawing up plans for more green space and a small bandstand stage for entertainment. "The objective is to use the exterior as much as possible," said Mike Cochrane, CEO of Port Charlottetown. "Obviously, in a post-COVID-19 era, the focus is a lot on exterior operations and making people feel safe." Cochrane said the port wants to create seating in six pod-type areas for groups of eight to 10 people to congregate; he calls them "cluster zones." They may look at installing some fire pits as well. He said the new outdoor space will be good for any kind of artisan demonstrations or local entertainment, as well as just socializing outdoors. The cost is expected to be around $150,000 and the port hopes the new space can be ready for this summer. City planners dealing with request In order to let the outdoor project proceed, the City of Charlottetown's planning department is looking at a request from the port to consolidate two pieces of property. When Port Charlottetown took over the building, land right beside the building was treated as a separate lot. Now the port says it makes more sense to treat it as one area, so that there is only one boundary line for any development. "it would have the whole, entire operation on one piece of land," said Mike Duffy, chair of the city's planning committee. "It makes it easier to administer," he said. Duffy said he believes the proposal would add to the atmosphere outside Founders' Hall, adding: "On a nice summer's evening, there's not much sense of being stuck inside." Planning documents related to the request note that the property in question used to be part of a larger plot of land, but the former owner subdivided it. No concerns with plan expected Duffy said he didn't feel there were many concerns with the proposal, noting that the city's existing bylaws would be able to deal with any noise concerns. "It's just a matter of making sure we're all on the same wavelength," he said. I think it's going to be a very pleasant change. - Mike Cochrane The proposal will get another look at the next planning meeting on Feb. 1. Then a recommendation will be made to council, and council members will vote on it Feb. 8. The application does not require any notice to residents, and no public meeting is required to deal with the change. "It's a heavily utilized area, and to make it more attractive — especially on Water Street, on the main point of traffic coming into Charlottetown — I think it's going to be a very pleasant change," said Cochrane. More from CBC P.E.I.
Millbrook First Nation is nearly a step closer to developing a section of Shannon Park, but will first need an endorsement from the Halifax Regional Municipality. "We've been working on this for quite, quite some time now," said Millbrook Chief Bob Gloade. "We've acquired the part of Shannon Park a number of years ago and we've been working toward an expansion of our community." The band owns about four hectares of land at Shannon Park in Dartmouth, which is being redeveloped by Canada Lands — the real estate arm of the federal government. The land, which is also known as Turtle Grove or Turtle Cove, was acquired by Indigenous Services Canada and declared reserve land after an outstanding Mi'kmaw claim dating back before the Halifax Explosion. Gloade said Millbrook has been working with Canada Lands and Indigenous Services Canada on the redevelopment of this land for at least 10 years. On Nov. 24, Gloade sent a letter to the Halifax Regional Municipality stating that it was nearly finished establishing a reserve on the Shannon Park land, according to a city council document. The office of Mayor Mike Savage then received an email from Indigenous Services Canada stating it would require "an indication of support" for the reserve. It also required a commitment to enter into a municipal services agreement with Millbrook before the land could be developed. By Dec. 18, the municipality's chief administrative officer, Jacques Dubé, sent a letter to Chief Gloade confirming support for the creation of the reserve and his intention to create a municipal services agreement. However, this first needs to be be endorsed by city council. If the development of the land is endorsed, Gloade said this allows Millbrook to have a larger footprint in the Halifax Regional Municipality. Millbrook has also already worked with the Halifax Port Authority to establish a long-term lease for the infilled water lot. "We're looking at doing a mix of residential and commercial development along the waterfront for economic development purposes for our community," Gloade said. He said if all goes well, the area could see between five and 10 years of construction developments on the waterfront, which will eventually draw more people to the area. "There's a significant amount of the land that we're looking at developing and projects that we're going to be undertaking," he said. "So it will take between five to 10 years by the time everything is done and completed." Halifax Regional Council is expected to vote on the endorsement on Tuesday. MORE TOP STORIES
QUETTA, Pakistan — A Pakistani dissident and woman rights activist who died in exile in Canada last month was brought home and laid to rest in her home village in the southwestern Baluchistan province under tight security, activists said Monday. Only the immediate family of 37-year-old Karima Baloch were allowed to attend her funeral on Sunday in the village of Tump in Baluchistan. Her supporters claim that Pakistani troops had sealed off the village and prevented them from attending her burial. Her remains were brought to Pakistan from Canada earlier on Sunday. Baloch’s body was found on Dec. 22 near Toronto’s downtown waterfront, a place that she liked and often visited, a day after she was reported missing. Toronto police have not treated her death as suspicious though there were allegations by her supporters that she was killed. A fierce critic of Pakistani spy agencies that are often accused of abducting activists in Baluchistan and elsewhere in Pakistan, she was granted asylum in Canada in 2016. Her death has raised suspicions among rights activists, who on Monday denounced authorities for holding the funeral in near secrecy. “It is appalling to see how Karima Baloch’s dead body was treated," said Mohsin Dawar, a lawmaker from Pakistan's former tribal regions who campaigns for Pashtun minority right but like Baloch, has also criticized Pakistani spy agencies. “It is not difficult to understand how this will deepen the divide and fuel separatism," he tweeted. "Is this the strategy to deal with the Baloch insurgency, to sprinkle salt on the wounds of Baloch?" There was no immediate comment from the government, but a video that surfaced on social media shows soldiers turning back several mourners who are heard in the footage saying they wanted to pay their last respects to Baloch. Angered over the situation, a Baloch nationalist group — the Baloch Solidarity Committee — issued a call for a daylong strike and complete shutdown in Baluchistan on Monday. Its statement said Pakistani troops spirited Baloch's coffin on its arrival from Canada and foiled a move by her supporters to hold her funeral in Karachi, instead taking her remains to her home village. Later on Sunday, hundreds of Baluch activists rallied in Karachi, denouncing the government for not allowing that Baloch's funeral be held in the city. They chanted antigovernment slogans and demanded justice for Baloch, who they say was a “voice of the Baloch people” that was “silenced.” The activists insisted she did not die a natural death though they offered no evidence to support their allegation. Baluchistan has for years been the scene of a low-level insurgency by small separatist groups and nationalists who complain of discrimination and demand a fairer share of their province’s resources and wealth. Although there are also militant groups in Baluchistan that stage attacks on soldiers, separatists also often attack troops in the province, prompting authorities to detain suspects. Human rights activists often blame security forces of illegally holding people. Such detainees are usually not charged and do not appear in court, which draws protests from their families and rights activists. ___ Associated Press writer Munir Ahmed in Islamabad contributed to this report. Abdul Sattar, The Associated Press
CALGARY — Obsidian Energy Ltd. is extending its hostile takeover offer for Bonterra Energy Corp. until March 29. The offer was set to expire today. Bonterra has repeatedly recommended shareholders reject the bid. Obsidian has offered two of its shares for each Bonterra share. In December, Obsidian reduced the minimum number of tendered shares needed to complete the transaction to 50 per cent from two-thirds. Obsidian has said a combined Obsidian-Bonterra could save $50 million in the first year and a total of $100 million in the first three years, however Bonterra has said those savings are "uncertain." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:BNE, TSX:OBE) The Canadian Press
Speaking at a virtual meeting of the World Economic Forum - a gathering usually held in a Swiss ski resort - Xi said the global economic outlook remained uncertain and public health emergencies "may very well recur" in future. "We should build an open world economy ... discard discriminatory and exclusionary standards, rules and systems, and take down barriers to trade, investment and technological exchanges," he said. The G20 - an international forum grouping 19 of the biggest developed and emerging economies, plus the European Union - should be strengthened as the "main forum for global economic governance" and the world should "engage in closer macro-economic policy coordination", Xi added.
When the novel coronavirus, which first emerged in China in 2019, slid silently across the United Kingdom in March, Johnson initially said he was confident it could be sent packing in weeks. But 98,531 deaths later, the United Kingdom has the world's fifth worst official death toll - more than its civilian toll in World War Two and twice the number killed in the 1940-41 Blitz bombing campaign, although the total population was lower then. Behind the numbers there is grief and anger.
Operating licences at three Manitoba personal care homes, including one with an ongoing cockroach infestation, are under review over concerns about staffing levels and infection control, CBC News has learned. Parkview Place, Maples Long Term Care Home and Nisichawayasihk Personal Care Home near Thompson are supposed to fix these problems within "specified" timelines and failure to do so could result in further restrictions on their licenses, according to Manitoba Health. Personal care homes in Manitoba with problems such as cockroaches, filthy conditions and short-staffing routinely pass inspections without being put under review. Prior to these three new cases, only two care homes were placed under review in the past five years, according to the province. Even though fixes are supposed to be completed within "specified" timelines, a spokesperson for the province says "we have been flexible with the timeline in this instance due to COVID-19 outbreak status and related delays." Resolving problems at Parkview Place won't help Yvette Mathieu or her father — who spent his final days battling COVID-19 in the care home. "I'm glad to hear that something is being looked at," said Mathieu, who doesn't want other families to go through what she experienced. As Mathieu sat at her father's bedside in mid-October, she witnessed the effects of understaffing. She heard the din of call bells and ringing phones echo through the halls with staff seemingly nowhere to be seen. "It was kind of chaotic," she said. Despite being in a room with COVID-infected patients, Mathieu was given conflicting instructions about personal protective equipment and at one point was asked why she and her mom weren't wearing an extra mask. "We didn't have enough proper PPE," Mathieu said. "It sounds like we should have been wearing two ... face masks." When it came time to leave they had to flag down a nurse to show them how to remove their contaminated PPE to prevent infecting others. "We could have just walked out of the room in the same PPE out to the front door and it wouldn't have been known," Mathieu said. "Because I asked, we were then given proper instructions to take it off in the room." By the time Manitoba Health put Parkview Place and Maples "under review" on Dec. 11, COVID-19 had already wreaked havoc in the homes. At Parkview, 163 residents and staff had tested positive for COVID-19 and 29 people had died. Maples had 228 infections and 51 deaths at that point. A provincial investigation of Maples had already been called following a "nightmare" weekend in early November, when multiple ambulances were dispatched to treat a dozen residents during the outbreak. Eight seniors died at the home within 48 hours. The crisis prompted a safety review by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, which revealed staffing shortages, breaches in infection control measures and issues with recording feeding and nutritional information. Members of the Red Cross were deployed to assist at the home for a month beginning in mid-November. They withdrew from the home on Dec. 12, a day after Maples' licence was placed under review. The Red Cross did not deploy members to assist at Parkview Place. Maples, Parkview suspended from taking in new residents Maples and Parkview Place are also suspended from accepting new residents since their respective outbreaks were declared over Jan. 12, according to a spokesperson for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA). The WRHA has requested plans from each home "to ensure that a resumption of admissions is conducted in a safe manner," a WRHA spokesperson said, "including ensuring appropriate processes and staffing remain in place as new residents are admitted." A spokesperson for Revera, the private, for-profit company that operates Maples and Parkview Place, said it's working to resolve the issues. "Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the people we lost to the pandemic," Marie Fitzpatrick, a spokesperson for Revera said in an email. "We appreciate the support and guidance of Manitoba Health and the WRHA and we will continue to work closely with them on licence renewals and plans to resume new admissions." There were no COVID-19 infections when the Nisichawayasihk Personal Care Home was placed under review at the end of November, but there were concerns with nursing services, infection control, safety and security, according to a department spokesperson. The "under review" status comes on the heels of a recently posted October inspection report which suggested a staffing crisis at Nisichawayasihk. Nurses worked 12-hour shifts more than 50 consecutive days and two of the five nursing positions were vacant, according to the report. Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) provides funding to First Nations for personal care homes. A spokesperson for ISC says it's aware of the issues the province has raised, including the challenges associated with hiring and maintaining nurses and support staff. "The hiring of nurses and support staff is a challenge as there is a province-wide shortage of nurses," said the spokesperson in an emailed statement. A spokesperson for the Northern Regional Health Authority says it continues to partner with the Nisichawayasihk Personal Care home to maintain the quality of care for elders. "We did not provide staff as they were successful in recruiting their own," said a spokesperson for the NRHA. In Winnipeg, Mathieu decided she wanted to speak publicly after her experience at Parkview Place. "I was hoping it hadn't fallen off the radar," said Mathieu, who hopes vulnerable patients don't go ignored. The WRHA says Maples is reporting progress with staffing and infection, prevention and control. A spokesperson says staffing has "stabilized" across all shifts and the facility continues to "educate, reinforce and audit", infection control protocols and the use of PPE.
MOGADISHU, Somalia — Heavy fighting has broken out in a Somali town near the Kenyan border between Somali forces and those from the state of Jubbaland, as Somalia’s election troubles spill over into violence. Somalia’s information ministry in a statement early Monday accused Kenya-funded rebels of crossing into the town of Bulo Hawo and attacking Somali forces. But the Jubbaland vice-president, Mohamud Sayid Adan, told reporters that Jubbaland forces stationed outside the town were attacked by what he called forces recently deployed to the region by the government in the capital, Mogadishu. Both sides have claimed victory but people in the town said fighting continued and some people have begun to flee. The information ministry asserted that Somali forces were in control of the town. There were no immediate details on casualties. Somalia’s accusation of Kenyan support to the Jubbaland leader comes after Somalia cut diplomatic ties with Kenya in December “to safeguard the unity, sovereignty, stability of the country.” Somalia’s president has been accused by critics of stirring up such issues to draw support as he seeks a second term. Kenya's Internal Security Minister Fred Matiangi described Monday's fighting as “internal to Somalia and has nothing to do with us (Kenya). "We are not involved in it and none of our forces has crossed the border to go to Somalia,” he said answering questions from journalists during a joint press conference with the U.K. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace on renewing of security agreements between those two countries. Kenya's foreign affairs ministry said earlier in a statement that it had raised its concern about the fighting with the African Union Commission. “Kenya’s primary concern is that the renewed fighting engenders large-scale displacement of civilians inside Somalia and increasingly generates large numbers of refugees and asylum seekers to Kenya, therefore aggravating the already dire humanitarian situation in Somalia and in the refugee camps in Kenya,” the statement said. Somalia faces a troubled national election in the coming weeks. Jubbaland is one of two states, along with Puntland in the north, that have refused to take part. In September, President Abdullahi Mohamed Abdullahi in talks between states and the federal government agreed to withdraw Somali forces from the Gedo region of Jubbaland, where Bulo Hawo is located. But that hasn’t happened, and the Somali forces remain after taking over the town mid-last year. The president also has replaced district commissioners in Gedo who had been appointed by Jubbaland leader Ahmed Madobe, who is seen to have Kenyan support. Jubbaland also contains the lucrative port city of Kismayo, where Kenyan forces are deployed as part of a multinational African Union force. The Middle Jubba region, however, remains under the control of Somalia's al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist rebels. Hassan Barise, The Associated Press
Families battered by the pandemic recession soon may discover that the tax refunds they’re counting on are dramatically smaller — or that they actually owe income tax. Congress offered a partial solution, but the fix hasn’t been widely publicized, consumer advocates say. Refunds are crucial to many lower- and moderate-income households, which use the money to catch up on bills and medical treatments, pay down debt and boost savings. But the unemployment insurance that kept many people afloat last year may cause problems at tax time this year. Unemployment benefits are taxable, but tax withholding is typically voluntary — and many people who lost jobs either didn’t know their unemployment checks would be taxed, or they decided against withholding. (Relief checks, such as the $1,200 sent out last year, are not taxable.) Further, unemployment benefits are not earned income and so don’t count toward two crucial tax benefits that keep millions of working families with children out of poverty: the earned income tax credit and the additional child tax credit. “If you’re a single parent or a couple with kids living on, say, $25,000 a year, you might see 25% or more of your annual income in the form of your federal tax refund because of these credits,” says Timothy Flacke, executive director of Commonwealth, a non-profit that promotes financial security. THERE’S A FIX ON CREDITS, BUT NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT IT There isn’t an easy workaround for tax refunds shriveled by inadequate withholding. But Congress provided a potential fix for the tax credits issue in the $900 billion coronavirus relief legislation passed last month: Filers can choose to use their 2019 income to determine their credits rather than their 2020 income. But that fix hasn’t been widely reported, says Leigh Phillips, chief executive officer of SaverLife, a non-profit that encourages working families to save. Not everyone uses up-to-date tax software or well-informed tax preparers, and Phillips worries that many eligible people won’t learn about it before filing their returns. The IRS will begin accepting returns Feb. 12. “People are going to start trying to file taxes as soon as they possibly can,” Phillips says. “If you think that you’ve got thousands coming in the mail or to your bank account, you’re there day one with your paperwork ready to go.” THOSE WHO RELY ON REFUNDS TEND TO FILE EARLY Research confirms that the earliest recipients of refunds each year tend to be lower income, says Fiona Greig, co-president of the JPMorgan Chase Institute, which studies data from millions of customer bank accounts. “(A tax refund) tends to be a larger relative cash infusion event for them, and as a result, they tend to seek their refund earlier in the tax refund season,” Greig says. In typical years, tax refunds equal almost six weeks’ take-home pay for the average recipient, the institute found. Last year the average refund was more than $2,500. Families who qualify for the earned income tax credit can receive thousands more. The maximum credit for working families with three or more children is $6,660 for 2020, and it’s refundable, which means filers get the money even if they don’t owe any tax. The amount you can earn and still qualify rises with family size, so that a married couple with three or more children could get at least a partial credit with adjusted gross income up to $56,844. A single person without children may qualify for a small credit with an adjusted gross income up to $15,820. Meanwhile, the regular child tax credit for children under 17 is $2,000 and not refundable. But low-income families may qualify for a refundable credit, which can be up to 15% of earned income over $2,500, up to $1,400 per child. TAX CREDITS HAVE WIDESPREAD SUPPORT The credits have been around for decades and have widespread bipartisan support among lawmakers, Commonwealth’s Flacke says. “It’s one of the few areas of some consensus across the parties that rewarding workers on the low end of the wage spectrum with these tax credits makes sense,” Flacke says. If you might qualify for one of the tax credits, make sure your tax software or tax preparer looks at both your 2019 and 2020 incomes before submitting your return. If you find out too late that you could have received a bigger refund, you can file an amended return, but you may face a longer wait. Instead of getting your refund in a few weeks, an amended return can take up to four months to process. Going forward, President Joe Biden has proposed one-year expansions of the credits as part of his coronavirus relief package. He wants to increase the maximum earned income tax credit for childless adults from $538 to nearly $1,500 this year and to raise the income limit. He also wants to increase the child tax credit to $3,000, plus an extra $600 per child under age 6, and make the full amount refundable. If enacted, these credits could be claimed on returns filed in 2022. ____________________________________ This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Liz Weston is a columnist at NerdWallet, a certified financial planner and author of “Your Credit Score.” Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @lizweston. RELATED LINK: NerdWallet: Earned Income Tax Credit (EIC): What It Is and How to Qualify in 2020-2021 http://bit.ly/nerdwallet-EIC-2021 Liz Weston Of Nerdwallet, The Associated Press
BEIJING — Chinese rescuers have found the bodies of nine workers killed in explosions at a gold mine, raising the death toll to 10, officials said Monday. Eleven others were rescued a day earlier after being trapped underground for two weeks at the mine in Shandong province. One person was still missing. The cause of the accident at the mine, which was under construction, is under investigation. The explosions on Jan. 10 released 70 tons of debris that blocked a shaft, disabling elevators and trapping workers underground. Rescuers drilled parallel shafts to send down food and nutrients and eventually bring up the survivors on Sunday. Chen Yumin, director of the rescue group, told reporters that the nine workers recovered Monday died more than 400 metres (1,320 feet) below ground. He said there had been two explosions about an hour and a half apart, with the second explosion causing more damage. Search efforts will continue for the remaining miner until he is found, said Chen Fei, the mayor of Yantai city, where the mine is located. “Until this worker is found, we will not give up,” he said at a news conference. Chen and other officials involved in the rescue effort held a moment of silence for the victims, bowing their heads. “Our hearts are deeply grieved. We express our profound condolences, and we express deep sympathies to the families of the victim,” he said. Authorities have detained mine managers for delaying reporting the accident. Such protracted and expensive rescue efforts are relatively new in China’s mining industry, which used to average 5,000 deaths per year. Increased supervision has improved safety, although demand for coal and precious metals continues to prompt corner-cutting. A new crackdown was ordered after two accidents in mountainous southwestern Chongqing last year killed 39 miners. The Associated Press
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Chinese state media have stoked concerns about Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, despite rigorous trials that showed it was safe. A government spokesperson has raised the unfounded theory that the coronavirus could have emerged from a U.S. military lab, giving it more credence in China. As the ruling Communist Party faces growing questioning about China's vaccines and renewed criticism of its early COVID-19 response, it is hitting back by encouraging conspiracy theories that some experts say could cause harm. State media and officials are sowing doubts about Western vaccines and the origin of the coronavirus in an apparent bid to deflect the attacks. Both issues are in the spotlight because of the rollout of vaccines globally and the recent arrival of a World Health Organization team in Wuhan, China, to investigate the origins of the virus. Some of these conspiracy theories find a receptive audience at home. The social media hashtag “American’s Ft. Detrick,” started by the Communist Youth League, was viewed at least 1.4 billion times last week after a Foreign Ministry spokesperson called for a WHO investigation of the biological weapons lab in Maryland. “It’s purpose is to shift the blame from mishandling by (the) Chinese government in the pandemic’s early days to conspiracy by the U.S.,” said Fang Shimin, a now-U.S.-based writer known for exposing faked degrees and other fraud in Chinese science. “The tactic is quite successful because of widespread anti-American sentiment in China.” Yuan Zeng, an expert on Chinese media at the University of Leeds in Great Britain, said the government’s stories spread so widely that even well-educated Chinese friends have asked her whether they might be true. Inflaming doubts and spreading conspiracy theories might add to public health risks as governments try to dispel unease about vaccines, she said, saying, “That is super, super dangerous.” In the latest volley, state media called for an investigation into the deaths of 23 elderly people in Norway after they received the Pfizer vaccine. An anchor at CGTN, the English-language station of state broadcaster CCTV, and the Global Times newspaper accused Western media of ignoring the news. Health experts say deaths unrelated to the vaccine are possible during mass vaccination campaigns, and a WHO panel has concluded that the vaccine did not play a “contributory role” in the Norway deaths. The state media coverage followed a report by researchers in Brazil who found the effectiveness of a Chinese vaccine lower than previously announced. Researchers initially said Sinovac’s vaccine is 78% effective, but the scientists revised that to 50.4% after including mildly symptomatic cases. After the Brazil news, researchers at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a government-supported think-tank , reported seeing an increase in Chinese media disinformation about vaccines. Dozens of online articles on popular health and science blogs and elsewhere have explored questions about the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine at length, drawing on an op-ed published this month in the British Medical Journal that raised questions about its clinical trial data. “It’s very embarrassing” for the government, Fang said in an email. As a result, China is trying to raise doubts about the Pfizer vaccine to save face and promote its vaccines, he said. Senior Chinese government officials have not been shy in voicing concerns about the mRNA vaccines developed by Western drug companies. They use a newer technology than the more traditional approach of the Chinese vaccines currently in use. In December, the director of the Chinese Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, said he can’t rule out negative side effects from the mRNA vaccines. Noting this is the first time they are being given to healthy people, he said, “there are safety concerns.” The arrival of the WHO mission has brought back persistent criticism that China allowed the virus to spread globally by reacting too slowly in the beginning, even reprimanding doctors who tried to warn the public. The visiting researchers will begin field work this week after being released from a 14-day quarantine. The Communist Party sees the WHO investigation as a political risk because it focuses attention on China’s response, said Jacob Wallis, a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. The party wants to “distract domestic and international audiences by pre-emptively distorting the narrative on where responsibility lies for the emergence of COVID-19,” Wallis said. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying got the ball rolling last week by calling for the WHO investigation of the U.S. military lab. The site had been mentioned previously by CGTN and other state-controlled outlets. “If America respects the truth, then please open up Ft. Detrick and make public more information about the 200 or more bio-labs outside of the U.S., and please allow the WHO expert group to go to the U.S. to investigate the origins,” Hua said. Her comments, publicized by state media, became one of the most popular topics on Sina Weibo. China isn’t the only government to point fingers. Former President Donald Trump, trying to deflect blame for his government’s handling of the pandemic, said last year he had seen evidence the virus came from a Wuhan laboratory. While that theory has not been definitively ruled out, many experts think it is unlikely. Huizhong Wu, The Associated Press