The Swiss Society for Intensive Care Medicine has warned that units across the country are at capacity, which may compromise the healthcare available to those seriously ill with COVID-19
The Swiss Society for Intensive Care Medicine has warned that units across the country are at capacity, which may compromise the healthcare available to those seriously ill with COVID-19
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Saudi Arabia and met its crown prince, an Israeli official said on Monday, in what would be the first publicly confirmed visit there by an Israeli leader as the countries close ranks against Iran. Earlier, Israeli media said Netanyahu had secretly flown on Sunday to Neom, on the Red Sea, for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Reports of the meeting between the crown prince and Netanyahu were denied by Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
TORONTO — The murder trial for the man who killed 10 people after driving a van down a crowded Toronto sidewalk has been delayed until Thursday.The judge has given the Crown and its experts a few days to review a defence-hired psychiatrist's interviews with Alek Minassian.The 28-year-old Minassian faces 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder.He argues he should be found not criminally responsible due to autism spectrum disorder for his actions on April 23, 2018. Minassian has admitted to planning and carrying out the attack and his state of mind at the time is the sole issue at trial.Another psychiatrist has testified that Minassian's autism spectrum disorder left him fixated on mass killings and vulnerable to the ramblings of an American mass murderer.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020.The Canadian Press
GENEVA — A panel of human rights experts working with the United Nations said Monday that former Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn was wrongly detained in Japan and has urged “compensation” for him from the Japanese government.The Japanese government denounced the report as a “totally unacceptable” viewpoint that will change nothing in the country's legal process.In its opinion published Monday, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that Ghosn’s arrest in Japan in late 2018 and early 2019 was “arbitrary” and called on Japan’s government to “take the necessary steps to remedy the situation of Mr. Ghosn without delay.” A determination of whether detention is arbitrary is based on various criteria, including international norms of justice.While Ghosn is no longer in Japan, having fled in a dramatic operation that drew headlines worldwide, the opinion could weigh on minds in courtrooms in the country and beyond. It could affect, for example, the possible extradition of two Americans, Michael Taylor and his son Peter, whom Japanese prosecutors say helped the executive sneak out of Japan.Ghosn, a 66-year-old with French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship, led Japanese automaker Nissan for two decades, rescuing it from near-bankruptcy. He was arrested in November 2018 on charges of breach of trust, in misusing company assets for personal gain, and violating securities laws in not fully disclosing his compensation. He denies wrongdoing.In December, he fled Japan to Lebanon while out on bail awaiting trial, meaning his case will not go on in Japan. Interpol has issued a wanted notice but his extradition from Lebanon is unlikely.The five-member working group, which is made up of independent experts, called on Japan to ensure a “full and independent investigation” of Ghosn’s detention, and asked the government “to take appropriate measures against those responsible for the violation of his rights.”The working group said that “the appropriate remedy would be to accord Mr. Ghosn an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations."The opinions of the working group are not binding on countries but aim to hold them up to their own human rights commitments. Among its past rulings involved the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who was likewise deemed to have had his human rights violated.The panel, which is independent from the United Nations, noted a string of allegations from Ghosn and his representatives, such as that he was subjected to solitary confinement and long interrogations at day or night, and denied access to court pleadings. His team claimed that interrogations of Ghosn were aimed to extract a confession.Japan’s system has been repeatedly criticized by human rights advocates. The panel cited previous concerns about Japan’s so-called “daiyo kangoku” system of detention and interrogation that relies heavily on confessions and could expose detainees to torture, ill-treatment and coercion.Japan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the government had applied “appropriate procedures” in the case, and it could not provide full information to the working group before a trial had begun. For that reason, the ministry added, it would be inappropriate for the working group to make a decision on the Ghosn case “based on limited information and biased allegations” from him and his team.“The opinion is totally unacceptable, and is not legally binding,” the ministry statement said. It also warned that the opinion could set a dangerous precedent, and “encourage those who would stand criminal trial to entertain the idea that flight can be justified and prevent the realization of justice and the proper functioning of the criminal justice system in each country.”"Japan can by no means accept the opinion of the Working Group regarding the case of the defendant Carlos Ghosn," it added.Ghosn lawyer Jessica Finelle welcomed the “brave” decision by the panel and said its members had been “hard on the Japanese legal system” and the way that Japanese authorities treated Mr. Ghosn, "specifically, violating numerous times his presumption of innocence, presenting him as guilty, orchestrating two of his arrests with the media...”Ghosn was “very happy” and “relieved” about the opinion, she said."He is somehow is getting back his dignity because he’s been humiliated during this time that he was held in Japan,” she said.Ghosn has accused Nissan and Japanese officials of conspiring to bring him down to block a fuller integration of Nissan with its French alliance partner Renault SA of France.Ghosn's lawyers filed a petition with the working group in March last year, appealing to its role to look into cases in which governments are alleged to have wrongly detained individuals under agreed international human rights conventions.Its members declined to speak to reporters about the opinion, the U.N. human rights office said.____Jeffrey Schaeffer reported from Paris.Jamey Keaten And Jeffrey Schaeffer, The Associated Press
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Reggaeton superstar Bad Bunny has tested positive for the new coronavirus, his representative said Monday.The announcement came a day after the musician won favourite male Latin artist and favourite Latin album for "YHLQMDLG” at the American Music Awards.Bad Bunny, whose real name is Benito Martínez Ocasio, was scheduled to sing his hit, “Dákiti,” with Jhay Cortez at the event but cancelled without explanation, leaving many fans disappointed. The singer, however, presented the award for favourite Latin female artist remotely.Publicist Sujeylee Solá told The Associated Press that Bad Bunny wasn't showing any major symptoms as of Monday. She did not provide further details, saying only that the musician was not granting any interviews.The Associated Press
In May, the City of Mississauga gnashed its teeth. At the time, it was knee-deep in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of long-term care homes in the city were in outbreak, with dozens of deaths recorded. Business owners were also hurting, their shuttered bars, restaurants and gyms collecting dust and debt. Inside City Hall, losses were mounting daily. Reluctantly, the City had been forced to let roughly 2,000 staff, mostly part-time, seasonal employees, go from its empty recreation facilities. Help eventually offered by the federal and provincial governments was still months away from materializing. Quietly, while the world was distracted, the Doug Ford PC government was forging ahead with its plans to seismically shift how developers pay for growth. Under the area of development subsidies known as a Community Benefits Charge (CBC), the Province was toying with new rules for planning. These fees are often paid by builders to create enhanced features such as green spaces or other amenities that are built using additional money charged to developers in exchange for project changes that generally create more profit, such as adding additional floors to a condo building. Changes were introduced as one of many initiatives in Bill 108 (More Homes, More Choice) — legislation that was almost universally decried around municipal council tables when it received royal assent in 2019. The Province allowed consultation in May (when Mississauga was preoccupied with its pandemic response) which revolved around parks. Just how much greenspace developers needed to provide for even more new residents that would eventually be housed in expanded projects, was a question that created tension. According to staff reports in Brampton and Mississauga at the time, the proposed changes meant developers would pay less to cities, for the features they have for decades been expected to provide when building large residential projects. Municipalities, under the PC government’s plan, would be worse off, while developers would be further ahead. “At a time when we are grappling with the unprecedented financial impacts of COVID-19, the proposed Community Benefits Charge will leave Council [with] even more difficult decisions,” then City Manager, Janice Baker, told Mississauga Council. Under the current rules, developers have to offer a certain amount of parkland to cities and, if they want to reduce that amount, they have to pay a fee. The CBC proposals limited parkland related contributions to 10 percent of the land’s value for high-rise buildings, meaning the projects with the most residents would offer the least public space per capita. “The proposed CBC weakens the link between population growth and the increased need for services,” a Mississauga staff report earlier in the year stated. In Mississauga, under the current system, high and medium-density developments contribute 74 percent of parkland (either physically or in payments). The CBC proposals meant dense developments would cough up just 31 percent of the funding for the city’s new greenspace, with non-residential and low-density homes (which already have backyards) making up the difference. It seemed illogical. After a passionate response from Mississauga and other cities angered by the prospect of a revenue hit while they are reeling financially because of the pandemic, the PC government has rolled back its proposed changes. Under Bill 197 (COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act) Queen’s Park rapidly back-peddled, returning parkland contributions by developers to the pre-pandemic levels. “The new community benefits charge authority provides local governments with the flexibility to collect funds for any growth-related services required due to higher density residential development, as long as those costs are not being recovered under other tools,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Municipalities and Housing explained to The Pointer. “A community benefits charge may enable municipalities to recover the capital costs of any service, as long as it is needed to support new growth … the types of services funded through community benefits charges could include parks, recreation centres, affordable housing, child care, cycling infrastructure and others.” “We were very pleased the Province listened to the feedback from municipalities and rolled back many of the proposed Bill 108 provisions around the Community Benefits Charge,” Jason Bevan, director, city planning strategies, told The Pointer. “We look forward to seeing the final CBC regulations on the percentage of land value cap.” The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) which advocates for the lowest tier of government, said it was “pleased to see the addition of eligible services for development charge recovery being restored” alongside “maintaining existing parkland provisions and the flexibility of CBCs as a tool to recover additional costs”. After a year of consternation for cities, the Province has largely walked back its plans for the CBC. The legislation, initially blasted as a developer freebie, has gradually been softened. Originally, the new legislative changes impacted a range of community features that municipalities have to provide for residents under the development proposals submitted by builders after assembling land for growth. Municipalities were concerned they would have to stretch the funds from the charge to cover features such as libraries, community centres, parks and playgrounds. Responding to feedback, the Province changed tack and protected a range of community features that will continue to be covered by development charges. Specific infrastructure, including libraries and other “soft” services, are covered under the Development Charges Act. Developers will continue to pay for the costs associated with growth. But, realistically, these charges are generally covered by buyers who pay for them through increased unit costs that developers charge when setting their sale prices. It seems much more fair to have the people in a particular new development pay for the surrounding features and services they will enjoy, rather than having property tax payers in general cover the expenses when municipalities have to fund them. At the beginning of October, further regulations were released which made the CBC picture a little clearer still. While the charge is designed to capture certain soft community services not always covered by traditional development charges, there are several areas explicitly excluded. Long-term care, universities, clubhouses or retirement homes cannot be funded using the latest form of CBCs. The new CBC mechanism, brought in to codify an element of development which previously operated as more of a negotiation, comes with strict rules. Cities are tasked, over the next two years, with creating a CBC strategy and bylaw to estimate the amount and type of development where the charge may be used. The strategy should also estimate the increased need for facilities and services as a direct result of developments and the associated growth-related costs. It must acknowledge any grants or subsidies made to help with such projects. A potential sticking point for municipal councils is a cap on the CBC, meaning the charge cannot exceed 4 percent of the value of the lands being developed. If developers disagree with the land valuation, they can dispute it. The likely outcome will see buyers cover any increased costs, as developers across the province won’t have to worry about unfair pricing competition because all builders will have to raise prices. In the end, it will be mostly young buyers who will absorb the additional financial burden for creating enhanced community features they will benefit from. Moving forward, municipalities will also produce an annual report showing how much money is in their CBC and parkland reserves. The reports will detail where money is spent and how projects not using CBC charges were funded. The concept behind the strategy and bylaw is to make costs more predictable for developers and reduce negotiations between individual builders and local politicians. Exactly what community features Mississauga will prioritize under the new CBC system will become clearer over the next two years, as the City draws together its bylaw for the charge. These community standards will best serve the public if they are directly involved and make clear what they want in their neighbourhoods. In essence, as long as cities don’t double charge through other parkland contributions or development charges, they can hit developers with a bill for any growth costs, other than the small list of features that are exempt. The amount is capped under the 4 percent limit, based on the land value. But it still gives high-growth municipalities such as Mississauga and Brampton welcome breathing room as they no longer have to worry about paying for a range of new community features while struggling with the financial damage caused by the pandemic. Smart decision making around the bylaw, with some elements still emerging, should help ensure that as new developments keep springing up across the city, growth will pay for growth in Mississauga. Email: email@example.com Twitter: @isaaccallan Tel: 647 561-4879 COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you.Isaac Callan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
JERUSALEM — Israeli media reported Monday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Saudi Arabia for a clandestine meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which would mark the first known encounter between senior Israeli and Saudi officials. The reported meeting was the latest move by the Trump Administration to promote normalized ties between Israel and the broader Arab world and reflected the shared concern of all three nations about Iran. The Israeli news site Walla, followed quickly by other Hebrew-language media, cited an unnamed Israeli official as saying that Netanyahu and Yossi Cohen, head of Israel's Mossad spy agency, flew to the Saudi city of Neom on Sunday, where they met with the crown prince. The prince was there for talks with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. People travelling with Pompeo declined comment. Netanyahu, in a meeting with his Likud Party, also declined to explicitly confirm the visit. “I have not addressed such things for years and I will not start with that now. For years I have spared no effort to strengthen Israel and expand the circle of peace,” he said. The Saudi foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, denied on Twitter that the meeting took place. “No such meeting occurred. The only officials present were American and Saudi,” he wrote. He did not elaborate. The flight-tracking website FlightRadar24.com showed a Gulfstream IV private jet took off from Tel Aviv on Sunday night and flew south along the edge of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula before turning toward Neom and landing. The flight took off from Neom over three hours later and followed the same route back to Tel Aviv. Pompeo, who was in Israel last week, travelled with a small group of American reporters on his trip throughout the Mideast, but left them at the Neom airport when he went into his visit with the crown prince. While Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates have reached deals under the Trump administration to normalize ties with Israel, Saudi Arabia so far has remained out of reach. The Trump administration, as well as Netanyahu, would love to add the Saudis to that list before it leaves office in January. In Sudan, a military official said an Israeli delegation was in the country on Monday to discuss the normalization efforts. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the visit with the media. King Salman long has supported the Palestinians in their effort to secure an independent state as a condition for recognizing Israel. However, analysts and insiders suggest his 35-year-old son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, likely is more open to the idea of normalizing relations without major progress in the moribund peace process. Israel and Saudi Arabia have a shared interest in countering archrival Iran, and they have welcomed the Trump administration's pressure campaign on the Iranians, which included withdrawing from the international nuclear deal with Iran and imposing tough economic sanctions on the Tehran government. The reported meeting puts even more pressure on Iran ahead of an incoming Biden administration that has signalled a potential willingness to return to the 2015 nuclear deal. “I think there's a message to Iran. Look, there's a front against you. There's two months to go to the new administration. Beware. We are on the same page,” said Yoel Guzansky, a senior fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, a prestigious Israeli think-tank . In an apparent message to President-elect Joe Biden, Netanyahu said in a speech Sunday evening, shortly before the reported trip to Saudi Arabia: “We must not return to the previous nuclear deal." In the same speech, Netanyahu also praised “trailblazing Arab leaders who understand the benefits of peace" and predicted “we will see other states that widen the circle of peace.” In another possible reference to the Saudi meeting, a Netanyahu aide, Topaz Luk, accused Netanyahu's rival and coalition partner, Defence Minister Benny Gantz, of “playing politics at the same time that the prime minister is making peace.” Gantz on Sunday launched an investigation into Israel's purchase of German submarines — a scandal that has turned several close Netanyahu confidants into criminal suspects. Netanyahu himself is not a suspect. The reported visit Sunday night to Neom, still a largely undeveloped desert region alongside the north end of the Red Sea, also reflected Prince Mohammed's ambitions. It brought two world leaders to Neom, which he hopes will become a futuristic, skyline-studded Saudi version of Dubai that will offer the kingdom jobs and cement a future beyond its vast crude oil reserves. It also would reframe a rule so far colored by the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and the kingdom’s grinding war in Yemen. It was unclear where the three men met, though the Saudi royal family has massive mansions along the turquoise waters of the Red Sea, with a major golf course. Netanyahu has long signalled back-channel relations with the Saudis, though the nations have never officially confirmed a meeting between their leaders. But Saudi Arabia appears to have given its blessing to the decisions of its Gulf neighbours, the UAE and Bahrain, to establish ties with Israel. The kingdom approved the use of Saudi airspace for Israeli flights to the UAE. Bahrain normalizing ties also suggest at least a Saudi acquiescence to the idea, as the island kingdom relies on Riyadh. ___ Associated Press writers Josef Federman in Jerusalem, Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Samy Magdy in Cairo contributed. Ilan Ben Zion, The Associated Press
BROCKTON – Council had the opportunity to look at and discuss the recommendations in the review of committees of council, presented by Clerk Fiona Hamilton. The matter had been tabled from the Oct. 27 meeting. The review was completed at council’s request, stemming from meetings for the 2020 municipal budget, in response to financial pressures. As stated in the report, COVID-19 meant many committee meetings were delayed during the spring months. When they resumed, staff were unable to consult directly with committee members. However, as Hamilton noted, the pandemic caused additional financial pressures and “highlighted the importance of finding efficiencies and streamlining processes for minimal effect on residents.” Staff reviewed the number of committees of council with a view towards consolidating or eliminating some of them and thus reducing staff overtime and other expenses. As of March 2020, the municipality had more than 15 committees of council. Among the recommendations made by staff were reduction of each committee to seven members, term limits for committee members, and proper succession planning. Staff also had recommendations on reducing the number of meetings. “It’s important we get this right,” commented Mayor Chris Peabody. Among the items discussed by council was the recreation committee and whether it should be for Brockton or remain Walkerton. It would have an impact on the volunteers who serve on the committee. Also discussed was the mandate for the childcare committee, the possible need for a roads committee, the use of sub-committees and the number of meetings. Council passed a motion to hold a public information session and allow time for committee members to comment. A further report will be brought back to council Dec. 8.Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
Toronto and Peel Region have officially moved into lockdown as Ontario tries to curb the province's steep rise in COVID-19 cases. The shutdown will last a minimum of 28 days.
An elementary school in Deer Lake has closed its doors for two days, after a student tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning, the first instance of a case within the Newfoundland and Labrador school system.Elwood Elementary will be closed Monday and Tuesday, Education Minister Tom Osborne announced at a press conference Monday afternoon.Osborne said the student's test results came back around 8 a.m. Monday, sparking the swift reversal from prior messaging from the school district, which had previously said schools were open in the town, with school buses having begun their morning runs before word of the closure came.Students at Elwood Elementary are grouped into classroom cohorts to minimize their contacts as part of the English school district's COVID-19 operating plan, but Osborne said in this case officials decided to close the entire school and not just keep one class home."Because this is the first instance, I would rather that we acted with an abundance of caution then to look back and think that we should have," Osborne said.Osborne said the closure ensures effective contact testing, but that any closure beyond Wednesday could cause extra anxiety for a community already dealing with significant amounts of stress."We reached the right balance with two days. I think a week would have sent the wrong messages," Osborne said.Student's connection to previous caseThe student is a close contact of a previously announced positive case, officials said Monday at an earlier press conference that saw Premier Andrew Furey temporarily suspend the Atlantic bubble. The Western Health region now has 10 active cases, six of them connected to each other. Those connected cases prompted the Town of Deer Lake to go into lockdown over the weekend, with its town council asking people to stay home and non-essential businesses to close."This is scary for a lot of people and for a lot of us," Mayor Dean Ball told CBC Radio's Newfoundland Morning.No schools are closed elsewhere in the province due to COVID-19. There are 23 active cases in the province, and a new travel alert as of Monday, with anyone who flew aboard Air Canada Flight 8880 from Halifax to Deer Lake, arriving on Thursday to call for testing.Watch the full press conference below:Ball later told CBC News testing went well on Monday for the students. A testing site was set up in the parking lot of the town office. "We were really pleased with how really quick we got through that," he said. "On the bright side of this it was a good day to get that done."But, Ball said, the ordeal has been nerve-wracking for parents.Parents, students notifiedClose contacts of the student within the Deer Lake school system were notified Monday morning, said Tony Stack, the CEO of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District.Stack said very few children showed up anyway."I would imagine it was apprehension within the community — understandably so — so the attendance rates were very low, less that 25 per cent," he said.For students and staff who were not called by public health, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said they should monitor themselves for symptoms but recognize that brief contact such as passing someone in a hallway presents a slim chance of exposure."Those are very low risk, they're very short periods of interaction, so they're not considered to put somebody at risk for COVID-19 exposure," she said.Teachers remained at work at Elwood Elementary on Monday preparing online learning lessons for Tuesday, said Stack."Tomorrow there could be activities. We're asking parents to be prepared for that connection outreach," he said.Ball said reopening is pending on test results which are expected on Tuesday. Both Stack and Osborne said the Elwood Elementary closure isn't an exact template to follow if there are more school-related COVID-19, and it may not be necessary to shut down an entire school in the future.Increase health measures: NLTAAhead of Monday's media conference with Stack and Osborne, the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association (NLTA) issued a media release, saying it had concerns, given the latest case. Ingram has been calling for mandatory face masks for all students, as well as physical barriers for teachers. Students younger than Grade 7 — such as those at Elwood Elementary — do not have to wear masks, except on school buses."Our position since March has been that we've had concerns about the discrepancy and inconsistency between the safety measures we see in place in public venues throughout this entire province and what's not in our school system," Ingram told CBC News shortly after Monday's news conference. "We think now is the time, more than ever, to reassess why those measures in our schools are less than seen in these venues." Ingram said he has fielded several phone calls from parents raising the same concerns.Ingram said the NLTA also takes issue with people accessing schools for extracurricular activities like sports. At Monday's press conference, Stack did say that could be adjusted on a regional basis."If we have to curtail extracurricular activities in a particular area, and Deer Lake would be one that we'd be looking at, then we will certainly do that," he told reporters.There were no changes to current district health and safety policies announced during Monday's news conference, although Stack said current public health measures within schools would be re-emphasized.As the current scenario plays out in Deer Lake and public health officials do their work, Osborne asked for patience from the community."I know there is significant concern in the community of Deer Lake today and I certainly appreciate this concern gets amplified for people when their children are involved," he said.Bus of hockey players turned around after COVID scareA small sense of relief is being expressed by Glenn Littlejohn, president of the U18 Major Hockey League. He told CBC Radio's On The Go how the Western Kings were on the way to play the East Coast Blizzard. A bus with 25 players and team staff were headed to the Southern Shore arena, from Deer Lake, when they were stopped in Whitbourne. A team official got a call that he was a close contact of a previous COVID-19 positive case in Deer Lake. Littlejohn said the bus stopped immediately. "It wasn't really a hard decision," he said in an interview on Monday, noting the safety of the team and the general public is the top priority.He said everyone on the bus was wearing masks and as spaced out as possible. The bus turned back around, and the team official stayed in the front of the bus.The team official has since learned his test was negative, but precautions remain in place. He is staying away from the team for 14 days. "This is something we probably expected," he said, given the pandemic continues to swirl, "and hopefully we can just move on."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week. MOVIES — The Christmas movie, that yuletide evergreen, is subtly changing. “Happiest Season,” which premieres Wednesday on Hulu, has many of the genre's comforting standards — a homecoming trip, family discord, a secretly planned engagement — but it opens the holiday comedy to a fresh cast of characters, and comes away all the more charming for it. Writer-director Clea DuVall's film — originally planned as a theatrical release by Sony Pictures — stars Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis as Harper and Abby, a couple who travel to Harper's Waspy family for the holidays. Just before they arrive, Harper confesses she isn't out to her family. The spirited supporting cast includes Aubrey Plaza, Mary Steenburgen and Daniel Levy. — “Superintelligence,” too, is a studio film uprooted to a streaming service by the pandemic. The Melissa McCarthy comedy, her latest with director-husband Ben Falcone ("Tammy," “The Boss"), had been headed to theatres but will instead debut Thursday on HBO Max. In it, an artificial-intelligence supercomputer voiced by James Corden tasks McCarthy's unemployed character with saving the world. — Ironically, the week's top Netflix release is the one that's been playing in theatres. After two weeks in select cinemas, Ron Howard's “Hillbilly Elegy” begins streaming Tuesday. The adaptation of J.D. Vance's much-talked-about 2016 bestseller hasn't been a hit with critics ( including this one ), but it's also a kind of regular feature to the season: a big 'ol helping of awards bait, with a handful of big performances by elite actors (Glenn Close, Amy Adams). —AP Film Writer Jake Coyle MUSIC — Miley Cyrus is ready to rock ‘n’ roll on her new album. The pop star recruited some famous rock stars to help on her seventh studio release “Plastic Hearts,” including Stevie Nicks, Billy Idol and Joan Jett. And Mick Rock, the iconic rock ‘n’ roll photographer who has shot everyone from David Bowie to Debbie Harry, photographed the “Plastic Hearts” cover art. But pop fans shouldn’t worry too much about Miley’s rock sound, the album – out Friday – also features a collaboration with hitmaker Dua Lipa and includes producers like Mark Ronson (Amy Winehouse, Bruno Mars) and Louis Bell (Post Malone). — Speaking of Dua Lipa, the Brit has had a major year in music thanks to the success of her sophomore album “Future Nostalgia” and the smash hit single “Don’t Start Now.” She’ll celebrate her big year on Friday with “Studio 2054,” a multidimensional live experience where Lipa is promising fans “a night of music, mayhem, performance, theatre, dance and much more.” The singer said there will be “surprise superstar guests” at the event, and standard tickets costs $11.99. — Grammy-winning Chicago-based rockers Smashing Pumpkins will release a double album on Friday. “CYR” features 20 tracks produced by founding member and frontman Billy Corgan. The band’s 11th album also features founding members James Iha and Jimmy Chamberlin as well as guitarist Jeff Schroeder. “CYR” is the follow-up to 2018’s “SHINY AND OH SO BRIGHT, VOL. 1 / LP: NO PAST. NO FUTURE. NO SUN” – Corgan, Iha and Chamberlin’s first collaborative album in 18 years. — AP Music Editor Mesfin Fekadu TELEVISION — If you like “Bones” and “CSI” but just need more French accents, your best bet is the terrific NOVA special “Saving Notre Dame.” The hour-long PBS documentary airing Wednesday shows the incredible lengths architects, engineers and craftspeople have gone to restore the iconic Paris cathedral stricken by 2019's fire. There is detective work — where did the original limestone come from? — and painstaking efforts to reclaim the building’s glory, like stained glass specialists using cotton swabs to remove toxic lead. Everyone wears wear full hazard protection gear as they navigate a “giant house of cards.” — Can you have a “Saved by the Bell” without Screech? Peacock is hoping fans won't notice that character's absence when its sequel to the popular TV series brings back members of the original cast — Elizabeth Berkeley, Mario Lopez, Tiffani Thiessen and Mark-Paul Gosselaar — but not Dustin Diamond, who played the quirky Screech. In this sequel kicking off Wednesday, Gosselaar is California governor who has a son at Bayside High, Berkeley is a guidance counsellor and Lopez is once again A.C. Slater, now a gym teacher. — It happens all the time: You wake up next to a dead body in a Bangkok hotel. In the case of HBO Max’s adaptation of “The Flight Attendant,” the comedy and darkness work simultaneously. Kaley Cuoco of “The Big Bang Theory” plays an air hostess with a drinking problem whose looney attempts to cover up her part in the death place her in the crosshairs of the FBI. The first three episodes of the limited series premier Thursday, with the first one free now if you're willing to give HBO Max your email. — AP Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy ___ Catch up on AP’s entertainment coverage here: https://apnews.com/apf-entertainment. The Associated Press
Canada's largest working cattle ranch hopes to convince B.C.'s Court of Appeal to overturn a 2018 ruling that said the public should be allowed to access two lakes near Merritt, B.C.It's the latest development in a lengthy court battle between the Douglas Lake Cattle Company (DLCC) and a small recreation club in Merritt over who should be allowed access to public areas enclosed by private property.In December 2018 a justice of the Supreme Court of B.C. ruled that Minnie Lake and Stoney Lake in the Nicola Valley should be publicly accessible.The lakes and a local road are surrounded by private ranch lands owned by the company, which is owned by U.S. billionaire Stan Kroenke.For years, access to Minnie Lake and Stoney Lake had been blocked by fences and locked gates.The 2018 ruling ordered those gates to be removed so the public could access the lakes.The court said at the time it would be "nonsensical" for a government to retain rights to a lake if a single owner purchasing all land surrounding it could prohibit use.It also clarified that Stoney Lake Road, which the DLCC had previously closed to the public, was a public road because public money had been spent on it and it had previously been a historic trail from a traditional Indigenous village.The victory was a culmination of the advocacy from the Nicola Valley Fish & Game Club, and most notably Merritt resident Rick McGowan, who for decades maintained that the DLCC had unlawfully prohibited access for anglers and other people seeking recreation there."We thought we would like to try to make a difference and try to see if we could possibly save the right for all future generations to access public property," he said."In the Nicola Valley there are locked gates everywhere and most of them are illegal."According to the Outdoor Recreation Council of B.C., which has been allowed to intervene on behalf of the fish and game club for the appeal, the DLCC seeks an order declaring there is no public access to Stoney Lake and that access to Minnie Lake is only by way of Wasley Creek. "This case raises important questions about the extent of the public's right to cross private property to access public resources such as lakes, hiking trails and wilderness," said Morgan Blakley, a lawyer for the council, which represents 100,000 outdoor recreation users in the province."The decision could have implications for public access across the province and brings to bear hundreds of years of case law." The appeal is scheduled for two days, starting at 10 a.m. PT Monday.
LONDON — Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals.The results are based on interim analysis of trials in the U.K. and Brazil of a vaccine developed by Oxford University and manufactured by AstraZeneca. No hospitalizations or severe cases of COVID-19 were reported in those receiving the vaccine.AstraZeneca is the third major drug company to report late-stage results for a potential COVID-19 vaccine as the world anxiously waits for scientific breakthroughs that will bring an end to a pandemic that has wrought economic devastation and resulted in nearly 1.4 million confirmed deaths.Pfizer and Moderna last week reported preliminary results from late-stage trials showing their vaccines were almost 95% effective. But, unlike its rivals, the AstraZeneca vaccine doesn't have to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, making it easier to distribute, especially in developing countries.“I think these are really exciting results,” Dr. Andrew Pollard, chief investigator for the trial, said during a news conference. “Because the vaccine can be stored at fridge temperatures, it can be distributed around the world using the normal immunization distribution system. And so our goal … to make sure that we have a vaccine that was accessible everywhere, I think we’ve actually managed to do that.”The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is also cheaper. AstraZeneca, which has pledged it won’t make a profit on the vaccine during the pandemic, has reached agreements with governments and international health organizations that put its cost at about $2.50 a dose. Pfizer’s vaccine costs about $20 a dose, while Moderna's is $15 to $25, based on agreements the companies have struck to supply their vaccines to the U.S. government.All three vaccines must be approved by regulators before they can be widely distributed.Oxford researchers and AstraZeneca stressed that they aren't competing with other projects, and that multiple vaccines will be needed to reach enough of the world's population and end the pandemic.“We’re not thinking about vaccinations working in terms of one person at a time. We have to think about vaccinating communities, populations, reducing transmission within those populations, so that we really get on top of this pandemic,'' said Sarah Gilbert, a leader of the Oxford research team. “And that’s what it now looks like we’re going to have the ability to contribute to in a really big way.''The results come as a second wave of COVID-19 hits many countries, once again shutting businesses, restricting social interaction and pummeling the world economy.AstraZeneca said it will immediately apply for early approval of the vaccine where possible, and it will seek an emergency use listing from the World Health Organization, so it can make the vaccine available in low-income countries.The AstraZeneca trial looked at two different dosing regimens. A half-dose of the vaccine followed by a full dose at least one month later was 90% effective. Another approach, giving patients two full doses one month apart, was 62% effective. The combined results showed an average efficacy rate of 70%.The vaccine uses a weakened version of a common cold virus that is combined with genetic material for the characteristic spike protein of the virus that causes COVID-19. After vaccination, the spike protein primes the immune system to attack the virus if it later infects the body.The vaccine can be transported under “normal refrigerated conditions” of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit), AstraZeneca said. By comparison, Pfizer plans to distribute its vaccine using specially designed “thermal shippers” that use dry ice to maintain temperatures of minus-70 degrees Celsius (minus-94 degrees Fahrenheit).Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said the finding that a smaller initial dose is more effective than a larger one is good news because it may reduce costs and mean more people can be vaccinated.“The report that an initial half-dose is better than a full dose seems counterintuitive for those of us thinking of vaccines as normal drugs: With drugs, we expect that higher doses have bigger effects, and more side-effects,” he said. “But the immune system does not work like that.”The results reported Monday come from trials in the U.K. and Brazil that involved 23,000 people. Late-stage trials are also underway in the U.S., Japan, Russia, South Africa, Kenya and Latin America, with further trials planned for other European and Asian countries.AstraZeneca has been ramping up manufacturing capacity, so it can supply hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine starting in January, Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said earlier this month.Soriot said Monday that the Oxford vaccine’s simpler supply chain and AstraZeneca’s commitment to provide it on a non-profit basis during the pandemic mean it will be affordable and available to people around the world.“This vaccine’s efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against COVID-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency,’’ Soriot said.British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he felt “a great sense of relief” at the news from AstraZeneca.Britain has ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine, and the government says several million doses can be produced before the end of the year if it is approved by regulators.Just months ago, “the idea that by November we would have three vaccines, all of which have got high effectiveness … I would have given my eye teeth for,” Hancock said.___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreakDanica Kirka And Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
Janet Langdon and Roxanne Walsh-Seabright have always held a special place for their hometown of Gander. As first-generation Ganderites, the pair know the town has a unique place in provincial history and culture. “We love our town,” said Walsh-Seabright. When Langdon returned to the area in 2015 upon her retirement after living at various stops on the mainland, she and Walsh-Seabright started talking about ways they could showcase their beloved hometown. As many a Newfoundlander will tell you, you can live wherever you want, but nothing will ever replace the place you grew up. “It’s in your blood,” said Langdon. “It is a special place. It holds onto your identity.” Then, they got the idea to showcase Gander and its uniqueness through clothes. Langdon had studied textile design and has always had a love for fashion design, while Walsh-Seabright studied interior design. They both shared a love for design and being creative so it was only natural they settle on an outlet that would allow them to explore that side of themselves a bit more. They found that outlet with their Newfoundland Dog Company clothing line. “We’re both creative at heart,” said Walsh-Seabright. They also get some help from family members. Langdon’s partner has offered up designs for products while others model them. The Newfoundland Dog Company got its start in the wake of the popularity of the smash Broadway musical “Come From Away.” With its depiction of what Gander and the area did for the people stranded during the Sept. 9, 2001, terrorist attacks, the show captured the attention and imagination of the world. Its popularity undoubtedly meant that the region was going to see an influx of tourism as people sought to see the place and the people that helped so many during a trying time. That fact was not lost on either Langdon or Walsh-Seabright. They sought to offer unique tourism products that highlighted some of the unique parts of their hometown. After some back-and-forth, they decided on a clothing line that would showcase the history of Gander and eventually, the surrounding area. It was launched on June 04, 2017. “It is very exciting because Gander has such a unique history,” said Langdon. Even the name Newfoundland Dog is partly a referral to a piece of the town’s history. During the Second World War, there was a Newfoundland dog named Gander who was awarded the Dickin Medal, an animal’s Victoria Cross, for his heroics during the war. The other half of the Newfoundland Dog Company's name refers Humber, the Newfoundland dog that was a big part of Langdon's family growing up. A mixture of short-sleeve and long-sleeve shirts, they have a number of different designs, from the propeller of a plane to the ‘Welcome to Gander’ sign at the Gander International Airport. There is one item featuring the likeness of the town’s mascot, Commander Gander, as well as an outline of the town in the 1970s One of their latest creations is an ode to Sidetracks, a bar in town that welcomed some high-profile acts during its day. The last couple of years has seen the line expand to ball caps, toques, mitten, throw pillows and dog bandanas. “It is basically what surrounds us,” said Walsh-Seabright. “What is unique to us that is different from anyone else.” Like other companies, the Newfoundland Dog Company has been slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic. A mostly online venture, they’re starting to see things start to come around and have several pop-up sales scheduled for Nov. 28, Dec.5, Dec. 12 and Dec. 19 in Gander. “We’re excited for the popups and introducing some new things,” said Walsh-Seabright. Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
BROCKTON – Mayor Chris Peabody said Tuesday, “There’s a lot of anxiety about rising numbers of COVID-19.” He said that while Grey-Bruce is still Green, looking at the numbers, a move to Yellow will probably happen. He was pleased to note that all the people he saw at the Hometown Christmas Market event in Walkerton on the weekend were following the safety guidelines, including wearing masks. While there’s no meeting of Brockton council this week, Bruce County council is holding a number of committee meetings. Among the topics on the various agendas are development fees.Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
It’s been just over a year since Nalcor Energy impounded the reservoir at Muskrat Falls. How much methylmercury that would release into the water downstream and subsequently the impact it would have on the food chain in central Labrador has been the topic of much debate over the years, and that debate is still going on. Ryan Calder, an assistant professor of environmental health and policy in the department of population health science at Virginia Tech, and the lead author of the 2016 Harvard paper "Future Impacts of Hydroelectric Power Development on Methylmercury Exposures of Canadian Indigenous Communities," took to social media recently to express his concern over the methylmercury readings for the first year following impoundment. Calder said the increased levels showing at a station downstream from Muskrat Falls, N5, are more in line with what his group at Harvard estimated, and exceed the projections made on behalf of Nalcor Energy. He said he wishes they were wrong in their predictions, but based on what he’s seen so far it doesn’t appear to be so. “Nalcor and the government of Newfoundland claimed that there was no possibility for risk to people or the environment, spent years claiming up and down there was nothing to worry about, and now monitoring is coming out showing that the peak levels are still increasing and are within the range that was forecasted,” he said. Data from the last four years available online shows that the recorded levels in the water exceeded the Nalcor predicted peak of 0.1 namograms per litre a couple times in the last year and does show an increased overall level of methylmercury. Calder said it’s common for levels to increase in the first year after impoundment and stay higher for a few years before levelling off, but any increase corresponds to an increase in risk. “It’s known that when you flood a reservoir there are increased methylmercury levels. Nalcor doesn't deny that creation of the reservoir accelerates the production of methylmercury. They accept that there are impacts on water, they accept that people eat the fish, but they don’t accept there’s any risk to the people and that’s logically inconsistent.” It’s too early at this point to assess any risk to people, he said, and that would require more data on methylmercury in fish, which has not been released yet for 2019, but increased methylmercury levels in the water are the first signal. When asked by SaltWire Network about the levels, Nalcor Energy said the measured values in water are very similar to those predicted and are within safe limits. James McCarthy, senior associate biologist with Wood, the firm that handles the monitoring for Nalcor, said he doesn’t see anything in the levels that would cause concern from a human health perspective. “Ultimately, it’s the fish concentration that matters, that’s the interaction with people. Even though water is an early indication it’s really the fish that matter most to people. We just finished the sampling for 2019, so that’s a full year of flooding, but had three years of head pond formation, and we’ve seen nothing really in the fish.” McCarthy said the increased levels are in line with projections made for Nalcor in 2018, which did differ from lower predictions in previous years, and so far everything appears to be on track. The Department of Environment, Climate Change and Municipalities told SaltWire Network methylmercury levels are below the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) guidelines for aquatic life and at no time have levels presented a risk to public health.Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
Les premiers coups de pelle ont été donnés sur le site qui accueillera l’usine d’abattage, de traitement et de transformation La Bêlerie, à Cowansville. L’abattoir sera dédié uniquement à l’agneau et sera prêt à répondre aux plus hautes normes de santé et de sécurité, même en temps de pandémie. L’excavation a débuté la semaine dernière et l’objectif d’ouverture demeure au printemps 2021. Certains retards ont été occasionnés par quelques étapes plus longues que prévu, mais surtout par la complexification du projet. «C’est plus grand que ce qu’on avait prévu initialement et il a fallu qu’on change certains équipements. On a retravaillé les plans», explique la copropriétaire Myriam Langlois. Les installations seront construites de telle sorte que les employés pourront travailler à deux mètres ou plus de distance. Une préoccupation qui est née de la situation sanitaire actuelle. La nouvelle usine, de juridiction fédérale, aura une superficie de 22 000 pieds carrés et des équipements à la fine pointe de la technologie. Elle sera munie d’une salle de découpe et d’une ligne d’emballage. Avec les changements apportés, l’investissement a par conséquent augmenté, passant de 7 M$ à 9 M$. Seulement pour agneaux Au départ, le projet prévoyait des installations pour recevoir du bœuf en plus de l’agneau. «On a changé de cap là-dessus parce que faire du multiespèces nous amenait à avoir des protocoles plus élaborés qu’on devait faire chaque jour, même si on n’avait pas à faire de bœuf cette journée-là. On va se concentrer sur notre spécialité», relève-t-elle. La Bêlerie œuvre depuis deux ans dans la production ovine, avec 1800 agneaux lourds produits annuellement à la ferme, mais aussi dans la distribution et la transformation pour «rendre l’agneau du Québec accessible à tous». Elle ajoute une corde à son arc avec son usine d’abattage. Une viande plus accessible Non seulement la Bêlerie n’aura plus à transporter ses agneaux vers un abattoir de la Rive-Nord de Montréal, de Québec ou de la Beauce, ce qui diminuera le stress lié à de longs trajets en plus de sauver des frais, mais son statut lui permettra d’exporter la viande et de recevoir des agneaux d’autres éleveurs du Québec et des provinces voisines. Elle précise qu’il y a trois types d’abattoirs au Québec. Le type B n’est pas régi, ce sont des abattoirs de proximité pour de la viande qui ne sera pas revendue. Les abattoirs de juridiction provinciale permettent de traiter des animaux du Québec pour une revente au Québec, mais la viande n’a pas accès aux entrepôts des grandes chaînes d’alimentation. «Ensuite, il y a la juridiction fédérale avec une approche d’inspection différente. C’est un niveau supérieur et ça nous permet de faire du pancanadien et de l’importation et exportation. Et quand on veut travailler avec de grandes chaînes, le fédéral nous permet d’avoir accès à leurs entrepôts.» La viande du Québec devient alors plus accessible pour les consommateurs qui ne font leur épicerie que dans les grandes bannières. «Ça fait un gros parallèle avec l’autonomie alimentaire. On veut que les gens d’ici aient accès aux produits d’ici.» Mme Langlois, copropriétaire avec Jamie Schofield, espère qu’un abattoir de proximité permettra à l’industrie de l’agneau lourd - entre 16 et 30 kg et âgé de moins d’un an - de reprendre de la vigueur au Québec. Aide de la ville Le projet a pu voir le jour grâce à l’apport de la Ville de Cowansville, qui a vendu un terrain à l’entreprise sur le chemin Brosseau pour la somme de 105 000 $. En contrepartie, l’administration municipale a octroyé à l’Abattoir La Bêlerie une aide financière de 100 000 $ selon les critères du règlement sur les crédits de taxes et l’aide financière aux entreprises. Le montage financier a notamment été complété avec la collaboration d’Investissements Québec et des Services aux entreprises de Granby. Environ 80 emplois seront créés par cette future usine. Cynthia Laflamme, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix de l'Est
Newfoundland and Labrador is withdrawing from the Atlantic bubble for a two-week break.Effective Wednesday, says Premier Andrew Furey, anyone arriving in the province from within the Maritimes will have to self-isolate for 14 days."The Atlantic bubble has been a source of pride … but the situation has changed," Furey said during Monday's COVID-19 briefing."I have made the tough decision to make a circuit break. People arriving from within the Atlantic bubble will have to self-isolate for 14 days."Furey said the province will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in the other Atlantic provinces to see if the two-week break will need to be extended. Travel to and from Newfoundland and Labrador will only be for essential reasons, he said. But people travelling to Newfoundland and Labrador from elsewhere in Atlantic Canada will not have to file for a travel exemption, said the premier, and under extenuating circumstances may apply for earlier COVID-19 testing to shorten the self-isolation period.Restrictions on travel to Newfoundland and Labrador from outside Atlantic Canada remain unchanged. Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said the province will monitor outbreaks in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for two weeks before making a decision to rejoin the bubble. She said Nova Scotia has confirmed cases of community transmission. "We will be looking at the levels of non-epidemiology cases that they have. We'll be looking at the trajectory of their case numbers … and looking at sort of a seven-day average," she said. "Those are all things we would consider with regard to whether or not to lift those isolation measures at that time."The province reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, both in the Western Health region. The province has 23 active cases.The province's total number of cases since March is now 321 with 294 recoveries. Both people who had recently been hospitalized with COVID-19 have been released.Elementary school student tests positive in Deer LakeA student at Elwood Elementary in Deer Lake is one of two new cases of COVID-19 being reported.It's the province's first case of COVID-19 in a school and is a close contact of a previous case, said Fitzgerald."As with any case, contact tracing starts with identifying close contacts of the child. This will include the school cohort, or class of the child," said Fitzgerald. "The parents of this class cohort have been notified, and the children have been self-isolating and testing has been arranged."The teacher is also self-isolating with testing arranged. Classes at Elwood Elementary have been suspended for Monday and Tuesday, according to the Department of Health.Watch the full Nov. 23 update:Fitzgerald, Education Minister Tom Osborne, and the head of the province's school district addressed the media on Monday as concerns around schools swirl.The second case reported on Monday is a man, also in the Western Health region, between 20 and 39 years old. The case is travel-related. The man returned to the province from work in Manitoba, and the case is unrelated to the previous cluster in the region. In a media release the Department of Health said the man is self-isolating and contact tracing is underway.In an earlier media release, the Department of Health said it's asking passengers who travelled on Air Canada Flight 8880 from Halifax to Deer Lake that arrived on Thursday to call 811 to arrange COVID-19 testing, connected to a case of COVID-19 in the Western Health region announced Sunday.In total, 59,270 people have been tested as of Monday's update, an increase of 290 since Sunday.As the province is now seeing three small clusters, Fitzgerald said contact tracing is completed for the Grand Bank cluster. But, she added, identified contacts can develop symptoms until the 14-day mark, so the province will continue to monitor that cluster. Fitzgerald said all contacts have been identified in a small St. John's cluster but noted things can change within two weeks. She said there the contacts identified are in isolation so there should be "little onward future spread." In Deer Lake, "it's still in early days, really," Fitzgerald said."Certainly we're comfortable with where we are, now that we've been able to trace everybody in this cluster back to that origin."Towns and businesses tighten upMonday's news conference comes on the heels of daily increases of cases of COVID-19 in the province, and the Town of Deer Lake asking residents to limit contacts and non-essential businesses to close for the next 14 days.There are 10 active infections in the Western Health region of Newfoundland and Labrador, six of which are connected and believed to be centred in Deer Lake, as the town has said it's dealing with rising cases in the community. Dean Ball, the town's mayor, said the situation is being assessed hourly by his council, and they'll be shutting down town buildings until at least Dec. 7."People have really bought into this. We have no objections. When we look at Dec. 7, yes it's two weeks away. That won't be long going and I think will look back at this in a couple of weeks — I certainly hope so — and say for the information we had this was the best decision," Ball told CBC News. "We need to be kind. This is no time to be pointing fingers."Fitzgerald said more restrictive measures — such as a lockdown — aren't being recommended for the Deer Lake area right now. "We don't have evidence of widespread community transmission in Deer Lake. All of the cases that we've seen to date have been able to have been traced back to either travel or related to this cluster that was initially related to travel," she said. On Sunday, the Bigs Ultimate Sports Grill on Freshwater Road in St. John's closed its doors, announcing that a customer earlier in the week later tested positive for COVID-19. Staff are being tested, and the restaurant is awaiting guidance from public health officials.On Monday the city of St. John's announced it will not be going ahead with its Christmas market on Water Street or its different version of a Christmas parade planned to be held inside Mile One Centre. Breen told reporters city council felt it was in the best interests of keeping residents safe that the city not proceed with those events, following the changes to the province's participation in the Atlantic bubble. "We were concerned of moving forward when there's certainly a big concern on where we'd be in the pandemic at that time," he said. Asked if he had a message for business owners who might feel an economic squeeze during a break from the Atlantic bubble, Furey said the change is to protect them. "We're enjoying this level of freedom, and we're the envy of a lot of other places around the country. We want to keep it that way," he said. "This is an effort to protect their businesses, to protect the economy. The last thing we want is a full lockdown." Rotational workers facing backlashMeanwhile, the mayor of Grand Bank said the town is grappling with a great deal of anxiety, but now that contact tracing is complete, they're hoping to have turned the corner."The uncertainty — one day is great, the next day is not so great," said Rex Matthews.Matthews is hopeful the virus will be contained to the six cases already confirmed by public health officials. Two of those cases are senior citizens residing in the community's nursing home.Grand Bank has been a hotbed for rumours and speculation about the source of the infections. It's led to a flurry of online comments condemning rotational workers who travel back and forth from places like Alberta.In a social media group for rotational workers, some people report having the RCMP called on them for doing mundane tasks around their own property, like putting up Christmas lights."They do sacrifice," Matthews said. "You know they travel to other provinces of this country for employment, they leave their families, they leave their home, they leave their community, and it helps our economy. So under normal circumstances there's no issues, but these are extraordinary times."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
PARIS — The trial of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy for corruption and influence peddling was suspended Monday less than two hours after it started, to allow a medical report on one of the defendants.Sarkozy is accused of having tried to illegally obtain information from a magistrate about an investigation involving him in 2014.This is the first trial for the 65-year-old politician, who has faced several other judicial investigations since leaving office in 2012.He stands trial in a Paris court along with his lawyer Thierry Herzog, 65, and the magistrate, Gilbert Azibert, 73. They face a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a maximum fine of 1 million euros ($1.2 million.) They deny any wrongdoing.Sarkozy and Herzog are suspected of promising Azibert a job in Monaco in exchange for leaking information about an investigation into suspected illegal financing of the 2007 presidential campaign by France’s richest woman, L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.Sarkozy arrived at the court surrounded by his lawyers and bodyguards, in the presence of dozens of journalists. The Paris court has been placed under high security as hearings in the case, scheduled until Dec. 10, are taking place at the same time as another key trial — that of the 2015 attacks at the Charlie Hebdo offices and a kosher supermarket.The trial started Monday in the absence of Azibert, whose lawyer requested the hearings to be postponed. He argued his client's bad health makes it risky for him to travel and appear in court amid the coronavirus pandemic, leading the court to suspend proceedings pending an expert medical report. The trial will resume on Thursday.In 2014, Sarkozy and Herzog used secret mobile phones — registered to the alias name of “Paul Bismuth” — to be be able to have private talks as they feared their conversations were being tapped.Sarkozy and Herzog explained that they bought the phones to avoid being targeted by illegal phone tapping. Investigative judges, however, suspect they actually wanted to avoid being tapped by investigators.Judges have found that discussions between Sarkozy and his lawyer suggested they had knowledge that judicial investigators at the time tapped their conversations on their official phones — they mentioned “judges listening.”Sarkozy argued that he never intervened to help Azibert, who never got the job and retired in 2014.Investigative judges consider that as soon as a deal has been offered, it constitutes a criminal offence even if the promises haven't been fulfilled.Legal proceedings against Sarkozy have been dropped in the Bettencourt case.Sarkozy, a lawyer by training, pointed at judicial harassment, accusing judges of breaching lawyer-client privilege via wiretapping.“I don't want things that I didn't do to be held against me. The French need to know... that I'm not a rotten person,” he told BFM TV earlier this month.He said he was facing the trial in a “combative” mood.Sarkozy's predecessor, Jacques Chirac, was found guilty in 2011 of misuse of public money, breach of trust and conflict of interest and given a two-year suspended prison sentence for actions during his time as Paris mayor, before he was president from 1995 to 2007.Sarkozy’s name has appeared for years in several other judicial investigations.Allegations, which include illegal financing of his 2007 campaign by then-Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, cast a shadow over Sarkozy's comeback attempt for the 2017 presidential election.After failing to be chosen as candidate by his conservative party, he withdrew from active politics.Sarkozy remained the most popular figure amid French right-wing voters in recent years. His memoirs published this summer, “The Time of Storms,” was a bestseller for weeks.Sarkozy was handed preliminary charges including “illegal campaign financing” in the Libyan investigation, which has been underway since 2013 — and prompted the wiretapping of his phones.Earlier this month, French-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine retracted his previous statements that he delivered suitcases from Libya containing 5 million euros ($5.9 million) in cash to Sarkozy and his former chief of staff, Claude Gueant.Instead, he told news broadcaster BFM and magazine Paris-Match that there were “no Libyan financing.”Sarkozy said that the truth “finally comes out.”Financial prosecutors said in a statement that charges in the Libyan case are based “on strong or corroborated evidence that are not limited to one person’s statement only.”Meanwhile, the former president will stand another trial in spring 2021 along with 13 other people on charges of illegal financing of his 2012 presidential campaign.His conservative party and a company named Bygmalion are accused of using a special invoice system to conceal unauthorized overspending.They are suspected of having spent 42.8 million euros ($50.7 million), almost twice the maximum authorized, to finance the campaign, which ended up in victory for Socialist rival Francois Hollande.Nicolas Vaux-Montagny And Sylvie Corbet, The Associated Press
Saint-Tite – La MRC de Mékinac réagit au cri du cœur lancé dans nos pages par les relais de motoneiges qui craignent de ne pas traverser l'hiver si on leur permet seulement d'accueillir des clients pour les réchauffer, sans pouvoir ouvrir leurs salles à manger. Tous ont décrié l'impact des coûts fixes élevés comme le chauffage, la main-d'oeuvre ou le nettoyage des lieux pour expliquer les difficultés financières qu'ils anticipent. La MRC de Mékinac se dit sensible de la situation vécue par les relais de son territoire. «C’est une situation vraiment préoccupante pour notre milieu. L’industrie de la motoneige est un moteur économique très important pour notre MRC, tant au niveau des relais que des autres commerces autour. Les motoneigistes sortent souvent dans les sentiers avec le but de se rendre dans un relais, de consommer et de faire d’autres arrêts dans différents commerces. La fermeture des relais peut entrainer un ralentissement économique sur un volet beaucoup plus large» s'inquiète Nadia Moreau, directrice du service de développement économique de la MRC de Mékinac. Elle craint que l'impact financier des décisions gouvernementales ne vienne hypothéquer sérieusement le secteur jusqu'au printemps. «Nous sommes évidemment grandement conscients des enjeux de la propagation de la COVID-19. Nous tentons par tous les moyens de soutenir notre milieu pour passer à travers cette crise. Par contre, nous aimerons grandement que ce que nous pouvons favoriser localement puisse se faire chez nous. La possibilité de voir les habitués de notre région se déplacer vers une région aux conditions plus souples demeure inquiétante tant au niveau sanitaire qu’économique» ajoute Nadia Moreau. La MRC soutient que selon les commerçants, les chiffres d'affaires sont en péril de 75 à 90%.Marc-André Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nouvelliste
Wuhan, the Chinese city that was ground zero of the coronavirus pandemic, went into lockdown on Jan. 23. Life has returned to nearly normal 10 months later, but residents there still remember the harsh conditions.