WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security issued a national terrorism bulletin Wednesday warning of the lingering potential for violence from people motivated by antigovernment sentiment after President Joe Biden's election, suggesting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol may embolden extremists and set the stage for additional attacks. The department did not cite any specific plots, but pointed to “a heightened threat environment across the United States” that it believes “will persist” for weeks after Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration. It is not uncommon for the federal government to warn local law enforcement through bulletins about the prospect for violence tied to a particular event or date, such as July 4. But this particular bulletin, issued through the department’s National Terrorism Advisory System, is notable because it effectively places the Biden administration into the politically charged debate over how to describe or characterize acts motivated by political ideology, and suggests it regards violence like the kind that overwhelmed the Capitol as akin to terrorism. The bulletin is an indication that national security officials see a connective thread between different episodes of violence in the last year motivated by anti-government grievances, including over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results and police use of force. The document singles out crimes motivated by racial or ethnic hatred, such as the 2019 rampage targeting Hispanics in El Paso, Texas, as well as the threat posed by extremists motivated by foreign terror groups. A DHS statement that accompanied the bulletin noted the potential for violence from “a broad range of ideologically-motivated actors.” “Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” the bulletin said. The alert comes at a tense time following the riot at the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump seeking to overturn the presidential election. Authorities are concerned that extremists may attack other symbols of government or people whose political views they oppose. “The domestic terrorism attack on our Capitol earlier this month shined a light on a threat that has been right in front of our faces for years,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “I am glad to see that DHS fully recognizes the threat posed by violent, right-wing extremists and is taking efforts to communicate that threat to the American people.” The alert was issued by acting Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske. Biden’s nominee for the Cabinet post, Alejandro Mayorkas, has not been confirmed by the Senate. Two former homeland security secretaries, Michael Chertoff and Janet Napolitano, called on the Senate to confirm Mayorkas so he can start working with the FBI and other agencies and deal with the threat posed by domestic extremists, among other issues. Chertoff, who served under President George W. Bush, said attacks by far-right, domestic extremists are not new but that deaths attributed to them in recent years in the U.S. have exceeded those linked to jihadists such as al-Qaida. “We have to be candid and face what the real risk is,” he said in a conference call with reporters. Federal authorities have charged more than 150 people in the Capitol siege, including some with links to right-wing extremist groups such as the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers. The Justice Department announced charges Wednesday against 43-year Ian Rogers, a California man found with five pipe bombs during a search of his business this month who had a sticker associated with the Three Percenters on his vehicle. His lawyer told his hometown newspaper, The Napa Valley Register, that he is a “very well-respected small business owner, father, and family man” who does not belong to any violent organizations. Ben Fox And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
Pembroke – With no COVID-19 outbreaks currently in Renfrew County, only two people currently diagnosed with the virus and vaccines beginning to be administered in long-term care homes, these positive signs are tempered by news of the second death from the virus. A release from the Renfrew County and District Health Unit (RCDHU) confirmed last week a second individual had died from the virus. In an interview with the Leaderearlier in the week, Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Cushman had confirmed an individual was in hospital in Ottawa following the diagnosis and did have significant comorbidities. Vaccines are also beginning to be administered, with the first clinic for residents at Valley Manor in Barry’s Bay. The health unit is working with long-term care homes to provide the vaccinations during the next two weeks in accordance with the provincial government announcement each long-term care, high-risk retirement home and First Nations elder care home resident in the province would receive first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by February 5. A reduced shipment of vaccines to the province has meant staff and essential caregivers will be vaccinated at a later date, as supply stabilizes. “We are asking residents to be patient during this time,” Dr. Cushman said. “We will release more information on timelines and vaccine roll out as it becomes available. It is our firm hope that keeping our case numbers low and rolling out the vaccines will put this behind us. Remember, we need to work together to stop the spread of COVID-19.” On Tuesday, the health unit reported two people in self-isolation with confirmed cases of COVID. There have been 297 people who have tested positive for the virus and 293 who have recovered. No new cases were diagnosed on Tuesday. However, this week also marked the beginning of a return to back-to-schools in the county. Following a break of over a month, students in elementary and secondary schools returned to in-person instruction on Monday morning. They had previously been doing online learning since the province announced a decision to close all schools in the province to in-person learning. Schools in Renfrew County were one of only seven districts in the province which saw a resumption of in-person learning. Looking at COVID numbers in the district covered by the RCDHU, the numbers are much more encouraging than early January projections. In December there were over 90 confirmed cases of COVID, the highest number of any month since the pandemic statistics were first recorded in March 2020. The health unit is reporting 61 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 in January, with a week remaining. “After the holidays, we saw a rise in cases related to gatherings and lack of adherence to public health measures,” Dr. Cushman noted. “Since then, cases in Renfrew County and district have remained relatively low, and we aim to keep trending downward.” Renfrew County has seen 21 outbreaks since the pandemic began and although 49 health care workers have been diagnosed with COVID, only three residents of long-term-care homes/retirement homes have been diagnosed with the virus. This is in stark contrast with other areas of the province and the dominion where many long-term-care homes/retirement homes have seen horrific outbreaks. The county has recorded 25 positive cases of COVID within the school setting since the pandemic began. Of these 10 were among staff members and 15 among students. With the resumption of school holding in-person class, Dr. Cushman is reminding area residents to not let their guard down. Provincially, numbers are also on a downward trend with 1,740 cases reported on Tuesday, the lowest daily number since mid-December. COVID testing continues in the county. Testing is done by appointment and anyone needing a test must call RCVTAC at 1-844-727-6404 to schedule a testing time. Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader
Brandon Sun readers request specific questions be asked about COVID-19. QUESTION: Will Manitoba will be lowering the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test cycles, which is currently 40 cycles? The World Health Organization has said to reduce the cycles to under 30 to help prevent any false positives. DR. JAZZ ATWAL: Great question. We work closely with our lab and we have been from the beginning. We have a standard in place in relation to PCR testing and how we utilize that result. We’re going to continue to work with her lab to ensure that the results that we get are accurate. We do look at specific numbers all the way through, so if there are question marks in relation to is this a true positive or a remnant, etc., we are looking at those CT (cycle threshold) values in relation to that. But there’s no plan on changing that, at this point. Again, we look at what’s happening provincially here, we also talk to our national partners in public health right across the country, as well. QUESTION: Regarding the testing pilot project at care homes — at least one worker at Donwood Manor was confirmed to be COVID-19 positive after an asymptomatic test, and Donwood subsequently declared an outbreak. Dr. Roussin and Premier Pallister like to compare their handling of the pandemic to that of other provinces, and they like talk about all the "what-ifs" — like the 1,700 lives their restrictions saved. So how many lives did this one, that we know of, asymptomatic test save? How many lives has NOT testing asymptomatically cost? ATWAL: The information on the pilot program, it’s being analyzed right now. We have to review it on the public health side to look at the impact of that, as well. I mean, care homes are, you could argue, some of the most protected places. We have staff, we have procedures and processes in place, including full use of PPE. Obviously, there still are issues in those environments, including hospitals. So we’re gonna have to review that information, review the data, review what that test result meant, as well. I believe there’s some information on that coming out soon. I don’t have the exact date for that. But, once we have that information, we’ll be able to better look at the risk and the impact of that program, as well. Do you have a question about something in your community? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Readers Ask. Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
Du 1er au 5 février, ce sera l’occasion pour le Carrefour jeunesse emploi de la Haute-Côte-Nord (CJE HCN) de prendre part à la 10e édition de la Semaine des régions organisée par Place aux jeunes en région (PAJR). La pandémie a forcé les organisateurs à prendre un virage virtuel cette année. Comme les déplacements interrégionaux sont interdits, il était impossible d’organiser les visites habituelles dans les établissements scolaires de Québec et Montréal ainsi que le salon au Complexe Desjardins. Toutefois, des initiatives régionales seront mises en branle pendant cette semaine dédiée à la promotion et au rayonnement des régions. « La Semaine des régions se déroulera plutôt virtuellement. Chaque MRC déployant les services de PAJ a pour mission de faire parler de sa région. On peut choisir par quel moyen. Certains font des quiz ou des live sur Facebook. Nous, on a décidé de lancer des capsules vidéos pour présenter de nouveaux arrivants des dernières années », dévoile Jeni Sheldon, agente PAJ. Ces capsules seront réalisées de façon conviviale avec des extraits d’entrevue. D’une durée d’environ deux minutes, elles seront diffusées sur les réseaux sociaux du CJE HCN. « Les nouveaux résidents expliqueront leur coup de cœur de la région, les raisons qui les ont poussés à déménager ici pour démystifier la vie en région », détaille Mme Sheldon. De plus, un projet régional avec les autres agents PAJ de la Côte-Nord sera dévoilé. Il s’agit également d’une capsule vidéo à saveur humoristique « pour promouvoir la région ». La Semaine des régions est un des moyens utilisés par l’agente PAJ pour attirer des jeunes qualifiés âgés de 18 à 35 ans sur le territoire de la Haute-Côte-Nord. « L’an passé, j’ai rencontré une de mes migrations de cette année qui est désormais installée aux Escoumins, raconte Jeni Sheldon. Parfois, ça donne des résultats rapides, mais la plupart du temps, ce sont des graines qui l’on sème pour plus tard. » Services aux employeurs Même s’ils sont moins connus, PAJ offre également des services aux employeurs et entreprises de la Haute-Côte-Nord. Ces derniers peuvent afficher leurs offres d’emploi gratuitement sur le site Web de l’organisme, bénéficiant ainsi « d’une banque de candidatures immense d’environ 10 000 personnes », selon l’agente PAJ. De plus, les candidats ciblés par une entreprise peuvent être accompagnés pour la recherche de logement, apprendre à connaître la région (séjour individuel) et faciliter leur intégration. « Ça peut jouer beaucoup sur la rétention du personnel », précise Mme Sheldon. Le conjoint ou la conjointe ainsi que le reste de la famille peuvent être aussi pris en charge. Pour plus d’informations ou faire appel aux services de PAJ, il faut contacter l’agente Jeni Sheldon au 581-324-1110, poste 236. Originaire d’Angleterre, Mme Sheldon est bien placée pour discuter des enjeux de migration avec les futurs ou nouveaux arrivants. C’est lors d’un voyage en sac à dos il y a 25 ans qu’elle est tombée en amour avec la région. « J’ai été bénévole pendant deux ans au GREMM à Tadoussac et j’ai fait la rencontre de mon copain à Québec. On s’est installé à Tadoussac et j’ai fondé ma famille ici », ajoute-t-elle. 30e anniversaire Depuis deux ans, elle fait partie du réseau PAJ qui célèbre ses 30 ans d’existence en 2021. Des festivités avaient été planifiées, mais elles ont dû être repoussées en raison de la crise sanitaire. « PAJ est un réseau fort et soudé. Quand j’ai commencé, nous étions 50 agents et maintenant, nous sommes 80 déployés à travers la province », de conclure la hautnord-côtière d’adoption.Johannie Gaudreault, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Haute-Côte-Nord
Saskatchewan’s top doctor spoke for the first time following a rally outside of his family home over the weekend.
Police in six European countries, as well as Canada and the United States, completed a joint operation to take control of Internet servers used to run and control a malware network known as "Emotet," authorities said in a statement. "Emotet is currently seen as the most dangerous malware globally," Germany's BKA federal police agency said in a statement.
Social media companies can’t be trusted to moderate themselves, so it falls to the government to enforce new restrictions to protect Canadians from harmful content online, according to a report currently under review by the federal heritage minister. The Canadian Commission on Democratic Expression, an expert panel of seven members, including former chief justice Beverley McLachlin, said it had become difficult to ignore the fact too many real-world manifestations of online interactions are turning violent, destructive or hateful, despite social media’s parallel role in empowering positive social movements. The panellists were particularly struck by the role they saw social media play last fall in “sowing distrust” in the aftermath of the U.S. presidential election, culminating in the lethal invasion of the U.S. Capitol. And they found, with the Quebec mosque shooting, the Toronto van attack and the armed invasion of Rideau Hall, that “Canada is not immune.” “We recognize the charter, we recognize the ability of people to express themselves freely,” said Jean La Rose, former chief executive officer of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) and one of the seven commissioners, in an interview. “But there must be limits at one point. There has to be limits as to where free speech becomes a racist discourse, or a hurtful discourse, or a hateful discourse.” These limits would come in the form of a new law passed by Parliament, the commission recommended, that would force social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, search engines like Google and its video-sharing site YouTube and others to adhere to a new “duty to act responsibly.” The panel purposefully did not spell out what responsible behaviour should look like. Instead, it said this determination should be left to the government — as well as a new regulator that would oversee a code of conduct for the industry and a new “social media council” that would bring together the platforms with civil society and other groups. La Rose said his experience in the journalism world demonstrated how there needed to be reasonable limits on what people can freely express so they are not permitted to call for the killings of Muslims, for example, or encourage violence against an individual by posting their home address or other personal details online. “Having worked in media, having worked at APTN, for example, we have been at the receiving end of racist threats, of severe injury to our people, our reporters and others because of the view we present of the situation of the Indigenous community in Canada,” he said. “Literally, we’ve had some reporters run off the road when they were covering a story because people were trying to block the telling of that story. So as a news entity, we have seen how far sometimes misinformation, hate and hurtful comments can go.” Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has himself recently indicated that legislation to address “online hate” will be introduced “very soon.” The minister has pointed to the popularity of such a move: a recent survey by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF), for example, found that fully four-fifths of Canadians are on board with forcing social media companies to rapidly take down hateful content. “Canadians are now asking their government to hold social media companies accountable for the content that appears on their platforms,” Guilbeault said after the CRRF survey was published. “This is exactly what we intend to do, by introducing new regulations that will require online platforms to remove illegal and hateful content before they cause more harm and damage.” Guilbeault has met with the commission to discuss their recommendations and is currently reviewing their report, press secretary Camille Gagné-Raynauld confirmed. Representatives from Facebook Canada and Twitter Canada were among several people who provided witness testimony and participated in commission deliberations, the report said. Twitter declined comment to Canada’s National Observer. “We haven’t reviewed the full report yet, so we can’t comment on the specific recommendations,” said Kevin Chan, global director and head of public policy for Facebook Canada. “We have community standards that govern what is and isn’t allowed on our platform, and in most cases those standards go well beyond what’s required by law.” Chan also said Facebook agreed regulators should make “clear rules for the internet” so private companies aren’t left to make decisions themselves. Google spokesperson Lauren Skelly said the company shares Canadians’ concerns about harmful content online and said YouTube takes its responsibility to remove content that violates its policies “extremely seriously.” She said the company has significantly ramped up daily removals of hate speech and removed millions of videos last quarter for violations. “Any regulation needs to reflect the inherent complexity of the issue and the scale at which online platforms operate,” said Skelly. “We look forward to continuing our work with the government and local partners on addressing the spread of online hate to ensure a safer and open internet that works for all Canadians.” The nine-month study by the commission, an initiative led by the Public Policy Forum, found that with everything from disinformation campaigns to conspiracy theories, hate speech and people targeted for harm, toxic content was being “amplified” by the actions of social media companies. The study rejected the notion that social media platforms are “neutral disseminators of information,” finding instead that they curate content to serve their own commercial interests. “The business model of some of the major social media companies involves keeping people engaged with their platforms as much as possible. And it turns out that keeping people engaged means feeding them sensational content because that’s what keeps people clicking,” said Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and another commissioner. “The incentives for social media companies are not aligned with the public interest. These are private companies whose obligation is to make money for their shareholders.” The commission also proposed a tribunal to deal with dispute resolutions quickly, as well as a “transparency regime” that would require social media companies to make certain information available to the regulator, including the “algorithmic architecture used to identify problematic content.” Jaffer wrote a “concurring statement” in the report, where he confessed it was difficult to endorse the commission’s proposed “duty to act responsibly” without going further to define how that duty will work in reality. He said defining it will require “difficult tradeoffs” between free speech, privacy and other issues. Carl Meyer / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer Carl Meyer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
OTTAWA — The Canadian Armed Forces is dealing with a dramatic increase in the number of troops who have been infected with COVID-19 over the past month. New Department of National Defence figures provided to The Canadian Press show nearly 250 Canadian military members tested positive for the illness since the end of December. That number compares to fewer than 700 cases reported during the first nine months of the pandemic. While the increase coincides with a recent surge in cases across Canada and many other parts of the world, it also comes amid an outbreak among the 540 Canadian troops deployed in Latvia. Defence Department spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier says Armed Forces members on four other missions have also tested positive for COVID-19 since March, along with an unspecified number here at home. Meanwhile, the federal government says more than 1,000 military personnel have received vaccines, with the priority being given to troops working in health-care settings or who have health conditions that could put them at greater risk from COVID-19. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
ROME — Pope Francis marked Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday by warning that warped ideologies can pave the way to another genocide. Francis spoke off the cuff at the end of his weekly general audience, held in his private library because of coronavirus restrictions, to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in Poland, where Nazis killed more than 1 million Jews and others. In all, about 6 million European Jews and millions of other people were killed by the Germans and their collaborators. The Argentine pope insisted on the need to remember, saying it was a sign of humanity and a condition for a peaceful future. But he said remembering “also means to be aware that these things can happen again, starting with ideological proposals that claim to save a people and end up destroying a people and humanity.” He warned that the Holocaust began that way, opening “this path of death, extermination and brutality.” Francis prayed at the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial during his 2016 visit to Poland. The Associated Press
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times eastern): 10:45 a.m. Ontario's new daily case count of COVID-19 is the lowest it's been in seven weeks. The province is reporting 1,670 new cases of the virus today and 49 more deaths related to the disease. Ontario's daily case count hasn't been this low since December 8. Health Minister Christine Elliott says that 450 of those new cases are in Toronto, 342 are in Peel Region, and 171 are in York Region. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
Anglers on P.E.I. are being given a chance to fish for perch through the ice this year, in an experiment to see if a regular fishery is viable. The licence is free, but you have to apply and report all you catch. Because the perch are coastal, the province is partnering with Fisheries and Oceans Canada on the project. David Richards, owner of Richards Bait and Tackle in Alberton, is one of the Islanders who has one of the new licences. "It's a little struggle to find them because we've never had a nice winter fishery up here for perch before," Richards told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier. He and his sons got organized in advance of the fishery, heading out on the ice, drilling some holes and scouting with a GoPro camera to see where the fish were. He said it was pretty exciting to spot some, but the fish turned out to be smarter than they thought. "Lo and behold the perch were not where we thought they'd be. They swim," he said. But Richards said he and his family, three generations worth, are still having a good time out on the ice. It doesn't take much in the way of gear, he said, just an ice auger and an ice-fishing pole. He said his own family is spoiled, with a gas-powered auger, an ice-fishing tent and propane heaters. "You don't need all that stuff. You can just get there with your bucket and your auger, a little bit of bait. It's a little cooler but it's still nice to enjoy the great outdoors," said Richards. Finding another reason to get his grandchildren outside has been particularly nice during the pandemic, when kids have been even more tempted than usual to sit at home in front of a screen. More from CBC P.E.I.
On Jan. 15, Bruce Power hosted a one-hour, live, virtual COVID-19 update, open to the general public. James Scongack, executive-vice president of corporate affairs & operational services at Bruce Power, served as narrator, opening the session with an acknowledgement on how challenging the pandemic has been for the community, province, the country and the world. He stressed the importance of factual information and gave a shout out to local media for covering the event. Scongack reminded listeners of the availability of the app Grey Bruce Huron Strong, or www.greybrucehuronstrong.com – a joint initiative between the Ontario Nuclear Innovation Institute and NPX Innovation. The app, with more than 8,000 residents involved, gives access to contests, fitness challenges, mindfulness activities, opportunities to help seniors, upcoming events and fundraisers. It will continue to be a communication platform as vaccination information becomes available. The app also promotes buying local in this community. Scongack’s remarks were followed by the introduction of president and CEO, Mike Rencheck. Rencheck extended his thanks to front line medical workers, front line workers in grocery stores and essential services, teachers and all the workers at Bruce Power for “keeping the lights on” and continuing to produce vitally essential medical isotopes. He also thanked everyone who has been supporting local business and local charities. He said these times are an “all hands on deck moment” and when we pull together, we will be strong. Rencheck was followed by Huron Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson and MPP for Bruce Grey Owen Sound, Bill Walker. Thompson, who told viewers “we are strong”, also mentioned that small businesses should apply for the recently launched small business grant. She also said small business can tap into all federal and provincial programs available to them by visiting www.reliefwithinreach.ca. Walker extended his thanks to everyone abiding by health guidelines and asked everyone to “hold on to the hope”. Dr. Ian Arra, Grey Bruce chief medical officer of health and CEO, was the last to appear during the session. Dr. Arra said pandemics only happen every 100 years and residents should continue to “stay the course” as they have for the last 10 months. He addressed the lockdown and stay-at-home order, offering thoughts on the benefits of the order and what each of us can do on an individual level. The order is necessary, “indispensable”, to save lives. Residents can action this by staying home unless you really have to go out to get food or go to the pharmacy. He acknowledged this is “painful” but to remember that this is saving lives. Dr. Arra said if you look at the situation in Grey Bruce, it remains “relatively favourable.” The two-week surge following the holidays seems to have passed and the number of cases per day has been falling. The doctor addressed the return of students to in-class learning on Jan. 25, saying they were ready to go back but with restrictions, including abiding by the stay-at-home order after the end of the school day. Talking about the vaccine, Dr. Arra said all pandemics end and the vaccine will make this happen sooner. His “prescription for success” continues to be the three Ws – washing hands frequently, wearing a mask correctly and watching our distance. Finally, Dr. Arra brought up the “be calm, be kind” mantra that he often mentions. He says the pandemic is a “hardship and people are in pain,” whether it is a small business, people staying home or not able to hug a loved one. He said in the middle of a hardship, it is very easy to point a finger at others and blame them. It is the pandemic that is the hardship. “We need … to remind everyone around us, this is not going to end tomorrow,” said Dr. Arra. “It’s going to end in a few weeks and a few months and we need to stay that course.” Dr. Arra then fielded a number of questions submitted by the public, covering topics including vaccines. Dr. Arra said the vaccine will change the course of the pandemic. The vaccines sent so far were administered to patients, staff and caregivers in long term care homes on the same day they were received. Plans for administering the vaccine began in August 2020, The vaccine will be administered depending on which vaccine is received, a traditional distribution plan (using the Moderna vaccine), through the health unit, primary care family health teams, long term care, hospitals and usually pharmacies. A separate plan for administering the Pfizer vaccine, which is less flexible with its mobility, will be distributed through mass-immunization clinics, or hubs. These hubs could be at the recovery centres, which are already set up. Dr. Arra also said the acceptance rate for the vaccine in Grey Bruce is high, above the provincial average. Final questions included information on the safety of children returning to school, what happens after a positive test and how is contact tracing conducted. Dr. Arra finished his comments by saying that we can remind ourselves that what we are doing and the sacrifices we are making is saving lives. We should stay home, and connect following the recommendations with helping others. “We are creatures of habit” and creating habits that help us through the lockdown is positive. Tammy Lindsay, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent
Le rire est à l’homme ce que la bière est à la pression, dit un dicton. La Microbrasserie Moulin 7 en sait quelque chose ! Depuis des années, les brasseries artisanales poussent comme des champignons pour le grand bonheur des amateurs. On a rencontré Danick Pellerin, 44 ans, copropriétaire du pub situé au 294, boulevard Saint-Luc. Bières artisanales, repas bistro, spectacles de musique et d’humour, l’endroit se veut chaleureux et convivial. « L’ambiance est inspirée par notre passé industriel, explique M. Pellerin. Plusieurs pièces du mobilier et des décorations proviennent des moulins et des bureaux de la mine Jeffrey. Jusqu’à la sirène qui appelait les mineurs lorsqu’il était temps de sortir de la mine. Pour ajouter à la couleur locale, certaines de nos bières portent des noms évocateurs : “Mineur”, “L’Or blanc” ou “1949”. Et une plus récente “La 200 tonnes”, qui se veut un clin d’œil à l’immense camion à l’entrée de la ville qui rappelle notre patrimoine minier. Il représente un peu notre tour Eiffel ! » Innovation… Leurs dizaines de bières essentiellement composées de grains récoltés et maltés au Québec avec les meilleurs houblons sélectionnés ont connu un vif succès. La « Mineur », leur premier produit, a remporté plusieurs médailles. « La microbrasserie va très bien, poursuit-il. Nos produits sont distribués dans 230 points de vente. Pas loin de 300 quand les bars et les restos sont ouverts. Pour la création de nos bières, on y va avec l’inspiration du moment. Une récente création s’appelle “Apalone”. C’est le nom d’une tortue menacée d’extinction. Greenpeace l’avait suggéré dans les propositions pour changer le nom d’Asbestos ! » Depuis mars dernier, c’est un peu la chaise musicale : ouvert, semi-ouvert, fermé, etc. « Le resto est fermé et les commandes pour emporter sont suspendues… pour le moment. On n’arrête pas de brasser la bière, bien sûr ! Nous sommes huit travailleurs au lieu d’une vingtaine. Notre boutique est toutefois ouverte. Depuis novembre, on a mis sur pied, dans un local à côté, un marché public qui regroupe chaque samedi huit marchands producteurs alimentaires. Comme pour tout bon entrepreneur, il faut s’adapter. Cela dit, je plains les restaurateurs qui n’ont pas de plan B. » Chose certaine, toute l’équipe a hâte de revoir de la vie dans son resto-pub. Leur slogan, « Rappelons-nous le passé et trinquons à notre avenir ! », est plutôt éloquent. facebook.com/moulin7microbrasserie/ moulin7.com/Mireille Fréjeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal L'Étincelle
TORONTO — If you were on the lookout for a Greater Toronto Area condo or apartment to rent or own late last year, new data from the region’s real estate board shows you might have had an edge in negotiations. The number of condos listed for sale or rent in the area in the fourth quarter of 2020 were up by double and sometimes triple digits from the year before, while prices were down, according to two reports released by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board on Wednesday. “The increase in supply...resulted in much more choice and bargaining power for buyers and a moderate decline in average selling prices,” TRREB president Lisa Patel said in a statement. Patel also noticed the market tipped in favour of renters, who had plenty of properties that sat on the market for weeks or months to choose from. Her observations encompass the last few months of 2020 — a period when the Greater Toronto Area was staring down tougher COVID-19 lockdowns, the looming possibility of a tax on vacant units and a softening of the short-term rental market triggered by travel bans and work from home orders. TRREB said condo and apartment sales in the quarter reached 6,469, up 20.7 per cent compared to 5,358 in 2019. New listings climbed by almost 92 per cent to hit 12,298, up from 6,407 in the year prior, while active listings doubled to reach 4,294. The average selling price fell 1.1 per cent to reach $610,044 in the quarter, down from $616,771 a year earlier. Average selling prices in the city of Toronto decreased 2.4 per cent to $644,516. Davelle Morrison, a Toronto broker with Bosley Real Estate Ltd., noticed the period was a reversal from the usually sleepy December holiday season. "Towards the end of December people just decided to start snapping up what they could," she said. "One of the reasons why December is usually so dead is because everybody's at Christmas parties and shopping for Christmas gifts, but now, because of COVID, you're not doing any of those things, so all they were doing is looking at real estate." Meanwhile, demand for condo rental was reaching record highs, Patel said. TRREB’s new data showed 12,584 condos were rented in the quarter, up by about 86 per cent from the 6,756 rentals in the same period last year. The number listed for rent soared by 131.6 per cent, rising from 33,280 and 14,371. “Growth in the number of available units far outstripped growth in rental transactions, as many investors chose to make their units available due to the impact of COVID-19 on tourism and the short-term rental market,” said Patel. Those who offered places for rent ended up charging less for rent than they would have a year ago. The average one-bedroom condo rent unit was down by 16.5 per cent year over year to $1,845 compared to $2,209. The average two-bedroom condo rent was down by 14.5 per cent over the same time period to $2,453 compared to $2,868. That pattern seems to be continuing in 2021, Morrison said, "I have a few clients right now where their properties are vacant because we just can't even get tenants in them," she said. "It's on my to do list to try to get to take another price cut." But her clients on the market for houses are having a harder time. Prices are soaring and people are scrambling to make offers. Morrison has heard of houses in Mississauga getting 70 offers, ones in Durham Region getting 30 offers, and places in Toronto getting 18 offers. Bully offers are becoming common too, she said. She believes the time to buy houses was when the pandemic first hit and sellers were feeling skittish about the uncertain times, but condo buyers still have a window of opportunity. "If you want to buy a condo you should have bought it in December, but really now is the absolute time to get in there and buy something because I think the second that the borders open up and people get vaccinated, the condo market is going to take off again." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021. Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An emergency order mandating the use of masks in response to the coronavirus pandemic could be turned into city code by the Anchorage Assembly. Assembly members were expected to introduce ordinances Tuesday that could change mayoral emergency orders into local law, including a requirement for masks to be worn within indoor public places, Anchorage Daily News reported. A mask ordinance would move the matter out of the control of the mayor’s office, regardless of whether the measure has the mayor’s support. A new mayor is expected to be chosen during the April 6 election and take office July 1. Assembly members will wait until a future meeting to vote on ordinances proposed Tuesday. While there has been opposition, surveys of Anchorage residents by the University of Alaska Anchorage throughout 2020 found widespread acceptance of mask use to slow the spread of the virus. More than 80% of respondents in November reported wearing masks “most or all of the time when not at home.” The figure increased to 90% in December. A statewide survey in November found a majority of Alaska residents support wearing masks. Acting Assembly Vice Chair John Weddleton said the mask ordinance proposal and three others regarding mayoral emergency orders are steps toward addressing authority issues that have arisen during the pandemic. Weddleton said he has heard from many residents who are concerned about the amount of power in the mayor’s office. The assembly earlier this month extended to April a declaration giving Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson the authority to enact emergency orders in response to the pandemic. It is "unusual to have a mayor say, ‘Let it be so,’ and there’s a law,” said Weddleton, a sponsor of the mask ordinance proposal. Assembly member Jamie Allard said she opposes putting the mask order into city code. “People have shown they’re willing to wear a mask, and some don’t. And I think that’s an individual decision,” Allard said. “I do not agree with people being legally made to cover their faces.” For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The Associated Press
Alphabet unit Google on Wednesday opened a centre to tackle harmful online content, in a move also designed to ease regulatory concerns about how the company and other tech giants police a growing problem on the internet. The world's most popular search engine, along with other U.S. tech giants, has drawn criticism because of the spread of illegal and harmful content via their platforms, triggering calls for more regulatory action. The 27-country European Union has taken the lead in proposing tough new rules to curb their powers, protect smaller rivals and make them take more responsibility for removing harmful content from their platforms.
In spite of a pandemic, the Municipality had many accomplishments to be proud of, said mayor Anne Eadie. First and foremost, the mayor was very impressed with how the local government and the community adjusted to the pandemic. “One of our biggest successes, which was totally unforeseen, was how we dealt with COVID,” said the mayor. “It became a major focus starting in March. We had our plans, we had our budget done but we had to quickly ‘switch horses’, for lack of a better term, and COVID became our #1 priority throughout the spring and into the summer.” Eadie said that because of the unexpected speed in which it all happened, people came together. She said the community has rallied and dealt with it as best they could, and local numbers stayed reasonable. She said everyone has done their part. While it was a huge challenge, saying who could have dreamed that in a couple of days the whole Municipal office would shut down and staff would be working from home. In just a few days the technology was in place and there was cooperation between all departments. Eadie said “I’ve never seen such a level of cooperation in my time in politics,” as the local government, health unit, county and province put new processes in place. “Everybody pulled together.” She said the recovery centre at the Davidson Centre went up in almost no time, and if hospitals fill up and Kincardine is called on to take on patients, the Municipality is ready. She also pointed out that this pandemic is “unknown territory” for everybody, and the amount of coordination it takes to plan during a pandemic is unbelievable. In terms of infrastructure, a number of plans moved forward as planned or were completed. At Highways 9 and 21, which has been an objective since 2011, there is still some work needed on the roads but the area is ready for development. The two-year Huron Terrace project is underway and good headway was made this year. The Queen Street Bridge reconstruction was completed, and worked well with the unplanned but positively-received closure of Queen Street during the summer. The Maple Street project in Tiverton has the engineering complete, but had to be deferred because the council had to deal with the unexpected damage and erosion along the shoreline on Goderich Street. The repair was expensive and required more money than anticipated. Eadie said they chose to spend the money and “do the job right” and are hopeful it will keep the next round of high water back. “By spending more now, we’ve given it a longer fix.” Completed projects also include the paving of Concession 11 in ward 2 and because the Theatre Guild and other community groups couldn’t hold events this summer, the final phase of renovations to the arts centre were completed. Eadie said “We spent years trying to get natural gas – and it has arrived.” EPCOR and AECON were busy all summer installing lines and feedback is that people are happy with it. The project will continue and Eadie expects it will be finished by 2022. As for 2021, budget meetings have begun and it is hoped the Municipality can continue with the deferred public works projects. Eadie said people are looking forward to the completion of the KIP trail. There has been substantial fundraising in the community and council is waiting to hear by spring to find out if a two-stage grant has been approved. She is very excited about the confirmation of a new high school to be built in Kincardine. The more than $26 million in funding provided by the province was announced in November and while details of the when and where of the school have not yet been announced, the Bluewater District School Board has just completed a survey asking for input from the public. Eadie hopes the new school will offer more options for students, in particular in the areas of technology and trades. Eadie also mentioned the new building the county has invested should be completed by March 2021, with a new affordable housing spaces as well as room for County Human Services, stating “any improvement in affordable housing is a bonus.” Municipal Council is also collaborating with the County to seek options to improve safety on some of the busy roads near Bruce Power. The mayor said one of her biggest sorrows of the year was losing colleague and friend, Marie Wilson, to cancer. She had enormous respect for Wilson and considered her a great asset to Council, saying “the hardest time of 2020 was losing our deputy mayor.” Randy Roppel has since been sworn in as deputy mayor and Dorne Fitzsimmons is the new ward 3 councilor. On Kincardine Council since 2010, and serving as mayor since 2014, Eadie has seen 2020 as a year of unprecedented collaboration and cooperation in this community. She can’t stress enough how much the leadership of Bruce Power has contributed to the wellbeing of residents, from providing expertise, hosting town halls and creating supportive initiatives such as “Be A Light – Fighting COVID Together”. She really appreciates the effort Bruce Power has put forward, and said OPG, supply chain companies, local businesses all “stepped up”. Eadie is looking forward to participating with the Nuclear Innovation Institute this year, to learn more about the nuclear industry and see how it will benefit the community. While 2020 offered many challenges, and will continue to in 2021, Eadie says the community has once again shown its true colours. “I’m really pleased and proud of everyones efforts and determination,” said Eadie. “The pandemic has underlined that we are a community that cares about each other and supports each other.” Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent
LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson indicated Wednesday that the coronavirus lockdown in England will remain in place until at least March 8 as he ruled out any imminent return to school for most students. In a statement to lawmakers, Johnson also confirmed new restrictions for travellers arriving in England from countries deemed to be high-risk. He said the U.K. remains in a “perilous situation” with more than 37,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, nearly double the number during the country's previous peak in April. While dashing any hopes that students would return to classrooms after a mid-February school break, Johnson said the March 8 aspiration is based on progress on the vaccination front. “The first sign of normality beginning to return should be pupils going back to their classrooms," he said. England’s schools are currently closed to all students bar those deemed to be vulnerable and children of key workers, such as doctors and delivery drivers. Schools are also closed in the other nations of the U.K. — Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Johnson said he hoped that by mid-February, much more will be known about the effect of vaccines in preventing hospital admissions and deaths, and the government plans to publish a plan for the “gradual and phased” easing of the lockdown in the week commencing Feb. 22. “If we achieve our target of vaccinating everyone in the four most vulnerable groups with their first dose by Feb. 15, and every passing day sees more progress towards that goal, then those groups will have developed immunity from the virus about three weeks later, that is, by March 8," Johnson said. Because the government has consistently said schools would be the first part of society to reopen from lockdown, Johnson's announcement clearly points to shops selling non-essential items and pubs and restaurants remaining closed for even longer. Johnson also set out tougher measures to prevent the arrival of new variants of the coronavirus into England, confirming plans for a 10-day quarantine in hotels or other government-provided accommodation for travellers from high-risk countries. He said discussions are taking place for the restrictions to apply in the other U.K. nations, too. On Tuesday, the U.K. became the fifth country in the world to record more than 100,000 coronavirus-related deaths. The U.K. is the smallest country to breach that threshold, and it has one of the world's worst COVID-19-related mortality rates. Johnson has come under renewed fire for his handling of the pandemic, with many arguing that he has been too slow in making tough decisions and sidelined scientific advice, particularly in December when a new, more virulent, variant of the coronavirus was identified in London and the southeast of England. Critics argue that one failure was not imposing a lockdown throughout England right after scientists informed him on Dec. 18 that the new variant was up to 70% more infectious than the original coronavirus strain. The lockdown only came into force on Jan. 5, a delay that critics say fueled the rapid increase in new coronavirus infections around the turn of the year, and the subsequent acute pressure on hospitals and deaths. “Fifty thousand people have died since Nov. 11 — 50,000 deaths in 77 days,” Keir Starmer, the leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said. “In isolation, any of these mistakes are perhaps understandable. Taken together it’s a damning indictment of how the government has handled this pandemic.” Though there's growing evidence to show that the lockdown is bringing down new cases, infections are still running at relatively high levels and would be liable to rise sharply again if restrictions are relaxed too soon and too much. ___ Follow AP's coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Pan Pylas, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — The new novel from “Big Little Lies” author Liane Moriarty will be a story of family, tennis and a mysterious absence. Henry Holt announced Wednesday that Moriarty's “Apples Never Fall” comes out Sept. 14. Its characters include retired tennis coaches Stan and Joy Delaney and their four adult children as the author once again brings readers “behind the closed doors of seemingly tranquil suburbia.” “Now Joy Delaney has disappeared and her children are re-examining their parents’ marriage and their family history with fresh, frightened eyes,” according to Holt. “Is her disappearance related to their mysterious house guest from last year? Or were things never as rosy as they seemed in the Delaney household?” The Australian writer's previous books also include “Truly Madly Guilty” and “Nine Perfect Strangers," which came out in 2018 and is being adapted for a Hulu miniseries starring Nicole Kidman. “Big Little Lies,” published in 2014, is the basis for the Emmy-winning HBO series that stars Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley. The Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska health officials plan to launch a live phone service for residents trying to schedule coronavirus vaccination appointments. The state currently provides an answering service through which Alaska residents seeking appointments can only leave messages, Alaska Public Media reported. The hotline will become available in anticipation of a February shipment of COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government, Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration said Monday. Tessa Walker Linderman of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services said more than 40 staff members will answer calls from people wanting to book appointments. Many of the workers were previously tasked with tracking the contacts of people who were infected with COVID-19. A decrease in the number of new cases has allowed those employees to shift to the hotline, Walker Linderman said. “We’ve built up a huge workforce, especially when we were seeing hundreds more cases a day than we are now,” Walker Linderman said. Callers may still have to wait, but the system should allow personal interaction within reasonable amounts of time rather than automatically requiring residents to wait for return calls. New appointment openings are expected to be added to the state’s vaccine website starting Thursday, officials said. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The Associated Press