Singer Jessie J has revealed that she was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, an inner ear disorder that can cause vertigo and hearing loss.
Singer Jessie J has revealed that she was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, an inner ear disorder that can cause vertigo and hearing loss.
The U.S. House of Representatives delivered to the Senate on Monday a charge that former President Donald Trump incited insurrection in a speech to supporters before the deadly attack on the Capitol, setting in motion his second impeachment trial. Nine House Democrats who will serve as prosecutors in Trump's trial, accompanied by the clerk of the House and the acting sergeant at arms, carried the charge against Trump to the Senate in a solemn procession across the Capitol. Wearing masks to protect against COVID-19, they filed through the ornate Capitol Rotunda and into the Senate chamber, following the path that a mob of Trump supporters took on Jan. 6 as they clashed with police.
BEIJING — Chinese rescuers have found the bodies of nine workers killed in explosions at a gold mine, raising the death toll to 10, officials said Monday. Eleven others were rescued a day earlier after being trapped underground for two weeks at the mine in Shandong province. One person was still missing. The cause of the accident at the mine, which was under construction, is under investigation. The explosions on Jan. 10 released 70 tons of debris that blocked a shaft, disabling elevators and trapping workers underground. Rescuers drilled parallel shafts to send down food and nutrients and eventually bring up the survivors on Sunday. Chen Yumin, director of the rescue group, told reporters that the nine workers recovered Monday died more than 400 metres (1,320 feet) below ground. He said there had been two explosions about an hour and a half apart, with the second explosion causing more damage. Search efforts will continue for the remaining miner until he is found, said Chen Fei, the mayor of Yantai city, where the mine is located. “Until this worker is found, we will not give up,” he said at a news conference. Chen and other officials involved in the rescue effort held a moment of silence for the victims, bowing their heads. “Our hearts are deeply grieved. We express our profound condolences, and we express deep sympathies to the families of the victim,” he said. Authorities have detained mine managers for delaying reporting the accident. Such protracted and expensive rescue efforts are relatively new in China’s mining industry, which used to average 5,000 deaths per year. Increased supervision has improved safety, although demand for coal and precious metals continues to prompt corner-cutting. A new crackdown was ordered after two accidents in mountainous southwestern Chongqing last year killed 39 miners. The Associated Press
When Nora Funk was growing up in Stephenville on the west coast of Newfoundland, she always felt her Mi'kmaw ties to the land. After moving to Manitoba at 16 and beginning to increasingly experience her Indigenous culture, she knew she wanted to learn more. Funk, who now lives in Nanaimo, B.C., told CBC Radio's Weekend AM earlier this month that she hadn't been taking part in Mi'kmaw culture before she moved, because it was "almost lost" in Newfoundland. "I find now my heart really longs to know more," she said. Her lighter skin colour means she'd hear troubling comments about Indigenous people, made by people who didn't know she's Mi'kmaw. Moving west showed her a different world, she said, and she experienced a troubling mindset toward Indigenous people she hadn't seen in her home province. "My mom is Scottish and English, I'm whiter skin than most," she said. "The problem is you tend to hear more when you're like that, because people make allowances because they don't think that you're Native so a lot more things are said. And it really, really stung." Funk started volunteering at friendship centres to learn more about her culture, and then decided to take it step further by learning the Mi'kmaw language, which she sees as a way to help preserve her culture. "It's so crucially important not to let not only our language die, but our culture. It's so rich," she said. LISTEN | Nora Funk speaks with the CBC's Paula Gale about learning to speak Mi'kmaw: "I'm absolutely loving it. I am starting to learn how to put sentences together, proper pronunciation, participles, past participles. It's been challenging, but it's been so rewarding.… I'm starting to put out little stickers on my cupboard doors and my salt and my pepper, so I'm forcing myself to say it before I grab it. I really want to incorporate more of the language into my life." Funk's teacher, Marcella Williams, has been sharing her language skills with the Flat Bay Mi'kmaw band on Newfoundland's southwest coast. She said the band has been hosting language classes since 2014, teaching people a language seldom spoken for decades out of fear. "When we joined Confederation, it was said there are no Natives in Newfoundland," she said. "[If] they found out, you would lose your job. In order to not have that happen and to be able to make their livelihood, they hid it. Because they hid it so well … we ended up losing that piece of ourselves." Williams teaches close to 60 people over a 10-week online program. She said the core language is mostly the same among different regions like New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Conne River, with different regional dialects developing over time — similar to calling a couch a "chesterfield" or "sofa" in English. "You will find some who are taking to it like a duck to water. They love it, I can't give them enough information," Williams laughed. "There are some on the opposite ends that struggle, but even though they're struggling they're giving it their all. And that's the most important thing." The amount of stuff that I have learned in just a few years that we have done as … people of the Mi'kmaw culture would astound most people. - Nora Funk While most of Funk's family are members of the Qalipu First Nation, she said she has not been able to become a member because she doesn't live in Newfoundland and Labrador. However, she hopes her work to preserve Mi'kmaw culture can bring a different kind of recognition. "I don't really care about the health care and all the things that come with it. What I care about, and why I want status, is because I want the government to acknowledge that we exist," she said. "When Joey Smallwood basically told the government that there was no Aboriginal people, I think he thought he was doing a service so that we could join Confederation. But it was such a disservice because we've never been acknowledged. And that's not fair." She also hopes speaking with others about the nearly lost language will encourage others to learn and preserve the culture. "Knowing that my own language and my own people were almost bred out and learning and knowing that the language was dying … it was something that my soul was longing to get in touch with who I am. I didn't want to see that die out," she said. "The amount of stuff that I have learned in just a few years that we have done as … people of the Mi'kmaw culture would astound most people." Williams hopes more can be done to revive the language, like sending language students to New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, where Mi'kmaw is more commonly used. Work is also being done within the Qalipu First Nation, which will launch virtual language workshops beginning in February. "If you don't use it, you lose it … just like when you do French immersion in school. Without being able to hear it, you won't end up with fluent speakers," she said. "Language ties to culture. Just by learning about the language, not even learning the words but about why things are the way they are in the language, you can learn a lot about the culture that may otherwise be lost. It's part of our identity, and it's who we are." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
The Métis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S) and Saskatchewan Cancer Agency signed an agreement which will allow both parties to explore the Métis experience with cancer in Saskatchewan. The agreement signing, announced last Thursday, was the culmination of years of work, Marg Friesen, MN-S health and well-being minister, said. "This is more specific now, to talk about a specific cancer strategy for Métis citizens," Friesen said. She said the agreement allows both parties to use health data to determine what exactly the Métis experience with cancer is in Saskatchewan. The data, she said, exists through a variety of different health agencies and will be collected to determine if Métis people in specific areas in Saskatchewan are more prone to cancer, various kinds of cancer or more rare kinds of cancers. Developing culturally responsive strategies That information will then be used, Friesen said, to develop targeted, culturally responsive strategies for Métis people in Saskatchewan from diagnosis to treatments for cancer. She said as it stands there is no definition or defined approach to specific programs or service delivery for Métis people, a fact she hopes to change with the work the Memorandum of Understanding sets out. She used language as an example where a culturally-targeted treatment plan could be applied and said in northern Saskatchewan, where English may be a second language for Métis residents. "We're looking at possibly preparing for a cancer treatment plan that would include a translator, or a care provider who speaks the language, or a navigator who speaks the language and can communicate with the patient in their own language," she said. Freisen said the idea sounds simple but it's a quite complicated approach because there may be barriers Métis people face in early detection or screening, or in following a treatment plan all the way through to larger issues within the health-care system. She said now that the relationship exists with the Cancer Agency, the hope is to identify and address those barriers. The nation, she said, was open to exploring agreements with other interested health agencies or organizations to define their approach or service delivery in a "more distinct" way. Freisen said the MN-S already has a Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Saskatchewan Health Authority, which she said allows the nation to provide input on health-care services in the province, particularly primary or acute health-care. In a press release published on Thursday, the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency's president and CEO Jon Tonita said the signing formalized a relationship years in the making through joint work on cancer surveillance, prevention activities and community consultations. "The Saskatchewan Cancer Agency is committed to moving forward with the Métis Nation to identify, understand and address the barriers that contribute to health inequities for Métis people in this province," Tonita said.
SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — Samsung scion Lee Jae-yong and prosecutors have decided not to appeal a court ruling that convicted him for bribing South Korea’s former president for business favours, confirming a prison term of two and a half years for the country’s most influential corporate leader, according to lawyers and court officials on Monday. But Lee’s legal troubles aren’t over. He has been indicted separately on charges of stock price manipulation, breach of trust and auditing violations related to a 2015 merger between two Samsung affiliates. The deal helped strengthen Lee’s control over Samsung’s corporate empire. The bribery allegation involving Lee was a key crime in the 2016 corruption scandal that ousted Park Geun-hye from the presidency and sent her to prison. In a much-anticipated retrial of Lee last week, the Seoul High Court found him guilty of bribing Park and one of her close confidantes to win government support for the contentious merger between Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries, which helped strengthen Lee’s control over Samsung’s business empire. The deal faced opposition from some shareholders who argued that it unfairly benefited the Lee family and only succeeded with the support of a state-controlled national pension fund, one of Samsung’s biggest investors. Lee had portrayed himself as a victim of presidential power abuse and his lawyers criticized the ruling. But after mulling his options, Lee decided to “humbly accept” the High Court’s decision, his head attorney Injae Lee said. Prosecutors had sought a prison term of 9 years for Lee Jae-yong. In a statement released to the domestic media, they said the court was too lenient with Lee considering the severity of his crimes but they will not appeal because their biggest goal was to prove that the payments between Lee and Park were bribes. Samsung did not release a statement over Lee’s legal issues. Lee, 52, helms the Samsung group in his capacity as vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, one of the world’s largest makers of computer chips and smartphones. Like other family-run conglomerates in South Korea, Samsung has been credited with helping propel the country’s economy to one of the world’s largest from the rubbles of the 1950-53 Korean War. But their opaque ownership structures and often-corrupt ties with bureaucrats and government officials have been viewed as a hotbed of corruption in South Korea. While never admitting to legal wrongdoing, Lee has expressed remorse over causing “public concern” over the corruption scandal and worked to improve Samsung’s public image. He declared that heredity transfers at Samsung would end, promising the management rights he inherited from his father wouldn’t pass to his children. He also said Samsung would stop suppressing employee attempts to organize unions, although labour activists have questioned his sincerity. It’s not immediately clear what his prison term would mean for Samsung's business. Samsung showed no specific signs of trouble when Lee was in jail in 2017 and 2018. Prison terms have never really stopped Korean corporate leaders from relaying their business decisions from behind bars. The Supreme Court earlier this month confirmed a 20-year prison sentence for Park for the Samsung case and other bribes and extortion while she was in office from 2013 to 2016. Kim Tong-Hyung, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement officials are examining a number of threats aimed at members of Congress as the second trial of former President Donald Trump nears, including ominous chatter about killing legislators or attacking them outside of the U.S. Capitol, a U.S. official told The Associated Press. The threats, and concerns that armed protesters could return to sack the Capitol anew, have prompted the U.S. Capitol Police and other federal law enforcement to insist thousands of National Guard troops remain in Washington as the Senate moves forward with plans for Trump's trial, the official said. The shocking insurrection at the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob prompted federal officials to rethink security in and around its landmarks, resulting in an unprecedented lockdown for Biden's inauguration. Though the event went off without any problems and armed protests around the country did not materialize, the threats to lawmakers ahead of Trump's trial exemplified the continued potential for danger. Similar to those intercepted by investigators ahead of Biden’s inauguration, the threats that law enforcement agents are tracking vary in specificity and credibility, said the official, who had been briefed on the matter. Mainly posted online and in chat groups, the messages have included plots to attack members of Congress during travel to and from the Capitol complex during the trial, according to the official. The official was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation publicly and spoke Sunday to the AP on condition of anonymity. Law enforcement officials are already starting to plan for the possibility of armed protesters returning to the nation's capital when Trump’s Senate trial on a charge of inciting a violent insurrection begins the week of Feb. 8. It would be the first impeachment trial of a former U.S. president. Though much of the security apparatus around Washington set up after the Jan. 6 riot and ahead of Biden’s inauguration — it included scores of military checkpoints and hundreds of additional law enforcement personnel — is no longer in place, about 7,000 members of the National Guard will remain to assist federal law enforcement, officials said. Gen. Dan Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said Monday that about 13,000 Guard members are still deployed in D.C., and that their numbers would shrink to 7,000 by the end of this week. John Whitley, the acting secretary of the Army, told a Pentagon news conference that this number is based on requests for assistance from the Capitol Police, the Park Police, the Secret Service and the Metropolitan Police Department. Whitley said the number is to drop to 5,000 by mid-March. Thousands of Trump’s supporters descended on the Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress met to certify Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential race. More than 800 are believed to have made their way into the Capitol during the violent siege, pushing past overwhelmed police officers. The Capitol police said they planned for a free speech protest, not a riot, and were caught off guard despite intelligence suggesting the rally would descend into a riot. Five people died in the melee, including a Capitol police officer who was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher. At least five people facing federal charges have suggested they believed they were taking orders from Trump when they marched on Capitol Hill to challenge the certification of Biden’s election victory. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. More than 130 people have been charged by federal prosecutors for their roles in the riot. In recent weeks, others have been arrested after posting threats against members of Congress. They include a Proud Boys supporter who authorities said threatened to deploy “three cars full of armed patriots” to Washington, threatened harm against Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., and who is accused of stockpiling military-style combat knives and more than 1,000 rifle rounds in his New York home. A Texas man was arrested this week for taking part in the riot at the Capitol and for posting violent threats, including a call to assassinate Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y ___ Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
MOSCOW — The Russian anti-doping agency confirmed Monday that it will not file an appeal to further loosen restrictions on its teams at the Olympics and other major sports events. The Court of Arbitration for Sport last month ruled that Russia's name, flag and anthem would be barred from the next two Olympics after backing the World Anti-Doping Agency's finding that doping data was manipulated. However, CAS halved the duration of the sanctions from four years to two, removed vetting requirements for Russian athletes and allowed them to keep wearing national colours. The Russian agency, known as RUSADA, had the option to file an appeal with the Swiss supreme court on procedural grounds. It said Monday that it still regards as “flawed and one-sided” the ruling that doping data in Moscow was modified but it was satisfied that CAS rejected tougher sanctions proposed by WADA. “RUSADA considers that this chapter has now been closed and is looking forward and committed to working with WADA with a view to fully restoring RUSADA’s membership status,” RUSADA said in a statement. The Russian agency added that it “remains fully committed to the fight against doping but will continue to defend the rights of clean Russian athletes and to oppose any form of discrimination against Russian sport.” ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Families battered by the pandemic recession soon may discover that the tax refunds they’re counting on are dramatically smaller — or that they actually owe income tax. Congress offered a partial solution, but the fix hasn’t been widely publicized, consumer advocates say. Refunds are crucial to many lower- and moderate-income households, which use the money to catch up on bills and medical treatments, pay down debt and boost savings. But the unemployment insurance that kept many people afloat last year may cause problems at tax time this year. Unemployment benefits are taxable, but tax withholding is typically voluntary — and many people who lost jobs either didn’t know their unemployment checks would be taxed, or they decided against withholding. (Relief checks, such as the $1,200 sent out last year, are not taxable.) Further, unemployment benefits are not earned income and so don’t count toward two crucial tax benefits that keep millions of working families with children out of poverty: the earned income tax credit and the additional child tax credit. “If you’re a single parent or a couple with kids living on, say, $25,000 a year, you might see 25% or more of your annual income in the form of your federal tax refund because of these credits,” says Timothy Flacke, executive director of Commonwealth, a non-profit that promotes financial security. THERE’S A FIX ON CREDITS, BUT NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT IT There isn’t an easy workaround for tax refunds shriveled by inadequate withholding. But Congress provided a potential fix for the tax credits issue in the $900 billion coronavirus relief legislation passed last month: Filers can choose to use their 2019 income to determine their credits rather than their 2020 income. But that fix hasn’t been widely reported, says Leigh Phillips, chief executive officer of SaverLife, a non-profit that encourages working families to save. Not everyone uses up-to-date tax software or well-informed tax preparers, and Phillips worries that many eligible people won’t learn about it before filing their returns. The IRS will begin accepting returns Feb. 12. “People are going to start trying to file taxes as soon as they possibly can,” Phillips says. “If you think that you’ve got thousands coming in the mail or to your bank account, you’re there day one with your paperwork ready to go.” THOSE WHO RELY ON REFUNDS TEND TO FILE EARLY Research confirms that the earliest recipients of refunds each year tend to be lower income, says Fiona Greig, co-president of the JPMorgan Chase Institute, which studies data from millions of customer bank accounts. “(A tax refund) tends to be a larger relative cash infusion event for them, and as a result, they tend to seek their refund earlier in the tax refund season,” Greig says. In typical years, tax refunds equal almost six weeks’ take-home pay for the average recipient, the institute found. Last year the average refund was more than $2,500. Families who qualify for the earned income tax credit can receive thousands more. The maximum credit for working families with three or more children is $6,660 for 2020, and it’s refundable, which means filers get the money even if they don’t owe any tax. The amount you can earn and still qualify rises with family size, so that a married couple with three or more children could get at least a partial credit with adjusted gross income up to $56,844. A single person without children may qualify for a small credit with an adjusted gross income up to $15,820. Meanwhile, the regular child tax credit for children under 17 is $2,000 and not refundable. But low-income families may qualify for a refundable credit, which can be up to 15% of earned income over $2,500, up to $1,400 per child. TAX CREDITS HAVE WIDESPREAD SUPPORT The credits have been around for decades and have widespread bipartisan support among lawmakers, Commonwealth’s Flacke says. “It’s one of the few areas of some consensus across the parties that rewarding workers on the low end of the wage spectrum with these tax credits makes sense,” Flacke says. If you might qualify for one of the tax credits, make sure your tax software or tax preparer looks at both your 2019 and 2020 incomes before submitting your return. If you find out too late that you could have received a bigger refund, you can file an amended return, but you may face a longer wait. Instead of getting your refund in a few weeks, an amended return can take up to four months to process. Going forward, President Joe Biden has proposed one-year expansions of the credits as part of his coronavirus relief package. He wants to increase the maximum earned income tax credit for childless adults from $538 to nearly $1,500 this year and to raise the income limit. He also wants to increase the child tax credit to $3,000, plus an extra $600 per child under age 6, and make the full amount refundable. If enacted, these credits could be claimed on returns filed in 2022. ____________________________________ This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Liz Weston is a columnist at NerdWallet, a certified financial planner and author of “Your Credit Score.” Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @lizweston. RELATED LINK: NerdWallet: Earned Income Tax Credit (EIC): What It Is and How to Qualify in 2020-2021 http://bit.ly/nerdwallet-EIC-2021 Liz Weston Of Nerdwallet, The Associated Press
Italian consumer association Altroconsumo said on Monday it had told Apple it has launched a class action against the U.S. tech giant for the practice of planned obsolescence. In a statement Altroconsumo said it was asking for damages of 60 million euros ($73 million) on behalf of Italian consumers tricked by the practice which had also been recognised by Italian authorities. Altroconsumo said the lawsuit covers owners of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, 6S and 6S Plus, sales of which in Italy totalled some 1 million phones between 2014 and 2020.
A former auditor who worked for the provincial auditor general said there needs to be changes to the selection process for the job to give the public more confidence that the next appointee is independent. Brent White said it creates a potential problem when officials who once oversaw spending in the Finance Department are appointed to the job--as has been the case in the last two appointments. "The appearance side is where we have the big issue, because having worked that long inside government, you just cannot disassociate yourself from that problem with appearance," said White, who worked for auditors general for two decades. "You're going to be reviewing some of your own work. So you have a self-review problem. You're going to be thoroughly familiar with the decision-makers inside government, so it can be very hard for you to extract yourself from the familiarity threat." Self-review and familiarity are two of five "threats" to independence that accountants guard against under their professional standards. Mike Ferguson, who was auditor general from 2005 to 2010, and Kim Adair-MacPherson, who has been in the job since 2010, both held the position of comptroller before their appointments. The comptroller is in effect the chief financial officer of the province responsible for financial accounting systems and internal audits, while the auditor general is independent and reports to the public through the legislature. "Such a transition raises questions about how the province responds to the way the profession has articulated auditor independence," White writes in his recent doctoral dissertation at the University of New Brunswick. The public could question how an auditor general can credibly audit programs and spending that they themselves reviewed as comptroller, said White, who left his position of audit director in 2011 and now teaches at Mount Allison University. Former Finance Minister Norm Betts agrees with White's conclusions and said the legislature should choose who gets the job with no input from the executive branch of government. "This is an archaic piece of legislation that should be fixed," said Betts, a professor of business administration at UNB. Betts recalls when Ferguson was chosen for the job from 2005, "I thought, 'boy, that's kind of weird,' the audited becoming the auditor." Ferguson's predecessor Daryl Wilson had been treasurer for the city of Saint John before taking the job. But White notes that four of the seven people to have held the auditor general position since it was created in 1967 had been in the comptroller role beforehand. "I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the quality of the work," White said of Adair-MacPherson's decade in the role and of Ferguson's work before that. During her term, Adair-MacPherson has issued critical audits on ambulance services, road maintenance contracts, school curriculum changes, youth group homes and the Atcon loan fiasco, among others. White's comments are timely because a new auditor general has to be chosen sometime before the end of 2021. Adair-MacPherson's 10-year term is up, but last year it was extended until December. Adair-MacPherson said in an email that a new appointment process put in place since she was chosen "should help address the concern raised when I was appointed." A four-member selection committee that includes a judge and someone from "the university community" now draws up a list of names that goes to the premier, who is required to consult other parties in the legislature on the final choice. "A selection process will be established in the coming months in accordance with legislation," said provincial spokesperson John McNeill. White said because the clerk of the executive council is also part of any selection committee, the group could still be persuaded to appoint the comptroller or someone from within the Finance Department. "I think it certainly makes it less likely, but there's nothing to forbid it," he said. "What we have now is a better process… but it's still flawed. For one thing, the clerk of the executive council should not be there. He recommends giving the legislature sole authority to fill the position. Concerns not new When Adair-MacPherson was appointed in 2010 by Premier David Alward, CBC News reported on the same concerns raised by Queen's University business professor Steven Salterio. White reveals there were also concerns within the auditor general's office. But opposition politicians, other media organizations and provincial associations representing professional accountants "consistently ignored" the issue, White writes. No one from the Chartered Professional Accountants of New Brunswick was available for an interview Friday. White notes in his dissertation that Adair-MacPherson disclosed in her first report that she had held the position of comptroller and had asked her deputy auditor general to sign off on the province's financial statements that year. White interviewed three former New Brunswick premiers, Bernard Lord, Shawn Graham and David Alward for his dissertation. He said Lord and Alward, who appointed Ferguson and Adair-MacPherson respectively, acknowledged they didn't have expertise in professional accounting standards at the time and weren't informed of the issue. They each said they relied on the quality of their appointees in making their decisions. "In effect, these politicians were claiming that the state of mind aspect of independence trumped the appearance side of the equation, although the professional guidelines do not allow for this distinction," White writes. Betts, who sat on White's dissertation review committee, has forwarded copies of White's dissertation to the four party leaders in the legislature.
One student poll in France found 72% had suffered recent psychological distress and more than a third had had depressive symptoms. View on euronews
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Sarah Sanders, Donald Trump’s former chief spokeswoman and one of his closest aides, announced Monday she’s running for Arkansas governor, vying for political office even as the former president’s legacy is clouded by an impeachment charge that he incited the deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol. The former White House press secretary, who left the job in 2019 to return to her home state, launched the bid less than a week after the end of Trump’s time in office and as the ex-president faces an impeachment trial. But her announcement reflected how much she expected voters in solidly red Arkansas to embrace the former president, if not his rhetoric. “With the radical left now in control of Washington, your governor is your last line of defence,” Sanders said in a video announcing her bid. “In fact, your governor must be on the front line. So today I announce my candidacy for governor of Arkansas.” The daughter of former Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sanders had been widely expected to run for the office after leaving the White House — and Trump publicly encouraged her to make a go. She’s been laying the groundwork for a candidacy, speaking to GOP groups around the state. Sanders joins a Republican primary that already includes two statewide elected leaders, Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. The three are running to succeed current Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican who is unable to run next year due to term limits. No Democrats have announced a bid to run for the seat. Sanders launched her bid weeks after a riot by Trump’s supporters at the U.S. Capitol left five people dead. More than 130 people have been charged in the insurrection, which was aimed at halting the certification of President Joe Biden’s win over Trump. Sanders was the first working mother and only the third woman to serve as White House press secretary. But she also faced questions about her credibility during her time as Trump’s chief spokesperson. During her nearly two-year tenure, daily televised briefings led by the press secretary ended after Sanders repeatedly sparred with reporters who aggressively questioned her about administration policy and the investigation into possible co-ordination between Trump’s campaign and Russia. But Sanders earned reporters’ respect working behind the scenes to develop relationships with the media. Trump’s tumultuous exit from the presidency may do little damage to Sanders in Arkansas. Republicans hold all of Arkansas’ statewide and federal seats, as well as a solid majority in both chambers of the Legislature. Trump in November won the state by nearly 28 percentage points, one of the biggest margins in his ultimate loss to Biden. Sanders’ nearly 8-minute video prominently features photos of Trump, along with references to his favourite targets such as “cancel culture,” socialism and the Green New Deal. Griffin and Rutledge have spent months positioning themselves ahead of Sanders’ announcement, lining up endorsements from the state’s top Republicans and raising funds. Combined, the two have raised more than $2.8 million. The race could also get even more crowded. Republican State Sen. Jim Hendren, a nephew of Hutchinson’s, is considering a run for the seat. Sanders, who published a book last year and joined Fox News as a contributor after leaving the White House, enters the race with a much higher profile than any of the candidates. She remains an unknown on many of the state’s biggest issues, though in her announcement she called for reducing state income taxes and cutting off funding for cities that violate immigration laws. Andrew Demillo, The Associated Press
A St. John's man is still looking for answers more than seven years after he filed a complaint with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary's Public Complaints Commission. Billy Earle filed a complaint with the commission after police responded to a mental health call at his house in October 2013. The commission is a civilian body, which is independent from the Department of Justice and police. It investigates and hears public complaints against members of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. But years later, Earle says he still doesn't have answers about his complaint. Earle, who is a survivor of physical and sexual abuse at the Mount Cashel orphanage, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. "I was very inebriated — alcohol, drugs — just wanted to end it all, get it over with, I couldn't handle it any longer," Earle said of the 2013 incident. He said eight officers responded to the call and blocked the road around his home. "I ended up getting into an altercation with them," he said. "They ended up putting me in hospital." Earle said he has surveillance video of the altercation, which he said shows police beating him with a baton and using what he believes was excessive force. "They hit me across my wrist, they opened up my knee cap," he said. "Then when they finally got me down, subdued, well, I was under control once I was down, but then to roll me over and jump on my knee cap and squat it into the asphalt?" Earle said he spent four and a half hours in surgery, requiring 60 staples in his knee. He said the injury still bothers him. "There was no need for the force endured on me," he said. Earle said he was arrested after the incident and then charged with uttering threats and possessing a weapon, but later received a complete discharge from the courts. More mental health training needed, Earle says In the meantime, Earle said police are only just beginning to learn how to deal with mental health calls. "Why would they send down eight officers to a mental health call?" he asked, adding that he believes police need more training on mental health. Earle said he's asked police and the commission for updates, but still doesn't have an answer and he feels like his complaint has fallen by the wayside. "They always come up with an answer, we're doing our investigation, we're looking into certain things," he said. "One of the inspectors that did the investigation, I gotta say did a very thorough, very well job … [but] I'm not going to let go until this is put to bed," he said. After the lengthy wait, Earle said he's losing trust in the process, a process that he'd like to move past so he can get on with his life. "I'd like to see justice," he said. Earle also wants to know if he's entitled to a copy of the reports about the incident after the investigation is complete. Commission can't talk specifics Meanwhile, the province appointed Twila Reid as the new public complaints commissioner on Oct. 30, replacing John Rorke who left the commission in July of last year. Reid says the commission receives about 50 complaints a year. Once they accept a complaint, it is forwarded to the RNC's professional standards division, where an investigation begins and must be completed within three months. The results of that investigation are then delivered to the chief of police. "The chief of police can either dismiss a complaint or assign discipline to the officer," said Reid. Earle believes his complaint is tied up with the police chief, because he said there's no time limit dictating how long the chief has to conclude a complaint. When it comes to what's been stalling Earle's complaint, Reid said she can't speak to individual complaints or confirm if a person has a complaint filed with their office. But she did say that the commission's process is suspended if there's an ongoing criminal investigation under Section 43 of the RNC Act. In the meantime, Reid said if the complainant isn't satisfied with the outcome they can file an appeal. "If an appeal is filed with our office, we will do our own civilian led investigation. And then I can choose whether to dismiss a complaint or refer to a hearing for adjudication," she said. Reid said an adjudicator can decide to suspend or remove an officer from duty, if wrongdoing is found. She said decisions from an adjudicator's hearing are posted to their website. But the commission hasn't publicly published a decision on its website since June 2014, because there have been no final decisions since that time. Meanwhile, the RNC said they won't comment on matters before the public complaints commission, leaving Earle with few answers. In a statement before the election, the province's Department of Justice said they also won't comment while an investigation or review is ongoing. "We are committed to accountability in dealing with serious incidents that involve our police agencies which is why we established a provincial Serious Incident Response Team," the statement read. Earle said he is also pursuing a civil case against the force for the injury to his knee. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Earth’s ice is melting faster today than in the mid-1990s, new research suggests, as climate change nudges global temperatures ever higher. Altogether, an estimated 28 trillion metric tons of ice have melted away from the world’s sea ice, ice sheets and glaciers since the mid-1990s. “It was a surprise to see such a large increase in just 30 years,” said co-author Thomas Slater, a glaciologist at Leeds University in Britain.
For musicians Andrew Adoranti and Austin DiPietro, it's been tough not being able to perform in front of a live audience during the pandemic. The lockdown forced the duo to instead perform online, but on Sunday, they — along with a handful of other musicians — drove around the city performing for small groups outside of their homes. It's an initiative launched by Tom Lucier, the owner of Phog Lounge, and his business partner Ian Phillips. The restaurant offers customers a Sunday special: a hot meal and a live music show. Musicians they've partnered with perform along driveways, or on front lawns, while restaurant staff drop off poutine, pizza or other food and drink. Despite the snow and cold weather, Adoranti and DiPietro said it felt good to perform live again. "Any chance we can get to get out and play, especially for people? Yeah, it's nice to have as opposed to online," DiPietro said. "Anything like that is great." "It's definitely different because, you know, people are separated. They're smaller audiences. And to get the crowd that we previously had, it requires us to go to a bunch of different locations, whereas before it was everyone was in the same spot at the same time. But I think this allows it to be a little bit more intimate and make a deeper connection, or a closer connection, with the people that you're playing for," said Adoranti. "I think people are more appreciative of it for sure," DiPietro added. For customer Debbie Hazlett, the experience has been wonderful. "It's cold out here, but I don't very often get the chance to share this with my neighbours. So it's wonderful that everybody came out to see what was going on and just listen to the music and share some happiness for a change," she said, adding that she's glad to be supporting local businesses and local bands. "They exceeded my expectations. The music was great. They were all amped up and the whole neighborhood could hear them," she said. The restaurant has been running the initiative for six weeks. Lucier said five artists make about eight to 10 stops, averaging 30 to 50 shows per Sunday. "It has been the most lucrative, supportive thing we've seen for musicians out of all of the work we've done in the 17 years I've been at Phog," he said. "I haven't seen this kind of support financially for the musicians like I've seen in the past five weeks. It's startling, and it's definitely something that needs to continue for the betterment of creative people, for people who lend themselves to the cultural tapestry of not just Windsor, but of Canada." Lucier said the response has been "mind-boggling," adding that he's seen repeat customers requesting the Sunday special. Up to 50 shows a Sunday "It does not surprise me that it is mood altering. It is the kind of thing that brightens up an entire neighborhood. People realize how important this kind of thing is and they are extremely responsible with masks and social distancing and keeping their groups to less than five on their lawn or on their property or on the street to watch these things," Lucier said. "There's a level of respect for live music that I have never seen before. And it's obviously because people have been removed from it for so long, but it speaks volumes to the community to be able to back these artists, this many of them in a pandemic. And it speaks volumes to the artists' talent that they have been rewarded so heartily for their efforts because they're just so gifted," he continued. He said the initiative has been such a success so far that he plans to keep it going post-pandemic.
An initial hearing into Irving Oil's request for increases in petroleum wholesale prices begins today in front of the New Brunswick Energy and Utilities Board with supporters raising the stark prospect of the company shutting down if it does not get what it is asking for and skeptics warning the board against being manipulated. "We must be cautiously aware that no business is too big to fail," read one letter on the issue received and posted publicly last week by the EUB. "They are playing the Board," read another about the company's application. New Brunswick adopted petroleum price regulation in 2006 and put the Energy and Utilities Board in place to oversee it. Currently wholesalers are allowed to add 6.51 cents per litre to the price of motor fuels they handle (gasoline and diesel) and 5.5 cents per litre to furnace oil. Irving Oil is applying for a 62.8 per cent (4.09 cent per litre) increase in the allowed wholesale margin for motor fuels and a 54.9 per cent (3.02 cent per litre) increase in the margin for furnace oil. The increases are substantially more than the 11 per cent growth in inflation that has occurred since the margins last changed in March 2013, but the company says fundamental changes in the oil industry and a sudden collapse in demand for petroleum products caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have rendered those old amounts obsolete. "Petroleum pricing regulations in New Brunswick were created 15 years ago," Darren Gillis, Irving Oil chief marketing officer, said in an affidavit supporting the application. "They did not contemplate the challenges of the last several years and were not designed to react to a global pandemic." If granted in full, the increases would apply to all New Brunswick wholesalers and would cost consumers about $60 million per year in higher retail prices. The Energy and Utilities Board has tentatively scheduled a full hearing into the matter for the end of March, but in its application Irving Oil said its situation is dire and it cannot wait that long for relief. Instead it is asking for 85 per cent of the requested increase on motor fuels (3.5 cents) and 99 per cent of the increase on furnace oil (3.0 cents) to be granted immediately pending the outcome of the full hearing next spring. "The entire supply chain in under pressure and at risk," Gillis said in the application. "COVID-19 has exacerbated challenges for the industry and urgent action is required." That tone has alarmed supporters of Irving Oil who fear the company is in trouble. Last week, the company announced layoffs at its Saint John refinery and worried suppliers have been mobilizing to urge the EUB to grant its request in full. Eric Lloyd is president of Sunny Corner Enterprises Inc., an industrial construction firm in Miramichi that does business with Irving Oil. Lloyd wrote to the EUB to say it "must take action to understand the economic forces that are stressing a very important contributor to our economy," and warned it is not "too big to fail" in asking its request be granted. Another Irving supplier, Lorneville Mechanical Contractors Ltd. in Saint John, also sent a letter expressing concern about the company's financial health. "We understand that Irving Oil has identified New Brunswick's highly regulated fuel pricing system as a challenge to its ability to operate reliably and sustainably," wrote Lorneville's president Jim Brewer, in endorsing immediate increases. Local building trade unions warned the viability of the refinery itself could hinge on the EUB's decision. "It would be devastating to lose this asset," wrote union president Jean-Marc Ringuette in his letter supporting Irving Oil's request. But others are skeptical. A number of anti-poverty, union and social justice organizations have signed up to oppose Irving Oil's application and a clutch of private citizens, like Saint John resident Mary Milander, also sent letters opposing the increase. "I believe that that the people of Saint John and the whole province have suffered financially much more than the oil industry during the pandemic," Milander wrote to the board. Although yet to start, the hearing has already been highly controversial following news last week that New Brunswick Natural Resources Minister Mike Holland sent his own letter to the EUB expressing concerns about Irving Oil's ability to supply products at current prices. That led to criticism from all three opposition parties and a call for Holland to resign from Green Party Leader David Coon. Premier Blaine Higgs defended Holland's intervention. The EUB has granted interim relief to applicants in other cases before, but normally on the condition money collected from consumers be returned if the increases are later found to be unjustified. A complicating factor in Irving Oil's application for immediate relief is that Gillis has acknowledged that other than home heating oil sales, returning money to customers will not be possible. "In the unlikely case the permanent increase for motor fuels is lower than the interim increase, Irving Oil cannot effectively and fairly rebate the difference," he said.
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Jan. 25 ... What we are watching in Canada ... OTTAWA - The federal government’s handling of the national COVID-19 vaccination campaign is set to dominate the agenda when Parliament resumes today. Members of Parliament are expected to work together to allow virtual attendance in the House of Commons once again as many provinces remain in lockdown during the second wave of the pandemic. Yet that show of unity will be the exception, as opposition parties say they plan to press the minority Liberal government on several fronts. That starts with grilling the government on delays in the delivery and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, including Pfizer’s decision to deliver only a fraction of the shots it promised over the next few weeks. The government has also pledged to close a loophole that currently allows people who leave the country on non-essential trips to collect a sick-leave benefit while they quarantine. Opposition parties, meanwhile, want to see more support for families and businesses. Looming in the background will be the ever-present threat of a snap spring election. --- Also this ... It's still too soon to know whether the recent downward trend in new COVID-19 cases will continue, Canada's chief public health officer said Sunday as several provinces grappled with outbreaks that threatened to derail their fragile progress. Dr. Theresa Tam said there's been an improvement in the COVID-19 numbers in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, but the disease is regaining steam elsewhere. "While community-based measures may be starting to take effect in some areas, it is too soon to be sure that current measures are strong enough and broad enough to maintain a steady downward trend across the country," she wrote in a statement. Some long-standing virus hot spots have made headway in lowering the number of new cases in recent weeks, but are still fighting outbreaks and flare-ups as they race to vaccinate vulnerable communities. The federal public safety minister announced Sunday that the Canadian Armed Forces will support vaccine efforts in a large swath of northern Ontario. Bill Blair said on Twitter that armed forces personnel will support vaccine efforts in 32 communities of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, a collection of 49 First Nations spanning about two thirds of the province. The military has previously been asked to help with the vaccine rollout in First Nations communities in Newfoundland and Labrador and Manitoba. Health officials in Ontario were also investigating whether a long-term care home could become the second in the province to be linked to a U.K. variant of COVID-19, after a first home in Barrie, Ont., made headlines when it became infected with the more contagious strain. --- And this ... It's been exactly a year now since COVID-19 arrived in Canada. Beyond the physical, mental and economic devastation that was to follow, the virus prompted a social upheaval that would fundamentally alter the lives of millions of Canadians. By March, with COVID cases spiking, mask wearing became the norm, schools and businesses started closing, lockdowns and travel restrictions were imposed, while major sporting and other events were cancelled. There was also a seismic shift of employees working from home as people were asked to physically distance -- even from loved ones. Jack Jedwab, the president of the Association for Canadian Studies, says the biggest change to Canadians' daily lives has been the isolation from friends, family and co-workers. An online survey done for Jedwab's group in September found over 90 per cent of the 15-hundred people polled said COVID-19 had changed their lives, with most citing the inability to see family and friends as the biggest factors. Jedwab notes that women, newcomers to Canada and people who were already economically and socially vulnerable appear to have been among the most deeply affected, particularly by job losses. --- What we are watching in the U.S. ... WASHINGTON — Top aides to U.S. President Joe Biden have begun talks with a group of moderate Senate Republicans and Democrats on Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. The talks come as Biden faces increasing headwinds in his effort to win bipartisan backing for the initial legislative effort of his presidency. Lawmakers on the right question the wisdom of racking up bigger deficits while those on the left are urging Biden not to spend too much time on bipartisanship when the pandemic is killing thousands each day and costing more jobs. One key Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, said afterward she would reconvene a bipartisan group to focus on “a more targeted package.” --- Also this ... WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden is set to issue an executive order to reverse a Pentagon policy that largely bars transgender individuals from joining the military. Doing so would dump a ban ordered by his predecessor, Donald Trump, in a tweet during his first year in office. A person briefed on the decision tells The Associated Press that the White House could announce the move as early as today. Biden's newly confirmed defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, announced his support for overturning the ban during his confirmation hearing last week. Meanwhile, federal law enforcement officials are examining a number of threats aimed at members of Congress as the second trial of Trump nears. That’s according to a U.S. official briefed on the matter who spoke to The Associated Press on Sunday. Part of the concern is ominous chatter about killing legislators or attacking them outside of the U.S. Capitol. Trump’s Senate trial on a charge of inciting a violent insurrection is set to begin the week of Feb. 8. --- What we are watching in the rest of the world ... MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he has tested positive for COVID-19, making the announcement as his country registers the highest levels of infections and deaths to date. López Obrador, who has been criticized for his handling of Mexico’s pandemic and for not setting an example of prevention in public, said Sunday on his official Twitter account that his symptoms are mild and he is under medical treatment. “I regret to inform you that I am infected with COVID-19,” he tweeted. José Luis Alomía Zegarra, Mexico’s director of epidemiology, said the 67-year-old had a “light” case of COVID-19 and was “isolating at home.” --- In Sports ... KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Patrick Mahomes threw for 325 yards and three touchdowns as the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs rolled to a 38-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills in the AFC championship game. The Chiefs advanced to face a familiar foe in Tom Brady and the NFC champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl in Tampa, Florida. The Buccaneers knocked off the Green Bay Packers 31-26 to get to the big game on Feb.7. --- ICYMI ... TORONTO - George Armstrong, who captained the Toronto Maple Leafs to four Stanley Cups in the '60s and wore the blue and white his entire career, has died at the age of 90. The Maple Leafs confirmed the death Sunday on Twitter. Armstrong played a record 1,187 games with 296 goals and 417 assists over 21 seasons for the Leafs, including 13 seasons as team captain. The right-winger added another 26 goals and 34 assists in 110 playoff games. Known as the Chief, Armstrong was one of the first players of Indigenous descent to play professional hockey. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1975 and some 41 years later, Armstrong was voted No. 12 on the franchise's list of 100 greatest Maple Leafs in its centennial season. "George is part of the very fabric of the Toronto Maple Leaf organization and will be deeply missed," Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said in a statement. "A proud yet humble man, he loved being a Maple Leaf but never sought the spotlight even though no player played more games for Toronto or captained the team longer. Always one to celebrate his teammates rather than himself, George couldn't even bring himself to deliver his speech the day he was immortalized on Legends Row." --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021 The Canadian Press
Before Wilf Doyle scratched the Set For Life ticket he had received for Christmas from his partner, Rowena King, he had a rule to follow. It was Jan. 7 and Doyle made sure to remove the Christmas tablecloth that was still on the table in their Gander home. “I said, ‘don’t you dare scratch that ticket on the tablecloth’,” recalls King. Whether Doyle’s adherence to the order had anything to do with what happened next can never be known, but if you suggest that it brought him good luck, it would be tough to argue. Because when he was finished, staring back at him were all the required number of Set For Life symbols, meaning he had won the grand prize. “I really didn’t believe it,” said Doyle. “It was a weird feeling.” As people tend to do in these situations, Doyle checked everything twice. They even called their daughter so she could provide a fresh set of eyes for confirmation. All agreed the numbers made Doyle a big winner. ”It is life-changing,” he said. The ticket was a part of a bundle the couple had purchased at the lotto booth at the Gander Mall as Christmas stocking stuffers for loved ones. King saved the last ticket for the stocking she had for Doyle. “I can’t say how I felt,” said King of first discovering it was the winning ticket. But she knows how it feels now. “It feels good.” Winners of the Set For Life grand prize are presented with a pair of options. They can choose to receive $1,000 a week for the next 25 years or take a one-time payment of $675,000. In this instance, the Gander couple elected to take the lump sum. The decision will pay immediate dividends. Where once they didn’t own a home, they do now. They’ve already picked out their dream house in Bay Roberts — quickly becoming a destination for jackpot winners — and have made a successful offer. They are especially looking forward to making the move since both have family in the Conception Bay North area. As well, their winnings will allow them to eliminate car payments; they recently purchased a new vehicle. They also have plans to purchase an RV sometime in the future. That will allow them to do some travelling around the province. “It could not have come at a better time,” said Doyle. Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
The San Francisco 49ers will take a greater role in the running of English Premier League club Leeds after raising their stake to 37% on Monday. Paraag Marathe, the president of 49ers Enterprises, will become vice chairman of the northern English club under Andrea Radrizzani, who remains the majority owner. The 49ers first bought 15% of the team from Radrizzani in 2018 and the club has since secured promotion back to the Premier League after a 16-year absence — making increased investment from the NFL franchise more desirable. “Our investment two-and-a-half years ago was to dip our toes in the water," Marathe told The Associated Press. "We really felt like Leeds had the bones of a powerful big global club and just from their global fan base and the supporter base and everything that they have. “As we’ve spent more time there we’ve realized that to be very true, and the opportunity to be very great and so it didn’t take us very long to realize we wanted to be involved in a much deeper way.” Leeds has won admirers with its style of football under Marcelo Bielsa, who has guided the team to 12th in the 20-team standings halfway through the season. “We want to be competitive and not just a flash in the pan competitive, but we want to be sustainably competitive,” Marathe said from San Francisco. "This is really about a deeper engagement. And not just me, but all of us at the 49ers, deploying our resources and expertise and blueprints for success over to Leeds and enable that club (to) really transform itself as well.” That means sharing resources and best practices. “We’re one big family now and it’s really about … and we’ve gone through a transformation at the 49ers over the last decade, decade and a half, and we feel like Leeds, LUFC is in the nascent stages of exactly that,” Marathe said. "First is showing we belong (back in the Premier League), next is competing in Europa (League) and eventually is competing in Champions League. That’s the goal. We’re just on the first step of that matriculation. But like I said, I think we’ve already shown that we belong.” ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Rob Harris, The Associated Press
Nunavut's main internet service provider has secured more satellite capacity to fix a shortage that forced them to stop taking on new customers. SSi has joined a multi-year agreement with a European satellite network SES to increase their internet capacity. SSi Canada runs the internet service Qiniq— which is the main provider for Nunavut communities outside Iqaluit. "They [SES] have actually liberated a satellite, a whole satellite that was already in space, and pointed it north," said Dean Proctor, SSi's chief development officer. Proctor says the satellite covers all of Canada and will allow SSi to continue to provide the same quality service to existing customers while being able to take on new customers. In the fall, Qiniq had to stop taking on new customers because they didn't have the bandwidth to take on more users without the quality of the existing service going down. "We have been running out of [internet] capacity in Nunavut because there are only so many satellites that deliver service there," said Proctor. "It has been a real issue." The deal with SES is the solution to that problem. "This is providing much more than we had, but there is much more to be done," said Proctor. However, Proctor says satellite is still a much more costly service than other internet options like fibre optic, DSL, or cable — options that don't currently exist in Nunavut because of a lack of infrastructure. "We're still not at a point where we can deliver the same capacity for the same price as you would find in southern Canada," said Proctor. Proctor says this deal is another step in closing the digital divide in the North and improving connectivity. "This is an essential step," said Proctor. "It's one that comes in the time of COVID where more than ever we need this."