Aaron Rodgers should lock up his third MVP award on Sunday, and although it's been considered a two-man race between him and Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen is right there with them.
Aaron Rodgers should lock up his third MVP award on Sunday, and although it's been considered a two-man race between him and Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen is right there with them.
If supplies of COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines to Manitoba don’t resume, appointments at the Brandon vaccination supersite may need to be postponed. That’s according to Dr. Joss Reimer, a member of the province’s vaccination task force, who joined Dr. Brent Roussin for the daily COVID-19 update on Monday. "As you already know, last week, we were informed about a third reduction in our Pfizer vaccine shipments. Manitoba has been responsible in managing our vaccine supply, but we continue to see the effects of the supply reductions," said Reimer. The planned Feb. 1 supply dropped from 5,850 to 2,340 doses. "We had to stop making appointments for the supersites, both in Winnipeg and in Brandon. So far, we’ve been able to weather the supply disruptions better than most other jurisdictions based on the strategic approach that Manitoba has taken. However, we’re now in a position where we’re still concerned about ongoing supply and may have to postpone some of our appointments if the supplies don’t resume. Reimer said the province will receive an update from the federal government — which is responsible for vaccine deployment to provinces and territories — on Friday. The postponement decision will depend on what the province receives from the federal government on Feb. 8. "We will update Manitobans as soon as possible, most likely on Friday, to let them know if we are expecting that shipment to come in and what the implications are for people who have appointments coming up beginning next week," said Reimer. "We are going to be contacting everybody who has an appointment coming up to let them know about this unknown, as well. So, for now, we’re asking people to plan to keep their appointments for next week and the week after, but to keep your eye on the bulletins and on the website." As for the Northern health region, which has seen half of Manitoba’s new case counts, vaccines are headed up. Reimer said the phone line opened Monday morning to book appointments for the supersite in Thompson. Immunizers will begin putting needles in arms beginning Feb. 1. "This is a slight adjustment from our original plan because instead of using Pfizer, we’re using Moderna temporarily in Thompson," said Reimer. "Also building on feedback from the Northern health region, we will be scheduling appointments for eligible workers in The Pas and Flin Flon for the week of Feb. 8." Vaccination teams are on track to complete first doses at personal care homes by the end of this week — a week ahead of schedule — with enough doses to deliver a second round beginning the following week. The province also plans to release a priority list of all Manitobans Wednesday, with a tentative schedule for the entire vaccine rollout, which will depend on vaccine supply. "The dates that will be attached to that list will have to remain quite fluid because we still don’t know exactly when to expect the Pfizer numbers to change. But we will come up with at least the sequence for Manitobans," said Reimer. Reimer said, so far, there is a 70 to 80 per cent uptake in eligible health-care workers. She said there are various reasons some are taking the vaccine, including having health conditions, such as autoimmune conditions. That made them ineligible until the enhanced process was put in place. "Some people may have other health conditions or allergies that made them concerned and want to seek some opinion from their health-care provider before booking an appointment. Those folks may be in the process right now of discussing with their health-care provider whether or not the vaccine is the right decision," said Reimer. "We’ve also heard of health-care providers who wanted to let other people go first. They felt that their exposure or their own health status was such that they didn’t want to take up an appointment, when there’s other people who might be at higher risk because of their own health, their age." Reimer added 70 to 80 per cent is a high uptake rate for an immunization campaign. In personal care homes so far, the uptake is more than 90 per cent. Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
BURLINGTON, Ont. — Police say two women have died and three people are injured following a multi-vehicle crash on the Queen Elizabeth Way in Burlington, Ont. Ontario Provincial Police say they were called shortly after 5:30 a.m. to the four-vehicle collision. They say it appears a Mitsubishi vehicle crossed from the westbound lanes into the eastbound ones and collided head on with an Acura. Police say the Mitsubishi was then hit by a truck, after which a fourth vehicle lost control and rolled into the centre median ditch. Investigators say two women in the Mitsubishi were killed and three others are being treated for minor injuries. They say it's unclear what caused the crash, and it will likely take at least five or six hours for the highway to reopen in the area. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
The European Union has approved a plan that includes giving state aid to Tesla, BMW and others to support the production of electric vehicle batteries, helping the bloc to cut imports and compete with industry leader China. The European Commission's approval of the 2.9 billion euro ($3.5 billion) European Battery Innovation project, follows the launch in 2017 of the European Battery Alliance that aims to support the industry during the shift away from fossil fuels. Alongside Tesla and BMW, the 42 firms that have signed up and could receive state aid include Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Arkema, Borealis, Solvay, Sunlight Systems and Enel X.
There’s a small shop that sells healthy lotions, potions and pills on Mill Street. Tucked inside, behind the till and a thick sheet of Plexiglas, sits Essa Mayor Sandie Macdonald. She talks fast and has handy notes about the pandemic and how it will cost each household worth $500,000 another $6.87 per month ($82.64 annually) on their municipal taxes this year. Feeling the pinch of a $680,000 shortfall, Macdonald said staff and council had little choice but to approve a three per cent tax increase on the 2021 budget. “When you take a budget and start off that far behind, it is a challenge,” Macdonald said, from her Naturally For You shop, where she’s down two staff members due to the pandemic. “We tried to take a proactive approach to control our budget expenditures.” Macdonald says the shortfall consists of three things: $180,000 due to lost parks and recreation revenue from lack of rentals; another $250,000 in lost revenue in the planning and economic development office due to shortfalls blamed largely on COVID-19; and another $180,000 lost on bank interest on the town’s investment savings, when interest rates dropped from around seven per cent to a much lower rate. In the 2021 budget, cuts were made to the library’s renovations and staff’s hours, as well as the spraying of calcium only once during the summer to keep dust down on work sites. Simcoe County and neighbouring Springwater Township have announced zero increases on their 2021 budgets. Essa Township — where Statistics Canada says the average household income is $87,543 — will hardly feel the pinch. Yet with the costs of heat, hydro and insurance increasing for not just homes, but the township as well, Macdonald said this isn’t the time to take on loans to cover the cost of the shortfall and possibly rob from next year’s budget. “It’s a needs not wants budget,” agreed Essa CAO Colleen Healey-Dowdall. Cheryl Browne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — People arrested during three nights of rioting sparked by the Netherlands' new coronavirus curfew will face swift prosecution, the Dutch justice minister said Tuesday as the nation faced its worst civil unrest in years. Minister Ferd Grapperhaus said rioters would be quickly brought before the courts by public prosecutors and will face possible prison terms if convicted. “They won't get away with it,” he told reporters in The Hague. The rioting, initially triggered by anger over the country's tough coronavirus lockdown, has been increasingly fueled by calls for rioting swirling on social media. The violence has stretched the police and led at times to the deployment of military police. Grapperhaus spoke after a third night of rioting hit towns and cities in the Netherlands, with the most serious clashes and looting of stores in the port city of Rotterdam and the southern cathedral city of Den Bosch. “If you rob people who are struggling, with the help of the government, to keep their head above water, it's totally scandalous,” Grapperhaus told reporters. He stressed that the 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. curfew is a necessary measure in the fight against the coronavirus. Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb posted a video message on Twitter, asking rioters: “Does it feel good to wake up with a bag full of stolen stuff next to you?” He also appealed to parents of the young rioters, asking: “Did you miss your son yesterday? Did you ask yourself where he was?” The municipality in Den Bosch designated large parts of the city as risk areas for Tuesday night, fearing a repeat of the violence. Residents in Den Bosch took to the streets Tuesday to help with the cleanup as the city’s mayor said he would investigate authorities’ response to the rioting. A total of 184 people were arrested in Monday night's unrest and police ticketed more than 1,700 for breaching the curfew, a fine of 95 euros ($115). Officers around the country also detained dozens suspected of inciting rioting through social media. Police said rioters threw stones, fireworks and Molotov cocktails at officers. “This criminal violence must stop,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte tweeted. “The riots have nothing to do with protesting or struggling for freedom,” he added. “We must win the battle against the virus together, because that's the only way of getting back our freedom.” The unrest began Saturday night — the first night of the curfew — when youths in the fishing village of Urk torched a coronavirus testing centre. It escalated significantly with violence in the southern city of Eindhoven and the capital, Amsterdam. Gerrit van der Burg, the most senior Dutch public prosecutor, said authorities are “committed to tracking down and prosecuting people who committed crimes. Count on it that they will be dealt with harshly.” The rate of new infections in Netherlands has been decreasing in recent weeks, but the government is keeping up the tough lockdown, citing the slow pace of the decline and fears of new, more transmissible virus variants. The country has registered more than 13,650 confirmed COVID-19 deaths. ___ Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic,https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Mike Corder, The Associated Press
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times eastern): 10:45 a.m. Another 1,740 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Ontario today, along with 63 more deaths related to the virus. More than half the new cases are in the Greater Toronto Area, with 677 in Toronto itself, 320 in Peel Region and 144 in York Region. The province says more than 30,700 tests have been completed and more than 9,700 vaccines administered since the last daily report. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
Officers of the Lennox & Addington (L&A) County Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) responded to the report of a possible break and enter in progress on Richmond Point Lane in Stone Mills Township at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. According to a release from OPP, dated Tuesday, Jan, 26, 2021, a gate had been found open, along with footprints in the snow and a suspicious vehicle on the cottage road. Police arrived on scene and located an individual on private property. OPP say break in tools and stolen property, including an outboard motor, a wood splitter and chain saw were seized. The individual was subsequently arrested and transported to detachment for processing. L&A County OPP have charged Joel Dean, age 31, of Kingston with: - Break and Enter; - Possession of Property Obtained by Crime; - Possession of Break in Instruments; - Mischief; and, - Possession of a Schedule I substance - Methamphetamine. The accused was held for a bail hearing and appeared in the Ontario Court of Justice in Greater Napanee on January 24, 2021. Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
NEW YORK — Canadian author Souvankham Thammavongsa's “How to Pronounce Knife" is among this year's fiction finalists for the U.S.-based National Book Critics Circle prizes. The critics circle announced five nominees in each of six competitive categories Sunday, and seven finalists for an award for best first book. This year's nominees are the first under new leadership at the NBCC after many of its board members departed in 2020 amid a dispute over how to respond to the summer's Black Lives Matters protests. Among those stepping down was NBCC president Laurie Hertzel, senior books editor for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She was replaced by David Varno, Publishers Weekly's fiction reviews editor. In the NBCC's fiction award category, Martin Amis was nominated for his autobiographical novel “Inside Story” and Randall Kenan, who died in 2020, for the story collection “If I Had Two Wings.” The other finalists were Maggie O’Farrell's “Hamnet,” Thammavongsa's “How to Pronounce Knife,” which won the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize, and Bryan Washington's “Memorial.” The Feminist Press, whose founder Florence Howe died last year, will receive a lifetime achievement award and has a nominee for criticism: Cristina Rivera Garza's, “Grieving: Dispatches from a Wounded Country.” New Republic critic Jo Livingston received a citation for Excellence in Reviewing. Winners will be announced March 25. Isabel Wilkerson's “Caste,” her widely read exploration of American racism; was a nonfiction finalist. The others were Walter Johnson's “The Broken Heart of America: St, Louis and the Violent History of the United States,” James Shapiro's “Shakespeare in a Divided America,” Sarah Smarsh's “She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs” and Tom Zoellner's “Island on Fire: The Revolt That Ended Slavery in the British Empire.” Biography nominees included “The Dead are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X," co-written by Tamara Payne and her father, the late journalist Les Payne, and winner last fall of the National Book Award. The other finalists were Amy Stanley's “Stranger in the Shogun’s City: A Japanese Woman and Her World,” Zachary D. Carter's “The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy, and the Life of John Maynard Keynes," Heather Clark's “Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath” and Maggie Doherty's “The Equivalents: A Story of Art, Female Friendship, and Liberation in the 1960s.” In poetry, the nominees were Victoria Chang's “Obit,” Francine J. Harris' “Here Is The Sweet Hand,” Amaud Jamaul Johnson's “Imperial Liquor,” Chris Nealon's “The Shore” and Danez Smith's “Homie.” The autobiography finalists were Cathy Park Hong's “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning,” Shayla Lawson's “This Is Major: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope,” Riva Lehrer's “Golem Girl,” Wayétu Moore's “The Dragons, The Giant, The Women” and Alia Volz's “Home Baked: My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco.” Beside's Garza's “Grieving,” criticism nominees were Vivian Gornick's “Unfinished Business: Notes of a Chronic Re-Reader,” Nicole Fleetwood's “Marking Time." Namwali Serpell's “Stranger Faces” and Wendy A. Woloson's “Crap: A History of Cheap Stuff in America.” Three of last year's most talked about first novels, Raven Leilani's “Lustre,” Megha Majumdar's “A Burning” and Douglas Stuart's “Shuggie Bain," are nominees for the John Leonard Prize for best first book, fiction or nonfiction. The other finalists are Kerri Arsenault's “Mill Town,” Karla Cornejo Villavicencio's “The Undocumented Americans,” Brandon Taylor's “Real Life” and “C Pam Zhang's ”How Much of These Hills Is Gold." The Leonard award is named for the late literary critic, who helped found the NBCC in 1974. Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — When D Smoke was teaching high schoolers in Southern California, the rapper still pursued his dreams of breaking through as a hip-hop artist while leaning on the encouraging phrase: “There’s no expiration on realness.” D Smoke maintained that mindset as a motivator before he made a splash on Netflix’s music reality TV series “Rhythm + Flow” in 2019. He won the competition, impressing judges Cardi B, T.I. and Chance the Rapper with his ability as a multi-instrumentalist and bilingual rapper who could easily switch from English to Spanish in his rhymes. Last year, D Smoke rode the momentum from the show's success, performing alongside boxer Deontay Wilder before a heavyweight championship bout and releasing his debut album “Black Habits,” which this year earned him a Grammy nomination for best rap album. He’s also up for best new artist against Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat, Ingrid Andress, Phoebe Bridgers, Chika, Noah Cyrus and Kaytranada. It’s been a long road toward Grammy recognition for D Smoke, but the 35-year-old had other milestones along the way. He’s a UCLA graduate who taught Spanish and musical theory at Inglewood High School. He's also penned songs for The Pussycat Dolls, Ginuwine, Joe and Jaheim, some of which he co-wrote with his brother, R&B singer SiR, who is signed to Kendrick Lamar's Top Dawg Entertainment. In a recent interview with The Associated Press, D Smoke talked about the pressure of finding success outside “Rhythm + Flow,” how being a teacher matured his lyrics and his thoughts on why Grammy voters nominated him and other 35-and-up rappers in the best rap album category. _______ AP: You were in your 30s with a decade of teaching under your belt, so did you ever think you were past your prime to pursue a music career? D Smoke: I always tell people that there’s no expiration on realness. People need incredible art. Anytime you spend pursuing whatever level of success and see yourself achieving, it’s time to get better. Always getting better. It didn’t matter if I got a (Grammy nom) when I was 40. It’s just going to be that season. _______ AP: What compelled you to learn Spanish? D Smoke: I went to a middle school that was predominantly Latino and all my friends spoke it. That’s when I told myself that I must be fluent in this. You’re not going to switch languages and I’m left out. I took Spanish one, two and three at Inglewood High. While everybody was doing it to get a grade, I was already like, “I’m learning this.” Then finally, when I went to UCLA, I just kept going. _______ AP: Was rapping in English and Spanish in front of Cardi B — who is also bilingual —- your strategy to win “Rhythm + Flow”? D Smoke: Everything I did on the show was strategic. That’s how you approach a fight with strategy because just being tough or trying to outdo somebody will get you hurt. I’m using a fight metaphor. I knew there were lyricists on the show. I knew they could rap their (explicit) off. But the goal was to distinguish myself. I knew that was going to be memorable. By going into the later rounds, they would be like, “There he goes. That’s the dude who can speak Spanish.” They were going to remember me from that one performance. I knew they were going to remember that until the end. _______ AP: What was the strategy to ride the momentum after the show? D Smoke: We knew that we had a limited window of converting all of these Netflix fans into music fans and people who respect the craft and follow the journey outside of Netflix, because it’s far longer before than what people realize. There was pressure to show that. If you look at the trajectory of artists who come off shows, their biggest success is the show. ...That was our goal to go ahead and transition from the Netflix star that people viewed me as to an artist. _______ AP: In the best rap album category, each Grammy nominee is 35-years-old and up (Nas is the oldest at 47). What are voters trying to say? D Smoke: It opens a conversation of what our culture needs and wants. I think all the things that happened in the past year are really sobering. I think people are requiring, at this moment more than ever, music that speaks to them at a deeper level. _______ AP: Can you elaborate a little more? D Smoke: We need mature voices in rap. We need them to be at the forefront. Of course, we’re going to listen to the kids, because we need to hear them out so they feel understood. But everybody stops to listen to a voice of reason, the voice of experience and wisdom. ...I’m experienced but I’m speaking from a place of when I was 17, acting up and wild. I’m still wild, but I’m smart enough to go about my business a certain way. _______ AP: Did being a high school teacher help the maturity in your music? D Smoke: Absolutely. I was a teacher who got to know my students. You can’t really reach nobody if you’re not concerned about who they are. It’s an exchange. I would ask, “What are you listen to? Put me up on what’s going on.” Some of it I hate, but some I would be surprised and say, “That’s dope.” In that exchange, you learn how music effects people. _______ AP: Is your music influenced by other West Coast rappers like Tupac, Kendrick Lamar and Nipsey Hussle? D Smoke: I for sure borrow from them more than any other West Coast artist. Of course, I must mention Snoop (Dogg). I look up to him so much, because he’s an elder in the game and still as relevant as ever. That’s beautiful. That’s another example of these experienced voices still being present in the culture. Jonathan Landrum Jr., The Associated Press
Organizers of a food bank for Black Edmontonians say there will be many families left behind if the service ends in March. Each week, dozens of families of African and Caribbean descent ranging from two to 10 members collect hampers packed with culturally relevant food. Despite demand, organizers had to cap the program at 90 families so staff and volunteers could keep up with collection, packing and distribution. The service was launched in May thanks to the collaboration of multiple Black-led Alberta organizations under the banner of African Diaspora COVID-19 Relief. But the funding and food from donors such as the Edmonton Community Foundation, Islamic Relief Canada, The Ghana Friendship Society and Loblaws, as well as personal donations, will soon run out. "It is a need that needs to be filled," said Emmanuel Onah, youth program manager at the Africa Centre, where the program is coordinated, clients pick up hampers and donations are being accepted. "It's a gaping hole in all of the resources that are currently available." The Liberia Friendship Society of Canada, the Jamaica Association of Northern Alberta and the Black Students Association University of Alberta are also among more than a dozen groups involved that will meet Sunday to determine next steps. Nii Koney, executive director of the Nile Valley Foundation, who rallied the coalition to action, said the program emerged from weekly meetings among Black organizations looking for ways to best respond to the pandemic. Initially they were surprised by all the middle-class community members who needed help. "People are bringing nice cars, they will come and park in the front, they will come with their wife and husband, they will sometimes come, the whole family," Koney said. "So now I know that if we didn't provide these services, it would be a great disservice to the community." Onah said a large part of the appeal comes from offering culturally relevant food tailor-made for each family whether it's injera, an Ethiopian fermented flatbread, or turtle beans, popular in the Caribbean. "The peace of mind you get when you're eating something that you're familiar with or you grew up with and is inline with your culture and your background — that all contributes to overall wellness. That all contributes to mental wellness, especially in the time where we're in a pandemic," said Onah. The initiative also supports local businesses largely by sourcing food from community stores on 118th Avenue and Stony Plain Road.
WHISTLER, B.C. — A cougar has attacked and severely mauled a man in British Columbia.A statement from the Environment Ministry, which oversees the Conservation Officer Service, says the 69-year-old victim is recovering in hospital from serious injuries to his face and hand.The attack occurred Monday near the man's property in the Soo Valley, about 150 kilometres north of Vancouver, between Whistler and Pemberton.The ministry says Whistler RCMP officers were first on the scene and shot and killed a cougar prowling nearby.Conservation officers with a specialized team that investigates predator attacks also responded.The ministry says those officers don't believe there is any ongoing risk to the public and further details could be released soon.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
If it wasn’t for the pandemic, Timon Wientziak probably wouldn’t be buying a car while living in downtown Toronto. He’s looking into purchasing his first vehicle after the pandemic pushed him into carpentry work outside of the city, instead of his usual work as a composer and sound designer. But the purchase isn’t just based on his job: Wientziak said it’s easy to feel stifled in the city during COVID, and having the freedom to get out of town is a plus. “Toronto is such a concrete place,” said Wientziak, a first-time buyer who’s in the market for an affordable, older used car. “Even though it’s called a city within a park, we would love to get out more, and doing it with the GO train is just not as enticing.” Data from auto industry analysts shows there are many people like Wientziak who’ve been nudged towards buying a car during the pandemic. And prospective buyers should be aware that higher demand usually means higher prices. According to research by online marketplace autotrader.ca, the pandemic has caused a surge in demand as people avoid public transport and ride-hailing services. A survey released by the company in December showed 46 per cent of people who were interested in buying a new car listed the pandemic as a direct reason for their purchase. The website also saw a nearly 28 per cent increase in traffic from May to December. But the demand was underpinned by supply shortages in both new and used car markets, since some manufacturers stopped production at the start of the pandemic and continue to deal with supply chain issues. Baris Akyurek, Director of Marketing Intelligence at autotrader.ca, said a lower number of new car sales at the start of the pandemic translated to fewer vehicles being traded in, leading to tighter supply in both markets before an increase in demand. As a result, the average listing price of a vehicle on the marketplace in December was 5.2 per cent higher than the previous year, now sitting at $19,888. Akyurek said used cars are a particularly hot commodity because they’re an economical option at a time of financial uncertainty, and depreciation isn’t as much of a concern. “Moreover, with certified pre-owned programs, you are eligible for extended warranties on used vehicles,” said Akyurek, which protects consumers from the risk associated with used cars. The Canadian Automobile Dealers Association says it’s optimistic about the growth of new car sales, which have benefited from low interest rates and greater demand as more people move further away from city centres in search of larger homes as a result of the pandemic. The industry saw an unprecedented 20 per cent drop in sales this year, which CADA Chief Economist Oumar Dicko says was much higher than the 11 per cent drop in auto sales during the 2008 global financial crisis. Even though sales have rebounded and the pandemic has created strong demand, Dicko said manufacturers are still vulnerable to COVID-19. “The auto forecast is very closely dependent on the trajectory of the virus in the months to come and the ability to broadly roll out the vaccine,” said Dicko. “We’re also very concerned about the impact of COVID outbreaks even if they’re very localized, on the global supply chain. This could create labour shortages and there’s a concern right now about the shortage of semiconductor microchips that are used in the production of vehicles.” Dicko said the current shortage of microchips will already affect inventory in 2021. Despite the challenges the pandemic has placed on the auto industry, both Akyurek and Dicko expect it to have a lasting and positive effect on auto sales. “Given the current circumstances of COVID-19, the restrictions and overall fear of contracting the virus by Canadians, this is a better than expected performance by the industry,” said Dicko. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Salmaan Farooqui, The Canadian Press
The fallout from the merger of two oilpatch majors — Cenovus Energy and Husky Energy — is expected to land in downtown Calgary today as workers begin to receive layoff notices. The companies announced the $3.8-billion deal in October, with the aim of creating a single business that is stronger and more resilient. However, Cenovus has said that 20 to 25 per cent of the combined workforce would face job cuts. The majority of the layoffs of 1,720 to 2,150 positions were expected to take place in Calgary, where the two firms are headquartered. It's anticipated those layoffs will occur in stages. "As we have previously said when we announced the Cenovus-Husky transaction, the combination means there will be overlap and redundancies in a number of roles across our business that will result in workforce reductions taking place over the course of this year," a Cenovus spokesperson said in a statement to CBC News on Monday. Shareholders of both companies approved the deal last month. Combining the companies will create annual savings of $1.2 billion, the companies have said, largely achieved within the first year and independent of commodity prices. In October, the companies told analysts about $400 million of the savings are expected to come from "workforce optimization," along with savings from IT and procurement. The merger combines Cenovus production of about 475,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) with Husky's 275,000 boe/d. Their combined refining and upgrading capacity is expected to total about 660,000 barrels per day. The combined company will operate as Cenovus Energy and remain headquartered in Calgary. March toward consolidation in oilpatch Rory Johnston, managing director and market economist at Price Street in Toronto, said there has been a march toward consolidation in the Canadian oilpatch over the past half decade with the downturn in crude prices. "And that was exacerbated this past year because of the coronavirus epidemic and negative oil prices and a lot of sentiment barriers being breached," Johnston said. He said while he was surprised in October by the size of the players involved in the Husky-Cenovus deal, he believes it's a reflection of the broader trend. "This is a particularly large example of what I think will be a continuing trend in the patch of bringing assets together, particularly ones that are relatively close and could be logistically managed well together, reducing corporate overhead, and thus costs," Johnston said. Generally, he said, the upside of consolidation in the Canadian sector is a more competitive oilpatch globally, with lower costs and the ability to remain profitable at lower overall price levels. But, Johnston said, talk of consolidation and cost containment often means fewer jobs. "That is unambiguously a downside of these consolidations for the people that were employed in these sectors," he said. The anticipated Husky-Cenovus job cuts come less than a week after TC Energy announced it was laying off 1,000 workers as it halted work on the Keystone XL pipeline following U.S. President Joe Biden's decision to pull a key permit.
BETHEL, Alaska — Residents of an Alaska village met with health officials and government agencies to consider methods to restore running water after a fire destroyed the community's water plant. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation has provided bottled water and hand sanitizer to residents of Tuluksak since the community's water plant and laundromat burned Jan. 16. Alaska State Troopers said the fire burned as residents of the Alaska Native community northeast of Bethel unsuccessfully tried to douse the flames with water hauled from the Tuluksak River. Health corporation President Dan Winkelman said in a statement that everything possible will be done to help restore Tuluksak's water service. “We understand the importance of this resource, and our staff will continue to work hand-in-hand with Tribal, state, and federal representatives to bring about solutions to restore access to it as quickly as possible,” Winkelman said. The corporation hosted a meeting last week for local, state and federal agencies. The groups discussed connecting a community well to the school, which is equipped to provide running water. Residents could temporarily use the system for laundry and to transfer water to their homes. John Nichols of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, who attended the meeting, said the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation has a portable water treatment plant in Bethel that could be operational in the village by the summer. But officials must determine if the plant can purify water from the Tuluksak River, a tributary of the Kuskokwim River. Residents have previously complained to the state Legislature about sediment making Tuluksak River water unsafe to drink. Nichols said purifying the water would require different processes than those used in other water sources. “If you were to, say, look at the waters of the Kenai River versus the Copper River versus the Kuskokwim River, you can tell just by looking that the water quality is very, very different,” Nichols said. If the corporation's purifier does not work, a portable system from the continental U.S. may be required. The tribe must verify whether the building was insured before agencies can release funds to subsidize any system. Community officials said the person who has the insurance information was not immediately available after testing positive for COVID-19. The Associated Press
SAINT JOHN • Nearly one quarter of Anglophone South students were absent on the first day of the red phase in Zone 2, according to district superintendent Zoë Watson. Wednesday saw 23 per cent of students absent, up from 14 per cent on Tuesday, following Public Health returning the region to the red phase of COVID-19 recovery. Saint John father Mike Stephen said he plans to keep his son Kohen McKenna home for the rest of the week. McKenna is in Grade 9 at Simonds High School. "(Masks) definitely cut down transmission, but it's not a silver bullet. You can still get (COVID)," he said. "And I just think that we need to do more to try to shrink our bubbles, before something ends up bursting, and we end up in a lockdown like Quebec or Ontario." Up until this week, a switch to the red phase of recovery meant a switch to online learning from home for public school students. That's not the case any more, with the province recently announcing a change in protocol. Stephen called it a sharp change for parents. He said he doesn't understand why high schools can't be doing fully online learning or why students can't decide whether to learn from home or not, since many are already alternating days. Even if protocols are tight in schools, he said being together in schools gives kids the temptation to mingle without six feet of distance and without masks outside the school walls. "The best in-class protections in the world doesn't help when kids walk off the property. And at the end of the day, kids that age think that they're invincible." Kristina MacRae, a Nerepis mother who is immunocompromised, pulled all six of her kids out of school on Wednesday. "How are we supposed to be feeling safe to send our kids if [the provincial government] doesn't even know what they're doing?" she said. "They're just winging it is how I feel." In a letter released to families on Tuesday, Watson said that attending school helps facilitate learning, and students will be under strict health and safety protocols in a supervised environment. "Their social needs can be met, while physical distancing is maintained, masks are used, and proper hygiene is encouraged," the letter states. In the event a parent chooses not to send a child to school, the parent is responsible for the child's education, according to a government directive document issued Wednesday. Teachers are not required to support learning in those cases, the document states, but support to the families would be encouraged. For those attending school, under the red phase of recovery, school personnel will be screened every day. Students and personnel can't enter the building if they have one COVID symptom or more, according to the document. If there is a positive case at a school, then the school is closed for three days, including weekends, and personnel are offered COVID-19 tests. All students, from kindergarten to Grade 12, are required to wear masks while on buses and while at school. However, there are a few exceptions to mask wearing: Kindergarten to Grade 8 students can take off their masks when working silently or eating, and Grade 9 to 12 students can take their mask off when eating. School personnel can take off their masks when eating or when in a closed office or classroom by themselves. All after-school clubs and sports have been cancelled. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada. Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
MINTO – The Town of Minto will be contemplating future flood mitigation plans as a lengthy study makes its way to council. The report by Triton Engineering has shortlisted some suggested actions and projects to do over a period of 20-years to mitigate issues from flooding. Minto Mayor George Bridge said the urban area of Harriston can be prone to flooding because Harriston is settled at one of the lowest points in the watershed. “There’s a 300 foot drop from where the water starts 20 km up north of us … we’re in the bottom end at Harriston,” Bridge said. “It’s like the bottom end of a tub, everything's gonna come at you.” The report noted there have been 15 documented floods since it was first settled over 100 years ago. Bridge said he can somewhat recall the damage flooding from Hurricane Hazel caused in Harriston when he was a young boy but a more recent event on June 23, 2017, made clear further action was necessary. On that day, a 170 mm rainfall caused a storm sewer surcharge and river flooding that damaged over 160 properties, closed roads and damaged infrastructure. This was referred to as a 100-year storm–meaning a storm that has a one per cent chance of occurring in any given year. “That particular event was unbelievable, it basically was a thunderstorm that just sat over us for four or five hours it never moved,” Bridge said. “It just kept dropping rain on us.” The study was prepared as a result of the historic flooding in Harriston with some recommendations to reduce the number of properties that could be affected by flooding. Actions include removing vegetation, spoils, regrading the floodplain, improvements to the river channel and eventually a new watercourse connecting upstream Maitland River flow to Dredge Creek. that effectively diverts the river around Harriston’s urban area. This would remove nearly all properties from the floodplain. Bridge noted these would be implemented slowly, likely over the course of 20 years, with each step slowly working away at the number of affected properties. Some steps won’t help too much for major events that are the scale of the 100-year storm but Bridge said they can ease the effects of smaller more common flooding. A cost breakdown estimates this work to cost upwards of $38 million, but again this would be over a long period of time. Bridge said federal and provincial funding will be necessary for this. The federal government does provide some flood protection insurance for homeowners in flood prone areas but Bridge said he thinks the feds should look into flood mitigation to save money in the long run. “They’ll do some marginal stuff for you, like, you lose a furnace … but that costs us millions and millions of dollars,” Bridge said. “We’re getting more (major storms) every year now, they’re not taking 100 years. The federal government might want to get out of the business of just putting the patch on.” Minto council is holding a special meeting on Tuesday evening to discuss this report. “There’s been a lot of background work to get to this point,” Bridge said. “Now we have to take all this information and try to get an engineer to put actual final costs.” Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com
BREAKING: UK becomes first in Europe to record more than 100,000 COVID-19 deathsView on euronews
The threat of a large lawsuit could be enough to discourage some countries from taking action on climate change.
Ani Di Franco, "Revolutionary Love” (Righteous Babe Records) Pioneering folkie activist Ani Di Franco is a standout instrumentalist whose guitar could kill fascists. Alas, on “Revolutionary Love,” her six-string doesn’t play a major role — or many notes. Not that Di Franco has gone mellow. With characteristic passion on her first studio album since 2017, she makes the personal universal, and the political personal. Her title cut is a seven-minute pledge to propel social movements with love and forgiveness, the message underscored by a slow-burn soul groove. Elsewhere Di Franco quotes Michelle Obama, skewers an ex-president and calls for resilience in the wake of depressing news headlines. Such topics are mixed with couplets about personal pain and bliss, sometimes within the same song. The best of “Revolutionary Love” is very good. Di Franco's acoustic guitar is most prominent on “Metropolis,” and it's beautiful — a love ballad with shimmering reeds that evoke her description of “fog lifting off the bay.” The equally compelling “Chloroform” laments domestic dysfunction as a string quartet creates dissonance of its own. Elsewhere Di Franco blends elements of folk, jazz and R&B, and makes music suitable for a rally. She's at her most politically vociferous on “Do or Die,” singing about “Yankee Doodle Dandy” to a Latin beat. Di Francophiles will find it positively patriotic. Steven Wine, The Associated Press
Qualcomm Inc on Tuesday said it will supply a range of chips for General Motors Co's next generation of vehicles. The San Diego company has long been known for making modem chips that connected Apple Inc's iPhones and many vehicles to cellular data networks. In recent years, Qualcomm has moved into automotive chips.