In Kenya, 16 million children head back to school after being out for 10 months because of COVID-19. But some teachers and parents fear sufficient protocols are not in place to protect students.
In Kenya, 16 million children head back to school after being out for 10 months because of COVID-19. But some teachers and parents fear sufficient protocols are not in place to protect students.
ATLANTA — President Donald Trump badgered and pleaded with Georgia's election chief to overturn Joe Biden's win in the state, suggesting in a telephone call that the official “find” enough votes to hand Trump the victory.The conversation Saturday was the latest step in an unprecedented effort by a sitting president to pressure a state official to reverse the outcome of a free and fair election that he lost. The renewed intervention and the persistent and unfounded claims of fraud by the first president to lose reelection in almost 30 years come nearly two weeks before Trump leaves office and two days before twin runoffs in Georgia that will determine control of the Senate.Trump confirmed in a tweet Sunday that he had spoken with Georgia's secretary of state, Republican Brad Raffensperger, a day earlier.Audio snippets of the conversation were posted online by The Washington Post. A recording of the call was later obtained by The Associated Press from a person who was on the call.The president, who has refused to accept his loss to the Democratic president-elect, is heard telling Raffensperger at one point: “All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”Georgia's certified election results show Biden won the state's Nov. 3 election by 11,779 votes.The White House referred questions to Trump's reelection campaign, which did not respond Sunday to an emailed request for comment. Raffensperger's office did not respond to a text message seeking comment.Biden senior adviser Bob Bauer said the recording was “irrefutable proof” of Trump pressuring and threatening an official in his own party to “rescind a state's lawful, certified vote count and fabricate another in its place.”“It captures the whole, disgraceful story about Donald Trump's assault on American democracy,” Bauer said.At another point in the conversation, Trump appeared to threaten Raffensperger and Ryan Germany, the secretary of state's legal counsel, by suggesting both could be criminally liable if they failed to find that thousands of ballots in Fulton County had been illegally destroyed. There is no evidence to support Trump's claim.“That's a criminal offence,” Trump says. "And you can't let that happen.Trump has repeatedly attacked how Raffensperger ran Georgia’s elections, claiming without evidence that the state’s 16 electoral votes were wrongly given to Biden.“He has no clue!” Trump tweeted of Raffensperger, saying the state official “was unwilling, or unable” to answer questions about a series of claims about ballot handling and voters that have been debunked or shot down by judges and election authorities.Raffensperger’s Twitter response: “Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true. The truth will come out.”There was no widespread fraud in the election, which a range of election officials across the country, as well as Trump’s former attorney general, William Barr, have confirmed. Republican governors in Arizona and Georgia, key battleground states crucial to Biden’s victory, have also vouched for the integrity of the elections in their states. Nearly all the legal challenges from Trump and his allies have been dismissed by judges, including two tossed by the Supreme Court, which includes three Trump-nominated justices.The Senate runoffs pit Sen. Kelly Loeffler against Democrat Raphael Warnock and Sen. David Perdue against Democrat Jon Ossoff. With the Senate up for grabs, the candidates and outside groups supporting them have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the contests, deluging Georgia with television ads, mail, phone calls and door-knocking efforts.Loeffler said she had not decided whether to join Republican colleagues in challenging the legitimacy of Biden’s victory over Trump. The Democratic candidates whose wins Tuesday would help clear roadblocks for the new administration’s agenda awaited a campaign visit from Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris.Trump has persisted in attacking top Georgia Republicans over his election loss in the state, raising fears that his words could cause some Republicans to stay away from the polls.“I believe that we will win on Tuesday because of the grassroots momentum, the unprecedented movement energy in Georgia right now,” Ossoff told CNN's “State of the Union.” He said “it feels in Georgia like we are on the cusp of a historic victory.”Loeffler, when asked about siding with the growing group of Senate Republicans seeking to contest the Electoral College count, said she was “looking very closely at it, and I’ve been one of the first to say, everything’s on the table.” She told “Fox News Sunday” that ”I’m fighting for this president because he’s fought for us. He’s our president and we’re going to keep making sure that this is a fair election.”Warnock, the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta who has continued to preach as he campaigns for office, seemed to allude to the runoff in a message delivered Sunday. He told viewers watching remotely due to the pandemic that they are “on the verge of victory” in their lives if they accept that God has already equipped them with the ability to overcome their adversaries.“When God is with you, you can defeat giants,” said Warnock, who ended the early morning service by encouraging Georgians to vote on Tuesday. “It’s so very important that your voice be heard in this defining moment in our country,” he said. “I would not be so presumptuous as to tell you who to vote for.”Loeffler was appointed to fill a vacancy when Republican Johnny Isakson resigned his seat, and she will be in the Senate, win or lose this coming week, until the election is certified. Perdue’s seat will temporarily be vacant after his term expires Sunday at the end of six years.Harris was scheduled to be in Savannah on Sunday afternoon. Trump and Biden plan last-minute, in-person efforts Monday to mobilize voters after more than 3 million people cast ballots early.The president continues to create turbulence for Loeffler and Perdue by questioning Biden’s narrow victory in Georgia and the reliability of the state’s election systems.Trump also tweeted that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, also Republicans, “have done less than nothing. They are a disgrace to the great people of Georgia!”The president last week called on Kemp to resign; the governor dismissed it as a “distraction.”Despite the attacks, Loeffler said she believed voters would heed Trump's expected plea during his upcoming visit that they should turn out.“He’s going to tell voters the same thing: You have to get out and vote Georgia, because this is too important,” Loeffler said.Perdue, who is in quarantine after being exposed to a staff member with the coronavirus and won't appear with Trump at Monday's rally, said he would have joined the electoral challenge in the Senate if he had been in Washington. “I’m encouraging my colleagues to object. This is something that the American people demand right now,” he told Fox News Channel's “Sunday Morning Futures.”___Superville reported from Washington.Jeff Amy, Darlene Superville And Kate Brumback, The Associated Press
It seems like Canada's road to gold at the world junior men's hockey championship often runs through Russia, given each country's hockey pedigree.The two rivals square off in Monday's semifinal in Edmonton for the right to play for gold Tuesday.Canada has beaten Russia in a final three times over the last decade, but a semifinal clash has been rarer in that span.The last time the two hockey powers met in a world junior semifinal was also in Alberta back in 2012, when Russia edged the host country 6-5 in Calgary before falling to Sweden in the championship game.Finland and the United States meet in Monday's other semifinal. Half a dozen Canadians and three Russians on this year's rosters faced each other in the 2020 gold-medal game in Ostrava, Czech Republic.Russia led 3-1 with just over 11 minutes to play in Ostrava. Canada scored three unanswered goals and held on for the win through a wild last three minutes.Defenceman Jamie Drysdale, who is among Canada's second-year players, expects some emotional carryover from last year's final."One hundred per cent I think there will be carryover," Drysdale said. "We played each other in the final last year. "We want to maintain where we're at and we obviously want to come out on top. In saying that, they're going to feel they have something to prove."The Canadian and Russian head coaches this year — Andre Tourigny and Igor Larionov respectively — were assistants in Ostrava.Canada edged Russia 1-0 in a pre-tournament game Dec. 23.Canada scoring first and early in every game has been the difference in the host country's 5-0 record at this championship. Depth of talent and speed up front is its calling card.Hockey Hall of Famer Larionov has Russia (3-1-1) playing a different style in Edmonton than it did under Valeri Bragin last year, according to Tourigny."It's day and night. Different style, different philosophy, different objective in their game," the Canadian coach said. "They like to possess the puck, they regroup a lot, they have a good stretch on their breakout. "They're still really stingy defensively. They are strong on pucks, they're fast."Blanked 2-0 by the Czechs to start the preliminary round, Russia pulled out an overtime win over the Swedes in Pool B and put in a workmanlike effort to beat Germany 2-1 in the quarterfinal.Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Mikhail Abramov returns to Russia's lineup after serving a one-game suspension Saturday for slew-footing.Canadian forward Alex Newhook of St. John's, N.L., remains questionable for the semifinal after sitting out the quarterfinal with an upper-body injury.Goaltender Yaroslav Askarov is one of Russia's second-year players, but didn't start the 2020 final. The No. 11 pick in October's NHL draft by the Nashville Predators has faced more rubber in the tournament than Canadian counterpart Devon Levi (110 shots to 90).Levi sparkled more in his quarterfinal, however, with a 29-save shutout against the Czechs. Askarov stopped 18 of 19 shots from Germany.Canada is attempting to win back-to-back world junior crowns for the first time since 2008-09, which capped a run of five straight titles."I think we all know what's at stake," returning forward Connor McMichael said. "We're all excited. "You've just got to keep control of your nerves and stay loose and play your own game. If we do that and stick to our systems, we'll be fine. You don't want to overthink about it too much."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 3, 2021.Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press
Prince George RCMP are investigating the death of a 50-year-old man, reported just hours after the new year began. At about 1:45 a.m. PT on Jan. 1 police received calls about a possible murder in a residence on the 2800 block of 15th Avenue. Patrol officers arrived at the small blue bungalow and discovered the victim, dead at the scene. The Prince George RCMP Serious Crime Unit was called in, and is now leading the investigation. The identity of the victim, and circumstances of death, have not been released by police. "Police believe this was a targeted event," said RCMP in a media release. "This investigation is in the early stages and significant resources have been deployed."RCMP are asking for the public's help in the investigation. Anyone that may have witnessed the incident, or anyone that may have information, is being urged to contact the Prince George RCMP, or anonymously through Crime Stoppers.
* Ottawa is reporting a record 184 new cases on Sunday, surpassing the city's previous high of 183 cases on Oct. 8. * Active cases rise to 764 * Many key indicators continue to increase.Today's Ottawa updateOttawa Public Health reported 184 cases on Sunday, surpassing the city's previous single-day total of 183 cases, set on Oct. 8. Another 51 cases are considered resolved, Ottawa Public Health said, and there are no new deaths.Several of the city's key indicators continue to rise. Eastern Ontario is now under a lockdown that's scheduled to last until Jan. 23. Ottawa is now unlikely to leave early, according to its medical officer of health.Numbers to watch60.8: The number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Ottawa residents, an increase of five people per 100,000 since Saturday.1.46: The average number of people infected by a single COVID-19 case, or R(t), which has also increased since Saturday's report.36: The number of outbreaks in Ottawa.3.9%: Ottawa's test positivity percentage has soared in recent reports. A region having a percentage higher than 2.5 is one of the indicators that can qualify it as a red zone on the province's pandemic scale. Across the regionWestern Quebec reported 58 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death on Sunday. Since the start of the pandemic, the Outaouais has logged 4,919 cases and 119 deaths. Another 10 new cases were recorded in Renfrew County on Sunday.
Earth-centred children's programs that seek to build ethical partnerships with Indigenous communities have an important role in learning about weathering climate change.
MONTREAL — Quebec ended 2020 and ushered in the new year by logging more than 7,600 new COVID-19 cases over a three-day period, a tally that one infectious disease expert decried as "abysmal."The province, which had not reported new cases or deaths linked to the novel coronavirus since Dec. 31, recorded 7,663 cases in total from that date until Jan. 2. Data released Sunday showed 2,869 of the new cases were recorded on Saturday, 1,986 on New Year's Day and 2,808 on Thursday."There's no denying – those numbers are abysmal," Dr. Donald Vinh, an infectious disease specialist and medical microbiologist at the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, said in an interview."But it's the continued increase in the hospitalizations, in the ICU admissions, that remains profoundly concerning."Health officials said 1,225 people were hospitalized across the province on Saturday, an increase of 150 compared to the previous day. Of those in hospital, 179 people were in intensive care."The surge capacity of our health-care system is busting at the seams," said Vinh, adding that hospitals could run out of beds, personnel and equipment – and be forced to ration care – if the upward trend continues.Quebec's health minister also sounded the alarm Sunday about the toll soaring infection and hospitalization rates are taking on the health-care system.Christian Dube tweeted that rates have continued to mount despite COVID-19 restrictions imposed over the holiday period, adding the numbers illustrate the prevalence of community transmission."It has a major impact on our health-care network and our personnel," he wrote in a tweet.Quebec ordered the closure of businesses deemed non-essential across the province from Dec. 25 until at least Jan. 11 in an effort to stem the spread of the virus and reduce the pressure on hospitals.Authorities also reported 121 additional deaths linked to the virus over the three-day period since Thursday, 11 of which occurred in the past 24 hours.The province has now recorded 210,304 total cases since the pandemic began, 179,456 of which are considered recovered, as well as 8,347 deaths.Meanwhile, officials said Quebec has administered 28,762 COVID-19 vaccines since the inoculations began in mid-December, including 798 doses Saturday.Vinh said the vaccine rollout has been efficient, but noted the number of people receiving shots has not yet surpassed that of new daily COVID-19 cases.If Quebec can get its infection rate down while it administers the vaccine, it will put the odds in its favour to get the pandemic under control, he said. "But right now, things don't look good."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 3, 2021.Jillian Kestler-D'Amours, The Canadian Press
The sprint to the NHL's 56-game finish line started in earnest Sunday. The seven teams that missed out on the league's summer restart to a 2019-20 season brought to a screeching halt in March by the COVID-19 pandemic opened training camps Thursday ahead of the new campaign. The other 24 clubs, including six from Canada, that took part in the expanded post-season inside the Edmonton and Toronto bubbles got going with testing and physicals to close out the weekend before hitting the ice Monday. And with the schedule's Jan. 13 curtain-raisers fast-approaching — plus no exhibition schedule — time is precious and the runway short."It's going to be different," Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid said on a video conference call with reporters Sunday. "We've got to learn on the fly, we've got to learn quick. It's going to be different for everybody. It's the times we live in.""It's going to be a little tricky," Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin added. "But we're in the same boat as every other team." Because of border restrictions related to non-essential travel, the NHL has rejigged its divisions for the shortened 2020-21 season, including a seven-team Canadian circuit that should present plenty of mouth-watering matchups."I remember the last 48-game season (in 2012-13) when you woke up one day and you had 15 games left," Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving said. "It just goes by. You play every night."That one-time-only North Division will begin in empty arenas — a handful of U.S. franchises, meanwhile, have indicated they will have some fans in attendance from the start — but that's unlikely to turn the temperature down with teams often playing the same opponent two and three times in quick succession, and up to 10 occasions total over 116 days of action."I'm looking forward to it," McDavid said. "An all-Canadian division's exciting. It's never happened before. You look at some of the rivalries, the matchups, it can make for a pretty exciting division."Just about anyone can win the division, but with that being said, three teams aren't going to make the playoffs."While the NHL has said it believes it has an agreement on health and safety protocols to play games in Canada, the B.C. and Alberta governments are the only provinces with teams to publicly announce a thumbs up for the puck to drop.The Ottawa Senators, who were the only Canadian club not included in the NHL's summer bubbles, have already been on the ice, but the other six situated north of the border are about to get their first looks at a number of new faces.And there won't be any easing into things."In years past when you've had a 21-day camp ... you sort of build up and build your way through camp until right to the end," Calgary captain Mark Giordano said. "We know that starting (Monday) that on-ice session, the attention to detail has to be really bang on. "You have to force yourself as a professional to make sure that every little play and practice, every little pass means something, and you're sharp and you're crisp."Among the biggest moves made by Canada's NHL teams this off-season, the Toronto Maple Leafs added Joe Thornton and Wayne Simmonds up front to go along with T.J. Brodie and Zach Bogosian on defence, while the Canadiens acquired forwards Josh Anderson, Tyler Toffoli and Corey Perry, and also brought in blue-liner Joel Edmundson and backup goalie Jake Allen."Every time you start a new season, you're always excited," Bergevin said. "I like what we've done, (but) you can put anything you want on paper. It doesn't matter until you start playing games."Leafs GM Kyle Dubas, whose team sits as the betting favourite to win the North, said his team's focus during camp will be on its details following a string of post-season failures, including during the summer qualifying round."Going back to (the 2016-17 season) all the way through last year, we've had stretches that have hindered our ability to position ourselves as strongly as possible going into the playoffs," Dubas said. "What we're focused on right now on Day 1 of camp is building the foundation that's going to serve us in the regular season. "If we don't do that, then we're not going to be in a position to have the success that we all would like."The rebuilding Senators' new faces include forwards Alex Galchenyuk, Evgenii Dadonov and Austin Watson, along with defenceman Erik Gudbranson and goalie Matt Murray. Fans in the nation's capital are also excited to see what Tim Stuetzle — the No. 3 pick at the 2020 draft — can bring after his impressive offensive performance for Germany at the world junior hockey championship.The Winnipeg Jets brought centre Paul Stastny, an integral part of their run to the 2018 Western Conference final, back into the fold, but questions remain regarding the future of sniper Patrik Laine, whose agent has reportedly said a trade would be best for all parties, and the status of restricted free agent forward Jack Roslovic.Calgary added goalie Jacob Markstrom and defenceman Chris Tanev in free agency from the Vancouver Canucks, while Edmonton's biggest moves were the signings of defenceman Tyson Barrie and centre Kyle Turris, and the return of winger and 2016 fourth overall pick Jesse Puljujarvi from Europe."Based on what I've gone through before in a lockout-shortened schedule, the games are going to come fast and furious," Flames head coach Geoff Ward said. "Rest is going to be so critical. Depth is really, really necessary." McDavid said it's no secret what Edmonton will key on after a promising 2019-20 regular season was soured by a disappointing showing in the bubble."I don't think we have a problem scoring goals," he said. "It's keeping the puck out of our net. Lots has been made about that. No one's hiding their head in the sand here. Everyone understands where we're at."The Vancouver Canucks, meanwhile, added Braden Holtby to replace Markstrom, and Nate Schmidt on the back end after their young core took a big step last season."It's going to be an exciting year," GM Jim Benning said. "Games are going to be intense ... they're going to be playoff-style. "It's going to be a sprint." One that, after a long wait and plenty of uncertainty, is right around the corner.-With files from Gemma Karstens-Smith in Vancouver and Donna Spencer in Calgary.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 3, 2021.___Follow @JClipperton_CP on TwitterJoshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press
With daily COVID-19 counts on the rise, Toronto’s top doctor says the city is planning to announce new restrictions on businesses this week. Brittany Rosen has more from experts, who say they aren’t certain further measures will slow the spread.
The Municipality Trent Lakes is considering restricting the maximum number of people permitted to attend a rental cottage to eight, which could have a significant impact on the local economy, says Kathy Schreiber. Schreiber has been renting a cottage, which accommodates 16 people, in the township with her parents, siblings and their children for the past four years. She says they support businesses in the area throughout the duration of their stays. The township’s decision, which will be made in May or June, could potentially draw away thousands of renters, Schreiber said. The Kawartha Cottage Rentals online rental service organizes cottages by number of bedrooms, allowing interested renters to see how many cottages there are that have seven or six bedrooms, for example, she said. “If you just look at that website, and I’m making an assumption now because I don’t know that they’re all in the township, but let’s say on that website that there’s 50 rentals that are advertising more than eight for July and August, let’s call that eight weeks,” Schreiber said. “So, 50 rentals times eight weeks is 400 rentals of … let’s call it an average of 10 people. That’s 4,000 people and the township is planning on popping the news to in May or June, and I’m not including the landlords now.” She said she doesn’t believe changing the number of individuals allowed at a rental cottage will help improve some of the mayor’s concerns surrounding renters. “Basically, what I heard her (the mayor) say was that renters are a problem, they’re disrespectful to neighbours, and they leave garbage around. I think that’s a little bit what her lens is and that’s a very prejudicial lens to have,” Schreiber said. “I don’t think that respect should be defined by whether you pay rent or a mortgage, I think respect should be defined by the person that you are.” At this point in time, it would be difficult to find another cottage to rent, she said. “With COVID, bicycles have sold out, skies are pretty much selling out, and cottages are selling out. Even back in August, they were renting for this coming summer,” Schreiber said. Going to the rental cottage each summer is important to Schreiber and her family, she said. “My mom and dad, for them, it’s everything. They’re so happy when they see all of their family together and they’re happy when they see us together. But it’s also huge for us. I mean, it’s a big deal,” Schreiber said. Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: email@example.comMarissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
OCTOBER The Richmond Arts Council’s annual exhibition looks a little different this year. While an in-person showing wasn’t possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the council began preparing in April for the possibility of offering its Midsummer Art’s Dream show virtually. “While we didn’t want to give up on a physical show, we (also) didn’t want to get to September and be forced to cancel,” said council president Susan Ness. “So we decided to plan for two versions of the same exhibition, one physical and one virtual.” Amid an emerging trend in retail, another brick and mortar business prepared to shut its doors. But unlike many shops whose closures have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, the Beat Merchant Record Shop in Steveston village—set to close March 31, 2021—is shifting its focus to the growing online market. “I think to have lasted 15 years with a store is a major achievement, as we have had online shopping and streaming to compete with which is more convenient for a lot of people,” said owner Frankie Neilson. Growing up in the age of Twitter and Facebook, Lindsay Wong is at home online. And so while the opportunity to become Richmond’s ninth annual Writer-in-Residence came amidst a global pandemic, the award-winning author of The Woo-Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raids, Demons, and My Crazy Chinese Family eagerly shared advice to emerging writers through free virtual public workshops and conversations. “The pandemic affects everyone differently,” said Wong. “Some people are caring for sick or elderly family, and some parents weren’t sure about sending their kids back to school. I hope our (conversations) will help bring people together to talk and write about our experiences and to put them into meaningful narrative.” Richmond city council approved a mandatory mask policy for civic buildings, including city hall and community centres. The idea was first presented by Coun. Bill McNulty, who said he wanted Richmond to “lead and set an example” when it came to measures that could help curb the spread of the virus. A much-anticipated bus mall in downtown Richmond is now in operation. The Brighouse loop, just south of the Canada Line Station at No. 3 Road and Buswell Street, opened Oct. 19 to replace the on-street exchange on No. 3 Road which has served 13 regular bus routes plus the N10 NightBus. According to TransLink, the previous on-street exchange served nearly 12,000 customers on an average weekday while providing access to local and long-haul bus routes as well as connections to the Canada Line. In neighbourhoods like Hamilton, where agriculture continues to be a community identifier, one of the longstanding traditions is celebrating Halloween at the pumpkin patch. But in the age of the coronavirus, that simply wasn’t deemed safe this year for students at the local elementary school. So on Oct. 30—they day before trick or treating—the pumpkin patch was delivered to the kids. In a strong display of camaraderie and co-operation that helps define a community, Hamilton residents, parents and local businesses teamed up to make this Halloween as memorable—and joyful— as any previous. “This year has been very challenging from the start, especially for the kids,” says Mark McCallum, entering his second year as principal at Hamilton elementary.“We thought it would be a fun thing to do, adding to (the kids) coming to school dressed up in their costumes.” Cyclists and art lovers across Richmond were invited to participate in a cycling art tour developed by the city. Part of the RichmondHasHeart campaign, the tour aims to bring Richmondites together safely while maintaining physical distancing protocols. City staff said the activity was developed during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic to invite community members to engage with and access the arts in meaningful ways—while staying safe. The program is free, self-guided and contactless, and is available to participants on their own or in small groups. It was a unique environment with no fans in the stands, but the Richmond Sockeyes were back playing hockey in October. The perennial cup contenders again found themselves in a familiar place as the Pacific Junior Hockey League season (PJHL) got underway—atop the standings. Under the guidance of new head coach Bayne Koen, the Sockeyes won their first seven games before the season was again abruptly halted by health authorities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps best known as mom to two of BC’s top swimmers, Barbara Johns, mother of Brian and Kevin and wife to Lawrie, passed away peacefully Oct. 24 at age 72. Johns was a pillar of the swimming community—and that’s an understatement. Conservatively, she officiated at some 300 meets, and spent another 600 days (the equivalent of two years) on deck, loving every minute. Sports—swimming in particular—were a passion. Like family, she poured everything into sports. NOVEMBER Each year on Nov. 11, Canadians gather to mark Remembrance Day, a chance to remember war, loss and sacrifice. “People use this as a time to reflect back on the losses and sacrifices over time in the various conflicts that have occurred,” said Sgt. Patrick Madderom of the 39 Service Battalion at Richmond’s Sherman Armoury. “Nowadays war and conflict do continue, they’re present, and it’s important to recognize the sacrifices that continue to this day, and recognize the tragedies that exist on a global scale such as the First World War and the Second World War so we can strive to avoid them in the future.” Unable to observe Remembrance Day with the usual school-wide assembly because of COVID-19, leadership students at McNair secondary came up with a novel way to pay their respects: via a commemorative video. Students brainstormed how they could get creative and mark the occasion while respecting COVID-19 protocols. Their video tells a story, beginning with a child who comes across a box of his grandfather’s items from the war. The opening is used to link to the historical section of the video, which includes video clips, images and audio from the First World War. Dorothy Barnes thought she was going to the store for cat food and toilet paper. Instead, she came home $675,000 richer from a Set for Life Scratch & Win ticket. The Richmond resident, who claimed her prize using BCLC’s alternate prize-claim process, stopped in at the Shoppers Drug Mart on Williams Road where she decided to purchase the ticket. Richmond’s temporary patio program—recently extended for another year—has been a big success for the businesses that implemented it, including Steveston’s Shady Island Bar & Grill. The temporary patio program was initially introduced by the city in May in response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Shady Island opened its space in June, and it proved to be the restaurant’s most popular area over the summer. A historic result, the Oct. 24 provincial election saw three of Richmond’s four ridings flip from the BC Liberals to the NDP. The NDP’s Aman Singh was officially elected in the Richmond-Queensborough riding with 47.65 per cent of votes after mail-in and absentee ballots were counted. In Richmond-Steveston, NDP candidate (and city councillor) Kelly Greene won the seat with 52.07 per cent of votes after final count. In Richmond South Centre, NDP candidate Henry Yao maintained his election night lead to win the riding by a margin of less than 200 votes—50.67 per cent to 49.33 per cent. Richmond North Centre incumbent Teresa Wat was the lone Liberal to win, holding her seat with 51.26 per cent of votes. Across Richmond, voter turnout was low. Richmond-Steveston saw the highest turnout, with 55.95 per cent of registered voters casting a valid ballot, followed by Richmond-Queensborough with 49.61 per cent. In the other two ridings, only 40 per cent of registered voters participated in the election. After the final provincial count, the NDP holds 57 seats, the Liberals 28 and the Greens two. DECEMBER Thanks to funding from BC Housing, the Salvation Army Richmond House Emergency Shelter on Horseshoe Way added additional 15 beds this winter season, bringing its capacity to 45 people. All 45 beds were full as of a Dec. 1 update. In addition, the temporary emergency response centre in the old Minoru seniors’ centre is open through March 31 with 45 beds. Almost 100 new rental homes are coming to Richmond for people with low to moderate incomes. BC Attorney General David Eby, the minister responsible for housing, said the projects will mean new, affordable homes for a wide range of people—from seniors on fixed incomes to growing families and people with disabilities. While December is normally a busy time of year for the retail sector, this past holiday shopping season was a little more unpredictable for major Richmond malls. “The prediction for retail is that people are starting their shopping earlier in the year,” said Lansdowne Centre marketing manager Bronwyn Bailey. While the usual surge in shoppers was less predictable this year, all four malls surveyed—Lansdowne Centre, Aberdeen Centre, Richmond Centre and McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport—expected customer numbers to increase in December. The City of Richmond announced operation of its animal shelter would transfer from RAPS to the BC SPCA as of Feb. 1, 2021. The new agreement with the BC SPCA coincides with the start of construction of the new Richmond Animal Shelter, which will replace the existing facility at 12071 No. 5 Rd. The new facility will be built on the same site, so the existing shelter will close from next spring until construction is complete in two years. “Continuity of care and service for stray, abandoned and in-need animals in our community is important, especially during this construction phase,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie. Steveston’s annual holiday tradition, Winter in the Village went ahead in 2020 with some changes. For the first time, people could vote online for their favourite tree in the Festival of Trees, where local merchants and organizations decorate trees that are then displayed inside Steveston’s Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site. There were 15 trees decorated this year, said marketing and visitor services manager Mimi Horita. She added that, as expected, some groups cancelled due to different circumstances during the unusual year. “We did not hold a ‘decorating party’ this year, and scheduled the decorating times over a one-week period to ensure safe distancing,” Horita said of the changes to planning. As the year wound down there were a pair of major contributions toward the new acute care tower at Richmond Hospital. Local real estate developer Michael Ching donated $200,000 to the cause and also has partnered with South China Morning Post to donate $50,000 towards Richmond Hospital Foundation’s Surgical Restart Campaign. He also donated 25,000 masks to Vancouver Diamonds Lions Club as a part of its disposable masks fundraiser for the Richmond Hospital Foundation. Longtime friends of Richmond Hospital, Johnny Fong and Rebecca Cheng donated $1 million toward future projects. They collectively pledged $700,000 to the new Yurkovich Family Pavilion (new acute care tower) and donated $300,000 to the Surgical Restart campaign, committing to match further donations dollar for dollar up to $300,000. And the Richmond School District circulated students’ art on greeting cards, choosing nine students and a 10th collaborative piece by a Grade 6/7 class) thanks to an initiative thought up by district arts administrator Catherine Ludwig.Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
A software engineer from Regina has been able to combine her passions for bullet journaling and art to develop an app that she's using to track her mood through the COVID-19 pandemic.Rochana Sawatzky says she first tried bullet journaling — a bullet journal contains sections to log daily to-dos, keep a monthly or weekly calendar, jot down notes, track both physiological and mental health, plus record both short- and long-term goals — to cope with her worries about the pandemic, but says she couldn't see herself putting in the daily work if it was just for herself.So she developed Beautiful Mood, an app that sends users a notification to rate their mood on a scale from "terrible," to "amazing.""In one way I think it's just kind of cathartic — like at the end of the day, to come in and say, 'Oh, this is how my day was,' and just to have a place that's judgment free, where you can express yourself," Sawatzky told CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning. "But also, there's reporting within the app that can help you know what's contributing to good and bad days, so you can have a better idea of what's affecting your mood."Sawatzky says she had never applied her love of art professionally, but in developing the app she was able to design the graphics users see after they enter their mood for the day. Each month features a new theme designed by Sawatzky to give users something to look forward to.While she's not a very social person, she says, her best days have been those when she was able to go outside and see her friends. With the winter months and COVID-19 upon Saskatchewan, Sawatzky says while it's a bit tougher to socialize right now, she's making a conscious effort to get out. On the bad days in particular, she says, the app has been quite handy. Being able to reflect on previous bad days and literally see the good days that followed is a particularly helpful aspect of the app.It's a personal example of how noticing trends, she says, can lead to behavioural changes."Just being able to see a clear thing that says, 'Hey, this makes me happy,' [has] definitely influenced how I try and live my life," Sawatzky said.
A third of Ontario's long-term care homes are reporting COVID-19 outbreaks, marking a new record for the province, as advocates say spread among staff has forced some facilities to seek new sources of support to care for residents. According to provincial data, 207 of the 626 long-term care homes in Ontario are currently experiencing outbreaks of the virus, including 19 new ones reported Sunday. The CEO of the Ontario Long-Term Care Association, which represents nearly 70 per cent of homes in the province, says the rising number of outbreaks is pushing the system to its limits."We have to find a way to stem this," Donna Duncan said by phone Sunday. "Where there are extraordinary circumstances, we need to make sure we get out ahead of them so we don't see the type of crises that we saw in the (first wave)." A spokeswoman for Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton said enhanced testing efforts have allowed authorities to detect infections before the virus spreads through facilities.While the number of facilities with at least one COVID-19 case may be at an all-time high, the size and nature of those outbreaks has shifted during the second wave, Krystle Caputo said in an email.On Sunday, the province logged 1,140 COVID-19 cases among long-term care residents and 1,130 infections among staff. More than half of the 207 facilities with outbreaks have no resident cases, Caputo said.By comparison, she said, at the peak of the first wave on May 18, 2,538 residents and 1,615 staff were infected across 190 facilities. An independent commission that's examining the rapid spread of COVID-19 in Ontario's long-term care homes has so far come out with two sets of interim recommendations. While older Canadians may be at the highest risk for COVID-19 complications, Duncan said the steady spread of the virus among long-term care workers is compounding critical resource shortages that could jeopardize the health of staff and residents alike.Moreover, many hospitals are facing their own capacity concerns, Duncan said, so those health-care workers won't be able to offer the same help to long-term care homes that they provided last spring.Duncan said long-term care homes are working with the province to find alternative forms of backup, including the Canadian Red Cross and student support workers."Unfortunately, this virus moves quickly, and we've seen it move through the hospital system as well," Duncan said. "That really does deflect resources from long-term care."The head of the Ontario Hospital Association has said a number of hospitals are also facing staffing shortages as health-care workers have been redeployed to testing centres, labs and long-term care homes.Ontario reported 2,964 new COVID-19 cases and 25 more deaths related to the virus Sunday.Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 786 new infections in Toronto, 346 in Peel Region, 308 in York Region, 197 in Durham and 187 in Windsor-Essex County.There are 998 hospitalizations in the province, including 329 intensive care cases, and 228 patients on ventilators.The province said there's been an average increase of 2,792 new cases per day over the past week, with Ontario setting a single-day record of 3,363 diagnoses on Saturday.Public health authorities said they processed 49,803 tests since their last update, and 5.6 per cent came back positive.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 3, 2021.Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — Nearly four months after they were ousted from the NHL playoffs, the Vancouver Canucks are back — and with big expectations. The Canucks lost several key pieces in free agency, but general manager Jim Benning is confident that the moves he's made in an unusual off-season and the continued development of the team's youngsters will combine for success this season. “Finishing last year off, I thought we made good strides. We went to the bubble, we competed hard, we won some series. It changed the belief that we’re going in the right direction and we’re doing things the right way," Benning said on a video call Sunday as the Canucks opened training camp."We don’t want to take a step backwards this year."Vancouver was in third place in the Pacific Division with a 36-27-6 record when the NHL suspended play in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canucks dispatched the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues in the playoffs before being eliminated by the Vegas Golden Knights in a gritty seven-game Western Conference semifinal.Every year the team's expectation is to get better, said head coach Travis Green, and this season isn't any different. "Winning doesn’t just happen," he said. "You’ve got to push, you’ve got to be prepared, you’ve got to sacrifice, you’ve got to create a culture that’s about winning. And I think we’re on the right path to that.”Some beloved players won't be joining the Canucks for the journey, though. Star goalie Jacob Markstrom and veteran defender Chris Tanev signed with the Calgary Flames in free agency, while top-six forward Tyler Toffoli decamped to the Montreal Canadiens and homegrown D-man Troy Stecher joined the Detroit Red Wings. Benning said some of the absences will be filled with up-and-coming prospects, but the GM was also busy during the off-season, adding some veteran talent. Goalie Braden Holtby comes to Vancouver as a free agent after playing 11 seasons — and winning a Stanley Cup — with the Washington Capitals. Vancouver bolstered its blue line by adding defenceman Nate Schmidt in a trade with the Golden Knights. Another name was added to the Canucks' training camp roster Sunday when the team signed veteran defenceman Travis Hamonic to a professional tryout contract. The 30-year-old native of St. Malo, Man., played 50 regular-season games for the Calgary Flames last season, registering three goals and nine assists.He was the first NHL player to opt out of playing in the post-season, citing family considerations. The post-season was held in isolated environments in Edmonton and Toronto due to COVID-19.Originally drafted 53rd overall by the New York Islanders in 2008, Hamonic has 188 points (37 goals, 151 assists) in 637 NHL games.“He's a veteran guy who’s been in the league a while, who’s played hard minutes, maybe minutes that have gone unnoticed," Green said. "With this schedule, you’re going to need depth. And from a coaching standpoint, we’re excited that he’s coming to camp."Hamonic was set to travel from Winnipeg to Vancouver on Sunday and undergo a league-mandated seven-day quarantine upon arrival. He will join the Canucks' camp once the quarantine is complete. In order to add Hamonic to the lineup, however, the Canucks will need to clear some cap space. One way that could happen is if forward Micheal Ferland is placed on long-term injured reserve. Benning said Sunday that Ferland did not travel to Vancouver for training camp because he's still experiencing concussion symptoms. The 28-year-old left-winger played just 14 games last season after being derailed by a concussion in December. He joined the Canucks for the playoff push but left the Edmonton bubble after playing less than 14 minutes in Vancouver's first series against the Minnesota Wild. The players who perform in training camp will be the ones who earn spots on the roster, Benning said. “We expect to have some tough decisions and some tough conversations on players here as we go through camp," said the GM. With the Canucks' season set to begin against the Oilers in Edmonton on Jan. 13, time for making an impression and solidifying a lineup spot is scarce even before players hit the ice. Coaches will be looking to maximize time and do a lot of teaching over the short camp, Green said, but they'll also be using hard practices and a lot of games to get players into shape for opening night. “It’s going to be a big onus on our players to be focused for camp and push themselves when it’s hard, because there isn’t much time," the coach said. “I anticipate camp being competitive.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 3, 2021. Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press
Four people who died in a New Year's Day helicopter crash in northern Alberta were identified Sunday as members of a close-knit farming family. Wade Balisky, 45, his wife, Aubrey Balisky, 37, and two of their daughters, Jewel, 8, and Fleur, 2, were killed in the crash. They are survived by the couple's three other children: Chevey, 16, Remington, 14, and Indya, 12. The family lived together in the small farming community of DeBolt, Alta., about 45 kilometres east of Grande Prairie. Chris Warkentin, the Conservative MP for Grande Prairie-Mackenzie and a cousin of Aubrey's, released a statement on the family's behalf on Sunday evening. Warkentin said Wade, a farmer, loved to fly, travel, boat and play, and shared great joy in doing these things with his family. Aubrey was an artist and photographer who cherished her family and provided constant encouragement to them and her friends, Warkentin said. "Wade and Aubrey loved their extended family, friends and neighbours," Warkentin said. "The coffee was always on at their farm and their door was always open. They made strangers into friends at an alarming rate and made a priority of keeping those relationships meaningful." The couple shared a deep Christian faith and would have celebrated their 20th anniversary on Jan. 19. Warkentin said he was close with his cousin Aubrey and he grew up in the same neighbourhood as Wade, whom he described as an "experienced pilot." "The families are very, very close," he said. "It goes back a couple of generations, at least a generation or two that our families have known each other." Crash under investigation Warkentin said the helicopter crashed on a property jointly owned by Aubrey's father and his own father, which he believed was "totally coincidental." The crash site, in Birch Hills County, is about 500 kilometres northwest of Edmonton. "Our families want to thank all those who have reached out to us over the past hours and days. We are overwhelmed by your love and support," Warkentin said. "Thank you for your prayers. We need them now and will need them in the hours, days and years ahead." Police were dispatched Friday night to respond to a call from an emergency location transmitter in a Robinson R44 helicopter in the Birch Hills County area, Alberta RCMP said on Saturday. On Saturday, a spokesperson from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada said the agency had completed its initial examination of the site and said investigators will now gather information, including the pilot's training experience and the aircraft's maintenance history.
TORONTO — Canadian companies may have spent the past year laying off staff and dealing with temporary closures stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, but that isn't stopping many from rewarding workers this holiday season.Several, including the country's top banks, say they are planning to thank their staff for a year of hard work with year-end bonuses — and some are even topping up the amount.An online survey of 600 senior managers from companies with 20 or more employees in Canada revealed 48 per cent plan to offer year-end bonuses this year.The survey conducted by consulting firm Robert Half and research company Dynata between Nov. 20 and Dec. 7 also showed that 27 per cent plan to increase bonuses this year, 59 per cent will keep them the same as previous years and 14 per cent will reduce them.David King, Robert Half's Canadian senior district president, said so many companies are paying a bonus and even upping them because the pandemic is making continuity and high performance more important.“Companies still need to prioritize the retention of top-performing employees, particularly at a time when many are taking on heavier workloads, working remotely and balancing home or family commitments,“ he said in an email.Royal Bank of Canada, the country's second most valuable company on the TSX, said it will offer bonuses to recognize everything its staff have done to support each other, their clients and their communities in a tough year.The Toronto-based bank decided to give bonuses after "considering the external environment and the long-term interests of shareholders and employees," said spokesperson Andre Roberts."This year, RBC’s overall performance was impacted by the unprecedented challenges brought on by the global pandemic and while year-end results were down year-over-year, our performance demonstrated the strength, stability and operational resilience of our franchise," he said.Fellow banks — TD Bank Group, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Bank of Nova Scotia and Bank of Montreal — also said they will be paying bonuses.Meanwhile, engineering firm Siemens Canada announced it will split $3.4 million between all employees that aren't senior managers.Each staff member will wind up getting $1,550, said Siemens President Faisal Kazi said in a release announcing the bonus.Claudine Mangen, a Concordia University professor who has researched corporate disclosures, wasn't surprised to hear that companies are rewarding staff despite economic uncertainty.Many businesses, especially those in delivery or e-commerce like Amazon, have done well during the pandemic, so it wouldn't make sense for them to withhold a bonus if their future is looking is bright, she said.E-commerce company Shopify Inc. eclipsed RBC to become the most valuable company on the TSX during the pandemic and reported massive profits as it helped small businesses switch to online sales. The Ottawa-based company did not respond to a request for comment about what it is doing with bonuses.But not every company had Shopify's fortune. Many more laid off workers, or slashed salaries or had to find a way to pivot to new businesses.While Mangen expected those companies to stop or reduce year-end bonuses, some may have a case for sticking with them, she said."If you're a company that has had to fundamentally change its business model... and you see certain employees that are really thriving in this new environment, of course you don't want them to be hired by somebody else," she said.That incentivizes companies to toy with bonuses or non-monetary compensation like covering childcare costs or extended parental, Mangen said. Others will be more arbitrary with bonuses or offer different sums to employees in different areas of the company, depending on how impacted some departments were by COVID-19, she said.Top TSX companies Brookfield Asset Management, Manulife Financial Corp. and CN Rail all declined to share any info about how they are handling bonuses.So did Air Canada, which has used rounds of layoffs to combat waning interest in travel amid COVID-19.Enbridge spokesperson Tracie Kenyon said her company has yet to end its fiscal year, so "it is too early to discuss 2020 bonuses." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 3, 2021.Companies in this story: (TSX:RY, TSX:BNS, TSX:BMO, TSX:TD, TSX:CM, TSX:SHOP, TSX:BAM, TSX:CNR, TSX:AC, TSX:MFC, TSX:ENB)Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — The Latest on the new session of Congress (all times local):4:55 p.m.Nancy Pelosi has been narrowly reelected Sunday as speaker, giving her the reins of Democrats’ slender House majority as President-elect Joe Biden sets a challenging course of producing legislation to tackle the pandemic, revive the economy and address other party priorities.The California Democrat, who has led her party in the House since 2003 and is the only woman to be speaker, had been widely expected to retain her post. Rep. Kevin McCarthy R-Calif., again will be the chamber’s minority leader.To gain her victory, Pelosi had to overcome some Democratic grumbling about her longevity, a slim 222-211 edge over Republicans after the November election, and a handful of absences because of the coronavirus.There are two vacancies in the 435-member House, and whatever happens Democrats will have the smallest House majority in two decades.___4:10 p.m.Former House Speaker Paul Ryan says in a statement that Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential victory is “entirely legitimate.” He is condemning efforts by some Republicans to object to the results and overturn the election in the congressional count of electoral votes on Wednesday.The group of House and Senate Republicans are echoing President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud. Ryan, who left Congress in 2019, says it “is difficult to conceive of a more anti-democratic and anti-conservative act than a federal intervention to overturn the results of state-certified elections and disenfranchise millions of Americans.”Ryan urged the lawmakers to reconsider, saying “the fact that this effort will fail does not mean it will not do significant damage to American democracy.”The objections will force votes in both the House and Senate, where they are expected to be rejected.There was not widespread fraud in the election, as has been confirmed by a range of election officials and by William Barr, who stepped down as attorney general last month. Nearly all of the legal challenges put forth by Trump and his allies have been dismissed by judges.___1:55 p.m.A bipartisan group of 10 senators has issued a statement calling for Congress to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win.The senators, including four Republicans, said in the statement on Sunday that efforts by some Republicans to overturn the results in favour of President Donald Trump “are contrary to the clearly expressed will of the American people and only serve to undermine Americans’ confidence in the already determined election results.”Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Mitt Romney of Utah signed on to the statement, which said “it is time to move forward.”A separate group of Senate Republicans, led by Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, say they plan to object to the election results when Congress meets on Wednesday to tally Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College victory over Trump.The objections will force votes in both the House and Senate, but none are expected to prevail.Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has urged Republicans not to object. And several other GOP senators have criticized the efforts, splitting the party as the new Congress begins. Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said Sunday that the objections are “bad for the country and bad for the party.”Fraud did not spoil the 2020 presidential election, a fact confirmed by election officials across the country.___HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE NEW CONGRESSRead more:— More GOP lawmakers enlist in Trump effort to undo Biden win— EXPLAINER: As Georgia awaits, Republicans still have Senate control— Biden flexes Georgia muscle alongside GOP in Senate races— Memorial held for congressman-elect who contracted COVID-19— Senate race thrusts ‘Black America’s church’ into spotlight___WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:1 p.m.Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham is calling the effort by Sen. Ted Cruz and other Republican senators to overturn the presidential election a “dodge” that doesn’t go far enough in helping President Donald Trump.Graham said in a statement Sunday that Cruz has a “high bar” to show there was evidence of problems with the election. The South Carolina senator also said Cruz’s proposal has “zero chance of becoming reality.”Cruz of Texas is leading a coalition of 11 GOP senators who vow to challenge the election results unless Congress agrees to launch a commission to investigate the outcome. They and others are prepared to object Wednesday when Congress convenes for a joint session to confirm Biden’s 306-232 electoral tally over Trump.Graham, a top Trump ally, said that approach “is not effectively fighting for President Trump. It appears to be more of a political dodge than an effective remedy.”___12:15 p.m.The 117th U.S. Congress is beginning as the House and Senate have gaveled in to swear in new members.Both chambers are holding rare Sunday sessions to open the new Congress on Jan. 3, as the Constitution requires. All members of the House and roughly one-third of the Senate will be sworn in.Democrat Nancy Pelosi was set to be reelected as House speaker by her party, which retains the majority in the House but with the slimmest margin in 20 years.Control of the Senate is in question until Tuesday’s runoff elections for two Senate seats in Georgia. The outcome will determine which party holds the chamber.___12:05 p.m.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is declining to say much about the effort by a growing number of Republican senators to overturn the presidential election.McConnell told a reporter Sunday at the Capitol, “We’ll be dealing with all of that on Wednesday.”The Republican leader was referring to this week’s joint session of Congress to confirm the Electoral College tally that Joe Biden won, 306-232, defeating President Donald Trump.McConnell has privately urged Republicans not to object to the election results. He has said it would force Republicans to essentially choose between Trump’s demands and the will of the voters.A dozen Republican senators, and more Republicans in the House, plan to object on Wednesday.___11:55 a.m.Sen. Ted Cruz says Congress has an obligation to ensure the presidential election was lawful, explaining why he and some Republican colleagues will raise objections when Congress meets this week to certify the Electoral College vote.He tells Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures” that the aim is to restore Americans’ “confidence in our electoral system.”Numerous federal and state officials have said the election was conducted fairly and without evidence of fraud on a scale so grand that it would have altered the outcome.Democratic President-elect Joe Biden defeated Republican President Donald Trump by some 7 million popular votes and 306-232 votes in the Electoral College.Trump has refused to accept his loss and continues to falsely claim the election was “stolen.”Groups of House and Senate Republicans plan to vote against certain state electors on Wednesday, but it will not halt Biden’s swearing-in as president at noon on Jan. 20.___11:15 a.m.Republican Sen. Josh Hawley is hitting back at GOP colleagues who are criticizing his attempt to overturn the presidential election won by Joe Biden.In a lengthy email, the Missouri Republican defended his rationale for challenging President Donald Trump’s defeat. He and other Republicans are planning to mount objections to the results when Congress convenes for a joint session Wednesday to confirm the Electoral College tally.Hawley specifically defended himself against criticism from GOP Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania as he challenges that state’s election results.Hawley, a Trump ally and potential 2024 presidential candidate, insisted that constituents back home have been “loud and clear” that they believe Biden’s win over Trump was unfair.“It is my responsibility as a senator to raise their concerns,” Hawley wrote late Saturday.___10:30 a.m.Sen. Ron Johnson is insisting that the extraordinary effort by congressional Republicans to challenge Joe Biden’s presidential victory is not intended to thwart the democratic process but “to protect it.”In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the Wisconsin senator pointed to an “unsustainable state of affairs” where he claimed that many people in the country don’t accept the election as legitimate. He contends that more transparency is needed to “restore confidence” in results that states and the Electoral College have certified.A group of 11 senators led by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas say they will reject the Electoral College results during a joint session Wednesday unless a commission is appointed to conduct a 10-day audit of the vote. They are zeroing in on the states where President Donald Trump has raised founded claims of voter fraud.Johnson isn’t offering new evidence of voting problems. And he does acknowledge that Trump’s former attorney general, William Barr, found no evidence of widespread election fraud. Multiple lawsuits filed by Trump’s legal team have been repeatedly dismissed, by the Supreme Court and by Trump-appointed judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence.When Johnson insisted that “tens of millions of people” believe the presidential election was “stolen,” NBC’s Chuck Todd suggested that Johnson “look in the mirror” as to why that is. Todd cut off Johnson’s unsubstantiated assertions.Todd told Johnson: “You don’t get to make these allegations that haven’t been proven true.”___8 a.m.The start of the new congressional session on Sunday comes during a tumultuous period in U.S. history.A growing number of Republicans are working to overturn Joe Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump, and a surge of coronavirus infections is imposing limits at the Capitol.Rep. Nancy Pelosi is set to be reelected as House speaker by fellow Democrats, who retain the House majority but with the slimmest margin in 20 years.Opening the Senate could be among Mitch McConnell’s final acts as majority leader. Republican control depends on Tuesday’s runoff elections for two Senate seats in Georgia.It’s often said that divided government can be a time for legislative compromises, but lawmakers are charging into the 117th Congress with the nation more torn than ever, disputing even basic facts including that Biden won the presidential election.The Associated Press
When Ryu Han-na, a 20-year-old university student, got cosmetic surgery on her nose in mid-December, she had a simple reason: it might be the last chance to do so covertly before people start taking off masks this year as vaccines are distributed. That attitude is fuelling demand for such operations in South Korea, which had already experienced a pickup in cosmetic surgery in 2020. The country has been a world capital of cosmetic surgery even during non-pandemic times.
LONDON — Even facing a Manchester City side depleted by the coronavirus, Frank Lampard couldn't prevent Chelsea slumping to a fourth loss in its past six games.And Lampard is aware the 3-1 defeat will only increase the pressure on him.Chelsea slipped to eighth place after lkay Gündogan, Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne scored in a 16-minute first-half spell at a chilly Stamford Bridge on Sunday.The London club is seven points behind leader Liverpool and three points back of City, which has played two fewer games and now sits in fifth place.Even Leicester is mounting a title challenge in third place after beating Newcastle 2-1 in Sunday's other game.How fickle football can be. Only a month ago, Chelsea's all-time leading scorer was basking in a 17-match unbeaten that raised talk of a new contract halfway through his second season as manager.“Whether it puts pressure on me or not, it doesn’t matter,” Lampard said. “A month ago everyone was asking me whether I was going to sign a new contract, and now they will be saying different things.“But over a busy period we’ve lost four games of football, so the pressure remains constant and you know it’s there.”Especially when working for Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich, who has gone through a dozen managers since transforming the club with his 2003 takeover.After being unable to spend anything in his first season in charge due to a transfer embargo, Lampard benefited from around $250 million in squad reinforcements in the summer transfer window. Despite Timo Werner already enjoying Champions League experience at Leipzig, the $60 million striker is among the players Lampard claims still needs time to settle.“Any build or rebuild takes pain; pain behind the scenes and pain on the pitch occasionally," Lampard said. “This is a difficult period and I understand the reasons why. Today the first half showed me the reasons why and we have to keep fighting and I’m the first one who has to keep fighting.“I’ll always feel heat: I felt heat when we were on our good run, because I know that round the corner can be a negative."Gündogan netted the opener on the turn in the 18th minute after being set up by Foden, who was on target with a flick finish for the second inside three minutes. De Bruyne started the move inside his own half that ended with him scoring, meeting the rebound after Raheem Sterling had hit the goal frame. Chelsea's consolation came with almost the last kick of the game from Callum Hudson-Odoi.FOXES FLYINGA fifth successive Premier League victory has propelled Leicester to within a point of leader Liverpool. James Maddison and Youri Tielemans clinched the win for the Foxes at St. James' Park before Andy Carroll scored late for Newcastle.“My ambition is to get into Europe again and for us to progress,” Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers said. “It’s always going to be a process for us. We don’t have the finances to go and get that 70 million pound, 80 million pound, 90 million pound player."So for us, we have to develop that player, bring in a young player or a senior player like a Jonny Evans, who is a top player, and manage his career through so he can help our younger players."___More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsRob Harris, The Associated Press
A second Montreal hotel has agreed to open its doors to the city's homeless population, as long as they test negative for COVID-19.Along with Hotel Place Dupuis, Hotel Universel in Montreal's east end has been designated as an additional place for people to shelter.Because of concerns over social distancing, Montreal public health has ordered some of the city's warming shelters to close temporarily.This means alternative space is opening up at hotels, and the Old Royal Victoria hospital has expanded it's COVID-19 red zone from 25 beds to 100.People who are homeless staying at the Old Royal Vic who recover from COVID are being transferred to private rooms at Hotel Universel, which is currently housing 40 people."Self-isolating is a privilege," said Nakuset, executive director of the Native Women's Shelter of Montreal.She told CBC that there have been issues with contact tracing for people in the homeless community who do test positive."People are scrambling right now because we're not equipped to be red zones. We're not equipped to manage the COVID-positive cases," she said.For Sam Watts, CEO of the Welcome Hall Mission, the new beds come at a crucial time."It was the right thing to do in order to make sure we could have as many spaces [as possible] in the event that we were seeing more positive cases," he said.He said if the demand increases, there's a possibility of expanding the number of rooms offered. "We have to try and make sure nobody has to be on the street. I think it's a bad idea if people don't have a place to go to self-isolate."
Canadians should receive the same COVID-19 vaccine for both shots — except in very specific and unlikely situations, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada."Currently, no data exist on the interchangeability of COVID-19 vaccines," according to PHAC's recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines.However, the recommendations state that "attempts should be made to complete the vaccine series with a similar type of COVID-19 vaccine" if the product used for the first dose is unavailable or unknown.The two vaccines currently approved for use in Canada — manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — are both messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines."The spike proteins encoded by either of the authorized mRNA vaccines have the same sequence and are stabilized in the same manner to remain in the pre-fusion confirmation, though other vaccine components like the lipid nanoparticle may be different," the recommendations read."Active surveillance of effectiveness and safety of this mixed schedule will be important in these individuals. Accurate recording of vaccines received will be critical."Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease physician and associate professor of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, said it is "extremely unlikely" that someone wouldn't know which vaccine they were given.Chagla told CBC News on Sunday that it's been one of the government's mandates that people have documentation on which vaccine they received, along with a lot number in case any adverse reactions are linked to a particular vial.Chagla said the prospect of mixing vaccines requires further study in clinical trials, particularly if one dose is a mRNA vaccine and the other is an adenovirus-based vaccine like those produced by AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson or CanSino.While studies on vaccine mixing could yield interesting developments, he said the theory isn't meant to be part of public policy yet if there is enough access to vaccine products to ensure people receive the same vaccine for both doses.WATCH | Why Canada has been slow to get COVID-19 vaccines in arms:While Canada's approach could change based on any gleanings from these studies, he does not recommend mixing vaccines until there is evidence to support it."Theoretically, yes, they could be synergistic, but theoretically they could blunt each other out, you might make the wrong response to one and then have the other on board," he said. "And so as much as we think one plus one equals two, it may not. It may be one plus one equals zero in this sense."British guidelines OK mixing in certain instancesNew guidelines from the British government also said there is no evidence to support vaccine interchangeability, "although studies are underway."The advice said that while every effort should be made to complete the dosing regimen with the same vaccine, patients can be given different vaccines if they are at "immediate high risk" or are considered "unlikely to attend again.""[If] the same vaccine is not available, or if the first product received is unknown, it is reasonable to offer one dose of the locally available product to complete the schedule," according to the U.K. guidelines, which were published on New Year's Eve.Dr. Mary Ramsay, head of immunizations at Public Health England, said this would only happen on extremely rare occasions, and that the government was not recommending the mixing of vaccines, which require at least two doses given several weeks apart."Every effort should be made to give them the same vaccine, but where this is not possible it is better to give a second dose of another vaccine than not at all," she said.