Kids sliding down a homemade snow slide on the deck steps in Brampton, Ontario.
Kids sliding down a homemade snow slide on the deck steps in Brampton, Ontario.
A look at some second-leg matches in the Europa League's last 32 taking place on Thursday: AC MILAN-RED STAR BELGRADE (2-2) A meeting of two former European champions is level after the first leg amid controversy over apparent racist abuse aimed at Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic. UEFA appointed an investigator Tuesday to look into the incident after footage published online appeared to show Ibrahimovic being insulted as he sat in the stands. There were no fans allowed in the stadium for the first game, but Red Star had officials and guests in the stands. Milan goes into the game without a win in its last three after losing 3-0 to fierce rival Inter Milan in Serie A on Sunday. NAPOLI-GRANADA (0-2) Spanish club Granada is on the verge of a major upset in its first European competition. Yangel Herrera and Kenedy scored Granada's goals at home against a Napoli team whose season seems to be slipping away. One win from six games in all competitions this month has seen Napoli fall from challenging for the Champions League places in Serie A to clinging on in seventh. ARSENAL-BENFICA (1-1) The Europa League is Arsenal’s last opportunity for a trophy — and might represent the team's only route to qualifying for European competitions next season. Mikel Arteta’s team has dropped to 11th in the Premier League and is nine points off Chelsea in fifth place, which is set to be the sole Europa League qualifying position in the league. Thomas Partey has returned to training with Arsenal after a hamstring injury but it remains to be seen if the midfielder is fit enough to feature in the second leg against Benfica. The game will take place in Athens due to coronavirus travel restrictions. LEICESTER-SLAVIA PRAGUE (0-0) Leicester midfielder James Maddison will miss the match because of a hip injury. Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers does not believe the issue requires surgery but said Maddison is in consultation with specialists. The in-form attacking midfielder, who came off hurt in the Premier League match at Aston Villa on Sunday, missed matches at the end of last season with a hip injury and had an operation in July. “We’re just having to get a specialist’s opinion on it to formulate a plan for his recovery,” Rodgers said. Leicester is in third place in the Premier League and has been one of the surprises of the season. MANCHESTER UNITED-REAL SOCIEDAD (4-0) Edinson Cavani, Donny Van de Beek, Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba remain sidelined through injury for United, which is all but assured of progress after a big first-leg win in neutral territory in Turin. A shoulder issue prevents midfielder Hannibal Mejbri from making his first-team debut after a week that has seen fellow 18-year-old Amad Diallo — signed from Atalanta in January — and 17-year-old Shola Shoretire make their first starts in the senior side. “Hannibal was injured in the reserves, he’ll be out for a month,” said United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has added 19-year-old Northern Ireland international Ethan Galbraith to United’s Europa League squad. “He was just coming into our squad. Unfortunately for him he’s out.” AJAX-LILLE (2-1) Even without two of its best players, Ajax is on the verge of eliminating the French league leader. Lille was heading for a win in the first leg before Ajax turned the game around with a penalty by Dusan Tadic in the 87th minute and a goal from Brian Brobbey in the 89th. Ajax is without striker Sebastien Haller after he was left off the squad list due to an administrative error. Goalkeeper André Onana was handed a 12-month doping ban this month after testing positive for a banned substance, something he blamed on a mix-up with his wife's medicine. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The spirit of cross-border co-operation is lingering as Canada's environment minister talks climate change priorities with presidential envoy John Kerry. Jonathan Wilkinson says he expects Canada and the United States to push each other to reach more ambitious climate targets as they work together over the next few months. Today's conversation follows a virtual meeting Tuesday between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden. The two leaders vowed to move "in lockstep" in a shared North American effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Biden says their overall shared goal is to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Wilkinson says Canada hopes to set a new target for emissions cuts by 2030 — somewhere between 31 and 40 per cent of 2005 levels — before Biden's April 22 climate summit. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Small businesses will continue to benefit from provincial relief after the current small and medium enterprise (SME) relaunch grant program concludes at the end of March. The SME grants will be followed by the Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit. Up to $10,000 will be available under the benefit to small- and medium-sized businesses impacted by the pandemic and restrictions, according to the Alberta government last week. Under the SME grants up to $20,000 is available to businesses and non-profits with fewer than 500 employees and that have experienced revenue loss amid restrictions. The additional $10,000 under the new benefit can be used to offset COVID costs, including buying personal protective equipment, paying bills or hiring staff, according to the government. According to the provincial government, the benefit can also be used to pay rent, replace inventory or expand online operations. The new benefit will be available to business owners who can demonstrate they’ve lost at least 60 per cent of their revenue as a result of the pandemic. The benefit will cover 15 per cent of their lost monthly revenue, up to $10,000, according to the Alberta government. Funds distributed through the benefit won’t need to be repaid, with further parameters for the program to be unveiled in April. The benefit program has a $120 million budget. According to the Alberta government, as of last week more than $359 million has been distributed to more than 50,000 businesses through the SME program. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
Plusieurs parents d’élèves de troisième, quatrième et cinquième années du secondaire de la polyvalente La Porte-du-Nord (PDN) à Chibougamau se disent inquiets au sujet de l’enseignement à mi-temps au secondaire. Ils se questionnent aussi sur le moment du retour en classe en temps complet puisque, selon les autorités, la situation dans la région est stable. Comme dans toutes les écoles du Québec, les étudiants du dernier cycle du secondaire de la PDN ne vont à l’école qu’un jour sur deux. Sans vouloir minimiser toutes les difficultés et les problèmes qui sont engendrés par la pandémie, une mère inquiète a fait parvenir une lettre à la direction de la PDN. Julie Laberge s’explique mal pourquoi, avec la situation que connait notre région et les diverses communications de la santé publique mentionnant que la situation est stable, les étudiants ne peuvent retourner en classe de façon permanente. Après bientôt un an de pandémie qui a grandement bouleversé la vie des étudiants, cette mère de famille pense qu’il est temps de prendre action. Elle constate aussi que l’enseignement à distance a certaines limites. Elle voit également que l’intérêt et la motivation des jeunes sont en baisse, sans compter qu’il y a des enjeux de réussite scolaire pour certains d’entre eux. Selon elle, malgré les diverses interventions mises en place en classe, elle ne croit pas que la situation va s’améliorer en poursuivant comme c’est le cas présentement. Ces parents sont convaincus que, dans l’intérêt des jeunes et pour leur santé, il faut agir rapidement pour qu’ils puissent reprendre leurs études en présentiel à temps complet dans les délais les plus brefs. Il faut noter que, malgré les changements de palier de rouge à orange pour la région Nord-du-Québec et certains allègements qui ont été accordés, aucune modification n’a été faite au niveau de l’enseignement dans notre région. René Martel, Initiative de journalisme local, La Sentinelle
What does the ocean mean to you, your community, or your industry? How do you envision the best economic opportunities while restoring and maintaining its sustainability? These are but a couple of the nebulous questions at the heart of the federal government’s outreach to British Columbians, and Canadians on every coast, in its pursuit of the new Blue Economy Strategy. The strategy is intended to position the country as a global leader in ocean-based economies that create middle-class jobs while pushing for healthier oceans and sustainable ocean industries. Earlier this month the minister of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Bernadette Jordan, launched public engagements through a series of roundtables with key ocean-sector stakeholders. Today (Feb. 23) the minister announced the opening of an online engagement portal for the general public to also share their thoughts and perspectives. “A healthy ocean has more to give – it can feed more mouths, employ more people and create more opportunities for the entire country,” Jordan said. “Canada needs a Blue Economy Strategy that will harness the power and potential of our oceans to create a future that is more sustainable, more prosperous and more inclusive. The best way to ensure people are at the heart of the plan, is to have Canadians share their ideas so we can work towards this brighter future together.” Canadian ocean-based sectors currently account for about 300,000 jobs and just $31.7 billion, 1.6 per cent, of the country’s GDP. The government is leaning on the strategy to help drive economic recovery in a post-pandemic world, integrating growth with ocean conservation and climate action. Greater participation of Indigenous peoples, women and under-represent groups are strongly encouraged to participate in the online process. The feedback will inform government on the needs of communities that stand to grow an benefit from ocean investments and new policy. Topics so far leading the public engagement include products and technologies to foster a sustainable commercial fishing industry, offshore renewable energy, transportation, sustainable tourism, international trade and new green technologies in ocean-related fields. The strategy is a massive undertaking involving several federal departments, including Transport Canada, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, Infrastructure Canada, Global Affairs Canada, regional development agencies, and others. The online engagement portal is open until June 15. Quinn Bender, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View
TERRACE, B.C. — The family of a pregnant Indigenous woman who alleges she was turned away from a northern British Columbia hospital and later gave birth to a stillborn baby says a review of the incident must be made public. Sarah Morrison has alleged she was denied maternity services at Kitimat General Hospital on Jan. 27 and had to travel to another facility 65 kilometres away in Terrace, where she delivered a stillborn infant. Dustin Gaucher, Morrison's uncle, says the results of a review by the Northern Health Authority must be released publicly to prevent it from "hiding the truth," adding that no one in his family including Morrison has been contacted to assist with the probe. Health Minister Adrian Dix announced the review shortly after Morrison's family accused the Kitimat hospital of turning her away and alleged anti-Indigenous racism. Northern Health says in a statement that the findings won't be made public because provincial legislation prohibits release of results and recommendations from quality of care reviews. A spokeswoman for the health authority says the legislation is meant to promote open discussion and full participation with health-care professionals in order to determine if any changes should be made to future practices. Gaucher says if the review results are not released, little will come of it except his family will "relive our trauma." "This review is just that. The people out there want answers, but nobody gets any answers," he said in an interview. Morrison and her partner have filed a statement of claim in B.C. Supreme Court alleging the Northern Health authority, several doctors, Kitimat General Hospital and Mills Memorial Hospital used racial stereotypes and failed to provide emergency care. None of the allegations have been proven in court and no statements of defence have been filed. Northern Health said in a statement on Feb. 12 that it could not comment on the case for privacy reasons, but its board has endorsed a review of allegations of racism in health care at its hospitals. "We do wish to express that the loss of a child is tragic and our hearts go out to the family." Its statement said the review will seek guidance from Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, B.C.'s former representative for children and youth, who wrote a report about anti-Indigenous racism in the province's health-care system. Mills Memorial has said the health authority would respond on its behalf. None of the others named in the lawsuit could be reached for comment. (CFTK) This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told Congress on Wednesday that the central bank will not start raising interest rates until it believes its goals on maximum employment and inflation have been reached. Powell also warned that many who had worked in industries hardest hit by the pandemic and ensuing recession will likely need to find different jobs. As he did before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, Powell told the House Financial Services Committee that the Fed is in no hurry to raise its benchmark short-term interest rates or to begin trimming its $120 billion in monthly bond payments used to put downward pressure on longer-term rates. Financial markets, which had begun to wane Tuesday on fears that higher inflation might trigger an earlier-than-expected tightening of credit conditions by the Fed, rebounded on Powell's comments. That trend extended into Wednesday with the S&P 500 index rising more than 1%. Powell said the Fed does not see any indication inflation could race out of control. While price increases might accelerate in coming months, Powell said those increases are expected to be temporary and not a sign of long-run inflation threats. He said the central bank would not start to trim its $120 billion in monthly bond purchases until “substantial further progress” has been made toward the Fed’s goals on inflation and employment. Hikes in the Fed’s benchmark interest rate, now at a record low of zero to 0.25%, will not occur until the Fed has seen inflation reach its 2% target and run slightly above that level, with employment falling to a level viewed as maximum employment, he said. Powell has noted recently that, while the official U.S. unemployment rate in January dropped to 6.3%, the actual rate is closer to 10% when taking into account the millions of people who have given up looking for a job. Even as the job market improves, a portion of the 10 million people still out of work may find it hard to get new jobs, he said. He attributed that to the changes brought on by the pandemic in such industries as retail services and tourism. In many cases, the jobs people left may no longer be there, which will mean those workers will need access to job retraining to find work in other areas, Powell said. The House is expected to take up later this week President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion relief measure, which includes stimulus payments of up to $1,400 for individuals and expanded unemployment benefits and support for state and local governments. Republicans have attacked the measure as too expensive and unnecessary given growing signs that the country doesn’t need further support. Democrats, however, have argued that with nearly 10 million still out of work compared to a year ago, further support is needed. Powell repeatedly refused to take a position on Biden’s proposal, saying that it was up to Congress and the administration to decide. While repeating his comment in his Senate testimony that he believes the economy is a “a long way from our employment and inflation goals,” Powell did agree with that there have been some encouraging signs that the economy could accelerate further as new COVID-19 cases decline and vaccines are more widely distributed. Some private forecasters have said the overall economy might grow at a rate of 6% or better this year, after having shrunk 3.5% last year, the worst performance since 1946. GOP lawmakers pressed Powell to say whether he thought such a growth rate was possible, but he refused to be pinned down to a specific target for gross domestic product growth. “There is a reason for optimism in the second half of the year if we get the pandemic under control,” Powell said. Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
Un nouveau concept d’agrotourisme va voir le jour à la ferme du Castor Gras à Trois-Pistoles : dès cet été, il sera possible d’y camper tout en découvrant le fonctionnement de cette exploitation maraîchère qui applique les principes de la permaculture. L’aboutissement d’un long processus pour le propriétaire Frédéric Moisan Wilson, qui espère inspirer d’autres jeunes agriculteurs. L’histoire du Castor Gras commence il y a quatre ans : après six années passées à voyager en Australie, en Asie et sur la côte ouest, Frédéric cherche à changer de mode de vie et à « s’enraciner ». « Je voulais revenir au Québec et me donner une raison de ne pas repartir », se rappelle-t-il. Ce natif de Saint-Hyacinthe atterrit dans Les Basques parce qu’il veut voir le fleuve, mais aussi et surtout parce qu’il y trouve une terre accessible pour son budget : « Mon terrain de 55 acres m’a coûté 30 000 $. En Montérégie, c’est 10 000 $ l’acre… » Si la parcelle est si peu chère, c’est parce qu’elle n’intéresse pas les producteurs conventionnels : pas exploitée depuis 35 ans, elle est rocailleuse, possède un secteur boisé non entretenu et est mal drainée. Frédéric, lui, est séduit par la beauté des lieux… avant de se rendre compte qu’il a peut-être fait cet achat un peu vite : n’ayant pas d’accès à la route, la terre est non constructible. Elle est surtout soumise aux lois très strictes protégeant le domaine agricole au Québec, qui interdisent par exemple au nouveau venu de camper là avec ses amis. Frédéric s’en sort avec une pirouette : il parvient à acheter un deuxième terrain, situé entre la route 132 et sa propriété. Les deux lots fusionnent et deviennent constructibles. Encore faut-il qu’il ait un projet agricole : c’est ainsi que la ferme du Castor Gras voit le jour et décroche des subventions pour la relève. Quinze sites de camping Ce qui devait être à l’origine un « trip » d’autosuffisance devient une exploitation commerciale qui rencontre un certain succès : Frédéric quadruple sa production tous les ans, et atteint le seuil de rentabilité. Il produit des tomates, des champignons, des micropousses, des œufs et du poulet. Cette année, son verger de pommiers et de poiriers va entrer en production. Il a aussi creusé des lacs, zones de biodiversité dans lesquelles s’ébattent des truites. Mais Frédéric, 30 ans aujourd’hui, rêve depuis le début de camping à la ferme, un concept qu’il a découvert lors de ses voyages. Lors des deux dernières années, il a travaillé à bâtir un dossier en ce sens pour la Commission de protection du territoire agricole (CPTAQ) avec l’aide d’un agronome. Pour finalement obtenir le droit d’installer 15 sites de camping (dont quatre seront accessibles en van aménagée) sur sa terre agricole, une première au Québec. La CPTAQ a cependant refusé l’installation de trois chalets, dans la mesure où ceux-ci auraient été situés dans une zone à haut potentiel agricole. Frédéric devra par ailleurs générer plus de profits avec sa production maraîchère qu’avec son camping. Les campeurs de passage pourront donc profiter de leur séjour pour découvrir les rudiments de la permaculture. « Je travaille avec les cycles du soleil, les poules jouent un rôle dans la ferme… Pour voir cette dynamique, ça requiert que tu passes 24 heures sur le terrain. Mais aussi pour observer les lucioles et les chauves-souris, les interactions qui n’existent pas dans un grand champ de maïs », explique l’unique propriétaire du Castor Gras. L’envie de partager son expérience Chaque matin, une visite de la ferme sera organisée. Il sera également possible d’aller poser des questions à tout moment aux travailleurs dans les champs, et même de mettre les mains dans la terre. À la manière d’un Jean-Martin Fortier, Frédéric veut « inspirer les gens » et parle d’un ton pédagogique : « Comme je travaille à petite échelle, toutes mes idées sont réplicables dans une cour arrière. Je n’ai pas un poulailler de 20 000 poules : j’ai un petit poulailler installé dans une roulotte, que tu peux facilement faire chez toi pour avoir tes propres poules. » Le jeune producteur entend aussi servir d’exemple à ceux qui rêvent d’un projet similaire au sien : « Mon dossier à la CPTAQ est public. Si quelqu’un veut faire la même chose que moi ailleurs, il peut y accéder. Ça lui facilitera la tâche : s’il correspond à tous les critères, pour lui aussi ça va passer! » Le Pistolois espère ainsi contribuer à l’essor de l’agrotourisme au Québec, un secteur dont on parle beaucoup, mais surtout au futur et trop peu au présent. « Dans le concret c’est sous-financé, il n’y a pas vraiment de programme d’aide », conclut-il de sa propre expérience. Vu que la Financière agricole ne finance pas de tels projets, Frédéric va prochainement lancer une campagne de sociofinancement pour aménager un bloc sanitaire et améliorer le chemin qui mène à la ferme. Le Castor Gras devrait être fin prêt pour recevoir ses premiers campeurs fin juin 2021. Rémy Bourdillon, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Mouton Noir
(Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit) Mayor John Tory says Toronto is extending the cancellation of in-person major events to July 1 as the city looks ahead to another summer in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the events that will once again be moved online: the Toronto Marathon, Canada Day celebrations, the Juno Awards and the NXNE music festival. You can see the full list of events that are impacted here. The mayor's announcement came on the same day as news that the the Canadian National Exhibition was planning for an in-person fair event this summer, running from Aug. 20 to Sept. 6. Tory says it's too soon to predict whether or not the Ex will be able to open as planned. 700+ possible VOC cases in Toronto That update also comes as Toronto's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa laid out new numbers for the city's variant cases, revealing a growth of about 200 possible cases in just two days. Toronto currently has 72 cases that have been confirmed to be variants of concern (VOC). There are, however, 710 cases that have screened positive for "mutations of interest" and are expected to soon be lab confirmed as VOC — an increase of just under 200 from Monday. WATCH | Mayor John Tory explains Toronto's event closure extension "The only trend I'm prepared to cite at this point is that the screened positive total marches up daily and that should be a matter of concern to all of us," said de Villa. The city is also reporting 389 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, as well as 30 additional hospitalizations, and 1 death. Province updates vaccine plan The briefing came on the same day as a major update on Ontario's vaccination plans, with the province revealing a staggered plan to vaccinate adults according to age through the spring and early summer. Adults over age 60 are expected to begin getting their shots by July 1st, but the province was unable to say when anyone younger than that could expect to be vaccinated. It also comes a day after COVID-19 outbreaks were confirmed at two Toronto police facilities.
Mono Council, at least for the immediate future, has put the the matter of the Variance Application to the Fill By-Law, regarding the property of Mr. Paul Ritchie at 833231 4th Line in Mono, to rest, by refusing the appli-cation. In discussion leading up to the vote, sev-eral Council members shared their opinions on the issue. Councillor Fred Nix expressed his frustration that, the matter had been before Council for almost 12 months, despite a public meeting in July of 2020, at which both Council and members of the public had expressed concerns. This resulted in a request for the applicant to address the issues and return to Council with an amended pro-posal. In the end the exact same proposal was brought back for consideration.Now, the applicant was asking for a defer-ral in order for his engineers to study a report from the Town engineers, thus pushing the matter back once again. Councillor Nix how-ever reluctantly felt that the deferral should be granted on the basis of transparency and fairness.Councillor Manktelow, on the other hand was of the opposite opinion. He noted that as early as January 21, 2020, Mr. Ritchie had been asked to respond to other options, including using existing soil for the fill, but did not respond. Again he was asked to address the concerns of the public at the meeting on July 14th, 2020 and again there was no response. Finally, just prior to Christmas, Town of Mono CAO, Mark Early, requested that the applicant respond to all of the issues raised and again, says Councillor Manktelow there was no response. Consequently, he said he felt that the application should be denied as it was his opinion that the applicant was not compliant with the Town’s wishes.Councillor Martin agreed with Councillor Manktelow and wanted to proceed with the decision, while Deputy Mayor Creelman said that although he was very disappointed with the way the matter was progressing and the inordinate amount of time that it had taken up, he could go with either decision, but with provisions, if Council were to grant the deferral. The provisions would be that only writ-ten submissions be accepted and that they be made available to the public, so that they could also respond in writing. He did not want to waste any further time on this matter, especially not with long winded personal presentations, taking up Council time, with material that could oth-erwise be read. Mayor Ryan was of a like minded opinion, feeling that enough time had been spent already. Prior to this, the applicant had been eager to have Council’s decision made and now wanted a deferral. Mayor Ryan could not see what new information could be received, when no responses had been forthcoming to previous requests of Council. The Mayor felt that the application should be reviewed now and a decision handed down.Councillor Nix spoke to the matter of two concerns with the application. He said that a drainage pipe running south to the neigh-bours property line would potentially flood his septic bed during the spring runoff and had agreed to remove it, but was still in the application. Also, no consideration had been made to using some of the existing soil on the site to build the track surface, despite the engineers opinion that some of the soil was certainly usable.In short, this was essentially the exact same application that had originally been submitted, with no consideration of the two stated issues. Councillor Manktelow then said that, the report received from the Town engineer, Gord Feniak, answer all of Coun-cil’s previously asked questions of the appli-cant and, that pointed to the track being able to be built almost exclusive of any imported fill.The matter was called to a recorded vote with the unanimous decision to refuse the application at this time. Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
Nikola Dimitrov of AIS Technologies Group in Windsor, Ont., discusses how the pandemic has affected supply lines.
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador health authorities say a fifth person in the province has died from COVID-19. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald teared up and paused for a moment during today's pandemic briefing and asked people to focus on the future. Officials are also reporting eight new cases of COVID-19 and say six people are in hospital with the disease. All of the infections announced today are in the eastern health region of the province, which includes the capital, St. John's, and where an outbreak has been flaring for several weeks. Officials say the outbreak was caused by the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first detected in the United Kingdom. Fitzgerald says though case numbers have been low over the past few days, the province remains in lockdown and people must stay on guard. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
CALGARY — The CEO of Crescent Point Energy Corp. says the company is poised to benefit from rising oil prices after two years of transformation through selling assets, cutting debt and reducing costs. The Calgary-based company's move last week to buy producing light oil shale assets in Alberta for $900 million from Royal Dutch Shell reflects that confidence, Craig Bryksa said. "We have built an asset portfolio that is well-positioned to benefit from a rising price environment given our light oil weighting and high netbacks," he said on a Wednesday conference call with analysts to discuss the company's fourth-quarter results. "We expect to generate $375 (million) to $600 million of excess cash flow this year at US$50 to US$60 WTI (West Texas Intermediate) prices." The company plans to devote most of that cash flow to paying down debt, he said, adding that it will evaluate increasing returns to shareholders over time. Shell is to receive $700 million in cash and 50 million Crescent Point shares under the deal and will wind up owning an 8.6 per cent stake in Crescent Point if it closes as expected in April. The companies say the assets are producing around 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from more than 270 wells. About 57 per cent of production is condensate, highly valued as a diluent blended with oilsands bitumen to allow it to flow in a pipeline. Analysts said the company beat their fourth-quarter estimates on production and average selling prices although both measures fell compared with the same period in 2019. "CPG closed the chapter on a highly successful year in its business transformation toward becoming a more sustainable producer generating significant free cash flow, which should be complemented by the upcoming (Shell) acquisition," Desjardins analyst Chris MacCulloch wrote in a report. Crescent Point reported producing 111,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, about 90 per cent crude oil and petroleum liquids, in the fourth quarter, down from 145,000 boe/d in the fourth quarter of 2019. It attributed the drop to capital spending cuts enacted early in 2020 as oil prices fell. It's average realized fourth-quarter oil price was $49.40 per barrel, down from $65.27 in the year-earlier period. It reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $51 million or 10 cents per share, compared with a loss of $932 million or $1.73 per share in the same period of 2019. On Wednesday, it confirmed 2021 production guidance released with the Shell announcement last week of about 134,000 boe/d, as well as a 2021 capital budget of about $600 million (both assuming the deal is closed). That's up from Crescent Point's average output of 121,600 boe/d during 2020 and down from actual 2020 capital spending of $655 million. The company reported net debt of about $2.1 billion at year-end, paid down by over $615 million during the year. It said it also removed about $60 million in budgeted operating expenses in 2020. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:CPG) Dan Healing, The Canadian Press
Trudy Hodges, Family and Community Support Services director, and Amie Greene, FCSS program services co-ordinator, presented an update on 2020 operations to council in delegation. In 2020, Beaverlodge FCSS served 33 clients through its home support program, including 30 seniors. Home support made 232 visits, according to Hodges’ presentation. The food bank served 61 families and another 187 individuals throughout 2020, with an additional 61 Christmas hampers prepared. FCSS also helped residents complete 110 income tax returns. FCSS had 615 requests for service in 2020, from 498 town residents, 102 County of Grande Prairie residents and 15 others. City residents may be examples of “others” who used programs like babysitting courses, Greene said. Use of FCSS services was generally down in 2020; FCSS would typically complete 150 to 170 income tax returns, Greene said. Programs like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit may account for less demand for FCSS services, Hodges said. FCSS received $60,800 of its budget from the Alberta government and $30,400 from the county, with the remaining $269,000 provided by the town, Hodges said. Municipal election: Council also approved two motions to prepare for the Oct. 18 municipal election. Coun. Judy Kokotilo-Bekkerus’ motion to set two advance voting dates, Oct. 9 and Oct. 13 at the community centre, was carried. Coun. Cyndi Corbett’s motion to establish a voting station at Amisk Court from 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 18, in addition to the main voting location at the community centre 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., was carried. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
"State of Terror" will be out this fall.
ATHENS, Greece — The former director of Greece’s National Theatre appeared Wednesday before a public prosecutor to respond to child abuse allegations in a case that has triggered a major political dispute and a debate on reforms needed to prosecute sex crimes. The 56-year-old suspect was taken into police custody on Saturday and resigned his position as the theatre's artistic director earlier this month. Defence lawyer Alexis Kougias denied the charges on behalf of his client and formally requested that the case be dismissed. He said the court granted a 24-hour extension to present a defence. Under Greek law, suspects are not named before trial unless exceptions are made to serve the public interest or they voluntarily identify themselves to assist their defence. Kougias has identified his client as prominent Greek actor-director Dimitris Lignadis, who was escorted in handcuffs by police to the court building and made no remarks to reporters outside Wednesday. Opposition parties argue that the culture minister in Greece’s centre-right government responded too slowly to the allegations and should be removed. Multiple cases of alleged sexual misconduct and abuse have been made public since Greek Olympic sailing champion Sofia Bekatorou alleged that she had been sexually assaulted by a sailing federation official in 1998. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has promised to outline proposed legal changes in parliament on Thursday to make it easier for victims of sexual assault to report the crimes. The Associated Press
TUCSON, Ariz. — It is now illegal in Tucson, Arizona, to enforce dress code or grooming policies that discriminate against hair texture and hairstyles in the workplace and public schools, officials said. The Tucson City Council voted Tuesday to adopt the Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, or CROWN Act, joining multiple cities across the country in passing the ordinance, the Arizona Daily Star reported. The ordinance has been part of a national campaign promoted by Dove, the National Urban League, Color Of Change and Western Center on Law and Poverty. It also prohibits workplace discrimination based on headdresses worn for cultural or religious reasons. “We want to be sure there are no barriers for people in the workplace and in schools,” said Annie Sykes, president of Tucson’s Black Women’s Task Force. “These barriers are usually rooted in discrimination and prejudice.” Sykes cited a study showing that Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from work because of their hair and 80% more likely to feel like they have to change their hair to fit in at work. “Your hair is your crown and it connects us to our culture and to our ancestry,” said Desiree Cook, a licensed hair stylist and founder of the local organization, I AM YOU 360. “So we ask that those crowns are honoured, whether it be in schools, in the community or the workplace.” The Tucson ordinance will be enforced through the human relations section of the city code and will apply to any facility or business with public accommodations, officials said. Violations can bring civil penalties. The Associated Press
ANHCORAGE, Alaska — A highly transmissible coronavirus variant originally traced to Brazil has been discovered in Alaska. The variant was found in a specimen of an Anchorage resident who developed COVID-19 symptoms, the Anchorage Daily News reported. The person had no known travel history. It’s the sixth case of the variant found in five U.S. states, officials said. Dr. Joe McLaughlin, an epidemiologist with the state health department, said there is evidence to suggest the P.1 variant is more transmissible than the original virus and that its mutations also “appear to change the antigenic profile of the virus.” That means it can potentially be contracted by someone who was already infected or who has been vaccinated. It’s also troublesome that the person in the Alaska case has no known travel history. “That does make it more concerning,” he told the newspaper. “So we are trying to do a thorough epidemiological investigation to figure out where the person actually got infected from.” The person ate at an Anchorage restaurant with at least one other person in late January and didn’t wear a mask. The infected person developed symptoms four days later and tested positive on Feb. 8 There is at least one person who had close contact with the infected person. The state has had two cases of people with the coronavirus variant first identified in the United Kingdom. “COVID is still circulating,” McLaughlin said, adding that more variant cases will likely be detected even as cases overall continue to decline. “We really want people to continue following all the mitigation strategies,” McLaughlin said. “There’s a reasonably high probability that the infection may have incurred while the person was eating at a restaurant with another person, so we just want to make sure people continue to stay within their social bubbles.” Alaska reported 58 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the statewide total to 55,560. The state has reported 287 deaths. Alaska has administered 232,811 doses of vaccine. Of those, 89,147 have been second doses. Alaska’s total population is about 731,000. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and death. The Associated Press
OTTAWA — A new report says too many federal inmates in isolation aren't getting a few hours a day out of their cells, pushing them into territory that could be described as inhuman treatment or even torture. Citing federal data, the report says nearly three in 10 prisoners in isolation units didn't have all or any of the four hours out of their cells they are supposed to get, for two weeks at a time. A further one in 10 were kept in excessive isolation for 16 days or longer, which by international laws and Canadian rulings constitutes cruel treatment. The findings suggest the federal prison system is falling well short of the guidelines the Liberals ushered in for "structured intervention units" designed to allow better access to programming and mental-health care for inmates who need to be kept apart from other prisoners. Prisoners transferred to the units are supposed to be allowed out of their cells for four hours each day, with two of those hours engaged in "meaningful human contact." The report by two criminologists says there needs to be better oversight of how the units are managed, adding the results show Canada commits "torture by another name." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Shawinigan - Le maire de Shawinigan Michel Angers a confirmé mardi midi, lors de son traditionnel bilan organisé par la Chambre de commerce, qu’il serait officiellement candidat aux élections municipales l'automne prochain. Le principal intéressé avait laissé entendre en novembre dernier qu’il y avait de fortes chances qu’il soit de la course, ce qu’il a officialisé mardi midi, devant les gens d’affaires, réunis sur une plateforme de réunion virtuelle. «J'ai bien réfléchi. Je suis en forme et il y a encore beaucoup de défis, dont la pandémie, pour Shawinigan. J'ai toujours dit que quand je serai dans une zone de confort, je ferai autre chose, mais ce moment n'est pas venu», a-t-il laissé tomber. «Si je n'étais pas prêt à peser à fond sur l'accélérateur, il n'y aurait pas de demi-mesures. C'est pleinement ou ce n'est pas du tout», a indiqué le maire, qui précise avoir pris le temps des Fêtes pour réfléchir à sa position. Se gardant bien de dévoiler l'ensemble de ses idées pour un éventuel quatrième mandat, M. Angers a tout de même assuré vouloir faire de la création d'emploi, de la lutte à la pauvreté et à l'exclusion et de l'augmentation des services offerts à la population quelques unes de ses principales priorités. Malgré le fait que cette campagne se déroulera fort probablement en pandémie, celui qui est maire de Shawinigan depuis 2009 n'entend pas changer une recette gagnante. «J'ai toujours mené des campagnes toujours positives. J'aime les campagnes électorales, j'aime les élections. Bien sûr, les médias sociaux joueront un rôle majeur et important, le porte à porte sera plus difficile à faire, alors on trouvera les moyens, sûrement numériques, de rejoindre les gens. Je trouverai des moyens cet été, en fonction des décisions de la Santé publique, de rencontrer gens et je ferai les ajustements nécessaires.» Si certains croient qu'il pourrait s'agir pour lui d'un dernier mandat au municipal, Michel Angers n'entend pas se consacrer à un autre palier politique dans le futur. «Je pense sincèrement que la plus belle politique est la municipale. J'ai été sollicité à plusieurs reprises pour d'autres paliers et je n'ai pas d'intérêt pour la politique provinciale ou pour la politique fédérale. J'aime que les gens puissent nous interpeller dans la rue. Je suis le capitaine du bateau et je sens que j'ai les coudées franches pour faire du développement économique, du développement social. Cette capacité de pouvoir bouger me nourrit et m'anime. Est-ce que j'ai le goût d'être un matelot dans un bateau plus gros? Probablement pas. Est-ce que j'ai le goût d'être un matelot dans un bateau encore plus gros? Encore moins», souligne-t-il, précisant du même coup qu'il entend se consacrer au bénévolat une fois sa carrière politique derrière lui. Bilan positif, malgré la COVID-19 Lors de son allocution, le maire Angers a relevé que l'économie de sa municipalité s'en est plutôt bien tirée dans la dernière année, malgré la pandémie. Parmi les bons coups, Michel Angers a notamment noté que la Ville a soutenu 158 entreprises en 2020, pour une aide financière de 3,2 millions $, générant du coup 6,8 millions $ en investissements. La mesure a permis de créer 121 emplois et d'en maintenir 116. Le maire sortant a également rappelé que Shawinigan a fait partie d'un projet-pilote l'été dernier qui autorisait les restaurants à utiliser des espaces publics pour agrandir leurs terrasses. Monsieur Angers a aussi souligné la vitalité des secteurs industriels et immobilier, deux domaines en forte expansion à la ville. Ce dernier mise beaucoup sur la Zone d'innovation, ce concept du gouvernement du Québec qui vise à augmenter la commercialisation des innovations, les exportations, les investissements locaux et étrangers et la productivité des entreprises. Le premier magistrat s'est aussi fait une fierté de souligner la croissance démographique de Shawinigan qui, en cinq ans, a connu une croissance de 1,7% de sa population, alors que tous les indicateurs prévoyaient une baisse nette à cet égard sur la période indiquée. Marc-André Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nouvelliste