Sameer Zuberi, Liberal MP of the Pierrefonds-Dollard riding in Montreal, talks about the push to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics amid reported human rights abuses of China’s Uighur population and other Muslim minorities.
Sameer Zuberi, Liberal MP of the Pierrefonds-Dollard riding in Montreal, talks about the push to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics amid reported human rights abuses of China’s Uighur population and other Muslim minorities.
Canada's health officials spoke about the recent change in guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on the time between two COVID-19 vaccine doses, and how that may contribute to vaccine hesitancy in Canada.
LIVERPOOL, England — Liverpool’s woeful home form is developing into a full-blown crisis after Chelsea’s 1-0 victory on Thursday inflicted a fifth straight league loss at Anfield on the Premier League champions — the worst run in the club’s 128-year history. With Liverpool's title defence already over, this was billed as a battle for a Champions League place and Mason Mount’s 42nd-minute goal lifted Chelsea back into the top four. Chelsea’s previous win at Anfield, in 2014, effectively ended the title hopes of Brendan Rodgers’ side. This one was a blow to Liverpool’s chances of a top-four finish under Jurgen Klopp. Klopp’s side is four points adrift of Chelsea and with Everton and West Ham also ahead. Liverpool has now gone more than 10 hours without a goal from open play at Anfield. The hosts failed to register an effort on target until the 85th minute and Georginio Wijnaldum’s weak header was never going to beat Edouard Mendy. They have taken one point from the last 21 on offer at home since Christmas and scored just two goals, one of which was a penalty. None of Liverpool's established front three — Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane or Roberto Firmino — impressed but the sight of Salah, the Premier League’s leading scorer, being substituted just past the hour mark was baffling. The Egypt international certainly thought so as he sat shaking his head, having been replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Chelsea, by contrast, looked full of threat with Timo Werner — a player Liverpool was interested in but decided it could not afford last summer — a constant problem. Despite one goal in his previous 17 league outings, he caused problems with his movement, drifting out to the left then popping into the middle to give Fabinho a real headache on his return to the side. The Brazil midfielder, replacing Nat Phillips after he became the latest centre back to pick up an injury, was partnering Ozan Kabak in Liverpool’s 15th different central-defensive starting partnership in 27 league matches. Faced with a statistic like that, it is perhaps understandable why there was a lack of cohesion at the back and Werner should really have profited. He fired one early shot over and then failed to lift his effort over Alisson Becker, back in goal after the death of his father in Brazil last week. Even when Werner did beat Alisson, VAR ruled the Germany international’s arm had been offside 20 yards earlier in the build-up. Liverpool’s one chance fell to Mane but Salah’s first-time ball over the top got caught under his feet and Mane missed his shot with only Mendy to beat. Chelsea was still controlling the game and caught Liverpool on the counterattack when N’Golo Kante quickly sent a loose ball out to the left wing, from where Mount cut inside to beat Alisson having been given far too much time to pick his spot. All five of Mount’s league goals have come away from home. Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel spent the first five minutes of the second half screaming at his players to press harder and play higher up the pitch but Liverpool’s players were equally vocal when Firmino’s cross hit the raised arm of Kante from close range. No penalty was awarded. Andy Robertson cleared off the line from Hakim Ziyech after Alisson parried Ben Chilwell’s shot as Chelsea continued to look more dangerous. Klopp’s attempt to change the direction of the game saw him send on Diogo Jota for his first appearance in three months, along with Oxlade-Chamberlain. Jota’s first touch was a half-chance from a deep cross but he was not sharp enough to take it. Werner, meanwhile, was doing everything but score as Alisson’s leg saved another shot as he bore down on goal. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Windsor will be working with existing shelters when it comes to providing services at a hotel it's in the process of purchasing to house people experiencing homelessness, according to a city councillor. Rino Bortolin says organizations such as the Salvation Army, Downtown Mission and The Welcome Centre Shelter for Women will not lose funding or be left in a lurch because of the city's plan to buy a facility of its own. "We as a city are not really the most direct [or] hands-on. We will be working with our partners on the ground to provide these services," explained the Ward 3 councillor, who represents a large section of the downtown core. "This is about everyone working together for a better system. By no means is the city leaving our partners and doing something rogue." Few details of the plan, including the location of the facility, have been released right now. But Bortolin said he anticipates more information will be provided in the next week or two. Andrew Teliszewsky, chief of staff for Mayor Drew Dilkens, told CBC News in an email Wednesday that city council had approved the deal during an in-camera meeting earlier this year and the legal steps to acquire the site are already underway. The planned purchase follows the Review of Emergency Shelter Services in Windsor Essex. A copy of the review on the city's website is dated July 14, 2020. Teliszewsky said it went to council in the fall of 2020. Among its findings was the need for more shelter space dedicated to women with or without children, youth and young adults. "The one thing that was a glaring need for specifically for families and specifically for women was increased services," said Bortolin. "So increased services means a bigger shelter." City tapping into provincial funding However, the recommendations section of the review also advises that the city deliver services through third-parties — namely the shelters and organizations already doing the work. "Direct delivery has the potential for higher costs and would not allow the city to leverage the resources and existing expertise of community partners to meet shelter needs," it reads. The review goes on to add that Windsor should explore opportunities for more family shelter beds and a dedicated facility, but notes funds "are currently not available to support" the investment in a building. When asked why buy a hotel, rather than investing in the services already running shelters in the city, Teliszewsky said the city is already regularly paying to house families in hotels when shelter space runs out. He also pointed to provincial funding that includes a grant program under which municipalities can buy a facility. "The province made available funding and we didn't want to leave it on the table," he said. "It provides the opportunity for the city to acquire a property, where in previous years we have been renting, so it relives an operating budget line item and will give us flexibility to implement some recommendations from the Emergency Shelter Review, which council had endorsed." Long-term goal is permanent housing Officials also said that just because the city is purchasing the site, does not mean it will be the one operating it. Ron Dunn, executive director of the Downtown Mission, said Wednesday evening that he was just hearing about the plans to purchase a hotel, but described the move as "progressive." "We need maybe smaller shelters. The hotel seems to fit that bill," he said. "[The mayor] did state that he's going to work with existing shelters. There's only three of us, so I think it's great." The Downtown Mission on Victoria Avenue is one of three shelters currently operating in the city. A review which went to council states ore services for women and young persons are needed in the community. (Dale Molnar/CBC) Bortolin said the need for services for the homeless community should be clear to anyone walking through downtown. While shelters serve an immediate need and can offer a bed for a night, they're just a start. "The long-term effort is permanent housing," he said. "The one cure for homelessness is housing"
CHARLOTTETOWN — Health officials in Prince Edward Island are reporting one new case of COVID-19 today. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison says the case involves a man in his 60s who is a close contact of a previously reported infection. She says the man initially tested negative but was retested after developing symptoms. Morrison is reminding all Islanders to get tested if they experience any symptoms of COVID-19 and to isolate until the results come back. Prince Edward Island has 23 active reported cases of COVID-19. The province has reported a total of 138 infections and no deaths linked to the virus. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s memoir "Guantánamo Diary," has been adapted into a movie, The Mauritanian, which also awarded Jodie Foster her most recent Golden Globe.
ATLANTA — Georgia moved closer Thursday to the possible repeal of an 1863 law that lets private citizens make an arrest, more than a year after the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man chased by white men who said they suspected he had committed a crime. House Bill 479 was approved unanimously by the chamber's Judiciary Committee and could soon move to the House floor for a vote. Georgia's current law was enacted during the Civil War and allows citizens to arrest someone if a crime is committed in their presence or they have “immediate knowledge” that a crime has been committed. Critics say it has long been used to justify lynchings of African Americans. Gov. Brian Kemp has endorsed the bill, saying Arbery’s death on Feb. 23, 2020, shows it’s time for the law to be changed. “Some tried to justify the actions of the killers by claiming they had protection under an antiquated law that is ripe for abuse,” Kemp said last month. The bill would remove from state law the broad powers granted to ordinary citizens to make an arrest, while allowing store and restaurant employees to detain those suspected of stealing. Licensed security guards and private detectives also would be able to make arrests. A previous version of the bill limited the time a person could be detained before police arrive to one hour, but that was changed to stipulate a person could be held for a “reasonable” amount of time. The father and son who armed themselves and pursued Arbery, Greg and Travis McMichael, weren’t arrested or charged until more than two months after the shooting. The first outside prosecutor assigned to the case cited Georgia’s citizen arrest law in a letter to police arguing the shooting was justified. The McMichaels’ lawyers have said they pursued Arbery suspecting he was a burglar, after security cameras had previously recorded him entering a home under construction. They said Travis McMichael shot Arbery while fearing for his life as they grappled over a shotgun. The McMichaels were charged with murder. Video of the fatal encounter was taken by William “Roddie” Bryan, a neighbour who joined the chase and also was later charged with murder. Prosecutors have said Arbery stole nothing and was merely out jogging when the McMichaels and Bryan chased him. They remain jailed without bond. The Associated Press
A pair of provincial candidates running in Labrador have taken it upon themselves to get some voting information translated into the Innu and Inuit languages. Concerns over the mail-in ballots only being available in English were brought up by candidates shortly after the announcement that there would be no in-person voting, and the concerns haven’t abated. Elections NL told SaltWire Network that “when the election moved to vote by mail only, the chief electoral officer sought translation assistance from our jurisdictional partners.” “Unfortunately, the timelines for such a translation process would not have met Elections Newfoundland and Labrador’s timelines for mailing out voting kits.” Patricia Johnson-Castle, who is running for the NDP in Torngat Mountains, has been vocal regarding her concern about the potential disenfranchisement of non-English-speaking Indigenous voters in Labrador. Last week she decided to get some of the basic election information, such as voting deadlines and how to reach Elections NL, translated into Inuktitut and Innu-aimun and to distribute it online and in print. Johnson-Castle said when it became clear that they weren’t going to be able to get the information translated from Elections NL, she looked for people to translate some of the information, which took no time at all. It has always been a concern that ballots are only in English, she said, but past elections involved in-person voting, where people could take family with them to help translate, or avail of local, bilingual election staff. “In person, people could make a plan, but by text, that’s much more difficult for people to do, especially because some of the terms are very technical,” she said. “People in Labrador always have to accommodate for services that should be provided by the provincial government and this is just another part of that.” Lake Melville Progressive Conservative candidate Shannon Tobin has also taken it upon himself to provide translation election materials, specifically about the mail-in ballot. Tobin told SaltWire he had received his on Wednesday and was going to have it translated into Innu-aimun for a video. He said it became a larger issue as the campaign went on, and began when the information at the advance polls was only available in English and people were relying on his scrutineer to provide them with instructions in Innu-aimun. When the changeover to mail-in ballots only was announced, there was an indication at first from Elections NL that it would accommodate non-English-speakers, Tobin said, but then Elections NL said it would not meet the timelines. “It’s something Election NL should have had in place from the start,” he said. “We have governments talking about reconciliation. It needs to go throughout government. It should have been done. They should have been making these accommodations for a while.” He said it is “easily foreseeable” that people would have wanted access to this information in their Indigenous language and it should have been in place before now. Elections NL said it will “commit to seeking translation services to provide materials in Innu-aimun, Inuktitut, Mi’gmaq/Mi’kmaq and French immediately following this election.” Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
FREDERICTON — Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting five new cases of COVID-19 today. Three of the cases are in the Edmundston region, while the Moncton and Miramichi regions each have one new case. There are now 36 active cases in the province and three patients are hospitalized, including two in intensive care. A recently reported presumptive case of a variant in the Miramichi region has been confirmed by Winnipeg’s National Microbiology Laboratory to be the B.1.1.7 variant that originated in the United Kingdom. Mass testing clinics have been set up in the Miramichi area to determine if there has been any further spread of the virus. Since the onset of the pandemic, there have been 1,443 confirmed cases in New Brunswick and 28 COVID-19-related deaths, This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — New federal guidelines on increasing the interval between vaccine doses should permit all Nova Scotians who want a COVID-19 vaccine to get one shot by the end of June, Premier Iain Rankin said Thursday. The new recommendations by the national panel of vaccine experts mean the province can stop holding back half its vaccine supply as booster shots and instead vaccinate more people with a single dose, Rankin said. With the shipments of at least three vaccines expected to increase over the coming weeks, there should be enough supply to provide at least one dose to those who want one by the start of summer, he added. "As we move forward we will not have to hold that (quantity) back," Rankin told reporters following his first cabinet meeting since becoming premier. "If you do the math that means that with the doses that we have been promised ... all Nova Scotians would be able to get their first dose by the end of June." Nova Scotia's stated goal is to immunize 70 per cent of its population by September. Rankin said there will likely be more details about the province's plan at Friday's COVID-19 briefing. On Wednesday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended provinces wait four month between doses when faced with a limited supply, in order to quickly immunize as many people as possible. Nova Scotia is to get 13,000 doses of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine next week, which would be added to its supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The AstraZeneca shipment must be used by April 2 and is to be administered to residents across the province aged 50 to 64 years starting March 15. The vaccine will be given out at 26 locations on a first come, first served basis. Also Thursday, health officials announced that restrictions on restaurant operating hours and sporting events will be lifted in Halifax and its surrounding regions on Friday morning. Residents of long-term care homes in the Halifax area are still limited to receiving visits from two designated caregivers. Officials say the restrictions for long-term care residents will remain in place in the region until March 27. The province reported three new cases of COVID-19 Thursday — all in the Halifax area. Two involved contacts of previously reported cases and the third was under investigation. Nova Scotia has 29 active reported cases of the disease. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press
"Prince. Andrew. Is. Right. There."
Canada's premiers are demanding that Ottawa immediately give them an extra $28 billion for health care this year, with a promise of at least a five-per-cent hike in the annual transfer payment each year thereafter.
A first-of-its-kind grassroots networking event has a youth social agency in Kamloops confident it has the ear of government, with a summary report forthcoming. Staff from A Way Home Kamloops Society, who have experienced homelessness in their youth, pitched solutions for ending youth homelessness to provincial government representatives and service providers recently at a virtual conference they organized. Aging out of foster care, substance use, mental health, cultural supports, LGBTQ2S+ experiences, education and employment were up for discussion via Zoom meetings. “If even this only plants the seed for change, that’s incredible because there’s still more to come,” said Kira Cheeseborough said, peer navigator for A Way Home Kamloops. A two-day summit with provincial representatives — as originally planned prior to the pandemic — is still expected to take place sometime in the near future, when COVID-19 restrictions ease. At the virtual event, A Way Home Kamloops youth advisors stressed the need to ensure no youth ages out of foster care before safe, appropriate housing and after-care supports are available as a key solution to ending youth homelessness. Another recommendation was to create a provincial plan. “If we can prevent youth from experiencing homelessness, it doesn’t become a pathway to adult homelessness,” Cheeseborough said. The three-hour virtual event drew 57 attendees, with representatives from BC Housing, the Attorney General’s office, the Ministry of Children and Family Development, including Minister Mitzi Dean, and the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, including Minister Sheila Malcolmson. Cheeseborough said a report of key findings and feedback from attendees will be made public in mid-March. Minister Dean said the MCFD is working to improve services and supports for those who are transitioning from government care, noting input from youth and young adults will play a key role in shaping those services. “Hearing directly from young people is critical to better understanding how we can meet their unique needs and I am grateful to everyone who shared their story,” Dean said. Youth Advisor Mel Hedch told KTW she is happy they were able to have the ear of key decision-makers in the field as it means they have a greater chance of improving the situations of homeless youth in B.C. “It was so exciting to have them and I look forward to, in the future, the different summit and conference we’ll have, where we’ll be expanding so much than we already have,” Hedch said. Last year, A Way Home Kamloops organized what was to be a localized event, dubbed the Light The Way Youth Homelessness Conference, but it was expanded in scope to include provincial representatives — something Cheeseborough credits to the work of the organization’s late executive director, Katherine McParland. The event, however, was delayed last summer due to COVID-19 restrictions, which is why the virtual Youth Homelessness Preliminary Summit proceeded this year. “The preliminary summit was an opportunity for the youth advisors to be celebrated in their resiliency and strength, not only through COVID, but in the tragic passing of Katherine McParland. She was an incredible leader,” Cheeseborough said. McParland, 33, died suddenly in Kamloops on Dec. 5, 2020. Michael Potestio, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kamloops This Week
Port Alberni, BC - As B.C. moved to Phase 2 of its immunization plan on Monday, the Nuu-chah-nulth nations of Tseshaht and Hupacasath remained unsure when COVID-19 vaccines would reach their communities. The province’s shift in approach, which prioritizes age groups, prompted confusion from community leaders who said that it deviated from the community-wide vaccination plan that was promised. In a letter addressed to B.C.’s health ministry on Feb. 26, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council said “the initial plan and framework [included] having every single First Nation on Vancouver Island vaccinated by March.” Mariah Charleson, NTC vice-president, said that the province’s lack of communication is “alarming.” “There was no consultation at all with any First Nation leadership regarding this big change,” she said. “We’re worried for the two communities that didn’t receive the [vaccine].” However, today the worry is over as eligible community members living on-reserve in Tseshaht and Hupacasath began receiving their first dose of the Moderna vaccine. Ken Watts, Tseshaht First Nation elected chief, described it as a “big relief.” While standing outside the vaccine clinic at Maht Mahs Gym in Port Alberni, Watts looked to a line-up of around 20 vehicles. “We have a lot of happy elders and community members,” he said. “They’re really excited.” Advocating for his members by “pushing politically at all levels,” Watts said that the “pressure helped.” The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) said community-based vaccination clinics organized in partnership with First Nation communities will continue through the roll-out of Phase 2. “The province of B.C.’s vaccination strategy calls for rural and remote First Nations communities to be vaccinated in Phase 1 and the balance of First Nations communities as part of Phase 2 by the end of March,” said a spokesperson from FNHA. “Vaccine availability has hampered this plan until just recently and the timeline is still realistic.” On Monday, the province announced it is extending the interval between first and second doses of vaccines to four months. The delay in administration of second doses means every eligible person in B.C. can receive the first dose by mid-to-late July. "At every step of the way, we are putting the health and safety of British Columbians first,” said Premier John Horgan in a media release. "B.C. was one of the first provinces to lay out our vaccine plan, and now we're moving to Phase 2 to reach even more of our seniors and elders. We're getting vaccine into arms as fast as we can given early supply delays from manufacturers, and we're seeing it start to make a difference for people and their communities throughout our province.” While Charleson said she was relieved Tseshaht and Hupacasath would receive community-wide vaccinations, she stands behind her frustration in the province’s lack of consultation with First Nations leadership. “It’s a lot of change and it’s literally just been flying at us,” she said. “We haven’t been a part of those discussions – we’re being told.” As part of Phase 2 of the province’s largest vaccination roll-out in history, over 400,000 people in B.C. will be immunized from March to early-April. Seniors and high-risk people residing in independent living and senior’s supportive housing - including staff - are being immunized, which began on Monday. All Indigenous peoples born in 1956 or earlier will be eligible to receive the vaccine and can call to book their vaccine appointment on March 8. "We can now see the light at the end of what has been a difficult and challenging time for us all,” said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in a release. “To get us through, we need to continue to work together and support each other. We are working hard each and every day to make sure that everyone who wants a vaccine gets one.” As of March 1, 283,182 doses of vaccine have been administered in B.C., 86,537 of which are second shots. With immunizations underway for the remaining two Nuu-chah-nulth nations, Watts said he can breathe a little easier. “I don’t think you know how much of a relief today is,” he said. Melissa Renwick, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Ha-Shilth-Sa
We might take a starry night sky for granted in our corner of the province, but Quetico Provincial Park has proven itself dedicated to providing a celestial haven for night owls that is guaranteed to be free of intrusive light pollution. The park has recently earned itself a certification from the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) recognizing it as a Dark Sky park, a location that has met stringent regulations that help to curb the impacts of light pollution in the night sky, as well as the negative effects it can have on plants and animals - including humans. Quetico has now joined its "sister parks" Voyageurs National Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in their Dark Sky Park designation, and is only the third Provincial Park in Ontario to achieve the feat. Trevor Gibb is the park superintendent for Quetico Provincial Park and he noted the recognition from the international association really highlights the efforts that park staff have made in order to keep the park as pristine as possible. "The Dark Sky Park designation is awarded to a park that has an exceptional quality of starry night skies and an exceptional nocturnal environment," he explained. "It has to be a park that's protected for scientific, natural, educational or cultural reasons and have opportunities for the public to visit the park and enjoy it. You have to meet a bunch of criteria to be considered for Dark Sky Park status, but the key criteria is just the quality of the night sky." Light and fixtures that aren't designed with dark skies in mind contribute to light pollution that both hampers the natural vistas of the Milky Way galaxy. Think of the glow you can see when driving at night as you approach the nearest town or city, or how few stars can be seen from inside of town versus out in the country. Light pollution can also have negative impacts on the natural processes and behaviours of plants and animals in the environment, similar to how it can throw off our circadian rhythms and make going to bed at healthy times much more difficult. In order to achieve that Dark Sky Park recognition, Gibb explained there were several steps, two years in the making, that had to be taken in order to reduce the amount of light that would beam up into the sky at night. "It was a lot of work," he said. "It's a voluntary process, but it's quite the rigorous application process with the IDA. One of the first things we had to do was an inventory of all of our light fixtures around the park, park offices and campgrounds, and then we had to create a lighting management plan to change all the lighting we needed to change to dark sky friendly outdoor lighting." The changes to fixtures doesn't mean taking them away, as that can create safety hazards. Instead, Gibb noted that new fixtures were installed that directed light downwards instead of allowing it to beam up into the night sky. Another step in the process was proving to the IDA that the night sky is "exceptionally dark, beautiful and free of light" as Gibb put it, which is obvious to anyone who has camped out under the stars at Quetico, but hard to convince with word of mouth alone. The answer, then, was plenty of legwork and some very late nights. "Starting in 2019, we sent our park rangers all over the park, but into the backcountry as well to do sky quality measurements in the middle of the night to measure the darkness of the night sky," Gibb said. "Over time, since this is an annual thing we'll be reporting on, it will show improvements or degradation of the quality of the night sky due to light pollution. We owe a huge kudos to our backcountry rangers for paddling all day long, clearing portages, and then waking up in the middle of the night. They have to take these readings during astronomical darkness. In August, that's the middle-middle of the night, like 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning." Gibb said there isn't a lot that will change for visitors to the park now that Quetico is Dark Sky certified. The park will have some new educational signage and publications to teach campers and other park visitors of the importance of keeping skies dark, and those who camp overnight will be encouraged to keep their own lights to a minimum in order to let everyone experience the majesty of the stars. "At Quetico and Ontario Parks, what we do is preserve the natural environment and we are concerned with maintaining the ecological integrity of our parks," he said. "This is just one way that we can do that by reducing our light pollution in our campgrounds and developed areas and promote the importance of natural night skies." For more information of the International Dark-Sky Association, their initiatives and the importance of combating light pollution, visit their website at www.darksky.org. Ken Kellar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort Frances Times
GameStop shares closed up 6.4% at $131.93 after earlier hitting $147.87, their highest since a surge in the heavily shorted stock late last month. One analyst and some Twitter users pointed to a cryptic tweet by Ryan Cohen, a major shareholder of GameStop and founder of e-commerce firm Chewy.com, as a plausible reason for the move, although Reuters could not independently determine causation. The late afternoon rally in GameStop began roughly around the time that Cohen tweeted what appeared to be a screenshot with the puppet dog advertising mascot of Pets.com, a famous casualty of the dotcom bubble two decades ago.
Once upon a time, dear children, before you were born, they made a fairytale movie about a kingdom called Zamunda. “Coming to America,” starring Eddie Murphy at the height of his popularity and charisma, became a huge hit and a cult classic. In this film, dear children, Murphy played Prince Akeem — he didn’t need to be called Prince Charming, because he was already so darned charming. We met him on the morning of his 21st birthday, awakening in his palace bedroom to a full orchestra, servants tossing rose petals at his feet, and gorgeous naked women servicing him in the bathtub until his royal appendage was deemed clean. Oops! Sorry, kids. Some parts of “Coming To America” didn’t age very well. Including most of the stuff about women. But 33 years and one #MeToo movement later, it’s time for a reboot. The good news about “Coming 2 America,” directed by Craig Brewer, is that things have gotten better for women in Zamunda. Yes, it’s still a patriarchy (more on that soon) and yes, there are still obedient royal bathers. But we don’t see their naked breasts or backsides. There’s also a bathtub gag involving the great Leslie Jones that flips the gender dynamic entirely and gratifyingly (especially for her). And now, Prince Akeem is not a randy young heir but an established family man. Happily married for 30 years to Princess Lisa — the bride he found in Queens in the last film — he has three daughters, brave and feisty. The eldest wants to be his heir. A female heir? That’s not done, in Zamunda. But the times, they are — or might be — a-changin'. That’s the good news. The bad news is that this sequel, despite (or perhaps because of) its nod to modern sensibilities, isn’t nearly as funny or edgy as the original. It has seemingly everything -- the original cast, some well-known newcomers, high-profile cameos — and eye-popping costumes by the great Ruth E. Carter (an Oscar winner for “Black Panther”). It has set pieces and choreography and de-aging technology and overlaying plot lines. What it has less of, is fun. Still, just like we go to college reunions 30 years later to recapture the magic, fans of the first will flock to it on Amazon Prime. They likely won’t be too disappointed. Especially because, despite the knowing references to urban gentrification, transgender offspring, Teslas and even unnecessary movie sequels, little has really changed. Obviously Murphy is back, as producer and star. So is Arsenio Hall, as trusty sidekick Semmi (and a bunch of other roles). Also back: the stately James Earl Jones as King Jaffe Joffer; Shari Headley as Lisa (a seriously underwritten role); and Louie Anderson as Maurice. John Amos is back as Lisa’s dad, still ripping off McDonald’s. And of course the My-T-Sharp barbershop crew is back in Queens. A new presence is the casually appealing Jermaine Fowler as Lavelle, Akeem’s previously unknown son. Celebrity guests include a highly amusing Wesley Snipes as flamboyant General Izzi, leader of Nexdoria (next door); Tracy Morgan as Lavelle’s uncle; and Jones as his uninhibited mother. Another “Saturday Night Live” face, Colin Jost, makes the most of a brief cameo. Among notable musical appearances, Gladys Knight sings “Midnight Train From Zamunda.” The plot follows a familiar trajectory, beginning in Zamunda and travelling to Queens to solve a major need. In this case, the need is not a bride, but a male heir. Akeem, who becomes king upon his father’s death, learns he unknowingly sired a son during that Queens trip three decades ago (it was Semmi’s fault!) He needs a male heir to cement his power. So he brings Lavelle, a ticket scalper who aspires to much more, back to Zamunda, along with Mom. But Lavelle needs to learn royal ways, and pass a “princely test” which includes facing down a lion. There’s also the matter of Akeem’s daughter, Meeka (a luminous KiKi Layne, not given enough screen time), who rightly deserves to be queen one day. Complicating matters entirely, Lavelle falls not for his intended bride, Izzi's daughter, but for his royal barber, Mirembe, who aspires to her own shop one day (women don’t own businesses in Zamunda). Again, it all feels like a 30th reunion — maybe because it IS one — where the liquor flows, old stories are rehashed, the men haven’t aged quite as well as the women, the kids steal the show, and by the end you’re happy to have gone but feel no need to be at the next one. “Coming 2 America,” an Amazon Studios release, has been rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America “for crude and sexual content, language and drug content.” Running time: 110 minutes. Two stars out of four. MPAA definition of PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned, Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
At its March 3 meeting, the Township of Perry’s council discussed several items. Here are quotes from key topics at the meeting. On Park-to-Park trail association “In the future they’re going to be asking for somebody from our area to actually come and sit on the board again like we were in the past,” said Mayor Norm Hofstetter. “People paid $220 for a trail pass for a snowmobile and they’d only get to use that for eight weeks — they buy an ATV and ride it for six months, seven months and they pay $150 for the fee, and I think that’s where a lot of the problem lies, there’s not nearly enough money coming in from ATV use to start repairing the trails so I think moving forward they’re looking at all aspects on how to create revenue again,” said Hofstetter. On the Township of Perry Library “I just wanted to say that we’re still under curbside pickup and depending on how COVID goes now that they’ve changed regulations to the first sign of a symptom … that could affect us but hopefully not. Things seem to be going well there,” said Coun. Margaret Ann MacPhail. On Almaguin Community Economic Development “We just had this brand strategy, we have the final report on that it went really well, they were impressed with all the community input,” said MacPhail, adding that the new logo was user-friendly and looks very nice. On new firefighter recruits “ … There is now a waiting list for young recruits wanting to start in Perry Township. There’s 21 new people have signed on throughout the five departments and Perry has a waiting list of people waiting to get on to the fire department now,” said Hofstetter. “We also have one of our board members is going to be one of the new recruits, so we have somebody who’s in our township that’s a female who’s going to be recruit,” said MacPhail. The Township of Perry’s next council meeting will be held virtually on March 17. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is planning to extend its ban on smoking in indoor public places to First Nations communities.A bill before the legislature proposes to remove an exemption for reserves and other areas of federal jurisdiction, including military bases, from the provincial smoking ban.Ceremonial tobacco use would still be allowed.Audrey Gordon, minister for mental health, wellness and recovery, says the aim is to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke.She says band councils will be consulted.The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs says the province does not have the right to enforce its smoking ban unilaterally.Grand Chief Arlen Dumas says all options are on the table to fight the government's move, including a possible court challenge.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021 The Canadian Press
(Note: This report of the Minutes for the January 13, 2021 council meeting for the RM of Hoodoo No. 401 was written with the approval of Reeve Derreck Kolla, without any corrections that may have been made at the February 12, 2021 meeting, as the adopted minutes were not yet available. Any corrections will be noted and published in the next edition of the Wakaw Recorder.) The regular meeting of the RM of Hoodoo No. 401 was held on January 13, 2021 with the following in attendance: Reeve Derreck Kolla, Councillors Hal Diederichs, Eugene Jungwirth, Reg Wedewer, Donavin Reding, Bruce Cron and Don Gabel along with Administrator Joan Corneil. Councillor Wedewer attended via telephone. Deputy Reeve Reding called the meeting to order at 8:21 am and Cllr. Diederichs moved the adoption of the agenda as presented. Crd. Cllr. Jungwirth then moved that the December 9, 2020 Regular Meeting minutes be approved as corrected. As there were no Notices of Proclamations, presentations, public hearings, or delegations to present to Council the meeting moved forward to Communications. A letter was received in December from Saskatchewan Municipal Hail Insurance detailing the number of claims within the municipality. Cllr. Wedewer moved that it be received and filed Crd. *Garth Burkart entered Chambers at 10:05 am prior to the Foreman’s Report. The Foreman’s report detailed the jobs the foreman had been working on in the month of December and asked for council’s direction going forward. Cllr. Jungwirth moved that the Foreman’s report for December be accepted. Crd. Cllr. Wedewer moved that the Foreman is authorized to order a liner for the lagoon, start the sludge removal using BTI Trucking for sludge removal, stockpiling rocks (for road construction project) and road maintenance, and order Thibault’s culvert. Crd. The Administrator then presented her report after which Cllr. Cron moved that the report from the Administrator for December 9, 2020 to January 13, 2021 be accepted. Crd. Cllr. Gabel moved that the invoice received from the Rural Municipal Administrators Association in the amount of $400.00 be paid and that amount to be included in the budget. Crd. The Financial reports presented by Fay Stewart included the December 2020 bank reconciliation and bank statement, December 2020 financial summary and a detailed report, as well as the list of accounts for approval as of January 13th, 2021. Cllr. Diederichs moved that the CFO report be accepted as presented. Crd. Cllr. Diederichs also moved that the Financial Statements and Bank reconciliation for December 31, 2020 be approved. Crd. *Reeve Kolla entered the Chambers at 10:23 am and resumed the Chair. Cllr. Diederichs moved to approve the following Lists of Accounts with cheques #27821 – 27894 totalling $791,406.81. Crd. Cllr. Gabel further moved that the payment to the Town of Cudwsorth for shared fire costs in the amount of $2,844.37 be paid. Crd. Cllr. Cron moved the SaskWater Logs and Reports for the months of September, October and November 2020 were received and filed. Crd. A motion was made by Reeve Kolla that Council move to Committee of the Whole-in camera at 11:15 am to discuss land, legal, labour and/or strategic planning according to the Municipalities Act Section 120. Crd. *Council recessed for lunch at 12:10 pm and reconvened at 1:13 pm. A motion was made by Reeve Kolla the Council reconvene to Regular Council meeting at 1:22 pm. Crd. Clr. Reding moved that Madsine Madsen be paid for overtime hours worked in the period 2016 to 2018 inclusive in the amount of eight thousand five hundred and twenty-three dollars and fifty-three cents ($8,523.53) less deductions. Crd. The Reeve and Councillors forum followed with the discussion of length of meetings and remuneration (Cllr. Gabel), gravel and RM of St Louis (Cllr. Jungwirth), T4 slip error (Cllr. Reding), and interest from the RM of Aberdeen regarding the purchase of equipment (Reeve Kolla). Items under Unfinished Business were next addressed by council, the first being the appointment of a Pest Control Officer. Cllr. Wedewer moved that council authorizes administration to advertise for a new joint pest control officer for the RM of Hoodoo & RM of Three Lakes for 2021. Crd. The next item related to a previous motion made by council pertaining to the Road Maintenance Agreement with the RM of St. Louis. The RM of St. Louis wrote back rejecting councils request for an increase in the fees paid in the Agreement. Cllr. Jungwirth moved that the correspondence be received and filed. Crd. SGI has opened a grant program called the Provincial Traffic Safety Fund Grant. The program provides funding for digital solar speed signs, Cllr. Deiderichs moved that administration is authorized to apply to SGI for a grant to cover the cost of digital solar speed signs and that the CAO is authorized to sign the agreement if approved by SGI and order the sign(s). Crd. Cllr. Diederichs moved that the following list of Committee Appointments be approved for the Standing Committees: (Reeve is ex-officio on all Standing Committees) Budget: Cllrs. Reding and Gable; Human Resources: Cllrs. Jungwirth and Redewer; OH&S: Cllrs. Diederichs and Cron; Road Committee: Cllrs. Wedewer and Jungwirth; Fire Committee: Cllrs. Diederichs and Wedewer; and to the Outside Boards and Committees Carrot River Valley Watershed Authority: Cllr. Gable alternate Cllr. Cron; Cudworth Community Health Council: Reeve Kolla and CAO; Cudworth Recreation Board: Reeve Kolla; Lakeview Pioneer Lodge: Cllr. Gable; North Central Transportation Planning Committee: Cllr. Cron; REACT: Cllr. Diederichs; St. Michael’s Haven: Cllrs. Diederichs and Wedewer; Wakaw Community Health Council: Cllr. Cron and CAO; Wakaw Regional Park: Cllrs. Cron and Reding; Wakaw Lake Stewardship Group: Cllr. Cron and Madsine Madsen; Wakaw Recreation Board: Cllr. Gable. Crd. Cllr. Cron moved that the quotes received for cyber liability insurance be referred to budget. Crd. The final old business to be dealt with was a request from a ratepayer to waive the tax enforcement charge levied against their 2019 tax arrears, Cllr. Gable moved that the request be received and filed. Crd. The next agenda item was New Business and the first new business presented related to the regular Council meeting dates. Cllr. Wedewer moved that administration be directed to post the Regular Council Meeting dates of the RM of Hoodoo No. 401 as the second Wednesday of each month commencing January 1, 2021 except for the months of May and September, those months to be at the call of the Reeve. Crd. Next Cllr. Jungwirth made a motion relating to the subdivision application for the south half of Section 20-42-26 W2. Cllr. Jungwirth moved that administration is directed to respond to Government Relations – Community Planning that the proposed subdivision of S ½ Sec. 20-42-26 W2M that the intended use Agricultural is not in conflict with surrounding land uses, that there are no RM facilities that will be affected by the subdivision and that a servicing agreement will be required for the construction of the Service road that connects parcels D, F, and G and that the RM is in favour of the subdivision. Crd. The 2021 firefighter appointments for the Hoodoo/Wakaw Fire: Ray Beaumann - Chief, Albert Venne – Deputy Chief, Jeff Kohle – Captain, Brandon Piche – Captain, Terry Oleksyn, Dennet Boschman, Josh Haussecker, Gilbert Maraboto, Rob Michayluk, Jayden Rudichuk, Gregory Frie, Jackson Skoworodko, Cullen Giesbrecht, Tyler Skoworodko (Junior), Darryl Giesbrecht, Matthew Stan, and Steve Tarnowski; Hoodoo/Cudworth Fire: Dar LaRiviere – Chief, Brent Koenning – Deputy Chief, Dallas Baumann – Captain, Dallas Leuschen – Lieutenant, Aaron Hadland, Amanda Sosnowski – First Responder, Amy Loeffelholz – Firefighter/First Responder, Anna-Marie Baumann – First Responder, Anthony Malach, Robin Leuschen – Firefighter/First Responder, Jelmer Wiersma, Clayton Lingel, Jesse Medernach – Firefighter/First Responder, John Eckel – Firefighter/First Responder, Kolby Leuschen, Kreig Lieffers, Kris Lieffers, Marissa Parker, Patrick Miazga, Karis Leuschen (Junior), Robin Leuschen – Firefighter/First Responder, Sheldon Doetzel. Crd. Cllr. Gabel moved that fire agreements fee schedules and wages be received and filed. Crd. Concerning the 2021 Hamlet allocation for the 2021 Municipal Levy, Cllr. Cron moved that Council authorizes the 2021 Hamlet allocation to be set at 40% for the 2021 Municipal Levy for Balone Beach Hamlet and Cudsaskwa Beach Hamlet. Crd. The Declaration of Eligibility must be submitted by January 31, 2021 and Cllr. Reding moved that Council confirms that the RM of Hoodoo No. 401 meets the eligibility requirements to receive the municipal sharing grants and authorizes the Administrator to sign the Declaration of Eligibility and submit to the Ministry of Government Relations. Crd. The next item on the agenda was the approval of the application of a new septic hauler. Cllr. Cron moved that Todd Briens operating under Water Security permit for Bruce MacDougall be given temporary permission for one month to haul septic to RM of Hoodoo lagoons pending approval of Water Security Agency-permission will be and annual renewal, and that the Reeve is authorized to sign the documents related to obtaining Water Security approval. Crd. Cllr. Redding moved that a resolution be sent to SARM for consideration at the 2021 Annual SARM meeting regarding an amendment to the Planning and Development Act or a Ministerial resolution to exempt Rural Municipalities from being required to receive Ministerial Approval when making changes to their Zoning Bylaws. Crd. In that Madsine Madsen is in the process of stepping down from her duties with the RM, Cllr. Wedewer moved that the Reeve and CAO are authorized to sign the resolution regarding the MasterCard agreement through Conexus Credit Union and that the card issued to Madsine Madsen be discontinued and a new one issued in the name of Fay Stewart, that card to have a limit of $5000. Crd. Cllr. Jungwirth moved that the Employee Bonds and Insurance Report be acknowledged. Crd. With the annual SARM membership fee be due in February, Cllr. Diederichs moved that Council authorizes administration to prepare the cheque to pay for annual SARM membership fees for 2021. Crd. Another annual necessity is the maintenance and re-certification of the RM weigh scale, Cllr. Gabel moved that Council authorizes administration to engage Industrial Scale to come and perform the annual maintenance and re-certification on the RM weigh scale. Crd. In 2020 the RM of Hoodoo applied for grant money to have the RM office renovated and an addition attached. Cllr. Cron moved that Council authorizes administration to contact CADvantage Design Ltd. To proceed with preparing a building plan for the office renovation and addition. Crd. On March 22, 2021 the RM of Hoodoo’s permit to operate a waterworks will expire and a new one is required to be executed before the expiration of the current one, in order for the water stations to remain operational. Cllr. Reding moved that Council authorizes administration to contact Water Security Agency and inform them there are no objections or lack of it to the terms and conditions of the draft permit to operate a waterworks. Crd. A request was received by the administration to lease or purchase one of the lagoon buildings, Cllr. Wedewer moved that the request be received and filed. Crd. The date for the next meeting is January 15, 2021 at 9 am and again at 9:30 am. Reeve Kolla moved the meeting be adjourned at 4:42 pm. Crd. Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder
VANCOUVER — Results of a study led by Metro Vancouver's transit operator reveal copper on high-touch surfaces is lethal to bacteria. A statement from TransLink says the findings of the industry-leading trial show copper products kill up to 99.9 per cent of all bacteria within one hour of surface contact. As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, TransLink was the first transit agency in North America to test copper on high-touch surfaces. The pilot study was launched after unrelated studies showed copper is both durable and effective at killing germs. Phase 1 of the pilot, which was fully funded by mining firm Teck Resources, began last November and continued for five weeks on surfaces of two buses and two SkyTrain cars. A second phase will begin in the coming months using a larger sample to verify the results, testing copper over a longer period on more transit vehicles, and focusing tests on the most effective products identified from Phase 1. TransLink interim CEO Gigi Chen-Kuo says they are excited to find out more about the impact of copper on viruses such as the ones that cause COVID-19. "This research could help us, other transit agencies, and anyone with surfaces in shared public spaces keep high-touch areas as clean as possible,” she says in the statement. The project stems from a partnership between TransLink, Teck, Vancouver Coastal Health, the University of British Columbia and the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. Teck funded the initial phase as part of its Copper & Health program and the company will also support Phase 2. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press