Lisa Vanderpump understands why three original cast members were axed from "Vanderpump Rules" but insinuated the punishment might not fit the crime.
Lisa Vanderpump understands why three original cast members were axed from "Vanderpump Rules" but insinuated the punishment might not fit the crime.
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump has lost his social media megaphone, the power of government and the unequivocal support of his party's elected leaders. But a week after leaving the White House in disgrace, a large-scale Republican defection that would ultimately purge him from the party appears unlikely. Many Republicans refuse to publicly defend Trump's role in sparking the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But as the Senate prepares for an impeachment trial for Trump's incitement of the riot, few seem willing to hold the former president accountable. After House Republicans who backed his impeachment found themselves facing intense backlash — and Trump’s lieutenants signalled the same fate would meet others who joined them — Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly Tuesday for an attempt to dismiss his second impeachment trial. Only five Republican senators rejected the challenge to the trial. Trump's conviction was considered a real possibility just days ago after lawmakers whose lives were threatened by the mob weighed the appropriate consequences — and the future of their party. But the Senate vote on Tuesday is a sign that while Trump may be held in low regard in Washington following the riots, a large swath of Republicans is leery of crossing his supporters, who remain the majority of the party’s voters. “The political winds within the Republican Party have blown in the opposite direction,” said Ralph Reed, chair of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a Trump ally. “Republicans have decided that even if one believes he made mistakes after the November election and on Jan. 6, the policies Trump championed and victories he won from judges to regulatory rollback to life to tax cuts were too great to allow the party to leave him on the battlefield.” The vote came after Trump, who decamped last week to his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, began wading back into politics between rounds of golf. He took an early step into the Arkansas governor’s race by endorsing former White House aide Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and backed Kelli Ward, an ally who won reelection as chair of Arizona’s Republican Party after his endorsement. At the same time, Trump’s team has given allies an informal blessing to campaign against the 10 House Republicans who voted in favour of impeachment. After Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer backed impeachment, Republican Tom Norton announced a primary challenge. Norton appeared on longtime Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast in a bid to raise campaign contributions. On Thursday, another Trump loyalist, Rep. Matt Gaetz, plans to travel to Wyoming to condemn home-state Rep. Liz Cheney, a House GOP leader who said after the Capitol riot that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. — a star with Trump’s loyal base —- has encouraged Gaetz on social media and embraced calls for Cheney’s removal from House leadership. Trump remains livid with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who refused to support Trump's false charges that Georgia's elections were fraudulent. Kemp is up for reelection in 2022, and Trump has suggested former Rep. Doug Collins run against him. Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s decision not to seek reelection in 2022 opens the door for Rep. Jim Jordan, one of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters, to seek the seat. Several other Republicans, some far less supportive of the former president, are also considering running. Trump’s continued involvement in national politics so soon after his departure marks a dramatic break from past presidents, who typically stepped out of the spotlight, at least temporarily. Former President Barack Obama was famously seen kitesurfing on vacation with billionaire Richard Branson shortly after he left office, and former President George W. Bush took up painting. Trump, who craves the media spotlight, was never expected to burrow out of public view. “We will be back in some form,” he told supporters at a farewell event before he left for Florida. But exactly what form that will take is a work in progress. Trump remains deeply popular among Republican voters and is sitting on a huge pot of cash — well over $50 million — that he could use to prop up primary challenges against Republicans who backed his impeachment or refused to support his failed efforts to challenge the election results using bogus allegations of mass voter fraud in states like Georgia. “POTUS told me after the election that he’s going to be very involved,” said Matt Schlapp, the chair of the American Conservative Union. “I think he’s going to stay engaged. He’s going to keep communicating. He’s going to keep expressing his opinions. I, for one, think that’s great, and I encouraged him to do that.” Aides say he also intends to dedicate himself to winning back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022. But for now, they say their sights are on the trial. “We’re getting ready for an impeachment trial — that’s really the focus,” said Trump adviser Jason Miller. Trump aides have also spent recent days trying to assure Republicans that he is not currently planning to launch a third party — an idea he has floated — and will instead focus on using his clout in the Republican Party. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he received a call from Brian Jack, the former White House political director, on Saturday at home to assure him that Trump had no plans for defection. “The main reason for the call was to make sure I knew from him that he’s not starting a third party and if I would be helpful in squashing any rumours that he was starting a third party. And that his political activism or whatever role he would play going forward would be with the Republican Party, not as a third party,” Cramer said. The calls were first reported by Politico. But the stakes remain high for Trump, whose legacy is a point of fierce contention in a Republican Party that is grappling with its identity after losing the White House and both chambers of Congress. Just three weeks after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, Trump’s political standing among Republican leaders in Washington remains low. “I don’t know whether he incited it, but he was part of the problem, put it that way,” said Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a strong Trump supporter, when asked about the Capitol siege and the related impeachment trial. Tuberville did not say whether he would personally defend Trump in the trial, but he downplayed the prospect of negative consequences for those Republican senators who ultimately vote to convict him. “I don’t think there’ll be any repercussions,” Tuberville said. “People are going to vote how they feel anyway.” Trump maintains a strong base of support within the Republican National Committee and in state party leadership, but even there, Republican officials have dared to speak out against him in recent days in ways they did not before. In Arizona, Ward, who had Trump’s backing, was only narrowly reelected over the weekend, even as the party voted to censure a handful of Trump’s Republican critics, including former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain. At the same time, Trump’s prospective impeachment sparked a bitter feud within the RNC. In a private email exchange obtained by The Associated Press, RNC member Demetra DeMonte of Illinois proposed a resolution calling on every Republican senator to oppose what she called an “unconstitutional sham impeachment trial, motivated by a radical and reckless Democrat majority.” Bill Palatucci, a Republican committeeman from New Jersey, slapped back. “His act of insurrection was an attack on our very democracy and deserves impeachment,” Palatucci wrote. ___ Peoples reported from New York. Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this report. Steve Peoples And Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
HALIFAX — The interruption in the supply of COVID-19 vaccine justifies Nova Scotia's conservative distribution strategy, Premier Stephen McNeil said Tuesday. McNeil defended the province's immunization plan to hold doses back for booster shots, and he voiced concerns about the ongoing availability of vaccine. "We have serious concerns about supply," he told reporters. "We had hoped that we wouldn't be in this situation but we will not be receiving any new doses this week." The premier said vaccinations will continue at some long-term care homes because the province had put doses in reserve for booster shots. As of Monday, 11,622 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in the province, with 2,708 people having received their second of two doses. McNeil acknowledged the criticism about his government's approach of holding back doses. Quebec, by contrast, decided against that strategy and instead vaccinated as many people as possible with a single dose. The premier, however, said his main concern has been around the consistency of vaccine supply. "We want to reassure all Nova Scotians that if we give you the first shot you will get the second shot," McNeil said. "Until we see a level of consistency in supply, that's the protocol we are going to continue to follow." Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, said Nova Scotia would get no vaccine this week from Pfizer and then 1,950 doses the week of Feb. 1, along with another 5,400 doses of the Moderna vaccine. "Beyond that there is no certainty around the amount of vaccine, whether its Pfizer or Moderna, that we are going to get," Strang said. Strang, however, said the province remained committed to its strategy. He said Nova Scotia feels less pressure compared to other provinces to vaccinate the largest amount of people as quickly as possible. Nova Scotia reported one new case of COVID-19 Tuesday and a total of 11 active reported infections. No one was in hospital with the disease. Strang said science is also solidly behind the approach of giving two doses of vaccine within the 21-to-28-day window prescribed by the manufacturers. Over the next three months, he said, the province will continue to focus on vaccinating front-line health-care workers as well as staff, residents and designated caregivers in long-term and residential care facilities. To date, Strang said, vaccinations have been completed at the Northwood long-term care facility in Halifax, where 53 of the provinces 65 deaths occurred last spring. He said vaccinations are also complete at Ocean View Continuing Care Centre in Dartmouth and at Harbourstone Enhanced Care in Sydney. As well, Strang said the province is targeting mid-to-late February to open its first community clinic, which he said will be at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, for people over 80 years of age. "These are community clinics that will help us understand what works and what doesn't work, so when we are ready to administer large quantities of vaccine we are able to do so immediately," Strang said. Meanwhile, health officials urged post-secondary students in the Halifax area to get tested for COVID-19. They said several cases of COVID-19 had been identified among Halifax's student population, and they recommended that all students be tested — even if they haven’t travelled, have no symptoms or haven't visited a location that had been exposed to the novel coronavirus. Drop-in testing began Tuesday and at Dalhousie University and pop-up rapid testing was scheduled to begin Wednesday at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., and at two locations in Sydney, N.S., including Cape Breton University. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan 26, 2021. Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — The first inaugurations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama were the only ones to exceed Joe Biden's in popularity among television viewers over the past 40 years. The Nielsen company said that 33.8 million people watched Biden's inauguration over 17 television networks between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. last Wednesday. Reagan's festivities in 1981 drew 41.8 million viewers, and Obama's 2009 inaugural reached 37.8 million, Nielsen said. Perhaps most important to a former president known to watch television ratings closely: Biden exceeded the 30.6 million who watched Donald Trump take office in 2017, Nielsen said. CNN was the most popular network for inaugural viewers, Nielsen said. Meanwhile, Fox News' audience for Biden's oath of office and inaugural address was down 77% from the network's viewership for Trump. Meanwhile, the pro football conference championship games gathered people around televisions in big numbers Sunday. Nielsen said 44.8 million people saw Tom Brady and his Tampa Bay Bucs qualify for the Super Bowl, while 41.8 million watched Kansas City beat Buffalo. With the prime-time game, CBS easily won the week in the ratings, averaging 10.4 million viewers. ABC had 3.4 million, Fox had 2.7 million, NBC had 2.5 million, Univision had 1.2 million, while Ion Television and Telemundo each averaged 1.1 million viewers. CNN led the cable networks, averaging 2.76 million viewers in prime time. MSNBC had 2.67 million, Fox News Channel had 2.56 million, TNT had 1.19 million and HGTV had 1.1 million. ABC's “World News Tonight” won the evening news ratings race, hitting 10.1 million people. NBC's “Nightly News” had 8.3 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 6.2 million. For the week of Jan. 18-24, the top 20 prime-time programs, their networks and viewerships: 1. AFC Championship: Buffalo at Kansas City, CBS, 41.85 million. 2. “NFL Post-Game,” CBS, 17.88 million. 3. “NCIS” (Tuesday, 8 p.m.), CBS, 9.64 million. 4. “FBI,” CBS, 8.99 million. 5. “NCIS” (Tuesday, 9 p.m.), CBS, 8.75 million. 6. “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 7.39 million. 7. “911,” Fox, 7.2 million. 8. “Presidential Inauguration" (9 p.m.), CNN, 7.08 million. 9. “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 6.73 million. 10. “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune,” ABC, 6.3 million. 11. “Presidential Inauguration” (8 p.m.), CNN, 6.24 million. 12. “The Neighborhood,” CBS, 6.09 million. 13. “911: Lone Star,” Fox, 6.03 million. 14. "Magnum, P.I., CBS, 5.86 million. 15. “FBI: Most Wanted,” CBS, 5.81 million. 16. “Bob Hearts Abishola,” CBS, 5.56 million. 17. “Presidential Inauguration” (10 p.m.), CNN, 5.31 million. 18. “B Positive,” CBS, 5.06 million. 19. “Mom,” CBS, 5.03 million. 20. “The Bachelor,” ABC, 5.02 million. David Bauder, The Associated Press
One of Orangeville’s premier recreation venue has changed locations recently. Far Shot Orangeville has downsized their arena but hopes the added exposure, on 400 Townline Rd., will bring in more clientele. “Our last location was at a warehouse area,” said Benn MacDonald, owner of Far Shot Orangeville. It wasn’t the best place. It was great for what we had at the time. We had an indoor archery range as well of 40 yards.” Groups of 10, once lockdown restrictions are lifted, will be available to participate. Small groups for one hour cost $25 per person and large groups for two hours cost $40 per person. They also plan to obtain their own liquor license. With COVID, nearly every booking is a private one. Just you, your family & friends and one coach. Strangers never share lanes no matter how small your group size is. They take a minimum of two people. “We’ll only do one group at a time,” said Macdonald. “Unfortunately, we can’t do walk-ins with all the restrictions going on. This has affected us quite a bit. We’re hoping once all of this opens up again, our walk-in hours can return.” Macdonald admits they did lose their archery ring because of the smaller location, but he believes it was a good trade-off for the exposure. They are also able to provide a mobile service, bringing all their axe, knife and archery equipment to your backyard. “The furthest we have gone was Niagara Falls,” said Macdonald. “We charge that travel. For anyone local, we don’t charge a fee for that.” An eight-week league is also available for $140. It begins on Monday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. Practice begins at 7 p.m. and the game starts at 8 p.m. A week 4 light dinner is on them and on week 8 is the championship with a potluck supper. “We compete with the World Axe Throwing League,” said MacDonald. “Our club actually won the championship in 2017 and I served as the head judge. I travelled all across North America officiating on major tournaments on ESPN.” Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
A warrant was issued for a Biggar man who was arrested by the North Battleford RCMP gang unit after he failed to appear in court. Matthew Greer, 34, was scheduled to enter a plea in North Battleford Provincial Court Jan. 25. Greer, along with Desiree Hinse, 24, of Biggar, Shynia Skeavington, 24, and Rae Ahenakew, 40, both of Mosquito First Nation, were arrested Sept. 2, 2020. RCMP say they observed people in parked vehicles in North Battleford “interacting” with one another. They noticed weapons in one of the vehicles and said one person was known to have an outstanding warrant. Police searched one of the vehicles and found a firearm, weapons, a Taser, quantities of cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana. Skeavington appeared by phone in North Battleford Provincial Court Jan. 26. A legal aid lawyer representing Skeavington said there would be a preliminary hearing requested. The matter was adjourned to Feb. 10. Hinse and Ahenakew both appear next on Feb. 1. The charges against Greer, Hinse, Skeavington, and Ahenakew haven’t been proven in court. Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
New Brunswick is spending less money than any other province on COVID-19 measures while leaving millions of federal dollars on the table, according to a new report by a national think tank. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says the Higgs government is the stingiest administration in the land, spending just $7,500 per person on COVID-19 programs. Nova Scotia is the next lowest at $8,500 per person. At the same time, the province has not spent millions of dollars it could have claimed from Ottawa, including $5.9 million available for health care, personal protective equipment, testing and long-term care. The report says massive spending is needed to get Canadians through the pandemic, and no province should be turning down money in the name of fiscal prudence. "The federal government needs to continue to lead the way and provincial governments need to do their part," the report says, "starting by investing any unspent COVID-19 federal funds that they've been sitting on." Other amounts unclaimed by New Brunswick, according to the report, are: $30 million to top up the wages of essential workers. $19.7 million for long-term care. $9.6 million for a "rapid housing initiative." The report says 99 per cent of all direct COVID-19 spending in New Brunswick has been federal money. "The province provided its 25 per cent for the essential worker wage top-up and provided its own emergency workers' benefit, but little beyond those programs for individuals," it says. The report's findings echo criticisms of the Progressive Conservative government by the Opposition Liberals. "Now it's documented, it's researched and it's real," says Liberal Leader Roger Melanson, calling the Higgs government's approach "the cheapest effort I've seen in the country." Secured or negotiating 'every available federal dollar' In a lengthy statement, government spokesperson John McNeil said the province "has secured or is currently negotiating every available federal dollar" for its COVID-19 response. The Department of Social Development, which oversees long-term care, has secured "every available federal dollar" for programs, including infection prevention, "workforce stability plans" for care workers and the creation of isolation wings in nursing homes. And the Department of Health "is currently forecasting that all the health-related funding will be required," McNeil said. In those departments, "full accounting of the details of these expenditures will only be known at the end of the fiscal year as the situation changes regularly based on the progress of the pandemic," the statement said. While the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says its report was up to date as of Dec. 31, McNeil says it's based on figures from last September and some federal-provincial spending agreements are still being worked on. In November, Premier Blaine Higgs told the legislature that the province was getting $218 million from Ottawa for COVID programs and that it had spent $167 million until that point. "We will be spending in the particular categories beyond what they've currently allotted," he said during question period. "But who knows by how much at this stage, because we do not know how long this is going to last." The report's author says Higgs may have been looking at particular funding programs, while he examined all programs. "It may be well be that they exceed in some areas and underspend in some areas," says David Macdonald, the think tank's chief economist. This government is trying to spend the bare minimum on addressing COVID and is leaving the vast majority of expenditures to the federal government. - David Coon, Green Party leader "Certainly the province should be accessing all the federal money that's on the table. It's certainly in their interest. It doesn't make a lot of sense to leave money on the table when the feds are giving it to you, in essence. "All you have to do is show the plans that you want to improve long-term care, you want to improve affordable housing, you want to improve wages for low-wage essential. These aren't, I don't think, controversial issues." Green Party Leader David Coon says it's impossible, when the legislature isn't sitting, to reconcile Higgs's claim in November with the report. "It's still a big black box without us being able to dig into this at the legislative assembly and get the numbers out," he says. "This government is trying to spend the bare minimum on addressing COVID and is leaving the vast majority of expenditures to the federal government." Higgs also pushed back in November on Liberal calls to spend more by pointing to the province's relatively low COVID-19 case rates and its improving economic indicators. Atlantic comparisons But other Atlantic provinces that have similarly good case numbers are spending more. Compared to New Brunswick's $7,500 per person, Nova Scotia is spending $8,500, Prince Edward Island is spending $8,600 and Newfoundland and Labrador is spending $9,180. Melanson says he believes Higgs is leaving some federal money on the table because the programs would require matching provincial dollars the premier doesn't want to spend. Last week, Higgs announced new $5,000 grants for businesses affected for at least a week by red and orange-phase restrictions between early October and the end of March. Those grants are not accounted for in the report. "This program is funded entirely by the provincial government," McNeil said. In December, after months of sparring with the federal government and opposition parties over unclaimed infrastructure dollars intended to help the pandemic-hampered economy, the province began approving projects in its capital budget. Those projects, including the refurbishment of a 19th-century Fredericton building that houses legislature offices and the legislative press gallery, are 80 per cent funded by Ottawa under a "resilience" stream of the Canadian Infrastructure Fund. Both of those recent spending initiatives are too recent to have been included in the numbers Macdonald used. Wage support also weakest According to Macdonald's report, New Brunswick has also spent the least of any province on direct COVID-19 programs for individuals, such as wage subsidies. Last spring the province created the short-term New Brunswick Workers Emergency Income Benefit, which lasted until Ottawa created the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. New Brunswick has spent $3,300 per person on programs for individuals compared to $3,700 spent by Nova Scotia, $3,600 by Prince Edward Island and $3,800 by Newfoundland and Labrador. Alberta spent the most at $5,500 per person.
Months-long protests in India escalated on Tuesday as thousands of farmers clashed with police in New Delhi over new laws that they say will push small farmers out of the market and let private corporations exploit them.
NEW YORK — CBS has placed two top executives on administrative leave as it investigates charges of a hostile work environment for women and minorities at news operations in some of its largest individual stations. Peter Dunn, president of the CBS Television Stations, and David Friend, senior vice-president for news at the stations, are on leave pending the results of an external investigation. “CBS is committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace where all voices are heard, claims are investigated and appropriate action is taken where necessary,” the network said in a statement. The accusations were outlined over the weekend in an investigation by the Los Angeles Times and a subsequent meeting between CBS and the National Association of Black Journalists. Since 2009, Dunn has been head of stations owned and operated by CBS in big cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago and others. The Times said Dunn had referred to a Black male news anchor in Philadelphia as “just a jive guy." One executive at the station quit because she couldn't tolerate the culture and another has filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relates Commission alleging he was fired for co-operating with an internal review of his bosses, the Times reported. The NABJ has said CBS stations lag in maintaining diverse staffs, saying New York's WCBS-TV had only one female Black full-time reporter and went five years without a male Black reporter. “This is toxic. There's no other way to put it,” said Ken Lemon, the NABJ's vice-president of broadcast, on Tuesday. Since the story was published, Lemon said he had talked to at least five other people with new experiences to tell about the working atmosphere at CBS. He said the NABJ is optimistic about the steps CBS has taken. David Bauder, The Associated Press
TORONTO — Canada's main stock index suffered its worst drop of the year on a broad-based decline led by the energy and technology sectors. The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 126.61 points to 17,779.41. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 22.96 points at 30,937.04. The S&P 500 index was down 5.74 points at 3,849.62, while the Nasdaq composite was down 9.93 points at 13,626.06. The Canadian dollar traded for 78.73 cents US compared with 78.51 cents US on Monday. The March crude oil contract was down 16 cents at US$52.61 per barrel and the March natural gas contract was up 3.8 cents at nearly US$2.64 per mmBTU. The February gold contract was down US$4.30 at US$1,850.90 an ounce and the March copper contract was down a penny at US$3.62 a pound. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X) The Canadian Press
HAMILTON — Captain Kyle Bekker, who led Forge FC to back-to-back Canadian Premier League titles, has re-signed with the Hamilton team. The Canadian international midfielder was named the CPL's most valuable player last year after leading the league in appearances (tied with 11) and minutes played by an attacking player (879). The 30-year-old native of Oakville, Ont., who had three goals and one assist in the league's truncated 2020 season, was also a finalist for MVP honours in 2019. “We are extremely happy to have our captain sign his new contract and commit to our club for the foreseeable future,” Costa Smyrniotis, Forge's director of football, said in a statement. “Kyle has been such a valuable leader for our club since day one, both on the field and in the community. We look forward to continued success together in Hamilton.” Bekker has made 49 appearances for Forge in all competitions, including 39 in league play. Bekker played in Major League Soccer from 2013-16 with Toronto FC, FC Dallas and Montreal. He then suited up for North Carolina FC in the United Soccer League and the San Francisco Deltas in the North American Soccer League. Bekker, who has won 18 caps for Canada, came up through the Sigma FC youth program in Mississauga, Ont., under current Forge head coach Bobby Smyrniotis, Costa's brother. He played collegiate soccer at Boston College. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021 The Canadian Press
DEER LAKE, N.L. — Police in Newfoundland and Labrador said they arrested a man with a "large quantity" of knives in a parking lot outside an election candidate's office Tuesday.A spokeswoman for Liberal Leader and incumbent Premier Andrew Furey said his campaign has been advised he was likely the intended target."The police investigation is ongoing, but from what we know so far we’d like to thank the members of the public who stepped in to do what they could to prevent an unimaginable outcome, and all police officers who ensured the safety of the public," Furey spokeswoman Meghan McCabe said in a release Tuesday evening."This is a traumatic incident, for everyone working and volunteering in Newfoundland and Labrador’s election."In a news release, RCMP said they were notified Tuesday morning about a man behaving strangely, talking about guns and saying he was going to Deer Lake in western Newfoundland to stop the provincial election, which is set for Feb. 13. Deer Lake is in the Humber-Gros Morne electoral district, where Furey is running, though McCabe confirmed he was not there at the time of the incident.Police said they found the man driving a truck just outside of Deer Lake and tried unsuccessfully to flag him down. A high-speed chase ensued as the man drove through the town and finally stopped in a parking lot at a local business, in which a provincial election candidate maintains an office, police said. "The man was removed from the vehicle and was arrested in the parking lot. Officers located and seized a large quantity of various knives inside the vehicle," RCMP said in the release. "The truck was seized and impounded."The release did not name the candidate but McCabe said in a statement that Furey's campaign was told he was likely the target. "Our team is connecting with the leadership of the other political parties and connecting with our team members on the ground in Deer Lake to offer support," she said. She said Furey would release another statement as more details become available.Police said there is no longer a concern for public safety and that they anticipate the man will be charged with "a number of criminal and traffic offences." The investigation is ongoing, they said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
The consolidation of two airlines is set to take flight in remote fly-in communities in Saskatchewan. Transwest Air and West Wind Aviation will become Rise Air, changing the face of an air service that acts as one of the few links to southern resources. "If we had been two separate airlines going into COVID, I don't believe we would have survived," said West Wind CEO Stephen Smith. West Wind Aviation Group of Companies bought Transwest Air in 2016, but both airlines continued to use separate operating certificates, Smith said. Combining the airlines cuts it down to one and reduces redundancy. Rebranding will take place gradually, and Derek Nice will replace Smith as CEO on Feb. 1. Smith said the consolidation is unlikely to immediately reduce airfares — which are ongoing concerns for people in remote communities who say the costs of travelling south are too steep. "The prices are sky-rising," noted Black Lake First Nation Chief Archie Robillard. The best way to help his community would be a longer runway in Stony Rapids, but that's unlikely, he added. It's similarly costly to fly in and out of Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation, said Chief Bart Tsannie. He noted ticket costs are regularly several hundred dollars, which hasn't improved as COVID-19 reduced passenger loads. "That's very expensive. People don't have that kind of money in Hatchet Lake," he said. Smith said consolidating the airlines will make them more profitable, allowing Rise Air to invest in new aircraft and facilities. That could also mean a better position to pass profits on to its 22 per cent owner, Prince Albert Development Corporation, and its 65 per cent owner, Athabasca Basin Development, which represents seven communities including Hatchet Lake and Black Lake. Smith said those communities haven't received dividends in the last 10 years, which he hopes to change. The Rise Air rebranding also comes after a difficult year. A downturn in mining and the onset of COVID-19 forced a 50 per cent cut to operations, Smith said. He noted operations are now up to two-thirds of their levels prior to the pandemic. While the consolidation likely won't affect the costs of airfare, Smith added that the airline continues to push the federal government to declare paved runways at Fond du Lac and Wollaston Lake. If it does so, aircraft taking off there can carry more weight, lowering some of the prices for those communities, Smith said. "If we can reduce (fares), we will." Nick Pearce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The StarPhoenix
WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats are preparing to push ahead quickly on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package even if it means using procedural tools to pass the legislation on their own, leaving Republicans behind. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told senators to be ready to vote as soon as next week on a budget reconciliation package that would lay the groundwork for swift passage. Coming so soon in Biden's administration, the action provides a first test of Republican opposition to the White House priorities as well as to the new president's promise of a “unity” agenda. “The work must move forward, preferably with our Republican colleagues, but without them if we must," Schumer said after a private meeting of Democratic senators. "Time is of the essence to address this crisis. We're keeping all options open on the table.” Unwilling to wait for Republicans who argue Biden's price tag is too high and his priorities too wide-ranging, Democrats are flexing their newfound power as they take control of the Senate alongside the House and White House. It is the first time in a decade the party has held the full sweep of power in Washington, and Democrats say they have no time to waste trying to broker compromises with Republicans that may, or may not, happen. They have watched Republicans use similar procedural tools to advance their priorities, most recently the Trump administration’s GOP tax cuts. The fast-moving events days into the new majority on Capitol Hill come as the White House continued meeting privately with groups of Republican and Democratic lawmakers in hopes of striking a bipartisan agreement. Biden's COVID-19 aid package includes money for vaccine distribution, school reopenings and $1,400 direct payments to households and gradually boosts the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour over five years. The next steps remain highly fluid. The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus of more than 50 House lawmakers met virtually Tuesday with top administration officials on the virus aid and economic recovery package. A White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the virtual conversation with the caucus, said there was agreement on the scope of the challenges facing the country and the need for additional relief. Biden and other members of his team intend to continue making their case to lawmakers about the need to act with urgency. Separately, the dozen senators who emerged from a lengthy private meeting with the White House on Sunday evening are talking on their own about trying to craft a more targeted bill. The bipartisan group of senators assembled privately again Monday evening. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters earlier Tuesday that Biden is still looking to negotiate on an aid package, while emphasizing that several components of the existing aid will lapse in March. “He laid out his big package, his big vision of what it should look like, and people are giving their feedback,” Psaki said. "He’s happy to have those discussions and fully expects it’s not going to look exactly the same on the other end.” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who led a bipartisan effort for the last $900 billion relief package, is working again with the senators on crafting an alternative package that she has said would be more focused on money for vaccine distribution and tailored economic assistance to the neediest Americans. Collins said Tuesday that the White House made good on its commitment to deliver a more detailed accounting of the proposed expenditure. But she said the group is still waiting for data on how much funding remains unallocated from past relief measures that, by her tally, totals a whopping $1.8 trillion still unspent. Congress has approved some $4 trillion in emergency aid since the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year, a stunning outlay and the largest rescue package in the nation's history. Senators from both parties who joined the White House call over the weekend agreed the priority needs to be standing up the country's faltering vaccine distribution system. With the death toll climbing, and new strains of the virus threatening more trouble ahead, ensuring vaccinations appears to be crucial to stemming the COVID-19 crisis. Several senators from both parties also said they want the $1,400 direct checks to be more targeted to those in need. They also want an accounting of what remains from previously approved aid bills. But Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and the incoming Budget Committee chair, said he is already working on the budget package for next week and expanding it to include Biden's proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour over five years. Raising the wage is a long-running Democratic priority that would essentially double the current $7.25 hourly wage set the last time the party was in control in the Obama administration. Advocates say the pay raise would boost millions of full-time workers from poverty. “There is a consensus,” Sanders told reporters at the Capitol. “If Republicans are not prepared to come on board, that’s fine. We’re not going to wait. We’re going forward soon and aggressively.” Lisa Mascaro And Josh Boak, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — CN says it will reinstate its guidance for 2021 and increase the company's dividend by seven per cent after seeing improved demand for freight in the last three months of 2020. The Montreal-based railway says its net income surged 17 per cent in the fourth quarter to $1.02 billion or $1.43 per share. That was up from $873 million or $1.22 per share in the prior year. Adjusted profits for the three months ended Dec. 31 were up 14 per cent to $1.02 billion or $1.43 per share, from $896 million or $1.25 per share in last year's quarter. Revenue increased two per cent, or $72 million, to $3.66 billion. CN Rail was expected to report $1.41 per share in adjusted profits on $3.62 billion of revenues, according to financial data firm Refinitiv. CN reported operating income of $1.4 billion, compared with $1.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019. JJ Ruest, CN's president and CEO, says that while the recovery was uneven across sectors, the company was pleased with the growth in volume demand during the fourth quarter. CN also said it planned to announce $3 billion in capital investments to stay ahead of demand. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:CNR) The Canadian Press
Chelsea pivoted to Thomas Tuchel in a bid to turn around its sputtering season, hiring the German coach on an 18-month deal on Tuesday barely a month after he was fired by Paris Saint-Germain. Having flown to London to sign on as the 11th full-time Chelsea manager in Roman Abramovich’s 18-year reign, Tuchel went to work immediately by taking an evening practice session at the club’s training ground ahead of his first match in charge — against Wolverhampton on Wednesday. Given Chelsea’s current plight, there’s no time to waste. Frank Lampard, a club great as a player but a relative novice as a coach, was fired on Monday after a run of five losses in eight league games which plunged Chelsea to ninth place in the standings, threatening the team’s ambitions of Champions League qualification. In comes a man with far less calibre as a player — Tuchel retired at the age of 24 — but with far more experience as a coach after spells in his native Germany with Mainz and Borussia Dortmund before 2 1/2 years at PSG, where he led the team to back-to-back French league titles and the Champions League final last season. His time in the French capital ended following a power struggle with the club but Chelsea targeted Tuchel after losing patience with Lampard, who oversaw the spending of nearly $300 million on new players for this season. “It is never easy to change head coach in the middle of the season but we are very happy to secure one of Europe’s best coaches in Thomas Tuchel,” Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia said. “There is still much to play for and much to achieve, this season and beyond. We welcome Thomas to the club.” An English pandemic allowance for workers flying into an elite sports environment enables Tuchel to avoid full quarantine by testing negative for the coronavirus. It means he can take his place in the dug-out for the match against Wolves, and allowed him to take training immediately. “We all have the greatest respect for Frank Lampard’s work and the legacy he created at Chelsea,” Tuchel said. “At the same time, I cannot wait to meet my new team and compete in the most exciting league in football. I am grateful to now be part of the Chelsea family — it feels amazing.” Tuchel, whose deal gives him the possibility to extend his contract beyond the initial 18 months, was fired by Dortmund after falling out with officials — just as he would do at PSG — so gaining favour with the ruthless Abramovich is as crucial as getting the club's senior players on side. Player power has been a term used to describe events at Stamford Bridge since the days of Jose Mourinho's first spell and it will no doubt have been involved in the decision to part ways with Lampard. A divisive character at times because of his penchant for being outspoken, Tuchel will be helped by the relationships he already has with Thiago Silva, from PSG, and Christian Pulisic, from Dortmund. One of Tuchel's biggest tasks will be getting the best out of two of his compatriots, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, who were among the new signings bought at great expense last summer but have struggled so far at Stamford Bridge. Werner, for example, scored eight times in his first 12 games, but has scored only once in his last 14 appearances. While Chelsea look a long way off the title, despite being briefly in first place in early December, the unpredictability of this season like no other means a strong run of results could quickly see the team back in the mix. Success in the cups could be used as a springboard for Tuchel, with Chelsea still in the FA Cup and into the last 16 of the Champions League, where the opponent is Atletico Madrid. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Steve Douglas, The Associated Press
When Isak Vaillancourt first began thinking of his short documentary, a project he would create with his team and the support of the guest curator of Up Here 6, Ra’anaa Brown, the global conversation on race had never been louder. At the time, it was shouting names like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. “People were suddenly realizing the urgency and validity of this movement,” said Vaillancourt. “Having difficult conversations in regards to their own complicity with systematic racism and their privilege. With the short documentary, I wanted to capture this unique moment in time from the perspectives of three Black community members here in Sudbury.” In the opening shots of the film, an introduction reads: “Black communities are having conversations about race that never make it to mainstream media. The collective consciousness rarely lends itself to amplify these voices.” With his documentary, Vaillancourt wanted to add new voices to the conversation. Not his, however: he decided to amplify the voices of three Black women in Sudbury and the struggles, racism and challenges to their own identity they have faced. And he called it, Amplify. Vaillancourt, a multimedia content producer and activist, is also from the area. He grew up in Chelmsford with his twin sister and younger brother, the children of a Franco-Ontarian father and a mother who found her way to Canada after leaving Somalia in 1991 to escape the civil war. He wanted to show that despite many believing that there are no issues with racism in Sudbury, the reality is quite the contrary. “It’s important to realize that racism and discrimination exist in Sudbury, as much as we like to pretend that Canada is a nation of cultural tolerance.” To him, the medium of a short documentary was the perfect choice to showcase his message. “We decided that a short documentary would be the perfect platform to shed light on the inequalities and discrimination that affects the lives of many racialized individuals here in Sudbury,” said Vaillancourt. “This project would not have been possible without the continuous support from the amazing team at Up Here. Behind the scenes, I worked very closely with my cinematographer, Shawn Kosmerly, and my editor, Riley McEwen, to bring this project to life.” The documentary itself focuses on the lived experiences of the three Black women it features: Josephine Suorineni-Zaghe, Shana Calixte and Sonia Ekiyor-Katimi, and their thoughts in relation to the current political climate, racial inequality and social justice. It is an opportunity for them to describe the challenges they have had to overcome and to educate those that perhaps have never had to consider the prejudice, both subtle and overt, that Sudburians of colour face. It is a chance to understand that if you have not experienced something directly, rather than deny or deflect, you should defer. “We as a society need to learn how to defer to people with lived experiences when speaking on issues that affect them directly,” said Vaillancourt. But also cautions, “Keep in mind that, amplifying Black, Indigenous, and POC (people of colour) voices does not mean placing the heavy burden on marginalized communities to educate you on the ways they’ve been oppressed. It’s the act of listening, self-reflection and continuous learning. It’s a commitment.” As the film lives on, Vaillancourt hopes viewers will find ways to show this commitment by getting involved locally. He quotes Josephine Suorineni-Zaghe from the film and says “Build up the movement locally. Be there for Black children. Be there for Black girls and Black boys. Be there for the Black LGBTQ+ community and when you do have that interaction, you do see the immediate change.” He also notes the many grassroots organisations that can benefit from more community involvement. “Within the City of Greater Sudbury, there has been a growing culture of community care and mutual aid all in the face of hatred,” he said. “This has not been cultivated by city officials but rather grassroot community groups such as Black Lives Matter - Sudbury, Sudbury Pride, Myth and Mirrors, SWANS Sudbury and The Sudbury Workers Education and Advocacy Centre (SWEAC) just to name a few. I encourage viewers to take the extra step and learn more about how they can uplift these organizations and the important work they're doing.” The video is currently hosted by Up Here 6, and it is also available with French-language subtitles. For now, not only is Vaillancourt submitting this film to festivals, but he is currently working on multimedia projects that highlight “the amazing and diverse communities we have here in Sudbury.” For more of Vaillancourt’s work, you can visit his website at IsakVail.ca. You can watch the documentary below. Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
VANCOUVER — British Columbia's public safety minister says an improved online estimator tool will help drivers see how much they'll save under changes coming to the Insurance Corporation of B.C. Mike Farnworth says the tool allows drivers to estimate their savings once a new model of delivering auto insurance comes into effect at the Crown corporation on May 1. He says most customers will save an average of 20 per cent or $400 a year and will also be eligible for a one-time refund. The new insurance model will limit the ability of those hurt in a crash to sue at-fault drivers or the auto insurer, squeezing legal costs out of the system and saving ICBC an estimated $1.5 billion. Liberal Opposition critic Mike Morris says B.C. drivers are not fooled by the new online tool, which illustrates supposed rate reductions in the future, while the insurance corporation is saving millions now as a result of the pandemic. Farnworth says the public will hear about one-time rebates due to COVID-19 "very soon," but Morris says until the cheques are in the mail, it's just the NDP "kicking empty promises down the road." “This is just another example of the John Horgan NDP failing to get people the relief they need," Morris says in a statement. Farnworth told a news conference Tuesday that he's looked at different options for a COVID-19 rebate and it still needs to go through the cabinet Treasury Board process, but it is coming soon. Attorney General David Eby called ICBC's financial situation a "dumpster fire" after the NDP took power in 2017 and the government has introduced a series of measures to douse the flames. The government is calling the new insurance model "enhanced care" and the online estimator tool can be found on ICBC's website. "For some time, we've been talking about changes at ICBC and how they're going to help make people's auto insurance premiums, and in turn their lives, more affordable," Farnworth says. "Today, the rubber hits the road." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
Northern Health has released COVID-19 exposure notices for Uplands Elementary School and Centennial Christian School in Terrace. The exposure at Uplands Elementary School occurred Jan. 19 to Jan. 21, and Centennial Christian School’s exposure took place on Jan. 20 and Jan. 21, according to Northern Health’s list of public exposures and outbreaks. There have been numerous COVID-19 exposure notices for Terrace schools issued by Northern Health since Nov. 2020, and nearly all Terrace schools have had at least one exposure notice. Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News
Three years ago, filmmakers Julie Cohen and Betsy West got a dream Sundance debut. They premiered their film “RBG” to a sold-out crowd with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg not only in attendance but seeing it for the first time. There was a standing ovation, a bidding war and a big sale. It also went on to be a major awards contender. It’s the kind of Sundance experience most filmmakers fantasize about. This year they’re returning to the festival with their follow-up, “My Name is Pauli Murray” about the somewhat obscure legal trailblazer, and while their excitement remains high, the festival itself will be quite different. Like so many in the past year, Sundance has had to reinvent itself as a mostly virtual experience. Still, the 2021 Festival which kicks off Thursday is shaping up to be a robust market for companies looking for content. More than 72 feature films are debuting over the seven days. It’s slimmed-down lineup from the previous years’ 118 and some already have ways to get to audiences, like Robin Wright’s “Land” and “Judas and the Black Messiah,” which will both be available to the masses in the coming weeks. But many this year are acquisition titles seeking distribution deals. “Buyers and sellers have found a rhythm for conducting business at virtual markets, to great success. And consumers are continuing to ask for more content,” said Deb McIntosh, an SVP at Endeavor Content. “I’m confident that we’ll find distribution partners for all of our films." Julie Dansker, an executive at Shout! Studios, is coming to the virtual festival looking for films to buy and Sundance, she said, always offers a variety of films from established and emerging talents. This year there are high profile projects from well-known names like actor Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut “Passing,” starring Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson as two light-skinned Black women who choose to live on opposite sides of the colour line in 1929 New York. Jerrod Carmichael is making his debut with the dark satire “On the Count of Three” with Christopher Abbott and Tiffany Haddish. Questlove is too with his opening night documentary “Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised).” Zoe Lister-Jones also reunites with her “Craft: Legacy” star Cailee Spaeny for “How It Ends,” co-starring Olivia Wilde and Fred Armisen. And “CODA,” a day one film from Sian Heder about a child of deaf adults, is expected to be one of the breakouts. As always, the documentary sections are fertile ground for buyers. Cohen and West’s “My Name is Pauli Murray” is among the sales titles as is Mariem Pérez Riera’s “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It,” which examines how the entertainer battled racism to become one of the few performers to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Lucy Walker has a documentary about the history of wildfires, “Bring Your Own Brigade” and Jonas Poher Rasmussen will debut his animated refugee documentary “Flee.” And then there’s the more unconventional efforts like animator Dash Shaw’s psychedelic “Cryptozoo,” featuring the voices of Lake Bell, Michael Cera and Grace Zabriskie. Or Nattawut Poonpiriya’s Wong Kar-Wai produced drama “One for the Road” and Timur Bekmambetov’s social media age Romeo and Juliet riff “R#J.” There are boundless “discovery” opportunities for parties looking beyond the flashy names who might just stumble upon the next Ryan Coogler or Damien Chazelle. As Sundance programmer Kim Yutani said, “You don’t really know what these films are until you see them.” Audience enthusiasm for a particular film might be harder to judge virtually, though. “There’s all this energy that happens at a festival when you’re in person that is hard to translate to a virtual environment,” said Jordan Fields, head of acquisitions for Shout! Studios. “But on the upside, it gives us the ability to judge movies a little more objectively because we’re not necessarily influenced by a crowd who stands up to cheer it at the end.” And indeed, for better or worse, that in-person energy has often played a role in negotiating the price. Sometimes the hype is warranted, and you get a “Little Miss Sunshine.” But other times off the mountain, the glow fades and companies are left with a flop. Prices have also been going up steadily due to the influx of deep-pocketed streaming companies who don’t have to worry as much or at all about box office returns. Six years ago, Amazon and Netflix both struggled to get titles. Now, the streamers are some of the biggest players in the game. Last year saw Hulu and NEON pay over $17.5 million (a record) for the worldwide rights to the Andy Samberg comedy “Palm Springs.” “Boys State” also got a $12 million deal from Apple and A24. This year there is an added anxiety about content since many productions were put on hold because of the pandemic. But there’s also opportunity in the fact that there could be a bigger and more diverse audience seeing the films who may never have had the opportunity to attend the expensive festival. The cost of entry for the virtual films is $15 a ticket and many are sold out. “Taking Sundance off the mountain and to the whole country will be a beautiful way to commune together over our shared love and need for artistic expression,” said McIntosh. There have already been a few pre-Festival deals. RLJE Films on Tuesday announced that it had acquired the Nicolas Cage film “Prisoners of the Ghostland,” Magnolia Pictures took the rights to “A Glitch in the Matrix” from “Room 237” director Rodney Ascher, Bleecker Street snagged the Ed Helms drama “Together Together” and Juno Films picked up the documentary “The Most Beautiful Boy” about Swedish actor Bjorn Andresen. But many are holding back pre-screenings and waiting until the actual Sundance premiere. “I’m still excited,” said Hall, whose “Passing” premieres Saturday. “But would I rather that we were all together wandering through the snow, freezing cold and, you know, trudging down Main Street? Yes, I would, because that communal experience is part of it.” Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Female soldiers can let their hair down, and flash a little nail colour under new rules being approved by the Army. But male soldiers will still have to shave. Army leaders announced Tuesday that they are loosening restrictions on various grooming and hairstyle rules, as service leaders try to address longstanding complaints, particularly from women. The changes, which also expand allowances for earrings and hair highlights and dyes, are particularly responsive to women of various ethnicities, and will allow greater flexibility for braids, twists, cornrows and other styles more natural for their hair. The new regulations take effect in late February and come after months of study, in the wake of a directive by former Defence Secretary Mark Esper, who ordered a new review of military hairstyle and grooming policies last July. The review was part of a broader order to expand diversity within the military and reduce prejudice, in the wake of widespread protests about racial inequality last summer. “These aren’t about male and female,” said Sgt. Maj. Michael Grinston, the Army's top enlisted leader during a Facebook Live presentation on Tuesday about the latest changes. “This is about an Army standard and how we move forward with the Army, and being a more diverse, inclusive team.” The Army announcement has been long-planned, but it came just days after the Pentagon's first Black defence secretary — Lloyd Austin — took over. Austin has vowed to try to root out racism and extremism in the ranks and foster more inclusion. Esper and many of the service leaders have also been taking steps to make the military more diverse, particularly in the higher ranks. As an example, Esper last summer ordered that service members’ photos no longer be provided to promotion boards. Officials said studies showed that when photos are not included “the outcomes for minorities and women improved.” On Tuesday, Army Sgt. Maj. Brian Sanders told reporters that the panel recommending the new grooming changes considered a variety of factors, including cultural, health and safety issues. He said the tight hair buns previously required by the Army can trigger hair loss and other scalp problems for some women. And larger buns needed to accommodate thick or longer hair, can make a combat helmet fit badly and potentially impair good vision. At the same time, he said that changes, like allowing women in combat uniforms to wear earrings such as small gold, silver and diamond studs, let them “feel like a woman inside and outside of uniform." He added, "At the end of the day, our women are mothers, they're spouses, they're sisters, they definitely want to be able to maintain their identity and that’s what we want to get after." In many cases — such as the earrings — the changes simply let female soldiers wear jewelry or hairstyles that are already allowed in more formal, dress uniforms, but were not allowed in their daily combat uniforms. Army leaders said women will now be able to wear their hair in a long ponytail or braid and tuck it under their shirt. Sanders said that allowing that gives female soldiers, particularly pilots or troops at a firing range, greater ability to turn their head quickly, without the restraints that the buns created. The new regulations also allow the exact opposite. Female soldiers going through Ranger or special operations training get their heads shaved, like male soldiers do. But when they leave training, their hair is too short, based on the Army's previous minimum length requirements. Now there will be no minimum length rules. For men, however, the perennial request to allow beards is still a no-go. Grinston's answer to the question from the online audience was short and direct: “No.” He noted that the Army already makes exceptions for medical and religious reasons. Also, male soldiers still can't wear earrings. The new lipstick and nail polish rules, however, allow men to wear clear polish, and allow colours for women, but prohibit “extreme” shades, such as purple, blue, black and “fire engine” red. Men will also be able to dye their hair, but the colours for both genders are limited to “natural" shades. Prohibited colours include blue, purple, pink, green, orange or neon. In another sign of the times, the new rules state that soldiers will now automatically receive black and coyote-colored face masks. They are also permitted to wear camouflage colored masks, but have to buy those themselves. The Army also is taking steps to change wording in the regulations to remove racist or insensitive descriptions. References to “Fu Manchu” moustache and “Mohawk” hairstyle have been removed, and replaced with more detailed descriptions of the still-banned styles. Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press