WASHINGTON — The words of Donald Trump supporters who are accused of participating in the deadly U.S. Capitol riot may end up being used against him in his Senate impeachment trial as he faces the charge of inciting a violent insurrection. At least five supporters facing federal charges have suggested they were taking orders from the then-president when they marched on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 to challenge the certification of Joe Biden's election win. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. It's the first time a former president will face such charges after leaving office. “I feel like I was basically following my president. I was following what we were called to do. He asked us to fly there. He asked us to be there," Jenna Ryan, a Texas real estate agent who posted a photo on Twitter of herself flashing a peace sign next to a broken Capitol window, told a Dallas-Fort Worth TV station. Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man photographed on the dais in the Senate who was shirtless and wore face paint and a furry hat with horns, has similarly pointed a finger at Trump. Chansley called the FBI the day after the insurrection and told agents he travelled “at the request of the president that all ‘patriots’ come to D.C. on January 6, 2021,” authorities wrote in court papers. Chanley’s lawyer unsuccessfully lobbied for a pardon for his client before Trump's term ended, saying Chansley “felt like he was answering the call of our president.” Authorities say that while up on the dais in the Senate chamber, Chansley wrote a threatening note to then-Vice-President Mike Pence that said: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.” Trump is the first president to be twice impeached and the first to face a trial after leaving office. The charge this time is “inciting violence against the government of the United States.” His impeachment lawyer, Butch Bowers, did not respond to call for comment. Opening arguments in the trial will begin the week of Feb. 8. House Democrats who voted to impeach Trump last week for inciting the storming of the Capitol say a full reckoning is necessary before the country — and the Congress — can move on. For weeks, Trump rallied his supporters against the election outcome and urged them to come to the Capitol on Jan. 6 to rage against Biden's win. Trump spoke to the crowd near the White House shortly before they marched along Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill. “We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen,” Trump said. “You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.” Later he said: “If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.” He told supporters to walk to the Capitol to “peacefully and patriotically” make your voices heard. Trump has taken no responsibility for his part in fomenting the violence, saying days after the attack: “People thought that what I said was totally appropriate.” Unlike a criminal trial, where there are strict rules about what is and isn’t evidence, the Senate can consider anything it wishes. And if they can show that Trump’s words made a real impact, all the better, and scholars expect it in the trial. "Bringing in those people's statements is part of proving that it would be at a minimum reasonable for a rational person to expect that if you said and did the things that Trump said and did, then they would be understood in precisely the way these people understood them," said Frank Bowman, a constitutional law expert and law professor at University of Missouri. A retired firefighter from Pennsylvania told a friend that that he travelled to Washington with a group of people and the group listened to Trump's speech and then “followed the President’s instructions” and went to the Capitol, an agent wrote in court papers. That man, Robert Sanford, is accused of throwing a fire extinguisher that hit three Capitol Police officers. Another man, Robert Bauer of Kentucky, told FBI agents that “he marched to the U.S. Capitol because President Trump said to do so,” authorities wrote. His cousin, Edward Hemenway, from Virginia, told the FBI that he and Bauer headed toward the Capitol after Trump said “something about taking Pennsylvania Avenue." More than 130 people as of Friday were facing federal charges; prosecutors have promised that more cases — and more serious charges — are coming. Most of those arrested so far are accused of crimes like unlawful entry and disorderly conduct, but prosecutors this week filed conspiracy charges against three self-described members of a paramilitary group who authorities say plotted the attack. A special group of prosecutors is examining whether to bring sedition charges, which carry up to 20 years in prison, against any of the rioters. Two-thirds of the Senate is needed to convict. And while many Republicans — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky— have condemned Trump's words, it remains unclear how many would vote to convict him. “While the statements of those people kind of bolsters the House manager's case, I think that President Trump has benefited from a Republican Party that has not been willing to look at evidence,” said Michael Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law who testified before the House Judiciary Committee during Trump's first impeachment hearings in 2019. “They stood by him for the entire first impeachment proceeding, thinking that the phone call with the president of the Ukraine was perfect and I’m sure they will think that was a perfect speech too. There is nothing yet to suggest that they would think otherwise," Gerhardt said. ____ Richer reported from Boston. Alanna Durkin Richer And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
WOLVERHAMPTON, England — Wolverhampton has signed Brazilian striker Willian José on loan from Spanish club Real Sociedad until the end of the season, the Premier League club said Saturday. The loan signing adds depth to the Wolves squad after forward Raúl Jiménez suffered a fractured skull against Arsenal on Nov. 29. Wolves said the deal remains subject to Willian José being granted a work permit and international clearance, and that it includes an option to buy at the end of the season. Wolves said he is unlikely to be available for the team's next game against Chelsea in the Premier League on Wednesday. Willian José has scored 62 goals in 170 games for Real Sociedad but scored only three times in 13 games in La Liga this season. He scored twice in his last game for the Spanish club in a 2-0 win over Cordoba in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
A naked Florida man stole what news footage showed to be a marked police vehicle and crashed it in a wooded area, officials said. Joshua Shenker, 22, was arrested after Thursday's crash on charges including theft of a motor vehicle, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, depriving an officer of means of communication or protection and resisting an officer without violence, according to a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office report. Officers responded to reports of a naked man running along Interstate 10 in western Jacksonville shortly before noon Thursday. Shenker was lying in the the roadway when an officer stopped on the opposite side of the route, the report said. Shenker then ran across the highway lanes toward the officer, officials said. The redacted report didn't say how Shenker stole the vehicle. Authorities confirmed only that a vehicle belonging to the City of Jacksonville was stolen. First Coast News footage of the scene showed the crashed vehicle to be a marked patrol car. According to the police report, about $10,000 worth of damage was done to the vehicle. Officers noticed Shenker had road rash after the crash and he was taken to a hospital to be checked out, authorities said. Shenker was being held on $4,011 bail. Jail records didn't list an attorney for him. The Associated Press
A new book that documents the stories of Gwich'in elders to help bridge the divide between the generations and record a collective history of the Gwich'in people has just been published by the Gwich'in Tribal Council. The book, Our Whole Gwich'in Way of Life has Changed is a compilation of Gwich'in elders' stories from the late '90s and early 2000s. "It's stories from the people of the land," explained Sharon Snowshoe, director of the Gwich'in Tribal Council's Department of Cultural Heritage. "It's the elders telling their own life stories. It talks about residential school. You know, our elders like to tell stories to us, so there's a bit of humour in it, too." Depth of interviews 'overwhelming' Snowshoe said that in 1998, a group led by Leslie McCartney, then a master student in cultural anthropology who was working for the Gwich'in Social and Cultural Institute, and some community members and youth, set out to interview and record the stories of elders in the four Gwich'in communities. In consultation with elders, McCartney and her team recorded the oral histories of 23 Gwich'in elders, 17 women and six men. "The richness, depth of the interviews was unexpected and overwhelming," said Snowshoe. "Most of the elders interviewed were the last generation where Gwich'in was their mother tongue," said Snowshoe. She said the Gwich'in language is one of the most endangered languages in Canada, and the elders recorded were encouraged to tell their stories in the Gwich'in language so it would be preserved. She added that the stories "also speak to the Gwich'in principles of elders playing a crucial role as teachers of traditional knowledge, history, language and culture." As well, she said the principles are based on a special spiritual relationship between the Gwich'in and the land. Since the council can't have a book launch, Snowshoe sent copies of the book to schools in the Gwich'in area as well as to designated Gwich'in organizations for distribution. Only one elder that was interviewed for the book is still alive so Snowshoe sent a letter and a copy of the book to the oldest family member of the elders who are in the book. The book, which was published by University of Alberta Press, is also available online.
As a passionate ice fisherman, there isn't much that can keep Ron Estey from his favourite hobby — except maybe this year's ice conditions. "I'm almost 40 years old and I've never seen the ice like this," he said. "It's just been a terrible year for ice production." While some bodies of water "in the back country" may have four to six inches of ice, most waterways still aren't safe, says Estey. "I would definitely use extreme caution anywhere in the southern part of the province right now." Estey is the moderator of the New Brunswick Ice Fishing page on Facebook and has travelled the province and beyond for ice fishing. While he has managed to do some ice fishing already, including last week at Killarney Lake in Fredericton, most of his favourite spots are far from ready. Glancing out his work window aboard the Belleisle Bay ferry, he said many waterways froze for the first time this week. "We haven't had a freeze up in the bay until just this week," said Estey, adding that he could still see open areas on the bay from his vantage point. "The river system is definitely not safe," he said. Estey, who lives in Hammondvale near Sussex, said his threshold for ice fishing is a minimum of four inches (10 cm) of ice. He's been keeping a pretty close eye on the two-week weather forecast and he's hopeful that continuing cold temperatures will mean the ice will be thick enough in a few days. Snowmobilers are also being warned about unsafe conditions. Ross Antworth, the general manager of the New Brunswick Federation of Snowmobile Clubs, says the responsibility lies with individual operators to ensure the ice is safe before they venture out. "Snowmobilers are responsible to check ice crossings themselves," he said Friday. "This has always been the case, and with a late start to winter and unseasonably warm temperatures, we would caution anybody, before they put themselves, or their snowmobile, on any ice." With such a late start to the ice season, this isn't exactly a great year to launch a new ice fishing business. But that's exactly what Brett O'Neill has done. O'Neill owns The Shacks, which rents out fishing huts at the Renforth ice fishing village in Rothesay — or it would if there was enough ice. He has three huts that come with everything one would need to give ice fishing a try — holes, poles, bait, and wood for the stove. O'Neill, who operates the business with his girlfriend, Maya Dempsey, is disappointed that the start of his first season is delayed, but he's hopeful that with a few more days of cold temperatures, they will still have two solid months of operations. "I don't know if anybody's out there yet right now. It wouldn't surprise me if people were out there tomorrow or the day after. That wouldn't surprise me one bit … Somebody has to be the tester." Ecological impact The late freezing of waterways could also have an effect on the ecosystem, explained Tommi Linnansaari, a fish ecologist and associate professor at the University of New Brunswick. The normal accumulation of ice and snow provides a more predictable environment for the aquatic world beneath, explained Linnansaari. With a solid ice surface and a decent layer of snow, temperatures are stable and the amount of light is reduced. Linnansaari said aquatic creatures "have evolved through eons of time with conditions where ice cover is the norm." They assume those conditions will continue and they prepare for winter accordingly, often slowing their metabolism and food intake. Warmer temperatures and more light lead them to be more active, thereby expending more energy, he explained. "So there might be repercussions to the energy balance of the fish." Linnansaari likens it to battery life. He said fish have a finite wintertime battery life. "Some may basically run out of battery, so they'll die. That would be the extreme outcome." He said some fish species are more at risk than others, particularly the ones that are "completely inactive" in the winter — species like yellow perch and minnow-type fish. Warmer winter temperatures may also have further implications on the food chain, said Linnansaari. Warmer water temperatures could trigger certain invertebrates to hatch earlier, creating a "temporal mismatch," which means that they may not be available as a food source for species that count on them at critical stages of their development — salmon hatchlings in June, for example. "These are the sorts of things that we don't know yet if they'll manifest, but it's conceivable that that is what is going to happen," he said.
WASHINGTON — Newly confirmed Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin will have to contend not only with a world of security threats and a massive military bureaucracy, but also with a challenge that hits closer to home: rooting out racism and extremism in the ranks. Austin took office Friday as the first Black defence chief, in the wake of the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, where retired and current military members were among the rioters touting far-right conspiracies. The retired four-star Army general told senators this week that the Pentagon’s job is to “keep America safe from our enemies. But we can’t do that if some of those enemies lie within our own ranks.” Ridding the military of racists isn’t his only priority. Austin, who was confirmed in a 93-2 vote, has made clear that accelerating delivery of coronavirus vaccines will get his early attention. But the racism issue is personal. At Tuesday’s confirmation hearing, he explained why. In 1995, when then-Lt. Col. Austin was serving with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, three white soldiers, described as self-styled skinheads, were arrested in the murder of a Black couple who was walking down the street. Investigators concluded the two were targeted because of their race. The killing triggered an internal investigation, and all told, 22 soldiers were linked to skinhead and other similar groups or found to hold extremist views. They included 17 who were considered white supremacists or separatists. “We woke up one day and discovered that we had extremist elements in our ranks,” Austin told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “And they did bad things that we certainly held them accountable for. But we discovered that the signs for that activity were there all along. We just didn’t know what to look for or what to pay attention to.” Austin is not the first secretary to grapple with the problem. Racism has long been an undercurrent in the military. While leaders insist only a small minority hold extremist views, there have been persistent incidents of racial hatred and, more subtly, a history of implicit bias in what is a predominantly white institution. A recent Air Force inspector general report found that Black service members in the Air Force are far more likely to be investigated, arrested, face disciplinary actions and be discharged for misconduct. Based on 2018 data, roughly two-thirds of the military’s enlisted corps is white and about 17% is Black, but the minority percentage declines as rank increases. The U.S. population overall is about three-quarters white and 13% Black, according to Census Bureau statistics. Over the past year, Pentagon leaders have struggled to make changes, hampered by opposition from then-President Donald Trump. It took months for the department to effectively ban the Confederate flag last year, and Pentagon officials left to Congress the matter of renaming military bases that honour Confederate leaders. Trump rejected renaming the bases and defended flying the flag. Senators peppered Austin with questions about extremism in the ranks and his plans to deal with it. The hearing was held two weeks after lawmakers fled the deadly insurrection at the Capitol, in which many of the rioters espoused separatist or extremist views. “It’s clear that we are at a crisis point,” said Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., saying leaders must root out extremism and reaffirm core military values. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., pressed Austin on the actions he will take. “Disunity is probably the most destructive force in terms of our ability to defend ourselves," Kaine said. "If we’re divided against one another, how can we defend the nation?” Austin, who broke racial barriers throughout his four decades in the Army, said military leaders must set the right example to discourage and eliminate extremist behaviour. They must get to know their troops, and look for signs of extremism or other problems, he said. But Austin — the first Black man to serve as head of U.S. Central Command and the first to be the Army's vice chief of staff — also knows that much of the solution must come from within the military services and lower-ranking commanders. They must ensure their troops are trained and aware of the prohibitions. “Most of us were embarrassed that we didn’t know what to look for and we didn’t really understand that by being engaged more with your people on these types of issues can pay big dividends,” he said, recalling the 82nd Airborne problems. “I don’t think that you can ever take your hand off the steering wheel here.” But he also cautioned that there won't be an easy solution, adding, “I don’t think that this is a thing that you can put a Band-Aid on and fix and leave alone. I think that training needs to go on, routinely." Austin gained confirmation after clearing a legal hurdle prohibiting anyone from serving as defence chief until they have been out of the military for seven years. Austin retired less than five years ago, but the House and Senate quickly approved the needed waiver, and President Joe Biden signed it Friday. Soon afterward, Austin strode into the Pentagon, his afternoon already filled with calls and briefings, including a meeting with Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He held a broader video conference on COVID-19 with all top defence and military leaders, and his first call to an international leader was with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Austin, 67, is a 1975 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He helped lead the invasion into Iraq in 2003, and eight years later was the top U.S. commander there, overseeing the full American troop withdrawal. After serving as vice chief of the Army, Austin headed Central Command, where he oversaw the reinsertion of U.S. troops to Iraq to beat back Islamic State militants. He describes himself as the son of a postal worker and a homemaker from Thomasville, Georgia, who will speak his mind to Congress and to Biden. Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press
An arts organization in Chatham-Kent is looking for contributions for a unique community project to mark Black History Month. The theme of the project is "celebrating Black lives" and the Thames Art Gallery and ARTspace are seeking submissions from the public for original works of art on the theme. The art can be any media, including painting, drawing and writing. The public submissions will be combined and set up in a pandemic-friendly public display. "What we're having people do is produce a piece of work and then photograph it and then send it to us and we will print it out and then assemble it in the form of a quilt," Phil Vanderwall, curator of the Thames Art Gallery, said on CBC Radio's Windsor Morning on Friday. The completed work will be displayed in the window of the ARTspace gallery on King Street in downtown Chatham. "So it's a nice public space," he said. The 'quilt' format of the project allows for community participation while preventing close contact. Both ARTspace and the Thames Art Gallery are closed due to COVID-19. Vanderwall said quilt-making is currently undergoing a bit of a revival. "This seemed like a good opportunity to explore that," he said. Submissions are already coming in and the deadline is Jan. 29 at 5:30 p.m. The quilt will be unveiled Feb. 5 and will remain on display until Feb 26.
A large trailer sits in a parking lot behind the Mount Royal Metro station. It's bright and colourful, adding life to a parking lot that is otherwise washed out with snow and construction. Large letters are written on its side: "Wapikoni: First Nations travelling audiovisual and creation studio." Wapikoni is a not-for-profit based in Montreal. They once used the trailer to hold audiovisual workshops for Indigenous youth, but during the pandemic it serves a different purpose. Sheri Pranteau and her team of support workers use it as a home base for the Indigenous Support Workers Project. Watch | Learn more about the project on Our Montreal: The project was founded in 2018 to help people who are Indigenous and homeless in Montreal. At the time, at least 12 per cent of Montreal's homeless population identified as Indigenous, according to a survey conducted by I Count MTL. Since then, the project has expanded to include three more team members. Pranteau was the first support worker to be hired. Her job was to search the streets for people who are homeless and Indigenous, and offer her support. She would brave the cold with nothing more than her coat and what she could carry on her back. But now, Pranteau uses the Wapikoni trailer to collect donations, store equipment and serve hot beverages to people who ask for it. Julia Dubé is a project co-ordinator at Wapikoni. She explained that, due to pandemic restrictions, the organization reduced their programming and stopped providing in-person workshops in the trailer. "Because we weren't using our equipment for our regular activities, the trailer was just kind of sitting there," she said. "So the idea here was to offer some support in terms of equipment." With the addition of the trailer, Pranteau says she and her team can better support people on the street. "[The team] is small but mighty," she said. Every day they do the rounds, walking as far as Place des Arts to meet people, provide support and listen to what they need. If ever they don't have something on hand, they head back to the trailer to get it. But beyond the physical needs, Pranteau also explains the importance of connection. "A lot of them just need acknowledgement," she said. "That's all it takes sometimes, to be acknowledged and to be told, 'you matter.'" She explained that her personal background helps in this regard. She identifies as Cree Anishinaabe, and has had her own experiences that help her empathize with the people she's helping. "I went down a lot of dark roads," she said. "And I paid dearly for those." She credits her community and her elders for helping her get back on her feet. Now she's focused on paying it forward, helping people on the street stay connected to their culture. "Food is one of our things that brings healing, it brings us together," she said. This is why she regularly bakes bannock and brings it with her on her outings. "I just want to help, and see our people rise up and not continue to die and freeze to death," Pranteau said. "I can't save everyone, but I wouldn't want to do anything else."
LOS ANGELES — Larry King, the suspenders-sporting everyman whose broadcast interviews with world leaders, movie stars and ordinary Joes helped define American conversation for a half-century, died Saturday. He was 87. King died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Ora Media, the studio and network he co-founded, tweeted. No cause of death was given, but CNN had earlier reported he was hospitalized with COVID-19. A longtime nationally syndicated radio host, from 1985 through 2010 he was a nightly fixture on CNN, where he won many honours, including two Peabody awards. With his celebrity interviews, political debates and topical discussions, King wasn’t just an enduring on-air personality. He also set himself apart with the curiosity be brought to every interview, whether questioning the assault victim known as the “Central Park Jogger” or billionaire industrialist Ross Perot, who in 1992 rocked the presidential contest by announcing his candidacy on King’s show. In its early years, “Larry King Live” was based in Washington, D.C., which gave the show an air of gravitas. Likewise King. He was the plainspoken go-between through whom Beltway bigwigs could reach their public, and they did, earning the show prestige as a place where things happened, where news was made. King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews. In 1995 he presided over a Middle East peace summit with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, King Hussein of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He welcomed everyone from the Dalai Lama to Elizabeth Taylor, from Mikhail Gorbachev to Barack Obama, Bill Gates to Lady Gaga. Especially after he relocated to Los Angeles, his shows were frequently in the thick of breaking celebrity news, including Paris Hilton talking about her stint in jail in 2007 and Michael Jackson’s friends and family members talking about his death in 2009. King boasted of never over-preparing for an interview. His nonconfrontational style relaxed his guests and made him readily relatable to his audience. “I don’t pretend to know it all,” he said in a 1995 Associated Press interview. “Not, `What about Geneva or Cuba?' I ask, `Mr. President, what don’t you like about this job?' Or `What’s the biggest mistake you made?' That’s fascinating.” At a time when CNN, as the lone player in cable news, was deemed politically neutral, and King was the essence of its middle-of-the-road stance, political figures and people at the centre of controversies would seek out his show. And he was known for getting guests who were notoriously elusive. Frank Sinatra, who rarely gave interviews and often lashed out at reporters, spoke to King in 1988 in what would be the singer’s last major TV appearance. Sinatra was an old friend of King’s and acted accordingly. “Why are you here?” King asks. Sinatra responds, “Because you asked me to come and I hadn’t seen you in a long time to begin with, I thought we ought to get together and chat, just talk about a lot of things.” King had never met Marlon Brando, who was even tougher to get and tougher to interview, when the acting giant asked to appear on King’s show in 1994. The two hit it off so famously they ended their 90-minute talk with a song and an on-the-mouth kiss, an image that was all over media in subsequent weeks. After a gala week marking his 25th anniversary in June 2010, King abruptly announced he was retiring from his show, telling viewers, “It’s time to hang up my nightly suspenders.” Named as his successor in the time slot: British journalist and TV personality Piers Morgan. By King’s departure that December, suspicion had grown that he had waited a little too long to hang up those suspenders. Once the leader in cable TV news, he ranked third in his time slot with less than half the nightly audience his peak year, 1998, when “Larry King Live” drew 1.64 million viewers. His wide-eyed, regular-guy approach to interviewing by then felt dated in an era of edgy, pushy or loaded questioning by other hosts. Meanwhile, occasional flubs had made him seem out of touch, or worse. A prime example from 2007 found King asking Jerry Seinfeld if he had voluntarily left his sitcom or been cancelled by his network, NBC. “I was the No. 1 show in television, Larry,” replied Seinfeld with a flabbergasted look. “Do you know who I am?” Always a workaholic, King would be back doing specials for CNN within a few months of performing his nightly duties. He found a new sort of celebrity as a plain-spoken natural on Twitter when the platform emerged, winning over more than 2 million followers who simultaneously mocked and loved him for his esoteric style. “I’ve never been in a canoe. #Itsmy2cents,” he said in a typical tweet in 2015. His Twitter account was essentially a revival of a USA Today column he wrote for two decades full of one-off, disjointed thoughts. Norm Macdonald delivered a parody version of the column when he played King on “Saturday Night Live,” with deadpan lines like, “The more I think about it, the more I appreciate the equator.” King was constantly parodied, often through old-age jokes on late-night talk shows from hosts including David Letterman and Conan O’Brien, often appearing with the latter to get in on the roasting himself. King came by his voracious but no-frills manner honestly. He was born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger in 1933, a son of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who ran a bar and grill in Brooklyn. But after his father’s death when Larry was a boy, he faced a troubled, sometimes destitute youth. A fan of such radio stars as Arthur Godfrey and comedians Bob & Ray, King on reaching adulthood set his sights on a broadcasting career. With word that Miami was a good place to break in, he headed south in 1957 and landed a job sweeping floors at a tiny AM station. When a deejay abruptly quit, King was put on the air — and was handed his new surname by the station manager, who thought Zeiger “too Jewish.” A year later he moved to a larger station, where his duties were expanded from the usual patter to serving as host of a daily interview show that aired from a local restaurant. He quickly proved equally adept at talking to the waitresses, and the celebrities who began dropping by. By the early 1960s King had gone to yet a larger Miami station, scored a newspaper column and become a local celebrity himself. At the same time, he fell victim to living large. “It was important to me to come across as a ‘big man,”’ he wrote in his autobiography, which meant “I made a lot of money and spread it around lavishly.” He accumulated debts and his first broken marriages (he was married eight times to seven women). He gambled, borrowed wildly and failed to pay his taxes. He also became involved with a shady financier in a scheme to bankroll an investigation of President Kennedy’s assassination. But when King skimmed some of the cash to pay his overdue taxes, his partner sued him for grand larceny in 1971. The charges were dropped, but King’s reputation appeared ruined. King lost his radio show and, for several years, struggled to find work. But by 1975 the scandal had largely blown over and a Miami station gave him another chance. Regaining his local popularity, King was signed in 1978 to host radio’s first nationwide call-in show. Originating from Washington on the Mutual network, “The Larry King Show” was eventually heard on more than 300 stations and made King a national phenomenon. A few years later, CNN founder Ted Turner offered King a slot on his young network. “Larry King Live” debuted on June 1, 1985, and became CNN’s highest-rated program. King’s beginning salary of $100,000 a year eventually grew to more than $7 million. A three-packs-a-day cigarette habit led to a heart attack in 1987, but King’s quintuple-bypass surgery didn’t slow him down. Meanwhile, he continued to prove that, in his words, “I’m not good at marriage, but I’m a great boyfriend.” He was just 18 when he married high school girlfriend Freda Miller, in 1952. The marriage lasted less than a year. In subsequent decades he would marry Annette Kay, Alene Akins (twice), Mickey Sutfin, Sharon Lepore and Julie Alexander. In 1997, he wed Shawn Southwick, a country singer and actress 26 years his junior. They would file for divorce in 2010, rescind the filing, then file for divorce again in 2019. The couple had two sons, King’s fourth and fifth kids, Chance Armstrong, born in 1999, and Cannon Edward, born in 2000. In 2020, King lost his two eldest children, Andy King and Chaia King, who died of unrelated health problems within weeks of each other. He had many other medical issues in recent decades, including more heart attacks and diagnoses of type 2 diabetes and lung cancer. Early in 2021, CNN reported that King was hospitalized for more than a week with COVID-19. Through his setbacks he continued to work into his late 80s, taking on online talk shows and infomercials as his appearances on CNN grew fewer. “Work,” King once said. “It’s the easiest thing I do.” ___ Former AP Television Writer Frazier Moore contributed biographical material to this report. Andrew Dalton, The Associated Press
The coastal city of Beira in Mozambique, which houses one of the country's most important ports, has seen mild damage to property and flooding after tropical cyclone Eloise made landfall early on Saturday, an official said in a television report. The cyclone has since lost its strength and has been downgraded to a tropical storm, according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). "Beira had mild damage, but is too early to quantify the extent and scale of destruction," Luisa Meque, President of Mozambique's National Institute for Disaster Risk Management and Reduction (INGD), said in a television interview with national broadcaster TVM.
WASHINGTON — The heads of three federally funded international broadcasters were abruptly fired late Friday as the Biden administration completed a house-cleaning of Donald Trump-appointees at the U.S. Agency for Global Media. Two officials familiar with the changes said the acting chief of the USAGM summarily dismissed the directors of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks just a month after they had been named to the posts. The changes came a day after the director of the Voice of America and his deputy were removed and the chief of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting stepped down. The firings follow the forced resignation of former President Donald Trump’s handpicked choice to lead USAGM only two hours after Joe Biden took office on Wednesday. Trump’s USAGM chief Michael Pack had been accused by Democrats and others of trying to turn VOA and its sister networks into pro-Trump propaganda machines. Pack had appointed all of those who were fired on Thursday and Friday to their posts only in December. The two officials said the acting CEO of USAGM, Kelu Chao, had fired Middle East Broadcasting Network director Victoria Coates, Radio Free Asia chief Stephen Yates and Radio Free Europe head Ted Lipien in a swift series of moves late Friday. It was not immediately clear if any of those removed would try to contest their dismissals. The White House appointed Chao, a three-decade VOA veteran journalist, to be the agency’s interim chief executive on Wednesday shortly after demanding Pack’s resignation. Chao did not respond to phone calls seeking comment about her actions. The two officials familiar with the dismissals were not authorized to publicly discuss personnel matters and spoke on condition of anonymity. Coates, Yates and Lipien, along with former VOA director Robert Reilly and former Cuba broadcasting chief Jeffrey Shapiro were all prominent conservatives chosen by Pack to shake up what Trump and other Republicans believed was biased leadership in taxpayer-funded media outlets. Reilly and his deputy Elizabeth Robbins were removed just a week after coming under harsh criticism for demoting a VOA White House correspondent who had tried to ask former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a question after a town hall event. Pack had created a furor when he took over USAGM last year and fired the boards of all the outlets under his control along with the leadership of the individual broadcast networks. The actions were criticized as threatening the broadcasters’ prized editorial independence and raised fears that Pack, a conservative filmmaker and former associate of Trump’s onetime political strategist Steve Bannon, intended to turn venerable U.S. media outlets into pro-Trump propaganda machines. Biden had been expected to make major changes to the agency’s structure and management, and Pack’s immediate dismissal on inauguration day signalled that those would be coming sooner rather than later. Pack had not been required to submit his resignation as his three-year position was created by Congress and not limited by the length of a particular administration. VOA was founded during World War II and its congressional charter requires it to present independent news and information to international audiences. Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
Germaine McLaughlin's 90th birthday celebration wasn't typical. The pandemic meant there was no opportunity for a large party, but McLaughlin's daughter Cathy Arndt had an idea. She posted on social media asking for people to send Germaine — or "Gerry" — cards. Because of the post, the 90-year-old spent almost all day on Jan. 20 opening cards and receiving flowers from family, friends and complete strangers. "I never thought I'd reach the age of 90 really," McLaughlin said from her home in Weyburn, Sask. "It's quite nice to be acknowledged and just know that somebody's thinking about you," she said. "I'm pretty happy about this … pretty surprised." Arndt said she wasn't expecting to get that much for her mother's birthday, then people started sharing the post, including people outside of Saskatchewan. "Boy, the cards just started coming in," Arndt said. "And every day there was 10 or more cards coming in the mail." "The final count is 91 but it sounds like there's many more on their way to my mom." Cards came in from across Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and one from Germany. "It was overwhelming," Arndt said. "So much love." Arndt said people may have gotten on board because it gave them something positive to dwell on. "With hearing of so many deaths with COVID, it's just such a positive thing to think about." "We have to make the best of everything nowadays. We could be down and out about it all. But really, you have to look at the silver lining and the goodness in the world." Arndt said people shouldn't underestimate the kindness out there in the country. McLaughlin said on her special day she's feeling the love. "Thank you for everything," McLaughlin said. "And for my good wishes."
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka’s health minister, who has faced criticism for consuming and endorsing a herbal syrup made by a sorcerer, has tested positive for COVID-19. A Health Ministry official on Saturday confirmed that Pavithra Wanniarachchi became the highest-ranking official to be infected with the virus. She and her immediate contacts have been asked to self-quarantine. Doctors have said there is no scientific basis for the syrup as remedy for the coronavirus. It's said to contain honey and nutmeg. Thousands of people gathered in long queues in December in the town of Kegalle, northeast of the capital Colombo, to obtain the syrup, just days after Wanniarachchi and several other government officials publicly consumed it. The maker of the syrup said he got the formula through his divine powers. In local media, he claimed the Hindu goddess Kaali appeared to him in a dream and gave the recipe to save humanity from the coronavirus. Sri Lankans are used to taking both the regular medicine and indigenous alternative drugs to cure ailments. Meanwhile on Saturday, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced that Sri Lanka will receive the first stock of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from India on Jan. 27. He said India is giving this stock free of charge and his government is making arrangements to purchase more vaccines from India, China and Russia. On Friday, Sri Lanka approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine amid warnings from doctors that front-line health workers should be quickly inoculated to prevent the medical system from collapsing. The vaccine was the first to be approved for emergency use in Sri Lanka. The Health Ministry says the inoculation will begin by mid-February. Sri Lanka has witnessed a fresh outbreak of the disease in October when two clusters — one centred on a garment factory and the other on the main fish market — emerged in Colombo and its suburbs. Sri Lanka has reported 52,964 cases with 278 fatalities. ___ This story has been corrected to show that the town where people lined up for the syrup was Kegalle. ___ Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
As Dustin Ritter picks up his pencil and starts to draw, he immediately breaks into a smile. The portrait artist may not see perfectly, but his pencil lines are clear and purposeful. "I think people are really surprised that I can draw because of my condition and, again, I have to explain how it works for me," he said. "I do have what people call an invisible disability." Ritter said it can take him hours to complete a piece — longer than it would other artists — but his time spent drawing isn't wasted. "I want people to feel as good as I did making it when they get it. And I guess just to explain to them that I enjoyed the process so much because it helped me centre myself." Ritter has a type of macular dystrophy. It's a blind spot in the centre of each eye that affects his perception of details and depth. His ophthalmologist has told him it's not the typical type of macular dystrophy as his eyes don't seem to be getting worse with age. Despite having the blind spot since he was a young child, Ritter has been drawing for as long as he can remember. With his condition, Ritter has to create his artwork differently than others. He can't work with a live model and instead uses reference images that he can hold close to his face to see the details. He said his eye condition is something other people point out more than he notices it himself. "Like, I won't notice that I'm holding my phone right in front of my face until someone says that. And I'm like, 'You don't do that?'" Ritter said with a laugh. "I think you get so used to doing things a certain way that you have your routines." As a teenager, Ritter moved away from drawing, thinking he needed to get a "real job." In 2018, he rediscovered his passion and started drawing again, "just for therapeutic reasons, like wanting to just draw and relax. Now I'm fully addicted to doing it again, and it's been a really good time." Ritter said drawing offers him something to focus on and helps counteract anxiety, but more than that, it offers him a purpose. "Drawing was always a kind of escape for me," Ritter said. "I can put a lot of time into that where other things are more of a challenge and more of a chore." For example, Ritter said cooking can be a struggle as he needs to read ingredient lists or small print. When other things are frustrating, that's when he turns to drawing. Two years and hundreds of commissions later, the 37-year-old has made artwork his career. He has a month-long exhibit up at Bushwakker Brewpub in Regina. For commissions and his latest exhibit, Ritter has been creating custom frames with the help of his dad. They use wood from their family farm, where a 100-year-old barn recently blew over, and they also salvaged pieces from an old grain elevator. On top of doing commissions, Ritter teaches art classes at the Paper Crane Community Art Centre in Regina and tutorials for Ranch Ehrlo Society youth. Ritter also does client-centred murals where he sketches out the mural and the youth help fill it in. "Being a person with a disability, it makes it easier for me to work with someone with a disability because I can kind of empathize with them and realize how scary it is for them to start something," Ritter said. "I think everyone has a fear of starting something because you won't be good at it, right? So if someone else kind of starts it for you and gives you the tools to do it on your own, you can still feel good with the finished product." Ritter credits Bushwakker for good exposure, hopes to continue doing murals and challenging himself to grow as an artist. "Art is kind of like music, where everyone can kind of enjoy it and get some sort of fulfilment out of it," Ritter said. "It's something that drives me to do it more because I feel it does help people who need it."
Bulgaria will ease some coronavirus restrictions from February 4 though restaurants will remain closed for now due to concerns about the new coronavirus variant, officials said on Saturday. Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said secondary school students will be allowed to attend classes under a special regime as of next month and will also be able to attend extracurricular sport and dance activities. Bulgaria reopened primary schools and kindergartens in early January - a move that has not led to a spike in infections.
Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said on Saturday the kingdom was optimistic that it would have "excellent relations" with the new U.S. administration of President Joe Biden and that it would continue to talk with Washington regarding the Iran nuclear deal. Saudi Arabia has built solid, historical relations where it worked with different administrations.
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What began as a side project for Canadian journalist Daniel Dale soon ballooned into a full-time job, as he fact-checked U.S. President Donald Trump — often in real time — and Trump's near-daily spreading of misinformation. Now, with Trump's four-year term over, Dale reflects on some of Trump's most damaging and befuddling lies. Dale went to Washington to cover analytical and human interest stories for the Toronto Star, where he was the paper's bureau chief for four years. He began fact-checking Trump as a side project. The president, he soon found, provided ample material to work with. "It turned out that the president lied so frequently that it could be a full-time thing," said Dale, speaking with CBC's Leigh Anne Power. "And that's what it became for me." Dale, who moved to CNN in 2019, was often sought out for what was true — and more often what wasn't — in Trump's tweets, speeches, remarks and news conferences. Dale now has more than 1.2 million followers on Twitter. The volume and frequency of Trump's tweets created a demanding schedule, said Dale, and fact-checking the president soon became a kind of lifestyle. "He would lie from sometimes 6 a.m. when he would get on Twitter, to just about midnight where he would stop tweeting," said Dale. "You could be watching a game, or watching a movie, or out at a park or something and just have to jump because the president had said something wildly untrue and your editor is calling." 'Ridiculous' and 'unique' Like other social media companies, Twitter suspended Trump's account indefinitely over his role in this month's violent riot at the Capitol. Through the months, Trump's tweets often veered from the potentially violent to the outright bizarre. While Dale says that all politicians lie or bend the truth in order to win elections or play-up their personal accomplishments, Trump would often claim outlandish and easily verifiable facts about himself. "He claimed that he was once named 'Michigan Man of The Year', even though he never lived in Michigan," Dale said. "There's no reason he would've gotten this award, he did not get this award, but he kept saying it." Another of Trump's lies which stood out was a claim that he had been called by the leader of the Boy Scouts of America, and was told that he had given the greatest ever speech at the Boy Scout Jamboree event. The Boy Scouts of America confirmed to Dale that had never happened. "He made that up, the White House later admitted it," said Dale. "So a president who lies about the Boy Scouts is a pretty unique president." Dangerous tweeting Though Trump's time in office yielded many remarkable claims and fabrications, the more serious of his lies, said Dale, were the ones which put American institutions and lives at risk. "The lies that he won the election, that it was rife with fraud, Joe Biden stole it, or it was rigged— all that. I think we've seen the serious damage to democracy," he told CBC's Newfoundland Morning. In addition to allegations of election fraud, Dale said that the most damaging day-to-day implications of Trump's lying were the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Listen to Newfoundland Morning's interview with Daniel Dale, beginning at 9:30: "[Saying] things were under control and it wasn't that bad, and it was just like the flu," Dale said, "that kind of family of lies I think very likely resulted in a lot of Americans dying, because people didn't change their behaviour in a way they would have if the president had been more honest with them." While some fact-checking might have been as simple as a Google search, others required him to track down obscure characters, and dig into archives or statistical databases. As for what it takes to be a good fact-checker, Dale pointed to a willingness to wade into the weeds to find the truth is imperative. "I would say you have to have stamina. You have to take a breath and second guess yourself, make sure that you are not misunderstanding what's said, and you're not tweeting prematurely before you've listened to all the facts," said Dale. "I think you have to be willing to go the extra mile in pursuing the truth." And while the Trump era has ended, Dale's zeal for checking the facts has not. On Friday, he reported on a false claim by President Joe Biden. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
LONDON — A major British doctors' group is says the U.K. government should “urgently review” it's decision to give people a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine up to 12 weeks after the first, rather than the shorter gap recommended by the manufacturer and the World Health Organization. The U.K., which has Europe’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak, adopted the policy in order to give as many people as possible a first dose of vaccine quickly. So far almost 5.5 million people have received a shot of either a vaccine made by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech or one developed by U.K.-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University. AstraZeneca has said it believes a first dose of its vaccine offers protection after 12 weeks, but Pfizer says it has not tested the efficacy of its jab after such a long gap. The British Medical Association on Saturday urged England’s chief medical officer to “urgently review the U.K.’s current position of second doses after 12 weeks.” In a statement, the association said there was “growing concern from the medical profession regarding the delay of the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as Britain's strategy has become increasingly isolated from many other countries.” “No other nation has adopted the U.K.‘s approach,” Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the BMA council, told the BBC. He said the WHO had recommended that the second Pfizer vaccine shot could be given up to six weeks after the first but only “in exceptional circumstances.” “I do understand the trade-off and the rationale, but if that was the right thing to do then we would see other nations following suit,” Nagpaul said. Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England, defended the decision as “a reasonable scientific balance on the basis of both supply and also protecting the most people.” Researchers in Britain have begun collecting blood samples from newly vaccinated people in order to study how many antibodies they are producing at different intervals, from 3 weeks to 24 months, to get an answer to the question of what timing is best for the shots. The doctors’ concerns came a day after government medical advisers said there was evidence that a new variant of the virus first identified in southeast England carries a greater risk of death than the original strain. Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said Friday “that there is evidence that there is an increased risk for those who have the new variant,” which is also more transmissible than the original virus. He said the new strain might be about 30% more deadly, but stressed that “the evidence is not yet strong” and more research is needed. Research by British scientists advising the government said although initial analyses suggested that the strain did not cause more severe disease, several more recent ones suggest it might. However, the number of deaths is relatively small, and fatality rates are affected by many things, including the care that patients get and their age and health, beyond having COVID-19. Britain has recorded 95,981 deaths among people who tested positive, the highest confirmed virus toll in Europe. The U.K. is in a lockdown to try to slow the latest surge of the virus, and the government says an end to the restrictions will not come soon. Pubs, restaurants, gyms, entertainment venues and many shops are closed, and people are required to stay largely at home. The British government is considering tightening quarantine requirements for people arriving from abroad. Already travellers must self-isolate for 10 days, but enforcement is patchy. Authorities are considering requiring arrivals to stay in quarantine hotels, a practice adopted in other countries, including Australia. “We may need to go further to protect our borders,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday. ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
The weekend should dawn bright and sunny for most of B.C.'s South Coast, but a change in the weather is on the way. Saturday night is expected to bring the first snowfall of the winter for many neighbourhoods on the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast, Vancouver Island and the Central Coast, and Environment Canada has issued special weather statements warning of the change in conditions. The snow is expected to continue into Sunday. Some of that snow might even linger on the ground for a little while, with accumulations of two to five centimetres in the forecast for most of the affected areas, and up to 15 centimetres in eastern and inland areas of Vancouver Island, including the Malahat Highway. By Sunday afternoon, the snow will be mixed with rain in many areas, forecasters say, but more snow is possible later in the week. In preparation for the wintry weather, the City of Vancouver says more than 100 vehicles and 3,000 tonnes of salt are ready to hit the roads this weekend. The city is also opening additional shelter spaces at the Powell Street Getaway, the Vancouver Aquatic Centre and the Creekside Community Centre.