The TOWIE star says she was “happiest at her heaviest”.
The TOWIE star says she was “happiest at her heaviest”.
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 — 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
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick's Public Prosecutions Service announced Tuesday that no criminal charges will be filed against police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Rodney Levi last June.Levi, who was from the Metepenagiag First Nation, was shot dead by the RCMP on the evening of June 12 after police responded to a complaint about a disturbance in a home in Sunny Corner, N.B.The incident was investigated by Quebec's police watchdog, the Bureau des Enquetes independantes, which submitted a report to New Brunswick prosecutors in December.A statement from the prosecutions service said it is clear the officers on the scene believed Levi was using force against them, and he was shot to protect themselves and civilians who were present."This action followed repeated attempts to engage with Mr. Levi peacefully, and followed several applications of a Taser to disarm him from the dangerous weapons (knives) he refused to yield," the statement said.The prosecutions service concluded the police officers in question were acting lawfully to protect the residents of the home that evening."The evidence presented to Public Prosecutions Services does not establish a reasonable prospect of conviction, and therefore, we will not proceed with criminal charges," it said.Levi's killing came days after an Edmundston, N.B., police officer shot and killed Chantel Moore, a 26-year-old Indigenous woman, during a wellness check. The two killings sparked dismay and anger in the province's Indigenous community along with demands for a full inquiry.Alisa Lombard, the lawyer for Levi's family, said Tuesday that family members are disappointed with the outcome."They were provided with a very thorough explanation and review of the evidence and the law. They are now taking the time to process this information and to grieve," she said in an interview.Lombard said she expects the family will want to take further action. "I can say with a fair amount of confidence that this is not the end," she said.A summary of evidence prepared by the prosecutions service and published Tuesday says an autopsy confirmed Levi died from gunshot wounds to the chest. Witnesses told investigators Levi had been acting erratically, and a toxicology report revealed the presence of traces of amphetamine and methamphetamine in his body, the report said.The report summarizes what investigators heard from witnesses, though it does not name them. One woman, identified as a close relative of Levi, did not witness the shooting but spoke of his state of mind and intent on June 12.She said Levi had been living in her home for a few days and was very depressed, according to the report. "He kept talking about suicide and more specifically about 'suicide by RCMP'," the report says. The witness tried to dissuade Levi, but suicide by RCMP was all he would talk about. She never saw him again after he left her home on the afternoon of June 12.The report states that four witnesses at the home in Sunny Corner believed Levi was under the influence of something when he took knives from the kitchen of the home and began waving them around. He refused to put down the knives, and two people called 911.The witnesses said the officers were calm and tried to defuse the situation but Levi refused to drop the knives. They said Levi was Tasered three times by police and at one point said something to the effect of "you'll have to put a bullet in me," the report says. The witnesses said Levi "lunged" or "charged" at one of the officers, who then opened fire.The evidence included a 37-second video filmed by a witness, which shows Levi being hit with the stun gun three times. After the third time, Levi drops one of his knives but immediately picks it back up and seconds later is moving toward one of the officers with the knives pointed toward him, according to the report. The sound of two shots follows.The officer who fired the shots told investigators Levi was about three to five feet away from him and he perceived a “threat of death or grievous bodily harm” when he fired.In its statement, the prosecutions service said the decision not to lay charges against the officers does not "diminish the tragedy of the event." It said Levi's death is "a pain shared by members of the Metepenagiag First Nation and residents of neighbouring communities that cared about him."A coroner's inquest will be held into the incident, although a date and location have not been set.At such an inquest the presiding coroner and a jury will hear evidence from witnesses to determine the facts surrounding the death. The jury can then make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances in the future.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press
Out of 99 new positive cases discovered in the Simcoe Muskoka Region, health officials say 97 are linked to a long-term care home in Barrie and all of those people are likely affected by the fast-spreading U.K. variant. There are concerns the highly contagious strain of the virus is more widespread than initially thought. Miranda Anthistle has the details.
SASKATOON — Canadian fertilizer giant Nutrien Ltd. says it will expand its use of a proximity alarm and contact tracing technology to help protect 14,500 of its employees from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Saskatoon-based company says it has rolled out its Proximity Trace equipment, made by U.S.-based Triax Technologies, to more than 8,000 employees to date and expects to introduce it to 6,500 more in coming months, representing 65 per cent of its global employee base. Proximity Trace tags are attached to workers’ clothing or hard hats and produce an audio and visual alert to those who come within two metres of one another. Nutrien says the sensors also automatically log data to allow contact tracing if a positive case is found, helping limit further spread and reassuring those not at risk. The company says the system is expected to help it minimize operational shutdowns and related costs and product delivery delays from disease outbreaks. The first sensors were deployed last July at fertilizer plant sites in the United States. They are now to be employed at Nutrien's potash mines in Saskatchewan and at corporate offices in Colorado, Illinois, Alberta and Saskatchewan. “At the workplace, if you maintain proper physical distancing, then your risk of spreading the virus is very low,” said Dr. Tarek Sardana, a medical expert advising Nutrien, in a company news release. “I encourage people to think of themselves as if they’re living within six-foot bubbles, and if no one penetrates the bubbles, it’s harder for the virus to spread.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:NTR) The Canadian Press
As the scale of the pandemic revealed itself in March, one small town in Newfoundland created a community-led meals-on-wheels to support its seniors.
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Tuesday rescinded a Trump-era memo that established a “zero tolerance” enforcement policy for migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, which resulted in thousands of family separations. Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson issued the new memo to federal prosecutors across the nation, saying the department would return to its longstanding previous policy and instructing prosecutors to act on the merits of individual cases. “Consistent with this longstanding principle of making individualized assessments in criminal cases, I am rescinding — effective immediately — the policy directive,” Wilkinson wrote. Wilkinson said the department’s principles have “long emphasized that decisions about bringing criminal charges should involve not only a determination that a federal offence has been committed and that the admissible evidence will probably be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction, but should also take into account other individualized factors, including personal circumstances and criminal history, the seriousness of the offence, and the probable sentence or other consequences that would result from a conviction.” The “zero tolerance” policy meant that any adult caught crossing the border illegally would be prosecuted for illegal entry. Because children cannot be jailed with their family members, families were separated and children were taken into custody by Health and Human Services, which manages unaccompanied children at the border. While the rescinding of “zero tolerance” is in part symbolic, it undoes the Trump administration’s massively unpopular policy responsible for the separation of more than 5,500 children from their parents at the U.S-Mexico border. Most families have not been prosecuted under zero tolerance since 2018, when the separations were halted, though separations have continued on a smaller scale. Practically, the ending of the policy will affect mostly single men who have entered the country illegally. “While policies may change, our mission always remains the same: to seek justice under the law," Wilkinson wrote in the memo. President Joe Biden has issued an executive order to undo some of Trump’s restrictive policies, but the previous administration has so altered the immigration landscape that it will take quite a while to untangle all the major changes. Some of the parents separated from their children were deported. Advocates for the families have called on Biden to allow those families to reunite in the United States. Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, along with Trump and other top leaders in his administration, were bent on curbing immigration. The “zero tolerance” policy was one of several increasingly restrictive policies aimed at discouraging migrants from coming to the Southern border. Trump’s administration also vastly reduced the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. and all but halted asylum at the border, through a combination of executive orders and regulation changes. The policy was a disaster; there was no system created to reunite children with their families. A report from the Justice Department’s inspector general, released earlier this month, found that the policy led to a $227 million funding shortfall. Children suffered lasting emotional damage from the separations and the policy was criticized as grossly inhumane by world leaders. The policy began April 6, 2018, under an executive order that was issued without warning to other federal agencies that would have to manage the policy, including the U.S. Marshals Service and Health and Human Services. It was halted June 20, 2018. A federal judge ordered the families to be reunited and is still working to do so. The watchdog report also found that Sessions and other top officials knew the children would be separated under the policy and encouraged it. Justice officials ignored concerns from staff about the rollout and did not bother to set up a system to track families in order to reunite them. Some children are still separated. ___ Follow Balsamo and Long on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeBalsamo1 and https://twitter.com/ctlong1. Michael Balsamo And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
Beginning on Jan. 29, anyone entering Manitoba from anywhere in Canada will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
A 34-year-old Windsor man has been arrested and charged following a sexual assault investigation that involved victims under the age of 18, Windsor police said in a news release. The offender, according to police, was "in a position of trust and authority within the community" at the time of the incidents. The suspect was arrested on Jan. 25 and charged with four counts of sexual assault and four counts of sexual interference. The suspect was initially arrested on Sept. 21, 2020, after police received a sexual assault report and investigated. Police say the investigation remained active and they received information that more victims were likely involved. The investigation led to further charges being laid. The Special Victims Unit continues to investigate as officers believe there is more victims, police said.
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
Maybe Spiderman was onto something about the power of webs after all. A Western University husband-wife research duo, Miodrag and Vojislava Grbic, are using spider mite silk to develop a new, microscopic material they say is “stronger than steel” and would be a boon for biomedical developments. “Silk produced by mites and spiders is one of the most elegant and well-designed materials in existence,” Miodrag Grbic said from his research lab in Spain. The newly developed biomaterial is twice as stiff as spider silk, 400 times thinner and has a tensile strength four times that of steel. It’s also biodegradable and non-toxic. The Grbics used the genetic DNA framework of the gorse spider mite, Tetranychus lintearius, to develop a new fibre and biofilm, based on the insect's silk, which they’ve patented. “These nanoparticles can be used in biomedicine, for example, for targeted drug delivery (in the body) because you need a carrier to deliver drugs to particular cells,” Miodrag said. Other potential applications range from vaccine delivery and regenerative medicine to food production. Miodrag said the team is working to see if the material could have applications in COVID-19 vaccines. Developing the material was a happy coincidence for the couple, born out of a “crazy side project.” The Grbics originally were sequencing the genome of spider mites in an effort to combat the pests in agriculture only to stumble upon the power of the insect’s silk. In collaboration with teams in Spain and the United States, researchers used radiation and light, and minuscule force measurements to determine the makeup of spider mite silk. The Grbics were then able to tweak that code and manufacture their new nanoparticles based entirely on the original spider mite silk. “Instead of focusing on killing this pest, which is devastating tomatoes and potatoes and greenhouse industry, we can actually learn from this particular animal and turn something negative into something positive,” Miodrag said. Outside of medicine, the nanoparticles also could be used to coat slow-release fertilizer pellets, pesticides and herbicides to create “smart agrochemicals” for use in sustainable agriculture. “Having a broader view in a particular project, especially in genome sequencing projects, are really opening gold mines for different applications,” Miodrag said. email@example.com Twitter.com/MaxatLFPress Max Martin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free 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 — The interim chief of the Capitol Police apologized Tuesday for failing to prepare for what became a violent insurrection despite having warnings that white supremacists and far-right groups would target Congress. Yogananda Pittman, in prepared testimony before Congress, said that the Capitol Police “failed to meet its own high standards as well as yours." She listed several missteps: not having enough manpower or supplies on hand, not following through with a lockdown order she issued during the siege and not having a sufficient communications plan for a crisis. “We knew that militia groups and white supremacists organizations would be attending,” Pittman wrote. “We also knew that some of these participants were intending to bring firearms and other weapons to the event. We knew that there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the target.” Her admissions come as U.S. law enforcement investigate a number of threats aimed at members of Congress and as the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump gets underway. A law enforcement official told The Associated Press that authorities have detected ominous chatter about killing legislators or attacking them outside the Capitol. Trump supporters tore down fences and broke through doors and windows after an event in which the now-former president called on them to “fight” and “stop the steal.” Inside the building, Congress was certifying the victory of President Joe Biden. Five people died, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher. A sixth person, another Capitol Police officer, later died by suicide. The day after the riot, then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund said that his force “had a robust plan established to address anticipated First Amendment activities.” Sund has since resigned, as have the sergeants-at-arms for the House and Senate. Officers who have spoken to the AP described being overrun by insurrectionists who in many cases were more armed than they were. The officers said they were given next to no plan beforehand or communication during the riot. There are conflicting accounts of why the Capitol Police did not have more backup. Pittman's statement Tuesday provoked a new round of finger-pointing. In her testimony, Pittman said Sund asked the Capitol Police Board, which oversees the department, to declare a state of emergency and allow him to request National Guard support, but the board declined. The Defence Department has said it asked the Capitol Police if it needed the Guard, but the request was denied. A member of the Capitol Police Board denied Pittman's claim hours after her testimony was released. J. Brett Blanton, who serves as the architect of the Capitol, said that Sund did not ask him for help and that there was “no record of a request for an emergency declaration.” Several law enforcement and congressional reviews are underway. Both Pittman and Timothy Blodgett, the acting House sergeant-at-arms, told Congress on Tuesday that they need stronger communications and more fortifications around the Capitol building. Blodgett called on members of Congress to prepare for future emergencies and offered training for any offices that requested it. “You want people to have some level of access to the government,” said Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio. But he noted that it's also important that they feel protected and positioned to respond quickly to anything that might happen. ___ Associated Press writer Michael Balsamo in Washington contributed to this report. Nomaan Merchant And Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated 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
Dr. Jeannette Armstrong is the associate professor in Indigenous Studies at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan (UBCO) campus. Armstrong was one of three speakers discussing systemic racism in science in a conversations on Indigenous knowledge in academia. Indigenous people still face systemic racism, and their voices are often left unheard, said Ananya Mukherjee Reed, provost and vice-president of UBCO during her opening remarks of the Jan. 20 webinar. During the two-hour discussion, three Indigenous leaders and researchers discussed some of the differences and misunderstandings of Indigenous knowledge and western science, as well as the impacts of what they framed “environmental racism.” Armstrong, who shared a Syilx Okanagan perspective, spoke alongside Aaron Prosper from Eskasoni First Nation, and Elder Albert Marshall from the Mi’kmaw Nation. “In these times of climate change, societal disease and diseases, we need Indigenous knowledge,” said Armstrong. As Canada Research Chair in Okanagan Indigenous Knowledge and Philosophy, Armstrong has been recognized for her award-winning literary work on education, ecology and Indigenous rights. Indigenous knowledge remains overlooked in academia, particularly in science, because unlike a western scientific method, Indigenous knowledge is not evidence-based, according to Armstrong. Indigenous knowledge is focused on a holistic perspective incorporating traditional knowledge and lived experiences, she says. “A general definition of Indigenous knowledge consists of those beliefs, assumptions, and understandings of non-western people developed through long-term associations with a specific place,” Armstrong told participants during the event. “Therefore, Indigenous knowledge is considered the second tier of knowledge, that is, below science. This is racist.” According to Prosper, Indigenous knowledge has been misused or co-opted within the scientific field. “Indigenous people had knowledge prior to Western scientific knowledge, in terms of traditional medicine,” said Prosper, who studies Indigenous Health and Indigenous Ethics & Research Methodologies. “In my personal opinion, there is a significant issue within the scientific field when it comes to racism, systemic racism.” Prosper feels Indigenous knowledge, and Indigenous information or data should be valued the same as Western scientific knowledge. “Usually what you see done is an Elder getting interviewed, getting traditional knowledge taken out, and then the researcher collects the data as a western methodology, to interpret that data, which makes it incorrect,” Prosper explained. Marshall believes two-eyed seeing is the transformative change society needs to understand and incorporate Indigenous knowledge. “Being Indigenous, I see everything through my Indigenous lens,” said Marshall, who says ‘two-eyed seeing’ means a worldview which reconciles and incorporates Indigenous ways of knowing and western scientific ways of knowing. “To see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous knowledge, and to see from the other eye with the strengths of Western science knowledge and to use both of these eyes together, is two-eyed seeing.” Indigenous knowledge systems can offer society solutions for living in balance with the environment, the speakers stressed. According to Armstrong, the Syilx Okanagan people view the land as a dynamic system, and their sole purpose is to protect the tmxwulaxw (land) and tmixw (all living lifeforms). “In the Syilx view, the human duty is to perceive how the tmixw are regenerating themselves and how therefore the human must move forward in unity with them,” she said. “Immersion in the knowledge of tmixw allows us to view its reality and makes it possible for the aliveness of each separate life form.” During the webinar, environmental racism was discussed. “In the context of environmental racism, the government had been failing to shut down treatment plants in Indigenous communities,” Prosper told participants. The Pictou Landing First Nation community in Nova Scotia is east of Boat Harbour and is utilized for traditional fishing and hunting. “This place is a significant importance to the Pictou Landing First Nation community,” he said. According to Prosper, Boat Harbour has been receiving wastewater effluent from the industry, and the government has neglected health concerns from the Indigenous people living there. The government told the community that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to make a change, he says. “The government told the people, there’s no evidence of this effluent that we’re putting into boat harbour is affecting the health of the people,” says Prosper. “If our environment is not healthy, how can we be healthy?” said Marshall. Marshall said Indigenous Peoples need to amplify our voices, to protect the environment for future generations. People cannot live in silence, he says, allowing the government to continuously destroy the land. “The government needs to be held accountable because all they do is compromise the ecological entirety of the area, and they compromise the system,” Marshall says. “I was taught, while you stay here on earth, you have to be mindful for the next generations. Most importantly, the future generations will have the same opportunity as we had, of being able to sustain themselves in a healthy environment.” Armstrong is committed to pursuing an alternative academic approach to Indigenous environmental knowledge in her research and study. She has created a methodology that she says may assist as a model in Indigenous Peoples’ struggle to include Indigenous knowledge in the academy. “I am developing better access to Indigenous knowledge through Indigenous oral literature situated as the knowledge documentation system of the Syilx peoples,” Armstrong explains. Marshall is working on cultural understandings and healing of our human responsibilities to care for all creatures and our Earth Mother through two-eyed seeing. “These essentials of the web of life should be protected under the charter of human rights because they constitute to me, a climate emergency,” says Marshall. In response, Prosper is committed to approaching his research mindfully. “How do Indigenous communities consent to research when they were exposed to these unethical experiments, whether be in the residential school or within their own communities?” Prosper asked the group. “We have to be mindful when engaging with Indigenous communities.” “Even the most adverse individuals are still dealing with various issues as a result of their experience with colonialism, and they are still trying to reconcile that.” Prosper acknowledges that little progress in the scientific field has been made, but a lot of work needs to be done. “Yes, we’ve been a lot done within 100 years. Have we done a great job? I don’t think so,” explained Prosper. “I think it’s going to take another hundred years to see a difference.” This event is the second of three examining racism in science, specifically from Indigenous perspectives, with the final one, planned for the spring, will explore Black scientists’ views. Editor’s note: Jeannette Armstrong is reporter Athena Bonneau’s grandmother. At IndigiNews, we take journalistic independence seriously, adhering to the Canadian Association of Journalists Ethics Guidelines. Due to Armstrong’s role at UBCO and participant in the webinar as an elder and knowledge keeper, we felt it was important to include her perspective in this piece. Athena Bonneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse
Teachers are determined to keep remote learners connected to the school community. At Cook elementary, Grade 5 and 6 students learning from home are writing poetry that is displayed inside the school. “We want to continue to build connections and relationships even with the students that are at home learning, and include their work on our school bulletin boards,” says principal Sarah Loat. “We want to stress the importance of community more than ever during this stressful time.” She says teachers are trying to offer all students the same learning opportunities, whether they're in the classroom or not. “Teachers are taking a great deal of time and care to plan and implement creative, meaningful, engaging learning opportunities,” says Loat. “I am very proud of the job the staff are doing to keep students safe, supported and engaged.” Similarly, at Diefenbaker elementary all students are invited to “Zoomblies”—including those learning from home—to help build and maintain connections. Many classroom teachers have created individual kits of supplies for students, and some have come up with songs for lining up, washing hands, and cleaning up, says principal Huey Wong. Masks with the school’s logo are available to staff and students, thanks to PAC subsidization for the adult mask cost. And Grade 7 students have been engaged as morning ambassadors, picking up younger students from the drive-thru lane and walking them to their classroom door. And at Richmond High, students were connected starting early on in the year with a virtual clubs day. International Baccalaureate (IB) students celebrated their accomplishments through a four-day film festival. “This included digital work, music ensembles, singing, dancing, a chess battle, and an interactive show that had one performer zooming in to improvise music based on audience suggestions,” says principal Anita Kwon. Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
Public health regulations in the Sudbury district could be made even more restrictive than the current lockdown and stay-at-home order if a variant of the COVID-19 virus somehow increases the number of infections. The issue was discussed in an online interview hosted by Science North on Monday with Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health for the Public Health Sudbury and Districts. Staff scientist Katrina Pisani joined Sutcliffe for a 40-minute discussion on why the COVID-19 guidelines in Ontario keep changing. Pisani told the online audience the purpose of the discussion was to get a better understanding of why guidelines change and what the public needs to know about the current emergency regulations and the stay-at-home order currently in place. On Monday afternoon, the province decided to expand the order for an additional two weeks. Sutcliffe said despite some initial confusion, the order was simple and direct. "So the stay-at home order is exactly that for all Ontarians, to stay home unless it is really essential that you're not at home." She said it is intended to be as simple as possible notwithstanding some of the confusion about it. This is despite speculation and questions that people might have about every little excuse to somehow get around essential reasons for leaving home. Sutcliffe said essential reasons could include such things as picking up groceries, going to the pharmacy, getting health care or doing some essential work that cannot be done from home. "It's different from the lockdown, because the lockdown is one of the areas of the coded phases for management of COVID in our province. And so those that were in the gray or lockdown parts of our province meant that they had high rates of COVID-19 and there are specific requirements there, but not an overall stay-at-home order as we have now, really to protect our health and our health-care system as we have seen rates of the disease really increase across the province," said Sutcliffe. Pisani asked about the importance of one's mental health, because some people believe it is important to get out of the house for something like a walk around the block. Sutcliffe said it was an important point as the pandemic has left many people feeling isolated, not being able to engage with their friends or their families as they would normally. She added it has had an impact on people with addictions and risks associated with drug overdoses. Sutcliffe said the stay-at-home order does allow people to go outside for exercise. It allows you to spend time with members of your own household, but not to have more than five people when you are gathered outdoors and no gatherings indoors. Sutcliffe said from the public health perspective the order does recognize the importance of having time outdoors. She said it is understood the risk of the virus outdoors is lower, with fresh air and better ventilation by not being in an enclosed space, but it is still important to wear a face mask when one is close to others in the outdoors. When asked if the outdoor activities could be made more restrictive, Sutcliffe said that had more to do not necessarily with an increase in active COVID-19 cases, but more about the kind of virus that presents itself. "People will be aware that there are the variants of concern (VOC) or different variants; the UK Variant, the South African Variant, the Brazil Variant that we understand are more transmissible," Sutcliffe explained. It was revealed Monday afternoon that a variant of the COVID virus might have infected a Sudbury person who had been travelling. That person is now in isolation. "The big concern is, as those get more commonplace and spread in our communities, what additional public health measures might be needed to prevent transmission?" said Sutcliffe. "If something is so transmissible that it might require further restrictions outdoors then those decisions, based on science, will have to be made," she added. "But really I think that the kind of virus we are seeing and the transmissibility is a big factor in that. If we're finding that being outdoors people are still gathering together closely, then there might be additional measures and we know that's been the case in some parts of the province put in place." Pisani mentioned the situation of the North Bay Parry Sound district health unit, where it was decided earlier this month that snowmobiling, outdoor skating and tobogganing would be banned for the time being. Sutcliffe also acknowledged that the pandemic is indeed frustrating and people are having a difficult time with it. “I think we are tired of hearing that we are all in it together, but we are still all in it together. And that means Team Sudbury, or Team Northern Ontario or Team Ontario or Team World. You know we are all in this together and we need to support each other.” Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
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
Le géant français de production de gaz Air Liquide inaugure à Bécancour la plus grande unité d’électrolyse à membrane de production d’hydrogène renouvelable au monde. Alimenté par les énergies renouvelables que va lui fournir Hydro-Québec, le nouvel électrolyseur PEM (Membrane Échangeuse de Protons) aura une capacité de 20 MW. Il s’agit de «la plus grande usine de ce type actuellement en opération au monde», assure Air Liquide. L’usine de Bécancour est maintenant en mesure d’augmenter de plus de 50% sa capacité de production d’hydrogène vert. Elle peut ainsi répondre à la demande croissante en hydrogène bas carbone provenant des secteurs industriels et de la mobilité. «Nous sommes en mesure d’approvisionner le marché du nord-est de l’Amérique du Nord en hydrogène renouvelable», se réjouit Bertrand Masselot, président et chef de la direction d’Air Liquide. Les procédés qui entrent dans la production de cet hydrogène vert sont aussi plus propres. «Cette unité de production permettra d’éviter l’émission de près de 27 000 tonnes de CO2 par an, soit les émissions annuelles d’environ 10 000 voitures». Une fois liquéfiées, les molécules sont distribuées par camion aux clients canadiens et américains. Cette unité produit désormais jusqu’à 8,2 tonnes par jour d’hydrogène bas carbone à Bécancour. Pour Susan Ellerbusch, directrice générale d’Air Liquide Amérique du Nord, «l’hydrogène jouera un rôle clé dans la transition énergétique et l’émergence d’une société bas carbone. On se tourne vers une technologie plus efficiente, durable, puissante et fiable», dit-elle. Une pléthore d’officiels postés au Canada, aux États-Unis et en France ont participé à l’inauguration de cette primeur mondiale. «C’est une étape supplémentaire dans un processus que nous avons initié depuis une bonne quinzaine d’années», souligne Pierre-Étienne Franc, directeur Activité hydrogène Monde chez Air Liquide. Le géant français dit avoir déboursé des dizaines de millions de dollars dans les installations de Bécancour, sans autres précisions. Un banc d’essai L'usine doit servir de catapulte aux autres projets du groupe. «C’est une innovation de par la taille du projet. Nous avons un banc d’essai pour les prochaines versions d’électrolyseurs. Ce centre devient un satellite de recherche et développement. On travaille main dans la main avec un de nos centres d’innovation du Delaware (É.-U.) et en lien fort avec la communauté universitaire. Un spécialiste de l’UQTR s’est joint à cet écosystème pour mener, dans les mois et années qui viennent, des recherches sur les technologies électrolytes», ajoute Bertrand Masselot, président d’Air Liquide. Rappelons que Bécancour attend d’être désignée, par Québec, comme étant l’une des Zones d’Innovation de la province. Le maire de Bécancour, Jean-Guy Dubois partage la fierté exprimée par les directions européennes et nord-américaines d’Air Liquide. «C’est une immense marque de confiance envers notre ville et notre Parc industriel et portuaire. Un projet porteur qui se pose comme un jalon de ce que j’aime appeler "la 5e révolution industrielle", celle qui marquera l’incontournable virage vers l’économie de l’environnement», a-t-il ajouté. Le ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte aux changements climatiques et celui de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles vont investir 15 M$ dans la filière de l’hydrogène vert. Le ministre de l’Environnement Benoît Charrette dit vouloir appuyer des projets de démonstration technologique dans les secteurs industriels et du transport lourd. «C’est une première annonce, il y en aura d’autres d’ici l’automne», promet-il. Québec travaille en outre à élaborer sa première stratégie québécoise de l’hydrogène vert et des bioénergies, nous dit M. Charette. Rappelons que «l’hydrogène, utilisé dans une pile à combustible, se combine à l’oxygène de l’air pour produire de l’électricité en ne rejetant que de l’eau. Il ne génère aucune pollution au point d’utilisation: zéro gaz à effet de serre, zéro particule et zéro bruit», précise la compagnie Air Liquide. Le chantier de Bécancour était en route depuis deux ans. Il a nécessité près de 60 000 heures de travail et atteint son niveau de production nominal au début de cette année, trois mois après sa mise en opération en octobre 2020. (Parution originale: Le Courrier Sud)Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud