While some retailers are struggling, Hibbett Sports had a strong quarter boosted by its strong omnichannel position and in-demand products.
In announcing a planned phone call on Friday between U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the White House's intended message was clear: Traditional allies are back in favour while despots, dictators and the killers of dissenters are on the outs. The way press secretary Jen Psaki announced the scheduled call with Trudeau was revealing, as it came in response to a question that had nothing at all to do with Canada's prime minister. She was asked about Vladimir Putin. Specifically, she was asked when Biden would speak with the Russian leader. Psaki replied that it wasn't an immediate priority. "[Biden's] first foreign leader call will be on Friday with Prime Minister Trudeau," she said. "I would expect his early calls will be with partners and allies. He feels it's important to rebuild those relationships." U.S. plans to investigate Russia Psaki elaborated on Putin in a separate news conference where she described Russia as "reckless" and "adversarial." She said Biden has tasked the intelligence community with reporting on a variety of alleged Russian transgressions: cyberattacks on U.S. companies, interference in U.S. politics, the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and Russian-paid bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Yet the goal of rebalancing relationships away from rivals toward like-minded countries has been tested already. Some Canadians, notably Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, want trade retaliation against the U.S. following the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline on Day 1 of the new administration. The decision undermines Canada's No. 1 export to the United States: oil. WATCH | The National's report on Keystone XL: Biden's foreign policy ambitions will keep being tested as international relationships undergo unwieldy twists on any given issue due to practical and political considerations. Here is what we already know about the Biden administration's approach to other countries after its first couple of days in office. The moves so far The administration will release a report on suspected Saudi government involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, an issue the last administration showed little interest in pursuing. It is also threatening to cancel support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It is willing to consider new NATO expansion on Russia's doorstep, into Georgia, and in fact is staunchly supportive of the international military alliance. And Biden has rejoined previous alliances the U.S. was either scheduled to exit (the World Health Organization) or had already left (the Paris climate accord). These activities are intended to signal a dramatic change in foreign policy from Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, who frequently bashed the leaders of democracies and international institutions while simultaneously cultivating friendly relationships with non-democratic leaders in the Middle East, Russia and North Korea. There will be contradictions in Biden's approach — as there were in Trump's. For example, while Trump often had kind words for dictators, he also sanctioned their countries on occasion, including Russia and China. Also, don't count on an ambitious foreign policy from Biden. Early on, the new administration will be busy juggling domestic crises, said Edward Alden, an expert on Canada-U.S. relations. "I think we are going to see an approach to alliances that looks a lot like [Barack] Obama's — engaged, respectful, but not overly ambitious," said Alden, a senior fellow at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. "The United States has enormous problems at home, and those are going to take priority for some time." Alden said he does expect some new international initiatives, such as more active co-operation on global vaccine distribution. Biden wants changes on Canada-U.S. pandemic travel On COVID-19, Biden also wants to immediately connect with Canada and Mexico to establish new rules within 14 days for pandemic-related travel safety measures. Alden also expects an attempt to rework and revive the international nuclear deal with Iran, and establish greater co-ordination with other countries in confronting China. For example, Biden has proposed a summit of democracies where countries can share ideas for countering autocracies. Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told his confirmation hearing this week that the last administration had a point in reorienting policy toward Beijing. "President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China," Blinken said. "The basic principle was the right one, and I think that's actually helpful to our foreign policy." He got into a testy exchange at that hearing with Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican who favours a hands-off approach on foreign affairs. When Blinken said he was open to expanding NATO membership to Russia's neighbour Georgia, Paul called that a recipe for war with Russia. Blinken argued the opposite is true. After years of Russian incursions in non-NATO Georgia and Ukraine, recent evidence suggests Russia is most belligerent with countries outside NATO's shield, he said. Keystone XL: The early irritant Biden and Trudeau are expected to discuss new travel measures to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as Biden's decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion that would run south from Alberta to Nebraska. So far, Trudeau has shown little desire to escalate the pipeline issue. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, on the other hand, has demanded retaliatory action, and some trade experts say potential legal avenues do exist. WATCH | Kenny on the fate of Keystone XL: But they're skeptical they will achieve much. Eric Miller of the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, a cross-border consulting firm specializing in trade and government affairs, said the best that pipeline-backers can hope for is to sue the U.S. government for financial compensation for the cancelled project. He said the Alberta government and the project's developer, TC Energy, can try suing under the investor-state dispute chapter in the old NAFTA, which will remain in effect for two more years for existing investments. "[But] nothing is going to force the Biden administration to deliver the permit," Miller said. "One has to be clear that there is no world in which Joe Biden [retreats on this]." Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said he doubts complaints from Canada will make a difference. He said the most politically effective argument for the pipeline would come from Americans — from the companies and unions that would have serviced the project. The Ohio-based lawyer said challenges under U.S. laws, such as the Administrative Procedures Act, could potentially work, but he cautioned: "They're high hurdles."
American midfielder Mix Diskerud has signed a 1 1/2-year contract with Denizlispor of Turkey's first division. Now 30, Diskerud was with Major League Soccer's New York City in 2015 and 2016, spent the spring of 2017 on loan to Sweden's Goteborg, then signed with Manchester City in January 2018 but never got into a match. He was loaned back to Goteborg for the spring of 2018, to South Korea's Ulsan Hyundai for the 2018-19 season and to Sweden's Helsingborg last June. Born in Oslo to a Norwegian father and American mother, Diskerud has six goals in 38 appearances for the U.S. and was on the 2014 World Cup roster, though he did not get into a game. Denizlispor announced his acquisition Wednesday. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
TIRANA, Albania — Albania on Thursday expelled a Russian diplomat for allegedly not respecting the country’s virus lockdown rules. An Albanian foreign ministry statement declared Alexey Krivosheev “person non grata,” asking him to leave the country within 72 hours. The ministry said that since April last year there were continuous violations from the diplomat. It said Albanian authorities first contacted the ambassador but the diplomat still persisted in breaking pandemic restrictions. “A repeated challenging of the protective rules and steps on the pandemic, and disregarding of the concern of the Albanian state institutions related to that, cannot be justified and tolerated any more,” the statement said. The ministry did not provide details on the alleged violations, or give the post of the diplomat. Albania has set an overnight curfew, mandatory use of masks indoor and outdoors and social distancing. “We hope that such a decision ... at such a very challenging time for the globe, will be well understood from the Russian side as a necessary step to protect the health and security" of everyone in Albania, the ministry statement added. Albania resumed diplomatic ties with Moscow in 1991, 30 years after the country's then-communist regime severed previously close relations with Russia. The Associated Press
Vital, critical, indispensable, crucial and necessary … all words the Grey-Bruce Medical Officer of Health (MOH) is using to describe the province’s current stay-at-home order. “People ask the question, is it necessary? We're doing really well in Grey-Bruce. Yes, we're doing really well, but it is very necessary,” said Dr. Ian Arra, MOH for the Grey Bruce Health Unit (GBHU) during a virtual town hall event hosted by Bruce Power on Wednesday evening. “The Premier said it best, you can look at the regulations and all the complexity of it. But it is simple – just stay home,” Arra said. “When you do this, just remember it's painful but it is saving lives.” Arra is asking the public to look at the current order in a positive light, as it has alleviated the concern of individuals travelling into Grey County from other high-risk, red-zone areas. He said in December the health unit had placed a lot of focus on how individuals from neighbouring communities that were experiencing high COVID case numbers had been moving into the county. “All that planning and communication was not necessary anymore when the province issued the lockdown. It has definitely balanced that equation that would be increasing the risk in our area,” he said. According to Arra, case numbers in recent weeks have remained relatively favourable, despite the health unit seeing a surge in cases following the holidays. “I'm very proud of the community, proud to be part of this community, that the surge was not larger than what it was over the past few weeks,” Arra said, adding that the case numbers have now begun to taper down. “The past week has been averaging around three or four cases per day, which is a success,” he said. As of Jan. 20, there have been 657 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Grey and Bruce counties. Currently, there are 30 active cases and two individuals being hospitalized. According to Arra, early December is believed to have been the peak of the second wave of COVID in Grey-Bruce. However, Arra is asking the public to remain cognizant that the province has been seeing a large number of cases reported every day since the holiday. “We've seen 3,000 cases per day and they're going to translate into higher admission to the hospital, to the ICU, and unfortunately, in deaths,” he said. “People might say, well, in Grey-Bruce we have only two cases in the hospital. But, again, we're not on an island. And our [healthcare] system is built to support universality.” He explained that as the provincial healthcare system continues to be strained, the impacts will trickle down to other regions, adding that the province has already begun transferring patients between hospitals. “We need all of us to stay this course until the vaccine is in enough arms to make this pandemic nonexistent,” he said. “This is not going to end tomorrow. It's going to end in a few weeks and a few months and we need to stay the course.” Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca
COVID-19. Les plus récentes données sur l'évolution de la COVID-19, au Québec, font état de 1 624 nouveaux cas pour la journée d'hier, pour un nombre total de 248 860 personnes infectées. Parmi celles-ci, 221 327 sont rétablies. Elles font également état de 66 nouveaux décès, mais le nombre total de décès s'élève à 9 273 en raison du retrait de 1 décès pour lequel l'enquête a démontré qu'il n'était pas attribuable à la COVID-19. De ces 66 décès, 22 sont survenus dans les 24 dernières heures, 39 entre le 14 et le 19 janvier, 4 avant le 14 janvier et 1 à une date inconnue. Le nombre total d'hospitalisations a diminué de 14 par rapport à la veille, avec un cumul de 1 453. Parmi celles-ci, le nombre de personnes se trouvant aux soins intensifs est resté stable, pour un total actuel de 216. Les prélèvements réalisés le 19 janvier s'élèvent à 32 845, pour un total de 5 533 972. Toujours le 19 janvier, 10 207 doses de vaccin ont été administrées, pour un total de 174 260. Au cours des 7 derniers jours (depuis le 13 janvier), ce sont 66 895 personnes qui ont été vaccinées, pour une moyenne quotidienne de 9 556 personnes vaccinées.Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
THUNDER BAY — For more than five years, the Thunder Bay police force and its partner agencies have been dealing with a high-volume of individuals travelling from southern Ontario to traffic drugs in the northwest. Through a virtual news conference on Thursday, Jan. 21, Thunder Bay police announced the results of a major joint-forces police investigation involving several agencies in southern Ontario which resulted in the seizure of $2.7 million worth of street drugs. Despite the massive seizure of drugs and arrest of 12 individuals, police said they continue to be “plagued” with more individuals ready to take over for those who have been arrested. “Any given day, our highways have couriers bringing more drugs to our communities,” Det.-Insp. John Fennell of the Thunder Bay Police Service said Thursday. “It has been made very clear from our investigations and the people being charged that much of this illicit drug trade is coming from southern Ontario,” he said. Several police forces were involved in the operation called Project Valiant including Ontario Provincial Police, York Regional Police and Canada Border Services Agency. The operation was led by the Thunder Bay Police Service. “Our gang and gun problem is real and it needs to be taken very seriously by our legal system and our government,” Fennell said. "As much effort as we put into these initiatives we continue to be plagued with a steady stream of new persons taking over for those we have been able to charge.” The investigation took place from August 2020 to December 2020. Approximately six search warrants were conducted in Thunder Bay and one major search warrant was executed in Markham, Ont. As a result, police seized 11.9 kilograms of fentanyl, 1.55 kilograms of cocaine, more than 4,000 pills of fentanyl, 846 packages of cannabis edibles for the black market and eight capsules of hydromorphone. Furthermore, police seized several weapons including 10 rifles, four shotguns, one crossbow, two high-capacity magazines, two tasers and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Police also located and seized four cars, one motorcycle, more than $120,000 in Canadian cash, fake government identification and drug trafficking paraphernalia. The project’s lead, Det.-Sgt. Dan Irwin, said during Thursday’s news conference, the long-term impact of initiatives such as Project Valiant aimed to address the high volume of illicit drugs coming into the community from southern Ontario is minimal. “It makes an impact at the beginning but like Det.-Insp. Fennell said as soon as we make arrests unfortunately the highways and the planes are full of individuals coming from the south to continue to sell fentanyl, cocaine, crack cocaine, and various other drugs,” he said. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
Russia has ordered TikTok and other social networks to restrict online calls for nationwide protests in support of detained Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.View on euronews
WASHINGTON — The Democratic-controlled Congress is moving quickly to install retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as President Joe Biden’s secretary of defence, brushing aside concerns about his retirement inside the seven-year window that safeguards civilian leadership of the military. The House is voting Thursday on a waiver that would exempt Austin from the seven-year rule. All signs point to quick action in the Senate after that, putting Austin on track to be confirmed as secretary by week's end. Austin, a 41-year veteran of the Army, has promised to surround himself with qualified civilians and include them in policy decisions. He said he has spent nearly his entire life committed to the principle of civilian control over the military. While the waiver is expected to be approved, the vote puts Democrats in an awkward position. Many of them opposed a similar waiver in 2017 for Jim Mattis, former President Donald Trump's first secretary of defence. Austin, who would be the first Black secretary of defence, said he understands why some have questioned the wisdom of putting a recently retired general in charge of the Defence Department. Much of his focus this week, including in his remarks at his Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday, has been on persuading members of Congress that although he has been out of uniform for less than five years, he sees himself as a civilian, not a general. Some aspects of his policy priorities are less clear. He emphasized on Tuesday that he will follow Biden’s lead in giving renewed attention to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. “I will quickly review the department’s contributions to coronavirus relief efforts, ensuring we are doing everything we can — and then some — to help distribute vaccines across the country and to vaccinate our troops and preserve readiness,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee. Under questioning by senators, Austin pledged to address white supremacy and violent extremism in the ranks of the military — problems that received relatively little public attention from his immediate predecessor, Mark Esper. Austin promised to “rid our ranks of racists,” and said he takes the problem personally. “The Defence Department’s job is to keep America safe from our enemies,” he said. “But we can’t do that if some of those enemies lie within our own ranks.” Austin said he will insist that the leaders of every military service know that extremist behaviour in their ranks is unacceptable. “This is not something we can be passive on,” he said. “This is something I think we have to be active on, and we have to lean into it and make sure that we’re doing the right things to create the right climate.” He offered glimpses of other policy priorities, indicating that he embraces the view among many in Congress that China is the “pacing challenge,” or the leading national security problem for the U.S. The Middle East was the main focus for Austin during much of his 41-year Army career, particularly when he reached senior officer ranks. He served several tours of duty as a commander in Iraq, including as the top commander in 2010-11. An aspect of the defence secretary’s job that is unfamiliar to most who take the job is the far-flung and complex network of nuclear forces that are central to U.S. defence strategy. As a career Army officer, Austin had little reason to learn the intricacies of nuclear policy, since the Army has no nuclear weapons. He told his confirmation hearing that he would bone up on this topic before committing to any change in the nuclear policies set by the Trump administration, including its pursuit of nuclear modernization. Austin, a 1975 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, served in 2012 as the first Black vice chief of staff of the Army. A year later he assumed command of Central Command, where he fashioned and began implementing a strategy for rolling back the Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. 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. Robert Burns And Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
The North Vancouver Island health region had just two new cases of COVID-19 in the second week of January. The first week of January showed three new cases, and the last week of 2020 had just one. The Local Health Area known as Vancouver Island North includes Woss, Zeballos and everything north. Confusingly, the larger Health Service Delivery Area, called North Vancouver Island, includes Campbell River, the Comox valley, Tahsis and Gold River. Vancouver Island West, encompassing Tahsis and Gold River, has not had a new case since it recorded two at the beginning of Dec. 2020. The Greater Campbell River area had three cases in the third week of January, four cases during Jan. 3-9, and four cases in the last week of 2020. Comox Valley, the most populous Local Health Area in the North Island, had nine new cases between Jan. 10-16, down from 18 in Jan. 3-9, and 21 cases in the last week of 2020. Updated Local Health Area data is published weekly. RELATED: B.C. Premier, health officials to discuss next steps in COVID immunization plan Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
TORONTO — Experts at a leading children's hospital say schools need to ramp up COVID-19 testing and masking in order to have all kids return to the classroom as soon as possible. The guidance comes a day after Ontario said it would permit just seven public health units in southern Ontario resume in-person learning Monday, while students in hot-spot regions will continue with online learning until at least Feb. 10. They join others in northern regions that returned to class last week, but areas including Toronto and Peel were deemed too-high risk to return to class. The new guidelines, led by experts at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, urge COVID-19 tests for all staff and students exposed to a confirmed case, while indoor masking be made mandatory for all those Grade 1 and up. The report's co-author Dr. Ronald Cohn says the current protocol is that testing is only required for those who display symptoms. He also stresses the social and mental-health needs of young children, recommending kindergartners be cohorted so they can play and interact with their peers. Cohn, president and CEO, SickKids, said schools closures should be "as time-limited as possible." "It is therefore imperative that bundled measures of infection prevention and control and a robust testing strategy are in place," he said Thursday in a release. The report also cautions against rapid tests using molecular or antigen tests because of their lower sensitivity and less effectiveness with asymptomatic cases. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
When drug companies like Pfizer and Moderna learned to successfully incorporate messenger RNA technology into a COVID-19 vaccine, experts say they likely opened the door to a significant shift in the future of immunization.The milestone in vaccine development was met with enthusiasm from most, but the seemingly swift pace and novel approach is causing hesitancy in others. Experts say the new technique shouldn't dissuade people from getting the vaccine. While the mRNA method is new to inoculations, the actual technology has been around for decades. The difference now, they say, is scientists have ironed out the kinks to make a useful product."It sounds fancy, mRNA, but there's nothing outlandish about it," said Dr. Earl Brown, a virology and microbiology specialist with the University of Ottawa. "This is the way our cells operate — we live by mRNA."Vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna were the first inoculations approved for humans to use mRNA, which provides our cells with instructions to make proteins. In the case of COVID vaccines, the injected material shows cells how to make a harmless piece of the coronavirus spike protein, which then teaches our immune system to recognize the virus and fight off a future infection.Scientists made the vaccine by programming genetic material from the spike protein into mRNA, a process that theoretically could work for other viruses."As long as you know how to create those instructions — that genetic code you need to convince your body to create that target — you can design an mRNA vaccine against any antigen," said Nicole Basta, an associate professor of epidemiology at McGill."But the question is whether it will be effective, and whether it will be safe."The development of future mRNA vaccines might be quick, Basta says, but they would need to go through the usual evaluation process and clinical trials to ensure safety and efficacy. So vaccines for other viruses won't be popping up overnight.Still, Basta adds, there's potential for using mRNA to either improve upon existing vaccines or to develop new ones against other pathogens.Dr. Scott Halperin, a professor at Dalhousie University and the director of the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology, sees mRNA vaccines as "evolutionary rather than revolutionary."Part of the reason COVID vaccines came together so quickly was the technology had been developing for years, Halperin said. The global pandemic offered scientists a pressing opportunity — and unprecedented funding and collaboration — to try again for a viable injection.Previous research had been done on creating mRNA vaccines against Zika and other viruses, Halperin added, and there were earlier efforts focused on cancer treatments. Coronavirus-specific research was further sped up by spike protein analysis from SARS and MERS.While the mRNA technology itself is impressive, Halperin says improvements need to be made to create a more temperature-stable product before these types of vaccines and treatments "truly take over.""The logistics of delivering mRNA vaccines right now, we wouldn't want to have to do that for every vaccine we produce," he said, referencing the ultra-cold storage temperature that's currently needed. "But I do think it's an important milestone."Scientists are expected to continue advancing the technology, just as they did recently in solving two confounding problems with mRNA — its fragility and instability.Brown says fragility was resolved by packaging the mRNA in a fat coating, giving it something to help bind onto cells so it wouldn't disintegrate upon injection. The instability was conquered by modifying the uracil component of RNA, one of the four units of its genetic code."The technology application is new, but the science is mature," Brown said. "We've just reached the point at which we can apply it." Traditional vaccines typically contain a killed or weakened virus, Brown said. Those methods are still being used in COVID vaccine development, including by AstraZeneca-Oxford, whose product has not yet been approved in Canada.A benefit to using mRNA is the speed at which a vaccine can be developed or updated once scientists know what to target, Brown says. While experts believe current vaccines will work against recent variants of the COVID virus — including one originating in the U.K. that's more transmissible — Brown says mRNA's adaptability could theoretically come in handy if new strains emerged that necessitated an update. "In six weeks they could produce something," he said. "It would still have to go through Phase 3 trials, but it does give you more flexibility and a big leg up."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
Commentators across the political spectrum spread anti-Islamic rhetoric, insisting that Islam is intrinsically violent and that Muslims are terrorists. But studies show these claims are unfounded.
TUNIS, Tunisia — The Tunisian president has denied claims that he made anti-Semitic remarks this week while trying to calm youths after days of unrest. Kais Saied's statement was in response to allegations by the Conference of European Rabbis that he accused Jews of being responsible “for the instability of the country." The CER statement, issued Tuesday, said such talk “constitutes an immediate threat for the physical and moral integrity of Tunisian Jewish Citizens.” The organization asked the head of state to retract his words. The statement, relayed by some Israeli media, caused an uproar, forcing Saied to address the allegations, which his office firmly denied. In a statement Wednesday night, his office denounced the “propagation of false information,” saying it amounted to “calumny.” Saied visited M’nihla-Ettadhamon, outside the capital Tunis, on Tuesday to speak directly with youths after a spate of vandalism and looting in several towns. The Tunisian president, wearing a mask, was not always fully audible in the recording posted by his office of his encounter with the youths. The groundswell of anger grew out of economic and social ills and failed promises of opportunities that flowed from Tunisia’s revolution 10 years ago, The unrest began amid a four-day lockdown that started Jan. 14 — the day Tunisia marked its revolution. “The president mentioned no religion and there was no reasonable motive to deal with the question of religion in the context of protests,” his office's statement said. It said the president spoke with the chief rabbi of Tunisia, Haim Bittan, to reassure him that Tunisian Jews enjoy “the solicitude and protection of the Tunisian state, like all other citizens.” Saied also used the occasion to underscore his fervent defence of Palestinians' rights “to their land,” referring to Israeli-occupied territory, while saying that position is not linked to religious freedom. There are an estimated 1,500 Jews in Tunisia, mainly on the island of Djerba. The Associated Press
U.S. climate envoy John Kerry on Thursday lamented “wasted years” under the Trump administration to slow climate change and urged faster work to curb fossil fuel emissions. Kerry spoke remotely to an Italian business conference in his first international climate address under President Joe Biden. Biden, in his first hours in office Wednesday, signed an executive order returning the United States to the Paris climate accord. It reversed the withdrawal by President Donald Trump, who ridiculed the science of human-caused climate change. Biden's administration is getting back into the battle to cut climate-damaging coal, gas and oil emissions with “humility, because we know that the federal government of the United States, until yesterday, walked away from the table for four wasted years when we could’ve been helping to meet the challenge,” Kerry told the European forum in his prepared remarks. Biden's order starts a roughly 30-day process of getting the United States back into the nearly 200-country U.N. climate treaty. Countries in the accord commit to setting goals to cut climate-damaging fossil fuel emissions and to monitor and report their emissions. Biden has put Kerry, secretary of state under President Barack Obama, in charge of climate and national security issues. Kerry's words marked a 180-degree turn from the Trump administration on climate change. Trump withdrew from accords with U.S. allies and questioned scientific consensus that oil, gas and coal pollutants are too blame for the warming climate, and are contributing to worsening natural disasters. Biden on Wednesday signed other orders undoing dozens of Trump actions that had targeted earlier efforts to curb emissions from industry and transport and that had promoted new oil and gas drilling and production. Kerry said Biden had “with a few strokes of his pen began to restore domestic environmental leadership.” Preventing the worst of global warming would require $1 trillion in annual investment globally through 2030, Kerry told Thursday's gathering — moving five times faster than currently to phase out dirty-burning coal, 22 times faster to electric vehicles, and six times faster to ramp up solar, wind and other renewable power. Ellen Knickmeyer, The Associated Press
À l’issue du caucus du Bloc québécois en prélude à la rentrée parlementaire, les élus bloquistes entendent se pencher prioritairement sur la gestion de la pandémie, le soutien aux aînés, la hausse des transferts en santé et la promotion de la langue française. La lutte contre la pandémie de COVID-19 et «l’identité québécoise» seront au cœur de l’action des bloquistes à la Chambre des communes alors que les livraisons des doses de vaccin de Pfizer seront interrompues au Québec la semaine prochaine. «Nous allons talonner Justin Trudeau pour qu’il assume sa responsabilité d’approvisionner le Québec en vaccins. Il devra enfin assumer sa responsabilité de gérer les frontières et les quarantaines», a prévenu le chef du Bloc, Yves-François Blanchet, selon un communiqué du bureau d’Andréanne Larouche, députée de Shefford. Ottawa vient de prolonger les restrictions sur les voyages internationaux vers le Canada en provenance de pays autres que les États-Unis jusqu’au 21 février, mais ces mesures demeurent insuffisantes aux yeux du Bloc. Le Québec demande la suspension des vols internationaux et le renforcement du contrôle des quarantaines des voyageurs. Le premier ministre, Justin Trudeau, menace d’imposer de nouvelles mesures «sans préavis» si les Canadiens continuent de voyager sans raison essentielle. Les aînés et votes à distance Le Bloc plaide également pour une hausse durable de 110 $ par mois de la pension de la Sécurité de la vieillesse. «Avec le coût des médicaments et la hausse des prix, notamment de la nourriture et des loyers, plus que jamais, les aînés ont besoin d’une bonification de leur situation financière», a expliqué la députée Andréanne Larouche, porte-parole du Bloc pour les aînés et la condition féminine. Les bloquistes n’oublient pas la question de l’augmentation des transferts en santé alors que le gouvernement fédéral pourrait déposer au printemps son premier budget en deux ans. Toutes ces priorités du Bloc doivent avoir l’approbation de la Chambre dans un contexte où le parlement hybride pourrait être reconduit. Le parti souhaite que le gouvernement obtienne l’unanimité avant de lancer une application sur le vote à distance. «Les libéraux ne peuvent pas changer par simple majorité une règle du jeu aussi fondamentale que la manière dont se tiennent les votes. Ils doivent obtenir l’unanimité. Je leur demande d’enfin faire de véritables efforts pour rallier toute l’opposition en prouvant l’efficacité de l’application et en mettant de côté toute partisanerie préélectorale au profit du bon fonctionnement de la démocratie», a plaidé la députée Andréanne Larouche. Godlove Kamwa, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français
For 17-year-old Ethan Turpin, a high school student and aspiring welder, co-op has been a pandemic saving grace. “He came home with a sense of confidence, of achievement, and things that he wouldn't be able to get anywhere else because he's not allowed to go anywhere,” said Linda Stenhouse, his grandmother. Ethan is enrolled in a co-operative education program at Waterdown District High School, completing his placement at Flamboro Technical Services, a fabrication and millwrighting company. Stenhouse said he has been invited back for another term. “He went from failing grades and ended up being an honour student,” she said. “We likened it to the fact that he was in the co-op program.” The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) says about half of its students are able to continue with co-op placements — both in person and virtual — amid a provincewide stay-at-home order announced by the Ontario government on Jan. 12. The board has been offering in-person co-op placements since Oct. 21, “after a pause to ensure that student safety was considered, and appropriate protocols were in place,” HWDSB spokesperson Shawn McKillop said in an email to The Spectator. In cases where an in-person placement is not possible, staff will determine whether or not the student can continue virtually or present “alternate learning opportunities” in order to meet curriculum expectations. “There are some community placements that have been unable to place a student given the recent provincial state of emergency stay-at-home order,” he said. “Horse-crazy” Meghan Wahl said she found out last week she would not be going back to her placement at Halton Equine Veterinary Services, where she cleaned stalls, filled water buckets and observed procedures. “That was kind of hard because Meg had to say bye to everyone, like, then,” her mother, Nicolle Wahl, said. Meghan was given the “green light” to begin a co-op placement at the horse vet in October. “It was the vet part, the technical, hands-on seeing treatments and stuff, that was really interesting,” she said. Her mother said masking and physical distancing — where possible — were required at the vet clinic. “The fact that it was in a medical setting was the reason why both my husband and I felt comfortable with sending Meg,” she said. “That definitely made us feel reassured that she was in a safe environment.” Abbie Boyko’s son, a grade 12 student with the HWDSB, landed a part-time job at his co-op placement, the auto department at the Canadian Tire on Barton Street, before his placement ended when the province further tightened restrictions. “It's very disappointing because it's a great opportunity for students,” Boyko said. “He's just lucky that he did well in his co-op that they've hired him on.” She said co-op is valuable for high school students, particularly those who are graduating. “Not every child is going to go on to college or university, they're going to be out in the (workforce),” she said. Students in the Catholic board, which paused in-person co-ops after winter break to “do some consulting,” were offered the option to go back to in-person placements last week after feedback from co-op teachers. “They felt it was very important to continue with that provision, should the parents and the students still want it,” said Sandie Pizzuti, superintendent of education for the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board (HWCDSB). The board has added more requirements, including face shields, a revised consent form, repeated COVID-19 training and additional workplace evaluation. The board expects to have approximately 730 students in co-op this school year — about two-thirds of last year’s enrolment. Pizzuti said she understands the concerns some families may have over the decision to return to in-person placements. “But what we needed to do was listen to what our co-op teachers were telling us based on student voice and student input," she said. “And we felt that for those who really wanted to get back to their workplace — and in the case where we felt their workplace was very, very safe — that we would still provide the opportunity because we want them to have a very meaningful, relevant experience.” Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
Alleged street gang associates accused of shooting at police who were pursuing them during a high-speed chase on Onion Lake Cree Nation had appearances in Lloydminster Provincial Court Jan. 20. Crown Prosecutor Oryn Holm from North Battleford, told the court he was opposed to the release of Twaine Derek Buffalo, 39, Glynnis Larene Chief, 37, and Tyler Ryan Wolfe, 35, all from Onion Lake Cree Nation. Buffalo and Wolfe have show cause hearings on Feb. 3, and Chief has a hearing on Jan. 28. Melissa Lee McAlpine, 32, of Lloydminster, Sask., appeared by CCTV from Pine Grove Correctional Centre for women and the appearances for the rest of the defendants were waived. The Crown agreed to McAlpine’s release. Defence Cameron Schmunk from Legal Aid in North Battleford told the court he was only representing McAlpine that day as duty counsel. She is scheduled to appear again on March 3. The case against Danny Lee Weeseekase, 38, from Makwa Sahgaiehcan First nation, was adjourned to Feb. 3. Buffalo, Chief, Weeseekase, Wolfe and McAlpine were all arrested on Jan. 1, 2021. The incident started at about 2 p.m. on Jan. 1 when Onion Lake RCMP received a call from a resident in a rural area west of Onion Lake that a black SUV came into their private yard, drove off and smashed through their fence. RCMP patrolled the area in search of the SUV and found it driving at a high rate of speed on Highway 17 about four kilometres south of the Chief Taylor Road junction. They followed the SUV down Highway 17 and then onto Chief Taylor Road. That’s when police saw a long-barreled firearm come out of the SUV window and shots were fired at police. Police continued to pursue the SUV, which stopped in front of the Onion Lake Cree Nation high school. Two men, including the driver and a front passenger, jumped out of the SUV and fled on foot into an open field. Police chased the fleeing suspects on foot and additional RCMP officers arrested the remaining three passengers, including one man and two women. RCMP found the driver, Tyler Wolfe, hiding inside a garbage bin and the passenger in a nearby baseball field. From the SUV, police seized two SKS rifles, one sawed-off shotgun, one sawed-off 22-caliber rifle and different types of ammunitions. RCMP say the occupants of the SUV were identified as street gang associates. North Battleford Provincial RCMP General Investigation Section took over the investigation. Wolfe, Weeseekase, Chief and Buffalo were charged with discharging a firearm with intent to endanger life, being an occupant of a vehicle knowing there was a firearm, careless use of a firearm, possession of a firearm without a license, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, possession of a prohibited weapon, and assault of a police officer with a weapon. Wolfe is additionally charged with flight from police and dangerous driving. Weeseekase is additionally charged with breach of recognizance for possessing a weapon. McAlpine was charged with discharging a firearm with intent to endanger life, being an occupant of a vehicle knowing there was a firearm, and assault of a police officer with a weapon. The charges against Wolfe, Weeseekase, McAlpine, Chief and Buffalo haven’t been proven in court. Onion Lake state of emergency Onion Lake Cree Nation declared a state of emergency in January 2020 after a string of drug and gang-related violence threatened the safety of the community, including three murders in as many months. If anyone has any information that could assist investigators, please contact Onion Lake RCMP at 306-344-5550. Information can also be submitted anonymously to Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submitting a tip online at www.saskcrimestoppers.com. If you are associated with a gang and want to leave it, contact STR8 UP in northern Saskatchewan at 306-763-3001, STR8 UP in central Saskatchewan at 306-244-1771, or Regina Treaty Status Indian Services in southern Saskatchewan at 306-522-7494 to get assistance. Onion Lake Cree Nation borders the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan and is located about 50 kilometres north of Lloydminster. firstname.lastname@example.org Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter / Battlefords Regional News-Optimist Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
If you have been shopping for a new or used car over the past few months, you prob-ably noticed that local dealerships are starting to look a little bare as their lots don’t have the same amount of inventory they had a year ago. A check with one dealership noted that they usually have around 150 units on the lot but had been reduced to around 20 .It is a two-fold problem. During a visit to a prominent dealer in the Orangeville area, it was explained that dealerships are having trouble getting new vehicles delivered to their lots. Disruptions in trans-portation due to the current pandemic means dealerships can’t get the inventory they need. On top of that, the recent province-wide lockdown has seen a drop in sales as custom-ers aren’t as willing to make appointments to visit a dealership. One sales person said, “It happened almost overnight. People just stopped coming in.” The shortage of vehicles has also impacted the used car market. With fewer people trad-ing in their old cars, there isn’t a lot of inven-tory on the pre-owned side of the dealership lots. “Used cars are going fast,” one salesperson said. “There’s not a lot of vehicles coming in. When we get a nice one it won’t be here long.” The latest concern in the auto industry is a shortage of parts that is causing delays in pro-duction. The parts shortage has affected pretty much every auto manufacture, not only in North America but around the world. In Brampton, the Chrysler plant has already seen temporary layoffs and also suspended operations at its plant in Mexico. The Alliston Honda plant has announced it will stop production on one of its lines during the week for January 25. The problem is a shortage of semiconductor microchips.After a slow down in production earlier in the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, semiconductor manufacturers allocated more capacity to meet the soaring demand from consumer-electronics makers. Microchip makers favour consumer-electronics customers because their orders are larger than those of automakers. The annual smartphone market alone is more than 1 billion devices compared to fewer than 100 million for cars. The pandemic has resulted in an increase in sales in phones, game consoles, smart TVs and laptops, as people are spending more time at home. New cars are using more and more micro-chips in their vehicles to handle everything from navigation systems to traction control.Industry experts say the situation will most likely turn around in the next three months. Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times
OTTAWA — It will likely be another year before a federal review of the government's key transparency law is complete. Newly released terms of reference for the government study of the Access to Information Act say a report will be submitted to the Treasury Board president by Jan. 31 of next year. The review, announced last June, has prompted skepticism from open-government advocates who point to a pile of reports done over the years on reforming the access law. The law, introduced in 1983, allows people who pay $5 to ask for a range of federal documents, but it has been widely criticized as antiquated and poorly administered. Ken Rubin, a longtime user of the access law, says putting the government in charge of reviewing its own secrecy and delay problems was never a good idea. He says the Liberals should either present a new transparency bill before the next general election or let Parliament and the public figure out how to improve access to federal records. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, head of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution team said on Thursday that over 1.1 million doses of vaccines have been delivered so far to provinces and territories after Pfizer announced their supply to Canada would be reduced by an average of 50 per cent until mid-February.