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WASHINGTON — A conference dedicated to the future of the conservative movement turned into an ode to Donald Trump as speakers declared their fealty to the former president and attendees posed for selfies with a golden statue of his likeness. As the Republican Party grapples with deep divisions over the extent to which it should embrace Trump after losing the White House and both chambers of Congress, those gathered at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday made clear they are not ready to move on from the former president — or from his baseless charges that the November election was rigged against him. “Donald J. Trump ain’t going anywhere,” said Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, one of several potential 2024 presidential contenders who spoke at the event, being held this year in Orlando to bypass COVID-19 restrictions. Trump on Sunday will be making his first post-presidential appearance at the conference, and aides say he will use the speech to reassert his power. The program underscored the split raging within the GOP, as many establishment voices argue the party must move on from Trump to win back the suburban voters who abandoned them in November, putting President Joe Biden in the White House. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and others worry Trump will undermine the party’s political future if he and his conspiracy theories continue to dominate Republican politics. But at the conference, speakers continued to fan disinformation and conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, with panels dedicated to amplifying false claims of mass voter fraud that have been dismissed by the courts, state election officials and Trump’s own administration. Indeed, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., another potential 2024 hopeful, drew among the loudest applause and a standing ovation when he bragged about challenging the election certification on Jan. 6 despite the storming of the Capitol building by Trump supporters trying to halt the process. “I thought it was an important stand to take," he said. Others argued the party would lose if it turned its back on Trump and alienated the working-class voters drawn to his populist message. “We cannot — we will not — go back to the days of the failed Republican establishment of yesteryear,” said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who outlined a new Trumpian GOP agenda focused on restrictive immigration policies, opposition to China and limiting military engagement. “We will not win the future by trying to go back to where the Republican Party used to be,” echoed Florida Sen. Rick Scott, who chairs the fundraising committee tasked with electing Republicans to the Senate. “If we do, we will lose the working base that President Trump so animated. We’re going to lose elections across the country, and ultimately we’re going to lose our nation." Scott is dismissing pressure on him to “mediate between warring factions on the right” or “mediate the war of words between the party leaders." He has refused to take sides in the bitter ongoing fight between Trump and McConnell, who blamed Trump for inciting the deadly Capitol riot but ultimately voted to acquit him at his impeachment trial earlier this month. “I’m not going to mediate anything," he said, criticizing those who “prefer to fan the flames of a civil war on our side” as “foolish” and “ridiculous." But in speeches throughout the day, the GOP turmoil was front and centre. Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., lit into Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, who has faced tremendous backlash for her vote to impeach Trump for inciting the Capitol riot. And as the program was wrapping up, Trump issued a statement endorsing Max Miller, a former staffer who has now launched a campaign challenging Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, another Republican who voted in favour of impeachment. Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former Fox News Channel host and Trump Jr.'s girlfriend, offered a pointed message to those who stand in opposition to the former president, who will not arrive at the conference until Sunday but was present in spirit in the form of a large golden statue erected in a merchandise show booth, where attendees could pose for pictures with it. “We bid a farewell to the weak-kneed, the spineless and the cowards that are posing in D.C. pretending that they’re working for the people,” she said. “Let’s send them a pink slip straight from CPAC.” Trump Jr., who labeled the conference “TPAC” in honour of his father, hyped the return of his father and the “Make America Great Again” platform to the spotlight. “I imagine it will not be what we call a ‘low-energy’ speech," he said. “And I assure you that it will solidify Donald Trump and all of your feelings about the MAGA movement as the future of the Republican Party.” Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
Milan — Alors que le gouvernement souhaite doubler les coupes forestières au Québec d’ici 60 ans, les acériculteurs installés en terres publiques craignent le pire. Déjà, le propriétaire de l’Érablière Lapierre déplore des coupes qui arriveront bientôt à isoler entièrement son site de production de Milan en Estrie, et qui, en plus d’empêcher son expansion, ont déjà causé leur lot de désagréments. Des couloirs qui laissent entrer le vent et qui font tomber les arbres en « dominos », parfois directement sur les tubulures, des ornières à même le sol de l’érablière, des populations d’écureuils qui migrent et endommagent le matériel : toutes des conséquences de récentes coupes orchestrées par le ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs, analyse le propriétaire Donald Lapierre, dont trois des cinq sites acéricoles sont situés en terres publiques estriennes. Celui qui produit à Milan depuis 1985 a toujours été témoin de coupes dans les environs, mais les choses se sont mises à s’accélérer à proximité en 2018. En bordure de ce site de 110 000 entailles, La Tribune a pu observer ces fameuses coupes sélectives, de même que les sentiers de débardement dénudés les accompagnant. Parfois la zone de coupe s’arrête à quelques pieds des tubulures, d’autres au dernier arbre entaillé. Plus loin, un secteur qui a déjà fait l’objet d’une demande d’agrandissement de l’érablière est aujourd’hui clairsemé et presque sans érables. « Une érablière, ça grandit tout le temps. J’ai un quota et si jamais j’ai des pertes dans mon érablière, le Ministère aurait pu me louer d’autres entailles. Mais là, ils ont tout enlevé », s’indigne M. Lapierre. « C’est difficile de penser que ce n’est pas fait par exprès », estime Philippe Breton, directeur des ventes pour l’Érablière Lapierre. Couper dans l’érablière Même si l’érablière possède un bail, renouvelable tous les cinq ans, le bois des arbres à l’intérieur de celle-ci est en partie promis à l’exploitation : lorsque le producteur remplace sa tubulure, il se doit de permettre une coupe de jardinage acérico-forestier, qui implique le prélèvement 15 à 25 % des arbres sur place. « Sauf que la prescription de l’ingénieur est faite pour revenir dans 20 ans. L’arbre pourrait être bon à entailler 15 ans encore ! » dit M. Breton. C’est ainsi que l’érablière a perdu 2000 entailles à l’automne 2019, dans le cadre d’un projet-pilote visant à étudier les possibilités de prélèvement à travers une production acéricole. Et cette opération, quand elle est réalisée par une forestière, aurait de grands impacts. « Pour quelqu’un qui ramasse le bois tous les 20 ans, ça n’a pas d’importance. Mais pour nous, des ornières de quatre pieds de profond, quand vient le temps d’aller entailler, de retirer des entailles ou juste de courir les fuites, c’est très difficile de naviguer le territoire », déplore M. Breton, qui n’hésite pas à parler de « favoritisme », considérant les contraintes environnementales auxquelles les acériculteurs doivent se plier de leur côté. L’équipe est néanmoins consciente que les coupes visent également une régénération de la forêt et des érables, « mais c’est environ 60 à 70 ans entre la petite tige et l’arbre qu’on peut entailler, commente M. Lapierre. Moi je n’aurai pas ça. Mes enfants n’auront pas ça. » Place à l’amélioration La Table de gestion intégrée des ressources naturelles et du territoire de l’Estrie (TGIRT) est bien au fait des préoccupations d’Érablière Lapierre, et s’est même rendue sur place en 2019. La coordinatrice de la table, l’ingénieure forestière Manon Ayotte, affirme que les coupes du secteur sont planifiées et réalisées dans les règles. « Mais il y a toujours place à amélioration. Par exemple avec la problématique des écureuils, on n’a aucune idée si c’est causé par les coupes adjacentes. C’est possible qu’elles aient des effets qu’on ne connaisse pas ou qu’on ne prévoit pas. C’est important de faire de la rétroaction. » Les coupes planifiées par des aménagistes du MFFP doivent passer par la TGIRT, puis par des consultations publiques avant d’être mises en branle. « On s’en va là où les travaux sont dus pour être faits, là où on ne veut pas laisser mourir les arbres et où on a une maturité pour intervenir, avance Mme Ayotte. L’idée n’est pas nécessairement d’aller accoter l’érablière. Par contre, ce n’est pas nécessairement une problématique de le faire. Au contraire, dépendamment des traitements, ça peut susciter une entrée de lumière et favoriser la régénération et le développement de la couronne de l’arbre qui va être à proximité. » L’ingénieure forestière rappelle également que de s’installer en forêt publique implique l’harmonisation de différents usages... publics. « Il ne faut pas se cacher que les acériculteurs ont investi dans des installations en terres publiques en espérant pouvoir compter sur des agrandissements. Est-ce que l’erreur découle de là ? Est-ce qu’au départ, les investissements auraient dû se faire uniquement avec ce qui était alloué au niveau des entailles pour éviter les sentiments de droits acquis sur les peuplements ? C’est sûr qu’ils sont déçus si jamais ils se sont fait des projets de génération en génération. C’est un des inconvénients de s’installer en terres publiques. Il y a des avantages financiers très intéressants, mais ça vient avec certaines contraintes. » Celle-ci tient également à apporter des nuances quant à la dégradation du terrain causée par les machineries sur le site. « Le secteur où il y a eu de l’orniérage, ça a été mentionné que c’était trop humide et que ça nécessitait des travaux d’hiver. Il y a eu un refus du producteur. C’était trop contraignant pour remettre les tubes et ça mettait la production en retard », mentionne-t-elle. Le MFFP maintient de son côté que « la planification des activités de récolte forestière doit (et tient) compte des autres usages de la forêt et les autres utilisations de la forêt doivent aussi tenir compte des activités récoltes, sans primauté d’une activité sur les autres ». Jasmine Rondeau, Initiative de journalisme local, La Tribune
OTTAWA — A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough to cover the average pinky nail but is made up of more than 280 components and requires at least three manufacturing plants to produce. By the time that dose is injected, it has travelled to at least six different cities in four countries, across the Atlantic Ocean twice, and monitored by a 24-hour watchtower in Iceland every step of the way. A marvel of both science and supply-chain heroics takes the vaccine from the factory floor to the arms of grateful patients all over the world. "It's really very complex," said Germain Morin, Pfizer's vice-president in charge of global supply chains for the company's rare-disease medications and vaccines. The messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines being made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, as well as Moderna, are a novel technology that before COVID-19 had never been approved for widespread use in humans. While DNA is the large and complex molecule that stores all of genetic coding that makes us who we are, RNA carries individual pieces of that code out into the body with the instructions on how to carry out the body's work. In the case of mRNA vaccines, they are carrying the genetic code for part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which teaches our bodies to mount a defence against the virus. A year ago, the materials for these vaccines were being made for research purposes only, enough for maybe a few hundred doses at a time. Now Pfizer expects to pump out two billion doses by the end of this year. It has made scaling up the manufacturing process a herculean feat, said Morin. There are 25 different suppliers involved, spanning 19 different countries. Some of them, said Morin, were making milligrams of liquid at the start. Then they were asked to make kilograms of it, and finally hundreds of kilograms. The 475,000 doses Canada received last week began their lives before Christmas. Morin said it used to take four months to make a single dose of the vaccine, which is officially called BNT162b2. Morin said the process has recently been streamlined to half that time. Every dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is born in a Pfizer lab in Chesterfield, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis. That's where small DNA molecules called plasmids are made with the beginnings of the code for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. It takes about two weeks, followed by a quality assurance process. Every step of production has quality checks and rechecks, from the bags and boxes used to store and transport the vaccine components to the temperature in the lab and the protective clothing worn by any workers. Then comes the first major chill, as the plasmids are put in bags and frozen to that famous ultralow temperature Pfizer's product needs: -80C. From Missouri, the plasmids are shipped to two labs, one a Pfizer facility in Andover, Mass., and another a BioNTech facility in Germany, where they are used to make the mRNA. A single batch of mRNA takes about four days to make, in a high-tech process with numerous enzymes and chemicals. The mRNA is then frozen again and shipped off for finishing. In the U.S. that happens in Kalamazoo, Mich., and for Canada's doses, currently made in Europe, they go to Puurs, Belgium, Pfizer's biggest plant in the world. Messenger RNA is not a very stable product and will disintegrate quickly if not protected, so every bit of mRNA is encased in a tiny amount of fat called a lipid nanoparticle. "Imagine a very, very small egg, so a very small eggshell of lipids that would protect the mRNA," said Morin. "This is part of the magic of making this vaccine as well." Over the course of three or four more days the mRNA gets its lipid coating, and is filled into vials containing enough vaccine for six doses. The vials are then packed into boxes, and immediately put into "those famous freezers" which turn the lipid-coated mRNA molecules into mini blocks of ultracold ice. "This was, by the way, one of the challenges," said Morin. "You can imagine that those freezers are not very common in the world. Laboratories buying them would typically buy them one or two at a time. We went to the suppliers and the first time we've asked for 650 of them in one shot, and then we went for more after that." The vials stay in those freezers for two to three weeks, while every lot is tested with more than 40 different quality-control measures. Then come the thermal shipping boxes Pfizer and BioNTech developed for this vaccine. Each vial is packed into a tray about the size of a pizza box with 195 vials total. Five trays are packaged together into the special box, which is filled with dry ice, and sealed. Every box contains a tracking unit to know its location and internal temperature at all times. A control site in Iceland monitors the boxes, which are all uniquely labelled. If any box records a problem between Belgium and the delivery site, it will be investigated and most likely discarded. Morin said at first there were many concerns about the complexity of the freezer requirements but the supply chain has been so successful that only one per cent of the product around the world has been lost because of temperature concerns. Pfizer contracted with UPS to deliver the boxes. Those are picked up by UPS in Belgium, and sent through Germany and Kentucky on their way to Canada. UPS delivers the batches to dozens of delivery sites in each province, where provincial health officials take over possession and prepare to inject them into arms. Moderna hasn't released as many details about its manufacturing process, but has said the vaccine is largely produced for Canada in Switzerland, sent to Spain to be mixed with a diluent and filled into vials, and then shipped to a warehouse in Belgium. Canada has hired FedEx and Innomar Strategies to manage the shipping and distribution of Moderna's and all other vaccines except Pfizer-BioNTech's. Guy Payette, the president of Innomar, said they too use specially designed boxes. Moderna's vaccine doesn't have to be frozen as deeply but does have to be kept at about -20C. The other vaccines Canada is likely to get will mostly need to be kept at about 6 C. Payette said each box is also labelled and tracked with a GPS and thermal sensor. The shipments arrive at Innomar's warehouse, where workers repackage them to match the quantities being sent to each province. He said except for one spot in northern British Columbia, the trackers have worked beautifully. Where they did not, due to the altitude, boxes are equipped with a second device with data that can be downloaded later. He said so far, the temperature has been fine and all products delivered successfully. Those involved in the vaccine process have expressed awe at the speed with which everything turned around. Moderna's vaccine was in clinical trials less than two months after the SARS-CoV-2 virus was fully sequenced. Pfizer and BioNTech signed a partnership agreement in March 2020, and 266 days later the vaccine was approved in the United Kingdom. More than 50 countries have since followed suit and more than 100 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine have now been distributed. It's a pace of development the company has never seen in its 173-year history. "Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, not even close," said Morin. He said most products take three to five years to get this far. "We're very proud," he said. "Every new market that we launch is a celebration." He said when the first Canadian was vaccinated on Dec. 14, "I had goosebumps." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images - image credit) Windsor resident Nancy McDonald says accessing the COVID-19 vaccine has already come with a few barriers, including figuring out the online registration and planning transportation to the site. Starting Monday, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) said the WFCU Centre, located at 8787 McHugh St. in east Windsor, will be the first vaccine clinic to offer shots to seniors 80 and older. The other clinic will open March 8 at Nature Fresh Farms Recreation Centre in Leamington. Registration has already begun, with some 7,000 people signing up within the past day, according to WECHU. Eighty-four-year-old McDonald was one of those who signed up — but she had to get someone to help register her online. Yet, now she worries how she'll get to the site when it's her time. As the region moves to vaccinate the next priority group, questions are arising about accessibility. Concerns being raised show that it needs to be thought of broadly not just in terms of physical access to a building. When dealing with a vulnerable population who likely have mobility and financial issues, details like clinic hours, online access and fluency, location and transportation need to be addressed amid the rush to get vaccines in arms. "I was very concerned because I'm basically in the downtown area ... I'm a non-driver so to get to either place I would have to have a ride or some type of transportation," says McDonald, who lives across from Windsor's Jackson Park. She usually takes public transit to get around, but hasn't done so due to the pandemic, so her only other option is to rely on someone to bring her. For people like herself, she says the centre's hours of operation, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., aren't the best. The WFCU Centre opens March 1 for vaccinations for those 80 and older and Leamington's Nature Fresh Farms Recreation Centre will open March 8. "If it's someone that needed a ride and their family were working people couldn't they have evening [hours], say 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. for a couple hours to get people there that didn't have a ride?" she said. She says she wishes there was a clinic in walking distance of where she lives. But she's not the only one concerned about getting to the site. On Friday, the health unit said it has already received some concerns from community members who have mobility issues. "This isn't going to be for everyone at this point that is over 80," WECHU CEO Theresa Marentette said. "It is a limited supply of vaccine and it may not be the best option for everyone ... We continue to try to work internally to see what other options are available to our seniors over 80." More sites, transportation options could help Windsor-Essex Council on Aging director Deana Johnson said mobility is always a challenge for older adults. But, "what's the alternative?" she said. "It would be nice if we were able to have several sites east, west, central, where people could indeed get vaccinated," she said. "If I'm a senior and I live downtown, I got to go all the way to the east end [and] that becomes very difficult." At the same time she says she can only imagine that planning the vaccine rollout is a "logistical nightmare." Here's a snapshot from Workforce Windsor-Essex's demographic map that shows regions with high number of seniors between the ages of 80 and 84. This data is from Statistic Canada's 2016 census. The WFCU centre, though far from the city's west-end senior population, is a "fairly reasonable" site for people to access. She said the space has a senior centre in it and is known to the community. Multiple sites, she said, might not be possible given the limited number of large spaces with parking in the city and the ability to properly store the vaccines in different locations. But at the least, more transportation options could be made available to the community, she said, adding that maybe that includes volunteer drivers or a bus to pick up groups of people. Accessibility of the sites Physician at the University of Windsor and director at Student Health Services Matt Scholl says the sites are accessible and geographically make sense. "Logistically speaking both sites are great as far as accessibility for that population, wheelchair accessible main floor, plenty of area for social distancing, following all public health protocols that are in place and there's also an area basically for these individuals to remain for 15 to 30 minutes to make sure that there's no vaccine reactions," he said. Workforce Windsor-Essex has a demographic map showing where seniors in the region live, based on 2016 census data from Statistics Canada. According to the map, the clinics seem to be located in areas where the majority of those who are 80 and older are living. Theresa Marentette, CEO Windsor Essex County Health Unit, says the health unit is working on other options for seniors to get the vaccine for those who are not able to access a clinic. Some more appointment details, according to information on the health unit's website, note that people are allowed to bring assistive devices as needed, including a scooter or wheelchair. As well, the health unit says there will be wheelchairs on site for people to use. A support person is also allowed if required, though the only example listed on the website is an interpreter. In an email to CBC News, the health unit said this also includes other support personnel and formal documentation is not required. It added that translation services will also be available at the clinic. Beyond the physical space and appointment itself, the health unit has also set up phone lines for people to register as not everyone has access to technology. Are mobile clinics a possibility? The health unit said Thursday that it still is working out the details on accessing people in the community who are 80 and older and have difficulties leaving their home. "We will continue to work on other strategies for access that will likely involve our teams and others that we're partnering with moving into areas where there are populations of seniors living so we'll work on that as well," said Marentette. "There will be other strategies that we'll have to keep considering as we get more vaccines and be able to transport the vaccine safely." Mobile clinics have been suggested in other regions of the province, with cities like Hamilton looking at pop-up clinics, mobile bus clinics, rolling or drive-thru clinics. Rolling clinics would help people who cannot leave their homes, and are living in small numbers. A bus would drop off vaccinators at a site, and circle back to pick them up. The third option is a mobile bus, which would drive to various areas and operate as a clinic.
New numbers on the state of the Great Lakes shows a rise in water temperatures for winter 2021, including for Lake Huron. Environmental experts in the Georgian Bay area say the warming of Lake Huron can have significant effects on the weather, environment and wildlife. The latest data from the Great Lakes Environment Research Laboratory (GLERL) shows Lake Huron's water volume temperature sitting at 4.3 C for Feb. 5. That's compared to this time last year, when the water temperature was at 3.9 C, and the year before, at 3.2 C. David Bywater, a conservation program manager with Georgian Bay Biosphere Mnidoo Gamii, said GLERL's latest data is consistent with the pattern of ice loss coverage they've seen in data dating back to the 1970s. A report the Biosphere published in 2018 details a steady decline in ice coverage for Lake Huron from 1973 to 2016, using data from the Canadian Ice Service. It adds the average water temperature is increasing at a rate of 0.9 C every decade. It links both these phenomena to climate change. "It can affect weather: if you have open water instead of ice, that's going to affect the amount of precipitation that you're going to be seeing, both rain and snow," he said. This is because ice coverage prevents further evaporation. Rupert Kindersley, the Georgian Bay Association's executive director, said the warming waters are a concern for that reason: he noted the damage done to structures, docks and businesses near the Georgian Bay shoreline over the years as a result of flooding. "It's one of the features of climate change that we're getting these warmer winters and less ice cover," he said. There are also ecological impacts: according to Samantha Noganosh, a councillor with Magnetawan First Nation and lands manager, many community members have seen a decrease in the number of fish coming through Magnetawan River — which is connected to Lake Huron — over the years, meaning less yield during fishing season. Community members also use the river as a water source for recreational activities and ceremonies. "(Magnetawan River) is the lifeblood of the First Nation," said Alanna Smolarz, a species-at-risk biologist working for the First Nation. "It's an incredible resource." According to Noganosh, the First Nation is closely monitoring the situation with Lake Huron's warming waters. Bywater said the community partners with the Georgian Bay Biosphere to collect data and exchange information to aid in raising awareness. "That's part of the climate change challenge: making it local and making it meaningful when it's such a big issue," he said. Kindersley said the Georgian Bay Association is also working to inform members of the water level concerns, but added what they can do to tackle this problem is minimal. "There's not a lot we can do about climate change and global warming other than persuade people to adopt individual behaviour that will help to reduce CO2 emissions and other things," he said. Zahraa Hmood is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering the municipalities of Muskoka Lakes, Lake of Bays and Georgian Bay. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Zahraa Hmood, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
The “Trump-made-me-do-it” defence is already looking like a longshot. Facing damning evidence in the deadly Capitol siege last month — including social media posts flaunting their actions — rioters are arguing in court they were following then-President Donald Trump's instructions on Jan. 6. But the legal strategy has already been shot down by at least one judge and experts believe the argument is not likely to get anyone off the hook for the insurrection where five people died, including a police officer. “This purported defence, if recognized, would undermine the rule of law because then, just like a king or a dictator, the president could dictate what’s illegal and what isn’t in this country," U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell said recently in ordering pretrial detention of William Chrestman, a suspected member of the Kansas City-area chapter of the Proud Boys. “And that is not how we operate here.” Chrestman’s attorneys argued in court papers that Trump gave the mob “explicit permission and encouragement” to do what they did, providing those who obeyed him with “a viable defence against criminal liability.” “It is an astounding thing to imagine storming the United States Capitol with sticks and flags and bear spray, arrayed against armed and highly trained law enforcement. Only someone who thought they had an official endorsement would even attempt such a thing. And a Proud Boy who had been paying attention would very much believe he did,” Chrestman’s lawyers wrote. Trump was acquitted of inciting the insurrection during his second impeachment trial, where Democrats made some of the same arguments defence attorneys are making in criminal court. Some Republican lawmakers have said the better place for the accusations against Trump is in court, too. Meanwhile, prosecutors have brought charges against more than 250 people so far in the attack, including conspiracy, assault, civil disorder and obstruction of an official proceeding. Authorities have suggested that rare sedition charges could be coming against some. Hundreds of Trump supporters were photographed and videotaped storming the Capitol and scores posted selfies inside the building on social media, so they can’t exactly argue in court they weren’t there. Blaming Trump may be the best defence they have. “What’s the better argument when you’re on videotape prancing around the Capitol with a coat rack in your hand?” said Sam Shamansky, who’s representing Dustin Thompson, an Ohio man accused of stealing a coat rack during the riot. Shamansky said his client would never have been at the Capitol on Jan. 6 if Trump hadn’t “summoned him there.” Trump, he added, engaged in a “devious yet effective plot to brainwash” supporters into believing the election was stolen, putting them in the position where they “felt the the need to defend their country at the request of the commander in chief.” “I think it fits perfectly,” he said of the defence. “The more nuanced question is: Who is going to buy it? What kind of jury panel do you need to understand that?” While experts say blaming Trump may not get their clients off the hook, it may help at sentencing when they ask the judge for leniency. “It could likely be considered a mitigating factor that this person genuinely believed they were simply following the instructions of the leader of the United States,” said Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. attorney in Michigan who's now a professor at the University of Michigan Law School. It could also bolster any potential cases against the former president, experts say. “That defence is dead on arrival,” said Bradley Simon, a New York City white-collar criminal defence attorney and former federal prosecutor. “But I do think that these statements by defendants saying that they were led on by Trump causes a problem for him if the Justice Department or the attorney general in D.C. were to start looking at charges against him for incitement of the insurrection.” While the legal bar is high for prosecuting Trump in the Capitol siege, the former president is already facing a lawsuit from Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson that accuses him of conspiring with extremist groups to prevent Congress from certifying the election results. And more lawsuits could come. Trump spread baseless claims about the election for weeks and addressed thousands of supporters at a rally near the White House before the Capitol riot, telling them that they had gathered in Washington "to save our democracy." Later, Trump said, “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” A lawyer for Jacob Chansley, the shirtless man who wore face paint and a hat with horns inside the Capitol, attached a highlighted transcript of the Trump's speech before the riot to a court filing seeking Chansley's release from custody. The defence lawyer, Albert Watkins, said the federal government is sending a “disturbingly chilling message” that Americans will be prosecuted “if they do that which the President asks them to do.” Defence lawyers have employed other strategies without better success. In one case, the judge called a defence attorney’s portrayal of the riots as mere trespassing or civil disobedience both “unpersuasive and detached from reality.” In another, a judge rejected a man’s claim that he was “duped” into joining the anti-government Oath Keepers group and participating in the attack on the Capitol. Other defendants linked to militant groups also have tried to shift blame to Trump in seeking their pretrial release from jail. An attorney for Jessica Watkins said the Oath Keepers member believed local militias would be called into action if Trump invoked the Insurrection Act to stay in office. Watkins disavowed the Oath Keepers during a court hearing on Friday, saying she has been “appalled” by fellow members of the far-right militia. “However misguided, her intentions were not in any way related to an intention to overthrow the government, but to support what she believed to be the lawful government,” her lawyer wrote. Meanwhile, a lawyer for Dominic Pezzola, another suspected Proud Boy, said he “acted out of the delusional belief that he was a ‘patriot’ protecting his country." Defence attorney Jonathan Zucker described Pezzola as “one of millions of Americans who were misled by the President's deception.” “Many of those who heeded his call will be spending substantial portions if not the remainder of their lives in prison as a consequence," he wrote. “Meanwhile Donald Trump resumes his life of luxury and privilege." Michael Kunzelman And Alanna Durkin Richer, The Associated Press
Unidentified gunmen stormed the Government Girls Secondary School in the town of Jangebe and took the girls away, say police.View on euronews
(Submitted by Jeremias Tecu - image credit) Jeremías Tecú hid from the Guatemalan militia between the roots of a massive inup tree with his mother and younger siblings every night for more than two weeks. The year was 1981 and Tecú was 11 years old. He and his family were trying to survive a massacre during a civil war that would leave more than 200,000 Indigenous Mayans dead. Massacres by the Guatemalan regime in the early 1980s destroyed 626 villages, including Ceiba, Tecú's village. From the tree roots during the violence, Tecú could make out the silhouettes of other people hiding, just as he was. "That tree was, every single night for about 15 days, our shelter," the Fredericton resident said of the 180-foot tall inup, the Mayan symbol for life. Years later, after dedicating his life to speaking out against corruption and Indigenous murders in Guatemala, Tecú was kidnapped and tortured in 1999. He escaped to neighbouring Mexico in 2000 and was granted refugee status in Canada, where he arrived 19 years ago with his wife and kids. In collaboration with Moncton-based therapist Eve Mills Allen, Tecú's life story has been told in a book that launched this month: In the Arms of Inup: The extraordinary story of a Guatemalan survivor and his quest for healing from trauma. The roots of an inup or ceiba tree in Puerto Rico. The massacre The background to Tecú's story begins in the 1950s, when Guatemala's land was owned by a few rich families. Through protests, the country's working class demanded equality. But after some of the land was redistributed to peasants, many of them Indigenous Mayan people, a civil war began. The terror that ensued lasted about 36 years, from 1960 to 1996, and throughout those years, the government murdered more than 10 per cent of the Mayan population, reducing it from over 50 per cent of Guatemala's population to about 40 per cent. The government labelled the Indigenous Mayans communists to try to justify the slaughter, although the Mayans were protesting for land that was theirs. Tecú's aunt and uncle were among the Mayan casualties. After their murder, Tecú's home was set on fire and, along with his mother and siblings, he left his village and walked for 45 days until he reached Guatemala City. The book cover for In the Arms of Inup Tecú's fear of being massacred stayed with him for years, until he landed in Fredericton in 2002. And after that, a new kind of fear settled over him. Tecú, who now works as a settlement worker, suffered from untreated post-traumatic stress disorder, often working long hours or drinking to forget the mass-slaughter he witnessed as a boy. "I would go into a liquor store, for example, to buy a six pack," he said. "That's how I got at least one hour of sleep." "You can be in paradise but the memory is there. They come back to your mind." Eight years ago, a lifeline materialized in front of Tecú, in the form of paper and pencil and a therapist eager to listen. How they met In 2013, Mills Allen facilitated a writing group at the Multicultural Association of Fredericton. Nine people showed up, including Tecú. Mills Allen told the participants how therapeutic writing their own stories could be. "He came up to me and said, 'I need to tell my story. Would you write it?'" After sharing some of his story with Mills Allen, she decided she would take on the challenge. "I guess I just knew it's a story that needed to be told but I was a little nervous of whether I could take on that task." For eight years, Mills Allen and Tecú met in coffee shops, in parks, in their own homes. Writing the book was a long process because reliving experiences often became overwhelming for Tecú. "Many times, I was sobbing along with him," said Mills Allen. But receiving a hard copy of the book this week made it all worth it, said Tecú. Central American immigrants on the run on Jan. 20, 2020. Poverty and murder in Guatemala linked to government corruption have led thousands to leave their country for the United States. Storytelling therapy According to Mills Allen, writing helps victims take control of their own stories and emotions. "It helps organize what's all jumbled up, coming at you from all sides of your life." It gives victims the chance to find a beginning, a middle and an end to their experiences, said Mills Allen, as it did for Tecú. "He gained a little control, feeling out of control. And you can reframe the way things happen. That makes you see your own resilience." Tecú hopes his book inspires survivors of trauma with PTSD to seek help. "To anyone who suffered torture, I want to tell them that life is beautiful. But in order to see it, you must look for support." His book is now on sale on the HARP Publishing website.
(Terri Trembath/CBC - image credit) A historic courthouse building in Fort Macleod is soon to get a new lease on life. The nearly 120-year-old building, which is a designated historic property, is featured in both the Oscar-winning film Brokeback Mountain and Emmy Award-winning TV series Fargo. Sue Keenan, the town's chief administrative officer, says they have had a number of offers and are close to a deal. "We've had people come through that want to use it as a personal residence, bed and breakfast, wine — like a wine store, wine cellar, wine tasting," Keenan said. Keenan said they even had one offer to use the old courthouse for a marijuana business. "I thought, how ironic is that," she said. "All the judges must roll over in their graves." The historic courthouse building in Fort Macleod has been up for sale at $225,000 and the town says it is close to a deal that will allow the building to remain in the public eye. Built in 1902, the building served as a courthouse and offices for the North-West Mounted Police. In the late 1970s, the town's administration moved in and maintained occupancy until the building went up for sale two years ago, listed at $225,000. "When you look at what you're going to get for that, it really is a good deal," Keenan said, adding that they want to keep the designated historic property a public space. "The consortium we're dealing with out of Calgary have done a lot of historical buildings in Calgary, so they're familiar with all the hoops they have to jump through, and they're committed to keeping this building public," Keenan said, adding she could not give more details just yet. "I want to make sure when we have an announcement to make to our residents and the province, that the deal is a done deal." Keenan is hoping to make a formal announcement next week. This holding cell in the basement of the Fort Macleod courthouse building is the only one that still has a door. The building has 2,000 square feet of original flooring, beams, a hot water boiler and two heavy vaults. There is historic woodwork framing all the old doors and transom windows. "This is old, old, old," Keenan said as she toured the CBC's Terri Trembath through the building, showing off the original hot water boiler from the early 1900s. The basement, with its sandstone and exposed brick walls, is equipped with holding cells for the courthouse. "It would make a great wine cellar, if you ask me," Keenan said. The old courthouse, designed by architect David Ewart from Ottawa — who also designed the Canadian Mint — has been deemed an historic landmark by both the provincial and federal government. Eventually, the cost of upkeep and the daunting cost of renovations to a heritage building proved too much for the town. As for the new deal, Keenan is optimistic. "I am very confident that they will do this building justice, and the residents of the town of Fort MacLeod will be very pleased with the direction that it's going to head."
Archaeologists have unearthed a unique ancient-Roman ceremonial carriage from a villa just outside Pompeii, the city buried in a volcanic eruption in 79 AD. The almost perfectly preserved four-wheeled carriage made of iron, bronze and tin was found near the stables of an ancient villa at Civita Giuliana, around 700 metres (yards) north of the walls of ancient Pompeii. Massimo Osanna, the outgoing director of the Pompeii archaeological site, said the carriage was the first of its kind discovered in the area, which had so far yielded functional vehicles used for transport and work, but not for ceremonies.
(Beth Zaiken/Centre for Palaeogenetics via REUTERS - image credit) Yukon paleontologist Grant Zazula admits it — he's jealous. Until recently, Yukon had been the source of the oldest recovered DNA, from a 700,000-year-old horse fossil found a couple of decades ago near Dawson City. Now a team of international researchers say they have recovered and sequenced DNA from the teeth of three mammoths in Russia's extreme north, the oldest specimen being about 1.2 million years old. "So I'm actually a little bit jealous, now that the record now belongs to a Siberian fossil," Zazula said. The upside, he says, is that the new research opens the door to all sorts of possible new discoveries and insights from Yukon's own trove of Ice Age fossils. "It's really going to allow us to be able to look at earlier stages of the Ice Age and look at the, you know, genetics of these different extinct animals going back a million years, maybe even further back in time, as these technologies evolve," he said. "Twenty years ago, when I started getting involved in paleontology, we were still really excited about the novelty of being able to extract any DNA from ancient animals." 'The Yukon is amazingly situated to be able to play major roles and some of these projects,' said Grant Zazula, a paleontogist with the Yukon government. Ancient DNA can help fill in the blanks of how extinct species evolved and adapted — or failed to adapt — over the millennia. Zazula says a lot of information can be teased out of a genome sequence, from what a species looked like to how it interacted with its environment. There are also a lot of mysteries yet to be solved about mammoths in particular, he says, and how the population that crossed the Bering Land Bridge from Siberia into North America relates later mammoth populations. "Most of what we know about the Ice Age is really only the last little bits of the Ice Age," he said. But for earlier periods of the Ice Age — say, a million years ago — Zazula says it's less understood. "Really there's a lot of speculation because we don't have a lot of well-dated records from that time period." The new research suggests that Yukon could play an even bigger role in paleontological research, because the territory is a rich source of ancient fossils. It's not uncommon for Yukon gold miners to stumble across amazing finds preserved deep in the permafrost. "The Yukon is amazingly situated to be able to play major roles in some of these projects," Zazula said. He was already contacted a few months ago by one of the Swedish scientists involved in the Russian mammoth fossil research. "He contacted me saying, 'hey, do you guys have any old mammoths from the Yukon?' And I said, 'well, we have one that's about 700,000 years old,'" Zazula recalled. "So, yeah, hopefully in a few months we can add to this story and talk about how that lineage crossed the Bering Land Bridge for the first time into North America roughly a million years ago."
LONDON — A World War II-era plane flew Saturday over the funeral service of Captain Tom Moore to honour of the veteran who single-handedly raised millions of pounds for Britain's health workers by walking laps in his backyard. Soldiers performed ceremonial duties at the service for the 100-year-old Moore, whose charity walk inspired the nation and raised almost 33 million pounds ($46 million.) Captain Tom, as he became known, died Feb. 2 in the hospital after testing positive for COVID-19. The private service was small, attended by just eight members of the veteran's immediate family. But soldiers carried his coffin, draped in the Union flag, from the hearse to a crematorium and formed a ceremonial guard. Others performed a gun salute, before a C-47 Dakota military jet flew past. “Daddy, you always told us ‘Best foot forward’ and true to your word, that’s what you did last year," Moore's daughter, Lucy Teixeira, said at the service. “I know you will be watching us chuckling, saying ‘Don’t be too sad as something has to get you in the end.’" A version of the song “Smile," recorded for the funeral by singer Michael Bublé, was played, as well as “My Way” by Frank Sinatra, as requested by Moore. A bugler sounded “The Last Post” to close the service. Moore, who served in India, Burma and Sumatra during WWII, set out to raise a modest 1,000 pounds for Britain’s National Health Service by walking 100 laps of his backyard by his 100th birthday last year. But his quest went viral, catching the imagination of millions stuck at home during the first wave of the pandemic. His positive attitude - “Please remember, tomorrow will be a good day” became his trademark phrase - inspired the nation at a time of crisis. Prime Minister Boris Johnson described him as a “hero in the truest sense of the word.? He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in July in a socially distanced ceremony at Windsor Castle, west of London. The Associated Press
(CBC - image credit) After multiple incidents and complaints from families, the Calgary Board of Education is reminding its staff that uttering, writing or using racial slurs — including when reading aloud — is not permitted in the school division. "Since the school year started, there has been at least three of these complaints that have come to my attention that we've had to address," said CBE chief superintendent Christopher Usih. "Teachers can certainly read content or teach content, but that they don't verbalize the word. In one particular case, for example, it was a use of the N-word in class." It was these complaints that prompted Usih to send all staff a note earlier this week reminding them that the use of racial slurs in any capacity is forbidden. He said this isn't about censorship or removing books from classrooms. "I want these conversations to happen in classrooms. [It's] important for young people to engage in conversations, to learn about their lived experiences, and teaching why the language is inappropriate remains important," he said. "We don't want you to write it all out on the board or to read it all out loud. The vast majority of times those words are not verbalized, so this is not new. What we wanted to do with this message was to really clarify expectations so that if there is any misunderstanding, that teachers know." One CBE teacher, who CBC News has agreed not to name as she fears professional retribution, said the note caught teachers at her school off guard. "It was just like a total blanket statement to all teachers and it was like, very reprimanding [to] me in nature. For something that most of us don't do anyway," she said. Thousands gathered in Calgary's Olympic Plaza on June 6, 2020 for a candlelight vigil in honour of victims of racism and police brutality. The teacher said she feels the note should have been accompanied by a conversation between principals and teachers about why the note was being sent. Instead, she said "nothing has been said." "No one is going to reply to the email because it's from the superintendent. So everyone's afraid for their job," she said. The teacher said CBE teachers also haven't been offered any professional development on best practices when teaching texts with these sorts of words and slurs. "We don't have any discussion and people are afraid now, and I don't know if that's how we should be feeling," the teacher said. Usih said while the note may have seemed sudden, it does provide a number of links to resources for teachers to help them tackle these conversations and topics with students — and he promises more education for teachers is forthcoming. "There's no question that professional learning is going to be important going forward, because that's how teachers can share best practices and we can talk about the fact that these are conversations that we need to have," he said. "These are good teaching moments for young people, but intent does not negate impact. "What we don't want is to place students in situations where they feel uncomfortable and they feel afraid or hurt, because the word that is used in the classroom is one that does not make them feel good about themselves."
BERLIN — Germany's Left has picked two women to lead the anti-capitalist party into this fall's national election. A party conference Saturday elected Janine Wissler und Susanne Hennig-Wellsow as co-leaders. Wissler is the Left's parliamentary caucus leader in Hesse state. Hennig-Wellsow is the party's chairwoman in Thuringia, the only German state where the Left leads a government. The succeed Katja Kipping and Bernd Riexinger, who have led the party since 2012. The Left, which is partly rooted in East Germany's governing Socialist Unity Party, received 9.2% of the vote in the 2017 national election. Current polls ahead of the vote on Sept. 26 put its support at 7-8%. The Associated Press
Milan — La tension monte entre les secteurs du bois et du sirop d’érable. À qui et comment la société québécoise doit-elle prêter sa forêt ? Pour le président de l’Ordre des ingénieurs forestiers du Québec, François Laliberté, la discussion récemment enclenchée s’impose. « Les deux sont des activités importantes de notre patrimoine forestier collectif et les deux ont un fort potentiel de développement, analyse-t-il. Dans les deux cas, on en voudrait plus. Mais la forêt est limitée. On est condamnés à faire des compromis de part et d’autre, parce qu’on veut quand même une diversité d’activités. Il faut également comprendre que ces deux activités-là ne sont pas totalement incompatibles, mais l’une a un impact sur l’autre. » Par exemple, le bois provenant d’un érable entaillé perd de la valeur. « À l’inverse, lorsqu’on fait de la récolte de bois, même des coupes partielles, momentanément, on perd un certain nombre d’entailles », dit-il, précisant que surtout les arbres en fin de vie sont ciblés par les ingénieurs forestiers. Actuellement, 18 % des érablières du Québec se retrouvent en terre publiques. Inquiets de voir le potentiel acéricole exclu de la nouvelle Statégie nationale de production de bois, dévoilée en décembre par le ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP) et qui vise à doubler les coupes forestières d’ici 2080, les Producteurs et productrices acéricoles du Québec (PPAQ) réclament une mise en suspens des chantiers en terre publique tant qu’ils ne seront pas rassurés. En réponse à cette fameuse stratégie, les PPAQ ont d’ailleurs publié leur propre plan pour l’avenir, qui implique168 M d’entailles en 2080 afin de répondre à la demande croissante de sirop d’érable sur le marché mondial. Ce sont donc 120 M d’entailles qui devront être ajoutées, dont 36 M en terres publiques. « Une bonne partie des grandes érablières sont situées sur des terres publiques, et elles doivent pouvoir grandir, explique Philippe Breton, directeur des ventes chez Érablière Lapierre et administrateur pour l’International Maple Syrup Institute. Ce qui se fait actuellement par le Ministère, c’est de l’aménagement qui est à très, très long terme, alors qu’on pourrait exploiter la forêt publique à court terme en acériculture beaucoup plus facilement et de manière plus rentable. Quand le Ministère fait un plan de doubler la production de bois d’ici 2080, bien nous, ce qu’on voit, c’est doubler le nombre d’érables à entailler potentiellement qui seront coupés. » Couper, c’est régénérer M. Laliberté ne peut pas se prononcer sur la compatibilité des ambitions de chaque côté, mais souligne que l’objectif de production de bois ne sera atteint que si on double la productivité des forêts québécoises. « Dans les érablières, c’est de faire des bons travaux de jardinage qui vont favoriser la régénération et la croissance de façon optimale. On peut comprendre que d’ici 2080, on a le temps de faire une ou deux rotations de cycle de jardinage, et le potentiel sera quand même bon à la fin. Il ne faudrait peut-être pas non plus se priver d’aller chercher une ou deux rotations de bois en attendant qu’elles soient entaillées. Mais il faut savoir quand ça risque d’être entaillé. Ça prend un plan des deux côtés. La stratégie vient de sortir et les plans ne sont pas terminés, mais c’est le bon moment pour se poser la question avec les érablières », avance-t-il, rappelant que le gouvernement décide des coupes, tandis que les PPAQ décident des entailles. Cependant, l’ingénieur admet que les coupes de jardinage acérico-forestier, qui privent les érablières d’entailles à court terme, pourraient être revues. « Ça coûte cher de faire une intervention comme ça dans une érablière. Est-ce qu’on pourrait travailler ça autrement ? La réflexion pourrait se faire. Il faudrait réviser certaines choses, comme les engagements ou les attributions de bois. Ça fait partie des compromis. » De son côté, le MFFP assure que le dialogue se poursuit avec les PPAQ et que « la Stratégie nationale de production de bois n’est pas en contradiction avec le développement de l’acériculture ». Son porte-parole, Sylvain Carrier, ajoute que le Ministère consulte actuellement les TGIRT sur des zones où les activités acéricoles seraient priorisées. « À la suite de cette étape de consultation, le MFFP officialisera des superficies de potentiels acéricoles à prioriser dans l’ensemble des régions où les PPAQ émettront de nouveaux contingents de production acéricole dans les années à venir. » L’Estrie a du mal à s’entendre La coordinatrice de la Table de gestion intégrée des ressources naturelles et du territoire de l’Estrie, Manon Ayotte, se montre inquiète pour la concertation du milieu depuis le début des querelles entourant l’acériculture et la foresterie. Les dernières réunions de la table on fait l’objet d’attaques personnelles et de propos disgracieux, à un point où certains membres ont choisi de ne pas y assister, rapporte-t-elle. « Ça fragilise vraiment l’esprit de collaboration. On a déjà vu des belles choses et des revirements de situations qui ont fait qu’on a trouvé des solutions, mais là, je suis inquiète », dit-elle. Actuellement, le potentiel acéricole en terres publiques estriennes est d’environ 11 800 hectares. On y retrouve 74 permis acéricoles, détenus par 57 personnes ou entreprises. « Pour l’instant, ce qui a été proposé, c’est un partage 50-50. La moitié de la superficie est vouée au développement acéricole, et la moitié voué à l’aménagement forestier. C’est possible que pour les acériculteurs, ce ne soit pas assez, comme pour ceux qui utilisent la ressource du bois qui ont aussi ce sentiment-là. » Jasmine Rondeau, Initiative de journalisme local, La Tribune
(Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit) From their smiles and exuberance, it's hard to tell that 16-year-old students Makylah Williams and Liv Meerkerk have experienced racial microaggressions in the halls of their B.C. high schools. In Makylah's case, those experiences have involved people touching her hair without her permission, something she says is "really disrespectful." For Liv, a high academic achiever from the Sto:lo Nation, it's the assumptions people make about the intelligence of Indigenous students. She recalls how "it was really shocking and surprising to everyone" when they found out her grades. These are just two examples of stories shared by BIPOC students at a recent youth conference held by the Burnaby School District, where youth were encouraged to share their experiences in discussions about racism, and had the opportunity to hear from special guests. 'It makes them tired, it makes them frustrated, it makes them sad, depressed, hurt,' says Beth Applewhite about students dealing with racism on a regular basis. The annual conference helps show attendees they are not alone in their daily experience with racism, says founder Beth Applewhite. "They talked about dealing with the N-word — that came up a lot. They talked about how Indigenous students and Black students, racialized students, often have less power. People seem to have lower expectations for them academically," says Applewhite, vice-principal of equity, diversity and inclusion with the Burnaby School District. "A lot of students talked about how racism has impacted them, like their mental health, that it makes them tired, it makes them frustrated, it makes them sad, depressed, hurt." But from those shared experiences also comes solidarity, she says. "The students expressed a sense of belonging, the sense of seeing themselves in each other and in the room," says Applewhite. Watch: Youth conference participants speak about their experiences The youth conference, which began as a Black Affinity Group at Burnaby's Moscrop Secondary School in 2007, is held during Black History Month, with the theme this year being "lifting Black voices." The conference usually brings in a few hundred students from the Burnaby, Surrey, Vancouver, Maple Ridge and Coquitlam school districts — but this year around 3,000 people, from students to staff, took part virtually. The opening address was made by Jean Augustine, a former Member of Parliament who brought forward the legislation for Black History Month to be officially recognized in Canada 25 years ago. It comes amid increasing awareness of systemic racism and a growing Black Lives Matter movement following anti-racism protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in May 2020. Makylah Williams says she was surprised to hear the similarities in experiences BIPOC students shared during the youth conference. For Makylah, the Black Lives Matter movement has actually made her a target of some inappropriate jokes. "I've had students come to me, putting up the block fist and laughing," she said. "I try really hard not to get angry, even though it is frustrating. I try to calm down and be mindful that sometimes people just don't know that they're being mean." 'You see you're not alone, everybody is going through stuff like that, and it shows you that we need to change it.' - Liv Meerkerk, 16 Despite the daily challenges they face, both Makylah and Liv carry an infectious amount of hope for their futures. "In the conference, you see you're not alone, everybody is going through stuff like that, and it shows you that we need to change it. It's a huge problem that needs to be tackled," Liv says. Liv Meerkerk says she felt validated in hearing the experiences of other students. Part of Applewhite's role with the school district is to lead anti-racism education for staff, trustees and educators. While the response to the training has generally been positive, she says some discussions about race and white privilege have been triggering. But she says she keeps in mind that children are going through similar experiences at school. "No one warns our kids when they walk into a classroom… and I know our children's spirits are being ruined daily. We need to keep pushing forward," she says. It's why she keeps doing the work, she says. "I used to hide my anger, get frustrated, but you can't fix something you can't see," Applewhite says. "But when people are forced to look and see how things are, they are much more compassionate and empathetic." For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here. Makylah Williams, left, and Liv Meerkerk, both 16, shared their stories at the youth conference for Black History Month.
A military guard of honor and Royal Air Force fly-past marked the funeral on Saturday of Captain Sir Tom Moore, the World War Two veteran who raised millions of pounds for Britain's health service during the coronavirus pandemic. By the time he finished, on April 16, he was being willed on by millions in Britain and beyond, and the total raised was heading toward 39 million pounds ($54 million). Moore was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in recognition of his efforts, while the White House said after his death that he had "inspired millions through his life and his actions".
(Submitted by Chelsea Moss-Harris - image credit) The first time Chelsea Moss-Harris met A.J. Gray in person was at 1:30 a.m. on the side of a road in Nackawic. It was cold and pitch-dark and Gray, who had a dog with him in his truck, was a stranger she'd met online. But Moss-Harris wasn't worried. She already knew Gray was an "angel," and the dog he had with him was her beloved pet Zoey. Gray had brought Zoey on a 5,200-km ride from Alberta to reunite her with her owner after a months-long separation, and on that cold February night, it was hard to tell who was the most thrilled by the reunion. "I still get goose bumps when I talk about it," Moss-Harris said. "For a while, I really had thought I was never going to see her again." Moss-Harris and her fiancé, Chris Cluff, moved from New Brunswick to Alberta four years ago for Cluff's work. They returned to New Brunswick after devastating floods in Fort Vermilion. Evacuated by floods in Fort Vermilion, Alta. Seven months earlier, Moss-Harris was living in a hotel in Alberta with her two children and their two dogs, Zoey and Captain. They had been evacuated after devastating flooding swept through the northern Alberta hamlet of Fort Vermilion, forcing more than 450 people from their homes. Moss-Harris and her partner, Chris Cluff, who had moved to Alberta from New Brunswick for Cluff's job, decided it was time to come back home. But they were dismayed to find out that because she falls into the "strong breed" category, Zoey would need a special regulation kennel for the flight and would have to be picked up in Halifax. (Captain, a mixed-breed stray, was able to fly in a regular kennel.) The cost of flying her, including a new kennel, ticket, fees and surcharges, would be in the thousands, Moss-Harris said, and there were concerns that they might not even be allowed into Nova Scotia to pick her up because of COVID-19 travel restrictions at that time. Out of options and with no home left in Alberta, the family got on the plane without their beloved Zoey, who stayed behind with Cluff's brother. 'I almost started to give up' "Oh my goodness, it was so hard to leave her behind," Moss-Harris said. "It broke my heart." Eventually, when she and her family were home and settled in Fredericton, Moss-Harris started checking out the Pet Transport Canada Facebook group, which connects people travelling with pets who need a ride. Days went by with no nibbles. The days stretched into weeks, and Moss-Harris's hopes started to fade. "We'd been apart for so long," she said. "I almost started to give up." And then suddenly, a stranger named A.J. Gray replied: "Inbox me." He was a trucker and an essential worker and had a run out toward the East Coast coming up, he said. He told her he'd be happy to bring Zoey home. When I saw her snuggled up on his lap, I knew he must be OK because Zoey was OK with him. - Chelsea Moss-Harris Moss-Harris's heart leapt at the news, but she had some reservations, too. "I didn't know this guy from Adam," she said. "I thought, what if he takes off with my dog?" But they started exchanging text messages, discussing the details of what he would need for the trip. Gray refused to take any money as compensation, asking only that Moss-Harris cover the cost of Zoey's food, and finally, they arranged for him to collect Zoey and begin the journey. Moss-Harris said she was on pins and needles the whole time. "Then he sent me a picture of him and Zoey, and that's when I knew it was going to be OK. When I saw her snuggled up on his lap — she doesn't do that with just anyone — I knew he must be OK because Zoey was okay with him." That was the first of many small but telling gestures that set Moss-Harris's heart at ease, and assured her that she had entrusted her precious pet to "a good person." Chelsea Moss-Harris with 'baby' Zoey, six years ago. 'Look how adorable she was. That face!' Regular photo updates along the way Gray set out in mid-February, sending Moss-Harris frequent photos and text message updates along the way. "I'd get messages saying, 'We're in Winnipeg,' or 'Zoey's cuddled up in the bunk in the back,' and I'd laugh, thinking of Zoey taking a cross-country road trip in a big ol' truck." One full week later, she got a text asking her if she'd still be up at 1:30 a.m. that night. "I told him, 'If that's when you're gonna be coming through, I will,' " Moss-Harris said. They arranged to meet at a roadside just off the highway in Nackawic. Gray was holding Zoey on a leash at the side of the road, and when Zoey saw Moss-Harris and the rest of her family, the leash might as well have been a piece of fluff. "He had to let her go because she went nuts when she saw us," Moss-Harris recalled with a laugh. It was a quick and distanced hand-off because of COVID-19, but Moss-Harris had time to slip Gray a thank-you card ("I tucked $200 in it but I didn't tell him that, because he wouldn't have taken it," she said) and then Gray hopped into his truck and was gone. Moss-Harris thought that would be the end of it, but Gray messaged the next day to check in on his travelling companion. "He was like, 'So how's Zoey doing today, is she happy?' And I thought, wow, this is a good person." Just paying it forward, Gray says A.J. Gray seems surprised his "little" gesture has generated interest. "Well, I love dogs," he said in a phone interview. "So I saw the message on Facebook and just figured I'd help out." Gray said he was in a similar situation a few years ago, when he faced an abrupt move and had to leave his dog behind. "I know how that feels," he said. Gray said he's never transported a dog before, but Zoey was a "good traveller." "She was no trouble at all, she slept the mostly the whole way, she'd get up now and then and look out the window, and she'd get a bit excited every time we came into a city." Gray, who lives in Bathurst, said he's on the road and away from home too often to have a dog right now. But he does plan to keep in touch with his "pet for a week," Zoey. "Oh yeah, I'll check in on her now and again," he said. "She was a nice dog." Meanwhile, with Zoey settled in at her new home and life finally getting back to normal, Moss-Harris said she plans to keep in touch with the man who made that possible, sending him occasional photos of Zoey because she knows "he really cares." "When you think that someone who doesn't even know showed us true kindness and never asked for a thing? Wow," she said. "We need more people like A.J. in this world. He's an angel."
(Submitted by David Voelker - image credit) Forty-three years ago, Dave Voelker spent two days walking 48 kilometres across a frozen Lake Erie. On Feb. 25, 1978, Voelker left Cleveland, Ohio by himself and was set on reaching Colchester, Ont. in the next 48 hours. On his back he carried all that he would need, including a tent, walkie talkie, and a tripod with a camera. "I knew it was frozen across I had to give it a shot, I'm a bit of an adventure junkie," Voelker told CBC Radio's Afternoon Drive host Chris dela Torre. He said the temperature that year had been below freezing for at least a month and to be certain the water was frozen through, he checked in with the coast guard. A frozen Lake Erie as photographed by Voelker. When he first started crossing he said he saw some ice fishers, but there eventually came a point of "absolutely nothing at all." LISTEN: Dave Voelker talks about what the journey across was like with host Chris dela Torre "I was in my element," he said. "I'm a bit of a loner to begin with and being in the middle of a frozen Great Lake is the ultimate alone time, you're just left alone on your thoughts and I just reflected on what I was doing." He said he wasn't really scared, but the adventure didn't come without its challenges. At one point he could tell an ice breaker had gone through the lake and it caused the ice to bunch up in odd places. He also had to check a compass to make sure he was headed in the right direction. Eventually he made it to the other side and said a family witnessed his arrival. They then invited him in for dinner. Voelker pitched up a tent one day into his hike across the lake. Upon arriving in Colchester, he said he was relieved because he was so tired. Afterwards he says he ended up hitchhiking back home and passed through Windsor to do so. Some people still don't believe that Voelker crossed the lake, but he says he hopes the photos are enough. "Even if people don't believe it I know that I did it," he said.
Tunisia's biggest political party assembled an immense crowd of supporters in the capital on Saturday in a show of strength that could fuel a dispute between the president and the prime minister. In one of the biggest demonstrations since Tunisia's 2011 revolution, tens of thousands of Ennahda supporters marched through central Tunis chanting "The people want to protect institutions!" and "The people want national unity!". The dispute has played out against a grim backdrop of economic anxiety, disillusionment with democracy and competing reform demands from foreign lenders and the UGTT, the powerful main labour union, as debt repayments loom.