Despite recent headwinds brought on by the pandemic, Mastercard still offers plenty of opportunity for investors.
BLYTH – North Huron, Central Huron, Morris-Turnberry, and Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh will share the cost of a new pumper truck, at a price tag of $604,500, plus tax. Fire Chief Marty Bedard said in an email, “We currently have $536,753 in reserves. I included an extra $100,000 in the 2021 budget to cover the shortfall.” Council authorized a request for proposals (RFP) in October after deferring the decision from 2020 to have enough funds available. Bedard presented a report to council on Dec. 21 outlining the RFP results and the decision to choose the custom-made ResQTech Systems (Rosenbauer) Pumper. Seven dealers submitted a total of 10 proposals, with prices ranging from $564,600 to $791,306.96. The chosen proposal included most of the items requested in the RFP for the new pumper, comparing the lower cost vehicles as missing several items listed in the RFP. The cost far exceeds the ResQTech proposal when the missing items are added. The remainder of the proposals were well over the budget amount, and many were missing items listed in the RFP. The Fire Chief must obtain a financial commitment from Central Huron, Morris-Turnberry, and Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh to pay their share before the purchase is finalized. “I am currently in discussion with the agreement partners to get approval to go ahead with the truck purchase,” said Bedard. The matter will be presented to municipal councils again for final approval once they reach an agreement. Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga on Monday raised the prospect of sanctioning social media firms over what she called "systematic abuses" of free speech. In a growing wave of criticism, some government officials are complaining about what they have described as efforts by social media companies, including Facebook, to limit conservative views on their platforms. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has turned Hungary's public media into an obedient mouthpiece and allies control large parts of the private media, allowing his agenda to be aired prominently.
NORTH PERTH – Residents are being encouraged by Amy Gangl, interim manager of recreation, to have their say in the development of a community park which will replace Listowel Memorial Arena after its demolition this year. Municipal staff are working with consultants, SHIFT Landscape Architecture, to explore design options to help shape the future park space, and they are looking for input on two preliminary design options presented on Your Say North Perth. On the Memorial Arena Park design options project page at YoursayNorthPerth.ca, residents can review the designs and provide feedback through a survey until Jan. 18. “We’ve received some great input and quite a bit of engagement from the community which is fantastic news,” said Gangl. “That is one of the items council was hoping for and our consultants are already quite pleased with the… input regarding the concept of the designs.” Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner
A woman involved in a fatal collision on Circle Drive last week says barriers separating lanes on the busy stretch of road might have saved the life of a 24-year-old woman. Nicole Gamble was on her way back to the Beardy's and Okemasis's Cree Nation with her husband Hilary when their vehicle was struck head on by a car that had travelled the wrong way into their lane. The woman driving that car died at the scene. Gamble's dealing with bumps and bruises all over and a shattered wrist, and says both she and her husband, who was driving, are feeling sore following the collision — one she says might have not ended in tragedy if something had been separating traffic. "Maybe if there was a barrier, that may have helped to save her life," Gamble said in a phone interview Sunday. What exactly happened on Circle Drive North on Friday that resulted in the collision, which took place between College and Attridge Drive, is still under investigation by the Saskatoon Police Service's collision analyst unit. But Gamble said while the crash appeared to happen in "slow motion," it took place in an instant. "I just looked up and I see the vehicle flying across the other side of the road," she said, as she was texting her children to let them know they were on the way home. "It jumped through the meridian … the little ditch thing, and it just came straight for us. I just remember closing my eyes. It happened so fast, I can still hear the metal crunching. I can't sleep at night thinking of it." She and her family have been smudging and praying for the young woman who lost her life, noting it was a life ended far too soon. "She was too young to go," Gamble said, the pain clear in her voice. "She was just a baby herself." Both her and her husband extend their condolences to the family who is mourning and want to thank those who helped them out of the wreck, which closed traffic for several hours as police responded. Ward 3 Councillor David Kirton campaigned on traffic safety during the recent municipal election. Kirton, who worked as a reporter before he was a city councillor, recalls covering serious collisions on this same stretch of road in the past. Now he hopes to raise the issue of barriers in the area with city administration to see if something can be done to make the stretch of road safer. Kirton says the fact the road has seen more than one serious collision should be enough for the city to take action, without having to do a number of studies to find out the area is dangerous. "We have our own statistical information that this happens, and obviously, it's happened a number of times too many when we have, not just one, but more than one loss of life over the last number of years," he said. "I would love to be able to talk to administration and see if there might be a way that we can get past our mind sometimes, on studies and statistics, and think about, well I guess, the reality that is out there — and that reality took a tragic turn on Friday," he said. When CBC reached out to the City of Saskatoon for a response to the concerns, a city representative pointed to a post on the city's official Twitter account where it indicated it's aware of the incident, noting that sections of Circle Drive "have been identified to receive safety barriers from the Municipal Economic Enhancement Program."
The assembly line approach for giving COVID-19 vaccinations could also work well in other jurisdictions, says Montreal epidemiologist Dr. Christopher Labos.
LOS ANGELES — Phil Spector was viewed as a man with two distinct personas: The late music producer was regarded as a rock ‘n’ roll genius who elevated the genre with his “Wall of Sound” style in the 1960s and created hits for several big names from the Beatles to Tina Turner. But while Spector made his mark as a revolutionary music producer, the stories of him waving guns at recording artists and being convicted of murder overshadowed his artistry. California state prison officials said Spector died Saturday at age 81 of natural causes at a hospital. He was convicted of killing actress Lana Clarkson in 2003 at his castle-like mansion on the edge of Los Angeles. After a trial in 2009, he was sentenced to 19 years to life. The reaction to Spector’s death resurrected some mixed feelings about his life and legacy. Some lauded his early contributions to rock music, while others struggled to forgive his volatile past. Beach Boys musician Al Jardine said it would be “nice to remember him only for his songs & production talents.” He said The Ronettes’ song “Be My Baby,” which was produced and co-written by Spector, inspired his brother Brian Wilson. Stevie Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band called Spector a “genius irredeemably conflicted.” “He was the ultimate example of the art always being better than the artist,” said Zandt on Twitter. He added that Spector “made some of the greatest records in history based on the salvation of love while remaining incapable of giving or receiving love his whole life.” Meanwhile, “The Price is Right” host Drew Carey took aim at Spector, calling him a “murderer and an abusive maniac.” “I wish he would’ve gotten the mental health help he so clearly needed, but he didn’t,” the comedian said on social media. “And so instead of (asterisk)just(asterisk) pulling guns on people in anger or for fun, he murdered one of them. Good ear for music tho, I’ll give you that.” Spector’s former wife, Ronnie Spector, remembered him on Sunday as a “brilliant producer, but a lousy husband.” She was the lead singer of the Ronettes. “Unfortunately Phil was not able to live and function outside of the recording studio,” she wrote on Instagram. “Darkness set in, many lives were damaged. I still smile whenever I hear the music we made together, and always will. The music will be forever.” But Darlene Love, who sang some of Spector’s hits from “He’s a Rebel” and “He’s Sure the Boy I Love,” took a different approach despite her problematic relationship with the producer. She felt sadness after hearing of Spector’s death from her son. “It was sad because of what Spector did, the wonderful music he created, and he spent nearly 20 years of his life in prison,” said Love, who admitted that Spector tried to “control my talent” during her singing career. She said Spector had a dangerous temperament at times, but she tried to remember the positive. “I hope people don’t only remember the reason he spent those years in prison, but more or less what he did for rock ‘n’ roll,” she continued. “He changed the sound of rock ‘n’ roll. That’s what brought me to sadness.” Spector was hailed as a visionary for channeling Wagnerian ambition into the three-minute song, creating the “Wall of Sound” in the 1960s that merged spirited vocal harmonies with lavish orchestral arrangements to produce such pop monuments as “Da Doo Ron Ron,” “Be My Baby” and “He’s a Rebel.” Bruce Springsteen and Wilson openly replicated his grandiose recording techniques and wide-eyed romanticism, and John Lennon called him “the greatest record producer ever.” But the multiple stories of Spector waving guns at recording artists in the studio and threatening women would come back to haunt him after Clarkson’s death. Clarkson, star of “Barbarian Queen” and other B-movies, was found shot to death in the foyer of Spector’s mansion in the hills overlooking Alhambra, a modest suburban town on the edge of Los Angeles. Until the actress’ death, which Spector maintained was an “accidental suicide,” few residents even knew the mansion belonged to the reclusive producer, who spent his remaining years in a prison hospital east of Stockton. Spector became a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. But ultimately, his recording artists began to quit working with him and musical styles passed him by. “He self-destructed in the most horrific manner,” said David Thompson, the author of “Wall of Pain: The Biography of Phil Spector,” released in 2004. “But we have to separate the two. There are so many people who were once revered then we find out they did something terrible. It wipes out all of their achievements. I don’t agree with that.” Thompson said Spector’s biography was one of his toughest to write, because he wanted to solely focus on the music. But while working on the book, he found out about Spector’s conviction. “That was a hard balance,” he said. “I wanted to write about the music, just what he did, what he created and what he gave us. But you had to sort of balance it with the awful things he did.” Jonathan Landrum Jr., The Associated Press
At a time when Vancouver venues are struggling, the historic Hollywood Theatre in the Kitsilano neighbourhood is banking on more than just movies to survive. The theatre, located near Broadway and Balaclava Street, has reopened its Depression-era doors with pandemic-friendly changes. Operator David Hawkes and his business partner Shawn Mawhinney, both Vancouver locals, painstakingly restored the theatre's art-deco charm while keeping pandemic safety top of mind. Hakwes said they created platforms to be able to move and remove the theatre's seats — most of them originals from when the theatre opened in the 1930s — in order to create a more flexible event space. "We ... reupholstered all of those chairs," he said. "They unbolt from the floor ... we can take them all away." Other elements like the building's exterior paint colour, box office and it's colourful neon sign also had to be restored to the finest detail in order for the building to achieve the highest heritage status offered by the city. "The character of it is really, really quite remarkable," said Donald Luxton, a consultant who worked on the building's heritage plan. "It just feels like ... an updated version of itself without losing any of its character." Preserving heritage during COVID-19 Hawkins' original plans to start running movies as well as arts and culture events last fall were shattered due to COVID-19. Right now, the theatre is open for drinks, but will not be operating as a cinema while B.C. health restrictions are in place. However, Hawkes doesn't want the building to just be known for showing films. He's hoping that creating a space to host a wider variety of arts and culture events will help keep this era of the theatre's history alive. "If we were just a theater, we would have been pigeonholed into one thing and then, economically, it just wouldn't work," he said. "The idea here is to be flexible … if you're a one-trick pony, you're not going to survive." Hakwes added he hopes the building's classic neon sign will become a symbol of resilience in a post-pandemic Vancouver. "We have a history of rolling over ... and paving over our history [in Vancouver]," he said. "We decided to open because it's a little bit of a ray of good, good hope coming, showing that things are coming to be better over time."
Budgeting is a pain. But what’s more painful is a bill you can’t easily pay, debt that costs a fortune or not having enough money to retire. Fortunately, you can have a useful, working budget without watching every penny. Automation, technology and a few simple guidelines can keep you on track. The following approach works best if you have reasonably steady income that comfortably exceeds your basic expenses. If your income isn’t steady or doesn’t cover much more than the basics, you may need to track your spending more closely. Also, no budget in the world can fix a true income shortfall, where there’s not enough coming in to cover your basic bills. If that’s the case, you need more income, fewer expenses or outside help. One place to start your search for aid is 211.org, which provides links to charitable and government resources in many communities. Otherwise, though, you can craft a spending plan with the following steps. START WITH YOUR MUST-HAVES Must-have costs include housing, utilities, food, transportation, insurance, minimum debt payments and child care that allows you to work. Using the 50/30/20 budget, these costs ideally would consume no more than 50% of your after-tax income. That leaves 30% for wants (entertainment, clothes, vacations, eating out and so on) and 20% for savings and extra debt payments. A budgeting app or your last few credit card and bank statements can help you determine your must-have costs. The more these expenses exceed that 50% mark, the harder you may find it to make ends meet. For now, you can compensate by reducing what you spend on wants. Eventually, you can look for ways to reduce some of those basic expenses, boost your income or both. “After tax,” by the way, means your income minus the taxes you pay. If other expenses are deducted from your paycheque, such as health insurance premiums or 401(k) contributions, add those amounts to your take-home pay to determine your after-tax income. If you don’t have a steady job or are self-employed, forecasting your after-tax income can be tougher. You can use a previous year’s tax return or make an educated guess about the minimum income you expect to make this year. A withholding calculator can help you determine what you’re likely to have left after taxes. AUTOMATE WHAT YOU CAN Automatic transfers can put many financial tasks on autopilot, reducing the effort needed to achieve goals. If you don’t automate anything else, automate your retirement savings to ensure you’re saving consistently. Also consider saving money in separate accounts — often called “savings buckets” — to cover big, non-monthly expenses such as insurance premiums, vacations and car repairs. Online banks typically allow you to set up multiple savings accounts without requiring minimum balances or charging fees. You can name these accounts for different goals, and automate transfers into those accounts so the money is ready when you need it. My family typically has eight to 12 of these savings accounts at our online bank. I figure out how much I want to have saved by a certain date, divide by the number of months until that date and send the resulting amount, via automated monthly transfers, from our checking account. MANAGING WHAT’S LEFT Return to your after-tax monthly income figure. Subtract your must-have expenses, your contributions to retirement and savings accounts, and any extra debt payments you plan to make consistently. What’s left is your spending money for the month. (Nothing left? Try winnowing some of those must-haves or set less ambitious savings or debt pay-down goals.) In the olden days, you might have put cash in an envelope and used it for your spending money. Once the envelope was empty, you were supposed to stop spending. Some people still do that, but in today’s digital, contactless world, you might prefer other approaches. The easiest would be to put all your spending on a single credit card that’s dedicated to this purpose and paid in full every month. (And since you’re paying in full, consider using a cash back or other rewards card to get some extra benefit from your spending.) Check your balance every few days or set up alerts to let you know when you’re approaching your spending limit for the month. To protect your credit score, you can make payments periodically throughout the month so your balance stays low compared to your credit limit. Alternatively, you could use more than one card, a debit card or a spending app that’s tied to your checking account, such as Venmo, PayPal or Zelle. A budget app or spreadsheet can help keep you on track. You also could consider setting up a separate checking account just for this spending. Again, many online banks offer checking accounts without minimum balance requirements or monthly fees. Your budget won’t be perfect and you’ll have to make adjustments as you go. But at least you, and your money, will be headed in the right direction. ____________________________________ This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Liz Weston is a columnist at NerdWallet, a certified financial planner and author of “Your Credit Score.” Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @lizweston. RELATED LINK: NerdWallet: Budgeting 101: How to Budget Money http://bit.ly/nerdwallet-budgeting Liz Weston Of Nerdwallet, The Associated Press
Canada's economy will hit a major roadblock during the first quarter of 2021 before gaining momentum in the next quarter, according to economists in a Reuters poll who said the country's GDP would reach its pre-pandemic growth levels within a year. Although economic activity had recovered partially from a record drop - 7.5% in Q1 and 38.1% in Q2 - in the first half of 2020, it took another hit after a resurgence in coronavirus infections led to renewed tight containment measures. The Jan. 11-18 Reuters poll of over 40 economists predicted the economy, which grew a record annualized 40.5% in the third quarter of 2020, expanded 3.8% in the fourth quarter, a third consecutive downgrade.
MAMUJU, Indonesia — Aid was reaching the thousands of people left homeless and struggling after an earthquake that killed at least 84 people on an Indonesian island where rescuers intensified their work Monday to find those buried in the rubble. More rescuers and volunteers were deployed in the hardest-hit city of Mamuju and the neighbouring district of Majene on Sulawesi island, where the magnitude 6.2 quake struck early Friday, said Raditya Jati, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency’s spokesperson. He said nearly 20,000 survivors were moved to shelters and more than 900 people were injured, with nearly 300 of them still receiving treatment for serious injuries. A total of 73 people died in Mamuju and 11 in Majene, said Didi Hamzar, the disaster agency's director of preparedness. He said rescuers also managed to pull 18 people alive from the rubble of a collapsed houses and buildings. Mahatir, a relief co-ordinator for volunteer rescuers, said his team was trying to reach many people in six isolated villages in Majene district after the quake damaged roads and bridges. Aid and other logistic supplies can be distributed only by foot over the severe terrain, said Mahatir who goes by one name. In a virtual news conference, Hamzar said that three helicopters were taking aid supplies Monday to four cut-off villages in Majene. In other hard hit areas. water, which has been in short supply, as well as food and medical supplies were being distributed from trucks. The military said it sent five planes carrying rescue personnel, food, medicine, blankets, field tents and water tankers. Volunteers and rescue personnel erected more temporary shelters for those left homeless in Mamuju and Majene. Most were barely protected by makeshift shelters that were lashed by heavy monsoon downpours. Only a few were lucky to be protected by tarpaulin-covered tents. They said they were running low on food, blankets and other aid, as emergency supplies were rushed to the hard-hit region. Police and soldiers were deployed to guard vehicles carrying relief goods and grocery stores from looting that occurred in some areas, said Muhammad Helmi, who heads the West Sulawesi police’s operation unit. Jati said at least 1,150 houses in Majene were damaged and the agency was still collecting data on damaged houses and buildings in Mamuju. Mamuju, the provincial capital of nearly 300,000 people, was strewn with debris from collapsed buildings. The governor’s office building was almost flattened and a shopping mall was reduced to a crumpled hulk. The disaster agency said the evacuees are in dire need of basic necessities — blankets, mats, tents, baby food and medical services. The disaster agency’s chief, Doni Monardo, said authorities were trying to separate high- and lower-risk groups and provided tens of thousands of anti-coronavirus masks for those needing shelters. He said authorities would also set up health posts at the camps to test people for the virus. People being housed in temporary shelters were seen standing close together, many of them without masks, saying that they difficult to observe health protocols in this emergency situation. West Sulawesi province has recorded more than 2,500 cases of the coronavirus, including 58 deaths. Indonesia has confirmed nearly 908,000 cases and almost 26,000 fatalities. Many on Sulawesi island are still haunted by a magnitude 7.5 earthquake that devastated Palu city in 2018, setting of a tsunami and a phenomenon called liquefaction in which soil collapses into itself. More than 4,000 people were killed, including many who were buried when whole neighbourhoods were swallowed in the falling ground. Indonesia, home to more than 260 million people, is lined with seismic faults and is frequently hit by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. A magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra in 2004 triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries. ____ Karmini reported from Jakarta, Indonesia. Niniek Karmini And Yusuf Wahil, The Associated Press
Lance White is retired now. He has lived in Fort Liard for about 28 years. He hasn't spoken to anyone since the hamlet entered a containment order on Saturday, but he thinks the right steps are being taken. Three people in Fort Liard have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since Friday. More cases are expected to follow. “It is what it is, so you just have to deal with it," White told Cabin Radio by phone on Sunday. “You don’t see many people walking around at the best of times. I notice the utter silence, lack of vehicles driving about. “But everybody, I would suggest, is taking this very seriously.” Under Dr. Kami Kandola's containment order, gatherings are banned for two weeks in Fort Liard and non-essential businesses and facilitates must close. Non-essential travel in and out of Fort Liard is “strongly discouraged,” the chief public health officer said, but not formally prohibited. Everyone must wear masks in public indoor spaces unless an exception is granted. Lucy Sanspariel works as a teaching assistant at Fort Liard's Echo Dene School, which has closed for the time being with students learning from home. She described worrying about trips to get supplies. “I have two small ones here with me so it’s kind-of scary for me to go out the door, but I have no choice. It’s kind-of hard to go to the store,” said Sanspariel. She thinks more supports like grocery delivery may be needed in the community, especially for Elders and those who are the most vulnerable. Currently, curbside pickup is available. Fort Liard resident Christine Abela thinks the GNWT has taken positive steps to keep her community safe since the cluster of infections began. However, she worries about barriers preventing people from obtaining and understanding the public health information being distributed. Abela says residents who are the most vulnerable – such as those who have limited internet access, no radio contact, low literacy rates and language barriers – may not be getting the information they need. “I think that’s a little bit where the disconnect is,” she said. As an example, Abela described circumstances in which people appeared unclear what was expected of them during isolation. Some 50 people have been asked to isolate by public health officials in a bid to contain what threatens to become an outbreak. “If you’re leaving the health centre and you are unsure about what those instructions are for isolation, then that’s where I think the message is being lost,” Abela said. “I do think, on a macro scale, things are being taken care of. But it seems there’s a lack of understanding by decision-makers … on what is necessary to convey that information.” While word-of-mouth is usually important in the hamlet, rumours and misinformation are being spread, she said. At the moment, the CBC's transmitter in Fort Liard is understood to be out of service. CKLB is broadcasting, while a community radio station on the 95.1 FM frequency recently reentered service. On Sunday, the community station's staff were hoping to receive messages in South Slavey to broadcast locally. Asked on Sunday what steps the territorial government was taking to ensure clear, easily understood information was being provided, Premier Caroline Cochrane said radio, the news media, social media and posters were at the heart of her government's strategy. Minister Shane Thompson, the MLA for Nahendeh, said his office was working with local leadership to answer questions residents may have and share information, both on Facebook and in person. He urged residents to use 8-1-1, the COVID-19 hotline, as a resource. There remain no public exposure advisories related to the three Fort Liard cases. Dr. Kandola said on Sunday there appeared to be no exposure risk in public places along the first patient’s travel route from Hay River, where they had been isolating before returning to Fort Liard. Vaccinations are set to take place in the hamlet on Thursday and Friday this week, a scheduled that remains unchanged. Territorial medical director Dr. AnneMarie Pegg said only inclement weather would stop those vaccination dates going ahead. Anyone isolating in Fort Liard this week must wait for the vaccination team to return. Pegg said her team would try to ensure that happens sooner than currently scheduled so a second opportunity can be provided. Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio
PARIS — France's Michelin Guide, which has long served as a bible for foodies, is adapting its awards ceremony in Paris for the year that was like no other - 2020. It is handing out its stars for the shuttered industry at a virtual ceremony to a virtual public. From the panoramic splendor of the Jules Verne restaurant on the the Eiffel Tower's second floor, judges are giving out this year’s stars for their 2021 France guide — based on reviews of eateries that have for large periods of time been completely closed nationwide. The country famed for its cuisine saw restaurants shut for large parts of last year during what was one of Europe's harshest lockdowns, while strict curfews disrupted the dinner service. Michelin France told the AP that it squeezed its anonymous reviews into a reduced six-month period, from May to October, when restrictions on restaurants were eased. And it called for help from overseas for its secretive inspections, bringing in twice as many foreign inspectors as usual. France had two lockdowns last year, one in spring and the other starting in the fall. The Michelin guide has 28 issues covering 25 countries, though awards in other countries are handed out at different dates. Thomas Adamson, The Associated Press
Timo Werner was the headline signing in Chelsea’s $300 million off-season spending spree, a player whose pace and composure in front of goal would supposedly help transform the team into a Premier League title contender. So how has it got to the point where, four months into his time in London, the Germany international has endured his longest scoring drought in nearly five years, is no closer to finding his best role in the team, and was the third and final striker called upon by manager Frank Lampard in a desperate bid to break the deadlock in Chelsea’s most recent game? Werner’s brief appearance as a substitute in the 1-0 win over Fulham on Saturday was a snapshot into the problems of a player who looks bereft of confidence midway through his first season in English soccer. With Chelsea toiling at 0-0 against opponents down to 10 men at Craven Cottage, Werner was finally sent on as a substitute in the 75th minute. By then, Lampard, who started Olivier Giroud as the sole striker, had already brought on another striker in Tammy Abraham. Werner played like someone with one goal to his name in the last two months for club and country, particularly when he was played through on goal deep in injury time and handed the perfect chance to add a second goal for Chelsea. With only the goalkeeper to beat, Werner opened up his body and sent his finish wide. His body language, after that miss and moments later after the final whistle, spoke of an unhappy player, and he was consoled by Lampard as the teams left the field. “Being hard on himself isn't a problem. I hope he feels my support,” Lampard said. “The only way through a patch where things aren't quite going for you is to train and train, keep your attitude right, stay positive.” That must be hard for Werner. Since Nov. 14, the only goal he has scored in all competitions for Chelsea was a tap-in against fourth-division club Morecambe in a third-round match in the FA Cup. That came on Jan. 10 and ended his longest scoring drought — 13 games — since the end of the 2015-16 season, his final weeks at Stuttgart before he joined Leipzig. In four seasons at Leipzig, he never went more than five games without scoring and netted 35 times for club and country in the 2019-20 campaign, his last at the club. While Werner chiefly operated as a sole striker at Leipzig with the license to drift out wide or to drop into the No. 10 position, he has mostly been used on the left wing since his move to Chelsea for $68 million as Lampard dealt with injury issues to his wide midfielders. He has looked lost out wide in some matches, unable to use his pace against opponents often set up in a deep block against Chelsea. It’s no surprise that Werner’s best display of the season was at home against Southampton, when Werner played as a central striker and made the most of the high line to score two well-taken individual goals and set up another for Kai Havertz, another German who has struggled since his off-season switch to Chelsea. It was presumed Chelsea’s ideal front three this season would be Werner up front, flanked by wingers Hakim Ziyech — another of the new signings — and Christian Pulisic, but Lampard has rarely had that luxury. Even when he did, like in the 3-1 loss to Manchester City this month, it didn’t work out well. Lampard suggested recently that Werner, who has only four goals in the Premier League so far, may not have had as many games as he’d like as the sole striker because he didn’t press enough from the front. “It’s normal for Timo and others who came in the forward areas for us to take some time to get used to what my idea is, what their teammates’ idea is, because we haven’t had working time on the pitch,” Lampard said. Yet Werner said in his introductory media conference in September that he’d had a lot of conversations with Lampard — and been sent videos from the coach — about Chelsea’s style of play, and that he joined with the feeling that “the system he wants to play will fit me very well.” That doesn’t appear to be the case. And, when Chelsea heads to Leicester for a Premier League game on Tuesday, it's not obvious whether Werner will be starting on the left, up front, or if he'll be back on the bench. “When you're a top player, as Timo has shown he is, all eyes are on and it becomes magnified," Lampard said. "But the basics are the same and my job is to tell him that." ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80 Steve Douglas, The Associated Press
City council will discuss Monday extending a program that encourages businesses to expand or set up new operations in three areas of Calgary. By cutting red tape and reducing cost, the city hopes businesses can get moving with their plans quicker. The proposal would see more exemptions from development permits, allowing immediate applications for building permits and doing away with some permit fees. The pilot project would apply to the International Avenue business improvement area in Forest Lawn, the Montgomery business improvement area as well as two commercial streets in Sunalta. While the program would result in benefits for businesses, the city would also need fewer resources for permit processing. That's not a significant benefit as those services are paid for by permit fees. Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he would have some questions about the program but is generally in favour. "We're taking a pilot project that we've used downtown to cut some red tape and encourage investment and development and expanding that to different parts of the city," said Nenshi. "I'm very much in favour of that as a concept." Downtown tried it first A similar project called the City Centre Enterprise Area was rolled out in 2017 as a way to make it easier for businesses to expand or try different concepts in many empty storefront spaces downtown. In 2019, council voted to extend that project until July 2021. The city acknowledges that there is greater commercial interest in the core, more employment uses and in normal times, more people in the vicinity than the three areas now being looked at for the program. However, the city says choosing the three additional areas for a small pilot project allows it to monitor change of use or renovation exemptions closely. Tough times Administration says making it easier for businesses to start up or expand their operations is critical in Calgary's pandemic-ravaged economy. The executive director of the Montgomery on the Bow business improvement area, Marion Hayes, said the city approached her organization to see if there would be interest. She said they jumped at the opportunity as businesses need ways to quickly adapt to the current environment. "If they can bring change to their business without going through a lot of red tape and also a lot of additional cost, it's a great benefit to them," said Hayes. If council approves the proposal, the pilot project in the three areas will be tried for a year and then be reviewed.
Moscow is ready for a quick deal with the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to extend the last remaining arms control pact, which expires in just over two weeks, Russia's top diplomat said Monday. Months of talks between Russia and President Donald Trump's administration on the possible extension of the New START treaty have failed to narrow their differences. The pact is set to expire on Feb. 5. Biden has spoken in favour of the preservation of the New START treaty, which was negotiated during his tenure as U.S. vice-president, and Russia has said it’s open for its quick and unconditional extension Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a news conference Monday that Moscow is ready to move quickly to keep the pact alive. “The most important priority is the absolutely abnormal situation in the sphere of arms control,” Lavrov said. “We have heard about the Biden administration’s intention to resume a dialogue on this issue and try to agree on the New START treaty's extension before it expires on Feb. 5. We are waiting for specific proposals, our stance is well-known and it remains valid." New START envisages the possibility of its extension for another five years, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Moscow is ready to do so without any conditions. The Kremlin also has voiced readiness to prolong the pact for a shorter term as Trump's administration had pondered. The talks on the treaty's extension have been clouded by tensions between Russia and the United States that have been fueled by the Ukrainian crisis, Moscow's meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and other irritants. Sunday's arrest of Putin's leading critic Alexei Navalny in Moscow after his return from Germany where he was recovering from a nerve agent poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin would further cloud Russia-U.S. ties. Joe Biden’s pick for national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, called on Russian authorities to free Navalny. “Mr. Navalny should be immediately released, and the perpetrators of the outrageous attack on his life must be held accountable,” Sullivan said in a tweet. New START was signed in 2010 by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. It limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, and envisages sweeping on-site inspections to verify compliance. Arms control advocates have strongly called for its preservation, warning that its expiration would remove any checks on U.S. and Russian nuclear forces, striking a blow to global stability. Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press
MILAN — Stellantis, the car company combining PSA Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler, was launched Monday on the Milan and Paris stock exchanges, giving life to the fourth-largest auto company in the world. Stellantis shares rallied 7.6% in Milan to 13.53 euros ($16.32). CEO Carlos Tavares said during a virtual bell-ringing ceremony that the merger creates 25 billion euros in shareholder value. “The focus from day one will be on value creation from synergies, which will increase competitiveness vis-a-vis its peers,” Tavares said. Stellantis has a new logo and will launch on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, due to the Monday U.S. bank holiday, followed by a press conference with Tavares. Chairman John Elkann, heir to the Fiat-founding Agnelli family, said that the new company has “the scale, the resources, the diversity and the knowledge to successfully capture the opportunities of this new era in transportation.” The technological shift includes electrified powertrains as well as moves toward greater autonomous driving. The merger is aimed at creating 5 billion euros in annual savings. The new company will have the capacity to produce 8.7 million cars a year, behind Volkswagen, Toyota and Renault-Nissan. Fiat Chrysler, which was created from the merger of the Italian and U.S. car companies in 2014, closed Friday down 4.35% at 12.57 euros, having gained in previous days. Its closing market capitalization was under 20 billion euros, far off its 2018 highs of more than 30 billion euros. Colleen Barry, The Associated Press
GREY-BRUCE – Grey Bruce Public Health will be receiving the first part of its shipment of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine this week, earlier than had been expected. The remainder of the shipment is due to arrive the last week of January. Dr. Ian Arra, medical officer of health, said the vaccine has been earmarked for long-term care – residents, staff and any other essential workers. In Grey-Bruce, what will happen is the vaccine will be administered to long-term care staff in stages, about 10 per cent at a time. Arra explained that this will ensure there will be enough staff to care for residents. The vaccine can lead to symptoms such as fever, which would require a staff member to isolate. This is a somewhat different situation from what’s been happening in cities where the vaccine has been distributed through hospitals. Arra explained that when the vaccine arrives in Grey-Bruce, it will be transported to the long-term care homes. While the news of the earlier shipment is excellent, it also means the test to showcase the hub concept proposed by Arra and staff will have to wait for a later shipment. Arra said receipt of the 1,000-dose shipment is “the first step in the right direction” even though the plan isn’t yet being put to the test. He said there are actually two plans that have been proposed to the province for Grey-Bruce. The first would involve distribution by traditional routes. That’s basically what will happen with this week’s shipment. The second is for mass immunization using the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, which requires storage at very low temperatures. “We asked for the Pfizer vaccine,” said Arra. One reason is others will want the Moderna vaccine, which does not need to be kept extremely cold. And Grey-Bruce is not in a grey or red zone, but yellow. “We are low priority,” he said, adding, “we are a victim of our own success.” The plan would serve as a pilot project for an area that’s a mix of rural and small urban – like most of Ontario. The successful implementation of the plan would be great news for both Grey-Bruce and the rest of the province, since it would free up health care resources to assist in other areas. The project has the support of municipalities, health care, and private industry. Mass immunization with the Pfizer vaccine would utilize the freezers and expertise provided by community partners Chapman’s Ice Cream and Bruce Power. It would be administered at central locations – the health unit in Owen Sound and Davidson Centre in Kincardine. Two other locations are also being looked at, said Arra – the Bayshore in Owen Sound (not the full-scale field hospital located there, which may well be required for use as a hospital) and the P&H Centre in Hanover (not necessarily the ice surface). Arra said the mass immunization would put “the last nail in the coffin of the pandemic.” A task force has been formed regarding vaccine distribution. Mass immunization would require health-care volunteers. Arra said the province is providing support in that regard. According to the province’s plan released before Christmas and now well underway, vaccine will be administered in three phases, beginning with health-care workers at two test sites in Toronto and Ottawa and continuing with residents of long-term care and retirement homes, public health units, other congregate care settings for seniors, and First Nations populations. Phase two would expand to health care workers including EMS, residents in long-term care homes and retirement homes, home care patients with chronic conditions, and additional First Nations communities. Phase three would occur when vaccines are available for every Ontarian who wants to be immunized. Arra said the situation is complex, but would be simplified if there were ample supplies of the vaccine. The initial role of the vaccine is to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. That means vaccination of staff and people at high risk of becoming extremely ill with the virus. Once that is accomplished, the next goal is herd immunity which would require about 75 per cent of the population to be immunized. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
Public Health reported 26 new cases of COVID-19, affecting five zones, on Monday and 304 active cases across the province. The department did not hold a public update, but the new cases break down as follows: Moncton region, Zone 1, seven cases: three people 30-39 three people 40-49 an individual 60-69 Saint John region, Zone 2, nine cases: three people 19 or under two people 20-29 two people 30-39 two people 60-69 Fredericton region, Zone 3, seven cases: two people 19 or under two people 30-39 two people 40-49 an individual 60-69 Edmundston region, Zone 4, two cases: an individual 20-29; and an individual 60-69. Bathurst region, Zone 6, one case: an individual 50-59. All of these people are self-isolating and their cases are under investigation. One person is in hospital, and 174,195 tests have been conducted, including 1,487 since Sunday's report. As of Monday, Public Health has received 11,175 doses of COVID-19 vaccines and administered 7,732 doses, with 3,443 held for the second of two required doses. A total of 1,862 New Brunswickers are fully vaccinated so far. In a news release Monday afternoon, Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, warned that although New Brunswick cannot shut COVID-19 out completely, "we must do everything we can to prevent it from spreading within our province." "We have kept the avalanche of cases out of New Brunswick so far. We must act now to keep this virus from doing even more damage than we are already seeing, especially with transmission now in workplaces." 20 cases linked to Nadeau poultry plant The Nadeau Ferme Avicole slaughterhouse in Saint-François-de-Madawaska has closed its plant until at least Friday because of a COVID-19 outbreak, director Yves Landry said Monday. New Brunswick Chief Medical Officer of Health Jennifer Russell confirmed that at least 20 cases are linked to the abattoir outbreak, according to Radio-Canada. Landry said he is aware of 16 confirmed cases at the plant, and the other four cases are connected to those individuals. Most workers at Nadeau Ferme Avicole come from the Edmundston and Clair region in New Brunswick, with about 25 workers coming from Quebec and two from Maine, Landry said. The plant is minutes from the New Brunswick-Maine border. A first mass screening at the plant was carried out on Friday and another clinic is scheduled for Tuesday, Landry said. The closure will make it possible to carry out a thorough cleaning of the installations and to complete the search for close contacts. Landry said poultry destined for the slaughterhouse in Saint-François-de-Madawaska will be redistributed in other slaughterhouses, including that of Sunnymel in Clair, but also in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario. In December, the two New Brunswick slaughterhouses processed chicken following the closure of a plant in Nova Scotia battling a COVID-19 outbreak. Quebec league postpones regular season games The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League announced the postponement of regular season games on Monday, a decision it says it made after meetings with government and public health officials of the three provinces of the Maritimes Division. "The league will continue its constructive dialogue with the three provinces to resume playing as soon as possible," it said in a news release Monday, adding that an updated schedule would be published by the end of the week. Postponed games for New Brunswick teams are as follows: Halifax at Moncton, Jan. 22, 7 p.m. Acadie-Bathurst at Saint John, Jan. 22, 7 p.m. Acadie-Bathurst at Halifax, Jan. 23, 7 p.m. Moncton at Saint John, Jan. 23, 7 p.m. Tracking active cases by zones The following chart shows the active case rates and total case rates for each of the province's seven zones, based on population numbers provided by the Department of Health and on current case counts. Region Population Active cases Active case rate* Cases to date Rate of cases to date* Moncton 222,694 69 31 239 107.3 Saint John 176,280 62 35.2 200 113.5 Fredericton 183,421 59 32.2 215 117.2 Edmundston 48,254 76 157.5 115 238.3 Campbellton 25,199 30 119.1 176 698.4 Bathurst 78,858 8 10.1 22 27.9 Miramichi 42,121 0 0 6 14.2 *per 100,000 population At-home learning day for Moncton schools on Tuesday Tuesday will be an at-home learning day for students at Edith Cavell, T.E.S.S (Therapeutic Education Support Site) and Caledonia Regional High School students, the Anglophone East School District announced in a tweet Monday evening. Earlier Tuesday, the Anglophone South School District reported a case of COVID-19 at a school in Quispamsis. In an email to parents, superintendent Zoe Watson said a case has been confirmed at Quispamsis Middle School. Watson said the district is working with Public Health to contact students who may have come in contact with the infected individual. She said if parents weren't contacted directly, it is safe to send their children to school. On Thursday, a case was reported at Kennebecasis Valley High School, which is also in Quispamsis. Four other schools in the province confirmed COVID-19 cases over the weekend. This includes two more schools in the Anglophone South School District, Belleisle Elementary School in Springfield and Millidgeville North School in Saint John. Two schools in the Anglophone East School District have also announced confirmed cases: Riverview East School and Caledonia Regional High School in Hillsborough. When will Air Canada service return? It's complicated A former executive says it may be a while before Air Canada service resumes at the Fredericton airport. Last week, the airline announced service to Fredericton would be temporarily suspended starting this week Duncan Dee, former chief operating officer of Air Canada, said Monday that with travel restrictions put in place by the federal government, vaccine delays and several health zones in the province either returning to red or on the cusp of it, flying into New Brunswick isn't an easy sell. "The situation is certainly far from ideal for a return to air service into Fredericton," Dee said on Information Morning Fredericton. Even if the pandemic were to end tomorrow, Dee said, service wouldn't be able to start up again immediately. "Aircraft that have been sitting around and not flying, not being operated for some time, have to undergo maintenance and safety checks before they can return to service and that takes time," he said. As well, he said, pilots who are not flying a minimum number of takeoffs and landings a month have to undergo training to get back to service, and airport staff may have had their security clearances expire while they were off work. "Those have to be renewed," Dee said. Currently, the only airport in the province seeing any Air Canada flights is the Moncton airport. Dee said the airline will probably evaluate a return to Saint John and Fredericton based on how well flights in Moncton do. "If they look at the situation and see that they're able to serve the New Brunswick market through just the one airport in Moncton, then they're going to have to seriously consider whether or not it's worth the expense of opening up service in Saint John and Fredericton again," said Dee. COVID-19 numbers increase over weekend Public Health reported 63 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, including a single-day record of 36 cases on Sunday. Thirty-one cases were recorded in Zone 4, the Edmundston region, with 11 of them linked to an outbreak at Nadeau Poultry in Saint-François de Madawaska. The increase forced the province to move Zone 4 back to the red phase, with Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell warning that more regions could be moved back as well if the record trend doesn't reverse. "We're at the maximum of what we can deal with in the short term," she said at a media briefing on Sunday. As of Sunday, there were 292 active cases in the province with one person in hospital. Saint Johner in China says it's mostly back to normal A Saint Johner living in China says life has basically returned to normal in the world's most populous country and the first to report cases of COVID-19 more than a year ago. "Aside from everybody still wearing masks, which is mostly voluntary at this point," said Samantha Kim Dean, who lives in Chongqing, about 1,100 kilometres northwest of Hong Kong. COVID-19 was first detected in China in late 2019. This eventually led to a national lockdown that lasted months. Things have changed a lot since then, "Everything's open," Dean said. "All the kids are back to school, they've been back for a while. Movie theatres are open. Restaurants are in full swing. So we're pretty much back to normal where I am." That's not to say the virus is gone in China. There have been several smaller outbreaks of COVID-19 recently in the northeast of the country and China's National Health Commission said Friday that 1,001 people were being treated for COVID-19. Part of China's success with tackling the coronavirus may be related to its totalitarian form of government, which can quickly and forcefully react to the disease. "They're pretty quick with cracking down on it," said Dean. "The contact tracing is extremely fast and everybody gets free testing done. So, yeah, they're pretty fast at containing any small breakouts that happen." Dean said the Communist country has higher rates of compliance with government orders but also has a more collective mindset. "Overall, it was this, sort of, you know, 'we're in this together. If we all do what we're supposed to do now, then we'll be free soon,' which is kind of what happens," said Dean. She said if she could give one piece of advice to New Brunswickers it would be to wear masks. "I know it's a huge nuisance and some people don't think it works," Dean said. "And there's a bunch of debates within, you know, different communities online and things like that. But it seems to work. And if we find out in 10 years that it didn't work, then, you know, that's not a huge inconvenience to wear it." New public exposure warnings issued Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on the following flights: Dec. 31 – Air Canada Flight 8910 from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 11:23 a.m. Jan. 3 – Air Canada Flight 8910 from Toronto to Moncton, arrived at 11:23 a.m. Public Health has also issued the following potential COVID-19 exposure warnings: Moncton region: Moncton North After Hours Medical Clinic, 1633 Mountain Rd., on Jan. 14 from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. Edmundston region: Jean Coutu Kim Levesque-Cote Pharmacy, 276 Broadway Blvd., Grand Falls, on Jan. 7 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Parts for Trucks,21 Powers Rd., Grand Falls, on Jan. 11, 12 and 14 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: A fever above 38 C. A new cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.
NASHVILLE — As their state faced one of its toughest months of the pandemic, Tennesseans watched Gov. Bill Lee’s rare primetime address to see whether new public restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus might be coming. It was late December, and the state’s hospitals were bursting at the seams with virus patients. Spiraling caseloads placed Tennessee among the worst states in the nation per capita, medical experts were warning that the health care system could not survive another coronavirus spike, and Lee had been affected personally -- his wife had the virus and the governor himself was in quarantine. If ever there was a juncture to change course, the speech seemed like the time and place. But as he stood before the camera, the businessman-turned-politician declined to implement recommendations from the experts, instead announcing a soft limit on public gatherings while stressing once again that stopping the spread of COVID-19 was a matter of personal responsibility. Lee’s decision to stick to his approach has dismayed critics who say the state's situation would not be so dire if he had placed more faith in the government’s role in keeping people safe -- criticism he pushes back against as he keeps businesses open. The first term governor’s response has largely been in step with Republican governors in other states, including Arizona, Arkansas, Oklahoma, which along with Tennessee have ranked among the worst in the country as case numbers, deaths and hospitalizations increase while the governors rebuff calls for new restrictions. As of Friday, Johns Hopkins University researchers reported 1,236 new confirmed cases per 100,000 people in Tennessee over the past two weeks, which ranks eighth in the country. One in every 187 people in Tennessee tested positive in the past week. “We don’t have to be here. We don’t have to continue this trend. We can do something about it,” Dr. Diana Sepehri-Harvey, a Franklin primary care physician told reporters in a video conference Tuesday. Lee, whose office declined a request for an interview for this article, has rejected claims he hasn’t done enough, countering that he aggressively pushed for more expansive COVID-19 testing throughout the state during the early stages of the pandemic and arguing that sweeping mask requirements have become too political to become effective. He says decisions about masks are best left to local jurisdictions, some of which have imposed them in Tennessee, particularly in more populated areas. According to the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, about 69% of Tennesseans — but fewer than 30 of 95 counties — are under a face mask requirement. Those researchers found that counties that don’t require wearing masks in public are averaging COVID-19 death rates double or more compared with those that instituted mandates. Dr. Donna Perlin, a Nashville-based pediatric emergency medicine physician, sees mask-wearing and other precautions as basic government safety measures. “Just as we have requirements to stop at red lights, or for children to wear seatbelts, or bans on smoking at schools, so too must we require masks, because the refusal to wear masks is endangering our children and their families,” she wrote in a recent editorial. Despite the criticism, Lee hasn’t wavered from his vow never to close down restaurants, bars and retail stores after Tennessee became one of the first states in the country to lift businesses restrictions last year. He also has long advocated for schools to continue in-person learning and has sent school districts protective equipment for teachers and staffers. The governor is quick to point out the state’s swift COVID-19 vaccine rollout, praising Tennessee for being among the country’s leaders in distributing the immunizations. “In addition to creating a strong infrastructure for distribution, we’re currently one of the top states in the nation for total doses administered, vaccinating more than 150,000 Tennesseans in just two weeks,” Lee said in a statement earlier this month, omitting that the state’s initial goal to vaccinate 200,000 residents got delayed because of shipping issues. The CDC reports that 3.7% of Tennessee’s population has been vaccinated, with more than 251,000 shots administered to date — making it among the top 10 states for administration rates. But community leaders and Democratic lawmakers have tried in vain to appeal to the governor in their campaign for a mask mandate and other public health regulations. “What we are doing now is NOT working!” Democratic state Sen. Raumesh Akbari tweeted. “We need a mask mandate, increased testing and contact tracing, and need to consider some business closures. Our hospitals are at the brink! We must act to save lives!” Some have even appealed to Lee's Christian faith, which he regularly touted on the campaign trail and references while governing. “Wearing a mask is loving your neighbour, and taking care of yourself as a Temple of the Holy Spirit,” the Rev. Jo Ann Barker recently wrote to Lee, speaking for the nonpartisan Southern Christian Coalition. “A statewide mask mandate is caring for the community God gives you to care for. If that isn’t important to you, Governor Lee, then what is?” ___ Associated Press writers Jonathan Mattise and Travis Loller contributed to this report. ___ Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak. Kimberlee Kruesi, The Associated Press
Calgary, Regina, Houston – One of the first acts of Donald Trump as president of the United States was to invite TransCanada, now TC Energy, to resubmit its Keystone XL pipeline application, and to then approve it. Now, it is looking like one of the first acts of President-elect Joe Biden, after his inauguration, may be to kill it, and revoke the Presidential Permit for the pipeline to cross the international border. Numerous media stories the evening of Jan. 17, including CBC, Reuters and CTV, reported that Biden may cancel the Presidential Permit as early as his first day in office. Biden will be inaugurated on Jan. 20. The 830,0000 barrel per day pipeline is supposed to run from Hardisty, Alberta, past Shaunavon, to Steele City, Nebraska, eventually connecting to oil hub of Cushing, Oklahoma. The southern portion of the pipeline, which runs from Cushing to the U.S. Gulf Coast, was completed under the Obama administration. Up to 15 per cent of the pipeline’s capacity had been designated for North Dakota oil production. Current maps don’t show the lateral pipeline to North Dakota, but the specs for a recently completed Canadian pumping station list it at 700,000 barrels per day capacity, which would leave room for that American oil to be added downstream. Ironically, the most contentious portion of the pipeline – the international crossing which required a Presidential Permit, was one of the first things completed when construction got underway in 2020. That 2.2 kilometre long-section of pipeline crossed the border in May, 2020, in the RM of Val Marie, southeast of Shaunavon. Usually the border crossing is the ceremonial last weld, not the first, on such pipelines. The reason the pipeline was not completed within the four years of the Trump administration was due to multiple court delays, several from one particular judge in Montana. In one of those rulings in November, 2018, U.S. Federal Court Judge Brian Morris said the greenhouse gas emissions of the Enbridge Alberta Clipper pipeline, which ran on a different route and was owned and operated by a completely different company, should have been considered in the Keystone XL evaluation. But he did not mention anything about the recently completed and operational Dakota Access Pipeline, which handles North Dakota oil. As a result, the Keystone XL pipeline, which had been cancelled by the Barrack Obama/Joe Biden administration in 2015, is not anywhere near completion. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney bet heavily on the project – figuratively and literally, with Alberta investing $1.5 billion into it to get construction going in 2020. The announcement at the time noted, “This investment includes $1.5 billion in equity investment in 2020, followed by a $6 billion loan guarantee in 2021.” Construction work has already taken place within Alberta, including 145 kilometres of pipe already put in the ground, and the recent completion of the Bindloss Pump Station. Construction was supposed to get going through southwest Saskatchewan this year to the American border. Kenney posted on Facebook the evening of Jan. 17, “I am deeply concerned by reports that the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden may repeal the Presidential permit for the Keystone XL border crossing next week. “Doing so would kill jobs on both sides of the border, weaken the critically important Canada-US relationship, and undermine US national security by making the United States more dependent on OPEC oil imports in the future. “In 2019, the United States imported 9.14 million barrels per day of petroleum, 3.7 million of which came from Canada. The rest comes from countries, like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, none of whom share the commitment of Canada and the United States to environmental stewardship, combatting climate change, or North American energy security. “As President-elect Biden’s green jobs plan acknowledges, Americans will consume millions of barrels of oil per day for years to come. It is in perfect keeping with his plan that the United States energy needs should be met by a country that takes the challenges of climate change seriously. “The Keystone XL pipeline also represents tens of thousands of good paying jobs that the American economy needs right now. That is why major American labour unions who supported President-elect Biden’s campaign strongly back the project, as do First Nations who have signed partnership agreements, and all state governments along the pipeline route. “As the Government of Canada has said, building Keystone XL is ‘top of the agenda’ with the incoming Biden administration. Prime Minister Trudeau raised the issue with President-elect Biden on their November 9, 2020 telephone meeting, agreeing “to engage on key issues, including … energy cooperation such as Keystone XL. “We renew our call on the incoming administration to show respect for Canada as the United States’ most important trading partner and strategic ally by keeping that commitment to engage, and to allow Canada to make the case for strengthening cooperation on energy, the environment, and the economy through this project. “Should the incoming US Administration abrogate the Keystone XL permit, Alberta will work with TC Energy to use all legal avenues available to protect its interest in the project.” Premier Scott Moe posted on Facebook the evening of Jan. 17, “It’s very disappointing to hear reports that President-elect Biden is planning to shut down the Keystone Pipeline expansion on his first day in office. “Construction of this project should be a top priority for Canadian-U.S. economic relations. It is critical to North American energy security, will have a tremendous employment impact north and south of the border and has garnered significant indigenous support. Environmentally, Keystone will reach net-zero emissions when it first turns on, and will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030. “While I am urging the prime minister to leverage his relationship with Mr. Biden, Saskatchewan will continue exercising our contacts in Washington D.C. to advocate for the continuation of this project that clearly benefits both of our nations.” TC Energy responds with green announcement In an 11th hour move, TC Energy put out a press release from Houston on a Sunday evening, stating on Jan. 17, “Keystone XL commits to become the first pipeline to be fully powered by renewable energy.” “The company will achieve net zero emissions across the project operations when it is placed into service in 2023 and has committed the operations will be fully powered by renewable energy sources no later than 2030. This announcement comes after an extensive period of study and analysis, and as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to sustainability, thoughtfully finding innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while providing communities with reliable energy needed today. “Since it was initially proposed more than 10 years ago, the Keystone XL project has evolved with the needs of North America, our communities and the environment,” said Richard Prior, president of Keystone XL. “We are confident that Keystone XL is not only the safest and most reliable method to transport oil to markets, but the initiatives announced today also ensures it will have the lowest environmental impact of an oil pipeline in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Canada and the United States are among the most environmentally responsible countries in the world with some of the strictest standards for fossil fuel production.” The release added, “As part of its continued commitment to working with union labor in the U.S. and Canada, Keystone XL has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) to work together on the construction of TC Energy owned or sourced renewable energy projects.” Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury