COLUMBIA, S.C. — On the heels of his record-breaking but unsuccessful bid to oust U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina's Jaime Harrison on Tuesday launched a political action committee, utilizing his newly minted status as a fundraising powerhouse to try to provide a sustained boost to other Democrats that he hopes can help flip more areas from red to blue.Dirt Road PAC will focus on long term investments in state-level Democratic candidates and parties like intensive voter registration efforts in areas that have been seen by Democrats as harder to win, Harrison told The Associated Press ahead of the official launch.“The days of just swooping in every few years and putting up a candidate, having no grassroots infrastructure and thinking that we’re going to win - that’s just not working,” Harrison told the AP on Monday. “I’m going to focus on investing and doing it in a much deeper manner, and going into areas where people have just been forgotten, or been given up on.”First up, Harrison said, is fundraising for Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, Georgia Democrats running in the pair of U.S. Senate runoffs that could shift the balance of the chamber, and for whom he has already directly raised nearly half a million dollars. After that, Harrison said he will focus on Virginia's 2021 elections, before turning to the 2022 midterms.“Rome wasn’t built overnight,” Harrison told AP. “You’ve got to have long term and sustainable investment for it to pay dividends.”The committee derives its name from a viral campaign video in which Harrison described an encounter with a South Carolina voter living on a dirt road who told the candidate that he'd be staying out of politics entirely “until either a Democrat or a Republican paves my road," something Harrison said was symbolic of “the hardship that so many of us are suffering with across this state.”Harrison, 44, raised a staggering $130 million in his campaign against Graham, becoming the first U.S. Senate hopeful in the country to cross the $100 million threshold. Throughout the race, Harrison repeatedly broke records in a year where several Senate races across the country reached into the hundreds of millions. In that effort, Harrison developed a national profile, amassing a stout list of cellphone numbers and email addresses he repeatedly tapped to compile small-dollar donations.The one thing Harrison can’t do at the moment is contribute much of his own campaign money to his committee, transfers that would be allowed if he had spare cash on hand. Spending tens of millions on advertising, infrastructure and grassroots, there was little leftover in his coffers, and much of what remained has been pledged to fund healthcare for campaign staff through the end of this year.Over the course of his campaign, Harrison also directed $15 million to the infrastructure of the South Carolina Democratic Party.Despite his loss, theories abound over Harrison's next steps, including a potential run for Democratic National Committee chairman, a post through which he would officially helm the party's efforts through the 2022 midterm elections, as well as the 2024 presidential cycle.Harrison — an associate DNC chairman and former lobbyist who also once led South Carolina’s Democratic Party — sought the top position before, ultimately backing out to support current chairman Tom Perez. Party leaders technically meet to select the next chairman, although that process could be expedited if President-elect Joe Biden weighs in with his pick.Saying his immediate concern is boosting other Democrats through his political action committee, Harrison also made the argument that his resumé uniquely qualifies him to lead the national party officially, noting state and national-level party experience, work on Capitol Hill and as a candidate, as well as existing relationships with both Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris.“I don’t think there are very many folks that you could find who have probably done all of those things and can step up into the DNC wearing those many hats, and understand the route that we need to take to rebuild our party,” Harrison told AP. “If the president-elect asked me, I would be happy to serve, to build back, better.”___Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.___Find AP’s full election coverage at APNews.com/Election2020.Meg Kinnard, The Associated Press
The parents of a 19-year-old Briton killed in a road accident in 2019 lost their court battle with the British government on Tuesday over whether the wife of U.S. official involved in the crash had diplomatic immunity from criminal prosecution. Harry Dunn's family have said Anne Sacoolas was driving on the wrong side of the road when she crashed with the teenager, who was riding a motor-bike, near an air force base in central England which is used by the U.S. military. Dunn's parents Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn challenged British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and the Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police in London's High Court over the determination that Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity at the time of his death.
After a two-week controversy that sparked a petition, protest and several arrests in connection with threats against local elected officials, the city of Longueuil is ditching its plan to capture and put down 15 deer.Mayor Sylvie Parent says the city will work with the province's forestry, fauna and parks ministry to find a safe location for the animals.In a written statement issued Monday night, Parent said the city had no choice but to scrap the plan, despite having gotten the approval from the province's experts and "a large consensus within the scientific community", "The threat posed today by certain people in order to harm, or even thwart the implementation of the deer population's cull in Michel-Chartrand park forces us to consider another option."The city had originally said euthanizing the 15 deer — about half of the park's population — was necessary to preserve vegetation in the area.In the last week, Longueuil police have arrested three men in connection with threats allegedly issued against the city's mayor. According to police, none of the men live in the Longueuil area.Parent hopes to have the deer moved within weeks, pending instructions from the ministry on where and how to undertake the relocation.Earlier this month, Anaïs Gasse, a biologist with the province's forestry, fauna and parks ministry claimed many of the deer would die within days if relocated, due to how difficult it would be to adapt to new surroundings.
In Pennsylvania, if you’re having friends over to socialize, you’re supposed to wear a mask — and so are your friends. That’s the rule, but Barb Chestnut has no intention of following it.“No one is going to tell me what I can or not do in my own home,” said Chestnut, 60, of Shippensburg. “They do not pay my bills and they are not going to tell me what to do.”As governors and mayors grapple with an out-of-control pandemic, they are ratcheting up mask mandates and imposing restrictions on small indoor gatherings, which have been blamed for accelerating the spread of the coronavirus. But while such measures carry the weight of law, they are, in practical terms, unenforceable, and officials are banking on voluntary compliance instead.Good luck with that.While many are undoubtedly heeding public health advice — downsizing Thanksgiving plans, avoiding get-togethers, wearing masks when they’re around people who don't live with them — it's inevitable that a segment of the population will blow off new state and local restrictions and socialize anyway. Experts say that could put greater stress on overburdened hospitals and lead to an even bigger spike in sickness and death over the holidays.“When this started in early March, we weren’t staring at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we didn’t have the disease reservoir that we have. And that, to me, is the biggest concern in the next few weeks,” said Dr. David Rubin, the director of PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He called the risk of a Thanksgiving spike “extremely high.”“I think you’re seeing a lot of resistance here," Rubin said. "I can’t speculate on what people are going to do, but I can say that to the degree that there isn’t a collective buy-in here, it sort of blunts the impact of the measures themselves.”The nation is averaging 172,000 new virus cases per day, nearly doubling since the end of October, according to Johns Hopkins University. Hospitalizations, deaths and the testing positivity rate are also up sharply as the nation approaches Thanksgiving.In response, elected officials are imposing restrictions that, with some exceptions, fall short of the broad-based stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns seen in the spring.Utah and Vermont have banned all social gatherings. So have local governments in Philadelphia and Dane County, Wisconsin. In Kentucky, no more than eight people from two households are permitted to get together; in Oregon, the gathering limit is six. California has imposed an overnight curfew. More states are requiring masks, including those with GOP governors who have long resisted them. The nation’s top health officials are pleading with Americans to avoid Thanksgiving travel.There’s some evidence the holiday will be quieter.Tamika Hickson, who co-owns a party rental business in Philadelphia, said Thanksgiving was a bust even before her city moved to prohibit indoor gatherings of any size."Nobody’s calling," Hickson said. "A lot of people lost a lot of loved ones, so they’re not playing with this. And I don’t blame them.”AAA projects Thanksgiving travel will fall by at least 10%, which would be the steepest one-year plunge since the Great Recession in 2008. But that still means tens of millions of people on the road. On social media, people defiantly talk about their Thanksgiving plans, arguing that nothing will stop them from seeing friends and family.More than 1 million people thronged U.S. airports on Sunday, according to the Transportation Security Administration — the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic.Dr. Debra Bogen, the health director for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, which includes Pittsburgh, said that too many have been ignoring public health guidance and that the result has been unchecked spread of the virus.“For the past few weeks, I’ve asked people to follow the rules, curtail gatherings and parties, stay home except for essentials, and wear masks. I’m done asking,” Bogen said at a news conference, her frustration palpable. She announced a stay-at-home advisory that she said would turn into an order if people didn’t comply.Some people are underestimating the risk to themselves and their friends and families, said Baruch Fischhoff, a Carnegie Mellon University psychologist who has written about COVID-19 risk analysis and communications. Others doubt what health officials are telling them about the virus. And still others are simply irresponsible.Fischhoff said the lack of a cohesive national pandemic strategy; patchwork and seemingly arbitrary restrictions at the state and local level; and ineffective, politicized and contradictory public health messaging have sown confusion and mistrust.“It has been a colossal, tragic failure of leadership from the very beginning that we didn’t find the common ground in which we were working to protect the weakest among us. And once you’ve lost that co-ordination, you’re scrambling to get it back and that’s the tragic mess that we’re in now,” he said.In York County, Pennsylvania, 51-year-old retail worker Kori Jess tested positive for the virus last week. Long a mask skeptic, her personal experience with COVID-19 has changed her opinion — to a point. She said it’s appropriate to wear a mask when circumstances warrant, but she still doesn’t like the idea of government mandating them.“I’m so torn,” Jess said. “I like that people are fighting for their freedoms, but I understand why people are wearing masks.”In upstate New York, some sheriffs say they have no intention of enforcing Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent mandate barring private gatherings of more than 10 people.“There is no need to hide cars and sneak around during your attempt to gather with family. We are not going to exhaust our limited resources obtaining search warrants and counting the turkey eaters in your house,” Madison County Sheriff Todd Hood said in a Facebook post. He encouraged people in the largely rural area to use common sense to keep themselves safe.Kim Collins is among those planning a slimmed-down Thanksgiving. In a typical year, Collins would have as many as 20 people at her home in South Orange, New Jersey. This year, her extended family is staying put. “My husband’s having a hard time with the fact that his mom, who’s on her own, won’t be here,” she said.But Collins wasn’t optimistic that others would be so careful. She said plenty of people are going through “mental gymnastics” to justify their holiday get-togethers. “I think that a lot of people aren’t great at the honour system,” she said. ___Associated Press reporters Deepti Hajela in New York City and Michael Hill in Albany, New York, contributed to this story.Michael Rubinkam, The Associated Press
A public meeting about the Ottawa police budget Monday was overtaken by criticism of the weekend arrest of protesters calling for justice for Black, Indigenous and racialized communities in Ottawa.Almost 100 people signed up to speak to the Ottawa Police Services Board about the 2021 police budget.Nearly all of the registered speakers called for the police budget to be frozen and for the proposed $13.2 million increase for the upcoming year to be reallocated to social services.Several people, some who were at this weekend's protest encampment at Laurier Avenue and Nicholas Street, condemned the early morning arrests of demonstrators — even accusing police Chief Peter Sloly of deception when he described the early morning arrests as having involved ample warning and no injuries.Twelve people were charged with mischief.Ifrah Yusuf, co-chair of the Justice for Abdirahman coalition, said the space created by protesters calling for an end to systemic racism was "destroyed" by police after protesters were told they would not be arrested."They have caused deep harm, trauma and have set the relationship back many years in the space of one night by way of a reckless and violent decision," she said. WATCH | Early-morning police raid timed with safety in mind, chief says:Robin Browne, co-founder of 613-819 Black Hub, said the disruption of the protest after an agreement to meet with city officials was one factor that led the group to reconsider its conditional endorsement of the 2021 budget."That the police went ahead and removed the protesters just hours before the meeting is an act of bad faith," Browne said."Charging 12 protesters with mischief contradicts the [police service's] frequent claim that they want to 'improve community relations' as it seems more like an intimidation tactic."Browne said the group is also concerned with the slow pace of other priorities such as improving the police's mental health response and hiring of racialized officers.Handling of ceremonial objectsThere was particular anger over the treatment of sacred medicines and ceremonial objects belonging to Indigenous participants in the protest.Victoria Marchand, an Anishinaabe from Kitigan Zibi who participated in the protest, said protesters were given just 10 minutes of warning before arrests began."Not only did we just wake up but we had tents, drums, medicines, and what happened to those? There were no warnings. The care the board talks about for our confiscated ceremonial objects is a complete and utter lie," Marchand said.She said the ceremonial objects and medicines had to be recovered from a municipal yard on Hurdman Road, some left under a tarp.Sloly acknowledged Monday that "mistakes were made" in the handling of those objects, though in his opening remarks he said efforts were made to reach Indigenous organizations for advice on the proper handling of ceremonial objects.He said the police need to improve how they handle similar situations.Vote planned TuesdayThe meeting lasted about eight hours, with several tense exchanges.Coun. Diane Deans, the board's chair, cut some public delegations short when she said they were veering away from the budget or included possible criminal allegations that police could not answer during a city meeting.This led to pushback from several speakers who accused Deans of censorship and denying the experience of people who experienced alleged wrongdoing at the hands of police. The meeting concluded with a recess and will reconvene for a vote Tuesday. Some board members, including Deans, have said they will support the proposed budget.
The mix, developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, is to be given to people who have the infection and are at high risk. View on euronews
When Canadian trade negotiators begin talks with the United Kingdom next year on a permanent bilateral trade deal, their hands could be tied when it comes to offering any future dairy, egg or poultry concessions — if Parliament passes a new private member's bill that saw its first hour of debate on Tuesday.Bloc Québécois MP Louis Plamondon's legislation, Bill C-216, would amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act to state that the minister "must not make any commitment ... by future trade treaty or agreement" that would increase the tariff rate quota (TRQ) applicable to dairy products, poultry or eggs, or reduce the tariff applicable to those goods when they are imported in excess of that quota.Canada protects its agriculture supply management system for these commodities by carefully controlling access to its domestic market. Only small quantities of imports are allowed under strict international quotas — TRQs — with high tariffs keeping any extra imports above and beyond these quotas from being cost-competitive.But the three major trade deals implemented by the Liberal government over the last four years — the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union, the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with 10 other Pacific Rim markets and, most recently, the revised North American Free Trade Agreement (the new NAFTA) — all offered new access to Canada's domestic market, among other concessions required to land these deals."Something very important for milk and egg and poultry production is given away as a token and nothing comes back for those producers, so we say in the law that this should not happen anymore," Bloc Leader Yves-François Blanchet told CBC News last week."[The Liberal government says,] 'Oh, we will will compensate you. And you know what? They don't."No word on NAFTA compensationA few weeks before the 2019 general election, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced compensation for dairy farmers to cover their anticipated losses from CETA and CPTPP, which were already both in effect at the time. That financial assistance rolled out last winter.Help has also been pledged to compensate for the even larger concessions in the new NAFTA but nothing further has been announced. American farmers got access to a greater share of Canada's starting July 1 — and the new NAFTA also dictates how dairy ingredients can be priced and slapped strict export limits on sensitive global commodities like skim milk powder and baby formula.Blanchet slammed Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland for taking so long to present her fall economic update and said her spending plan must include the NAFTA compensation farmers anxiously anticipate."This money is owed, is expected [and] is terribly late," he said.Freeland announced Monday that she'll present her update on Nov. 30.Bill could block British demandsIf Plamondon's legislation garners enough support to pass in this Parliament before the next election, the first trade negotiation it could affect is talks between Canada and the United Kingdom to reach a permanent, comprehensive deal to liberalize their bilateral trade post-Brexit.On Saturday, prime ministers and trade ministers from both sides announced they'd reached agreement on a transitional deal to offer continuity for businesses by continuing most of the terms of the CETA past Jan.1, when it was otherwise set to expire because the U.K. is no longer an EU member.The government won't release details of exactly what's in that transitional agreement until the legal text is ready, which usually takes another two to four weeks. But Doug Forsyth, Canada's lead negotiator in the talks, confirmed previously that the British were seeking additional tariff-free access to Canada's cheese market."I want to be very clear that there is no new market access for cheese here in this transition agreement," International Trade Minister Mary Ng told CBC News at Saturday's announcement.But yesterday at the Commons trade committee, Ng's parliamentary secretary, Rachel Bendayan, said that language in the transitional deal commits both sides to returning to the table to reach what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called a "bespoke" bilateral deal by 2024.That means the British could make another play to get more U.K. cheeses into Canada."By 2024, Canada will have transferred 18 per cent of its domestic dairy production to dairy farmers in other countries ... that will displace our domestic products on the grocery shelves," said Pierre Lampron, the president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, in a statement sent to CBC News last weekend. "Another concession as part of a trade agreement with the U.K. would have been dramatic for the industry."Officials had told us there would be no further concessions, and they followed through, but we must remain vigilant as this is a provisional agreement."Vote unclearBased on remarks made during Tuesday's first hour of debate, it appears Conservative MPs may not support this bill, but a party spokesperson has yet to comment on it or confirm how the Official Opposition will vote.In an email to CBC News, party spokesperson Melanie Richer said New Democrats agree with the Bloc that compensation has been slow to roll out, adding that "the Liberals added insult to injury by bringing CUSMA into effect several weeks earlier than promised, robbing Canadian dairy farmers of a full year to prepare for the change in their local markets.""New Democrats have consistently decried the damage done to Canada's dairy sector in successive trade deals and we have said we would not do the same," Richer said. "This bill would add legal force to that position."Youmy Han, a spokesperson for Trade Minister Ng, said the government is still studying the bill and would not say how Liberal MPs might vote."We have been clear: our government will not grant any further market access in our supply-managed sectors in any future trade negotiation," Han said.MPs will vote on the bill at second reading after its second hour of debate, expected later this winter.
As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the province, the Alberta government is expected to introduce further measures to slow the spread of the disease.A meeting of the priorities implementation cabinet committee was scheduled for Monday afternoon to discuss options, according to the premier's office. The committee normally includes Premier Jason Kenney and the ministers of environment, finance, energy, innovation, health, justice, and children's services.Monday's meeting also included the ministers of municipal affairs, labour, and education.Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, cut her COVID-19 update short on Monday to attend the meeting but said little about what could be in store for Albertans."My role, again, is simply to provide recommendations," she told reporters.Speaking outside the legislative assembly, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said the cabinet would look to Hinshaw's advice for direction."I can say this, that we are taking these rising numbers very seriously," he said.COVID-19 cases have continued to rise rapidly, with new daily cases passing the 1,500 threshold for the past two days. As of Monday, Alberta had 13,166 active cases. more than any other province in Canada.The Official Opposition has hounded the government in recent weeks to introduce further measures.On Nov. 12, the government introduced measures in major population centres that require bars and licensed restaurants to stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m. and to close an hour later. It also prohibited group fitness programs.Businesses would struggle through shutdownBusinesses are bracing for new restrictions. When Pigs Fly has sold gifts and trinkets from its storefront on Edmonton's Whyte Avenue for more than 25 years.Decorations are already up at the store in preparation for the Christmas season. Manager Tara Chekowski said the next few weeks are crucial for revenue to carry through the slower months of January through March."This is our time of the year that we need to be open and we need to be selling items," she said.With the possibility of new restrictions, Chekowski said the business is at least better prepared than it was at the beginning of the pandemic last spring. She intends to enter more items into the online store and hopes curbside pickup and delivery will be allowed."Unfortunately, if there is a shutdown we're going to have to take that in stride," she said.Kyle Murray, vice dean of the University of Alberta's Alberta School of Business, said many retailers are already struggling to find a way forward through the pandemic."If we can shut down for a short period of time, and as a result of that save lives … that's a good outcome," he said. "And I think most businesses are OK with that."But long-term shutdowns spurred by an increasingly dire pandemic could make things much worse, Murray warned."Any kind of shutdown is difficult. There's no easy decision here."Alberta announced on Monday it would open applications for a second round of its Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant. The payment will be available to businesses in areas on the provincial watch list that have health restrictions.Community spread in schoolsA report from the Edmonton Public School Board on the impact of COVID-19 on the first quarter showed 10,500 students and 1,075 staff were recommended or required to self-isolate. Cases were found in 111 of the division's 215 schools."It's clear the same COVID numbers that are happening in the community are happening in our schools," said trustee Michael Janz, who requested the report in October. He said staff are doing everything they can to prevent the spread of the virus within schools.Janz was critical of the government's communication about its future plans."We need as much notice as possible for whatever they are deciding," he said. "And it's not fair to 100,000 students, staff and families in Edmonton public schools to make them wait. "Tell us now. Get us the information as soon as possible."Colin Aitchison, press secretary for Education Minister Adrianna LaGrange, said in an emailed statement that the ministry was following Hinshaw's advice and was ready to make changes based on that advice."We are in regular contact with education partners, including school boards across Alberta, to deal with the challenges that arise during learning in a COVID-19 environment," he said.Hinshaw said Monday there were active alerts or outbreaks in 304 Alberta schools — about 13 per cent of the total."I am confident that because of the diligence of our schools, parents, guardians and students, the number of cases in schools will remain stable," she said.
Juliet Orazietti of Linc Farm in Niagara-on-the-Lake never intended to be a farmer, but standing on 75 acres of land, home to a flock of 150 sheep, around 120 pigs and 16 cows, she’s definitely finding her way. Having spent time during her childhood in British Columbia on her grandparent’s ranch around cattle and horses, Orazietti thought she wanted to be a vet. While earning a degree in applied animal biology, she worked a summer job at Southbrook Vineyards, trying to get 12 sheep to co-operate with a plan to graze cover crops and thin leaves in the vineyard. Though the effort didn’t work (the sheep had other interests), she came to realize that what she really wanted was to work with animals every day. “I fell in love with them,” she said of the sheep. But without a farm to inherit and looking at astronomical land costs, coupled with unwilling banks, Orazietti didn’t think she’d ever be able to run her own farm. Fast forward through an animal breeding and genetics master’s program in Vienna – where she met Martin Weber, now her husband – to the pair accepting an offer to return back to Niagara in 2015 and raise livestock on land owned by, and lying behind, Southbrook. “It’s a great time to be a woman in farming,” Orazietti said, taking a break from moving sheep fencing. While she admits there’s sexism ingrained into farming, she doesn’t believe it’s intentional. Tractors aren’t built to accommodate shorter statures, for example. “Every tractor we own is a bit awkward,” she said of the size. “So my husband does most of the tractor driving.” Good women’s work clothing is hard to come by, and she finds that on a rare occasion, a business transaction might go easier if her husband gets involved. “Which is a bit frustrating,” she said. Overall, though, Orazietti doesn’t believe women are facing any insurmountable hurdles in farming. “I get a lot of ‘sweethearts’ and ‘honeys’ from men who are not my sweethearts,” she said. “I think it also takes a tougher person to be a farmer, and maybe it’s just more water off our backs?” Orazietti finds women tend to be more open-minded, bringing different ideas to the table and coming into farming on their own terms. And at a time when buying local is on everyone’s mind, Orazietti says it’s important for farmers to communicate with the people they feed. “There’s a lot of mistrust out there and a lot of divisiveness,” she said, adding that women seem to be particularly good at communicating and bringing people together. “It takes time to break stereotypes where farming is for men – I think we’re breaking those walls,” she said. Jordan Snobelen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara this Week
Despite a drop in the number of farms across Canada, female representation among farmers has actually increased, according to data collected in the 2016 Census of Agriculture by Statistics Canada. In fact, female representation in agriculture has been on the rise since the First World War. When facing an agricultural labour shortage, the Ontario government initiated the Farm Service Corps and recruited women to replace the ranks of men who were shipped off to war. In 1918, 2,400 "Farmerettes" (as the women were known) harvested fruit in Niagara. In 1996, women represented 25.3 per cent of Canadian farmers. Two decades later, in 2016, that percentage rose to sit at 28.7, accounting for 77,830 farmers. However, numbers tell of a more dismal story once you zoom into Niagara Region where the representation of female farmers has actually been falling dramatically since 2006. Back then, there were 1,035 female farm operators to just 795 a decade later — a decrease of 23.19 per cent. In the face of increasing female representation across Canada yet decreasing female representation on a local scale, Niagara This Week is profiling three Niagara women in agriculture in its three-part WomenInAg series that launches Nov. 23 and runs over three consecutive days. The WomenInAg series addresses both the challenges and successes of women getting their hands dirty with cultivation, raising livestock and turning grapes into wine — all from the female perspective. On Monday, you'll get to read about Britney Condotta of Cultivate Niagara, who found her way into agriculture by wanting to grow the food for a restaurant she originally started at Honsberger Estate Winery in Jordan Station. Then, on Tuesday, Juliet Orazietti of Linc Farm takes you into the pasture in Niagara-on-the-Lake while she navigates the challenges of breaking into farming as a young woman without land of her own — yet. Finally, on Wednesday, Sue-Ann Staff of Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery in Jordan talks about being a businesswomen and the hard work it requires to be successful in the wine industry. At the beginning of this year, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) surveyed its members and found that 67 per cent of female farmers reported having been disrespected because of their gender, whereas only two per cent of male farmers indicated the same. Peggy Brekveld, an OFA vice-president and an advocate for women in agriculture, says even in modern times, there are still gender barriers such as those facing women with dual roles of family caretaker and farmer. “I think the fact that we are talking about it means that people are noticing, and that makes a difference,” she said. Getting women into agriculture, she says, is a case of presenting role models and encouraging agriculture as a way of life with plenty of opportunities. “I think a lot of it though comes down to having examples of women who are farming,” she said.Jordan Snobelen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara this Week
Despite growing up around agriculture, nobody ever told Britney Condotta that she could grow up to be a farmer herself. “For a very long period of time, in the farming community, it was the son of the farmer that would take over the farm and farming practices,” Condotta recently said while bending dried willow into a future Christmas wreath. There wasn't the mentality, says Condotta, to justify agriculture being the sort of business a woman could get into. Now, at 32 years old, she farms a bountiful garden full-time under the name of Cultivate Niagara at her parent’s winery, Honsberger Estate. There she produces herbs, greens, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, eggplant, corn, beets, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and squash for the winery’s restaurant and for preserves. “I get a real reward out of working with the earth in a really different way than I’ve ever heard men my age speak about it,” she said. “When I talk to women, it’s a joy; they love the physical engagement in the earth.” One of Condotta’s favourite times of the year is when the garlic shoots emerge from the earth after the last frost – a signal that the growing season has begun. Considering herself a feminist, Condotta said that feminism in farming “isn’t the absence of man,” but the belief that women “are just as well equipped” for farming as men. “I don’t think my (gender) makes any difference, it’s just the way my mind works,” she explained. In her mind, women bring creativity to farming and are stepping up to farm at a time when men seem to be stepping back – a change she believes will save smaller farms and is made possible thanks to an increasing focus on gender equality. There are, however, still unique challenges facing women in agriculture – such as raising a four-year-old, for one. The crops don’t simply stop growing, and the work doesn’t disappear. Instead, it’s another task added to the plate she’s trying to balance. “Being a mother is very difficult; it’s expected of you that when your kid’s sick, you’re off,” she said. Condotta is forthcoming in saying she still hasn’t come to terms with raising her son, Forrest, while simultaneously producing food, and the priority she feels is given to her husband’s job over hers. But the challenges of raising children while farming aside, Condotta believes it’s mentality presenting the biggest setback to women getting into agriculture right now. “There is this delicacy to the moment that we’re living in … I think we need to speak out and we need to be very vocal and we need to be very visual about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, and be very proud of what we’re doing,” she said. Her hope is for young girls to see the knowledge, power, innovation and creativity that women bring, and to know with confidence that they, too, can be women in agriculture.Jordan Snobelen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara this Week
GENEVA — The European Union and other donors offered new funding for Afghanistan on Tuesday, as a U.N. official declared now is “not the time to walk away” from years of hard work in trying to build peace and stability in a poor country where Taliban fighters have made inroads against the internationally-backed government.A largely virtual, one-day pledging conference in Geneva, co-hosted by Finland, drew representatives from over 70 countries in the first such event in four years. It comes as the COVID-19 crisis has commanded worldwide attention, and the virus outbreak in Afghanistan has compounded persistent ills like corruption and extremist violence.Countries like Britain, the Netherlands and Canada stepped forward with hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of pledges for Afghanistan as the session got under way, after speeches from top officials like Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who hailed the country's “ambitious agenda for development and reform.”"The United Nations stands with the people of Afghanistan on the path toward peace, development and self-reliance," Guterres said, expressing hope that donor pledges will "translate into real progress and concrete improvements for the people of Afghanistan.”The European Union pledged 1.2 billion euros ($1.43 billion) in assistance to Afghanistan over the next four years, but like many others made its support conditional on the strife-torn country’s commitment to democracy, the rule of law, human rights and gender equality.“Afghanistan’s future trajectory must preserve the democratic and human rights gains since 2001, most notably as regards women’s and children’s rights,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said. "Any attempt to restore an Islamic emirate would have an impact on our political and financial engagement.”The conference came amid a complex situation in Afghanistan, 19 years after an international coalition led by the United States toppled the Taliban government that supported al-Qaida. Taliban rebels and the Afghan government are currently taking part in peace talks in Doha, Qatar, and the Trump administration recently announced a further drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.Deborah Lyons, the U.N. secretary-general’s special envoy for Afghanistan, said the country was facing “a time of unprecedented opportunity but also deep uncertainty and rising anxiety,” and said Afghans were committed to preserving the gains of recent years."But they will need the ongoing support of the international community: political, financial, and technical,” Lyons said. “Now is not the time to walk away.”Ghani touted a strategic plan for Afghanistan.“A new Afghanistan has emerged over the past two decades, and with it, an entirely new set of expectations from our citizens,” he said, acknowledging “lessons learned” from abroad and the development of a robust civil society and free press.“The main theme of our development agenda is to meet these new expectations by doing much more with much less in the face of daunting challenges,” he said.Statistics in Afghanistan are still grim after decades of international help. The poverty level during the pandemic has shot up to 70% — up from 54% last year. Despite billions of dollars that have poured into the country in the last two decades, more than half the population lives on $1.14 a day.A U.S. watchdog said over $19 billion of U.S. money alone had been lost to abuse, fraud and waste.Lyons has said that despite some progress, Afghanistan remains one of the worst places in the world to be a woman or a child. She has criticized a sharp rise in casualties in fighting, both from Taliban assaults and U.S. and Afghan bombing raids.___Kathy Gannon in Islamabad, Pakistan, and Lorne Cook in Brussels contributed to this report.Jamey Keaten, The Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Netflix plans to establish one of the largest production hubs in North America with an expansion of its existing studio complex in New Mexico and a commitment to an additional $1 billion in production spending, government and corporate leaders announced Monday. Ten new stages, post-production services, offices, mills, backlots and other infrastructure would be added to Netflix's growing campus on the southern edge of Albuquerque. Aside from construction jobs, the project is expected to result in 1,000 production jobs over the next decade. Netflix first marked its presence in New Mexico in 2018, when it announced it was buying Albuquerque Studios and pledged $1 billion in spending over a decade. At the time, government officials saw the move as a transformative victory for a state that has struggled to lessen its reliance on federal funding and oil and gas development. "I am glad Netflix has chosen to double-down on its commitment to our state, and our partnership will continue to grow for the benefit of New Mexicans across the board,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement. Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos pointed to the proximity to Los Angeles, the crew base and local talent as reasons for the continued investment. “It allows us to be more nimble in executing our production plans while cementing the status of the region as one of the leading production centres in North America,” he said. A total of $24 million in state and local economic development funding will be funneled toward the expansion, and industrial revenue bonds will be issued by the city of Albuquerque to help reduce some taxes for Netflix. The footprint of the production hub will grow with a private land purchase and a lease involving state trust land. The Albuquerque Development Commission signed off on the proposal Monday. The City Council still must give its approval. Over the last 20 years, the film and television industry has become an economic force in New Mexico, with direct spending topping $525 million in the last fiscal year. “This is all outside money coming into the state, which would not be here otherwise,” state Economic Development Secretary Alicia J. Keyes told the commission during a meeting. She said the partnership with Netflix should send a signal that New Mexico is the place to be for film and television production. Businesses have cropped up around the state to support the industry, she said, and data from the state film office suggests 40% of production budgets go to small, local vendors. “So it really is trickling through our economy,” she said. As part of the proposed investment, Netflix has committed to providing training programs in partnership with the New Mexico Film Office, local universities and industry organizations. Netflix also has committed to supporting Native American, Latino, Black and other underrepresented content creators and filmmakers. Since coming to New Mexico in 2018, Netflix said it has spent more than $200 million, used more than 2,000 production vendors and hired more than 1,600 cast and crew members. Netflix is in production in New Mexico on the original films “The Harder They Fall" and “Intrusion" and is expected to soon begin filming “Stranger Things 4" in Albuquerque. Susan Montoya Bryan, The Associated Press
Les propriétaires d’immeubles commerciaux et industriels de Lac-Brome auront un répit fiscal en 2021. La Ville a décidé d’abaisser leur taux de taxation grâce au surplus anticipé de 3 M$. Les propriétaires d’une résidence, eux, auront droit à un gel du taux de taxation. Quelque 225 entreprises, commerces et industries situées à Lac-Brome pourraient profiter d’une baisse de taxes de l’ordre de 33,6% pour les propriétaires de locaux commerciaux et de 29% pour le secteur industriel. Une économie de près de 400 000$ pour ces secteurs d’activités. « Les élus étaient unanimes concernant la nécessité de fournir une aide directe et immédiate sous forme d’allègement fiscal aux contribuables les plus touchés par les conséquences de la pandémie de COVID-19, indique le maire de Lac-Brome, Richard Burcombe. À présent, le conseil compte sur les propriétaires d’immeubles pour que cette aide se rende jusqu’aux locataires commerciaux. » Les propriétaires recevront une lettre leur expliquant cet allègement d’un an et pour leur demander d’appliquer cette diminution de taxation au prix des loyers commerciaux. Cette façon de faire permet d’aider les citoyens corporatifs sans faire des évaluations à la pièce et d’agir en toute objectivité, note le directeur général Gilbert Arel, qui tient à rappeler qu’il s’agit d’une mesure unique à 2021. «On vit une période instable et on ne sait pas quand ça va se terminer, évoque-t-il. Les mois d’hiver ne seront pas faciles. Alors les élus voulaient donner de l’air.» Gel de taxes Quant aux résidences, le taux de taxation sera gelé à 0,665$ par 100$ d’évaluation. «Normalement, depuis que l’administration Burcombe est en place, la Ville augmente le taux de taxation selon l’IPC [indice des prix à la consommation]. Cette l’année, l’IPC est négligeable.» L’année 2021 est la dernière du présent rôle d’évaluation foncière. Un tout nouveau rôle sera déposé l’an prochain et appliqué en 2022. Le barrage Blackwood toujours une priorité Malgré le contexte actuel, la rénovation du barrage Blackwood demeure une priorité pour les élus et l’administration pour 2021. Tous les documents et études nécessaires ont été soumis au ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MELCC) afin d’obtenir les autorisations requises. L’objectif est de commencer le chantier en août prochain. La réfection des routes sera également au coeur du budget, qui sera présenté en séance spéciale, disponible en ligne, le soir du 14 décembre.Cynthia Laflamme, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix de l'Est
The public is waiting to see what Premier Scott Moe and chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab will do to control the spread of the virus.The answer could come at a Wednesday afternoon news conference, where a COVID-19 update is expected. The news conference was originally scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, but was postponed until 3 p.m. CST the next day.For the past two weeks, Moe has heard concerns about the implications of locking down versus continuing with smaller interventions.On Saturday, Moe said in a radio interview he was against the NDP proposal of a three-week "circuit breaker" which would close non-essential businesses and move restaurants to take out or delivery only.Moe called the approach "disastrous.""That's why we are looking at every other lever that we have…available to us to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and try to minimize, in every way that we can, the impact on our small businesses," said Moe. Two weeks ago, Moe said business restrictions were not under consideration.Days later, 442 doctors called for several interventions, which included targeted closure of businesses or areas in the community that have played a role in COVID-19 transmissions and regional shutdowns where outbreaks are ongoing.Moe said he preferred a slowdown to a lockdown."We're going to do everything we can to ensure that they're going to be able to make it through this without a circuit breaker, without a shutdown or without a lockdown," Moe said Saturday after the province recorded an all-time high of 439 new cases.On Monday, the government announced Moe was self-isolating after a potential exposure at Prince Albert restaurant Original Joe's on November 15. 'Little by little measures, not enough' says economistAcross Canada, several provinces are grappling with the decision to shutdown certain areas in response to spiking cases and hospitalizations.On Monday, Saskatchewan's seven-day average was an all-time high of 219 new cases. The province recorded a daily high for deaths with 4, hospitalizations, 106 and active cases 2,864.University of Calgary economics professor Aidan Hollis said Alberta, like Saskatchewan has introduced so-called "targeted measures" to slow down the spread of the virus rather than lockdown or shut down certain parts of the economy.For example, both provinces recently announced a restaurant and bar curfew of 11 p.m."I think we've reached the point certainly here in Alberta, and it's my understanding also in Saskatchewan where if you just let it continue, then we're going to be forced to have that shut down anyway. And it could be worse and longer, plus we will have increased mortality, plus increased hospital expenses," he said. "The little by little measures are clearly not enough.""If the spread of infections continues unabated, then it's clear what's going to happen and the hospitals would be overwhelmed. There would be so many COVID cases they could not be treated properly. And other people who need medical care would also be at risk."Hollis said at that point either provincial government would be forced to impose "Draconian" measures of closing retail, restaurants, gyms and even high schools.He said a "circuit breaker" which is a short-term lockdown is "beneficial" for both COVID-19 prevention and the economy. He said that option potentially prevents a more serious widespread lockdown when the health system is "overwhelmed.""It's not a case of can we protect the economy by compromising people's health a little bit? It doesn't work like that.""It doesn't make sense to be able to think you can run an economy successfully if people know that they are at great risk of getting sick," Hollis said.Hollis said the government needs to target places where people are in close contact for an extended period of time.He said if the restaurants and bars are closed, retail stores may follow as has been the case in Toronto and Manitoba with some exceptions."Then all the business goes to Amazon, every retail store is wondering what happened to their most profitable month of the year."Hollis said in that case people have to be prepared to pay more in taxes to support those affected by their business closing temporarily."I do want to say that I recognize that as a person who has a steady job that is going to be paid whether or not things are shut down, I'm in a privileged position and I feel that, the solution to this is that all of us have to be prepared to pay our taxes to support the people who are put out of work because of a shutdown." Hollis said people face a "terrible dilemma" of choosing to make money or protect themselves from the virus."Many people are now being put in the terrible dilemma of having to choose to keep their business open so they can make money or else voluntarily closing it in order to protect themselves and their staff."Hollis said governments will be judged on how they handled their pandemic response. He pointed to jurisdictions like New Zealand, Melbourne, Australia and Taiwan which have been able to keep COVID-19 low or flatten a spiking curve."Everyone's looking at South Dakota and saying they have just done a terrible job. And I don't think that we want to be like South Dakota. It's not about keeping the economy open because that's not what's happened anyway."As of Monday, South Dakota had recorded 819 COVID-19-related deaths, with a population of 884,000.Saskatchewan has recorded 37 deaths with a population of 1.17 million.'There is no right answer'Jason Childs an associate professor of economics at the University of Regina said the issue facing governments is not versus health or someone's business or someone's life.He said it comes down to "taking one set of risks and weighing them against another set of risks.""If we don't lockdown there are going to be more people exposed and at risk of dying from COVID. If we do lockdown we are going to see increased deaths due to addiction backsliding, family breakdown, suicides likely to rise and some of that impact is going to come via the reduction in economic activity."Childs said a decrease in economic activity equals a decrease in well-being."There is no right answer here no matter what we do people are going to die," Childs said.Childs called the decision a "worst-case scenario" of cost-benefit analysis because of the stakes."What is the threshhold of lives lost where you go yes that is worth it. I have no idea what the answer is obviously at some point you say yes it's worth it. I don't know where that line is and I'm really glad I don't have to draw it."Last week, Premier Moe said the province lost 70,000 jobs earlier in the pandemic and gained 55,000 back. He said the net loss of 15,000 would balloon to "tens of thousands" if there was another lockdown.Childs said that estimate is "plausible.""I don't know how many (businesses) would survive another two to three-month lockdown."Childs said lockdowns should be done exceedingly reluctantly and exceedingly carefully, or else you risk an uncooperative public."If you get active resistance to public health measures, it's over."Childs said there is a "finite" capacity for compliance."It's a resource that can't be exhausted."As for the need for a lockdown Childs said, "I think we're getting close."What's yours? CBC Saskatchewan wants to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you. Share your story with our online questionnaire.
BERLIN — A court in Berlin heard Tuesday how witnesses alerted police after seeing a man dump a wig, clothes and a bicycle in a river last year, allowing officers to swiftly arrest the suspect in an alleged Russia-ordered political assassination.Testimony by the two men is central to the trial of the man German authorities have identified as Vadim Krasikov, a 55-year-old Russian citizen whose alleged killing of a Georgian man in broad daylight in downtown Berlin has fueled frictions between Germany and Russia.German prosecutors allege there is ample evidence indicating Russian officials ordered the killing of Zelimkhan “Tornike” Khangoshvili, who had fled to Germany with his family. Russia has accused Khangoshvili of killing scores of people during fighting in the Caucasus, but denied being behind his slaying.German news agency dpa reported that the two witnesses told the Berlin regional court they became suspicious when they saw the suspect disappear into bushes by the banks of the Spree River on Aug. 23, 2019. They moved to a bridge to get a better view and called police.When the suspect emerged from the bushes, his dark locks were gone and he was wearing completely different clothes, the witnesses testified.The suspect appeared to realize that he was being watched by the men, turning around to look at them repeatedly, but he was apprehended by police before he could flee on an electric scooter.No pleas are entered in the German trial system, and the defendant made only a short statement at the start of the trial, saying that he had been misidentified.The Associated Press
Good morning! This is our daily news roundup with everything you need to know in one concise read. Sign up here to get this delivered to your inbox every morning.As COVID-19 cases soar and regions lock down, Dr. Tam has a blunt message about holiday planningOn a day that saw Ontario and Manitoba announce record-high numbers of new COVID-19 cases, two provinces pull out of the much-lauded Atlantic bubble and close their borders, and millions of people in different regions of the country plunge back into lockdowns reminiscent of last spring, Canada's chief public health officer said the tighter rules are a necessary evil right now. "The longer you wait to increase the measures, the longer it would take to come out of the restrictions," Dr. Theresa Tam told The National co-host Andrew Chang. She said that over the past several months, provincial and territorial medical officers of health tried hard to achieve a balance where they could keep up with COVID-19 testing and contact tracing while keeping society open. "It's just something that people have never tried in the history of the last hundred years," Tam said. "They were trying really hard to minimize impact on the economic side, on schools, on work.... It's just not an easy thing to do."WATCH | Tam says the message around holidays is the same no matter where in Canada you live:In the past month alone, Canada's number of confirmed or presumptive cases rose by more than 125,000, increasing from 211,732 on Oct. 23 to 337,555 on Monday. Provinces are seeing daily case counts higher than they ever saw during the first wave. And so now, with the holiday season just weeks away, Canadians are wondering if one of the bright spots in Canada's long, dark winter will be another casualty of 2020 — and whether the country will ever get off the roller-coaster of flattening the curve only to see cases soar again. Tam is blunt when it comes to the upcoming holiday season: No large gatherings. Keep it small. Keep it within your own household. "Christmas is not going to be having any kind of large group interactions," she said. "Even with family, you've got to really think twice. Avoid non-essential travel. Keep to your current household contacts as much as possible." Read more on this story here.Simian serenade(Prapan Chankaew/Reuters)British musician Paul Barton plays the piano for the macaques that occupy the Phra Prang Sam Yot temple site in Lopburi, Thailand, in this photo taken Nov. 21. The audience was a bit unruly as they climbed all over him, pulled his hair and tried to eat his sheet music. Barton said he hoped the music might calm the animals at a time when the pandemic-caused drop in Thailand's tourism industry means fewer visitors to feed them, and less money for their welfare.In briefAlberta has reached a "precarious point" in the coronavirus pandemic, the province's top doctor said Monday upon reporting 1,549 new cases and five more deaths. The province's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw also said there were 13,166 active cases in Alberta — surpassing Ontario's 13,004 for the most in the country. Hinshaw said she was meeting with a cabinet committee "to discuss a series of new measures to reduce the rising spread of COVID-19," and said a detailed update would be coming today. "We must take action. Waiting any longer will impact our ability to care for Albertans in the weeks and months ahead," she said. Read more on this story here.WATCH | Alberta faces pressure for increased restrictions as COVID-19 cases 'snowball':The Canada Revenue Agency says it's warning about 213,000 Canadians who may have been paid twice through the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) program that they could be called upon to repay the money. But repayment isn't required right away, says the agency. The CRA has suspended collection of debts for the duration of the pandemic emergency. "The Canada Revenue Agency … has issued letters to individuals who may have applied for the Canadian emergency response benefit … from both Service Canada and the CRA, and who may be required to repay an amount to the CRA," an agency spokesperson said in an email. "We will resume collections activities when it is responsible to do so, including collection of debts related to CERB payments." The agency is still recommending people pay back any CERB funds to which they're not entitled by the end of the year, warning that if they don't, the sum will appear on T4A tax slips and will need to be reported as income on next year's tax return. Read more about the possible CERB repayments. Canada has turned away at least 4,400 asylum seekers at the U.S. border since 2016 — including some who were hoping to find refuge here at the height of the global pandemic — according to newly released government figures. Nearly half of those trying to enter Canada over that nearly five-year period made the attempt in the year after U.S. President Donald Trump took office. The figures were released in response to a parliamentary request from NDP MP Jenny Kwan. Under the Safe Third Country Agreement, which has been in effect since 2004, Canada and the U.S. consider each other to be "safe countries" for refugees and require them to make their claims in the country they arrive in first. The agreement has long faced criticism and legal challenges from refugee advocacy groups, who say the agreement is an inhumane way to limit the number of people Canada accepts as refugees. They say the U.S. is not a safe country for all refugees and that the dangers they face have increased under the Trump administration. Read more about the figures on asylum seekers. NAV Canada, hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, is considering cutting air traffic controller jobs at seven towers across Canada in an effort to save money as the global health crisis continues to drag down air traffic. CBC News obtained an internal memo from Nav Canada president and CEO Neil Wilson informing staff that the not-for-profit company that operates Canada's civil air navigation system is conducting studies of air traffic control towers in Whitehorse, Regina, Fort McMurray, Alta., Prince George, B.C., and Sault Ste. Marie and Windsor in Ontario, which "will result in workforce adjustments." The company also is looking into closing a control tower in St. Jean, Que. These locations were identified as having low air-traffic levels, even prior to the pandemic, the memo said. Some aviation experts and airlines warn that the cuts would amount to removing a layer of protection. "It would degrade the level of safety at Whitehorse," said Joe Sparling, president of Whitehorse-based airline Air North. "We would encourage Nav Canada to look for other cost reduction measures." Read more about possible NAV Canada cuts here. U.S. president-elect Joe Biden can start the formal transition of power process after the federal agency that must sign off on it said Monday that he could. "I take this role seriously and, because of recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results, am transmitting this letter today to make those resources and services available to you," General Services Administration (GSA) chief Emily Murphy wrote in a letter to Biden. Yesterday, Michigan certified Biden's victory in that state, while a judge in Pennsylvania over the weekend threw out a lawsuit from U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign that sought to block certification in that state. The move by the GSA means Biden's team will now get federal funds and an official office to conduct his transition. Biden and vice-president-elect Kamala Harris will also get access to the regular national security briefings that Trump gets. Read more about the transition here.WATCH | Trump allows co-operation in presidential transition as Biden chooses cabinet:Now for some good news to start your Tuesday: Why do bees have sticky hair? Because they use honey combs. Tristan Kennedy, 5, shared that joke and more than 100 other knee-slappers outside his home in Pitt Meadows, B.C., this spring in an effort to brighten up the days of his neighbours during the pandemic. For 155 days straight starting in April, Kennedy and his mother, Naya Kohout, searched for jokes and then shared them on a sign at the end of their driveway, with the setup line written up and posted on one side and the punchline on the other. Despite hearing a few groans from those bemoaning the jokes, the response was so positive they asked passersby if they would be interested in a book of jokes. Kohout says the demand was there, so they put together an offering. To date, they have sold more than 120 books, and raised more than $1,200, which they are donating in equal parts to the Ridge Meadows Senior Society and the Friends in Need Food Bank. Read more here about the joke book.Front Burner: Virus rages in 'precarious' AlbertaIn the first wave of the pandemic, Alberta was one of the provinces that seemed to have things relatively under control. Now, the province has daily case rates three times as high as Quebec or Ontario, and ICUs in Calgary and Edmonton have been hitting 90 per cent capacity. But Premier Jason Kenney hasn't addressed the province at a COVID-19 briefing for almost two weeks, and has resisted repeated calls for lockdowns from doctors and other experts. It's leading some Albertans to tweet the hashtag WhereIsKenney. Today, Jason Markusoff of Maclean's joins us to talk about how Alberta got here, and what happens now.Today in history: November 241892: Sir John Abbott, third prime minister of Canada and the first PM born in Canada, steps down due to ill health. He is succeeded by Sir John S. D. Thompson. 1937: The Canadian Authors Association sets up the Governor General's Literary Awards. Bertram Brooker wins the first award for his 1936 novel Think of the Earth. 1980: Moretta (Molly) Reilly, the first woman in Canada to get an airline transport pilot's licence and a member of the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame, dies in Edmonton at the age of 58. 1981: The Metric Commission of Canada announces the full conversion to the metric system in food stores across Canada. The changeover from imperial units to metric was implemented simultaneously in 21 areas across Canada in January 1982 and covered the rest of the country within two years. 1987: Jehane Benoît, called Canada's first lady of cuisine who published 25 cookbooks and was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 1973, dies at age 83.
Niagara’s fields will no doubt soon be covered with snow, but just because winter is on its way doesn’t mean soil health needs to fall by the wayside. Niagara Farmers’ Monthly spoke with locally-based agronomists for tips on how to maintain healthy soil as winter takes hold. JERRY WINNICKI, CLARK AGRI SERVICE Ideally farmers will use cover crops to protect their soil over the winter, says Winnicki. Leftovers from a previous crop can also work to slow water from running off before it has a chance to permeate the soil. Winnicki’s recommendation is to go with a cereal rye due to effectiveness and cost. Tillage radish is another option for a cover crop. With a long taproot, it breaks up clay soil well. MATT KENNES, TWENTY VIEW FARMS Kennes advocates for crop rotation and has been pushing farmers to plant more winter wheat. Putting nutrients back into the soil matters, and harvesting soybeans, he said as an example, leaves little plant residue to break down and reintegrate back into the soil. Rotating crops with winter wheat is showing benefits for soil health through better yields in subsequent years, according to Kennes. If farmers need another incentive – take a look at healthy commodity prices. CORINA WARD, TIMAC AGRO CANADA Ward recommends addressing potassium deficiencies in the fall to give enough time for mineralization and spring availability, but says best management practices suggest avoiding fall applications of phosphorus due to the potential for run-off. “If applying phosphorus during the fall is necessary, banding it will help prevent run-off, avoiding mass flow during water events,” she said. Ward also suggests managing fall fertilizer application based on soil tests taken after a crop is removed, when the soil isn’t waterlogged or too arid. “Considering a drainage plan during the fall and winter months can also be a good idea and can be done by monitoring water pooling during rain events,” she said.Jordan Snobelen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara this Week
They may be one of Hollywood’s most beloved couples, but Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn have never felt the pressure to use that unmatched chemistry for the big screen time and time again. Since 1987's “Overboard," they’ve received hundreds of opportunities to reunite in a film. Although none seemed quite right until another longtime, A-list pair landed at their feet: Santa and Mrs. Claus. The film is “The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two,” a sequel to the 2018 Netflix picture that introduced Russell as a Santa who's more superhero-meets-Elvis speedracing his sled than jolly old Saint Nick sitting by a fire. At the urging of Chris Columbus, who produced the first, Hawn appeared as Mrs. Claus in a cameo at the end. “When Goldie appeared on screen, she brought the house down,” said Columbus, who stepped up to direct this one. “We knew we had to do the next one with Goldie, if she would do it, if she would have us.” It debuts on Netflix on Wednesday right in time for Thanksgiving. And, unsurprisingly, the Clauses have never looked better. This wasn’t some slapdash, stunt Christmas cash grab, either. It was born of a genuine love of the holiday and became a deeply personal endeavour for all three. Christmas was big in the Russell and Columbus houses growing up. Columbus even said he was downright obsessed, although he hated the aluminum tree that his mother used. He had previously set “Gremlins,” which he wrote, and “Home Alone” at Christmastime, but both of those were kind of horror films in different ways — one a horror comedy and the other a horrific situation. In his mind, he’d never made a real Christmas movie, most of which he considers pretty bad. This was chance to unapologetically lean into the yuletide spirit. He and Russell worked on the script for months going deep into character questions about where Santa comes from, how he met Mrs. Claus, how long have they been together and what is their relationship like. Russell even composed a 200-page “bible” as backstory. “Kurt approached this like any actor approaching a great role, which is rare for Santa Claus, if we’re being honest. It's only been played well a couple of times," Columbus said. “And this is the great one right here.” That seriousness extended to Mrs. Claus, who they crafted into a pillar of strength and love. Hawn wanted to ensure that she did more than bake cookies too. “There was no Mrs. Claus we could really identify with. She was a character that was iconic for no other reason than she was the wife of Santa,” Hawn said. “I thought, I don’t want to be the one that continues to bring him his slippers. I mean, it’s just not the way women are today.” She was tempted to bring her classic playfulness to the role, but Columbus encouraged her to make this Mrs. Claus a little more grounded. Hawn, who just turned 75 this weekend, is deeply sincere when she says she loves this film and this character. In fact, she took a souvenir from set and plans to hang it in her Aspen house, which she said she’s redoing to make it look like Santa’s Village. Russell can't help but think of his late father Bing Russell, who loved Christmas deeply and helped make the holiday a major event in their household. “I dedicate these to my dad,” Russell said. He’s also excited that their six grandchildren will be able to watch the film and maybe even earn some bragging rights among their peers. “I like the idea that there’s a period of time when those kids can go to school and say, well, my grandmother and grandfather are Mrs. Claus and Santa,” Russell said, beaming. “OK, so top that!” Each film in the Hawn and Russell oeuvre has come at distinctly different phases for the couple. On 1968’s “The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band” they were strangers, on 1984’s “Swing Shift,” they were falling in love and on 1987’s “Overboard” they were becoming a family. Over three decades later, Hawn reflected on where they are now. “This is an interesting phase because there is so much love and history and all the ups and downs of a relationship, and now we’re looking at our grandchildren and these are sort of the special years. And we are looking at fun things to do together, whereas before we were more pulled away by different things,” Hawn said. “It’s a time of friendship, really. I mean, there’s love, but also friendship is very important as you get older: The trust in each other, supporting each other, being there for each other and feeling the safety and the security of that relationship that you’ve worked with and within and all that for close to 40 years.” —- Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
Libyan intelligence officer Abdel Basset al-Megrahi was jailed for life in 2001 for the 1988 murder of the 270 passengers and crew of Pan Am flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockervie. He died in 2012.View on euronews