The market value of Tesla has soared to around $600 billion, making it the largest company ever to be added to the S&P 500. It’s inclusion on December 21 is expected to trigger a torrent of trading and a spike in volatility. (Dec. 17)
The market value of Tesla has soared to around $600 billion, making it the largest company ever to be added to the S&P 500. It’s inclusion on December 21 is expected to trigger a torrent of trading and a spike in volatility. (Dec. 17)
WASHINGTON — The words of Donald Trump supporters who are accused of participating in the deadly U.S. Capitol riot may end up being used against him in his Senate impeachment trial as he faces the charge of inciting a violent insurrection. At least five supporters facing federal charges have suggested they were taking orders from the then-president when they marched on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 to challenge the certification of Joe Biden's election win. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. It's the first time a former president will face such charges after leaving office. “I feel like I was basically following my president. I was following what we were called to do. He asked us to fly there. He asked us to be there," Jenna Ryan, a Texas real estate agent who posted a photo on Twitter of herself flashing a peace sign next to a broken Capitol window, told a Dallas-Fort Worth TV station. Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man photographed on the dais in the Senate who was shirtless and wore face paint and a furry hat with horns, has similarly pointed a finger at Trump. Chansley called the FBI the day after the insurrection and told agents he travelled “at the request of the president that all ‘patriots’ come to D.C. on January 6, 2021,” authorities wrote in court papers. Chanley’s lawyer unsuccessfully lobbied for a pardon for his client before Trump's term ended, saying Chansley “felt like he was answering the call of our president.” Authorities say that while up on the dais in the Senate chamber, Chansley wrote a threatening note to then-Vice-President Mike Pence that said: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.” Trump is the first president to be twice impeached and the first to face a trial after leaving office. The charge this time is “inciting violence against the government of the United States.” His impeachment lawyer, Butch Bowers, did not respond to call for comment. Opening arguments in the trial will begin the week of Feb. 8. House Democrats who voted to impeach Trump last week for inciting the storming of the Capitol say a full reckoning is necessary before the country — and the Congress — can move on. For weeks, Trump rallied his supporters against the election outcome and urged them to come to the Capitol on Jan. 6 to rage against Biden's win. Trump spoke to the crowd near the White House shortly before they marched along Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill. “We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen,” Trump said. “You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.” Later he said: “If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.” He told supporters to walk to the Capitol to “peacefully and patriotically” make your voices heard. Trump has taken no responsibility for his part in fomenting the violence, saying days after the attack: “People thought that what I said was totally appropriate.” Unlike a criminal trial, where there are strict rules about what is and isn’t evidence, the Senate can consider anything it wishes. And if they can show that Trump’s words made a real impact, all the better, and scholars expect it in the trial. "Bringing in those people's statements is part of proving that it would be at a minimum reasonable for a rational person to expect that if you said and did the things that Trump said and did, then they would be understood in precisely the way these people understood them," said Frank Bowman, a constitutional law expert and law professor at University of Missouri. A retired firefighter from Pennsylvania told a friend that that he travelled to Washington with a group of people and the group listened to Trump's speech and then “followed the President’s instructions” and went to the Capitol, an agent wrote in court papers. That man, Robert Sanford, is accused of throwing a fire extinguisher that hit three Capitol Police officers. Another man, Robert Bauer of Kentucky, told FBI agents that “he marched to the U.S. Capitol because President Trump said to do so,” authorities wrote. His cousin, Edward Hemenway, from Virginia, told the FBI that he and Bauer headed toward the Capitol after Trump said “something about taking Pennsylvania Avenue." More than 130 people as of Friday were facing federal charges; prosecutors have promised that more cases — and more serious charges — are coming. Most of those arrested so far are accused of crimes like unlawful entry and disorderly conduct, but prosecutors this week filed conspiracy charges against three self-described members of a paramilitary group who authorities say plotted the attack. A special group of prosecutors is examining whether to bring sedition charges, which carry up to 20 years in prison, against any of the rioters. Two-thirds of the Senate is needed to convict. And while many Republicans — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky— have condemned Trump's words, it remains unclear how many would vote to convict him. “While the statements of those people kind of bolsters the House manager's case, I think that President Trump has benefited from a Republican Party that has not been willing to look at evidence,” said Michael Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law who testified before the House Judiciary Committee during Trump's first impeachment hearings in 2019. “They stood by him for the entire first impeachment proceeding, thinking that the phone call with the president of the Ukraine was perfect and I’m sure they will think that was a perfect speech too. There is nothing yet to suggest that they would think otherwise," Gerhardt said. ____ Richer reported from Boston. Alanna Durkin Richer And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
A large trailer sits in a parking lot behind the Mount Royal Metro station. It's bright and colourful, adding life to a parking lot that is otherwise washed out with snow and construction. Large letters are written on its side: "Wapikoni: First Nations travelling audiovisual and creation studio." Wapikoni is a not-for-profit based in Montreal. They once used the trailer to hold audiovisual workshops for Indigenous youth, but during the pandemic it serves a different purpose. Sheri Pranteau and her team of support workers use it as a home base for the Indigenous Support Workers Project. Watch | Learn more about the project on Our Montreal: The project was founded in 2018 to help people who are Indigenous and homeless in Montreal. At the time, at least 12 per cent of Montreal's homeless population identified as Indigenous, according to a survey conducted by I Count MTL. Since then, the project has expanded to include three more team members. Pranteau was the first support worker to be hired. Her job was to search the streets for people who are homeless and Indigenous, and offer her support. She would brave the cold with nothing more than her coat and what she could carry on her back. But now, Pranteau uses the Wapikoni trailer to collect donations, store equipment and serve hot beverages to people who ask for it. Julia Dubé is a project co-ordinator at Wapikoni. She explained that, due to pandemic restrictions, the organization reduced their programming and stopped providing in-person workshops in the trailer. "Because we weren't using our equipment for our regular activities, the trailer was just kind of sitting there," she said. "So the idea here was to offer some support in terms of equipment." With the addition of the trailer, Pranteau says she and her team can better support people on the street. "[The team] is small but mighty," she said. Every day they do the rounds, walking as far as Place des Arts to meet people, provide support and listen to what they need. If ever they don't have something on hand, they head back to the trailer to get it. But beyond the physical needs, Pranteau also explains the importance of connection. "A lot of them just need acknowledgement," she said. "That's all it takes sometimes, to be acknowledged and to be told, 'you matter.'" She explained that her personal background helps in this regard. She identifies as Cree Anishinaabe, and has had her own experiences that help her empathize with the people she's helping. "I went down a lot of dark roads," she said. "And I paid dearly for those." She credits her community and her elders for helping her get back on her feet. Now she's focused on paying it forward, helping people on the street stay connected to their culture. "Food is one of our things that brings healing, it brings us together," she said. This is why she regularly bakes bannock and brings it with her on her outings. "I just want to help, and see our people rise up and not continue to die and freeze to death," Pranteau said. "I can't save everyone, but I wouldn't want to do anything else."
A naked Florida man stole what news footage showed to be a marked police vehicle and crashed it in a wooded area, officials said. Joshua Shenker, 22, was arrested after Thursday's crash on charges including theft of a motor vehicle, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, depriving an officer of means of communication or protection and resisting an officer without violence, according to a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office report. Officers responded to reports of a naked man running along Interstate 10 in western Jacksonville shortly before noon Thursday. Shenker was lying in the the roadway when an officer stopped on the opposite side of the route, the report said. Shenker then ran across the highway lanes toward the officer, officials said. The redacted report didn't say how Shenker stole the vehicle. Authorities confirmed only that a vehicle belonging to the City of Jacksonville was stolen. First Coast News footage of the scene showed the crashed vehicle to be a marked patrol car. According to the police report, about $10,000 worth of damage was done to the vehicle. Officers noticed Shenker had road rash after the crash and he was taken to a hospital to be checked out, authorities said. Shenker was being held on $4,011 bail. Jail records didn't list an attorney for him. The Associated Press
The Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie issued a decree concerning Ontario’s state of emergency last week, detailing how the Catholic church is responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Bishop Thomas Dowd consulted with three regional public health agencies as well as the church’s College of Consultors, chairs of the diocese’s pastoral regions, and bishops of neighbouring dioceses before writing the decree. Mass services in all churches of the diocese are closed to the public until Feb. 11, but priests are encouraged to celebrate mass for broadcast from within their church, whether online or via FM radio. “I think it’s important for people to see that the building may be closed, but the church is still open. The community is still open, and we are still here to serve,” said Dowd. Many priests in the diocese have already developed online services, he added, and if a church has an FM broadcast system, parishioners are allowed to attend mass from their cars in the parking lot. “It’s a creative way for people to come together. They remain in their cars, and have no contact with each other, so there’s no danger of an infectious event,” he said. “That would allow the services in the church, such as the priest’s sermon, and people would be able to be there and tune in.” Priests who are broadcasting services, whether online or over radio, may be assisted by a small team of people in the organization of the mass as long as the total number of people remains below ten and all public health protocols are respected. All pastors of parishes still have an obligation to celebrate pro populo mass on Sunday. “For all other masses with a scheduled mass intention, the person who requested the mass should be contacted to see if they would prefer to reschedule the mass for that intention,” said the decree. “If the person cannot be contacted or they wish to continue to have it on that day (for example, because it is a special anniversary of the death of a loved one) the mass should still be celebrated, albeit privately.” Other worship services, like celebrations of baptism, reconciliation, anointing of the sick, marriage, blessings and funeral services, are still permitted provided that the limit of ten people is respected along with other health protocols. “Just as there are some exceptions to the law, for us, there are also exceptional circumstances. If someone is ill, for example, and they would like to receive the anointing or what some call last rights, that strikes me as very important,” said Dowd. “By nature, some of the services we’re allowed to do, don’t gather big groups of people, and it is possible to do them in a limited number.” Dowd also included in the decree that the “pastoral care of the people of our diocese must continue despite the stay-at-home order.” Parishes are “exhorted” to continue providing pastoral counselling, catechism, times of fellowship and faith sharing, pastoral visits and outreach, and opportunities to pray together. It’s also important for parishes to “examine their means of communicating with their parishioners (phone lists, email lists, websites) and make sure they are maintained and efficient. “This is not just about providing religious rites. It’s about being in contact and checking on people, paying attention when people are suffering or in particular need,” said Dowd. “There’s physical health – that is protecting ourselves from the virus. There’s mental and emotional health – that’s our connection with people. And there’s our spiritual health. “You know, a lot of people are asking themselves the big questions – like what is the meaning of life and all of this? I don’t expect public health authorities to tackle that one. That’s us.” Faith, he added, is especially important during unprecedented times like these. “I don’t want us to say, oh, we’re closed, so let’s just kind of give up. No – we have to keep up the fight. We’ve got to beat this thing,” he said. “In the future, I hope to write a pastoral letter for our people and make some suggestions about how we can be a part of the solution. How can we continue, not just to practise our faith for ourselves, but to be protagonists in beating this virus?” Dowd, who recently took over the role of Bishop in the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, moved to Northern Ontario from Montreal. He served as the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Montreal from 2011-2020. While he was there, he took part in creating an online outreach program to help those struggling with mental health questions in the context of the pandemic, and he hopes to continue working to support parishioners in Northern Ontario. He was sit in on a conference call with religious leaders across Canada and federal public health authorities as part of that work. “Speaking personally, I hate this virus. One of my best friends, his father died of COVID-19. I had to do the saddest funeral because almost nobody could be there. This was early on in the pandemic,” he said. “Another one of my friends, her 30-year-old brother, wound up intubated in the hospital for weeks. It’s not just older people – anybody can catch it. Thankfully, he’s better but he’s still suffering health problems. My own brother died last summer, and we had to have a drive-through service.” He understands how tough lockdowns can be, but he also understands the dangers of the virus. “This decree is really our attempt to be good citizens and to respond to the needs of our time. I think this is what Jesus would want us to do.” Instructions on the distribution of ashes on Ash Wednesday are forthcoming. The decree took effect as of Jan. 16, 2021. Anyone with questions about its implementation is encouraged to contact the Chancellor of the diocese, Father Jean Vézina. The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government. email@example.com Twitter: @SudburyStar Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star
An Edmonton man who admitted stabbing his stepfather with scissors at a Christmas Day family gathering three years ago has been acquitted of second-degree murder. Stephan Kody was found not guilty this week in the Dec. 25, 2017 death of Eddie Melenka at a home near 73rd Avenue and 77th Street. In his decision, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Adam Germain said the Crown "has not negated Mr. Kody's plea of self-defence" so the homicide "will have to remain a non-culpable homicide." The Crown had argued that Kody should have been convicted of "at least" manslaughter, Germain said. But he said he didn't need to consider a manslaughter finding because he concluded that Kody "is entitled to the benefit of the doubt about self-defence." The stabbing occurred on Christmas Day. A family gathering fuelled by alcohol, drugs and karaoke had started the night before. Kody, who was 22 at the time, and Melenka, 48, had been drinking alcohol "all day" and snorting cocaine. The cocaine belonged to Melenka, who was sharing it with Kody in the master bedroom. Kody admitted that he did at least three or four lines of cocaine and that a dispute arose over whether he could count on his stepfather to leave him another line. According to Germain's decision, the two men got into a fight. Melenka pushed Kody over a couch. Kody grabbed a pair of scissors from the kitchen table and ran back to the bedroom. Kody said Melenka followed him into the room and attacked him. Kody fought back with the scissors. "One of the wounds entered Mr. Melenka between his top second and third rib and proceeded downward into his heart which led to bleeding into the chest cavity and despite prompt, competent and aggressive medical intervention, Mr. Melenka succumbed to his wounds," Germain said. The Crown had argued for Kody to be convicted of at least manslaughter because the stabbing stemmed from Kody's anger that his stepfather had stopped him from continuing to use his cocaine. The Crown had also said that picking up a pair of scissors and stabbing someone near the heart reflects an intention to kill, and that there wasn't enough evidence to show that Kody was not in full control of his faculties at the time. The defence lawyer argued that his client's evidence should be believed as being "reasonable, logical, and consistent with all of the background facts," Germain said. The judge noted that Kody gave evidence indicating that he was afraid of being beaten by Melenka, a larger man who was a more capable and experienced fighter. Photos taken of Kody following his arrest revealed that he had been subject to a beating. The stabbing was not witnessed by the other five people who were in the house. "Given the amount of alcohol and cocaine consumed that night and the circumstances of this homicide, I could not, under any basis, conclude that the requirements for second-degree murder have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt," Germain said. "Therefore, if I am wrong about the Crown's failure to prove that self-defence did not apply, Mr. Kody would've been convicted only of manslaughter. "In the event of successful appellate review by the Crown which does not result in a retrial, arrangements to sentence Mr. Kody on the basis of manslaughter should be considered."
Saskatchewan residents may have only seen Premier Scott Moe once this week, but they no doubt heard him weigh in on everything from pipelines to civic politics to, of course, COVID-19. For the second straight week, Saskatchewan led the country in per capita active cases. And this week it became the leader in the rate of cases over the past seven days. On Thursday, Saskatchewan set a new high for COVID-19 deaths in one day with 13. On Friday, eight more people were added to the growing list. In 2021, 94 Saskatchewan residents have lost their lives. Moe extended his condolences in a social media post Thursday, adding, "while case numbers continue to decrease and we continue to deliver the vaccine at a high rate, reporting the highest number of deaths in a single day is a sombre reminder of the need to reduce the spread of this deadly virus by following all public health orders and guidelines." At the government's lone COVID-19 media conference on Tuesday, Moe pointed to a slight decrease in active cases as "very positive in where we are going." New cases ranged from 227 on Thursday up to 312 on Friday. On Tuesday, Moe aimed at those breaking public health orders, saying "enough is enough." "We have kids in community after community in this province that are making the sacrifice. It's time as adults we start making the same sacrifice." He said the government would consider indefinite closures of businesses flouting public health rules. Moe called the current measures, which expire next Friday, "significant" and did not hint at implementing stricter ones next week. Vaccine 'firecracker' The news of vaccine manufacturer Pfizer not sending any doses to Canada next week rankled the premier. Pfizer said the temporary slowdown to ship vaccines is due to efforts to boost production volumes and upgrade its plant in Belgium. The federal government expects the deliveries to be disrupted for "two or three weeks" but anticipates the short-term slowdown will be made up for in February and March. Near the end of the Tuesday news conference, Moe referenced comments made by Ontario Premier Doug Ford on what he would do if he were Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. "I'd be up that guy's ying-yang so far with a firecracker he wouldn't know what hit him," said Ford. Moe quoted Ford adding, "I would just say if the prime minister were able to do that there would be a lineup of premiers behind that would bring a lighter to that party." NDP health critic Vicki Mowat said she shared Moe's sentiment of frustration but called his comment "disturbing" and "a poor choice of words." Pfizer Canada declined to comment on the remarks of Moe and Ford. After an initial slow rollout, Saskatchewan has ramped up its vaccinations. On Friday, Moe tweeted the province leads others in percentage of vaccines administered and called on the federal government to "get us more vaccines more quickly." Pipeline problems Moe is also asking the federal government to do more in response to a decision from new U.S. President Joe Biden. In one of his first acts after taking office, Biden kept an election promise to stop the Keystone XL pipeline project. The 1,897-kilometre pipeline would have carried 830,000 barrels of crude oil a day from the oilsands in Hardisty, Alta., to Nebraska, connecting to the original Keystone pipeline that runs to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. In 2015, the U.S. Senate approved a bill to build the pipeline, but one month later President Barack Obama vetoed the bill. In 2019, President Donald Trump issued a permit to get the project off the ground. Last March, Alberta invested $1.5 billion in the project and, less than two months later, Biden promised to kill the project if elected. Last Sunday, Moe released a statement as reports broke that indicated Biden would shut the project down. "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," Moe wrote in a statement Sunday. TC Energy, the pipeline owner, said the project would have created "$2.97 million in additional annual property taxes to municipalities along the pipeline right-of-way in Saskatchewan." The pipeline would have run through the Saskatchewan RMs of Fox Valley, Piapot and Grassy Creek. On Thursday, Moe posted another statement to social media calling on the federal government to intervene further, expressing concern about the potential of future pipeline projects. "If the federal government is unwilling to further challenge the Biden administration's unilateral action to cancel this pipeline, will they stand with the advancement of future privately developed pipelines, or will they abandon the hardworking employees providing livelihoods for thousands of families in Western Canada?" Moe said. Prime Minister Trudeau and the federal government have stated their support for the pipeline project. This week Trudeau called Biden's decision "a very difficult one for workers in Alberta and Saskatchewan." He said he would raise the issue with Biden in their call Friday, although it seems unlikely Trudeau would sway Biden from undoing one of his first moves in office. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney called the U.S. decision a violation of the Canada-U.S.-Mexico trade agreement. "At the very least, I call upon the government of Canada to press the U.S. administration to compensate TC Energy and the Government of Alberta for billions of dollars of costs incurred in the construction of Keystone XL to date," Kenney wrote in a letter to Trudeau. Moe calls Regina committee decision 'absurd' It is fairly rare for a Saskatchewan premier to take on a city council for one of its decisions, but that happened this week as Moe took issue with an approved amendment at Regina's executive committee. On Wednesday, the committee, made up of city councillors and the mayor, passed a motion to add fossil fuel producers and sellers to the list of companies banned from paying for naming rights on city buildings. Mayor Sandra Masters was one of four who voted against the amendment. Moe again took his frustrations to social media not long after the committee passed the motion. He said if council were to approve the change next week his government would "seriously consider the future of sponsorships to the City of Regina from provincial energy companies like SaskEnergy and SaskPower." The councillor who proposed the amendment, Dan LeBlanc said, "Mr. Moe should stay in his lane and stay out of municipal politics. Frankly, I would think he has bigger fish to fry with his handling of the COVID crisis." It is possible the amendment as written will not receive the approval of council when it meets next Wednesday.
Despite the curfew, frigid temperatures and available shelter space, many of Montreal's homeless prefer the freedom of sleeping outdoors and one Montreal organization wants to keep those who prefer the outside safe from the elements. CARE Montreal, a homeless advocacy organization, is offering 20 bivouac shelters made out of foam insulation with reflective foil to those in need, as part of a pilot project. The shelters are designed to keep people warm by trapping body heat. "Our thinking was, why don't we bring the shelter to them instead of asking them to come to the shelter," said Michel Monette, the founder and director of the organization which is based in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. The insulated, waterproof shelters are cylindrical, about two-metres long and come in one- or two-person models that can get up to 20 C warmer than outdoors. "What we know is shelters are not for everyone," said Monette. "They might have had some problems in shelters before and they might not understand the rules, or can't follow them." Monette hopes these portable shelters can be a safer option for people who want to avoid shelters. "It's a very very soft foam and it's insulated and the person inside can be easily protected from the weather," Monette said, noting there is some ventilation to allow for airflow. So far, one homeless person has tested out the shelter and complained of a few flaws but Monette is working with the shelter's designer to make some improvements. The bottom line is, Monette doesn't want to see people sleeping out in the cold. He said he has worked out a deal with Montreal police. He said the SPVM has agreed to not ticket people sleeping in the shelters for violating curfew. When asked to confirm this arrangement, an SPVM spokesperson directed questions to the Centre de contrôle des mesures d'urgence. That centre directed CBC's questions to Montreal public relations. A spokesperson for Montreal directed all questions to the SPVM and the SPVM has not yet responded to a second request for comment. Monette said the main goal is to save lives as temperatures can drop to deadly levels in the winter. "People are still outside, who sleep outside, and it's very sad," he said. "This is what we don't want."
A new book that documents the stories of Gwich'in elders to help bridge the divide between the generations and record a collective history of the Gwich'in people has just been published by the Gwich'in Tribal Council. The book, Our Whole Gwich'in Way of Life has Changed is a compilation of Gwich'in elders' stories from the late '90s and early 2000s. "It's stories from the people of the land," explained Sharon Snowshoe, director of the Gwich'in Tribal Council's Department of Cultural Heritage. "It's the elders telling their own life stories. It talks about residential school. You know, our elders like to tell stories to us, so there's a bit of humour in it, too." Depth of interviews 'overwhelming' Snowshoe said that in 1998, a group led by Leslie McCartney, then a master student in cultural anthropology who was working for the Gwich'in Social and Cultural Institute, and some community members and youth, set out to interview and record the stories of elders in the four Gwich'in communities. In consultation with elders, McCartney and her team recorded the oral histories of 23 Gwich'in elders, 17 women and six men. "The richness, depth of the interviews was unexpected and overwhelming," said Snowshoe. "Most of the elders interviewed were the last generation where Gwich'in was their mother tongue," said Snowshoe. She said the Gwich'in language is one of the most endangered languages in Canada, and the elders recorded were encouraged to tell their stories in the Gwich'in language so it would be preserved. She added that the stories "also speak to the Gwich'in principles of elders playing a crucial role as teachers of traditional knowledge, history, language and culture." As well, she said the principles are based on a special spiritual relationship between the Gwich'in and the land. Since the council can't have a book launch, Snowshoe sent copies of the book to schools in the Gwich'in area as well as to designated Gwich'in organizations for distribution. Only one elder that was interviewed for the book is still alive so Snowshoe sent a letter and a copy of the book to the oldest family member of the elders who are in the book. The book, which was published by University of Alberta Press, is also available online.
France's top health advisory body on Saturday recommended doubling the time between people being given the first and second COVID-19 vaccinations to six weeks from three in order to increase the number getting inoculated. The gap between the first and second injection in France is currently three weeks for people in retirement homes, who take priority, and four weeks for others such as health workers. The Haute Autorite de Sante (HAS) said spacing out the two required vaccinations of the Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna vaccines would allow the treatment of at least 700,000 more people in the first month.
HONG KONG — Thousands of Hong Kong residents were locked down in their homes Saturday in an unprecedented move to contain a worsening coronavirus outbreak in the city. Authorities said in a statement that an area comprising 16 buildings in the city's Yau Tsim Mong district would be locked down until all residents were tested. Residents would not be allowed to leave their homes until they received their test results to prevent cross-infection. “Persons subject to compulsory testing are required to stay in their premises until all such persons identified in the area have undergone testing and the test results are mostly ascertained,” the government statement said. The restrictions, which were announced at 4 a.m. in Hong Kong, were expected to end within 48 hours, the government said. Hong Kong has been grappling to contain a fresh wave of the coronavirus since November. Over 4,300 cases have been recorded in the last two months, making up nearly 40% of the city’s total. Coronavirus cases in Yau Tsim Mong district represent about half of infections in the past week. Approximately 3,000 people in Yau Tsim Mong had taken tests for coronavirus thus far, according to the Hong Kong government, joining the thousands of others around the crowded city of 7.5 million who have been tested in recent days. Police guarded access points to the working-class neighbourhood of old buildings and subdivided flats and arrested a 47-year-old man after he allegedly attacked an officer. The man had reportedly been told he would have to be tested after coming into the restricted area and would not be allowed to leave until he could show a negative test result. Sewage testing in the area picked up more concentrated traces of the virus, prompting concerns that poorly built plumbing systems and a lack of ventilation in subdivided units may present a possible path for the virus to spread. Hong Kong has previously avoided lockdowns in the city during the pandemic, with leader Carrie Lam stating in July last year that authorities will avoid taking such “extreme measures” unless it had no other choice. The government appealed to employers to exercise discretion and avoid docking the salary of employees who have been affected by the new restrictions and may not be able to go to work. Hong Kong has seen a total of 9,929 infections in the city, with 168 deaths recorded as of Friday. Zen Soo, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — A Senate committee should examine the hurdles that make it difficult to use secret intelligence in Canada's courts, says the government representative in the upper chamber. Sen. Marc Gold says "a fresh look" at the vexing issue would help highlight possible solutions that could make terrorism and espionage cases unfold more smoothly. "This is not an issue that's going to go away," Gold said in an interview. "There are reasons we are where we are." A former high-ranking U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation official recently spoke out about how the challenges caused delay and frustration in putting handcuffs on Jeffrey Delisle, a Canadian navy officer who was selling secrets to the Russians. Frank Figliuzzi, who was the FBI's head of counter-intelligence, said it fell to him to tell the RCMP about Delisle's betrayal even though the Canadian Security Intelligence Service had been monitoring the sub-lieutenant. CSIS, acting on legal advice, opted to keep its investigation sealed for fear of exposing sources and methods of the intelligence trade in open court. The Liberal government has acknowledged that federal agencies face challenges when attempting to use intelligence in a form that is admissible as evidence. Shortly before being appointed government representative in the Senate, Gold, a constitutional law expert, proposed that a committee delve into the subject. "The fear that sensitive information may ultimately be disclosed may lead our intelligence agencies to decide not to share it with law enforcement, with a corresponding and very real risk to public safety," he told the Senate. "And lest you think this is merely a hypothetical example, you may remember that CSIS chose not to share with the RCMP information it had in the period leading up to the bombing of Air India Flight 182 in 1985, which killed 329 people aboard." This "dilemma or conundrum" has led to "very complicated provisions" governing disclosure of evidence, including parallel proceedings in which designated judges of the Federal Court wrestle with the issues while a trial takes place in a different court, Gold noted. It can also mean the use of closed hearings where the affected party — often someone facing criminal charges — is not privy to the intelligence information, as well as the use of amicus curiae, or friends of the court, in certain legal proceedings or security-cleared special advocates in other cases, he said. "These mechanisms have their proponents and their critics, but all stakeholders tend to agree that the intelligence-to-evidence issue has potentially serious impacts on criminal prosecutions for terrorism, administrative proceedings regarding immigration, and on national security and public safety itself." Gold's motion evaporated when Parliament was prorogued last year, but he said in the interview he remains hopeful the Senate national security and defence committee will do a study. "I continue to believe that the issue is one that should be looked at in a serious and comprehensive and non-partisan way." A committee examination would also cast a light on a shadowy topic many know little about, which could help build public support for police and security agencies — something that is critical if they are going to protect Canadians and "the values that define us," Gold said. CSIS, the RCMP and the Department of Justice are working to improve their collaborative approach, Mary-Liz Power, a spokeswoman for Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, said recently. Briefing materials prepared for Blair in late 2019 said work on the question had found that the legal framework was largely sound and that a drastic legislative overhaul to mandates or machinery was not needed. The way forward, instead, consisted of "significant operational reform" at key agencies, complemented by targeted policy and legislative measures. The changes could also involve "significant budgetary considerations," including money for new personnel and advanced information-technology systems, the notes said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
Germaine McLaughlin's 90th birthday celebration wasn't typical. The pandemic meant there was no opportunity for a large party, but McLaughlin's daughter Cathy Arndt had an idea. She posted on social media asking for people to send Germaine — or "Gerry" — cards. Because of the post, the 90-year-old spent almost all day on Jan. 20 opening cards and receiving flowers from family, friends and complete strangers. "I never thought I'd reach the age of 90 really," McLaughlin said from her home in Weyburn, Sask. "It's quite nice to be acknowledged and just know that somebody's thinking about you," she said. "I'm pretty happy about this … pretty surprised." Arndt said she wasn't expecting to get that much for her mother's birthday, then people started sharing the post, including people outside of Saskatchewan. "Boy, the cards just started coming in," Arndt said. "And every day there was 10 or more cards coming in the mail." "The final count is 91 but it sounds like there's many more on their way to my mom." Cards came in from across Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and one from Germany. "It was overwhelming," Arndt said. "So much love." Arndt said people may have gotten on board because it gave them something positive to dwell on. "With hearing of so many deaths with COVID, it's just such a positive thing to think about." "We have to make the best of everything nowadays. We could be down and out about it all. But really, you have to look at the silver lining and the goodness in the world." Arndt said people shouldn't underestimate the kindness out there in the country. McLaughlin said on her special day she's feeling the love. "Thank you for everything," McLaughlin said. "And for my good wishes."
Larry King, who quizzed thousands of world leaders, politicians and entertainers for CNN and other news outlets in a career spanning more than six decades, has died aged 87, his media company said in a statement on Saturday. King had been hospitalized in Los Angeles with a COVID-19 infection, according to several media reports. "For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry's many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster," it said.
WOLVERHAMPTON, England — Wolverhampton has signed Brazilian striker Willian José on loan from Spanish club Real Sociedad until the end of the season, the Premier League club said Saturday. The loan signing adds depth to the Wolves squad after forward Raúl Jiménez suffered a fractured skull against Arsenal on Nov. 29. Wolves said the deal remains subject to Willian José being granted a work permit and international clearance, and that it includes an option to buy at the end of the season. Wolves said he is unlikely to be available for the team's next game against Chelsea in the Premier League on Wednesday. Willian José has scored 62 goals in 170 games for Real Sociedad but scored only three times in 13 games in La Liga this season. He scored twice in his last game for the Spanish club in a 2-0 win over Cordoba in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Humane Canada has been seeing a growth in farm sanctuaries across the country — and an operation run by Brandy and Ryan Mooney and their family just west of Montague, P.E.I. is one of the latest. The Mooneys bought an old farm last year, moving to the Island from Ontario to fulfil their dream of setting up a small sanctuary for unwanted farm animals to live out their lives. So far their Valleyfield Farm Sanctuary has a flock of more than 50 chickens, domestic ducks, a couple of goats, four pigs and three steers. They accept animals from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick as well as P.E.I. "Not that we shame others, but our way of life is plant-based, so we try to save as many lives as we can," Brandy Mooney says. "There's no reason in today's world that you need to eat animals. There's so many options as a vegetarian or vegan where you don't need that any longer." To save them from someone's stockpot, we took them in. — Brandy Mooney Mooney said they didn't always feel this way — she grew up on a poultry farm and her husband on a beef farm, and helped care for the animals. But after growing up and raising their own family, they gradually changed their minds and their diets. "We all decided enough was enough," she said. 'We took them in' To support the farm and the family, Mooney's husband Ryan works as a service technician at a local garage. Back in Ontario, Brandy worked as a nurse and as an office administrator, but now she works on the farm full-time. She said the family has chosen to do without a lot of life's luxuries like newer cars, a fancy house and brand-name clothing to be able to afford feed, shelter and veterinary care for the animals. The sanctuary also solicits donations online, and sells branded T-shirts. "A lot of animals that do come do need vet care immediately," she said, citing "bad situations" that left them injured or underweight. Some of the poultry came from backyard chicken farmers who tried the trend during the COVID-19 pandemic and decided it wasn't for them, or discovered they were contravening municipal bylaws, she said. They have 40 hens and a "bachelor flock" of about 15 roosters — often rejected because they're loud — as well as about 30 ducks, some of which people tried to keep in apartments (like in the TV show Friends). The hens do lay eggs, Mooney said, but the family doesn't eat them or profit from them — they feed them back to the chickens. "We have two 11-year-old chickens right now," she said. "We do have some some elder girls that stopped laying and in order to save them from someone's stockpot, we took them in." Animals come from variety of sources A couple of goats were given to them by the family of a man who died, she said, and their two commercial pigs came from the SPCA in New Brunswick, where they were found running down Main Street in Saint John this summer. They found a Jersey calf advertised for sale on Kijiji, she said. Others have been donated by like-minded people who have purchased them at livestock auctions in the Maritimes. They also periodically receive rabbits, cats and dogs, Mooney said. Sometimes they are left at the farm, while other times people ask them to take them because their housing situation has changed. The family has rehomed some to what Mooney considers good homes, and has also kept some of the cats — Ryan especially falls in love with the cats and finds it hard to give them up, he said. The Mooneys have decided the sanctuary is at capacity and are not accepting more animals until they can build more shelter, run electricity where they need it and fence more pasture, which they are planning for this coming spring. The couple's three children help out on the farm, and Brandy Mooney's brother and his wife also live there and help out. 'This is our form of activism' The Mooneys said they think the way most farm animals are treated, especially on P.E.I., is excellent, and they realize farmers care for the livestock. "I give all the farmers so much credit here," Brandy Mooney said. "Especially dairy cows are treated like gold here… it's just the end result sucks. "It's not that they're not taken care of while they're alive; it's just we don't need to eat them." We have certainly seen a growth in farm sanctuaries across Canada and this indicates to us a needed and welcome shift in the way Canadians view farmed animals. — Darcy Boucher, Humane Canada She said response from neighbouring farmers to their operation has been positive — she has become friends with some, and one even helped her when her calf was sick in the middle of the night. They said they don't plan to take their activism any further than peacefully taking in animals. "Having a sanctuary, this is our form of activism," Mooney said, stressing they don't want to make "too many waves." They don't believe they can change the agri-food system — they just want to change their place in it. "If we can only save, say, one animal, well that's one life. We've been blessed so far to be able to save 100 lives." 'It can become overwhelming very quickly' The P.E.I. Humane Society looks after pets including cats and dogs and is not mandated to care for farm animals. Spokesperson Jennifer Harkness urges this sanctuary and people looking to set up others to proceed with caution. "You have to think long and hard about capacity to care and your financial capacity. It's very hard to run an animal welfare organization. "It can become overwhelming very quickly." Their parent organization, Ottawa-based Humane Canada, says it has seen an increase in the number of farm sanctuaries. "We have certainly seen a growth in farm sanctuaries across Canada and this indicates to us a needed and welcome shift in the way Canadians view farmed animals. They are no longer just a food commodity; Canadians are recognizing them as sentient beings with complex lives deserving of love, compassion, and sanctuary," Humane Canada's marketing and communications manager Darcy Boucher said via email. The P.E.I. government does not have a separate set of rules for animal sanctuaries — they must follow the Animal Welfare Act, the same as all farms and pet owners. And they should have a premises identification number, required in regulations of P.E.I.'s Animal Health Act. (The Mooneys do.) There are no inspections of sanctuaries, but the province will send an animal protection officer to investigate if there are complaints of an animal in distress. The P.E.I. Department of Agriculture is currently surveying Islanders about their knowledge about animal welfare, even though they say they are still proud of the relatively new 2017 Animal Welfare Act. A spokesperson said via email the province "is interested to learn Islanders' perspective related to reporting animal welfare concerns and laws in P.E.I. This survey allows us to see if the act and our animal welfare work are meeting the public's expectations." 'We stand by our livestock sector' The P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture's executive director Robert Godfrey said the federation represents the sanctuary since it is a farm, along with all the other more traditional operations. "Everybody's entitled to their beliefs," Godfrey said. "We respect their point of view." But it also represents the livestock sector, and Godfrey responded this way to the fact that the sanctuary says it "rescues" farm animals: "We believe the farmers of this province are exemplary when it comes to their livestock. We stand by our livestock sector… our farmers are world class and respect the welfare of their animals." He noted there is a strong local demand for the eggs, meat, and dairy products that Island farms produce, and they are held to high standards. He noted it is extremely rare for farms to face complaints under the P.E.I. Animal Welfare Act. There are a few other animal sanctuaries on P.E.I. including several run by Buddhist monks, but most of them cater to horses, and are often at capacity. The Mooneys are seeking non-profit status for the sanctuary and they hope to eventually receive charitable status so they can issue tax receipts for donations they receive. 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LISBON, Portugal — Portugal will hold a presidential election Sunday, choosing a head of state to serve a five-year term as the country suffers through a national lockdown and a worsening coronavirus outbreak. Saturday is a day of political reflection, when campaigning and the publication of opinion polls are forbidden. So here’s a look at the election: WHAT’S AT STAKE? The president in Portugal has no legislative powers, which lie with parliament and the government, but is an influential voice and under exceptional circumstances can dissolve parliament and call an early election. The head of state can also veto legislation, although parliament can overturn that veto, and refer legislation to the constitutional Court for vetting. Mostly, the president aims to stand above the political fray, refereeing disputes and acting as an arbiter to defuse tensions. WHO’S IN THE RUNNING? Seven candidates are running, but if none captures more than 50% of the vote, a runoff between the two top candidates will take place on Feb. 14. The incumbent, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, is widely expected to be returned for a second and final term. Charming and affable, the 72-year-old Rebelo de Sousa’s willingness to pose for selfies spawned a Portuguese Facebook page called “Selfies com Marcelo” (Selfies with Marcelo). He has had an approval rating over 60% and his six challengers haven’t come close to denting his apparent lead. But a new right-wing populist, André Ventura, may capture around 11% of the vote, opinion polls indicate, and could secure second place in a runoff. That would send a shock wave through Portuguese mainstream politics, where extremists have so far been absent. HOW IS AN ELECTION HELD DURING A PANDEMIC? Portugal, which is in a lockdown, has one of the worst rates of infections and deaths in the world, according to a tally by John's Hopkins University. The election campaign featured none of the usual flag-waving rallies or other large public events in order to avoid gatherings that would fuel the spread of the virus. Campaigning ended Friday. Early voting drew almost 200,000 of the country's 9.3 million registered voters. The government is opening 2,000 more polling stations to prevent crowds from forming on Sunday. Restrictions on movement are being lifted for election day and voters must bring their own pens. Barry Hatton, The Associated Press
Less gas, more green. That is the motto behind the Indigenous Off-Diesel Initiative, a federal program that recently awarded $800,000 toward green energy projects in Inuvik — one of the biggest consumers of diesel in the north. The money was awarded to Grant Sullivan, president of Nihtat Energy Ltd., a Gwich'in development corporation. Sullivan said he is hopeful to put the money to use this summer. "The Gwich'in Tribal Council supports innovative energy projects developed by our own Gwich'in participants, like Grant Sullivan, for the benefit of our communities," Gwich'in Tribal Council Grand Chief Ken Smith said. Two solar projects slated The new funding is set aside to pursue solar projects in the Beaufort Delta region, according to the federal press release. The projects include a 2021 solar project at the Inuvik Satellite Station Facility, with funds to help with implementation and training, and planning for a grid-connected solar farm in Inuvik, slated to start in 2021 and be completed by 2022. Nihtat Energy Ltd. has a history of green initiatives and collaborations in the north. Last year, the company teamed up with The North West Company to install 640 solar energy panels on the roof of the Inuvik Northern store, saving approximately $60,000 in electricity expenses annually. The announcement comes four months after the federal government also pledged $8 million for eight clean energy projects in the territories.
After a lengthy career as a drug and alcohol counsellor, followed by a stint as a shuttle driver at a diamond mine, you might expect Allyn Rohatyn to go gently into retirement. Not this 77-year-old. Rohatyn decided it was time to go back to his sewing roots and open a business. Last October, he opened Allyn Rohatyn Upholstery in Hay River's Caribou Centre. Rohatyn does all kinds of work, from fixing furniture to repairing skidoo seats. He got his start as a sewer when he was five years old, growing up on a farm in Saskatchewan, creating little things like tea towels on his mom's old pedal-powered sewing machine. One of his first creations was a pair of pants he made for his sister out of flour bags. They were a little short for her, with the hem landing about 15 centimetres below the knee. "She said, 'you didn't make the legs long enough.' And I said, 'well I made them for you when you ride your bike so you don't get your pant legs caught in them, they're called pedal pushers.' She had a good laugh about that." Unconventional career path Rohatyn had his first upholstery shop in Bienfait, Saskatchewan, from 1965 to 1975. Around 1980, after "alcohol got a grip on my life and everything fell apart," he went to rehab. Afterwards he got a degree in social work, majoring in alcohol and drug studies at the University of Regina, which led to a career as a drug and alcohol counsellor. In 2006, he came North, taking another job as a counsellor. The job took him all over the North, to places like Fort Simpson, Wrigley and Fort Providence. But he never lost his passion for sewing and sewing machines. After he retired, he said that he needed something to do with his time. "I know some fellas that talk about retiring when they're 65 and I keep insisting to them that, you better have something in your mind that you want to do to keep yourself occupied, because you'll be going downhill quick," he says. But Rohatyn didn't get back into the sewing business quite yet. He fulfilled a long-time dream of working at a mine in the territories when he got a job as a shuttle driver at the Ekati mine. In 2016, however, he suffered a major heart attack. Uses same machine he learned on as a boy He says it was one of the things that inspired him to get back in the upholstery business and open his own shop. Customers can see about four different sewing machines in his shop but he owns 17 of them. He keeps the others at home. He collects them, restores them and then either uses them or gives them away. One of the sewing machines he uses is the same machine he learned on as a boy. He was 12 when his first boss' wife gave him the machine after her husband had died. That machine is more than 80 years old now. "Yep, that's the machine, the one that I use everyday. I have a couple other ones that are industrial machines, I just like to use the one that I learned to sew with." Rohatyn says with a little bit of care and maintenance, the machine still works great to this day, and it's his main work horse in the shop. Never know where business will come from He says his most notable creation so far has been for a dairy farmer whose cows would have their udders so full of milk, they were almost dragging on the ground. "He came in one day to my little shop and he asked me if I could make him a bra for his dairy cows. I thought he was trying to pull my leg. "We went out to his dairy farm, and I measured them all up, and I went back to my shop and I made up this bag with a bra-like feature to it, and a belt that went over top of the cow. Went back out and we put it on the cow, and uh, I think even the cow was happy. "Later on, he asked me if I could make about 20 more of them!"
A Sudbury startup will receive $500,000 from the federal government to help commercialize an innovative medical device and create local jobs. Flosonics Medical will use the funds to hire a team of software developers and industry experts to develop the IT infrastructure needed to roll out its FDA-cleared FloPatch medical device. The IT infrastructure will ensure that the device can be fully integrated with various medical records systems in hospitals and clinics in Canada and the United States. “This device right here is the world’s first wireless wearable ultrasound system,” said Flosonics Medical COO and co-founder Andrew Eibl. “What we’ve done is turned a complex technology into a wearable that is push-button simple that allows nurses and clinicians to get the data they need to care for their patients when they are critically ill and when important decisions need to be made.” The technology allows for real-time hemodynamic monitoring for patients that need cardiopulmonary and fluid resuscitation. When a patient is critically ill and experiencing major trauma, they are often pumped full of fluids to increase blood flow. This process must be monitored closely, especially in patients with weaker hearts. It’s usually done via traditional ultrasound, which can be a slow, inefficient two-person job. The FloPatch is a peel-and-stick Doppler blood flow monitor that can assess patient response to fluid intake. Any paramedic, nurse or physician can use it, and it can also be used to monitor patients remotely. “The project that we’re announcing today is ultimately to enable the deployment and interoperability of this technology in a hospital throughout different departments,” said Eibl. “The system that we’re developing, through hiring at least five new software developers, is going to enable us to roll out communications across North America, as well as leverage that information to further drive the business-use case around the quality metrics that are important to healthcare systems as well as patient outcomes.” The funding will help the company develop IT systems in its early pilot sites and, eventually, roll them out in Canada and the U.S. as the company continues to grow. “It will help doctors make better informed decisions that impact quality of care, and hopefully get patients out of the hospital sooner, avoid complications, and reduce the cost of the overall healthcare delivery system,” said Eibl. FedNor’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program is providing the funding. “Supporting Sudbury’s innovators and job creators is a key priority of our government,” said Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre during the funding announcement on Friday. “I’m excited that this investment in Flosonics Medical will help launch a promising new medical device that has the potential to significantly improve patient care in Sudbury and around the world.” The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government. firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @SudburyStar Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star