Meghan Markle Paid A Secret Visit To Charity Centre

Olivia Blair
Photo credit: Samir Hussein - Getty Images

From ELLE

Meghan Markle paid a secret visit to a charity close to her heart at the start of the year.

On Wednesday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussexes' official Instagram account revealed that Meghan popped into the Mayhew animal welfare charity 'to hear about the incredible progress made throughout the festive period'.

In the two pictures shared to the social media site, Meghan is seen wrapped in a black coat, as she follows a Mayhew employee into the building and then in the second photo is seen kneeling down and looking concerned as she pets an unwell rescue dog.

'The Duchess of Sussex, having been proud patron of Mayhew since January 2019 and long understanding the connection between animal and community welfare, applauds the people at Mayhew for the vital work that they do every day,' the statement said.

This trip was one of several discreet charity visits, the Duchess of Sussex conducted after returning from Canada, where the couple spent their extended Christmas break.

Ahead of her official engagement to Canada House with Prince Harry on 7th January, Meghan also visited the women she had previously worked with in the Hubb community kitchen, which was set up after the Grenfell fire tragedy.

Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images

Shortly after these visits, Meghan and Harry announced they would be stepping back as senior working members of the royal family and no longer accepting public funding for their work, instead dividing their time between the UK and Canada.

At the weekend, the Queen revealed the royal family had come to an agreement on the couple's future plans, with Buckingham Palace stating that, although the couple can no longer formally represent the Queen, they have the monarch's blessing to maintain their private patronages and associations.

Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images

Therefore, Meghan still stands as patron of Mayhew, which she first visited while pregnant with Archie in 2019. The rehoming and rehabilitation of animals is an important cause to the former actress, who is the owner of two rescue dogs herself.



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Eight of the hereditary chiefs have clearly opposed the pipeline and this group signed an eviction letter to CGL in early January ordering workers off unceded Wet'suwet'en territory.The chiefs who signed the letter are: * Knedebeas (Warner William), Yex T'sa Wilk'us (Dark House) * Woos (Frank Alec), Cassyex (Grizzly House) * Madeek (Jeff Brown), Anaskaski (Where It Lies Blocking the Trail) * Gisday'wa (Fred Tom), Kaiyexweniits (House in the Middle of Many) * Hagwilnegh (Ron Mitchell), G'en Egh La Yex (House of Many Eyes) * Na'Moks (John Ridsdale), Tsa K'en Yex (Rafters on Beaver House) * Smogelgem (Warner Naziel), Tsaiyex (Sun House) * Kloum Khun (Alphonse Gagnon), Medzeyez (Owl House)Samooh (Herb Naziel), hereditary chief of Kayex (Birchbark House), doesn't appear to have voiced a position on the pipeline and did not sign the eviction notice.Chief Na'MoksChief Na'Moks has frequently served as spokesperson for the hereditary chiefs, and has thus risen to prominence in media coverage of the issue. "We do expect [RCMP and Coastal GasLink] to meet and discuss things," said Na'Moks in early January in the face of an injunction order and enforcement by police."We need them to understand that what they are doing is destroying our lands, our ecological sites, our burial sites," he said. "They have no comprehension of how important it is to our people."Chief WoosChief Woos has also played the role of spokesperson for the hereditary chiefs, especially when the issue in question involves the land of the Grizzly House.Woos was part of the delegation that travelled to Ontario and Quebec to meet with members of other First Nations who have established solidarity rail blockades.In a press conference after the meeting on Jan. 21, Woos spoke out against the police enforcement of the court-ordered injunction against the blockades on Wet'suwet'en land."We demand the remote detachment community-industry service office established by the RCMP on Wet'suwet'en territory without our consent be immediately removed, and that the RCMP are completely removed from our territory and cease patrols on our lands. Out means out," said Woos."We demand that all CGL activities cease within Wet'suwet'en territory while nation-to-nation talks are going," he said.Chief SmogelgemChief Smogelgem is central to one of the three blockades, or checkpoints created in opposition to the pipeline. Along with the title Smogelgem of Tsaiyex (Sun House), Warner Naziel holds the hereditary title of Toghestiy of Medzeyex (Owl House).He is one of only two named defendants in the injunction against the Wet'suwet'en blockades along the pipeline route.Naziel helped set up an original blockade in 2012, according to the B.C. Supreme Court injunction decision, and assisted the emerging group known as Unist'ot'en with trapping, hunting, gathering and logistical support.Freda HusonFreda Huson has served as spokesperson for Yex T'sa Wilk'us (Dark House) and Unist'ot'en. She holds the hereditary title Howihkat within Dark House.Unist'ot'en is a camp created by Wet'suwet'en pipeline opponents to strategically reoccupy land along the pipeline route. It's associated with Dark House.Huson, along with Naziel, is named in the injunction as a central character in the opposition to the CGL pipeline.Molly WickhamMolly Wickham is a member of the Gitdumden clan who speaks for the group behind the Gidim'ten Access Point at 44 km, along the Morice Forest Service Road. The B.C. Supreme Court ordered an injunction barring people from obstructing CGL workers at the camp, resulting in 14 arrests on Jan. 9.Soon afterward, Wickham coordinated the construction of a new camp at the 27-kilometre mark near the RCMP checkpoint, as directed by the hereditary chiefs. She is seen in a video posted on social media Jan. 19 appealing for help from supporters."Come out, be self-sustaining. Be dressed for the weather. Come to 27 km for a day. Come to 27 km for a few days. Come and support us on this front line on Wet'suwet'en territory," said Wickham as a generator hummed in the background.According to the injunction decision, Wickham made public statements that the people occupying the camps were doing it to prevent CGL from completing the work required to get permits and authorizations, "and to ultimately prevent the pipeline project from being completed."Rob AlfredRob Alfred is identified in court documents as being associated with a group calling itself Tsayu Land Defenders, which established one of the Wet'suwet'en camps along the pipeline right-of-way. Alfred holds the hereditary title Ste ohn Tsiy under Chief Na'Moks in Tsa K'en Yex (Rafters on Beaver House), and is active on Twitter using the handle @showmekittys."This isn't just about a pipeline. It's about Indigenous title," Alfred told CBC News. "We wouldn't have this conflict if the governments would step up and deal with that issue. I do wholeheartedly believe the project won't be completed as is."Do you have more to add to this story? Email rafferty.baker@cbc.caFollow Rafferty Baker on Twitter: @raffertybaker

  • South Korea, US postpone annual military drills due to virus
    News
    The Canadian Press

    South Korea, US postpone annual military drills due to virus

    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — The South Korean and U.S. militaries announced Thursday that they were postponing their annual joint drills due to concern about a viral outbreak that has infected soldiers in both countries' armed forces, put many troops in quarantine and closed base facilities.Twenty South Korean soldiers and one American service member in South Korea have tested positive for the new coronavirus, which has infected about 1,600 people in the Asian country, the second largest outbreak outside mainland China.In a joint news conference, South Korean and U.S. military officers said their joint drills planned for the first half of this year will be put off until further notice.South Korean military chief Park Han-ki proposed the delay out of concerns for troop safety and Robert Abrams, the commander of the U.S. military in South Korea, accepted Park’s proposal based on the severity of the virus outbreak, said Kim Joon Rak, a spokesman at the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff.Lee Peters, a U.S. military spokesman, said the postponement decision "was not taken lightly" and that two countries’ alliance remains “ironclad and unbreakable."“Despite the postponement of combined training, the ROK-US alliance remains committed to providing a credible military deterrence and maintaining a robust combined defence posture to protect the ROK against any threat," he said. ROK stands for the Republic of Korea.South Korea boasts a 600,000-strong military, while the U.S. has 28,500 troops in the country and those troops are at particular risk due to the close quarters at the bases where they are stationed.In recent days, South Korea suspended some unilateral field training, placed 9,570 troops under quarantine and banned most of its enlisted soldiers from leaving their bases. The U.S. military closed some amenities at several bases and was urging its personnel to avoid handshakes and large gatherings if possible.Experts say the postponement of the drills was inevitable because the potential spread of the virus into military barracks could significantly weaken military readiness.The allies have previously suspended or scaled back their regular military exercises, but that was part of diplomatic efforts to disarm North Korea, which views the training as a rehearsal for an invasion.North Korea has not publicly reported any case of the virus, but many experts say the the country also likely reduced its own military training as it’s preoccupied with guarding against the virus.An epidemic in North Korea could cause a devastating consequence because of its dilapidated medical and health care infrastructures, experts say.This makes it unlikely that North Korea would launch any major provocation anytime soon though leader Kim Jong Un in late December threatened to unveil “a new strategic weapon" soon, said analyst Kim Dae-young at the Korea Research Institute for National Strategy in South Korea.The allies were supposed to hold their major springtime drills in March, mostly tabletop exercises and simulations. The drills were revised to create more space in nuclear disarmament diplomacy with North Korea and replaced much bigger exercises that had particularly irritated Pyongyang.Yang Wook, a military expert who teaches at South Korea’s Hannam University, said the springtime command post drills involve officers gathering at a small place so it’s easier for them to catch the virus if there is a patient.“If they all wear gas masks and train together, they could be safe. If they can’t do so, it’s not a bad idea to be more cautious,” Yang said.Hyung-Jin Kim, The Associated Press

  • Debate takeaways: Bernie bruised but not broken
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Debate takeaways: Bernie bruised but not broken

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Democrats held their final debate before the South Carolina presidential primary and the critical Super Tuesday contests that follow three days later.Here are some key takeaways.BERNIE BASHBernie Sanders is rarely a quiet voice, but he has managed to get through nine debates with few bruises. That ended Tuesday night when he was attacked on multiple fronts by every opponent.The overarching themes: Sanders can rile up a crowd but can’t get things done. He is unelectable as a democratic socialist. He will drag down the Democratic House majority.“Can anyone imagine moderate Republicans voting for him?" former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg asked. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar noted that Sanders’ proposals cost $60 trillion — triple the U.S. economy. “The math does not add up,” she warned.Sanders parried some of the blows but also got into shouting matches. Asked by a moderate how he’d pay for his plans, he responded coolly, “How many hours do you have?”Centrist Democrats who hoped the Vermont senator would come off as not electable may be heartened, but so could Sanders’ supporters who see their candidate as passionate and authentically unpolished.BLOOMBERG TRIES TO BOUNCE BACKThe good news for Bloomberg is this debate didn’t go as badly as the last one. The bad news is no one is grading on the curve.He ceded prime target status to Sanders, but took his share of criticism. He still got scratched and occasionally came off as brittle.Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren continued to be his nemesis, slamming him for funding Republican senators and for accusations that women at his company were mistreated. She brought up an allegation that Bloomberg had told a pregnant woman in his employ to “kill it" — which Bloomberg heatedly denied.Later, he tried to make a joke about how everyone else onstage should have been scared to show up “after I did such a good job of beating them last week.”The joke was one of many he offered up that didn’t land. A comedian's timing he does not possess. A billionaire's wallet, though, he does. And he bought advertising for the commercial breaks during the debate.BIDEN BALANCEDFormer Vice-President Joe Biden has called South Carolina his “firewall,” even before his dismal finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire. If he gets the breakthrough he needs, it probably won't be because of a sterling debate performance.Biden seemed as comfortable as he has on any Democratic debate stage since the first encounters last June. But he little to offer a new rationale for his candidacy.He emphasized his affinity for issues dear to black voters and reminded them of his decades-long advocacy.Overall, it was a steady performance when Biden most needed it. And he expressed some confidence. Pressed on whether he’d drop out if he doesn’t win Saturday, Biden declared, “I’m going to win South Carolina.”WARREN'S CASE AGAINST SANDERS (AND BLOOMBERG)Warren had to make a difficult straddle at the debate — she wanted to spotlight her liberal positions to pry voters from front-runner Sanders, but she also had to make a pitch for why they should back her rather than him.She has been hesitant to fully voice her criticism of Sanders but leaned into it Tuesday night. “Bernie’s winning right now because the Democratic Party is a progressive party and progressive ideas are popular ideas,” she said.Warren also reprised her attacks on Bloomberg, which might not help her win votes, but clearly helps her raise money.BUTTIGIEG: ANOTHER GOOD NIGHT, BUT WILL IT MEAN VOTES?If the race were about skill on the debate stage, it might be hard to deny Pete Buttigieg the nomination. He continued to answer questions with calm and clarity, and showed he could throw an elbow too.But his path forward is still unclear, given that his support is overwhelmingly white — and the Democratic electorates in most upcoming primaries are not.Buttigieg helped lead the moderates’ charge against Bernie Sanders, almost mocking the idea of a general election between Sanders and President Donald Trump. “Imagine spending the better part of 2020” listening to such a match-up, he pondered.It added up to another consistent performance for Buttigieg. The question is whether that will mean anything at the ballot box.KLOBUCHAR FIGHTS TO BE HEARDThe star of the New Hampshire debate had to fight to be heard in Charleston.Klobuchar pulled out some of her go-to lines — like the one about checking with the duck hunters in her family as she formulates gun control policies — but she was often cut off by moderators for going over her time.She consistently made the case for a Midwestern moderate as the best candidate to take on Trump. She hammered Sanders on the cost of his plans.And she had one striking moment, when she was asked about coronavirus and said the issue was too serious for politics. "I'm not going to give my campaign website," Klobuchar said. Instead, she pointed viewers to CDC.gov, the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.But she had a hard time breaking through at a time she may have needed it most.THE OTHER BILLIONAIRETom Steyer has pinned his hopes on snatching South Carolina from Biden. But on Tuesday he looked like someone whose momentum has been yanked away.Steyer spluttered after Biden accused him of investing in private prisons as a hedge fund manager. He condemned both Sanders and Bloomberg as unelectable but never was able to make a clear case for himself.Without a clear win in South Carolina, it’s hard to see how Steyer wins anywhere else.MODERATE MUDDLE CONTINUESThe moderate, anti-Bernie lane remains crowded. So crowded that several candidates couldn't agree on a strategy to clear some of the space.Buttigieg acted as if Biden wasn't on the stage at all, trying to make himself the clear alternative to Sanders. Biden and Bloomberg barely acknowledged one another. Klobuchar and Buttigieg did not renew their blood feud.The jumble underscores the uncertainty of the race beyond the reality that Sanders is still the front-runner. He's not a commanding one yet. But he may not have to be if the moderate muddle continues.WHITE STAGE, BLACK VOTEThe seven white Democratic presidential candidates took turns offering various reasons black voters should support them. Some attacked their rivals — or struggled to defend their own records.Biden immediately took aim at Sanders for contemplating a primary challenge to President Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, in 2012.Steyer said he’d spent his career and his political activists fighting for, among other things, “racial justice.” But Biden went after him, too, for his investments in private prisons.The scenes highlight the oddity of an all-white slate of presidential candidates in party where about four out of 10 voters are non-white. It’s even more stark in South Carolina, where black voters are likely to make up more than 60% of the primary electorate.When they weren't attacking each other on race, several candidates found ways to name drop Rep. Jim Clyburn, the House majority whip and the most influential Democrat in the state. Clyburn is expected to endorse a candidate Wednesday.___Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”Bill Barrow And Nicholas Riccardi, The Associated Press

  • How deadly is new coronavirus? It's still too early to tell
    News
    The Canadian Press

    How deadly is new coronavirus? It's still too early to tell

    WASHINGTON — Scientists can’t tell yet how deadly the new virus that’s spreading around the globe really is — and deepening the mystery, the fatality rate differs even within China.As infections of the virus that causes COVID-19 surge in other countries, even a low fatality rate can add up to lots of victims, and understanding why one place fares better than another becomes critical to unravel.“You could have bad outcomes with this initially until you really get the hang of how to manage" it, Dr. Bruce Aylward, the World Health Organization envoy who led a team of scientists just back from China, warned Tuesday.WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE DEATH RATE?In the central China city of Wuhan, where the new coronavirus first exploded, 2% to 4% of patients have died, according to WHO. But in the rest of hard-hit China, the death rate was strikingly lower, 0.7%.There’s nothing different about the virus from one place to another. Instead, the never-before-seen strain of coronavirus struck Wuhan fast — before anyone knew what the illness was — and overwhelmed health facilities. As is usual at the beginning of an outbreak, the first patients were severely ill before they sought care, Aylward said.By the time people were getting sick in other parts of China, authorities were better able to spot milder cases — meaning there were more known infections for each death counted.And while there are no specific treatments for COVID-19, earlier supportive care may help, too. China went from about 15 days between onset of symptoms and hospitalization early in the outbreak, to about three days more recently.Still, Aylward expressed frustration at people saying: “'Oh, the mortality rate’s not so bad because there’s way more mild cases.' Sorry, the same number of people that were dying, still die.”WHAT ABOUT DEATHS OUTSIDE OF CHINA?Until the past week, most people diagnosed outside of China had become infected while travelling there.People who travel generally are healthier and thus may be better able to recover, noted Johns Hopkins University outbreak specialist Lauren Sauer. And countries began screening returning travellers, spotting infections far earlier in places where the medical system wasn’t already strained.That’s now changing, with clusters of cases in Japan, Italy and Iran, and the death toll outside of China growing.Aylward cautioned that authorities should be careful of “artificially high” death rates early on: Some of those countries likely are seeing the sickest patients at first and missing milder cases, just like Wuhan did.HOW DOES COVID-19 COMPARE TO OTHER DISEASES?A cousin of this new virus caused the far deadlier severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak in 2003, and about 10% of SARS patients died.Flu is a different virus family, and some strains are deadlier than others. On average, the death rate from seasonal flu is about 0.1%, said Dr. Anthony Fauci of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.That's far lower than what has been calculated so far for COVID-19. But millions of people get the flu every year around the world, leading to an annual death toll in the hundreds of thousands.WHO’S MOST AT RISK FROM COVID-19?Older people, especially those with chronic illnesses such as heart or lung diseases, are more at risk.Among younger people, deaths are rarer, Aylward said. But some young deaths have made headlines, such as the 34-year-old doctor in China who was reprimanded by communist authorities for sounding an early alarm about the virus only to later succumb to it.In China, 80% of patients are mildly ill when the virus is detected, compared with 13% who already are severely ill. While the sickest to start with are at highest risk of death, Aylward said, a fraction of the mildly ill do go on to die — for unknown reasons.On average, however, WHO says people with mild cases recover in about two weeks, while those who are sicker can take anywhere from three to six weeks.___The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.Lauran Neergaard, The Associated Press

  • News
    Reuters

    China says WSJ admitted mistakes after its reporters expelled

    China's foreign ministry said on Wednesday the Wall Street Journal had been in touch with the Chinese government over a February column that Beijing says carried a racist headline, and had admitted its mistakes. Toby Doman, spokesman for Wall Street Journal's publisher Dow Jones & Co, declined to comment on the matter when contacted by Reuters. Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters that the newspaper had not formally apologised.

  • Bouygues, Free, Orange and SFR apply for French 5G telecoms spectrum
    News
    Reuters

    Bouygues, Free, Orange and SFR apply for French 5G telecoms spectrum

    French telecoms companies Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, Orange and SFR have made offers for France's new 5G telecoms spectrum, the regulator, Arcep, said on Wednesday. "All four candidates have stipulated their desire to obtain one of the four blocks of 50 MHz that will be awarded in exchange for the commitments set forth in the procedure," Arcep said in a statement. Arcep added it was hoping to award the 5G licenses by June at the latest.

  • News
    CBC

    OPINION | UCP meddling undermines Alberta universities' basic purpose

    This column is an opinion from Eric Strikwerda, who teaches Canadian History at Athabasca University.Quaecumque vera. It's the motto of the University of Alberta, my alma mater. It means whatsoever things are true, and for more than a century, Alberta students and researchers and professors have engaged in a collective project in its pursuit. Quaecumque vera is not just a slogan or a pithy Latin phrase adorning the U of A's crest.It means to pursue truth no matter its implications; it means to follow evidence wherever it leads; it means to seek out deeper insights into our place in the world, into our place in the universe. Even if that pursuit is uncomfortable. Maybe especially if it's uncomfortable. It's on these principles that the bedrock of our very society rests. All universities, both here in Alberta and around the world, follow the same basic project. It's not a complicated one. Lately, however, we seem to be moving ever further from truth. In early September, Alberta's so-called Blue Ribbon Panel reported on the province's finances. With an analysis ranging widely over the main business of government, including health care, education, and social services spending, the Blue Ribbon Panel concluded that Alberta spends too much and suggested ways to save money.Evidence of this overspending was scant, and what evidence there was appeared more cherry-picked to support the panel's conclusion than it did to reveal the actual state of the province's finances. The panel's suggestions for savings came straight out of the now widely discredited austerity playbook.The panel's report was a political document, light on facts, and heavy on ideology.Whatsoever may be true? Not so much.By January, news reports made clear that the panel itself was far from the "independent body" meant to report honestly on the province's finances.The day before the panel's members were even publicly named, panel chair Janice MacKinnon received straight from the premier's office a draft op-ed meant to be published under her name."The op-ed is great," MacKinnon wrote back to staff in the premier's office, "Well done. I have no changes."The Calgary Herald ran the op-ed four days later, under the headline "Opinion: If We Make Measured Choices Now, We Can Avoid Draconian Cuts Later."Whatsoever may be true? Not so much.But whatever. These sorts of panels, after all, are usually cobbled together hastily and made up of panelists with a decided bias sympathetic to the governing party's ideology.They're PR agents meant to cast a generous light on the government benches. They ought not be used as credible blueprints for future policy directions.Nevertheless, 26 recommendations stood precariously atop the report's shaky foundations.One of them called for the implementation of a performance-based post-secondary funding model. It wanted the province to "link funding to the achievement of specific goals or priorities," including skills required for the "current and future labour market," the commercialization of research and technology, and, more vaguely, "achieving broader societal and economic goals."Not surprisingly, the minister of Advanced Education adopted the recommendation enthusiastically, announcing in January the imposition of a performance-based funding model on all public universities and colleges.The precise details of how it's all supposed to work remain as yet unclear. What is clear is that the ministry expects Alberta's post-secondary institutions to concentrate their efforts on serving the needs of the labour market (read employers), commercializing research to serve business interests, and measuring post-secondary success in terms of graduate incomes.The trouble is that all available evidence shows clearly that none of these performance-based metrics actually achieves the goals they set out.Researchers have carefully shown how the needs of the labour market are dynamic, and that trying to match today's university programs to tomorrow's labour market needs is folly.They have documented how efforts at commercializing research and technology in other jurisdictions have led to a narrowing of research and a strangling of innovation.And they have pointed out the obvious: that universities and colleges have no influence over the incomes of their graduates. Here's the thing, though. The ministry already knows all about the failure of performance-based metrics. It tried to make them work in the early 1990s here in Alberta, and then quietly shelved the idea when it became clear that it wouldn't work.So why push ahead with such an ill-considered scheme anyway? (This is where the attack on truth lies). Because improving Alberta's post-secondary system is not the goal. It never was.The goal instead is to coax a crisis out of nothing at all, reduce post-secondary institutions' autonomy by gutting their funding, and narrow researchers' fields of inquiry to ones supported by the government's ideology. Make no mistake. I'm deeply unhappy with the broader direction this government is taking our province. Unhappy, but not surprised. After all, austerity governments gonna austere. But I'm utterly disappointed in the senior leadership of our post-secondary institutions for their weak-kneed acquiescence to the minister's cynical directives. If ever there was a moment to stand up to bad methods that lead to worse outcomes, then that moment is now. Quaecumque vera. It means we don't truck in untruths here. It means we don't trade in falsehoods.Well, it's supposed to, anyway.This column is an opinion. For more information about our commentary section, please read this editor's blog and our FAQ.

  • Alberta government to add tourism levy to short-term rentals
    News
    CBC

    Alberta government to add tourism levy to short-term rentals

    Renting an Airbnb or VRBO in Alberta will soon be more expensive.The Alberta government plans to introduce details this week about extending its tourism levy to short-term rentals like Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO.A government spokesperson confirmed that details of the levy will be announced in Thursday's budget, but declined to provide further information citing budget confidentiality. The levy adds a four-per-cent charge to any rental under 28 days, though most short-term rentals aren't included under the current guidelines. Though specifics aren't outlined, the change is mentioned in the government's 2019-23 Fiscal Plan. According to the plan, the tourism levy change is expected to generate about $5 million in 2020-21. The tax will be charged through the service used to book the rental. Currently, most short-term rentals are exempt, as only establishments with more than three bedrooms that can be rented separately are subject to the levy. The government's fiscal plan said the levy was not designed with short-term rentals in mind and "gives these operators an unfair advantage over hotels and other accommodation providers that are subject to the levy."The Alberta Hotel and Lodge Association has applauded the move as an important step in levelling the playing field Other jurisdictionsIf enacted, Alberta won't be the first province to tax short-term rentals. Both British Columbia and Quebec have taxes that are charged through platforms like Airbnb.In Quebec, guests pay a 3.5-per-cent lodging tax on the cost of the listing for any reservation under 31 nights. In B.C., there is a eight-per-cent provincial sales tax (PST) for the listing price (including cleaning fees) for reservations 26 nights and shorter. A municipal and regional district tax (MRDT) of two to three per cent is also applied. On a municipal level, several cities in Ontario apply a municipal accommodation tax of four per cent to short-term rental reservations, among them: Barrie, Brockville, Greater Sudbury, Mississauga, Ottawa, Kitchener and Windsor.  Some Alberta cities have also begun to regulate short-term rentals. Both Calgary and Edmonton require short-term rental hosts to have a business licence to operate in the city.'Pay our fair share'Airbnb said it has been working with the provincial government on the addition of the tourism levy and the company hasn't been negatively affected by taxes in Quebec and B.C. "We're proud to pay our fair share and help to promote the tourist economy," said Nathan Rotman, Airbnb Canada's deputy director of public policy.According to Airbnb, there are about 12,000 listings in Alberta including rooms in homes, entire home listings, boutique hotels and traditional B&Bs. Rotman said he didn't have the details on Alberta's plan for the tourism levy, but said B.C.'s model has been a "very successful tool to help promote the tourist economy in that province."Airbnb's provincial and municipal tax collection in B.C. was almost double what was expected and generated $42.9 million in one year, with $33.7 million of that coming from PST and the other $9.2 million from municipal and regional district tax.'Catching up with other provinces'Dave Kaiser, president and CEO of the Alberta Hotel and Lodge Association (AHLA), said extending the tourism levy to short-term rentals has been a long time coming."It's been a file we've been working on for several years and couldn't get any traction with previous governments here in Alberta. We're happy that it's finally happening, and in reality I think Alberta is catching up with some of the other provinces."The AHLA provided input to the government about the tourism levy change and gave several recommendations. The association wants the restriction about the number of rooms removed and wants online platforms to collect and remit the levy on behalf of the properties. It also wants data collected from online platforms shared with municipalities. Kaiser said the the AHLA has other recommendations for the regulation of short-term rentals, including one significant change federally: GST."Without GST and without a tourism levy, someone who is operating a short-term rental has a nine per cent tax advantage or price advantage on hotels."

  • News
    CBC

    Snow, ice pellets, freezing rain expected Thursday night

    After a spring-like week, a mix of winter weather is forecast to hit Prince Edward Island Thursday night.Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement.It is calling for snow, ice pellets and a risk of freezing rain starting late in the day Thursday and continuing overnight."Across the Island we're going to see a variety of weather, and mostly snow from Charlottetown on westward, but from Charlottetown on east we're going to be seeing a mix of some snow, ice pellets, possibly even some freezing rain," said CBC meteorologist Tina Simpkin."Just because we're not under any weather warnings don't let your guard down. I think we're going to get a lot of snow."Simpkin said she does expect a snowfall warning will be issued as the storm approaches. With wind gusts up to 90 km/h forecast for Thursday night, a wind warning is also possible.Simpkin expects 15 to 20 centimetres of snow from Charlottetown west, and 10 to 20 east of Charlottetown, with a higher risk of freezing rain in Kings County. Strong easterly winds could reduce visibility as early as Thursday afternoon.The precipitation is forecast to taper to flurries or showers Friday morning, but poor driving conditions could persist.More from CBC P.E.I.

  • Met opera gets visionary new “Dutchman”
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Met opera gets visionary new “Dutchman”

    NEW YORK — Francois Girard created quite a splash — literally — at the Metropolitan Opera seven years ago when he flooded the stage with fake blood for a scene in "Parsifal." Now he's back for another Wagner opera with a production dominated by a giant eye, a red dress, and 47 hanging ropes.The French-Canadian director is bringing the Met his vision of “Der Fliegende Holländer” (“The Flying Dutchman”), which tells of a sailor condemned to sail the seas for eternity unless he can find a woman willing to be faithful to him until death. He finds such a woman in the heroine, Senta, who is obsessed by a portrait of the Dutchman hanging in her home.In Girard's interpretation, the focus of the opera is more on Senta than on the Dutchman himself.“This is the central argument of the piece,” he said in an interview a week before the opening. “It's the story of a girl who is looking at a painting so intensely that it comes to life and will swallow her into death.”The first thing audiences will see as they enter the auditorium is a painting by set designer John Macfarlane that is framed by the Met's gold proscenium and shows a glowering eye embedded in a stormy sky. It represents the Dutchman's portrait, and as soon as the curtain rises during the overture we see another eye in the background and a dancer dressed in red who stands in for Senta. (In Wagner's libretto, Senta doesn't appear until Act 2.)That red dress is the only splotch of colour in a production where sets and costumes are deliberately drab, filled with blacks, whites and grays.“It's the red of passion, of human life and blood,” Girard said. “She's the centre of gravity of the piece and she has to stand out.”As for the Dutchman, he becomes an extension of Senta's imagination, “a ghost who comes out of the cosmos and takes a human form.” A giant shadow figure mirrors his movements in the background, and we glimpse his ship taking form in the cloud-smeared sky. Later, his crew is depicted by blobs of light.Perhaps the most striking visual image is a forest of ropes dangling from the flies in Act 2. The women of Senta's village twirl these to suggest their weaving — instead of using spinning wheels as indicated in the libretto.“It's really Senta's destiny that they're weaving,” Girard said. “They become twisted and increasingly knotty as she's getting caught in the web.”Girard, who is also a filmmaker best known for “Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould” and “The Red Violin,” said his decision to focus on Senta is “a little bit like a film where you have a choice of using a wider lens or going a little bit closer up. Yes, I am making the directorial choice to stress certain elements vs. others, but it's done in light of the meaning of what is in the text and the music.”The new production, which opens March 2, stars bass-baritone Yevgeny Nikitin as the Dutchman and soprano Anja Kampe as Senta and will be conducted by Valery Gergiev. (Nikitin was a late replacement for Bryn Terfel, who broke his ankle shortly before he was to arrive for rehearsals.) The March 14 matinee performance will be televised live in HD in movie theatres around the world.Girard's first venture into Wagner was in 2006 when he directed “Siegfried,” the third of four operas in the “Ring” cycle for the Canadian Opera Company. His Met debut came in 2013 with his widely acclaimed “Parsifal,” Wagner's last and most complex masterpiece.“Dutchman,” on the other hand, is the earliest of Wagner's works frequently performed and shows a composer still finding his way.“To go from 'Parsifal' to 'The Flying Dutchman' is a big, big step backward,” Girard said. “But if you accept to direct it you have to serve it with as much generosity and love as you can.“'And I have to admit that at first I was a little scared of that,” he added. “Because I was so into 'Parsifal.' The transcendence of every aspect of it. Then you listen to 'Flying Dutchman' and say 'I have to direct this? Eccch.' But very soon I embraced it because Wagner's genius is present all along. I don't think there's any part of this opera now that I don't love.”And he'll be back at the Met with more Wagner. The company said he's developing a new production of “Lohengrin” for a future season.Mike Silverman, The Associated Press

  • Pope to Catholics: For Lent, give up trolling
    News
    Reuters

    Pope to Catholics: For Lent, give up trolling

    During Lent, Catholics are called on to give up something, like sweets. On Wednesday, Pope Francis added a modern twist to the list of things to quit during the season and beyond: insulting people on social media. Lent, he said in partially improvised remarks, "is a time to give up useless words, gossip, rumors, tittle-tattle and speak to God on a first name basis," he said.

  • Adorable pet raccoon chows down on tasty rice cake
    Rumble

    Adorable pet raccoon chows down on tasty rice cake

    Check it out as this raccoon enjoys a yummy rice cake. Too cute!

  • B.C. prof accuses Air Canada of racist behaviour, files Human Rights complaint
    News
    Yahoo News Canada

    B.C. prof accuses Air Canada of racist behaviour, files Human Rights complaint

    A professor from Simon Fraser University has filed a complaint over humiliating treatment she says she experienced while flying with Air Canada.

  • News
    CBC

    20-year-old Regina man wanted for assaulting woman with bladed weapon

    Police are looking for a 20-year-old man accused of assaulting a woman with a bladed weapon. A release from the Regina Police Service said a 42-year-old woman attempted to intervene in a struggle between Warren Crane and a 21-year-old woman last Friday on the 1400 block of Rae Street. The 42-year-old woman sustained severe injuries and was transported to hospital. Police said Crane fled the scene after the incident.Crane is described as six feet tall, of medium build and light complexion, with straight brown hair and brown eyes. He has numerous identifiable tattoos, including an upside down cross on his mid brow, "Gang Life" on his left brow, and "NSK" vertically on his right temple. Crane has two teardrops tattooed under his right eye and two feathers bound together under his left eye.Crane has "Sex Money Murder" tattooed on his left forearm and "Loyalty" tattooed on his right arm. He also has the North Carolina Tar Heels "NC" tattooed on the right side of his neck.Anyone with information about this incident or Crane's whereabouts was asked to contact police in Regina or Crime Stoppers.

  • How to make Thai stir-fry beef in sesame sauce
    Rumble

    How to make Thai stir-fry beef in sesame sauce

    Watch as Rose prepares and cooks the classic Thai Stir-Fry Beef In Sesame Sauce. Serve with steamed Jasmine Rice & enjoy!

  • Woman speaks out after alleged sexual assault by Moncton taxi driver
    News
    CBC

    Woman speaks out after alleged sexual assault by Moncton taxi driver

    Chantal Thanh De Alba of Shediac is speaking out and warning others after she alleges she was sexually assaulted by a taxi driver on Saturday night in Moncton.De Alba was looking forward to a relaxing night out with dinner and then dancing at a downtown club.On her way to the restaurant, she said she chatted with the taxi driver who picked her up at her friend's house."He gave me his card which he wrote his first name and his phone number," De Alba said. "He told me whenever I'm done for the night, when I need to go back to my friend's place, he can drive me back."She called the driver at the end of the night, but knew something was wrong when he missed the turn for her friend's home in the north end of Moncton."And then he started asking me, 'Do you want to have fun? Let's go have fun together? Let's go somewhere together. Just you and me, let's go have fun.'""I kept answering to him, 'No, I'm tired and all I want to do is go back to my friend's place."'I was really scared'De Alba said the driver eventually parked in a dark and isolated area."There were no lights, no houses, there's no traffic." "I had no idea where I was exactly, and I was scared that he would find me." \- Chantal Thanh De AlbaThat's when she says he told her to get in the front seat with him."I was scared that if I would say no or do something to resist that he was going to do something violent or something really bad to me."De Alba said when she got out of the back seat, she considered running and trying to hide."I had no idea where I was exactly, and I was scared that he would find me."She did get in the front seat and De Alba said that's when he started touching her."He was touching me in a sexual way and I just kept repeating, 'I'm really tired, please just drive me back to my friend's place,' and at some point he started continuing to drive as he was continuing also to touch me."Friend tried to help De Alba was texting her friend, Daniel MacLean, all night and when the taxi driver missed the turn to his house she asked MacLean whether there was a way for him to track where she was.At the time, MacLean said he assumed the taxi driver was lost."I didn't know she was in danger," he said.When he called De Alba, MacLean told CBC News he could only hear rustling, and then De Alba asking the taxi driver where they were.What he didn't know was that De Alba had him on mute, and was hoping he would be an "audio witness" to what was happening in the taxi.MacLean said he eventually realized his friend was in trouble."I heard the cab driver ask if she wants to go and have some fun, that's when I was really worrying, obviously."He said he also heard De Alba say, "Your hands are cold."MacLean said he stayed on the line and heard the taxi driver say the car was getting close to his house.He went outside and when the taxi pulled up he took a picture of the licence plate.Police investigatingDe Alba said the driver demanded payment, and despite her fear and confusion she obliged, then ran inside the house."I was just you know sitting on the floor and crying and hyperventilating, panicking," she said. "I just couldn't believe that that had happened."De Alba, who is a domestic violence and sexual assault social worker, knew she had to call the police to report what had happened in order to protect others. She said RCMP took her statement that night, while MacLean gave his statement to police on Tuesday.Sgt. Tyson Nelson told CBC News that on Feb. 23 at approximately 1:00 a.m.  Codiac RCMP received a complaint of sexual assault and an investigation is underway. De Alba also reported the incident to White Cab."The woman who took my call was just horrified and could not believe that happened and was very supportive and then congratulated me for calling the police," said De Alba.Benny Cormier, the owner of White Cab, would not do an interview but confirmed that a complaint was received and said the driver has been suspended while the company, and police, look into it.

  • Nova Scotia class action against charity Gospel for Asia alleges $100M fraud
    News
    CBC

    Nova Scotia class action against charity Gospel for Asia alleges $100M fraud

    After a three-year legal battle south of the border that ignited a major controversy in evangelical circles, the charity Gospel for Asia has now become the focus of a class-action lawsuit filed in Canada.Plaintiff Greg Zentner of Woodburn, N.S., alleges the charity "defrauded or made negligent misstatements" to him and other donors. The statement of claim also said the "defendants civilly conspired to misrepresent the nature of donations collected."In other words, Zentner alleges the money raised didn't go where it was supposed to. He is seeking damages for the "misuse of donor funds in excess of $100 million."The statement of claim was filed in Nova Scotia Supreme Court on Tuesday. Gospel for Asia (GFA) settled a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. with similar allegations last year for $37 million.GFA has been operating in Canada since 1980. It continues to have strong support and raises about $9 million through donations each year — on average, $25,000 a day. The proceeds are intended to go to the poor in India and surrounding countries. Some of the most popular gift items include farm animals, bicycles, blankets and drinking wells. Donors also give monthly to support child and missionary sponsorships. Zentner and his wife donated thousands to GFA between 2006 and 2014. He learned about alleged financial discrepancies through his pastor, Bruce Morrison, who meticulously researched GFA's money trail after hearing from former GFA staff members in the U.S.As part of a recent CBC News investigation, Morrison and 28 former staff and board members disclosed concerns of how they believe donations have been misused over the years.Some ex-staff, along with Morrison, uncovered that tens of millions were allegedly sitting in foreign bank accounts and millions more were being held in reserve funds.Morrison also found that between 2007 and 2014, Gospel for Asia reported to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) that it had sent nearly $94 million to India. Meanwhile, financial records submitted to the Indian government showed the charity received no funds from Canada during that time period."I suppose the greatest impact I've had, or the greatest thing that has impacted me, is the denial that comes from Gospel for Asia that 'we've done nothing wrong,' when there is so much evidence to the contrary," said Morrison.Charity disputes allegationsGFA litigation spokesperson Johnnie Moore told CBC in a recent interview the charity is "misunderstood.""Not only [was GFA] not required to make an admission of guilt when they settled the [U.S.] lawsuit, but had the lawsuit actually continued in the court, they either would have won in court or certainly won on the appeal," Moore said in a recent interview with CBC.Moore said the allegations made in the U.S. lawsuit were "absolutely false" and the legal settlement proves it. "It explicitly states that all the funds that … were designated to go to the field went to the field," said Moore. GFA has not yet responded to the Canadian lawsuit filed on Tuesday.$20M 'anonymous' donationMorrison said the U.S. lawsuit provided him with new information about how Canadian money was being spent. In court, lawyers representing Gospel for Asia confirmed that $20 million was taken from Canadian donations to help pay for construction of the charity's $45-million headquarters in Wills Point, Tex."They said in the financial statements that were issued in the U.S. [that] … the money had come from an anonymous donor," said Morrison. "And then we find out through court hearings in the United States that this money was Canadian money and donors here had no idea that had happened."Gospel for Asia confirmed to CBC the money did come from Canadian donations, but said it was later paid back.In the Canadian court filing, Zentner is seeking the "return of $20 million in funds misdirected to GFA USA.""The plaintiff states that the transfers were made in order to hide the actual source of the funds and to mislead class members and the Canadian and Indian tax authorities," the document said.Marc Stanley, the lawyer who represented the plaintiff in the U.S. class-action lawsuit, is named as legal counsel on the statement of claim along with Halifax lawyer John McKiggan.MORE TOP STORIES

  • Chatham musician Brooke Nicholls nominated for Juno Award
    News
    CBC

    Chatham musician Brooke Nicholls nominated for Juno Award

    Chatham is getting some time in the Juno spotlight as a local musician vies for an award.Brooke Nicholls grew up in Chatham before leaving home to try to make it in the world of pop music. Now, she's a nominee for the upcoming June Awards on March 15 in Saskatoon. It's in the Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year category for her record called Persue."I feel really grateful. I feel excited," said Nicholls. "Just to be up against that kind of caliber, I was kind of shocked."She's facing off against four other nominees — Brian Doerksen, Dan Bremnes, Fresh IE and Matt Maher.Nicholls' shift to Christian music came in 2015 when writing about her faith after seven years of pursuing pop.Since then, she's toured across Canada, playing more than 300 dates — and she's been named Female Vocalist of the Year by the Canadian Gospel Music Association twice."I feel hopeful," she said about winning the award. "But even if I don't win, this feels like a win in my heart anyway."Nicholls' father is well known himself in the Chatham community, but for different reasons. Rich Nicholls is the PC MPP for Chatham-Kent-Leamington.He also happens to be his daughter's biggest fan, she said."I come home to Chatham, I feel so supported and loved. I feel it from my dad and I feel it around my dad too," she said.Her father has been a big supporter in the creation of her latest album, which Nicholls describes as "really authentic."It covers a somewhat difficult part of her family's life, with her husband also being Nicholls' manager and producer."When we first got married, we went through a season that was just really tough. We lost a lot of money, that can be hard on a newlywed couple that work together every time," she said. She hopes her album helps people during difficult or dark periods of their life.

  • News
    CBC

    OPP end search for body of 9-year-old Alex Ottley

    After 11 days trying to find the body of 9-year-old boy Alex Ottley in Lake Erie, Ontario Provincial Police say they have called off their search.Const. Rodney Leclair, a media relations officer with the OPP, says it was an "extremely difficult decision."He said "we've searched an extensive portion of the lake and shoreline and it is unknown, at this time, where the body may have gone to.""We worked the area for 11 days and the weather affected efforts during that time. The decision is discontinue was extremely difficult as we really wanted to make a recovery to give the family a little bit of closure."The police service says periodic aerial and shoreline searches will continue in the future.Ottley, 9, and an eight-year-old boy were sitting on an ice platform on Feb. 15 at Peacock Point, a town 60 kilometres south of Hamilton when a wave swallowed the younger boy, knocking him off the ledge and into the water.Leclair says Alex tried to save his friend when a wave came but the wave swept him in.Police exhausted their resources, drawing in icebreakers, drones from locals and helicopters from the OPP and the U.S. Coast Guard — all amid "dangerous" conditions in the water. Their most recent efforts included shorelines searches, divers and boats with sonar scanners.A GoFundMe set up for Alex's family has raised more than $18,000 as of Wednesday morning.

  • Couples take the leap into marriage with leap day weddings this weekend
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Couples take the leap into marriage with leap day weddings this weekend

    TORONTO — Anniversaries matter to high school sweethearts Cassandra Engineer and Mackenzie Cleveland. They remember the date and exact time — down to the minute — that they became a couple.And when Cleveland proposed last year, he did it exactly 10 years after he first asked Engineer to be his girlfriend on April 3, 2009 at 3:23 p.m.Engineer says they send each other reminders of that anniversary whenever they happen to see a clock strike 3:23."We sort of just announce it to the other, or text it to the other," says the 28-year-old resident of Vaughan, Ont.When it came time to choose a wedding date, the duo rejoiced when they realized their winter plans coincided with a calendar quirk: a leap year. They're set to marry Feb. 29 at an art gallery north of Toronto, and because it's a day that only rolls around once every four years, Engineer says it'll be all the more special when the "anniversaries" land."We looked at the calendar and were looking for unique dates — there was the 02/02/2020 this year and (then) we found that Feb. 29th actually fell on the Saturday this year," says Engineer."Which was ideal and something that we thought was really unique, because we're sort of unique and quirky like that."They don't expect to mark their wedding between leap years, but each Feb. 29 would likely warrant a vacation "or something a little bit bigger to celebrate." Their annual marker will remain April 3.Engineer says February is already packed with other special days anyway: Valentine's Day, Cleveland's birthday on Feb. 7, and Engineer's birthday on Feb. 8.Saturday leap days occur just once every 28 years, making them a rare candidate for most weddings, even after discounting the general preference for summer and fall weather.The namesake behind Rebecca Chan Weddings and Events says she's never thrown a leap day wedding and suspects such nuptials are not widely sought-after, even if they arguably make a special day more special.But there are other advantages to considering February nuptials, she notes, pointing to the winter discounts many venues and vendors offer when business dips.That was certainly the case for Engineer, who credits her unusual date with allowing her and her boyfriend to snag a scenic venue with less than one year's planning.Once the big day passes, the question becomes: Do leap day couples mark the big traditional anniversaries, which are celebrated every five years?Bride-to-be Elizabeth Antonucci, who has a destination wedding in Jamaica this Saturday, says the anniversary will always be leap day — even if it doesn't capture a traditional milestone like the crystal 15th, platinum 20th or silver 25th."I'm reasonable about it. I don't feel this big need to celebrate traditionally," says Antonucci. "It's very much whenever we have time. Our lives are very hectic."Attachments to such widely regarded milestones are ultimately arbitrary, anyway, says York University psychology professor James Alcock."People will see the 10th as special — what's special about it? If we didn't work on the decimal system, if we worked on a mathematical system based on eight, then eight would be the special year."He reminds us that leap day is meant to correct a calendar that cannot account for the fact the Earth rotates slightly more than 365 times a year.That extra day in February once every four years allows us to mostly "catch up" to the seasons, although there are other rules that kick in every 100 years and 400 years to align things even more.This is all to say that if leap day couples appear out of sync with their "real" anniversaries, the truth is we're all misaligned with the calendar — except on Feb. 29, says Alcock."The fact of the matter is, it's the rest of us who are off right? If you celebrate every 365 days, you're off by a little bit," he says."The people who married on leap year and celebrate every four years, at least at that point they're right on."Leap day groom Josh McConnell may have found a workaround by marrying Feb. 29 in New Zealand, which would still be Feb. 28 in his hometown of Toronto.Unlike the Canadian couples, McConnell says he and his Kiwi bride faced tough competition for the date because it fell during the summer high season there. They began nailing down the venue and vendors two years in advance."When we started calling around (to) photographers, and venues and caterers, they all said the same thing. They're like, 'Actually, even though it's two years away, that's the one day I have booked in 2020 right now, just because it's a novelty day,'" recalls McConnell, who turns 32 on Thursday. "Things were just going crazy."The upside is that flights are cheaper this time of year for Canadian guests flying in for the wedding, says McConnell. And because they each have roots in different time zones, he believes they can legitimately celebrate on either the 28th or 29th."We liked that added element (in which) we can highlight we're from two different countries," he says.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2020 Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press