Michigan State men's basketball coach Tom Izzo has tested positive for COVID-19 (Nov. 10)
Michigan State men's basketball coach Tom Izzo has tested positive for COVID-19 (Nov. 10)
WASHINGTON — Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.Barr's comments, in an interview Tuesday with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month's voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.More to Trump's liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn't said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn't comment Tuesday.Trump has long railed against the investigation into whether his 2016 campaign was co-ordinating with Russia, but he and Republican allies had hoped the results would be delivered before the 2020 election and would help sway voters. So far, there has been only one criminal case, a guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer to a single false statement charge.Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest. An attorney general must document such reasons in writing.Barr went to the White House Tuesday for a previously scheduled meeting that lasted about three hours.Trump didn't directly comment on the attorney general's remarks on the election. But his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, "with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president's complaints.Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump's allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired. But it's not clear whether Barr might suffer the same fate. He maintains a lofty position with Trump, and despite their differences the two see eye-to-eye on quite a lot.Still, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quipped: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud.That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election was certified. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.The Trump campaign team led by Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers didn’t have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened. The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence.But local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims, prompting grave concerns over potential damage to American democracy.Trump himself continues to rail against the election in tweets and in interviews though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever. He recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but he still refuses to admit he lost.The issues they've have pointed to are typical in every election: Problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.But they've gone further. Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” – the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. Powell has since been removed from the legal team after an interview she gave where she threatened to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.Barr didn't name Powell specifically but said: “There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”In the campaign statement, Giuliani claimed there was “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined.”“We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth,” he said.However, Barr said earlier that people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said a remedy for many complaints would be a top-down audit by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all," he said, but first there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. ... And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on."___Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
Pandemic times—and specifically the months-long shutdown we experienced earlier this year—led many to take up or double down on hobbies. There was a run on yeast, skateboarding blew up, and people spent all sorts of time making inane Tik Tok videos. For amateur photographer Tim Fitzgerald, COVID-19 has caused him to focus more on photographing his own surroundings. Earlier this month, he shared some of his recent shots of SilverStar Mountain Resort with the community’s Facebook page. “The mountain and of course the village was completely deserted,” he said, in the caption of his photos. “Glad to see things starting to come around again.” Fitzgerald told Sun Peaks News this year he will likely be spending a lot of time up at the hill taking photos. He’s currently awaiting a knee surgery, so he can’t ski. Overall, he said that the pandemic has forced him to focus his photography close to home. “Normally, we would travel somewhere,” said Fitzgerald, who works as an electrician. “This year, we made a point of going out and camping, and seeing things that we haven’t seen before. It’s been really eye opening.” He’s done trips to Wells Gray Provincial Park, Rosebery Provincial Park, and he recently returned from a trip to the town of Princeton, where he shot a section of the Kettle Valley Railway. “We went down there a couple weeks ago and got some great shots,” he said. “There’s some really really, rugged and beautiful terrain there.” You can see more of his photos here.Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
MONTREAL — When the Quebec government tells English schools they cannot hire women wearing the hijab, it violates the rights of the English-speaking minority to manage its educational institutions, a lawyer argued Tuesday in a case challenging the province's secularism law. The law, known as Bill 21, forbids the wearing of religious symbols such as turbans, kippas and hijabs for certain employees of the state deemed to be in positions of authority, including police officers and school teachers. Quebec Superior Court Justice Marc-Andre Blanchard, who is presiding over the trial, has set aside 14 days to hear closing arguments, which began on Monday. Constitutional rights lawyer Julius Grey argued on behalf of the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Quebec Community Groups Network, which are both challenging the law. Grey invoked Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protects the right of Quebec's anglophone minority to be educated in English. Over time, jurisprudence has interpreted this right as giving management power to English schools, which Grey argued includes the right to hire whom they choose as teachers, including those who wear religious symbols. While Bill 21 invokes the Constitution’s notwithstanding clause to shield it from most charter challenges, including those based on freedom of religion, Grey argued it can't be used to override the language-rights protections in Section 23. Grey argued Section 23 is essential to the protection and preservation of the language and culture of the English-speaking minority in Quebec. And included in the culture of the English-speaking community is the protection of cultural minorities, he said. Grey also argued that Bill 21 infringes Section 28 of the charter, which provides for gender equality and isn't subject to the notwithstanding clause. A lawyer for Amnesty International argued that the law is too vague and that it doesn't include a definition of "religious symbols." School administrators can't all become theologians to manage their schools, Marie-Claude St-Amant said. Like Grey, she argued that it is not the government's objective in adopting the law that is important but rather the effects of the legislation. Those are disproportionately felt by Muslim women, she said, arguing that the stated goal of the law is a pretence. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. Stephanie Marin, The Canadian Press
Regina police responding to a call about an injured person found a woman lying dead in the snow on 23rd Avenue Tuesday morning.Police said when they arrived at the 1300 block of 23rd Avenue around 7:30 a.m., they found the woman unresponsive.EMS responders confirmed the woman was dead at the scene.Police have confirmed the woman's identity and are now trying to notify her out-of-town next of kin.They are not releasing any further other details.The police and Saskatchewan Coroners Service have begun an investigation.Anyone who has information that could assist police and the coroners service in this investigation is asked to contact Regina police at 306-777-6500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Toronto FC will be going after goals in searching for a third designated player.The slot became open this week when TFC announced that while it was open to Argentine winger Pablo Piatti returning, it would not be as a DP."We need someone that can come in and help us score goals at a very high clip, that can create relationships with our players on the field and off the field, that can contribute in a lot of different ways, that has a great character and personality off the field," GM Ali Curtis told reporters Tuesday.Toronto's other designated players are Spanish playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo and striker Jozy Altidore.TFC tied for 12th in goal-scoring this season in the 26-team league, averaging 1.43 goals a game.Young striker Ayo Akinola and Pozuelo each had nine goals while fullback/midfielder Richie Laryea and Piatti had four apiece. Altidore, limited to just 13 appearances through injury, had two goals."Obviously our real only consistent goal-scorer this year was Ayo and so that's an area we're looking to upgrade," team president Bill Manning said of his strike force.The hunt will go on in conjunction with the search for a coach to follow Greg Vanney, who stepped down Tuesday.Toronto (13-5-5) posted the second-best regular-season record in MLS in 2020 despite only playing four games at BMO field due to pandemic-related travel restrictions.There will be other changes."How much change? It's such a relative kind of term," said Curtis. "But there will be change. We have to bring in a new coach. We've got to find a way to get better we can win these trophies."Pozuelo has been a hit right out of the box, a member of the league's Best XI in his two MLS seasons and a leading contender for MVP this year. Altidore can be a force to be reckoned with when healthy, but keeping him out on the pitch has been a problem.Curtis said Altidore will be back next year, although his words did not come with a guarantee."Jozy's been a really big part of TFC over the years … Unfortunately he had a couple of injuries and wasn't able to be on the field as much as we'd like but we're looking to have Jozy back next year and we'll go from there."(If) for some reason we were to have a conversation and something were to change or things like that, then just like any player we would have that conversation. But for the most part right now I think the focus is on how we can find a player to fill that designated player slot and how can we find a coach to help lead our team on the field."The team also has high hopes for 23-year-old rookie forward Ifunanyachi Achara, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the second game of the season.While Toronto has declined its option on Piatti, Manning said there were lots of positives with the 31-year-old Argentine and that Curtis has had "very good discussions" with his agent."So if we're in a situation where we can have a new designated player and Pablo on the team together, I think we're going to be better," he added.Said Curtis: "Pablo was a great addition … We're just looking for something slightly different."As for 21-year-old Scottish fullback Tony Gallacher, Curtis said the club's loan agreement with Liverpool did not come with an option to buy.Curtis said the club continues talks with 33-year-old fullback Justin Morrow, whose contract expires at the end of the season."We'd like for Justin to come back but we also recognize that he's earned the right to be a free agent. He's a good soccer player … He's got a lot of juice in him as a soccer player."Morrow also serves as executive director of Black Players for Change.As for 35-year-old defender Laurent Ciman, Curtis said he plans a conversation with his agent but was unsure about his future.\---Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — A final tally of absentee ballots has confirmed that Republican Nicole Malliotakis has defeated U.S. Rep. Max Rose, denying the Democrat a second term representing one of the few conservative-leaning parts of New York City. Malliotakis, a New York State Assembly member, opened a big lead over Rose on Election Day in a district that includes all of Staten Island and part of Brooklyn. She declared victory on Nov. 3 and Rose conceded the race Nov. 12, but The Associated Press didn’t call the race until Tuesday because New York City's Board of Elections refused for weeks to publicly release information about its count of a large number of absentee ballots. With her victory, Malliotakis will become the only Republican in New York City's congressional delegation. The race between Malliotakis and Rose, an Army combat veteran, played out over a year that saw violent clashes between protesters and police officers in New York City, and several months in which shootings in some parts of the city soared. Malliotakis ran on a pro-law enforcement platform and sought to link Rose to Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is deeply unpopular on Staten Island, and to calls for defunding the police, which Rose says he does not support. To distance himself from de Blasio, Rose created an ad calling his fellow Democrat the “worst mayor ever.” Malliotakis was a candidate for mayor against de Blasio in 2017. The daughter of a Cuban immigrant mother and a Greek immigrant father, Malliotakis grew up on Staten Island and has represented parts of Staten Island and Brooklyn in the Assembly since 2011. The Associated Press
The Town of Drumheller reported the hundredth case of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic on Thursday, November 26. The number of total cases, both active and those with an outcome, nearly doubled from 51 cases on Monday, November 16 to 101 cases on November 26. On Monday, November 23 the Town of Drumheller had the eighth highest regional rate of active cases with 700 active cases per 100,000 population, beating out all but one region in both Calgary and Edmonton. As of Monday, November 30 the rate of active cases in Drumheller has dropped to 533 active cases per 100,000. There are currently 48 active cases, with 57 recovered and two deaths. Wheatland County has 21 active cases and there are 13 active cases in Kneehill County; both counties remain on enhanced status, along with the Town of Drumheller. Starland County has four active cases.Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail
A care home in Saskatoon says four of its residents have died COVID-related deaths since an outbreak was declared two weeks ago."Families were provided end of life visitation opportunities and our sincere condolences go out to them," Luther Special Care Home said in an emailed statement Tuesday.Health officials declared an outbreak at the Varsity View neighbourhood home on Nov. 17.As of Tuesday, 44 residents and 14 staff members had tested positive for the virus, according to an update shared with families.The care home did not offer other details about the residents who have died, citing privacy concerns.On Tuesday, health officials announced four more COVID-19-related deaths province-wide, including two people aged 80 or over in Saskatoon.6 recent deaths in care homes province-wideIn total, six residents at long-term or personal care in Saskatchewan have died COVID-19 related deaths since Sept. 1. "The data submitted to the Ministry of Health regarding COVID-related deaths does not identify deaths that may have occurred among LTC staff," a spokesperson for the ministry said.One of the other resident deaths was recorded last week at Regina's Parkside Extendicare home, which is dealing with the largest known outbreak at any extended care home in the province.As of Monday, the home had 50 active cases among residents and another 25 active cases among staff.
British Columbia has seen more COVID-19 deaths over the past two weeks than the preceding two months because the virus has found its way back into nursing homes. And with long-term care workers exhausted and families frustrated, it's not clear what can be done.
Tuesday marked the first snow day that wasn't in Windsor-Essex, as school transportation was cancelled but secondary students in the public school board still had to do a full day of remote learning.The Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB) announced the policy last week, saying that students would be expected to do a full day of remote learning for the 2020-21 school year even if transportation is cancelled."For the current school year (2020-21), in the event that student transportation is cancelled in the city and/or the county, all secondary students will participate exclusively in remote on-line learning for that day," the news release says. Shelley Armstrong, the superintendent of business and treasurer at the GECDSB, said the board felt the decision made sense given the "quadmester" remote learning system students are using this year."It's really important that we do the best that we can to support their learning in the classrooms, and it's challenging to do that if there's a missed day," she said. "We really want to make sure that we're supporting them the best that we can with their education."Schools are still open for staff and elementary school students. But elementary students who stay home are not expected to do online work.Armstrong says that the board made the decision for this year only, and she's not certain snow days for secondary students are facing extinction."I don't know necessarily that that would be the case," she said.Armstrong added that if anyone has any questions about the new policy, they can reach out to school administrators."If anyone has specific questions for it, certainly they can reach out to the board office or the school principal, and we'll do our best to help them with any questions they may have," she said.
SAN RAMON, Calif. — Business software pioneer Salesforce.com is buying work-chatting service Slack for $27.7 billion in a deal aimed at giving the two companies a better shot at competing against longtime industry powerhouse Microsoft. The acquisition announced Tuesday is by far the largest in the 21-year history of Salesforce. The San Francisco company was one of the first to begin selling software as a subscription service that could be used on any internet-connected device instead of the more cumbersome process of installing the programs on individual computers. Salesforce’s flamboyant founder and CEO Marc Benioff hailed the “cloud computing” concept as the wave of the future to much derision initially. But software as a service has become an industry standard that has turned into a gold mine for longtime software makers. Microsoft for one has developed its own thriving online suite of services, known as Office 365, which includes a Teams chatting service that includes many of the same features as Slack’s 6-year-old application. Slack in July filed a complaint in the European Union accusing Microsoft of illegally bundling Teams into Office 365 in a way that blocks its removal by customers who may prefer Slack. Microsoft also has been posing a threat to Salesforce’s main products, a line-up of tools that help other companies manage their customer relationships. “For Benioff, this is all about Microsoft,” Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives said of Tuesday's deal. “It’s just clear Microsoft is moving further and further away from Salesforce when it comes to the cloud wars.” Benioff left no doubt he considered the deal to be a major coup, after losing out to Microsoft in 2016 when the two companies were both vying to buy the professional networking service LinkedIn. “It's a match made in heaven," Benioff said during an ebullient conference call. “We see in Slack a once-in-a-generation company and platform. It’s a central nervous system for so many companies." Salesforce has been building on its success in recent years to diversify into other fields, largely through a series of acquisitions that included its previous largest deal, a $15.7 billion purchase of data analytics specialist Tableau Software last year. Many of the deals have been financed with Salesforce’s stock, which is worth nearly seven times more than it was a decade ago to lift the company's current market value to $220 billion. Salesforce is using its stock to pay for roughly half of the Slack purchase, with the rest being covered with some cash, with some of the money being borrowed during a time of extraordinarily low interest rates. Slack, on the other hand, hasn’t proven as popular with investors, even though its service that publicly launched in 2014 is being increasingly used by companies and government agencies looking for more nimble alternatives than email. Before news reports of a potential deal with Salesforce surfaced last week, Slack’s stock was still hovering around its initial listing price of $26 when the company went public nearly 18 months ago. “This is a stellar exit strategy for Slack,” said Kate Leggett, an analyst at Forrester Research. “Microsoft Teams is eating Slack’s lunch.” Slack co-founder Stewart Butterfield will be hoping this sale works out better than when another company he started, photo sharing service Flickr, was sold to Yahoo 15 years ago. Flickr got lost in the shuffle at Yahoo amid years of turmoil before it was finally sold again in 2018 to SmugMug. In his next act after leaving Flickr, Butterfield decided to focus on gaming with a startup called Tiny Speck that launched in 2009. A few years later, he shifted to the instant messaging service whose name was an acronym for “Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge." Leggett predicted Salesforce would benefit from owning Slack because it will add a popular collaboration tool to its own software suite, which is focused on managing customer relationships for businesses and government agencies. She said the need for customer-relations agents and other Salesforce users to swarm around a topic and collaborate remotely has only grown with the coronavirus pandemic that has sent so many office workers home and got many hooked on new online tools. If all goes smoothly, Salesforce hopes to take control of Slack sometime from May to July next year. Slack, which is free for people who use the basic version, found quick adoption in the tech industry for its ease of use and its fostering of a more casual mode of conversation than email. The company stopped releasing its daily user count after topping 12 million last year, focusing instead on paid customers, which Butterfield said in March have shown a “massive outpouring of interest” because of the way the pandemic has forced people to work from home. “I think the pandemic’s played a massive role" in paving the way for the deal, Ives said. “The Zooms, the Slacks, the Microsoft Teams, that’s going to be a new part of the workforce.” Ives said Benioff was also running out of time to catch up to Microsoft, which remains a secondary player in Salesforce’s core customer-relations-management business, known as CRM, but way ahead in providing a broader array of cloud-based services. Slack and Salesforce are headquartered about a block away from each other in San Francisco. Slack's office is in the shadow of the 62-story Salesforce Tower, the tallest building in Northern California. “I get to look right out my window and you know what I see? Slack," Benioff said. ___ O'Brien reported from Providence, Rhode Island. Michael Liedtke And Matt O'Brien, The Associated Press
TORONTO — The Oscar-nominated Canadian star of the film "Juno" has come out as transgender.The Halifax-raised Elliot Page, formerly known as Ellen Page, made the announcement in a powerful post on social media.The star of the Toronto-shot Netflix series "The Umbrella Academy" says his preferred pronouns are he/they.Page's letter thanks those who have supported him along the journey, and addresses the trauma trans people face from discrimination, hateful acts, and a lack of rights.He says it feels remarkable "to finally love" who he is enough to pursue his "authentic self."And he's been "endlessly inspired by so many in the trans community.""Thank you for your courage, your generosity and ceaselessly working to make this world a more inclusive and compassionate place. I will offer whatever support I can and continue to strive for a more loving and equal society," Page said in Tuesday's post."I also ask for patience. My joy is real, but it is also fragile. The truth is, despite feeling profoundly happy right now and knowing how much privilege I carry, I am also scared. I'm scared of the invasiveness, the hate, the 'jokes' and of violence." Page said he's not trying to "dampen a moment that is joyous" but wants to address the full picture. "The statistics are staggering. The discrimination towards trans people is rife, insidious and cruel, resulting in horrific consequences," Page wrote."In 2020 alone it has been reported that at least 40 transgender people have been murdered, the majority of which were Black and Latinx trans women. To the political leaders who work to criminalize trans health care and deny our right to exist and to all of those with a massive platform who continue to spew hostility towards the trans community: you have blood on your hands."Page concluded the post by saying he loves that he is trans and queer."And the more I hold myself close and fully embrace who I am, the more I dream, the more my heart grows and the more I thrive."Page got an Oscar nomination for playing a pregnant teen in 2007's "Juno," and two Emmy nominations for his reality series "Gaycation," which explores LGBTQ experiences around the world.Page often uses his platform to speak out against injustices and amplify underrepresented voices.In his documentary "There's Something in the Water," which hit Netflix in March, he shines a light on marginalized groups in Nova Scotia affected by what's known as environmental racism.Netflix said Tuesday it was in the process of updating all of the titles the performer and producer is involved with on its service to credit Elliot Page.The LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD praised Page for delivering "fantastic characters on-screen" and being "an outspoken advocate for all LGBTQ people.""Elliot will now be an inspiration to countless trans and non-binary people. We celebrate him. All trans people deserve to be accepted," said a tweet from GLAAD, which also issued a tip sheet for journalists covering Page's story, to help them write it in a respectful and accurate way. Alphonso David, president of the LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, thanked Page for sharing his truth and "shining a bright light on the challenges too many in our community face.""We are proud of you, and we love you. And we will never stop fighting alongside you for change," David posted on Twitter.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. The Canadian Press
If you’re looking for some exercise in the great outdoors, rest assured that cross country skiing options will be available aplenty this winter. And really, how can one social distance any better than in serene nature? SPIN has prepared a list of what’s open and what’s about to open. If you’re looking to get hyped for the winter, we recommend checking out this video of Skmana Ski and Snowshoe Club produced by Tourism Kamloops, it’s sure to get you stoked for the winter. Skmana Ski and Snowshoe Club Located in Chase, the area is now open to the public for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. All ski trails are “packed and tracked,” with the exception of Sunflower Trail, which is closed due to a lack of snow There are some hazards to be aware of, but overall it’s good to go. Sun Peaks Nordic Centre Sun Peaks Resort LLP’s (SPR) nordic trail system is open for business. The resort asks the public to ski with caution and respect terrain closures that are in place. Sun Peaks Nordic Centre is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. STAKE LAKE (25 km south of Kamloops) The Stake Lake Trails are accepting registration for the 2020/2021 season, but the trails are not yet open. On its website the Overlander Ski Club, which operates the 60km trail system, said they’re waiting for more snow and sustained colder temperatures. Give them a follow on Facebook (search Overlander Ski Club) for more updates. HARPER MOUNTAIN Harper Mountain has a tentative opening date of Dec. 12 for its operations. The mountain offers a three kilometre groomed trail that meanders through a forested area, and is great for both traditional cross country skiing and skate skiing. TELEMARK NORDIC CLUB The Telemark Nordic Club, located in West Kelowna, has an anticipated opening date of Dec. 5. The club recently delayed its opening due to a lack of snow, saying in the following: “We have a good base of snow, things are currently looking pretty white, and some people are already skiing and snowshoeing,” states the club’s website. “However, the base is too thin for us to do regular grooming of the trails without damaging them and making them unsafe. We just need one more good snowfall and we’ll be ready to open. Skiing and snowshoeing are possible right now but grooming will be limited and we will not have rentals or day passes available until Dec 5th.” They provided the following update at the start of the week: “We received two good snowfalls this week and we will be starting to pack the trails and do our final preparations for the coming winter. There is not enough snow yet to open officially but if this cool and snowy weather holds we anticipate being open and ready for member and public skiing by Saturday.” KELOWNA NORDIC This nordic skiing area got off to an early start, having opened on Nov. 11. They provided the following update on its website. “There has been a fair amount of snow over the past week and we have groomed approx 55 per cent of our trails. The ski tracker system has not been activated yet by the host so there is no live reporting. All car parks are plowed. Some of the lowest trails will not be re-groomed in order to preserve snow and avoid bringing up dirt. The upper trails are good but may be soft for skating. Watch for sticks, rocks, dirt and open water. The groomer will be on the trails in daylight hours in order to see any hazards. Watch and listen for it. Snowshoeing is good.” Sovereign Lake Sovereign Lake, located near SilverStar Resort, is open. You can see a full list of the trail that are open here. Rates for skiing can be found here. Big White Nordic Big White’s nordic trails are open for business.Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to shorten the recommended length of quarantine after exposure to someone who is positive for COVID-19, as the virus rages across the nation. According to a senior administration official, the new guidelines, which are set to be released as soon as Tuesday evening, will allow people who have come in contact to someone infected with the virus to resume normal activity after 10 days, or 7 days if they receive a negative test result. That’s down from the 14-day period recommended since the onset of the pandemic. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview the announcement, said the policy change has been discussed for some time, as scientists have studied the incubation period for the virus. The policy would hasten the return to normal activities by those deemed to be “close contacts” of those infected with the virus, which has infected more than 13.5 million Americans and killed at least 270,000. While the CDC had said the incubation period for the virus was thought to extend to 14 days, most individuals became infectious and developed symptoms between 4 and 5 days after exposure. It’s not the first time that the CDC has adjusted its guidance for the novel coronavirus as it adjusted to new research. In July the agency shortened, from 14 days to 10, its advice on how long a person should stay in isolation after they first experience COVID symptoms — provided they’re no longer sick. The new guidance was presented Tuesday at a White House coronavirus task force meeting for final approval. — AP writer Mike Stobbe contributed. Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
Cookie swaps are an annual tradition for many of us who love to bake and to share treats with friends on an afternoon in early December.Here's the gist: everyone bakes a larger than usual batch of cookies or squares, typically a dozen for each guest at the swap — and then each participant goes home with a mixed batch of holiday baking to get them through the season.Things are a bit different this year, of course. With restrictions on in-home gatherings, a typical cookie swap isn't an option, nor are we all having the parade of seasonal get-togethers a huge stash of cookies might be useful for.But in the spirit of keeping traditions alive, and looking for ways to engage with each other this holiday season, there are ways to safely strategize a cookie swap.You could co-ordinate a door-drop cookie swap: package up baked cookies or squares, or make logs of cookie dough, put on some holiday tunes, pick up a latte or hot chocolate (from one of our many amazing local roasters) and drop festive packages on your friends' doorsteps.Consider swapping just the dough itself: it's less work for the bakers and minimizes handling (wearing a mask in the kitchen regardless as you prep is a safe extra step). It's also more easily packaged and stored, and allows the recipient to bake what they need, when they need it.One of the benefits of icebox cookies — most any shortbread or rolled sugar or gingerbread cookie dough — is that they have the same baking time, so you can cut a few slices off a variety of logs and bake them together for an assortment all at once. And if you're living alone or with a smaller group, you can bake a few at a time in the toaster oven. If you're planning a walk, skate, tobogganing outing or other outdoor activity with a few in your extended bubble, you could plan to swap cookies then (wearing masks and practising safe distancing, of course). And if there's someone in your life who may not have the ability to bake and deliver, pack up a tin to leave on their step.You can buy sleeves of paper boxes, like the ones they use in bakeries and delis, at restaurant supply stores such as the Real Canadian Wholesale Club, or buy festive boxes and bags at most dollar stores.What kind of dough freezes the best?They all do!Typically, shortbread or rolled cookie dough is best to roll into a log to slice and bake, and drop cookies (chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin) can be frozen in scoops, then transferred to ziplock bags for people to bake from the freezer.Let them sit on the baking sheet to thaw while you preheat the oven.Perhaps best of all, you can wrap chilled logs in festive paper with ribbon or string at each end, like a Christmas cracker — and not worry if they freeze on someone's doorstep.Cinnamon Bun Icebox CookiesThese swirled slice and bake cookies look and taste like cinnamon buns. Finish the cooled cookies with a simple icing drizzle to complete the effect, if you like. * ½ cup butter, at room temperature * ½ cup sugar * ¼ cup packed brown sugar * 1 large egg * 1 tsp vanilla * 1½ cups all-purpose flour * 1 tsp baking powder * ¼ tsp saltFilling: * ½ cup brown sugar * ¼ cup finely chopped pecans (optional) * 2-3 tbsp honey or golden syrup * cinnamonIn a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars until well blended. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fluffy. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture and stir until the dough comes together. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for half an hour or so.On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch (ish) square, or to make two logs, into two smaller squares. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and pecans and smooth them with your hand to evenly cover the dough. Drizzle with honey or golden syrup, and sprinkle with cinnamon.Roll up in a jelly-roll style, wrap in parchment, twisting the ends to seal, then refrigerate until firm (or for up to a week) or freeze for up to six months.When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F. Slice the dough about ¼-inch thick and place the slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until pale golden and set. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Makes about two dozen cookies.Mona's Mother's Mother's Best Friend's Favourite CookiesFrom the original Best of Bridge cookbook, this is a great go-to drop cookie that can be customized to add all kinds of ingredients — dried cranberries, orange zest and white chocolate chunks or chips are great during the holidays. They also spread well, which works with dough you're going to freeze.Time in the freezer plus baking from colder than room temp will slow the spread, so this formula makes up for it.Ingredients: * 1 cup butter, at room temperature * 1 cup sugar * ½ cup brown sugar * 1 large egg * 1 tsp vanilla * 1¼ cups flour * 1¼ cups quick-cooking rolled oats * 3/4 cup coconut * 1 tsp baking powder * 1 tsp baking soda * ¼ tsp salt * 1 cup chocolate chips, chopped chocolate, raisins and/or nuts (optional)Instructions:Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla.Add the flour, oats, coconut, baking powder, baking soda and salt (stir together first if you like) and stir just until blended.If you like, add some raisins, chopped nuts, and/or chocolate chunks or chips as you mix.Drop by the large spoonful onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.Makes about two dozen cookies.Sonya's Auntie Dianne's Jam Sandwich CookiesThanks to Sonya, who shared the recipe for her aunt's cream cheese sugar cookies, sandwiched with jam, on Twitter this week!This recipe makes a large quantity of dough, but it freezes well so you could roll and bake half now and the rest later in the season. Or use it to make rugelach.Sonya also suggested flavouring the dough with grated orange or lemon zest or cardamom, if you like.These are more involved and may be more work to make in larger quantities, but they're beautiful and satisfying to make — worth the effort when you have more time to spend in the kitchen and want to drop something special on someone's doorstep. Ingredients: * 1 cup butter, at room temperature * 1½ cups sugar * 1 8-oz. package cream cheese * 1 egg * 1 tsp vanilla * ½ tsp almond extract (optional) * 3½ cups all-purpose flour * 1 tsp baking powder * ½ tsp salt * jam, for spreading * icing sugar, for sprinklingInstructions: In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the egg, vanilla and almond extract. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and beat on low speed or stir until you have a soft dough. Divide in half (or into smaller balls or discs), wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour, or up to a few days — it can also be frozen at this point. When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 F and roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to about ¼-inch thick.Cut into whatever shapes you like, and cut a small window out of half of them — use the open end of an icing decorating tip, or a small cookie cutter.Bake for 8-10 minutes, until pale golden.Once cooled, spread the solid cookies with jam (or marmalade, Nutella or anything else you like), and sprinkle the windowed cookies with icing sugar before placing them on top.Makes about two dozen medium sandwich cookies.
À l’occasion de la 33e journée mondiale de lutte contre le sida, Maison Re-Né constate que « la mobilisation s’est effritée ». L’organisme de Trois-Rivières trace des parallèles révélateurs entre la pandémie de COVID-19 et celle du VIH/Sida. Selon l’organisme trifluvien, la lutte contre le sida a fait l’objet d’un relâchement remarquable ces dernières années alors que le danger n’est pas écarté. Il rappelle que les cibles fixées par l’Organisation des Nations Unies prévoient que 95 % de personnes devront connaître leur statut sérologique d’ici 2025 pour autant de sujets malades sous traitement. Il est donc prévu qu’à cette échéance, l’on ne puisse plus transmettre la maladie. Cette vision contraste avec le niveau de mobilisation actuel, selon Maison Re-Né, qui note cependant que combattre le nouveau coronavirus est devenu, à raison, « le leitmotiv de la société québécoise. » Dans un communiqué, il cite les points de presse journaliers des gouvernements, les fonds investis pour enrayer la contagion ou créer un potentiel vaccin. « Toutes les personnes se sentent concernées par la COVID-19, ce qui n’était pas le cas avec le VIH/SIDA, ce n’est pas nécessairement de la jalousie, mais plus une constatation », explique la directrice générale de Maison Re-Né, Carole Leclerc, plaidant pour que la lutte contre le premier virus continue. En guise d’illustration, elle évoque des marches qui ne sont plus que l’ombre d’elles-mêmes. L’évènement de la fondation Farha qui mobilisait au moins 30 000 personnes pour sensibiliser les gens et amasser des fonds il y’a quelques années, n’a pu, dit-elle, rassembler que 7 000 personnes l’année dernière à Montréal. « Il ne faut pas négliger le rôle des maisons d’hébergement dans l’adhérence au traitement, il y a une clientèle plus vulnérable qui n’a pas accès au traitement du VIH/SIDA, on ne peut pas dire que c’est fini et se concentrer sur un seul virus », exhorte Mme Leclerc. Le masque est plus facile que le préservatif Même s’il reconnaît que le masque est plus facile à imposer que le préservatif, Maison Re-Né souligne des éléments de similitudes qui pourraient renforcer les moyens de lutte communs contre les deux pandémies. Mme Leclerc fait allusion « à la stigmatisation, au déni ou à l’adhérence au traitement » auxquels les acteurs de la lutte contre le sida se sont attaqués depuis des décennies. Il en est de même pour les failles dans la gestion du système de santé, l’accès à l’emploi des migrants, les soins aux aînés ou encore la surproportion des cas chez les femmes. Cet organisme qui œuvre pour la protection des personnes vivant avec le VIH note que le sexisme, la pauvreté ou le racisme engendrent des iniquités qui dans le cas du sida, fragilisent l’accès aux dépistages, aux soins et aux traitements. « On sait que le personnel qui travaille dans les milieux communautaires n’a pas les mêmes revenus que celui du réseau de la santé, on ne demande pas la même attention, mais il faut maintenir la mobilisation et faire la riposte », plaide Carole Leclerc. Reconnaissant les avancées scientifiques enregistrées dans le cadre de la lutte contre le VIH, elle insiste sur la persévérance dans les politiques publiques. « On ne va pas tout arrêter quand les vaccins contre la Covid-19 vont arriver parce que beaucoup ne vont pas suivre, ça prendra du temps, mais on doit continuer à travailler sans négliger un virus ou un autre », a-t-elle conclu. Le Canada a enregistré 2 561 diagnostics de VIH en 2018 selon les dernières données de l’agence de santé publique du Canada, soit une augmentation de 8,2 % par rapport à l’année précédente.Godlove Kamwa, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français
Students in Niagara are not writing exams to close out courses this fall. District School Board of Niagara’s secondary school students and Niagara Catholic board students will all be taking part in “culminating activities” instead of the usual sit-down testing regime. Helen McGregor, superintendent of secondary school curriculum and student achievement, said, “Students are learning differently this year, with many learning in-person for part of the week, and others learning exclusively online. “To ensure all our students are supported to find success this year, whether they are learning in-person or online, in October we made the decision to cancel exams,” said McGregor. “Schools have already let students know that they will not have exams and, instead, they will have culminating activities.” Niagara Catholic District School Board is following a similar path. “Schools are not administering exams,” said superintendent Ted Farrell, whose responsibilities include overseeing secondary schools. “Upon completion of the course, a broad range of culminating activities will be used as part of the final evaluation in determining a student’s mark. These activities may include essays, student performances, independent study projects or other suitable activities for students to best demonstrate their learning.” In October, the Ministry of Education told school boards they have the option to remove designated exam days from their school year calendar and use them for in-class instructional time. Education Minister Stephen Lecce has said the use of essays or report-based assessments in the place of final exams should be allowed “given the circumstance.” “I don’t want to increase the anxiety of our students. An essay, an extended report, these are all ways in which an educator can credibly assess the performance of a student.” The holiday break for students is to begin Dec. 21 and will last until students return to the classroom on Jan. 4. Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: firstname.lastname@example.orgSean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review
TORONTO — The cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies like Netflix will go up under a taxation plan the government wants to put in place next year, experts said Tuesday.Ottawa said in its fiscal update released Monday it will require multinationals to collect GST or HST on digital products and services, which it said would add up to $1.2 billion over five years.Sometimes labelled a "Netflix tax," the measure would also apply to other services such as Amazon.com Inc.'s Prime Video or the Spotify audio streaming service, as well as digital products such as software applications. The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales, so it's only fair that foreign multinationals should do the same. KPMG tax partner Joe Micallef said it's likely Canadians will end up paying the taxes collected for the government by foreign multinationals."Right now, the way in which they're delivering their services, they're not responsible for the collection," Micallef said."And so, effectively, it would mean that these charges would be appearing on (their) invoices."A regular monthly subscription for a streaming service that delivers video or music would be a simple calculation, with the tax rate applied to the purchase price.But Micallef said it is be more difficult to estimate how much additional tax individual consumers, or businesses, will pay for other types of digital purchases, he said.Something like gaming software might cost little or nothing itself, but offer the option for subsequent charges to add features that make the experience better."How many times? How many transactions? It adds up," Micallef said.Dwayne Winseck, a media industry researcher at Carleton University in Ottawa, also expects companies will add the price of the tax to the total sale price. "I mean, this is really not a very substantial amount, when we're talking about corporate finances," said Winseck, who is a professor of journalism and communication.He said that the term "Netflix tax" has become highly politicized and is often used as "code" for levelling the playing field between U.S.-based digital media companies and traditional Canadian broadcasters."And if the idea is to create a level playing field between those two services, then that by all means that makes great sense," Winseck said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.David Paddon, The Canadian Press
Some Nova Scotians are waiting longer for their COVID-19 results after the health authority's email system was overwhelmed by a jump in tests.Nova Scotia Health said this week its digital system that sends out COVID-19 results via email has been experiencing some issues, causing a delay for some people.Spokesperson Carla Adams said Tuesday the problem was initially attributed to an IT system issue. "However, upon further investigation, it's been determined it was instead related to a significant increase in the volume of tests," she said in an email.Nova Scotia Health has performed 20,103 COVID-19 tests in the past week. Of those, 4,138 were performed Monday — "the busiest day yet," said Adams.Adams said the health authority continues to work on providing results as quickly as possible."We recognize that long waits for test results can have a negative impact, including on a person's ability to work or go to school," Adams said."For those who have had to wait longer than expected for test results, Nova Scotia Health is sorry and thanks you for your patience and understanding."In certain cases, people who've had a COVID-19 test are asked to self-isolate until they get their results. Nova Scotia reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the province's total active cases to 142.Anyone who has waited more than 72 hours for their test results, not including rapid tests, are asked to call Public Health at 1-844-996-0694 and leave a voicemail.People are asked to leave their full name, health card number and phone number. Public Health staff will try calling twice.Public Health has urged anyone who's been at any of the dozens of recent exposure sites to book a COVID-19 test. Those who've been in a bar or restaurant past 10 p.m. AT in recent weeks, or worked in one, are also asked to get a rapid test.MORE TOP STORIES
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) _ CIBT Education Group Inc. (MBAIF) on Tuesday reported a fiscal fourth-quarter loss of $3.3 million, after reporting a profit in the same period a year earlier.On a per-share basis, the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company said it had a loss of 5 cents.The operator of business, technical and language colleges posted revenue of $12.2 million in the period.For the year, the company reported profit of $914,000, or 1 cent per share. Revenue was reported as $46.5 million.In the final minutes of trading on Tuesday, the company's shares hit 50 cents. A year ago, they were trading at 45 cents._____This story was generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on MBAIF at https://www.zacks.com/ap/MBAIFThe Associated Press