Millions have started travelling for Christmas holidays despite public health recommendations to stay home amid a post-Thanksgiving spike in COVID-19 cases that's already overwhelmed hospitals.
Millions have started travelling for Christmas holidays despite public health recommendations to stay home amid a post-Thanksgiving spike in COVID-19 cases that's already overwhelmed hospitals.
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump has lost his social media megaphone, the power of government and the unequivocal support of his party's elected leaders. But a week after leaving the White House in disgrace, a large-scale Republican defection that would ultimately purge him from the party appears unlikely. Many Republicans refuse to publicly defend Trump's role in sparking the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But as the Senate prepares for an impeachment trial for Trump's incitement of the riot, few seem willing to hold the former president accountable. After House Republicans who backed his impeachment found themselves facing intense backlash — and Trump’s lieutenants signalled the same fate would meet others who joined them — Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly Tuesday for an attempt to dismiss his second impeachment trial. Only five Republican senators rejected the challenge to the trial. Trump's conviction was considered a real possibility just days ago after lawmakers whose lives were threatened by the mob weighed the appropriate consequences — and the future of their party. But the Senate vote on Tuesday is a sign that while Trump may be held in low regard in Washington following the riots, a large swath of Republicans is leery of crossing his supporters, who remain the majority of the party’s voters. “The political winds within the Republican Party have blown in the opposite direction,” said Ralph Reed, chair of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a Trump ally. “Republicans have decided that even if one believes he made mistakes after the November election and on Jan. 6, the policies Trump championed and victories he won from judges to regulatory rollback to life to tax cuts were too great to allow the party to leave him on the battlefield.” The vote came after Trump, who decamped last week to his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, began wading back into politics between rounds of golf. He took an early step into the Arkansas governor’s race by endorsing former White House aide Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and backed Kelli Ward, an ally who won reelection as chair of Arizona’s Republican Party after his endorsement. At the same time, Trump’s team has given allies an informal blessing to campaign against the 10 House Republicans who voted in favour of impeachment. After Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer backed impeachment, Republican Tom Norton announced a primary challenge. Norton appeared on longtime Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast in a bid to raise campaign contributions. On Thursday, another Trump loyalist, Rep. Matt Gaetz, plans to travel to Wyoming to condemn home-state Rep. Liz Cheney, a House GOP leader who said after the Capitol riot that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. — a star with Trump’s loyal base —- has encouraged Gaetz on social media and embraced calls for Cheney’s removal from House leadership. Trump remains livid with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who refused to support Trump's false charges that Georgia's elections were fraudulent. Kemp is up for reelection in 2022, and Trump has suggested former Rep. Doug Collins run against him. Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s decision not to seek reelection in 2022 opens the door for Rep. Jim Jordan, one of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters, to seek the seat. Several other Republicans, some far less supportive of the former president, are also considering running. Trump’s continued involvement in national politics so soon after his departure marks a dramatic break from past presidents, who typically stepped out of the spotlight, at least temporarily. Former President Barack Obama was famously seen kitesurfing on vacation with billionaire Richard Branson shortly after he left office, and former President George W. Bush took up painting. Trump, who craves the media spotlight, was never expected to burrow out of public view. “We will be back in some form,” he told supporters at a farewell event before he left for Florida. But exactly what form that will take is a work in progress. Trump remains deeply popular among Republican voters and is sitting on a huge pot of cash — well over $50 million — that he could use to prop up primary challenges against Republicans who backed his impeachment or refused to support his failed efforts to challenge the election results using bogus allegations of mass voter fraud in states like Georgia. “POTUS told me after the election that he’s going to be very involved,” said Matt Schlapp, the chair of the American Conservative Union. “I think he’s going to stay engaged. He’s going to keep communicating. He’s going to keep expressing his opinions. I, for one, think that’s great, and I encouraged him to do that.” Aides say he also intends to dedicate himself to winning back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022. But for now, they say their sights are on the trial. “We’re getting ready for an impeachment trial — that’s really the focus,” said Trump adviser Jason Miller. Trump aides have also spent recent days trying to assure Republicans that he is not currently planning to launch a third party — an idea he has floated — and will instead focus on using his clout in the Republican Party. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he received a call from Brian Jack, the former White House political director, on Saturday at home to assure him that Trump had no plans for defection. “The main reason for the call was to make sure I knew from him that he’s not starting a third party and if I would be helpful in squashing any rumours that he was starting a third party. And that his political activism or whatever role he would play going forward would be with the Republican Party, not as a third party,” Cramer said. The calls were first reported by Politico. But the stakes remain high for Trump, whose legacy is a point of fierce contention in a Republican Party that is grappling with its identity after losing the White House and both chambers of Congress. Just three weeks after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, Trump’s political standing among Republican leaders in Washington remains low. “I don’t know whether he incited it, but he was part of the problem, put it that way,” said Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a strong Trump supporter, when asked about the Capitol siege and the related impeachment trial. Tuberville did not say whether he would personally defend Trump in the trial, but he downplayed the prospect of negative consequences for those Republican senators who ultimately vote to convict him. “I don’t think there’ll be any repercussions,” Tuberville said. “People are going to vote how they feel anyway.” Trump maintains a strong base of support within the Republican National Committee and in state party leadership, but even there, Republican officials have dared to speak out against him in recent days in ways they did not before. In Arizona, Ward, who had Trump’s backing, was only narrowly reelected over the weekend, even as the party voted to censure a handful of Trump’s Republican critics, including former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain. At the same time, Trump’s prospective impeachment sparked a bitter feud within the RNC. In a private email exchange obtained by The Associated Press, RNC member Demetra DeMonte of Illinois proposed a resolution calling on every Republican senator to oppose what she called an “unconstitutional sham impeachment trial, motivated by a radical and reckless Democrat majority.” Bill Palatucci, a Republican committeeman from New Jersey, slapped back. “His act of insurrection was an attack on our very democracy and deserves impeachment,” Palatucci wrote. ___ Peoples reported from New York. Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this report. Steve Peoples And Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
Ontario’s pilot COVID-19 testing program from travellers at Toronto's Pearson International Airport found that of the over 6,800 voluntary participants, 146 people or 2.26 per cent, tested positive.
Northern Health has released COVID-19 exposure notices for Uplands Elementary School and Centennial Christian School in Terrace. The exposure at Uplands Elementary School occurred Jan. 19 to Jan. 21, and Centennial Christian School’s exposure took place on Jan. 20 and Jan. 21, according to Northern Health’s list of public exposures and outbreaks. There have been numerous COVID-19 exposure notices for Terrace schools issued by Northern Health since Nov. 2020, and nearly all Terrace schools have had at least one exposure notice. Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News
Police are warning users of illicit drugs across the Northwest Territories of two new noxious substances they found in illicit drugs seized in Yellowknife last November, and for which the health effects are not known. In a Tuesday news release, RCMP said the drugs they seized — believed to crack cocaine, powder cocaine and tablets — were found to contain Adinazolam and 5-MeO-DBT after being analyzed by the Health Canada Drug Analysis Service. "These two drugs are a concern for unexpected reactions, and the concern for other contaminants like opioids is always present," said Dr. Andy Delli Pizzi, the N.W.T.'s deputy chief public health officer, in the release. Police said the substances are either presented as a new form of drug that people may be unaware they are consuming or is so novel that limited information is available on its safety. The presence of the two new substances has increased the danger of illicit drugs, the release says. "In fact, given the distribution systems of the illegal drug trade, those tainted drugs could be anywhere in the territory, so this warning is for the entire Northwest Territories" said Insp. Dyson Smith, the officer in charge of the RCMP's Yellowknife detachment, in the release. The RCMP said it is working with the N.W.T. government Department of Health and Social Services to determine the impacts of the two new substances. Delli Pizzi said in the release that people who use street or illicit drugs should always do so with others present and have a plan in case someone overdoses. "The plan should include having naloxone present and calling 911 for help with any overdose" he said. The Yellowknife RCMP's general investigation section seized the illicit drugs on Nov. 27, 2020 from a Yellowknife residence. They said there have been charges as a result of the case and that it is currently before the courts.
QUEBEC — The 24-year-old man accused in the Quebec City Halloween night sword attack appeared briefly before a judge Tuesday. Carl Girouard appeared by video conference in a Quebec City courtroom as the Crown continued to disclose more evidence in his case. He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder after a man dressed in a medieval costume and wielding a Japanese-style sword went on a rampage Oct. 31 in Quebec City's historic district. Two local residents, Francois Duchesne, 56, and Suzanne Clermont, 61, were killed, and five others were seriously injured in the attack. Duchesne was the director of communications for the Musee national des beaux-arts du Quebec while Clermont worked as a hairdresser in the neighbourhood where she lived. Four of the five people injured have also been identified after the court lifted a publication ban on their identities: Remy Belanger, Gilberto Porras, Lisa Mahmoud and Pierre Lagrevol. Prosecutor Francois Godin told the court the Crown had almost completed disclosure, adding that some laboratory test results were pending. Girouard, from Ste-Therese, a suburb north of Montreal, remains in detention and is scheduled to return to court March 12. He is now represented by Pierre Gagnon, a defence lawyer who primarily practises in the Chicoutimi judicial district north of the provincial capital. On Tuesday, the court authorized the release of Girouard's seized vehicle as well as a cellphone belonging to a victim. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Caroline Plante, The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the cellphone released belonged to the accused.
OTTAWA — Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet is standing by comments he made about Transport Minister Omar Alghabra earlier this month that sparked criticism he was trying to tar the new cabinet member with Islamophobic innuendo. Blanchet addressed the blowback nearly two weeks after Alghabra expressed disappointment in what he dubbed a harmful and "dangerous game" of insinuation by the Bloc. Blanchet says his earlier statement that questions over Alghabra's association with what the Bloc called "the political Islamic movement" were made politely and as part of a "normal process" of scrutiny. He says those questions were rooted in previous stories by national and provincial media outlets, and that the government should respond to ongoing questions from Quebecers about Alghabra's former role as head of the Canadian Arab Federation. On Tuesday afternoon, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland called on Blanchet during the daily question period to apologize to his fellow MP across the virtual aisle. Alghabra has faced attempts to sow doubt in his background before, with Conservative Sen. Denise Batters apologizing to the Saudi Arabia-born parliamentarian after she wondered aloud why media hadn't questioned the then-parliamentary secretary to the foreign minister about his place of birth. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is expanding its travel restrictions to require all domestic travellers to self-isolate for 14 days after entering the province. Since last June, only people arriving from areas east of Terrace Bay in northern Ontario have been subject to the requirement. But, starting Friday, all out-of-province arrivals will be covered by the public-health measure to help fight the spread of COVID-19. "This is being done out of an abundance of caution to protect Manitobans," Premier Brian Pallister said Tuesday. The move is needed because of the growing spread of novel coronavirus variants and because of delays in vaccine supplies, he said. There will be ongoing exceptions for people travelling for essential work and medical care, and a new exemption for residents of border communities who cross into Saskatchewan or Ontario for necessities. Pallister also called on the federal government to tighten rules governing international travellers. He said a ban on non-essential trips, as suggested by Quebec Premier Francois Legault last week, should be on the table. "We believe that a total travel ban may be something the federal government needs to consider seriously," Pallister said. "I respect that the federal government has to make this call and that's why I'm not trying to be overly prescriptive with what Manitoba wants. ... I'm simply adding my voice to those of the premiers who have said, 'Make a decision on this and doing nothing is not an option.'" Pallister also revealed that he had disciplined James Teitsma, a Progressive Conservative caucus member, who travelled with his family to British Columbia in December. The vacation did not contravene any formal public-health orders, but went against advice to avoid non-essential travel. Pallister did not say what discipline Teitsma was subjected to, and Teitsma did not return requests for comment. He sits on cabinet and Legislature committees and receives extra pay as chairman of one. A recently updated list of members of the cabinet committee on economic growth no longer includes Teitsma's name. Manitoba's COVID-19 case count continued its downward trend Tuesday. Health officials reported 92 additional cases and five deaths. Numbers have been dropping since late fall, shortly after the province brought in tight restrictions on public gatherings and store openings. Some of the measures were eased on the weekend to allow small social gatherings in private homes and non-essential store openings with limited capacity. "It's trending the right way again, but we still have a number of people in hospital ... so it still is a burden on the acute-care system," said Dr. Jazz Atwal, acting deputy chief public health officer. Opposition NDP Leader Wab Kinew said he supports the government's expanded travel restrictions, but said the province must build up intensive care units, which are running well above pre-pandemic capacity. "Let's use this time to make the investments in our health care system so that we can withstand what's coming, potentially, as the pandemic drags on," Kinew said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021 Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
With British star Chris Froome and Ottawa's Michael Woods leading the way this year, Canadian-born co-owner Sylvan Adams has big plans for the Israel Start-Up Nation team. And they go well beyond mere success in the cycling world. In convincing the Giro d'Italia to start the 2018 race with three stages in Israel, the 62-year-old from Montreal showcased his adopted country. "The entire country was on display, for three glorious days … Basically we had hundred of millions of first-time visitors to Israel, via their TV screens, seeing it in an unvarnished way" Adams said. Staging the start of the race in Israel reportedly cost millions, with Adams stepping up to help make it happen. After emigrating to Israel with his wife in late 2015 following a successful career as president and CEO of Iberville Developments, a large real-estate company, Adams had business cards printed up with the title "Self-appointed ambassador at large for Israel.” "And I decided I'm going to devote this chapter of my life to promoting my new country, my adopted country, using sporting and other cultural activities to show what I call the true face of Israel," Adams said in an interview from Spain where his team was in pre-season training. For Adams, Israel is a country open, tolerant, diverse and fiercely democratic. '"And of course we're a safe country. People don't realize it because of the news cycle," he said. "My projects are kind of trying to show the rest of the world this normal Israel." "I'm not blaming the journalists. Good news doesn't sell," he added with a laugh. Adams is spreading his largesse. He helped build a velodrome in Tel Aviv and donated some $39 million for a new emergency care wing at a Tel Aviv hospital. He has also created the Sylvan Adams Sports Institute (SASI) at Tel Aviv University, a facility dedicated to sports science that has partnered with Montreal's McGill University. There is also the Sylvan Adams commuter cycling path network in Tel Aviv. In addition to being co-owner of Israel Start-Up Nation, Adams is also team CEO. He negotiated the deals to bring Woods and Froome into the fold. "I'm very actively involved in the team. It does take up a significant amount of my time," said Adams. Asked if anyone makes money from pro cycling, Adams chuckles. "Not me, that's for sure," he said. "If somebody does, it can't be big money … You'll not get rich in the sport of cycling, sadly. And for me it's quite the opposite. I've put a lot of my of my own personal funds into the bike team. And I'm hoping with success, we'll bring on some more commercial sponsorships." By having Israel rather than a sponsor in the team name, he knows he is missing out on a major source of sponsorship. But he pledges that Israel will always be front and centre. Still, that doesn't stop him from hoping the Israeli government ups its current support of the team. Right now, he gets "very small sponsorship" from the Israeli ministry of tourism. While Adams' cycling team had moments to savour in 2020 — British rider Alex Dowsett won Stage 8 of the Giro while Ireland's Dan Martin took Stage 3 of the Spanish Vuelta (Woods won Stage 7 with his former team) — Adams is looking for significant improvements this season. That's because his team didn't get its WorldTour licence until the last day possible before the 2020 season, buying it from the Katusha-Alpecin team. In essence, last year's squad was built as a lower-tier Pro Continental team. "We had some good riders certainly — Andre Greipel and Dan Martin — so we were a fair team," said Adams. "But this year we're a real WorldTour team. We built the roster because we know we are in the WorldTour. And we built the roster with certain goals in mind. "We're a vastly improved team and we hope to make some noise this season." Adams goes back with Woods, whom he first heard about from Montreal's Paulo Saldanha, now Israel Start-Up Nation's performance manager. A former Ironman triathlete, Saldanha runs a string of training studios under the PowerWatts name. Saldanha was working with another rider, who tipped him off to Woods' potential in 2013. A former elite distance runner, Woods had switched to cycling after a string of foot injuries — breaking his foot for the final time in the fall of 2011. Adams had worked with Saldanha before, telling him to keep him posted if he came across a promising prospect who needed some financial help. They had tried it a few times without much success. Then came Woods. "I get a call from Paulo and he says 'Sylvan, I've just tested this guy and he's the best athlete I've ever tested from an endurance sport, natural physical gifts perspective.'" Adams provided the help anonymously until Saldanha eventually introduced him to Woods, who had been working as a bank teller as well as weekends in a bike shop, as his benefactor. Older than most aspiring pros, Woods was not that attractive a prospect for some. "If it wasn't for Paulo and Sylvan, I wouldn't be a pro cyclist," Woods said. "They took a big chance on me and helped me out when I first started." Adams' message to Woods was simple. You have a job any time with my team, but best you wait until it reaches the top echelon. "The rest is history," said Adams. "He climbed through the ranks at various level of the sport." In September 2019, Adams went to the UCI Road World Cycling Championships in Harrogate, England. As member of the Canadian camp, he rode with the team on their reconnaissance ride before the race. He reiterated his job offer. A year later, Woods opted to leave the Education First Pro Cycling team to join Adams in 2021. Adams is no stranger to digging into his pocket for cycling, backing the Canadian-based SpiderTech team — run by former Canadian star rider Steve Bauer — that eventually ceased operations in 2012. After moving to Israel, he had a chance to get back into the sport by buying into a team that was then called the Israel Cycling Academy. "Instead of being a small player like I was in SpiderTech, well I became the biggest player," he said. "It's worked out really well. I think the team is a great ambassador for the country." Other Canadians on the Israeli team include Ottawa's Alex Cataford, and Montreal's Guillaume Boivin and James Piccoli. There are three other Canadians on the team's developmental squad and more on the team staff including the chief mechanic. "There's a lot of Canadian content on our team … And I'm eager to have our team seen not only as Israel's team but also as Canada's team," said Adams. "I'm here for Canada," he added. But the marquee addition in 2021 is Froome, a four-time Tour de France winner who came over from Team Ineos. "One of the reasons I'm excited about having Chris Froome and having a much better team is everybody pays attention to the winner," Adams said. "So it brings us more positive attention and I'm all for it." Woods also points to the addition of South Africa's Daryl Impey, a two-time winner of the Tour Down Under, and Belgian's Sep Vanmarcke. "We've got a really strong roster," said Woods. "I think we've certainly going to be one of the top teams this year." An avid cyclist who took up the sport at age 41, Adams' masters' resume includes six Canadian titles, four Pan American gold medals, four Maccabiah Games gold medals, two World Championships titles and the Israeli championship. "He's larger than life in many ways. A great guy," said Woods. "Sylvan has done a lot for cycling in Canada. Most of the time in a quiet way," added Quebec's Hugo Houle, who rides for the Astana-Premier Tech team. "But he's definitely a big big helper. I have a lot of respect for what he's doing now with Israel Start-Up Nation. The team's getting really big and really great." Adams remains connected to Canada with one of his kids in Vancouver and another in Montreal. Two others are based in Los Angeles. --- Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — After shares of BlackBerry and GameStop surged this week amid hype on social media, investors may be tempted to get in on the action, even if there is no company news driving the stocks higher. But experts say investors should not get swept up by investment trends because of a fear of missing out on the next hot stock. While it's possible to make money picking individual stocks, the odds make it more like gambling than an investing strategy, says Dave Hardisty, the chair of marketing and behavioural science at The University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business. "It is exciting, right?" says Hardisty. "But it's not smart." It can certainly seem like a rich payout for those who picked the winning horse: Toronto-listed BlackBerry shares are up 47.5 per cent over the past five days. Hardisty says that it's human nature to pay disproportionately more attention to those who are doing better than you — especially if they look like they're making more money on social media. But in reality, Hardisty says, even professional investors can struggle to pick individual stocks, pointing to a theory Warren Buffett famously tested when his chosen index fund won a bet against a hedge fund manager. University of Toronto finance professor Lisa Kramer says it's not surprising that stock picking has become a popular topic on Reddit and TikTok during the COVID-19 pandemic. With interest rates low, safe investments like savings accounts and bonds aren't keeping up with inflation, Kramer notes. Meanwhile, commission-free trading apps have gained popularity and North American stock markets have risen from a steep downturn last spring to hit new record highs. Some people, Kramer says, find themselves stuck at home with more time than money, if they are among those left unemployed by the pandemic. Others may have more flexible work-at-home schedules and more pocket money to burn, with traditional entertainment venues shuttered. But, Kramer says, inexperienced investors are the most vulnerable to stock-picking trends. "It's quite natural to fixate on those kinds of movements in markets, and it's very natural to feel the urge to jump in...We see this over and over through the decades," says Kramer. "People who lived through the 2008 financial crisis — or going back even further, people who lived through the internet boom and bust in 2000 — those folks have been to this rodeo before. They know that just because you see a stock price that has been going up, up up, it's not the case that it will necessarily keep doing that." The problem with betting on individual stocks is that as a company's stock rises, it might surpass the company's business outlook, says Krisi Ashcroft, Head of Product at Mackenzie Investments, in Toronto. "With these trends that can get swept up in a bit of mania or abundance of positive sentiment, the valuations of these stocks can really become untethered from their true business prospects," says Ashcroft. "You could see opportunities for lots of growth in terms of sales, but sometimes that's already fully reflected in stock prices ... professional money managers have a rigorous process around looking at companies, projecting forward their business prospects, modeling future profits, and coming up with reasonable valuations." Ashcroft says that any investing strategy that focuses heavily on one stock, geographic area or sector is risky. Before making an investment, Ashcroft suggests people consider what they are saving up for — a tactic that can remind them of the importance of their long-term goals. "Like anything in life, there are very few shortcuts," Ashcroft says. "People typically, on social media, advertise their successes. They may not be quite as vocal about the investment that didn't work out so well for them." Hardisty suggests people put a date on their calendar every few months to check on their investments, rather than watch the stock market every day, to keep themselves from getting caught up in daily ups and downs. Kramer says that while sticking to a sensible investing plan can seem boring, checking stocks daily can become highly addictive. Investors might consider instead setting aside a small, fixed portion of their overall portfolio for "fun" or more speculative investments. Target date funds can be another more short-term way to dip in and out of the market, says Kramer. As for the rest of your money, the part you need for later in life? Kramer suggests good old "buy and hold." "If they really can't resist that impulse to jump in and hold some of those stocks that they're hearing about in the online forums, then at least contain the exposure," Kramer says. "Set aside a fraction of the total portfolio that you treat as entertainment — and that you can afford to lose." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX: BB) Anita Balakrishnan, The Canadian Press
Huronia Airport's tri-party owners pored over the various options presented by a consultant to keep the asset viable. Trent Gervais, president and CEO of Loomex Group, which was hired to prepare a detailed report around the aviation property, talked Monday evening to the three municipalities that own the 300-acre piece of property in Tiny Township. He said the airport has some crucial positive features, such as room to grow, an approximately 4,000 foot runway that can accommodate small charters, commercial and larger general aviation aircrafts, proximity to cottage country, and low tax, utilities, and fuel costs. Some downsides, as Gervais pointed out, include weak internet access, outdated machinery and equipment, outdated fuel system and lack of a flight school. In the report, he lists a number of ways the airport can be revived as a revenue-generating asset for the area. Increasing communications on various channels can not only bring in tourism and visitors, but also attract a flight school, and open up the space to events. Additional hangar spaces can be added and some of the airport building space can be leased out to other businesses. Another suggestion was to strike a partnership with Tay Township, which is the only North Simcoe municipality currently not sharing in the ownership of the airport. When the floor was opened for questions, Midland's Coun. Jon Main was the first to jump in with a query. "How have you seen the airport industry change in the pandemic and are we close to seeing it return to normal?" he asked. Gervais said it's no secret that COVID-19 has decimated the aviation industry. "Airports hurting the most are those that rely heavily on schedule service," he said, adding some airports have lost 90% of their business. Despite that, it’s still going fairly strong, said Gervais. "We also think it’s a great opportunity that when the general population gets out and moves around, it’s going to take them time to build up the trust to travel abroad," he said. "Domestic travel is a great asset. What can your airport do to attract that potential business to the area?" Tiny Township's Coun. Tony Mintoff said despite the challenges and the hardships COVID-19 has created in every other area of life, the airport's movements were up by 17% over 2019. "Our fuel sales are up 60% over last year," he said. Main asked about another use for the airport. "We have all these extreme weather events that are potentially going to be affecting us, so are the airport's emergency capabilities would be fantastic to be further explored?" he said. Gervais said that could work. "Your airport could be equipped to assist with emergency management," he said. "It could be a small evacuation shelter. It could be a small transportation hub. It could play another role. It's just an asset sitting there." Penetanguishene councillor George Vadeboncoeur wanted to know if the tri-party municipal agreement would be reviewed. Jeff Lees, chief administrative officer for Penetanguishene, said that was one of the suggestions made by Loomex and agreed upon by the three CAOs. Midland's Coun. Bill Gordon wanted to know more about the suggestion around hosting events on the airport property. "I've heard that a couple times now, and as I recall there were at least two events that were proposed and denied," he said. "Has there's been a shift in the mentality now?" Gervais clarified the types of events the report was suggesting. "What we are really encouraging is that the events should be aviation and aerospace related," he said. "They're the types of events we would encourage you to attract to the airport." Mintoff, who is part of the Huronia Airport Commission, added to that. "We've had two significant proposals brought to us," he said. "One was for a concert-type venue. We worked with the proponent, but what happened was that they were asking us to undertake all the liabilities and responsibilities, without any commitment to revenue from that opportunity. "The second opportunity was to host drag races on the airport runway," continued Mintoff. "We worked very much with the proponent to make sure we had the appropriate insurance policies, but found out that these events can create significant damage to the runways. The amount of money we were being offered wouldn't have cleaned it up." The commission, he said, understands the desire of the three host municipalities to generate revenue to offset the deficit. "We feel we have to have the right things that will generate reasonable revenue without exposing municipalities to the liabilities," Mintoff said. Gordon then asked about the airport competing with the Lake Simcoe Regional Airport in Oro-Medonte. "The Lake Simcoe (Regional) Airport is in significant growth mode and it's proven so likely to produce income," he said. "Are we really wise to be competing against our own upper tier of government when our collective tax dollars are promoting their growth?" Gervais said there's plenty of room in the airspace for all the airports. "The Lake Simcoe Regional Airport sits as part of the Southern Ontario Airport Network," he said. "Each one of those airports is defined around the type of business they're in. Although Simcoe won't turn away general aviation traffic, that's not what they're promoting. They're out there promoting the big jet traffic. "Those that are travelling to North Simcoe are going to want to land in North Simcoe," added Gervais. Gordon then asked about divestment. "Why did we choose not to look at divestment as an option?" Gervais said that wasn't part of the mandate. However, the report does include a section about divestiture. Small and medium-sized municipalities may look at selling off airports with aging infrastructures, but there are many advantages and disadvantages to consider, says the report. Selling may be difficult negotiate considering the agreements already in place with hangar owners. Private investors may not want to invest back in the airport. "Another challenge with a private airport structure is managing noise and other environmental externalities generated by airports," says the report. "Seldom, costs of noise pollution are included in the profit and loss sheet of a private airport. Often, politicians spend tax dollars to cover the costs of noise mitigation; this would remain a burden on the municipality, regardless of ownership structure, in order to calm neighbouring voters/taxpayers." As well, the Loomex report says, selling the airport to a private owner would take away municipal control over the activities at the airfield. Midland's Mayor Stewart Strathearn spoke up against divestiture. "If you divest totally of the airport, you'll never get it back," he said. He then asked about the runway capacity to allow larger planes to land. "We have a 4,000-foot runaway, can it accommodate a Dash-8? What would the range of an aircraft like that be?" he said. "If we're talking about a more focused marketing plan, tied into something like cruise ships, then you start to have people who are deposited in our area and may need to go back to, for example, Chicago." Gervais said the strip is equipped for a Dash-8 to land on it. "We'd have to look at what size, but a Dash-8 300, would have 50 to 70 passengers," he added. Strathearn also wanted to know how the Huronia Airport would stand apart from all the other airpotrs in the region that already offer flight school. Gervais' advice was to look for the niche. "There are a lot of international pilots that could be attracted," he said. "Could it be an ultra light flight school? There are a lot of unmanned aircrafts that are reaching potential. I wouldn't suggest attracting just another flight school, but what niche market can you get into that nobody else is doing?" Strathearn then asked about funding. "If this airport were to attract a charter services, what would it do to its status in the hierarchy of airports?" he said. "Would we be eligible for significant federal funding as a consequence?" Gervais said the airport would have to reach a certain threshold for regularly scheduled service for that. "The better you can collaborate as a region and have a solid business plan, the more inclined you are to be able to get some federal and provincial funding," he said. Tim Leitch, Tiny Township's acting CAO and director of public works, explained next steps. "Moving forward on this, we felt that one of the main things to get us going would be a task force made up of three staff members from the ownership groups, an aviation expert, the airport manager, and representation from our councils," he said. "We want to develop a road map for how we're going to move forward to make sure the airport is a sustainable business." The task force, said Leitch, will bring back a report to respective councils to create a consistent plan of action moving forward. Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
Months-long protests in India escalated on Tuesday as thousands of farmers clashed with police in New Delhi over new laws that they say will push small farmers out of the market and let private corporations exploit them.
ROME — Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte resigned Tuesday after a key coalition ally pulled his party’s support over Conte’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, setting the stage for consultations this week to determine if he can form a third government. Conte tendered his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella, who held off on any immediate decision other than to ask Conte to keep the government running in the near-term, Mattarella's office said. The president will begin consulting with leaders of political parties on Wednesday. Conte hopes to get Mattarella's support to try to form a new coalition government that can steer the country as it battles the pandemic and an economic recession and creates a spending plan for the 209 billion euros ($254 billion) Italy is getting in European Union recovery funds. The premier said in a message posted on Facebook that his resignation was aimed at achieving “a government that can save the nation” during the health, social and economic crisis provoked by the pandemic. “The widespread suffering of citizens, deep social hardship and economic difficulties require a clear perspective and a government that has a larger and more secure majority,” Conte wrote. Conte’s coalition government was thrown into turmoil earlier this month when a junior party headed by ex-Premier Matteo Renzi yanked its support. Conte won confidence votes in parliament last week, but fell short of an absolute majority in the Senate, forcing him to take the gamble of resignation. Mattarella, Italy's largely ceremonial head of state, can ask Conte to try to form a broader coalition government, mandate a new prime minister to try to form a government from the same parties, appoint a largely technical government to steer the country through the pandemic or dissolve parliament and call an election two years early. A technical government and early election are considered the least-likely outcomes. But Conte would need Renzi's support to form a new governing coalition or the backing of independents and the centre-right Forza Italia party. “The most likely outcomes in my opinion are two: one is another government with Conte and with Renzi, and the second most likely is a government without Conte and with Renzi,'' Roberto D'Alimonte, a political science professor at Rome's LUISS University, said. The partners in the current coalition — the 5-Star Movement, the Democratic Party and the smaller LeU (Free and Equal) party — are all hoping for a third Conte government. Conte's first government starting in 2018 was a 5-Star alliance with the right-wing League party led by Matteo Salvini that lasted 15 months. His second lasted 17 months. Salvini and centre-right opposition parties are clamouring for an early election, hoping to capitalize on polls prior to the government crisis that showed high approval ratings for the League and the right-wing Brothers of Italy party led by Giorgia Meloni. Salvini has blasted the “palace games and buying and selling of senators” of recent days as Conte has tried to find new coalition allies, claiming that Conte is incapable of leading Italy through the crisis. “Let’s use these weeks to give the word back to the people and we’ll have five years of a serious and legitimate parliament and government not chosen in palaces but chosen by Italians,” Salvini said Monday. Democratic leader Nicola Zingaretti says an early election is the last thing the country needs. He tweeted Monday: “With Conte for a new clearly European-centric government supported by an ample parliamentary base that will guarantee credibility and stability to confront the challenges Italy has ahead." The ratings agency Fitch said in a statement that the political crisis could hinder Italy's ability to relaunch its economy after the pandemic, particularly if the government is unable to come up with a strategy to use the EU recovery funds. “The advent of a substantially weaker government or persistent political uncertainty could hamper efforts to improve growth prospects after the pandemic via a coherent economic strategy,” Fitch said ."It could also increase the risk of delays in disbursing" the recovery funds. ____ Colleen Barry contributed from Milan. Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — CBS has placed two top executives on administrative leave as it investigates charges of a hostile work environment for women and minorities at news operations in some of its largest individual stations. Peter Dunn, president of the CBS Television Stations, and David Friend, senior vice-president for news at the stations, are on leave pending the results of an external investigation. “CBS is committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace where all voices are heard, claims are investigated and appropriate action is taken where necessary,” the network said in a statement. The accusations were outlined over the weekend in an investigation by the Los Angeles Times and a subsequent meeting between CBS and the National Association of Black Journalists. Since 2009, Dunn has been head of stations owned and operated by CBS in big cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago and others. The Times said Dunn had referred to a Black male news anchor in Philadelphia as “just a jive guy." One executive at the station quit because she couldn't tolerate the culture and another has filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relates Commission alleging he was fired for co-operating with an internal review of his bosses, the Times reported. The NABJ has said CBS stations lag in maintaining diverse staffs, saying New York's WCBS-TV had only one female Black full-time reporter and went five years without a male Black reporter. “This is toxic. There's no other way to put it,” said Ken Lemon, the NABJ's vice-president of broadcast, on Tuesday. Since the story was published, Lemon said he had talked to at least five other people with new experiences to tell about the working atmosphere at CBS. He said the NABJ is optimistic about the steps CBS has taken. David Bauder, The Associated Press
CALGARY — Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe says backup goaltender Jack Campbell will be out "weeks" with a leg injury. Campbell was hurt late in Toronto's 3-2 win at Calgary on Sunday when Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk landed on him in a goal-mouth scrum. Campbell has a 2-0-0 record with a 2.00 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage so far this season. Michael Hutchinson has been pencilled in to back up starter Frederik Andersen for the Leafs, who were set to finish a two-game series with Calgary on Tuesday night. The Maple Leafs lost goaltender Aaron Dell to the waiver wire last week. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
Bon an mal an, quand le mois de janvier s’installe dans la région de Chibougamau-Chapais, la population se prépare à une période active. C’est que, dans notre beau coin de pays, les gens aiment bouger. Les activités hivernales sont fort nombreuses de la mi-janvier jusqu’à la fin de la semaine de relâche au début du mois de mars et même au-delà. Ces activités génèrent des revenus importants pour certains commerçants. Que ces activités soient des sports mécanisés ou des sports plus physiques, à chaque fin de semaine, il y a une ou des activités. Mais, cette année, la situation sera vraiment très différente. La pandémie aura chamboulé bien des habitudes qui sont ancrées chez les Jamésiens depuis plusieurs décennies et qui apportent leur lot de visiteurs et de retombées qui ne seront pas au rendez-vous cette année. Cette perte s’ajoute à tout ce que la COVID a déjà couté en revenus à la région. Les gens de Tourisme Baie-James sont bien au fait de l’absence de cette manne. Le secteur des festivals et évènements est un pôle majeur pour l’industrie touristique. C'est un des secteurs qui est le plus durement touché actuellement avec l'annulation de la grande majorité des évènements depuis mars 2020 et pour une bonne partie de 2021. Au-delà des consignes sanitaires et du couvre-feu, les évènements et festivals ont besoin de commanditaires pour boucler leur budget. « Pour la plupart, ils sont gérés par des équipes de bénévoles et dépendent de l'appui de plusieurs partenaires qui sont, avec raison, plus réticents à donner leur appui financier et qui le demeureront encore pour une bonne partie de l'année », de mentionner le président de Tourisme Baie-James, Alexandre-Maxim Jacob. « Ce que je souhaite, c'est qu'on puisse retrouver un contexte favorable rapidement avec la campagne de vaccination qui est cours actuellement, que les partenaires répondent présent et que chaque organisation puisse récupérer un maximum de bénévoles pour repartir la machine lorsqu'elles auront le feu vert de la santé publique,» affirme M. Jacob qui siège aussi comme représentant du secteur attrait, évènement et festival. Tourisme Baie-James continue de faire des représentations afin de pouvoir soutenir ses membres et limiter les dégâts causés par la pandémie car plusieurs organisations doivent assumer des couts fixes récurrents avec un revenu quasi inexistant. Tous annulés Quand on fait un rapide tour de la situation des évènements et festivals dans la région, tous ont dû déclarer forfait. Que l’on pense aux quatre randonnées pour les motoneiges antiques, le Super Rallye minoune du Club Auto-neige de Chibougamau, le Défi polaire de Chapais et la randonnée de l’Association des minounes extrêmes de Chibougamau (AMEC) qui se fait en pleine ville et, bien entendu, le Rallye du président du Festival Folifrets, le crosscountry et toutes les autres activités qui y sont reliées lors de la semaine de relance du début mars. Le monde des sports sur glace est aussi touché, que ce soit le patinage artistique, bien sûr le hockey avec les activités du hockey mineur, le tournoi mineur et les tournois pour adultes. Les retombées de toutes ces activités ne peuvent se chiffrer au moment d’écrire ces lignes mais, surement, qu’elles se comptent en milliers de dollars. Renverser la tendance Selon les statistiques, les amateurs de loisirs et de sports d’hiver sont de plus en plus nombreux au Québec et, cette année, notre région a été une des seules au Québec à pouvoir profiter des sports hivernaux puisque le couvert de neige était presque inexistant ailleurs en province, particulièrement dans le monde de la motoneige. La situation sanitaire n’a malheureusement pas pu bénéficier à nos commerçants au maximum, mais il faut prendre la balle au bond et se préparer pour attirer les visiteurs dans les années à venir. Les données des retombées touristiques en hiver pour le Nord-du-Québec ne sont pas disponibles sur les sites gouvernementaux mais, quand on regarde la tendance au Québec, on remarque une augmentation de la fréquentation du tourisme hivernal en provenance du reste de notre province. Dans les mois à venir, le Québec aura le gout de se réinventer tout en encourageant les gens d’ici. Quand ce sera possible, nous aurons une chance incroyable de vendre la plus belle région du Québec : la nôtre.René Martel, Initiative de journalisme local, La Sentinelle
A prospective COVID-19 vaccine touted as a made-in-Canada response has begun human clinical trials in Toronto, and the company says it's already preparing a follow-up that will target more infectious variants. Providence Therapeutics of Calgary says if all goes well, it could start manufacturing millions of doses of its first prospective vaccine by the end of the year, guaranteeing a Canadian stockpile that wouldn't be subject to global supply pressures or competition. That's if the formulation proves safe and effective, of course. Among the challenges of developing a vaccine amid a raging pandemic is the uncertainty of how more infectious variants now emerging will complicate the COVID battle. Even if successful, by the time Providence Therapeutics releases its vaccine hopeful much of the country could be in the throes of a more infectious virus that does not respond to this formulation, allowed company CEO Brad Sorenson. "We don't believe that this is going to be resolved by a single vaccine," said Sorenson, whose biotech also produces a personalized mRNA-based vaccine against cancer. It's a challenge now facing Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which have each said its products appear to respond well to the variant initially identified in the United Kingdom, and to a lesser degree, the variant first detected in South Africa. Moderna said earlier this week it plans to test two booster vaccines aimed at the variant associated with South Africa. Sorenson said Providence is already internally testing a vaccine candidate that targets the variants, and he hoped to begin clinical trials by the end of the year. "We believe that there's going to be a need to be in a position of readiness to be able to respond as these variants are coming up, and to be able to make sure that we have that capacity." That doesn't mean Providence is changing production runs just yet. Sorenson said the immediate focus is to establish the safety and efficacy of its COVID-19 vaccine, dubbed PTX-COVID19-B and designed in the early days of the pandemic last March. It uses messenger RNA technology and focuses on the spike protein located on the surface of a coronavirus that initiates infection, similar to the Pfizer and Moderna products. The trial involves 60 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 25 who will be monitored for 13 months, with the first results expected in February. The subjects are divided into four groups of 15, three of which will get three different doses. The fourth group gets a placebo. Sorenson said immediate pandemic efforts should be focused on the novel coronavirus currently devastating many parts of the country. "It's a matter of capacity. Right now these variants are there, they're concerning, and we're keeping a close eye on it, but that's not predominantly what the needs of the population are," said Sorenson. "Right now the needs of the population are still tied to the primary spike protein virus that's out there and is ravaging around the world." Sorenson said his next vaccine candidate takes a broader approach by attempting to elicit a T-cell response, thereby creating a longer-term vaccine "and cover what we believe would be a lot more variants." "We have to prove it out but we believe that if we are successful that it will allow for a much more durable immunity and a much broader immunity." The other goal is to prepare for large-scale manufacturing in Calgary, if all goes well with the trials and approval process. Sorenson said doses for the Phase 1 trial are being made in Toronto but the plan is to commercially manufacture the completed vaccine through a contract with the Calgary-based Northern RNA Inc. That won't be up and running by the end of the year, Sorenson allowed, so the short-term plan is to send raw materials made in Canada to a plant in the United States that would make the commercial product. Eventually, the whole process would be completed in Canada, he said. "We're building the entire chain within Canada so we're not going to run into a problem where this particular input into the vaccine is unavailable," he said. Much of this also depends on financial support from the federal government, Sorenson added. While the National Research Council of Canada has backed Phase 1 trials, Sorenson said he's awaiting word on further support. He'd also like Ottawa to back Providence's efforts to address the new COVID variants. "They've already recognized the importance of mRNA technology. What they don't realize is the power of mRNA technology to be responsive to these challenges that are coming up," he said. "Hopefully the politicians and the people that cut the cheques and write the policies that give direction to the bureaucrats will hear that and we'll start seeing a more concerted approach that looks at a fuller picture." Pending regulatory approval, Sorenson said a larger, international Phase 2 trial may start in May with seniors, younger subjects and pregnant people, followed by an even broader Phase 3 trial. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press
RALEIGH, N.C. — A North Carolina state senator announced Tuesday that he's running for the U.S. Senate in 2022, hoping to flip fortunes for Democrats from his state to serve in the chamber after a string of defeats. Jeff Jackson, a Charlotte business attorney, Afghan war veteran and National Guard soldier, unveiled his bid, saying he is committed to “honesty and decency” in politics and helping working people and working families. Jackson, 38, is the second high-profile Democrat to enter the race to succeed three-term Republican Sen. Richard Burr, who is not seeking reelection. Erica Smith, a former state senator who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in 2020 and to challenge Republican incumbent Thom Tillis, is in again. Tillis ultimately narrowly defeated Democrat Cal Cunningham in November. Those two campaigns and outside groups spent $287 million combined, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That was a record before the two Georgia Senate elections that went to Jan. 5 runoffs swamped that total. In contrast with North Carolina's hyper-nationalized Senate race in 2020, Jackson said he'll attempt to turn his campaign inward by pledging to visit all 100 counties as the coronavirus pandemic has subsided. He said he'll hold town halls in each to “build an agenda that’s actually tailored to our state, not an agenda that’s imported from D.C. or from donors.” In a campaign announcement video featuring his wife and three young children, Jackson said voters want a different approach to win their support. “The idea is just to do a good job and this is what a good job would look like,” Jackson told The Associated Press in a phone interview. “The idea is not to run a super clever political campaign. The idea is just to be very straightforward and surprise people by how real it is.” North Carolina Republicans have now won four consecutive Senate races dating to 2010. Cunningham’s bid for U.S. Senate was derailed in the campaign's final weeks by his acknowledgement of a recent extramarital affair. But Democrats nationally are heartened by victories elsewhere, capped by both Georgia wins. That caused a 50-50 split in the chamber that gave Democrats control because Vice-President Kamala Harris, a Democrat, breaks ties. Other Democrats are weighing whether to enter the contest, which will still require massive fundraising even in the coming months to gain the attention of voters in the March 2022 primaries. Jackson, who sat next to Smith on the state Senate floor the past two years, said he considers her a friend and would endorse her immediately if she won the primary. On the Republican side, former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker of Greensboro announced he's running last month. North Carolina native Lara Trump, the daughter-in-law of former President Donald Trump, is also considering a bid. Jackson decided against running for Senate in 2020 after meeting with then-Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Schumer ultimately backed Cunningham's bid, and Smith accused party leaders of stacking the deck against her as a Black woman in the March 2020 primary. Jackson and Cunningham are white. Jackson said in 2019 that Schumer had wanted him to spend all hours “in a windowless basement" raising campaign money to defeat Tillis. Jackson told the AP on Tuesday he had not spoken to Schumer about 2022 but “I'm going to run this campaign the way I think it needs to be run.” Jackson's military career evokes Cunningham's. While in college, Jackson enlisted in the Army Reserve after the Sept. 11 attacks. He served in Afghanistan for nearly a year in the mid-2000s. He remains a military attorney in a North Carolina National Guard unit and is a former local prosecutor. Jackson's file of legislative accomplishments in Raleigh is relatively thin — largely the result of serving in the minority party. He did advocate successfully for a 2019 law that undid a 40-year-old court decision that had made North Carolina the only state where women could not revoke consent once a sex act had begun. Jackson also has made splashes with recorded floor speeches and social media posts that have gone viral. State Republicans already tried to link Jackson to Cunningham on Tuesday, calling him “Cal Jr.” “North Carolina needs leaders who get results and Cal Jr. believes success equals retweets,” state GOP spokesman Tim Wigginton said in a news release. Gary D. Robertson, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Tuesday rescinded a Trump-era memo that established a “zero tolerance” enforcement policy for migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, which resulted in thousands of family separations. Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson issued the new memo to federal prosecutors across the nation, saying the department would return to its longstanding previous policy and instructing prosecutors to act on the merits of individual cases. “Consistent with this longstanding principle of making individualized assessments in criminal cases, I am rescinding — effective immediately — the policy directive,” Wilkinson wrote. Wilkinson said the department’s principles have “long emphasized that decisions about bringing criminal charges should involve not only a determination that a federal offence has been committed and that the admissible evidence will probably be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction, but should also take into account other individualized factors, including personal circumstances and criminal history, the seriousness of the offence, and the probable sentence or other consequences that would result from a conviction.” The “zero tolerance” policy meant that any adult caught crossing the border illegally would be prosecuted for illegal entry. Because children cannot be jailed with their family members, families were separated and children were taken into custody by Health and Human Services, which manages unaccompanied children at the border. While the rescinding of “zero tolerance” is in part symbolic, it undoes the Trump administration’s massively unpopular policy responsible for the separation of more than 5,500 children from their parents at the U.S-Mexico border. Most families have not been prosecuted under zero tolerance since 2018, when the separations were halted, though separations have continued on a smaller scale. Practically, the ending of the policy will affect mostly single men who have entered the country illegally. “While policies may change, our mission always remains the same: to seek justice under the law," Wilkinson wrote in the memo. President Joe Biden has issued an executive order to undo some of Trump’s restrictive policies, but the previous administration has so altered the immigration landscape that it will take quite a while to untangle all the major changes. Some of the parents separated from their children were deported. Advocates for the families have called on Biden to allow those families to reunite in the United States. Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, along with Trump and other top leaders in his administration, were bent on curbing immigration. The “zero tolerance” policy was one of several increasingly restrictive policies aimed at discouraging migrants from coming to the Southern border. Trump’s administration also vastly reduced the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. and all but halted asylum at the border, through a combination of executive orders and regulation changes. The policy was a disaster; there was no system created to reunite children with their families. A report from the Justice Department’s inspector general, released earlier this month, found that the policy led to a $227 million funding shortfall. Children suffered lasting emotional damage from the separations and the policy was criticized as grossly inhumane by world leaders. The policy began April 6, 2018, under an executive order that was issued without warning to other federal agencies that would have to manage the policy, including the U.S. Marshals Service and Health and Human Services. It was halted June 20, 2018. A federal judge ordered the families to be reunited and is still working to do so. The watchdog report also found that Sessions and other top officials knew the children would be separated under the policy and encouraged it. Justice officials ignored concerns from staff about the rollout and did not bother to set up a system to track families in order to reunite them. Some children are still separated. ___ Follow Balsamo and Long on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeBalsamo1 and https://twitter.com/ctlong1. Michael Balsamo And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
ZURICH — FIFA set a new target Tuesday of finalizing North American host cities for the 2026 World Cup — if the COVID-19 pandemic allows. The 23 candidate cities likely need to be cut to 16. FIFA said it could confirm them at the end of the the year. The pre-pandemic schedule called for cities hosting the first 48-team World Cup — likely 10 in the United States and three each in Canada and Mexico — to be picked early this year. The new deadline will depend on FIFA officials being able to take inspection trips to 17 cities in the United States and three each in Canada and Mexico. “The visits will only take place if the health and safety situation in the host countries allows FIFA to do so,” the governing body said in a statement. The proposed Canadian cities are Edmonton (Commonwealth Stadium), Toronto (BMO Field) and Montreal (Olympic Stadium). A FIFA delegation met with Canada Soccer and representatives from the Canadian cities in Toronto last March before the pandemic started shutting sports down. The plan is for Canada and Mexico to host 10 games each with the U.S. hosting 60, including all games from the quarterfinals on. Most of the venues in the United States will be NFL stadiums, with the home of the New York Giants and New York Jets expected to host the final on July 12, 2026. “Realizing the commercial potential of each venue, as well as in terms of sustainability, human rights and event legacy, is of the utmost importance,” FIFA said. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Cette initiative est lancée par les agents de découvrabilité territoriale (ADT) qui sont en poste depuis l’automne dernier. Les ADT, qui sont présents dans différentes régions comme l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue, le Nord-du-Québec et le Nord-Est de l’Ontario, ont pour mission d’améliorer la visibilité et la quantité de l’information sur nos territoires qui se retrouvent sur la plateforme Wikipédia. Au départ, les ADT ont dû se familiariser avec le site Wikipédia pour ensuite répertorier tout ce qui s’y trouvait et ayant rapport aux régions concernées avant de débuter le travail de terrain. « Il a fallu effectuer un travail de terrain pour débroussailler ce qui se trouvait déjà sur Wiki. Pour ensuite modifier quelques informations, améliorer quelques pages. Il faut aussi créer du nouveau matériel », de nous mentionner Émélie Rivard-Boudreau, ADT Qu’est-ce qu’un Wiki club? Un Wiki club, c’est un regroupement de passionnés où chacun contribue, selon ses forces et compétences, à mettre en lumière différents aspects de son territoire dans la grande encyclopédie libre Wikipédia. Plusieurs manières de participer ont déjà été identifiées, soit à titre de rédacteur, de photographe amateur, de sourceur. La combinaison de ces formes variées de contribution permet ultimement de rehausser la représentativité des territoires de chacun sur Wikipédia. « L’un des objectifs visés est de recruter des ambassadeurs ou wikipédiens dans chaque territoire compris dans le Croissant boréal, c’est-à-dire l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue, le Nord-Est ontarien francophone et la Baie-James », a précisé Edma-Annie Wheelhouse, agente de développement culturel numérique au Conseil de la culture de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue. « Nous partageons déjà de nombreux points communs en matière de territoire, d’économie, d’identité et de culture. En nous unissant, nous augmentons notre pouvoir d’attraction et favorisons notre déploiement à l’échelle nationale et internationale de la francophonie.» Pourquoi Wikipédia ? C’est parce qu’il n’y pas de limite avec Wikipédia. On peut y entrer des textes, bien sûr, mais aussi des photos, des graphiques, des diagrammes, des vidéos et chacun peut ajouter son grain de sel, peu importe quand il le fait. « Si on prend une personnalité X du Nord-du-Québec, il se peut qu’aujourd’hui nous n’ayons pas assez de matériel pour faire un article complet sur cette personnalité. Mais pourquoi ne pas commencer tout de suite? On peut créer sa page et mettre sa date de naissance. » C’est l’exemple que nous a donné Émélie Rivard-Boudreau. « L’initiative est de faire rayonner des gens de chez nous. Par exemple, au début du projet, il y a une page qui a été créée sur Godefroy de Billy qui a été un maire important de la ville de Chibougamau dans les années 1970. L’artiste peintre, Stéphanie Thompson de Matagami, a vu sa page créée », de renchérir Frédérique Brais-Chaput, ADT pour le Nord-du-Québec.» « Présentement, je travaille sur les pages des radios », de nous mentionner l’ADT du Nord-du-Québec. Il n’y avait pas de pages ou simplement des ébauches incomplètes et en anglais. C’est une vitrine importante pour eux. Un autre exemple, la page de Romeo Saganash est incomplète, selon Mme Brais-Chaput. C’est lui aussi un personnage important. Il faut que l’information que l’on y retrouve soit complète et exacte. » Selon les responsables du projet : « Ce n’est pas normal que les principales entreprises de la région soient absentes de la plateforme Wikipédia. » Au dire de Mme Brais-Chaput, les entreprises comme Chantiers-Chibougamau, Barrette-Chapais, Chapais Énergie et tout récemment, les Serres bleues, sont absentes. Elles se doivent d’être présentes pour que le monde puisse les découvrir. Ouvert à tous Le recrutement de personnes de chaque territoire intéressées à joindre les rangs du Wiki club Croissant boréal est déjà amorcé. « Les passionnés de la langue française, de l’histoire, de la politique, de l’actualité, de la culture, du sport ou des technologies peuvent tous trouver de l’intérêt à contribuer à Wikipédia », a-t-elle constaté. En consultant la page Wikipédia du projet « Croissant boréal », les nouveaux contributeurs pourront rapidement repérer comment ils peuvent y exploiter leurs intérêts et leurs forces. »René Martel, Initiative de journalisme local, La Sentinelle