A Black man who was sentenced to life behind bars as a teenager has begun his new life after walking out of a Minnesota prison on Tuesday. Myon Burrell's release came hours after a pardons board commuted his sentence in a 2002 murder case. (Dec. 18)
A Black man who was sentenced to life behind bars as a teenager has begun his new life after walking out of a Minnesota prison on Tuesday. Myon Burrell's release came hours after a pardons board commuted his sentence in a 2002 murder case. (Dec. 18)
WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement officials are examining a number of threats aimed at members of Congress as the second trial of former President Donald Trump nears, including ominous chatter about killing legislators or attacking them outside of the U.S. Capitol, a U.S. official told The Associated Press. The threats, and concerns that armed protesters could return to sack the Capitol anew, have prompted the U.S. Capitol Police and other federal law enforcement to insist thousands of National Guard troops remain in Washington as the Senate moves forward with plans for Trump's trial, the official said. The shocking insurrection at the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob prompted federal officials to rethink security in and around its landmarks, resulting in an unprecedented lockdown for Biden's inauguration. Though the event went off without any problems and armed protests around the country did not materialize, the threats to lawmakers ahead of Trump's trial exemplified the continued potential for danger. Similar to those intercepted by investigators ahead of Biden’s inauguration, the threats that law enforcement agents are tracking vary in specificity and credibility, said the official, who had been briefed on the matter. Mainly posted online and in chat groups, the messages have included plots to attack members of Congress during travel to and from the Capitol complex during the trial, according to the official. The official was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation publicly and spoke Sunday to the AP on condition of anonymity. Law enforcement officials are already starting to plan for the possibility of armed protesters returning to the nation's capital when Trump’s Senate trial on a charge of inciting a violent insurrection begins the week of Feb. 8. It would be the first impeachment trial of a former U.S. president. Though much of the security apparatus around Washington set up after the Jan. 6 riot and ahead of Biden’s inauguration — it included scores of military checkpoints and hundreds of additional law enforcement personnel — is no longer in place, about 7,000 members of the National Guard will remain to assist federal law enforcement, officials said. Gen. Dan Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said Monday that about 13,000 Guard members are still deployed in D.C., and that their numbers would shrink to 7,000 by the end of this week. John Whitley, the acting secretary of the Army, told a Pentagon news conference that this number is based on requests for assistance from the Capitol Police, the Park Police, the Secret Service and the Metropolitan Police Department. Whitley said the number is to drop to 5,000 by mid-March. Thousands of Trump’s supporters descended on the Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress met to certify Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential race. More than 800 are believed to have made their way into the Capitol during the violent siege, pushing past overwhelmed police officers. The Capitol police said they planned for a free speech protest, not a riot, and were caught off guard despite intelligence suggesting the rally would descend into a riot. Five people died in the melee, including a Capitol police officer who was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher. At least five people facing federal charges have suggested they believed they were taking orders from Trump when they marched on Capitol Hill to challenge the certification of Biden’s election victory. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. More than 130 people have been charged by federal prosecutors for their roles in the riot. In recent weeks, others have been arrested after posting threats against members of Congress. They include a Proud Boys supporter who authorities said threatened to deploy “three cars full of armed patriots” to Washington, threatened harm against Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., and who is accused of stockpiling military-style combat knives and more than 1,000 rifle rounds in his New York home. A Texas man was arrested this week for taking part in the riot at the Capitol and for posting violent threats, including a call to assassinate Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y ___ Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
When Kaitlyn Trainor saw the viral pictures of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders following the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, she knew immediately what he was wearing on his hands. Smittens, mittens put together with material from recycled sweaters. "I thought, 'It's great for the crafters out there.' I was at work so I didn't really see it happening but I did see it after," Trainor told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier. Trainor is one of a trio known as Trainor Smittens. "It's three generations of love, I like to say. Me, my mom and my grammie," she said. "It's a good way to spend time together." The small business dates back to when Trainor was a university student, and they saw a pair of smittens at a craft show. It started with the idea they would just make some for themselves, and grew from there. Now the three women comb the thrift stores for old wool sweaters, and sew them together with a lining of cashmere or merino wool. Very little goes to waste. The cuffs for the mittens come from the bottom of sweaters or the sleeves. It takes about an hour for the three of them to make a pair. "It is a bit of a process to put it all together, but it's fun," she said. Trainor said their stock is down after Christmas, but they were working over the weekend to make more in the face of an expected increase in demand following all the attention last week. More from CBC P.E.I.
Canada's unemployment rate in December was revised to 8.8% from 8.6% on Monday, while the net decline in jobs for the month was amended to 52,700 from 62,600, as Statistics Canada completed a historic review of its labor force data. The revision, undertaken to ensure the data was aligned with recent population and geographical boundary estimates, had "virtually no effect" on employment estimates for the pandemic period of March to December 2020, the agency said.
TORONTO — Scientists and health experts are launching a nationwide campaign to counter misinformation about COVID-19 and related vaccines. The #ScienceUpFirst initiative is an awareness and engagement campaign that will use social media to debunk incorrect information and boost science-based content. The campaign team says in a news release that it emerged from conversations between Nova Scotia Sen. Stan Kutcher and Timothy Caulfield, Canadian research chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta. The initiative is now being led by the Canadian Association of Science Centres, COVID-19 Resources Canada, and the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta. Anyone interested in participating can follow @scienceupfirst and use the #ScienceUpFirst hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and tag the account to amplify science-based posts and alert it to misinformation posts. The campaign says there is a marked rise in misinformation and conspiracy theories related to COVID-19 vaccines, virus transmission and government response, and it represents a threat to the health and safety of Canadians. "Misinformation is a dire, imminent threat to the lives of all Canadians and is proven to be one of the factors fueling COVID-19 infections, and dissuading Canadians from getting vaccinated," says Caulfield. "The #ScienceUpFirst initiative seeks to help fill an urgent need to beat back misinformation with the truth, and save lives." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
The township of Muskoka Lakes published its new plan for how it wants to organize and upgrade the community throughout the next four years, with plans to focus on protecting the environment, boosting the township’s economy, upgrading infrastructure and more. Mayor Phil Harding said he is “very excited” to move forward as a township with the finished plan, made public on Wednesday, Jan. 13. “It really is the focus of Muskoka Lakes for the next four years,” he said. The plan is divided into four pillars organizing the goals council decided on throughout 2020 with consultation from the public. Some of the goals are short-term, being set in motion this year, while others are for down the line, in 2022 and 2023. Here are the standout goals in the strategic plan: The township is looking at its official plan to consider development restrictions, and a mandatory septic inspection program, as part of its strategic plan to preserve and protect the environment. Harding said during public consultations, many expressed concern about overdevelopment taking place in Muskoka Lakes affecting water quality and shorelines: the clear-cutting of trees and run-off from hardscaping projects, for example. Council and staff started developing their Community Improvement Plan for Port Carling and Bala and plan to make it a key project in 2021. “We want to try and build a year-round economy,” Harding said. “We need to understand what limitations businesses are having: why is it just seasonal?" He noted COVID-19 has been a challenge for businesses in 2020 but added more people are up in Muskoka Lakes during the fall and winter. One of the short-term goals listed for 2021 for strengthening Muskoka Lakes’ economy is assessing the challenges with broadband and internet connectivity in the township and working to expand internet access for everyone. In November, council discussed an effort to request the Ontario Energy Board reduce or remove the “egregious” charges broadband providers pay in rural Ontario communities like theirs to attach fibre-optic broadband to hydro poles. Internet connectivity became a pronounced issue in several rural Ontario communities throughout the pandemic. The township is working on new master plans for its recreation, parks, trails and facilities: the plan indicates it wants to implement the recommendations it forms in the plans in 2023. He added council and staff are working on a master plan for their fire services. In a previous plan, they considered closing down some of their 10 stations in the township and upgrading the remaining stations, which could have ATVs or fire boats, an idea Harding might consider for this master plan. The final pillar indicates the township wants to forge better relationships with all levels of government. Harding said his relationships with other mayors in the district and the province, including MPP Norm Miller and Premier Doug Ford, have improved since council took office in October 2018. The strategic plan is also for the next term of council that will take over late 2022. He said building good relationships now will help them down the line. Zahraa Hmood is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering the municipalities of Muskoka Lakes, Lake of Bays and Georgian Bay. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Zahraa Hmood, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
The U.S. House of Representatives delivered to the Senate on Monday a charge that former President Donald Trump incited insurrection in a speech to supporters before the deadly attack on the Capitol, setting in motion his second impeachment trial. Nine House Democrats who will serve as prosecutors in Trump's trial, accompanied by the clerk of the House and the acting sergeant at arms, carried the charge against Trump to the Senate in a solemn procession across the Capitol. Wearing masks to protect against COVID-19, they filed through the ornate Capitol Rotunda and into the Senate chamber, following the path that a mob of Trump supporters took on Jan. 6 as they clashed with police.
SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — Asia’s top club soccer tournament announced changes Monday to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic for a second straight season. The expanded 40-team Asian Champions League will have a group stage played in centralized hubs — in cities not yet decided — over 17 days in the east and west of the continent, the Asian Football Confederation said. Western region matches, including clubs from the Middle East, will be played April 14-30. The eastern region including Australia, China, Japan and defending champion Ulsan Hyundai from South Korea is scheduled April 21-May 7. It follows the 2020 edition being completed entirely in Qatar from when the pandemic-delayed later stages of the groups resumed in September through to the final in December. The 2021 competition schedule also cuts back round of 16 and quarterfinals pairings to single elimination games in September instead of over two legs. The semifinals and final revert to home-and-away games over two legs in October and November — when travel restrictions likely will have eased. “Once again, the AFC will put the safety and welfare of all its stakeholders as its overriding priority,” confederation general secretary Windsor John said in a statement. The Asian Champions League was originally scheduled to start in February. Preliminary rounds now kick off in April to qualify for a 40-team lineup instead of 32. Choosing hub venues for the four-team groups will begin after the draw on Wednesday with national federations invited to host. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are reportedly interested in staging games. The Saudis and Qataris are also competing with India and Iran in a bidding contest for the 2027 Asian Cup. The AFC also cancelled or postponed four other continental tournaments due to take place in 2021. The men’s Under-16 and Under-19 championships were cancelled in Bahrain and Uzbekistan, respectively. Both will host the next editions of the tournaments. Those decisions follow FIFA cancelling editions of the men’s Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups, which next take place in 2023. Also scrapped are this year Asian championships in futsal and beach soccer. Kuwait and Thailand will retain hosting rights for 2022 and 2023, respectively. The AFC Cup, a second-tier club tournament reserved for developing nations, will go ahead in a shorter form, starting in May and ending in August. The start of qualifying for the women’s Under-17 and Under-20 Asian Cup tournaments in 2022 was also pushed back from March this year to August. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports John Duerden, The Associated Press
La Corporation du Moulin des pionniers a obtenu un financement de 450 000 dollars de Développement économique Canada. Ce montant permettra à l’organisation de construire de multiples infrastructures familiales, dont des jeux d’eau, une glissade et un parcours d’hébertisme, et ce, dès cet été. « C’est toute qu’une bonne nouvelle », s’est réjoui le maire de La Doré, Yanick Baillargeon, qui est également le président-directeur général de la Corporation du Moulin des pionniers. Ce dernier avait bien hâte d’annoncer la nouvelle à toute la population, car DEC Canada avait informé la municipalité le 24 décembre, offrant un des plus beaux cadeaux de Noël pour le maire de la municipalité qui compte un peu plus de 1300 âmes. « Ce n’est que la première phase de notre plan de développement », ajoute fièrement le maire. Avec l’aide de 450 000 dollars de DEC Canada, le Moulin des pionniers investira également 150 000 $ dans le projet initial de 600 000 $. La construction du parc familial commencera dès que le sol sera dégelé. On y retrouvera notamment des jeux d’eau, une glissade et un parcours d’hébertisme, lesquels viennent s’ajouter à l’offre actuelle. Le choix des fournisseurs et des modèles de structures n’est pas encore fait, poursuit le premier magistrat, mais le concept sera relié au thème du site historique, soit la forêt et le bois. Vers un camping en 2022 Ce projet permettra d’enclencher la phase 2 du projet, dès 2022, espère Yanick Baillargeon. « Selon le concept initial, on prévoit développer un camping de 139 emplacements », dit-il, avant d’ajouter que les plans sont toujours à l’étude. Cette phase de développement devrait nécessiter un investissement supplémentaire de 900 000 dollars, qui est toutefois plus facile à financer étant donné que des revenus se rattachent au projet. Les astres semblent désormais alignés pour un développement majeur, estime le maire. La piste cyclable entre Saint-Félicien et La Doré sera terminée cette année. Un sentier de quad entre La Doré et le Relais 22, sur le territoire de La Tuque, devrait se concrétiser sous peu. Un sentier de vélo de montagne a été développé jusqu’à la montagne à Ouellet et elle se rendra bientôt jusqu’au Tobo-ski. Ajoutez à cela les sentiers de ski de fond, de raquettes, les nombreux sentiers de motoneige, ainsi que le charme de la rivière. « C’est un site merveilleux qui gagne à être connu », remarque Yanick Baillargeon. Plusieurs maisons anciennes sur le site, qui sont en train d’être rénovées, seront disponibles pour la location dès l’été prochain. « C’est un premier pas pour développer l’hébergement sur le site, avant d’implanter le camping », conclut ce dernier.Guillaume Roy, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
Some Regina city councillors who originally supported a motion that would prevent fossil fuel companies from advertising or buying naming rights for city property have announced they're backing down. The motion — introduced by Ward 6 councillor Dan LeBlanc at an executive committee meeting last week — would have meant companies like Federated Co-operatives Limited could not have their logos displayed on city property. "Sponsorships are associative in nature and therefore alignment with predetermined city values is necessary," LeBlanc told the executive committee. "I think that's the very reason why we don't want sex, drugs, and rock and roll advertised on our buildings." LeBlanc is now withdrawing support from his own motion. The move came after several councillors who originally voted for the motion — including Ward 8 councillor Shanon Zachidniak, Ward 9 councillor Jason Mancinelli and Ward 10 councillor Landon Mohl — publicly announced they were withdrawing their support. Mayor Sandra Masters and councillors Lori Bresciani, Terina Shaw and John Findura voted against the motion originally. Councillors Bob Hawkins, Andrew Stevens and Cheryl Stadnichuk voted for the motion, along with LeBlanc, Zachidniak, Mancinelli and Mohl. "I acknowledge that the tone set by the amendment was counterproductive," Zachidniak said in a Facebook post late last week. "When this was introduced at the meeting, I should have realized that this was not the appropriate approach and I apologize." Numerous reasons for withdrawal: LeBlanc LeBlanc said Monday that he withdrew his support not only because of the issue fracturing unity on council, but also because he heard from many residents. "I heard from a lot of people who said 'I'm all about sustainability, but this is too much too soon,'" LeBlanc said. "I think I heard ... they are nervous about any one big step. I think what that means is many concrete steps going forward." Another reason LeBlanc cited was he and some of his fellow councillors who supported the motion receiving messages threatening physical harm. "Frankly my view is it ought to take a lot for councillors to be risking physical violence to their families to continue with sustainability motions," he said. "I'm not interested in folks getting hurt because of that." Motion created ripples in other levels of government The motion drew the ire of Premier Scott Moe, who called it "absurd" in a news release last week. He said his government would "seriously consider the future of sponsorships to the City of Regina from provincial energy companies like SaskEnergy and SaskPower," and threatened to claw back millions of dollars the city normally gets from people's power and energy bills. Asked for comment about the councillors' change of mind, a spokesperson for Moe said Monday that he would have no further comment until the motion is formally addressed by city council during its regular meeting on Wednesday. It's expected an amendment will be added to the motion to remove the ban on sponsorship from fossil fuel producers. LeBlanc, meanwhile, said he is hopeful this issue widens the discussion on sustainability. "It's been very good to see people's democratic voice come out when they're opposed to something," he said. "I hope we'll hear from them equally if we're doing things on sustainability that they're in favour of."
AGRICULTURE. Une campagne de sensibilisation aux réalités du milieu agricole bat son plein en Montérégie. Cette initiative publique, lancée au printemps dernier sous la thématique Notre campagne, un milieu de vie à partager entre dans sa seconde phase. Elle doit aborder plusieurs thématiques, dont celles de la santé des sols, des odeurs, du partage de la route et des bruits générés par les activités agricoles. La MRC de la Haute-Yamaska participe à ce projet, de même que douze autres MRC partenaires de la Montérégie, la Fédération de l’UPA de la Montérégie et l’agglomération de Longueuil. «Plusieurs outils de communication ont été développés, portés par le réseau des municipalités afin de déboulonner les croyances, atténuer les contrariétés et aborder les enjeux liés au travail agricole. Cette campagne vise à favoriser le vivre ensemble et le dialogue entre les producteurs agricoles et les résidents de la zone agricole en Montérégie», précise Joëlle Jetté, porte-parole de la Fédération de l’UPA de la Montérégie. Avec l’étalement urbain, les secteurs résidentiels se rapprochent inéluctablement des campagnes. Et les irritants se multiplient. Les municipalités en sont conscientes et cherchent à les désamorcer. «La vie a changé. Les agriculteurs de la Montérégie souhaitent dialoguer avec leurs voisins. Résider dans un milieu agricole nécessite parfois de la patience, mais l’agriculture locale nous garantit un approvisionnement en quantité suffisante de produits frais et de qualité supérieure», explique Jérémie Letellier, président de l’UPA de la Montérégie. «L’agriculture est un secteur innovant, à la recherche de solutions en matière d’agroenvironnement et de lutte aux changements climatiques. Il était temps, surtout en Montérégie, de faire le point», ajoute Mme Jetté. «Les commentaires sont très positifs. Quand on parle des réalités et des contraintes des agriculteurs, les gens apprécient.» L’agriculture, ma voisine! Chaque MRC a en main son Plan de développement de la zone agricole (PDZA). L’enjeu de la cohabitation avait souvent été soulevé par le secteur municipal. «La Montérégie est le garde-manger du Québec. Quand on veut privilégier les circuits courts, l’agriculture de proximité, cela veut dire, l’agriculture, ma voisine. Il faut comprendre ce que ça implique que de vivre dans un territoire agricole», affirme Joëlle Jetté de l’UPA. La première phase de la campagne lancée au printemps. Le projet avait l’été dernier rejoint avec succès les enfants dans plusieurs camps de jour. L’initiative a permis de sensibiliser près de 700 enfants aux réalités du monde agricole. Au total, 36 activités ont eu lieu dans 27 municipalités de la Montérégie. Il est probable que l’expérience soit reconduite l’an prochain. La campagne se poursuit jusqu’au mois d’octobre 2021. Les questions entourant la gestion de l’eau et des pesticides seront abordées au cours des prochains mois. Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
Le gouvernement fédéral n’exclut pas d’invoquer cette Loi fédérale pour limiter les déplacements en raison des taux d’infection de COVID-19 de plus en plus élevés dans certaines parties du territoire, a déclaré le ministre des Affaires étrangères, Marc Garneau, dans une émission télévisée. «Nous examinons toutes les actions potentielles pour nous assurer que nous pouvons atteindre nos objectifs. La Loi sur les urgences n’est pas quelque chose qu’on peut prendre à la légère», a déclaré M. Garneau sur les antennes du réseau CBC. «Mais nous sommes avant tout préoccupés par la santé et la sécurité des Canadiens. Et si nous devons disposer du pouvoir réglementaire pour le faire, nous le ferons», a-t-il poursuivi. Dans son préambule, la Loi sur les mesures d’urgence promulguée en juillet 1988 par le gouvernement de Brian Mulroney autorise le fédéral à «prendre des mesures temporaires spéciales qui peuvent ne pas être appropriées en temps normal». Elle permettrait à Ottawa de réglementer ou d’interdire les déplacements à l’extérieur ou à l’intérieur d’une zone spécifiée, lorsque cela est nécessaire pour la protection de la santé ou de la sécurité des Canadiens. Le premier ministre Justin Trudeau a exhorté les Canadiens à maintes reprises à reconsidérer tous leurs projets de voyage, en particulier à l’approche de la période de relâche en mars. Justin Trudeau a rappelé que le gouvernement fédéral pourrait prendre à tout moment et sans préavis, «de nouvelles mesures qui entraveraient considérablement la possibilité de revenir au Canada». Contrairement à la Loi sur les mesures de guerre invoquée pendant la crise d’octobre au Québec, les pouvoirs exceptionnels que celle sur les mesures d’urgence donne au gouvernement sont encadrés par la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés. De plus, Ottawa devra recueillir l’avis des provinces. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français
TRANSPORT. Dans le cadre d’une opération visant à repérer et à sanctionner les conducteurs dont le véhicule lourd était mal déneigé qui s’est déroulé le 18 janvier, la Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) a remis 88 constats d’infraction et 76 avis de non-conformité. Notons que l’article 498.1 du Code de la sécurité routière prévoit l’interdiction de circuler avec un véhicule couvert de neige, de glace ou de toute autre matière pouvant s’en détacher et susceptible de présenter un danger pour les usagers de la route. L’amende prévue est de 60 $ à 100 $ plus certains frais. La SAAQ rappelle que la neige qui couvre les phares, les feux et les vitres réduit le champ de vision du conducteur. Un véhicule enneigé est également moins visible des autres usagers de la route. Par ailleurs, la présence de neige ou de glace, particulièrement sur un véhicule lourd, peut présenter un danger pour les autres usagers de la route. Finalement, la neige qui poudroie en se détachant d’un véhicule réduit considérablement la visibilité, pour les véhicules circulant derrière, alors que les morceaux de glace qui se détachent peuvent blesser des piétons, endommager des voitures et même causer des accidents. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Le conseil de la MRC du Domaine-du-Roy a entériné un premier projet de partage de services. En partenariat avec les cinq municipalités, la MRC mettra en place un service de mise en commun de l’inspection municipale. Le partage des services fait partie des batailles que souhaite mener le préfet de la MRC du Domaine-du-Roy, Yanick Baillargeon. « On ne peut pas continuer comme ça sans rien faire, parce que les coûts augmentent et qu’on a de la difficulté à trouver de la main-d’oeuvre, dit-il. On doit essayer des partages de services, même si le changement dérange ». Plusieurs municipalités partagent déjà des services entre elles. C’est le cas avec le service des loisirs entre Chambord, Lac-Bouchette, Saint-François-de-Sales et Saint-André. Saint-Félicien et La Doré partagent aussi des services en lien avec l’eau potable. D’autres regroupements sont possibles, estime le préfet. « Les cinq municipalités du sud de la MRC (Chambord, Lac-Bouchette. Saint-François-de-Sales, Saint-André et Sainte-Hedwidge) se sont concertées pour mettre en place un service d’inspection commun et, comme la MRC a aussi des besoins, nous avons décidé de lancer un premier projet de regroupement de services », explique-t-il. Ainsi, le conseil de la MRC a entériné la mise en place d’un service d’inspection en bâtiment et en environnement pour 2021. « Je pense que ça va ouvrir la voie à d’autres regroupements, mais il faut commencer par un projet concret », remarque Yanick Baillargeon. 83 000 dollars pour le sentier Ouiatchouan Lors de la séance du conseil de la MRC, tenue la semaine dernière, les élus ont aussi accepté de céder l’aide financière confirmée par le ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur de 83 000 $ à la Corporation de gestion du sentier pédestre Ouiatchouan, gestionnaire du sentier et détentrice des droits de passage. Cette somme servira à la mise à niveau et à l’amélioration du sentier, ainsi qu’à la mise en oeuvre du projet « Sentier Ouiatchouan : L’aventure pour tous ! ». « Il y a quelques années, il n’y avait plus d’organisation pour s’occuper du sentier Ouiatchouan et la MRC avait fait des démarches pour développer le sentier, explique le préfet. Avec le renouvellement de l’implication bénévole et la mobilisation, on a pris la décision de céder les montants reçus pour développer le sentier à la Corporation. » Un sentier de quad entre La Doré et La Tuque La construction de la ligne de transmission Chamouchouane-Bout-de-l’Île a créé un réseau de sentiers en pleine forêt, et au lieu de les détruire comme il était prévu par Hydro-Québec, la MRC et la municipalité de La Doré comptent en faire un sentier de quad. Le conseil de la MRC a donc passé une résolution pour demander au ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs de permettre l’utilisation des ponts forestiers pour le tracé d’un sentier entre La Doré et le Relais 22, sur le territoire de La Tuque, à plus d’une centaine de kilomètres.Guillaume Roy, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Chinese state media have stoked concerns about Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, despite rigorous trials indicating it is safe. A government spokesperson has raised the unsubstantiated theory that the coronavirus could have emerged from a U.S. military lab, giving it more credence in China. As the ruling Communist Party faces growing questioning about China's vaccines and renewed criticism of its early COVID-19 response, it is hitting back by encouraging conspiracy theories that some experts say could cause harm. State media and officials are sowing doubts about Western vaccines and the origin of the coronavirus in an apparent bid to deflect the attacks. Both issues are in the spotlight because of the rollout of vaccines globally and the recent arrival of a World Health Organization team in Wuhan, China, to investigate the origins of the virus. Some of these conspiracy theories find a receptive audience at home. The social media hashtag “American’s Ft. Detrick,” started by the Communist Youth League, was viewed at least 1.4 billion times last week after a Foreign Ministry spokesperson called for a WHO investigation of the biological weapons lab in Maryland. “It’s purpose is to shift the blame from mishandling by (the) Chinese government in the pandemic’s early days to conspiracy by the U.S.,” said Fang Shimin, a now-U.S.-based writer known for exposing faked degrees and other fraud in Chinese science. “The tactic is quite successful because of widespread anti-American sentiment in China.” Yuan Zeng, an expert on Chinese media at the University of Leeds in Great Britain, said the government’s stories spread so widely that even well-educated Chinese friends have asked her whether they might be true. Inflaming doubts and spreading conspiracy theories might add to public health risks as governments try to dispel unease about vaccines, she said, saying, “That is super, super dangerous.” In the latest volley, state media called for an investigation into the deaths of 23 elderly people in Norway after they received the Pfizer vaccine. An anchor at CGTN, the English-language station of state broadcaster CCTV, and the Global Times newspaper accused Western media of ignoring the news. Health experts say deaths unrelated to the vaccine are possible during mass vaccination campaigns, and a WHO panel has concluded that the vaccine did not play a “contributory role” in the Norway deaths. The state media coverage followed a report by researchers in Brazil who found the effectiveness of a Chinese vaccine lower than previously announced. Researchers initially said Sinovac’s vaccine is 78% effective, but the scientists revised that to 50.4% after including mildly symptomatic cases. After the Brazil news, researchers at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a government-supported think-tank , reported seeing an increase in Chinese media disinformation about vaccines. Dozens of online articles on popular health and science blogs and elsewhere have explored questions about the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine at length, drawing on an op-ed published this month in the British Medical Journal that raised questions about its clinical trial data. “It’s very embarrassing” for the government, Fang said in an email. As a result, China is trying to raise doubts about the Pfizer vaccine to save face and promote its vaccines, he said. Senior Chinese government officials have not been shy in voicing concerns about the mRNA vaccines developed by Western drug companies. They use a newer technology than the more traditional approach of the Chinese vaccines currently in use. In December, the director of the Chinese Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, said he can’t rule out negative side effects from the mRNA vaccines. Noting this is the first time they are being given to healthy people, he said, “there are safety concerns.” The Pfizer mRNA vaccine and another one developed by Moderna have passed both animal and human trials in which they were tested on more than 70,000 people. The arrival of the WHO mission has brought back persistent criticism that China allowed the virus to spread globally by reacting too slowly in the beginning, even reprimanding doctors who tried to warn the public. The visiting researchers will begin field work this week after being released from a 14-day quarantine. The Communist Party sees the WHO investigation as a political risk because it focuses attention on China’s response, said Jacob Wallis, a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. The party wants to “distract domestic and international audiences by pre-emptively distorting the narrative on where responsibility lies for the emergence of COVID-19,” Wallis said. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying got the ball rolling last week by reviving earlier Chinese calls for a WHO investigation of the U.S. military lab. State media have referenced past scandals at the lab, but China has given no reliable evidence to support the coronavirus theory. “If America respects the truth, then please open up Ft. Detrick and make public more information about the 200 or more bio-labs outside of the U.S., and please allow the WHO expert group to go to the U.S. to investigate the origins,” Hua said. Her comments, publicized by state media, became one of the most popular topics on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo. China isn’t the only government to point fingers. Former U.S. President Donald Trump, trying to deflect blame for his government’s handling of the pandemic, said last year he had seen evidence the virus came from a Wuhan laboratory. While that theory has not been definitively ruled out, many experts think it is unlikely. Huizhong Wu, The Associated Press
CALGARY — Obsidian Energy Ltd. is extending its hostile takeover offer for Bonterra Energy Corp. until March 29. The offer was set to expire today. Bonterra has repeatedly recommended shareholders reject the bid. Obsidian has offered two of its shares for each Bonterra share. In December, Obsidian reduced the minimum number of tendered shares needed to complete the transaction to 50 per cent from two-thirds. Obsidian has said a combined Obsidian-Bonterra could save $50 million in the first year and a total of $100 million in the first three years, however Bonterra has said those savings are "uncertain." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:BNE, TSX:OBE) The Canadian Press
Canada's opposition leaders attacked the federal Liberal government's COVID-19 vaccination program today in their first encounter in the House of Commons following the winter break. Vaccine deliveries will grind to a halt this week as a shutdown at Pfizer's plant in Belgium disrupts shipments from that company. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole said that while the prime minister promised a steady supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech shots in the first three months of 2021, the country's inoculation efforts are now "in jeopardy" and provinces are scrambling to meet vaccination targets. The delivery delay is already prompting some provinces — notably Alberta and Ontario — to warn that they will have to curtail vaccination appointments in the weeks ahead as they direct the existing supplies of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine to patients who need their second shots. "We want to see our government succeed but this prime minister has abandoned us. The Liberal plan for vaccines must be reviewed by all of Parliament. We must work together to improve the Liberal vaccine plan and get Canadians back to work," O'Toole said. "We wish we could trust the prime minister but this situation demands Parliament's urgent attention." WATCH: Opposition leader calls out Liberals over vaccine planning: Earlier this month, the federal government projected that 208,650 Pfizer doses would arrive this week. Instead, Canada is getting no doses at all this week — and a dramatically reduced shipment next week — as the company retools its plant to pump out many more shots this year than planned. While Canada was expecting 366,000 doses of the Pfizer product to be delivered the week of Feb. 1, just 79,000 are now slated to arrive. O'Toole said the Liberal government should have prepared for delivery disruptions like this one with a contingency plan to prevent the provinces from running dry. Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander leading vaccine logistics at the Public Health Agency of Canada, has said Pfizer deliveries will be reduced by roughly 50 per cent over a four-week period — and Canada doesn't know for certain how many doses will arrive over that time period. The Health Canada website that tracks vaccines has been scrubbed of all Pfizer delivery forecasts, citing "changes to manufacturing timelines." "Unknown means there is no real plan," O'Toole said. "Canadians are worried. We're in the second wave of the pandemic, there's U.K. strains and this week we're receiving zero Pfizer vaccines." Moderna, which delivers shots to Canada every three weeks, is expected to deliver roughly 230,000 doses over the first week of February. Later in question period, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged the "ongoing challenges" with the global supply vaccine chain but said Canada is expecting "hundreds of thousands" of Pfizer doses, some in February. He said Canada expects to have enough doses on hand this year to vaccinate every Canadian who wants a shot by the end of September. WATCH | Opposition slams government for vaccine delays: Michelle Rempel Garner, the Conservative health critic, questioned that promise, saying that Canada needs to start getting through tens of thousands of vaccinations each day to reach that target. With only 100,000 people fully vaccinated so far, Canada would have to administer well over 200,000 shots a day for the next 248 days to fully vaccinate Canadians with the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna products. O'Toole said the Liberal government never should have partnered with the Chinese firm CanSino Biologics to develop a vaccine — a collaboration that was derailed last summer when China refused to ship vaccine samples to Canada for clinical trial testing. After that partnership was shelved, O'Toole said, Canada then turned to procuring promising vaccine candidates from U.S. firms like Pfizer and Moderna. Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand has disputed this version of events. Speaking to reporters in December, Anand said the CanSino deal fell within former industry minister Navdeep Bains' portfolio, not her own, and nothing about the project prevented her from negotiating with other companies. Anand has said she started talks with the companies behind promising vaccine candidates in July — companies that were recommended by the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force — before Canada walked away from the ill-fated CanSino partnership in late August. Canada was among the first countries in the world to sign deals with Pfizer and Moderna. "Engagement and negotiations with COVID-19 vaccine suppliers began in early July 2020, following the receipt of recommendations from the vaccine task force in June," a spokesperson for the minister told CBC News. WATCH | NDP's Singh questions PM Trudeau about vaccine delivery O'Toole said Canada should have sought domestic manufacturing of vaccine candidates to avoid having to depend on other countries for supply. The government did not pursue domestic manufacturing rights for the AstraZeneca product. Asked what he'd do to jump-start the stalled vaccination campaign, O'Toole said he would encourage Trudeau to obtain doses from the Pfizer manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo, Mich., which is not experiencing the same disruptions as the Belgian facility and is only 220 kilometres away from the Detroit-Windsor border crossing. "There are vaccines being made not far from us, in Kalamazoo. Did the prime minister ask for the ability to have that plant used, not just rely on the retooled plant in Belgium?" O'Toole said. "There are a lot of options here, but there's never any leadership from Mr. Trudeau." Anand has said the Michigan facility's product is earmarked for the American market in the first quarter of this year. While there will be significant delivery disruptions over the next month, Anand has said that Canada still expects to receive 4 million doses of the Pfizer product and 2 million Moderna shots in the first three months of this year. That would be enough to vaccinate 3 million people by the end of March. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh pointed out that the prime minister and his office are mired in a scandal of their own making over the abrupt resignation of former governor general Julie Payette amid reports of workplace harassment. "The focus should be on the pandemic and the struggles that we're going through. This has become a distraction," Singh said of the Payette affair. "The focus ... should be entirely on making sure people are vaccinated."
Local police and town authorities are warning the public about the dangers of thin ice after four teens fell into a pond on the weekend. The incident happened on a pond at the Vollmer Culture and Recreation Complex on Sunday, just after 2 p.m. Police said the teens went out to play hockey, but shortly after getting on the ice, it broke apart. One of the group members ended up under the water, according to Const. Terry Seguin. "They were all scared," he said. "You're just getting ready to go out and have a little fun and you don't expect the ice to give way underneath you." Police say a parent who was standing on shore called 911, and paramedics assessed the teens for any injuries or hypothermia. The group member who was submerged was sent to hospital for further assessment. Seguin said people should never go out on ice without first telling someone where they'll be. Having that parent on shore gave the teens a chance to contact emergency services immediately, rather than if or when they managed to scramble out of the water. 'It is very, very terrifying' Ice needs to be at least 10 centimetres thick to be considered safe, said Seguin. Thickness can also vary in different places and it can be difficult to know just how much ice there is without chopping a hole to be sure, he added. Regardless, police say it hasn't been cold enough — for long enough — for any ice to be safe. "It takes a good two, three weeks for sure, at least, of sub-zero temperatures, to develop a thickness of ice that can be considered safe," Seguin explained. Lakeshore is also cautioning residents to stay off of ice in the municipality. Mayor Tom Bain said in a news release that retention ponds in the municipality are not safe for skating. The news release added that several of the ponds in the area have pumps that are set to automatically turn on and off depending on conditions in Lakeshore's drainage system. As a result, ice on the ponds doesn't get very thick. For his part, Seguin said a fall into freezing water decades ago taught him just how much of a shock it can be. "I can speak from experience. It ... instantaneously takes your breath away and it is very, very terrifying," he said. "The key is, keep your wits about you and get out of the ice as quick as possible and get help as quick as you can."
Other regions will be holding off at least until the end of January.View on euronews
Police in Waterloo Region say a church allegedly held an in-person service yesterday despite a court order compelling it to comply with provincial pandemic rules. Investigators say they are working with public health officials to ensure "appropriate action" is taken regarding the Trinity Bible Chapel in Woolwich, Ont. They say the church already faces "numerous" charges under the Reopening Ontario Act. Ontario legislator Randy Hillier, an independent MPP and vocal critic of the province's lockdown measures, tweeted a photo yesterday that appeared to be from the service. He also posted a photo that appeared to be of the outside of the church. The government of Ontario declared a state of emergency and imposed a stay-at-home order on Jan. 12, which includes a ban on indoor gatherings and activities, including religious services. Some religious services, such as weddings and funerals, are permitted provided they include no more than 10 people and physical distancing can be maintained. The rules apply to the entire province and will remain in effect until at least Feb. 11. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
Before Wilf Doyle scratched the Set For Life ticket he had received for Christmas from his partner, Rowena King, he had a rule to follow. It was Jan. 7 and Doyle made sure to remove the Christmas tablecloth that was still on the table in their Gander home. “I said, ‘don’t you dare scratch that ticket on the tablecloth’,” recalls King. Whether Doyle’s adherence to the order had anything to do with what happened next can never be known, but if you suggest that it brought him good luck, it would be tough to argue. Because when he was finished, staring back at him were all the required number of Set For Life symbols, meaning he had won the grand prize. “I really didn’t believe it,” said Doyle. “It was a weird feeling.” As people tend to do in these situations, Doyle checked everything twice. They even called their daughter so she could provide a fresh set of eyes for confirmation. All agreed the numbers made Doyle a big winner. ”It is life-changing,” he said. The ticket was a part of a bundle the couple had purchased at the lotto booth at the Gander Mall as Christmas stocking stuffers for loved ones. King saved the last ticket for the stocking she had for Doyle. “I can’t say how I felt,” said King of first discovering it was the winning ticket. But she knows how it feels now. “It feels good.” Winners of the Set For Life grand prize are presented with a pair of options. They can choose to receive $1,000 a week for the next 25 years or take a one-time payment of $675,000. In this instance, the Gander couple elected to take the lump sum. The decision will pay immediate dividends. Where once they didn’t own a home, they do now. They’ve already picked out their dream house in Bay Roberts — quickly becoming a destination for jackpot winners — and have made a successful offer. They are especially looking forward to making the move since both have family in the Conception Bay North area. As well, their winnings will allow them to eliminate car payments; they recently purchased a new vehicle. They also have plans to purchase an RV sometime in the future. That will allow them to do some travelling around the province. “It could not have come at a better time,” said Doyle. Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice