Brown paper packages, white plastic envelopes and large cardboard boxes are spilling beyond the confines of mailrooms and storage rooms at residential buildings throughout the Lower Mainland. With more people turning to online shopping since the beginning of the pandemic, and the year's biggest shopping events clustered within these final weeks of the year, one building manager says the volume of deliveries is presenting new challenges. "Generally most buildings have seen about 100 per cent increase in packages this year alone since the COVID-19 pandemic started," said Matthew Scott, an area manager with FirstService Residential, which manages more than 400 buildings in the Lower Mainland. Some buildings are receiving 70 to 100 packages a day and Scott expects that number will only go up with deliveries from Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas still to come. Scott says front-desk staff in the buildings have learned to be efficient, but processing each package still takes a few minutes. The packages have to be entered into a computer system, which tracks them and notifies residents that their deliveries have arrived. This is done on top of everything else staff have to manage, including approving visitors and overseeing tradespeople."You've got the daily machinations of running a building going on: people looking for trades, people being locked out, people moving, you know, all those other things going on, you need to get these packages out of the way," he said. He says some buildings were receiving so many packages their strata councils decided the concierge would no longer accept parcels, while others put restrictions on the size and weight of packages they will accept.Some higher-end buildings that had the budget decided to hire a dedicated staff person just to handle deliveries."That's all the person does, is receive packages and be prepared to hand them out," said Scott. Canada Post is expecting a significant increase in parcel volumes this holiday season. As a result, it's hiring 4,000 more temporary seasonal employees and adding 1,000 vehicles to its fleet.It's advising people to shop early for their own peace of mind as well as to help retailers, delivery companies, and Canada Post deliver the packages in time. As for how residents can help front-desk staff with the mountain of online shopping packages, Scott advises picking up parcels as soon as possible."Residents can be really helpful with us if they can collect their packages as soon as they get the notification or within 24 hours. You know, that just allows us to free up that space a little bit more."
LOS ANGELES — People magazine has named George Clooney, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Selena Gomez and Regina King as the “2020 People of the Year.” The magazine revealed its list Wednesday morning as part of a year-end double issue with four covers. The four will be celebrated for their positive impact in the world during a challenging 2020. Clooney, Fauci, Gomez and King will be separately featured on the magazine covers of the issue, which is out Friday. Clooney has received some Oscar buzz for his upcoming film “The Midnight Sky,” but the actor was also in spotlight for his advocacy work. He donated $500,000 to the Equal Justice Initiative in wake of George Floyd’s death and $1 million for COVID-19 relief efforts in Italy, London and Los Angeles. As the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Fauci provided steady guidance during the turbulent pandemic. As the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, he has been one of the nation's leading sources of information about the fight against COVID-19. Gomez released her chart-topping album “Rare” and hosted the cooking show “Selena + Chef” on HBO Max. But the pop superstar also spread her message of inclusion through her makeup brand Rare Beauty, which set the goal of raising $100 million in 10 years to help give people access to mental health initiatives. King, who won an Emmy in September, used her voice to encourage people to vote. The actor also called for support of marginalized communities during the pandemic and end police brutality of unarmed Black people. Her directorial debut, “One Night in Miami,” has also been talked about as a possible Oscar contender. Jonathan Landrum Jr., The Associated Press
BURNABY, B.C. — The death of a teenager in Burnaby, B.C., is now being investigated as a homicide. A statement from the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team says the 18-year-old woman was found in a Burnaby home on Sunday. She was suffering from critical injuries and died in hospital. Sgt. Frank Jang with the homicide team says one man was arrested at the scene but has been released without charges as the investigation continues. Jang says the woman knew her attacker, the case is considered isolated and there is no risk to the public. He urges anyone with information to contact investigators. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020. The Canadian Press
This column is an opinion from Rebecca Haines-Saah, a health sociologist at the University of Calgary. Last week, I became someone I might study. My job is to research how health-related stigma affects people and communities. Yet, as I listened to my supportive, non-judgmental doctor confirm their diagnosis that I have high blood pressure, I felt deep shame and self-blame. I've been working too much. I don't manage my stressors. I fuss over my family. I should have been more active, cut out all alcohol and the late-night snacks. I should have said no to committees, working groups and new projects. I need to quit Twitter. I should really lose 10 pounds. I've written extensively about how health is not just shaped by individual actions and access to health care. It's promoted by communities that provide belonging, fairness, supports and safety for all their members. I know very well the evidence showing that health is socially and structurally determined, shaped by the society in which we work and live. Yet, in that moment in my doctor's office, I forgot everything I've learned about public health and attributed everything about the diagnosis to my behaviour. My failures. That's why the move this week to list the presence or absence of comorbidities for each COVID-19 death in Alberta was a punch to the gut for a newly diagnosed person like me, and for the many who've been living with pre-existing conditions throughout the pandemic. An incorrect message Intended or not, there's a loud and clear (and incorrect) message: Those who died from COVID-19 died because of their own risk factors; the "otherwise healthy" person is safe. The attention to comorbidities shifts focus from the fact that every death from COVID-19, including those among older people and those with chronic illnesses, is wholly preventable. Left ineffectively checked, Alberta's exponential growth in cases threatens everyone. Dangerously, people who are "otherwise healthy" (and those who assume they are) may be emboldened to ignore public health restrictions or take them less seriously, assuming death from COVID-19 is near impossible and that recovery from the virus would be without complications. It's easy to blame people for their "unhealthy lifestyles," but 800,000 Albertans — about one in five — have a chronic condition. We are not exactly a small minority. That the incidence of diagnoses like asthma, diabetes and heart disease are higher in Alberta than the national rates suggests there's something about living here, something Albertan, if you will, that is contributing to our ill health. After all, health is shaped by where we live. By including comorbidities with Alberta's reports on recent deaths from COVID-19, the province is weaponizing the idea of "protecting the most vulnerable among us," perversely assuring everyone else they're not at risk. This contributes to chronic disease stigma by inferring that the dead, to borrow a term from the premier, bear "personal responsibility" for their deaths. It also neglects how the government's inadequate policy response has failed to protect all people and communities. But maybe that's the whole point. This column is an opinion. For more information about our commentary section, please readour FAQ.
Construction work has started on a joint Turkish-Russian centre to monitor a ceasefire in the mountain enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Wednesday. Azerbaijan and Armenia last month signed a Russia-brokered ceasefire for the enclave, which is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but mainly populated by ethnic Armenians. Russian peacekeepers were deployed to the region under the deal, which froze Azeri gains in six weeks of fighting.
A Halifax-area bank executive has been awarded more than $765,000 for post-operative advice that ultimately cost him the lower part of his left leg.David Robbins, 59, had what should have been a fairly routine hip replacement surgery on Jan. 26, 2012. The surgery itself went well, but Robbins started experiencing pain days after the procedure when he was back at home and performing the rehabilitation exercises he'd been instructed to do.Robbins tried to reach the doctor who'd performed the surgery, Dr. Michael Gross, but he wasn't available. Instead, Robbins was directed to the on-call orthopedic resident, Dr. Arpun Bajwa.The contents of their phone conversation on Feb. 6, 2012 was the subject of some dispute at the trial, which was conducted in September and October of this year.Robbins described Bajwa as being very abrupt on the phone and acting as though he was interrupting her. He said her advice to him was: "It doesn't sound like anything serious, stay home, do your exercises and everything should be fine".Robbins testified he was relieved when he heard this and didn't feel he had to go to the hospital or follow up with calls to other doctors.Leg needed to be amputatedDr. Bajwa claimed that she told Robbins to call his family doctor or go to a hospital emergency room but he disputed that version of the call. Bajwa said she didn't take notes during her phone conversation but said she had a clear recollection of what was said.Days later, when senior staff questioned her about the Robbins case, Bajwa drafted a letter which began with the line: "This letter is written for my lawyer in the event legal action is pursued against me with respect to patient Robbins, David."Robbins's pain persisted and on Feb. 9, 2012, he called the orthopedic clinic at the hospital. The nurse who returned the call told his wife, Natalie Robbins, to pinch her husband's toes. They were white and the colour did not return to them. The nurse instructed Robbins to bring her husband to the hospital.When Robbins arrived at the hospital, he was referred to a vascular surgeon. It was determined he had developed clots in arteries in both legs.He had surgery the next day, Feb. 10, but it was too late. The condition of his left leg had deteriorated to the point where it was amputated below the knee on Feb. 18, 2012.Robbins 'reliable and credible'Many of the facts in this case are not in dispute. Justice James Chipman had to assess the credibility of the key players."In assessing the witnesses in this case, I found Mr. Robbins to be both reliable and credible," Justice Chipman wrote in his decision.As for Bajwa, the judge focused part of his assessment on the letter she drafted for senior hospital staff when questioned about this case. "I am dubious about her denial that it was, in fact, written 'for my lawyer in the event legal action is pursued against me'", Chipman said. "I would add that I am similarly sceptical that she wrote this letter at a time when she says she cannot recall knowing whether or not Mr. Robbins' left leg had been amputated."Robbins had also named the surgeon, Dr. Michael Gross, as a respondent in his lawsuit. But the judge found Gross was not negligent in his conduct.Robbins's lawyer, Ray Wagner said medical malpractice suits like this one are difficult to win in Nova Scotia."It's a very difficult road to climb, we worked very hard," Wagner said Tuesday. "Our team here worked very hard on this case as did Mr. Robbins and so we're happy to have a positive result."Incident had a 'great impact'After finding the doctor liable, Chipman then had to assess damages.Prior to losing his leg, Robbins was an avid golfer and hiker. The court heard he has had to reduce both activities. While he used to look after his own yard maintenance and snow removal, he has had to hire companies to perform that work for him."It has a great impact on an extremely active individual who enjoyed a lot of outdoors activities, getting out and about, keeping fit and now that has been compromised so this is a recognition of how that has been compromised," Wagner said.Robbins was off work for some time while he recovered from both surgeries and did rehabilitation, but court heard he has been able to resume a full work schedule.The award includes $210,000 for general damages and more than $417,000 for future care. That figure includes the purchase of new and improved prosthetic devices.MORE TOP STORIES
UNALASKA, Alaska — An Alaska city that is home to one of the nation’s busiest fishing ports has included wastewater testing among the mitigation efforts that could help maintain a low number of coronavirus infections.Unalaska began testing its wastewater in July for traces of COVID-19, Alaska’s Energy Desk reported Monday.The island community of about 4,500 year-round residents located on Dutch Harbor, 800 miles (1,287 kilometres) from Anchorage, has recorded 107 coronavirus cases, including 85 from a single factory trawler.Despite the island’s first case of community spread two weeks ago, any virus in Unalaska’s waste remains below the detection level.“If somebody has COVID-19, they’re shedding this virus in fragments,” said Karie Holtermann, lab manager at Unalaska’s wastewater treatment plant. “It’s in their GI tract, they’re shedding it into their feces, into their urine. And so we’re trying to pick that up in our testing here.”The plant processes about 350,000 gallons (1,325 kilolitres) of waste and greywater daily, equating to about 70 gallons (265 litres) per Unalaska resident per day.Sewage testing has been successfully used as an early detection method for other diseases such as polio, Holtermann said.A Netherlands-based study concluded wastewater serves as an early warning system for coronavirus spread by detecting the virus in people who have not been tested or who have mild or no symptoms, Holtermann said.“What they’ve all seen is that wastewater monitoring can predict an outbreak a week before showing up at the clinic,” Holtermann said. “And once it is shown that COVID-19 is in a community, it’s able to show the beginning, the tapering and the resurgence of an outbreak.”If the virus levels increase with an influx of winter fishing season workers, the wastewater tests could pinpoint the part of town where the cases are focused, she said.Holtermann takes two to three wastewater samples during peak flow times, dipping a bucket hanging from a rope at some of the 10 lift stations on the island.“We go all around the clock,” she said. “So, at midnight, three o’clock in the morning — it’s a very interesting view of Unalaska.”For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.The Associated Press
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — The Supreme Court of Slovakia on Wednesday increased the prison sentence of a former soldier convicted of killing an investigative journalist and his fiancée, a case that triggered a political crisis and brought down the country’s government. In April, a lower court gave Miroslav Marcek a 23-year prison term for the contract killings of Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova in February 2018. The high court increased the sentence to 25 years. Marcek had pleaded guilty to fatally shooting the two but appealed as did the prosecutors. The verdict by the Supreme Court is final. In September, a court acquitted a businessman, Marian Kocner, who was accused of masterminding the slayings, and one of his co-defendants. Prosecutors appealed the verdicts but the Supreme Court has yet to rule on that. Kuciak, 27, was shot in the chest and Kusnirova, also 27, was shot in the head at their home in the town of Velka Maca, east of Bratislava, on Feb. 21, 2018. Kuciak had been investigating possible government corruption. The killings prompted major street protests and a political crisis that led to the government’s collapse. Two other defendants have been sentenced in the case. One received 25 years in prison in September for his role. The other, who had acted as a go-between, agreed to co-operate with prosecutors in exchange for a lesser sentence and received a 15-year prison term in December. The Associated Press
The chief of the Shawanaga First Nation northwest of Parry Sound says two new businesses in his community will help spur economic growth and secure a better future for his people. Chief Wayne Pamajewon says a new service centre is set to open in the spring and the territory’s long-awaited cannabis store could possibly open later this month. The cannabis store is set to open behind the community’s existing gas bar. “Over the years, one of the shortfalls that we’ve always encountered is the shortage of revenues to be able to do the things that we want to do. We’ve always had to wait with our hands open. I think we’re going to change all of that now by building in the economic development for our community,” the chief said. The territory learned back in July 2019 that the Ontario Gaming Commission awarded it a licence to operate a cannabis retail store. It is one of eight First Nations in the province to receive a licence. Chief Pamajewon said that a lot of work has already taken place in order to get the store open. “We’ve hired a manager so we have a person that’s putting it together right now. The policies to govern this will have to be worked out,” said the chief. “The supply, we don’t know what that is yet, but I’m sure the individual that we have working for us will be working with his staff to put that together. We’ve been waiting a long time for this to happen.” Chief Pamajewon said that at this point, he sees no reason why people who don’t live on the territory wouldn’t be able to shop at the store, despite COVID, as long as all the necessary precautions are taken. He said he expects the service centre to open in mid-May of next year. The foundation is laid, he said, and the fuel tanks are in the ground. He added they are working with a couple of companies to see which one will operate the service centre. John McFadden is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering Indigenous issues for MuskokaRegion.com, ParrySound.com and Simcoe.com. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. John McFadden, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
En date du 1er décembre, le député bloquiste de Bécancour–Nicolet–Saurel a bouclé 36 ans, deux mois et 27 jours aux Communes, battant de trois jours le record de Charles Marcil, l’élu de Bonaventure qui siégea jusqu’au 29 janvier 1937. L’indépendantiste qui se fait appeler amicalement «Doyen» par ses collègues est arrivé à la Chambre des communes en 1984 sous les couleurs du Parti progressiste-conservateur de Brian Mulroney. Avec l’échec de l’Accord du lac Meech en 1990, il change de fusil d’épaule pour cofonder le Bloc québécois, le parti politique créé à Sorel-Tracy en 1991. À 77 ans, Louis Plamondon s’apprête à briguer un douzième mandat. S’il est élu, il pourrait battre le record de longévité de cinq députés anglophones dont deux de 37 ans et trois autres de plus de 39 ans parmi lesquels le libéral Herb Gray. Ce dernier est le député qui a siégé le plus longtemps à la Chambre des communes avec au compteur une longévité de 39 ans, six mois et 30 jours. En tant que Doyen de la Chambre des communes, Louis Plamondon a régulièrement présidé la première session du parlement au lendemain des élections depuis 2008. Le secret de son ancienneté réside dans la proximité qu’il a longtemps développée avec les gens dans sa circonscription et aux assemblées parlementaires. Dans l’une de ses entrevues accordées au Courrier Sud pendant la pandémie, il s’est montré profondément affecté par les restrictions qui l’empêchent d’assister aux multiples évènements sportifs et culturels qui ont longtemps meublé son emploi du temps. M. Plamondon a plusieurs fois confié qu’il s’ennuyait des contacts humains et des activités auxquels il s’était habitué. Godlove Kamwa, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français
While 80-year-old Ron Rudoski and his 74-year-old wife Sandra have fans of all ages, their polkas, waltzes, and country tunes are particularly popular with an older crowd.Last year, the Rudoskis played nearly 60 shows. The couple have been playing together for more than 30 years and travelled all over southern Saskatchewan sharing their blend of accordion/guitar medleys guaranteed to keep your toes tapping. The couple would frequently play seniors centres and casino shows, and they developed a following of dedicated dancers. "I remember playing six nights in seven days and 75 per cent of the people were the same people every night, and most of these people are seniors," said Ron. Like so many things in the world, those dances came to a screeching halt when the pandemic hit in March. But unlike many musicians who turned to online shows or small, backyard concerts, their fans make up a segment of the population considered at higher risk for COVID-19. "It really wasn't the way we wanted to retire. We wanted to have a big gathering, you know, kind of a goodbye thing, and this just ended out of nowhere," said Sandra. > Some of them we have lost already, and it's really sad to think that maybe when we go back to playing, a lot of them will be gone. \- Sandra Rudoski Their dancers have become dear friends over the years. Sandra said she checks in with them by phone and she worries about what this isolation is doing to these once very active people. "It's got to be hard on a lot of them sitting at home. It's physical, it keeps you fit. Sometimes Ron plays his accordion and I just dance around the island for something to do. It makes me happy, music makes you happy, you know."Remembering happier timesRon's love of the accordion started when he was just a boy. He's been playing accordion for 66 years and he learned young that he liked performing in front of a crowd.His dad played fiddle in a band and used to tease him when his musical career started picking up steam. Back in the '60s, his band would charge $125 dollars for a dance. "Dad used to play for two dollars a night and he said he had to pay for lunch out of that as well," Ron said with a laugh. In the '80s, Ron was looking for a guitar player and singer for his band. He hired Sandra and ended up falling in love with more than just her voice. Sandra smiles when she talks about their courtship. "My father was German and he loved accordion music, and when I met Ron, to my dad's delight, every time we got together it was play accordion, play accordion."They started out playing in bars, but when Ron brought out his accordion, opportunities opened up. They were soon in high demand for anniversaries, weddings and cabarets.Melville and area was a hotspot for polka music, producing some of the best accordion players in Western Canada. The many German, Ukrainian, Slovenian, Polish, and Czechoslovakian descendents in the area made sure that their shows were always well attended, especially the annual Oktoberfest celebration. Ron is one of the few people left on the prairies who can repair accordions, so people from all over Canada send him their instruments. He has thousands of parts for accordions that he's collected in the more than 50 years of repairing the instruments.Ron says he'd like to pass on this skill and all his equipment to someone younger, so right now he is on the hunt for a young accordion player who wants to learn the craft. Lack of inspiration in isolationNot knowing when or if ever they'll be able to play in public again has been hard on the couple. Ron is also the treasurer of the local seniors hall and he wonders when they eventually do open again, if people will come back to the dances. "Some of them we have lost already, and it's really sad to think that maybe when we go back to playing, a lot of them will be gone," adds Sandra. The couple can play three dances without ever repeating a song, but they haven't learned anything since the pandemic started. "I have hardly touched my guitar since we quit playing," Sandra said. "I guess there's no incentive, but I guess I shouldn't think that way. I guess you should hope that there is hope."That hope includes looking forward to a day when they can end their long career on their own terms, surrounded safely by the people whose friendships have been forged over decades of performing. To hear the audio as it appeared on CBC's Morning Edition click here:CBC Saskatchewan wants to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you. Share your story with our online questionnaire.
Big data is playing a prominent role in life insurance this year.Interest in coverage has surged during the pandemic, but for many people, social distancing mandates took the life insurance medical exam off the table. As consumers look for quick, noninvasive ways to buy policies, insurers have turned to accelerated underwriting, a process that uses algorithms instead of exams to evaluate applicants.While accelerated underwriting isn’t new, more than a third of life insurers have expanded it due to the pandemic, according to a study by the Society of Actuaries. And no-exam life insurance appeals to many people. “They want it to be fast and easy,” says Gina Birchall, chief operating officer for the life insurance trade group LIMRA.Accelerated underwriting can help you get life insurance quickly online, but there are caveats. What you gain in speed, you may lose in flexibility and price.HOW BIG DATA HAS CHANGED LIFE INSURANCETraditionally, buying life insurance was a lengthy process involving bloodwork, urine samples and long waits for approval. “It was probably the hardest or most difficult product to buy left in the modern economy,” says Brooks Tingle, president and CEO of John Hancock Insurance.This changed as the world became steeped in big data. Insurers now typically check your prescription drug history and data from the MIB Group, an information-sharing service for insurers. Companies may also consider non-medical data, such as your credit history, driving record and shopping habits. Algorithms then combine these data points to quickly determine eligibility and cost of coverage.This data can be tricky to dissect, but industry experts expect the trend to grow.“The more information we have, the deeper the data that we have, the more capable we are of making sound decisions,” says Jackie Morales, chief insurance officer for Bestow, an insurer that uses accelerated underwriting.HOW ACCELERATED UNDERWRITING WORKSCompanies typically use accelerated underwriting techniques in two ways:1\. TO FAST-TRACK HEALTHY PEOPLE’S APPLICATIONS. Many major carriers approve low-risk applicants based on big data and then require medical exams for everyone else, says Jeremy Hallett, CEO of Quotacy, a life insurance broker. On average, it takes nine days for an insurer to reach a final decision using accelerated underwriting instead of the traditional 27, according to LIMRA. These policies are considered fully underwritten, even if you don’t take an exam.2\. TO PROVIDE INSTANT ANSWERS. Insurers like Bestow use information from your application and big data algorithms to assess risk, and never require a medical exam. Coverage is not guaranteed, but the application process is fast and you often get an answer within minutes.Accelerated underwriting is not to be confused with “simplified issue” life insurance, which considers the answers on your application but doesn’t tap into big data. These policies typically cost more and offer less coverage than standard policies because they rely on limited information.WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A POLICYWhen you shop for life insurance, be sure to ask how the policy is priced. Both instant-answer and fully underwritten policies have pros and cons, and your specific needs will dictate what is right for you.Before you apply, ask yourself these questions:HOW FAST DO YOU WANT COVERAGE?If speed is paramount, consider instant-answer policies that solely use big data and never require an exam. You will get an answer quickly, although the answer may be no.“What big data is providing people is speed,” says Bestow’s Morales. Nearly 85% of people who apply for a Bestow policy do so on a mobile device, she says.HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT TO PAY?A policy with full medical underwriting is likely to be the cheapest option. If the insurer chooses to use accelerated underwriting to fast-track your application, you are not penalized; your price and product will likely be the same as if you had taken the exam, Hallett says.Instant-answer policies may not offer rates in the cheapest brackets since the insurer doesn’t have the option of a medical exam to get more information. But Morales says, “Some people will trade off that ability to get a fast decision at a reasonable price.”DO YOU WANT FLEXIBILITY?Fully underwritten life insurance may offer more options, such as the ability to convert from term to permanent coverage. This is not always true of policies that rely solely on your application information and big data.“When you at least have that medical exam as a possibility,” Hallett says, “you get a more robust product.”___________________________________This article was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Georgia Rose is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgRelated Links:NerdWallet: Options for No Medical Exam Life Insurance https://bit.ly/nerdwallet-medical-life-insuranceMIB Group: Request a copy of your report https://www.mib.com/request_your_record.htmlGeorgia Rose Of Nerdwallet, The Associated Press
Calgarians with roots in India — and in some cases, land there, too — are supporting tens of thousands of farmers in that country involved in mass protests outside Delhi, fighting new laws that will change their industry and impact their livelihoods.The farmers have travelled to the Indian capital from rural regions like Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, with many making the journey in tractors and on farm equipment.Watching from thousands of kilometres away, Calgarians with strong ties to Punjab and other parts of India are finding ways to support the farmers. That includes taking part in social media campaigns and a car rally, which attracted hundreds in northeast Calgary this past weekend. "These three new laws are against the farmers," said Sam Brar, who lives in Saddle Ridge."They're trying to bring in big corporations and kill all the smaller scale farming. The government won't even listen to them."In Delhi, there have been clashes with authorities, who turned water cannons and tear gas on protestors trying to enter the city.The new laws were introduced in September and change the rules around the sale, pricing and storage of produce.Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi says the laws will let farmers set their own prices and allow them to sell crops to private businesses, ultimately giving them more freedom.But farmers are worried it will leave them open to being exploited by corporations and devastate them financially. Until now, farmers relied on selling crops direct to the government at guaranteed prices. They're also angry the changes are being made in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.To put the issue into context, more than half of India's 1.3 billion population is connected to agriculture and farming, so it's a huge issue for the country and involves a significant voter block.Modi says he hopes what he calls transformative changes will attract more private investment to the industry, but farmers and their unions say it will make life much tougher."Farmers don't want any dealings with these big corporates. They marched toward Delhi in huge numbers and now the government have used force to stop them," said Brar. "Some have been beaten like animals."Brar was one of many who attended at a socially distanced car rally that travelled in a convoy from the Genesis Centre in northeast Calgary into downtown on Sunday, waving flags and blasting horns."We want to raise our voice and add some pressure from here," he said."It felt really good. We thought 100 cars might come but it was more than 500 or 600 cars that gathered."Some families in Calgary still own land in rural India and the change in laws has direct implications for them."The majority of people from Punjab, their background would be farming, and some people still have farming lands back home. They're worried in the future the corporations would take over the land and they would lose their land," said Harvinder Gill.Gill says the car rally and support being shown on social media in Calgary are an opportunity to pressure local politicians to raise awareness of the issue."They can talk to the Indian government," he said. "Help put pressure on them."On Facebook, many Indians in Calgary have changed their profiles in support of the protests and added the popular standwithfarmerschallenge hashtag to their social media accounts.The Indian government has denounced comments made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in support of the farmers on Monday.Trudeau called the Indian government response to the protests "concerning." Trudeau's comments were labelled as "ill-informed" by a foreign ministry spokesperson.
Two men who spent time at the Edmonton Convention Centre say it's a dangerous place to be. The facility has been operating as a shelter since late October. At times, more than 300 people have been staying at the facility that's being run by four organizations that work with homeless people. "No one feels safe there," Peter Noivo told CBC News. "There was constant fighting and screaming. It's a very bad place to be. " After spending four nights at ECC a couple of weeks ago, Noivo, 52, moved to a hotel with his partner. They're hoping to get into an apartment soon. He vows to never return to the convention centre shelter. Noivo said he concerned about widespread drug use inside the 24/7 facility, even though there is a safe consumption site. "When it gets to injection hour, you can't use the washroom," Noivo said. "There's needles all over. It's normal to get into a washroom and see blood and syringes on the floor." Ben Young agreed. He was staying at the convention centre for the past week and a half, but just tested positive for COVID-19 and he was transferred to a hotel to isolate. Young, 29, was alarmed by conditions at the shelter. He's been documenting his observations for the past two weeks on Reddit. "Something needs to change because people are dying, people are overdosing, people are getting sick," Young said. "If a light isn't shown on this, it's just going to get worse and worse and worse." Young said overdoses were a regular occurrence at the facility and said he personally administered Narcan three times. He also said he saw three people die inside the shelter. "Well, the first one that I saw was an older lady who I talked with a few nights," Young said. "When I walked into the food hall, she was on her back, dead, black in the face dead." He said nurses managed to revive the woman, but he found out she died later in hospital. "I freaked out the first few times," he said. "Now I see someone overdose, it's become regular. At one point there were five overdoses in seven minutes." When asked for comment the City of Edmonton referred CBC to contact one of the organizations operating the shelter. A spokesperson for the Boyle Street Community Services confirmed the overdose situation inside the convention centre mirrors what's happening in the inner city. Elliott Tanti said an overdose prevention site (OPS) wasn't in the original plan for the facility, but was opened after the first couple of weeks. "Certainly there were concerns in the first two weeks when we didn't have the OPS around the number of overdoses taking place in the building because there simply wasn't a safe place for people to go," Tanti said. "Since the OPS has opened, we've seen a dramatic reduction in the number of overdoses on site outside of the OPS and it's had a major impact." Tanti said security staff regularly check washrooms and there is a specialized team devoted to emergency overdose response on hand during the day and through the evening until 11 p.m. Outbreak at ECC Alberta Health Services confirmed there are 60 active COVID-19 cases at the convention centre linked to the current outbreak. Young is convinced he would not have contracted the virus if he had been staying somewhere other than ECC. His case has not been officially traced to the facility. "I would be shocked if everyone in that building didn't have it at one point or right now," Young said. "It's completely unsafe there. It's horrible." Young shared a picture of overflowing garbage cans inside the facility. He claimed he never saw any surfaces being sanitized. "There's no cleaning," Young said. "We take care of the cleaning ourselves. Like I mop, I clean the bathroom. I sanitize everything." Tanti disagreed with Young's assessment. "We had very stringent cleaning and hygiene standards when it first started, but we've increased the number of cleaning in public spaces to ensure the safety of the people that we serve," Tanti said. "Since the start, we've been conducting electrostatic decontamination every 24 hours of all the public shelter spaces." Tanti added that anytime that someone tests positive, the area they were in is also immediately decontaminated. "We're taking hygiene of the facility very seriously and working quite closely with our partners at the convention centre janitorial staff to make sure that the space is safe," Tanti said. Young believes there's a strong need for a 24/7 homeless shelter in the city and he applauded the work of the staff who are trying to help. But he thinks ECC needs to make dramatic changes in order to be safe for everyone who stays there. "We're struggling in the shadows out here," Young said. "We need help. We need a lot of help and we're not getting it.".
NEW YORK — Chuck Rosenberg makes no secret of his admiration for Robert Mueller. Keep that in mind, along with the format of Rosenberg's podcast “The Oath,” now that NBC announced Wednesday that the former special counsel who looked into Russian interference in the 2016 election has given an extensive interview that debuts next week. Mueller, the ex-FBI director, rarely speaks publicly and has been virtually silent about his special counsel experience since testifying before Congress in July 2019. In two separate podcast episodes, each nearly an hour, Mueller doesn't talk about his work as special counsel. He isn't even asked. “There are some questions that you simply don't have to ask,” said Rosenberg, who worked for Mueller as an FBI counsel. “I knew he wouldn't talk about it and I had really no intention of asking about it.” He took Mueller at his word that he wouldn't talk about his work as counsel after his testimony. Mueller made an exception in September, pushing back after one of his former prosecutors suggested in a book that the counsel's team wasn't aggressive enough. Rosenberg's stance is consistent with the format of “The Oath,” in which present and former government officials who have taken an oath to protect the Constitution are interviewed about their lives and careers, while steering clear of current events and political controversies. Rosenberg, also a former federal prosecutor, has taken the oath nine times. He's been an analyst and podcast host for NBC News since quitting as acting head of the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2017, after President Donald Trump suggested to law enforcement officers that they “don't be too nice” to suspects in custody. Even in an era of suspicion about the “deep state,” or perhaps because of it, there has clearly been a public taste for “The Oath.” The Mueller interview leads its fourth season. The show has been in the Top 200 of the Apple Podcasts charts for more than a year, said Andy Bowers, co-founder of the podcast hosting company Megaphone. Rosenberg's extensive experience helps with access, so his guest list is consistently interesting, said Benjamin Wittes, editor in chief of the Lawfare blog. He's also unapologetically earnest, as are many of his guests, at a time of cynicism. “That's the winning formula on ‘The Oath,’ a serious person talking to serious people about public service at a time when people really want to remember what public service is supposed to be," Wittes said. The Mueller interview is a bookend to Rosenberg's two-parter with Mueller's successor as FBI director, James Comey, in the podcast's first season. The voluble Comey is a contrast to Mueller, who's quite comfortable with short answers. “I did OK,” Mueller said when Rosenberg was trying to draw him out about commendations he received during training with the Marines. Did you like law school? “Not particularly,” Mueller said. “Jim is a natural storyteller, so in some ways it is easier (to interview him),” Rosenberg said. “Bob also has a lot of stories to tell, you just have to let him tell them in his own way. I found that compelling — two very different styles, as our listeners will notice, but I think two men of substance.” Although there was talk after his congressional testimony that Mueller, now 76, had lost some sharpness with age, Rosenberg said “he seemed fine to me.” When coaxed, Mueller is most interesting in the first podcast talking about his experience in Vietnam. He volunteered for the Marines after a teammate on his Princeton lacrosse team was killed there, and commanded a unit that was — he found out later — essentially used as bait to draw out the North Vietnamese army. The experience inspired a lifetime of public service, primarily because Mueller was grateful to have survived. It's the type of service that's hard for the cynical to fathom. In another episode this season, Rosenberg speaks to Heather “Lucky” Penney, a former fighter pilot given the assignment on Sept. 11, 2001 of stopping United Airlines Flight 93 as it was bound for the U.S. Capitol. Since there was no time to arm the jet, her only choice was to ram the airliner; she was effectively sent on a suicide mission. Instead, the plane crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers overpowered the hijackers. In the Mueller interview, Rosenberg said he relished the opportunity to get to know someone he knew only as a boss. “There's a bit of a Marine Corps officer outer shell,” he said. “He can be a little bit intimidating. But underneath all of that, he is a remarkably kind and humble and civil man. Coming up in the ranks of the Department of Justice, Bob Mueller is an icon. Everybody that I worked with knew of him and admired him, but often from a distance.” David Bauder, The Associated Press
Christian Serratos embodies late Tejano icon Selena Quintanilla in new show "Selena: The Series." (Dec. 2)
Workplace safety-relatedcharges against the company managing construction at the Faro mine site and a site supervisor have been stayed.Parsons Inc. and Len Faber, who's also the mayor of Faro, were charged under the Yukon's Occupational Health and Safety Act in September 2019 for allegedly intimidating workers, obstructing safety officers in the course of their duties and failing to maintain a safe and healthy workplace.Both parties pleaded not guilty to all charges. The matter was set to go to trial on Nov. 16 but was adjourned to Nov. 24, when territorial Crown prosecutor Kelly McGill told the court that Parsons Inc. and Faber had successfully met the terms of a diversionary arrangement. The terms included Parsons Inc. augmenting its health and safety training program, while Faber had to complete coursework in psychological heath and safety. They also donated $5,000 and $1,000 to the Northern Safety Network Yukon, respectively, and paid $1,500 and $500 in administrative fees. McGill told Judge Karen Ruddy that, in light of the successful arrangement, there was no longer a public interest in proceeding with the prosecution and entered stays on all charges. Lawyers representing Parsons Inc. and Faber did not immediately return requests for comment. The federal government awarded Parsons Inc., an international engineering firm, an $80 million construction management contract for the Faro mine site in 2018. The firm held the care-and-maintenance contract before that. Faber won Faro's mayoral election in October 2018 by chance when his name was pulled out of a box after he and incumbent mayor Jack Bowers both received the exact same number of votes. The Faro mine was, at one point, the largest open-pit lead-zinc mine in the world but was abandoned in 1998. Remediation work, set to begin in 2024, is expected to cost upwards of $500 million and take about two decades, with officials needing to monitor the site indefinitely after that.
Royal Bank of Canada reported a small rise in quarterly profit that beat analysts' expectations on Wednesday, driven by strength in its capital markets unit and reduced provisions to cover potential loan-losses from the COVID-19 pandemic.Canada's largest lender by market capitalization set aside $427 million in the fourth quarter, as economic disruptions from the pandemic raised the possibility of defaults. The amount was far lower than analysts' expectation of $798.75 million, and down 14 per cent from a year earlier.Net income from personal and commercial banking — RBC's biggest source of income — fell 7 per cent to $1.5 billion, largely reflecting the impact of lower interest rates.The country's banks have faced margin pressure this year from surging deposits and slower lending growth across retail and business segments.RBC's capital markets division, which includes trading, investment banking and advisory, however, saw net income soar 44 per cent to $840 million, helped by increased volatility in markets due to the health crisis.Overall profit was upTotal net income rose to $3.25 billion ($2.51 billion) for the quarter ended Oct. 31, or $2.23 per share, from $3.21 billion, or $2.19 per share, a year earlier.On an adjusted basis, the bank earned $2.27 per share, higher than analysts' average estimate of $2.05 per share, according to Refinitiv data.
BUDAPEST, Hungary — The head of the European Parliament delegation representing Hungary’s ruling party is being targeted for expulsion from his political group in the European Union legislature after comparing the group's leader to the gestapo.Members of the European People’s Party have called for a vote on expelling Tamas Deutsch, the head of the Hungarian delegation to the centre-right group. Deutsch is a founding member of Hungary’s right-wing ruling party, Fidesz, which belongs to the European People's Party.In a Monday letter addressed to the leader of the EPP in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, and delivered to all group members, EU lawmakers referenced their “growing dismay and impatience (with the) increasing radicalization and verbal abuses of certain Fidesz MEPs."The signatories demanded that a vote on Deutsch’s expulsion be held at the group’s next meeting on Dec. 9.Weber, who represents Germany, has been critical of Hungary and Poland’s decision to veto passage of the EU’s next seven-year budget and coronavirus recovery fund, which the two countries oppose due to a so-called rule of law mechanism which would link payment of EU funds to countries’ adherence to democratic standards.Weber had called the veto “irresponsible,” and said if media freedom and judicial independence were upheld in Hungary, the country's leaders had no reason to fear the rule of law mechanism.Deutsch told two Hungarian news outlets last week that Weber’s comments were reminiscent “of the Gestapo and (Hungary’s communist-era secret police) the AVH.”In the letter demanding a vote on Deutsch’s expulsion, EPP lawmakers called his remarks “shocking and shameful.”“Comparing our support for the rule of law with Gestapo or Stalinist methods is an insult to all of us in the EPP group,” the letter reads.Deutsch told pro-government newspaper Magyar Nemzet on Tuesday that the effort to oust him from the EPP was proof that Hungary must “use all means” to prohibit adoption of the rule of law mechanism.The Hungarian delegation to the European People's Party also is facing fallout from the news that another senior lawmaker had attended an illegal lockdown party in Brussels. Fidesz MEP Jozsef Szajer resigned Sunday after police broke up a party that media reports described as a sex orgy.The EPP suspended Fidesz’s membership in 2019 over concerns that it was eroding the rule of law in Hungary and engaging in anti-Brussels rhetoric. In a weekend interview with Belgian newspaper De Standaard, Weber said the EPP would have already made a decision on expelling Fidesz from the group were it not for the coronavirus pandemic.A spokesperson for the EPP confirmed to The Associated Press that Weber had received the letter, and said that it would be up to the EPP’s presidency when to hold a vote on Deutsch’s exclusion.Justin Spike, The Associated Press
The son of a Windsor pediatrician is hoping to tell his father's story in a documentary about the impact his dad had on the local community.Joseph Galiwango is the son of Dr. Joe Galiwango, who practised pediatric medicine in Windsor for over 30 years. Dr. Galiwango co-founded the former neonatal intensive care unit at Grace Hospital in Windsor, and was also instrumental in helping with the W.E. Care for Kids campaign fundraising, which supports local pediatric health care.Dr. Galiwango eventually retired to his native Uganda. He was found dead in his home in 2016.Joseph Galiwango says he's eager to tell his dad's story because of the effect he had on the local community."The story is kind of a Windsor story to be honest," he told Windsor Morning host Tony Doucette. "This is about this person who was embraced by this community, and found so much joy in helping the most vulnerable babies, up until teenagers, and their families — and that impact, it's still being felt."Affectionally known as "Dr. Joe," Dr. Galiwango was born in Uganda and studied in the United Kingdom. He later came to Canada and eventually settled in Windsor.Joseph Galiwango — who would often be at the office while his father was working — says what he remembers most about his dad was his cheerfulness."He had an innate joy from working with his patients and working with their families," he said. "The thing I remember most about him is how happy he was with his patients."A doctor's office is not always the happiest place, but Joseph Galiwango describes his father's as being "almost like Santa's workshop."Documenting a lifeThe passion and jubilance Dr. Galiwango brought to his work is why his son is so eager to start documenting his father's life and telling his story.While checking his Facebook, Joseph Galiwango came across a seven-month-old message from a friend, who is a documentary producer.The friend, as a baby, was a patient of his father's, and said he was interested in making a documentary about Dr. Galiwango."We got the conversation going, and he told me it's a passion project of his because when he was a baby he was quite sick, and my dad was responsible for bringing him back to health," Galiwango said.They'll be looking to interview medical colleagues of Dr. Galiwango's, people involved with the W.E. Care for Kids Foundation he was involved with, and, of course, patients.A sad end to a happy storyAfter Dr. Galiwango's death, his family held a memorial in Windsor in 2016.Joseph Galiwango suspects that his father was murdered, and the family is still looking for answers."We don't know a whole lot more to be honest with you," he said. "But we do have some people helping us get some more information, but we don't know a whole lot more than what we found out four years ago and what was in the papers and things.""That's a sad part of an otherwise amazing legacy," he added. "But, you know, the book on that is not really closed. So with the documentary, and to support that we hope to get more of a sense of closure."