Check out this macaw's reaction when caught red-handed on the curtains. So funny! Credit:@shelbythemacaw
Check out this macaw's reaction when caught red-handed on the curtains. So funny! Credit:@shelbythemacaw
ATHENS, Greece — The former director of Greece’s National Theatre appeared Wednesday before a public prosecutor to respond to child abuse allegations in a case that has triggered a major political dispute and a debate on reforms needed to prosecute sex crimes. The 56-year-old suspect was taken into police custody on Saturday and resigned his position as the theatre's artistic director earlier this month. Defence lawyer Alexis Kougias denied the charges on behalf of his client and formally requested that the case be dismissed. He said the court granted a 24-hour extension to present a defence. Under Greek law, suspects are not named before trial unless exceptions are made to serve the public interest or they voluntarily identify themselves to assist their defence. Kougias has identified his client as prominent Greek actor-director Dimitris Lignadis, who was escorted in handcuffs by police to the court building and made no remarks to reporters outside Wednesday. Opposition parties argue that the culture minister in Greece’s centre-right government responded too slowly to the allegations and should be removed. Multiple cases of alleged sexual misconduct and abuse have been made public since Greek Olympic sailing champion Sofia Bekatorou alleged that she had been sexually assaulted by a sailing federation official in 1998. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has promised to outline proposed legal changes in parliament on Thursday to make it easier for victims of sexual assault to report the crimes. The Associated Press
“Speak, Okinawa,” by Elizabeth Miki Brina (Knopf) Elizabeth Miki Brina’s “Speak, Okinawa” is a masterful memoir in which Brina examines the complex relationship she has with her interracial parents. Brina’s father, white and American, met her mother, who is from the island of Okinawa, while he was stationed there on a US military base. The two settled in the United States, where Brina’s mother spent decades feeling lonely and out of place. Brina grew up feeling close to her father and resenting her mother. Desperate to feel wholly American, she pushed her mother away, embarrassed of her accent and overall inability to truly assimilate. In this investigation of her childhood, Brina begins to see things differently. She looks at life from her mother’s perspective, and now, she starts to understand the depth of her pain, pain she endured from leaving behind all she knew and loved, and also the pain of calling occupied land home. “Speak, Okinawa” is both a mediation on Brina’s own family as well as a powerful history of the United States occupation of Okinawa, where it maintains a massive military presence to this day. Brina’s writing is crisp, captivating and profound. She is vulnerable, raw, and relatable, and her stories will no doubt cause readers to reflect on their relationships with their own parents. As educational as it is entertaining, “Speak, Okinawa” is well worth the read. —- Molly Sprayregen can be reached at her site. Molly Sprayregen, The Associated Press
Divine intervention is what Lynnette Fritshaw says about a Dawson Creek fire on 89 Avenue earlier in February. Fritshaw, a firefighter by trade, was off duty when the blaze struck and she happened to leaving her house for a day of skiing. “Right place, right time. Higher powers. Whatever the case, lives were changed forever that morning,” said Fritshaw. “Ours included. We are beyond thankful for the outcome, and truly honoured to have been able to be there when needed.” Fritshaw sprung into action as soon as she smoke billowing nearby, instantly recognizing it as a sign of a structure fire. Her husband Wade accompanied her to the burning home after they alerted the fire department. The pair banged on the door to see who was home. A mother and her two young daughters answered the door. The family was unharmed. “We didn’t know if anyone was home, and were just about to kick the door in when the light came on and faces appeared at the top of the stairs,” said Fritshaw. Fritshaw helped the mother get winter gear on the kids, got them all outside, and removed the family’s vehicle from the burning home. As they exited, the roof burst into flames, and a fire truck pulled up, says Fritshaw. Firefighters were soon on scene using a pair of engines to put out the fire, as well as use of the ladder truck and rescue truck. email@example.com Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News
U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock urged Gulf states to step up next Monday when the world body seeks to avert a large-scale "man-made" famine in Yemen by raising $3.85 billion for humanitarian operations in the war-torn Arabian Peninsula country for 2021. The United Nations describes Yemen as the world's largest humanitarian crisis, with 80% of the people in need.
Plusieurs parents d’élèves de troisième, quatrième et cinquième années du secondaire de la polyvalente La Porte-du-Nord (PDN) à Chibougamau se disent inquiets au sujet de l’enseignement à mi-temps au secondaire. Ils se questionnent aussi sur le moment du retour en classe en temps complet puisque, selon les autorités, la situation dans la région est stable. Comme dans toutes les écoles du Québec, les étudiants du dernier cycle du secondaire de la PDN ne vont à l’école qu’un jour sur deux. Sans vouloir minimiser toutes les difficultés et les problèmes qui sont engendrés par la pandémie, une mère inquiète a fait parvenir une lettre à la direction de la PDN. Julie Laberge s’explique mal pourquoi, avec la situation que connait notre région et les diverses communications de la santé publique mentionnant que la situation est stable, les étudiants ne peuvent retourner en classe de façon permanente. Après bientôt un an de pandémie qui a grandement bouleversé la vie des étudiants, cette mère de famille pense qu’il est temps de prendre action. Elle constate aussi que l’enseignement à distance a certaines limites. Elle voit également que l’intérêt et la motivation des jeunes sont en baisse, sans compter qu’il y a des enjeux de réussite scolaire pour certains d’entre eux. Selon elle, malgré les diverses interventions mises en place en classe, elle ne croit pas que la situation va s’améliorer en poursuivant comme c’est le cas présentement. Ces parents sont convaincus que, dans l’intérêt des jeunes et pour leur santé, il faut agir rapidement pour qu’ils puissent reprendre leurs études en présentiel à temps complet dans les délais les plus brefs. Il faut noter que, malgré les changements de palier de rouge à orange pour la région Nord-du-Québec et certains allègements qui ont été accordés, aucune modification n’a été faite au niveau de l’enseignement dans notre région. René Martel, Initiative de journalisme local, La Sentinelle
(CBC - image credit) A Nova Scotia man is suing the provincial government for negligence, saying he was beaten up by another inmate while being held in the Northeast Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Pictou. Matthew Aiken's lawsuit alleges the province, through the attorney general, failed in its duty to protect him. Aiken was in the provincial jail in the fall of 2017 on charges of breach, harassment and possession of cocaine. He'd been there about two weeks when he was placed in a cell with another inmate, Donavin Diggs, according to a Nova Scotia Supreme Court decision published Wednesday. Diggs was serving time for numerous offences including assault causing bodily harm, assault, resisting a police officer and assaulting a police officer. When he was admitted to jail, Aiken was considered a low risk. Diggs, on the other hand, was assessed as a high risk, according to the decision. Early on the evening of Nov. 29, 2017, Diggs was in a fight with another inmate. According to evidence presented in court during a hearing earlier this month, Diggs had to be restrained and handcuffed before he was returned to the cell he shared with Aiken, where the handcuffs were removed. Because of the violent incident, the whole wing of the jail was placed in lockdown, meaning Aiken and Diggs were locked in their cell together. 'Get the hell out' According to evidence Aiken gave at an earlier hearing, Diggs told him: "This is not gonna work for you, you and me in here, get the hell out." Aiken said Diggs then assaulted him, breaking his nose and blackening both his eyes, causing one to swell almost completely shut. "My face is beat to a snot, my nose is broken and crooked," Aiken testified. "I basically look like, you know, if you took a pork roast and tenderized it with a hammer." Aiken claims jail staff saw his condition and yet did nothing about it until after a second fight later the same evening. The province disputes that part of Aiken's story, saying there was only one fight between he and Diggs and jail staff immediately intervened. The province went to court seeking a summary judgment, asking that Aiken's lawsuit be thrown out. But in the ruling published Wednesday, Justice John Keith said there are serious claims in Aiken's lawsuit that need to be addressed. The judge said there needs to be another hearing as soon as possible to try to find an expeditious resolution to the case. MORE TOP STORIES
Charlie Munger, the longtime business partner of Warren Buffett, on Wednesday warned that the stock market bears signs of a bubble, reflecting a "dangerous" mentality among some investors to gamble on stocks as they would horse races. Munger, 97, lamented the recent mania for GameStop Corp, in which amateur investors encouraged each other online to buy the gaming retailer on platforms including Robinhood, and caught some hedge funds in a short squeeze. "A lot of them crowd in to buying stocks on frenzy, frequently on credit, because they see that they're going up, and of course that's a very dangerous way to invest."
Mono Council, at least for the immediate future, has put the the matter of the Variance Application to the Fill By-Law, regarding the property of Mr. Paul Ritchie at 833231 4th Line in Mono, to rest, by refusing the appli-cation. In discussion leading up to the vote, sev-eral Council members shared their opinions on the issue. Councillor Fred Nix expressed his frustration that, the matter had been before Council for almost 12 months, despite a public meeting in July of 2020, at which both Council and members of the public had expressed concerns. This resulted in a request for the applicant to address the issues and return to Council with an amended pro-posal. In the end the exact same proposal was brought back for consideration.Now, the applicant was asking for a defer-ral in order for his engineers to study a report from the Town engineers, thus pushing the matter back once again. Councillor Nix how-ever reluctantly felt that the deferral should be granted on the basis of transparency and fairness.Councillor Manktelow, on the other hand was of the opposite opinion. He noted that as early as January 21, 2020, Mr. Ritchie had been asked to respond to other options, including using existing soil for the fill, but did not respond. Again he was asked to address the concerns of the public at the meeting on July 14th, 2020 and again there was no response. Finally, just prior to Christmas, Town of Mono CAO, Mark Early, requested that the applicant respond to all of the issues raised and again, says Councillor Manktelow there was no response. Consequently, he said he felt that the application should be denied as it was his opinion that the applicant was not compliant with the Town’s wishes.Councillor Martin agreed with Councillor Manktelow and wanted to proceed with the decision, while Deputy Mayor Creelman said that although he was very disappointed with the way the matter was progressing and the inordinate amount of time that it had taken up, he could go with either decision, but with provisions, if Council were to grant the deferral. The provisions would be that only writ-ten submissions be accepted and that they be made available to the public, so that they could also respond in writing. He did not want to waste any further time on this matter, especially not with long winded personal presentations, taking up Council time, with material that could oth-erwise be read. Mayor Ryan was of a like minded opinion, feeling that enough time had been spent already. Prior to this, the applicant had been eager to have Council’s decision made and now wanted a deferral. Mayor Ryan could not see what new information could be received, when no responses had been forthcoming to previous requests of Council. The Mayor felt that the application should be reviewed now and a decision handed down.Councillor Nix spoke to the matter of two concerns with the application. He said that a drainage pipe running south to the neigh-bours property line would potentially flood his septic bed during the spring runoff and had agreed to remove it, but was still in the application. Also, no consideration had been made to using some of the existing soil on the site to build the track surface, despite the engineers opinion that some of the soil was certainly usable.In short, this was essentially the exact same application that had originally been submitted, with no consideration of the two stated issues. Councillor Manktelow then said that, the report received from the Town engineer, Gord Feniak, answer all of Coun-cil’s previously asked questions of the appli-cant and, that pointed to the track being able to be built almost exclusive of any imported fill.The matter was called to a recorded vote with the unanimous decision to refuse the application at this time. Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
BATON ROUGE, La. — Trashed on social media and censured by Louisiana Republicans, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy described himself Wednesday as “at peace” with his vote to convict former President Donald Trump at his impeachment trial and dismissed the scorching GOP backlash he's received. Louisiana's senior Republican senator said he does not believe the criticism represents the feelings of many of his party's voters. He said the censure he received from the leadership of the state Republican Party represented “a small group of people,” not the “broader Republican Party.” “I am such at peace with that vote. I say that knowing that I’m getting criticized, but I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution,” Cassidy said in a conference call with reporters on a variety of topics. Cassidy joined six other Senate Republicans in voting with Democrats on Feb. 13 to convict Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in an impeachment trial that saw the former president acquitted. Louisiana's other U.S. senator, Republican John Kennedy, voted against conviction. “I’ve received comments from folks who are Republican who object to the vote,” Cassidy said. “I’ve received a heck of a lot of folks who agree with me or, if they don’t agree with me, respect the kind of thought process that went into it.” He added: “There’s a diversity of opinion among Louisiana Republicans, even if there is not among a very small group of people.” Though the 57-43 Senate vote was short of the two-thirds majority needed to find Trump guilty, the seven GOP votes against Trump represented the largest number of lawmakers to ever vote to find a president of their own party guilty at impeachment proceedings. Some Republicans who voted to acquit Trump said they did not believe the Democrats proved their case that the former president was directly responsible for inciting hundreds of people to storm the Capitol building in a riot that left five people dead. Other Republicans said they simply did not believe Congress had jurisdiction over a president no longer in office. Cassidy has tried to change the conversation since the impeachment trial ended, sending out daily statements about a variety of subjects and talking about other issues, such as the confirmation hearings of President Joe Biden's cabinet appointments and recovery from the icy weather. But Trump supporters don't want to move on, and they've been slamming Cassidy on conservative talk radio and websites. They've called for Republicans to ban Cassidy from their events, and several local Republican groups have joined the executive committee of the state GOP in condemning Cassidy's vote to convict Trump. Cassidy, a doctor, overwhelmingly won reelection in November to a second term, with Trump's backing. Asked whether his vote to convict Trump could damage his chances of reelection in 2026, Cassidy replied: “It is six years off, but that's immaterial. I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution." ___ Follow Melinda Deslatte on Twitter at http://twitter.com/melindadeslatte. Melinda Deslatte, The Associated Press
(Submitted by Amber Tucker - image credit) A Facebook group dedicated to supporting Nova Scotians during the pandemic is closing up shop, but its creator hopes people will keep stepping up to help others. Amber Tucker created Caremongering-Hfx: Halifax-area community response to COVID-19 last March, modelled after similar groups in Ontario. Members could ask for help, donate supplies or services, and offer advice and emotional support. "It was meant to provide a sense of safety when everything else felt so unsafe," Tucker told CBC Radio's Information Morning. Requests ranged from immunocompromised people needing help with errands to posting resources to keep kids busy during lockdown, Tucker said. One member even stepped up to bring a little boy a birthday cake. By the time the Facebook page was officially archived on Feb. 24, there were more than 11,000 members. Stopping spread of misinformation Tucker said it was heartwarming to see so many strangers come together to help each other, whether it was by providing services or offering moral support. In the early days, the group's admin team also did a lot of damage control when it came to rumours and misinformation about COVID-19, said Marine Decaillet, one of the group's administrators. Decaillet, a cultural anthropologist, previously spent two years working on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and wrote a thesis on the management of rumours during that epidemic. "I'm trying to monitor and provide information to people so that they could accurately stay safe," she said. Decaillet and Tucker worked full time while managing the group, a balance Decaillet called "extremely intense." "It was a little overwhelming … we discovered burnout in a different way, but it was also a really rewarding part of the work," Decaillet said. 'Spirit of mutual aid' Almost 11 months after creating Caremongers-Hfx, Tucker said the time has passed for the need to maintain the group and all the work that goes into it. With the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and the low case numbers in Nova Scotia, she said a lot of the recent activity in the group hasn't been as focused on pandemic-related needs. "There's still community help going on, which is amazing. We really want people to continue doing that work in different forums now that we all kind of have the idea and the spirit of mutual aid," Tucker said. Both Tucker and Decaillet said they plan to spend less time on social media now that Caremongering-Hfx has closed. Tucker plans to focus her volunteer efforts on housing justice, and Decaillet hopes to help migrants get settled in the province. MORE TOP STORIES
By Spencer Seymour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter There was a lot to talk about at last Tuesday's Strategic Priorities Committee. The full docket included a discussion led by Chief Administrative Officer Brent Kittmer regarding the service level reopenings following Huron Perth's move into the Orange - Restrict level of Ontario's reopening framework. Kittmer said that the move to the Orange - Restrict level places St. Marys about where it was at the holidays last year, which Kittmer admitted felt to him like a fast jump from being in a lockdown to being at a stage where services could be almost completely open. Because of the move, he is aware that there will be some expectation from some members of the community that the Town is automatically going to begin operating its service levels as much and as freely as possible. However, this is not what would be in the best interest of the Town, according to the CAO. Town staff believes a slow and cautious reopening is prudent. Kittmer went through their proposal for various service level reopenings for the Council members' consideration. Municipal offices would remain open for drop-ins with doors locked and a doorbell for service. However, virtual services are available and preferred when possible. The Yard Waste Depot is open, as is the Landfill, however, the latter is not accepting cash. The Station Gallery/VIA Rail Station is open with gathering restrictions in place. The plan for the St. Marys Public Library would be to reopen in-person service with gathering limits in place and encouraging virtual service use when possible. There would also be gathering limits and time limits for public computer use. The plan from Town staff also mentioned the Museum, which would continue with virtual and telecommunications programming until March 1st, when it would open three days per week from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for research only and with gathering limits in place. The proposal lists late April as a target to resume exhibits at the Museum. Speaking on the Pyramid Recreation Center, which drew the majority of the focus, Kittmer began with the pool. There is some delay in opening the pool given the recency of the reopening announcement and the need to recall staff. The plan would see the pool open on March 8th with registrations starting before that and done on a week-to-week basis. The capacity for the pool would be capped at 25 percent, meaning lane swims would be capped at four people, Aquafit classes capped at 10, and public swim capped at 20. Swimming lessons would also not be brought back yet due to an inability to take proper safety protocols. Moving to the ice pads, the ice remains uninstalled and ice users will have until February 26th to express interest in Spring ice in April and May. This will require a future discussion with Council as ice users come back with their requests. Lastly, for the Friendship Center, Wellness Programs and Services will continue, virtual programs and phone services will continue, a drive-thru Easter Lunch would be held at the end of March, and a target of early April to resume in-person programs with outdoor classes. Youth Center programming would also continue virtually. Spencer Seymour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Marys Independent
Nikola Dimitrov of AIS Technologies Group in Windsor, Ont., discusses how the pandemic has affected supply lines.
CALGARY — The CEO of Crescent Point Energy Corp. says the company is poised to benefit from rising oil prices after two years of transformation through selling assets, cutting debt and reducing costs. The Calgary-based company's move last week to buy producing light oil shale assets in Alberta for $900 million from Royal Dutch Shell reflects that confidence, Craig Bryksa said. "We have built an asset portfolio that is well-positioned to benefit from a rising price environment given our light oil weighting and high netbacks," he said on a Wednesday conference call with analysts to discuss the company's fourth-quarter results. "We expect to generate $375 (million) to $600 million of excess cash flow this year at US$50 to US$60 WTI (West Texas Intermediate) prices." The company plans to devote most of that cash flow to paying down debt, he said, adding that it will evaluate increasing returns to shareholders over time. Shell is to receive $700 million in cash and 50 million Crescent Point shares under the deal and will wind up owning an 8.6 per cent stake in Crescent Point if it closes as expected in April. The companies say the assets are producing around 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from more than 270 wells. About 57 per cent of production is condensate, highly valued as a diluent blended with oilsands bitumen to allow it to flow in a pipeline. Analysts said the company beat their fourth-quarter estimates on production and average selling prices although both measures fell compared with the same period in 2019. "CPG closed the chapter on a highly successful year in its business transformation toward becoming a more sustainable producer generating significant free cash flow, which should be complemented by the upcoming (Shell) acquisition," Desjardins analyst Chris MacCulloch wrote in a report. Crescent Point reported producing 111,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, about 90 per cent crude oil and petroleum liquids, in the fourth quarter, down from 145,000 boe/d in the fourth quarter of 2019. It attributed the drop to capital spending cuts enacted early in 2020 as oil prices fell. It's average realized fourth-quarter oil price was $49.40 per barrel, down from $65.27 in the year-earlier period. It reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $51 million or 10 cents per share, compared with a loss of $932 million or $1.73 per share in the same period of 2019. On Wednesday, it confirmed 2021 production guidance released with the Shell announcement last week of about 134,000 boe/d, as well as a 2021 capital budget of about $600 million (both assuming the deal is closed). That's up from Crescent Point's average output of 121,600 boe/d during 2020 and down from actual 2020 capital spending of $655 million. The company reported net debt of about $2.1 billion at year-end, paid down by over $615 million during the year. It said it also removed about $60 million in budgeted operating expenses in 2020. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:CPG) Dan Healing, The Canadian Press
Substantial increases in speed and avail-ability for broadband may be coming to Mono. Council heard a request from Rogers Communications Canada Inc., to support their application to the Federal government to become part of the Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) program. Their aim is to supply the entire town of Mono with Fibre Optic Internet service. Currently, much of Mono is underserviced by the available service providers and this prevents many residents and businesses from taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by digital communications.Broadband connectivity is a key priority for Mono Council and is in fact, part of their Corporate Strategic Plan. Rogers’ “leave no home behind,” plan is a true game changer for Mono.Rogers build strategy commitment is to bring broadband to entire areas of under-served homes. If it is approved, it will bring the needed broadband service, to house-holds and businesses to enable them to avail themselves of digital opportunities. Espe-cially, in the fields of business, education, health and public safety.One of the other benefits to the propos-al, is that there is no suggested cost to the Town. A notation made by Deputy Mayor John Creelman, who has been spearheading the drive for better internet service in Mono. To this end, the deputy Mayor was deeply involved with helping Vianet set up the an-tennae on the Town water tower. Another potential benefit is that if two ser-vice providers are eyeing the same territory, the funder, in this case the Federal govern-ment will be the one to decide who may op-erate where. Also, any service must be an open access one, meaning that third party users must be allow access to the service for a reasonable cost.The proposed service, will have a mini-mum download speed of 50 megabits per second and a minimum upload speed of 10 megabits per second. There are purportedly, several service providers interested in servicing Mono. CAO Mark Early mentioned that he had recently been approached by V-Media from Concord, who are also interested in supplying internet services to Mono.Deputy Mayor Creelman noted that the SWIFT program is set to go along Hwy.10, from the 10th Sideroad north through Camil-la. If Rogers and Vianet are prepared to ser-vice the rest of Mono, this will allow SWIFT to move into other parts of Dufferin County, not adequately services with broadband.Innovation Canada expects that 90 per cent of Canada will have access to high speed internet by the end of 2021. Individ-uals are encouraged to reach out to their internet service providers to notify them about the UBF and encourage them to apply for funding. Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
NEW YORK — Paul McCartney is finally ready to write his memoirs, and will use music — and a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet — to help guide him. “The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present” will be released Nov. 2, according to a joint announcement Wednesday from the British publisher Allen Lane and from Liveright in the United States. McCartney, 78, will trace his life through 154 songs, from his teens and early partnership with fellow Beatle John Lennon to his solo work over the past half century. Irish poet Paul Muldoon is editing and will contribute an introduction. "More often than I can count, I’ve been asked if I would write an autobiography, but the time has never been right," McCartney said in a statement. “The one thing I’ve always managed to do, whether at home or on the road, is to write new songs. I know that some people, when they get to a certain age, like to go to a diary to recall day-to-day events from the past, but I have no such notebooks. What I do have are my songs, hundreds of them, which I’ve learned serve much the same purpose. And these songs span my entire life.” Financial terms for “The Lyrics,” which has a list price of $100, were not disclosed. Publishers have long sought a McCartney memoir, even though he has spoken often about the past and has participated in such projects as Barry Miles' biography “Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now,” and the 1990s documentary and book “The Beatles Anthology." The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards has been equally open about himself, but his 2010 memoir “Life” still sold millions of copies. No Beatle has written a standard, full-fledged account of his life. Lennon published two works of stories, poems and drawings and was considered the most gifted with words, but he was murdered in 1980, at age 40. Ringo Starr's “Another Day In the Life" is centred on photographs and quotes, because, the drummer has said, a traditional memoir would require multiple volumes. George Harrison, who died of cancer in 2001, issued the scrapbook/retrospective “I, Me, Mine” in 1980. According to McCartney's publishers, his songs will be arranged alphabetically, and will include McCartney's comments on when and where they were written and what inspired them. The U.S. edition of the book will be broken into two volumes, contained within a single box. “Presented with this is a treasure trove of material from McCartney’s personal archive — drafts, letters, photographs — never seen before, which make this also a unique visual record of one of the greatest songwriters of all time,” according to Wednesday's announcement. McCartney has often received more acclaim for his melodies than for his lyrics, but he has written some of the most quoted songs in recent history, including “Let It Be,” “Hey Jude” and “Eleanor Rigby.” Muldoon said in a statement that their conversations in recent years “confirm a notion at which we had but guessed — that Paul McCartney is a major literary figure who draws upon, and extends, the long tradition of poetry in English.” Muldoon is known for such poetry collections as “Moy Sand and Gravel” and “Horse Latitudes,” and also has a background in music. He has given spoken-word performances backed by the musical collective Rogue Oliphant; published a book of rock lyrics, “The Word on the Street”; and collaborated on the title track of Warren Zevon's “My Ride's Here.” He even mentioned McCartney in a poem, “Sideman”: "I’ll be McCartney to your Lennon/ Lenin to your Marx/ Jerry to your Ben &/ Lewis to your Clark" ___ Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
TUCSON, Ariz. — It is now illegal in Tucson, Arizona, to enforce dress code or grooming policies that discriminate against hair texture and hairstyles in the workplace and public schools, officials said. The Tucson City Council voted Tuesday to adopt the Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, or CROWN Act, joining multiple cities across the country in passing the ordinance, the Arizona Daily Star reported. The ordinance has been part of a national campaign promoted by Dove, the National Urban League, Color Of Change and Western Center on Law and Poverty. It also prohibits workplace discrimination based on headdresses worn for cultural or religious reasons. “We want to be sure there are no barriers for people in the workplace and in schools,” said Annie Sykes, president of Tucson’s Black Women’s Task Force. “These barriers are usually rooted in discrimination and prejudice.” Sykes cited a study showing that Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from work because of their hair and 80% more likely to feel like they have to change their hair to fit in at work. “Your hair is your crown and it connects us to our culture and to our ancestry,” said Desiree Cook, a licensed hair stylist and founder of the local organization, I AM YOU 360. “So we ask that those crowns are honoured, whether it be in schools, in the community or the workplace.” The Tucson ordinance will be enforced through the human relations section of the city code and will apply to any facility or business with public accommodations, officials said. Violations can bring civil penalties. The Associated Press
(epridnia - stock.adobe.com - image credit) Some New Brunswick workers will see a slight bump in their paycheques come spring. The minimum wage is set to increase by five cents on April 1, bringing it up to $11.75 an hour from $11.70. The five-cent increase was arrived at because the minimum wage in New Brunswick is indexed to the province's consumer price index, which saw a 0.22 per cent increase last year. In a statement posted to the province's website, Labour Minister Trevor Holder said tying the minimum wage to the consumer price index protects "the purchasing power of employees" while also ensuring "predictability for businesses." "We are mindful of the financial realities faced by both employees and employers, particularly as we endure the COVID-19 pandemic." The increase is relatively small compared with recent increases. In 2020 the minimum wage rose by 20 cents in 2019, by 25 cents in 2018 and by 35 cents in 2017. The province estimates that 20,000 workers in New Brunswick make minimum wage. The province has the second-lowest minimum wage in the country. Saskatchewan has the lowest at $11.45, and Nunavut has the highest at $16. The other three Atlantic provinces are also raising their minimum wages later this year, but they're already higher than New Brunswick's will be after the April increase. In Nova Scotia, the minimum wage is now $12.55, in P.E.I. it's $12.85, and in Newfoundland and Labrador it's $12.15.
OTTAWA — The fight to win the leadership of his party could be nothing compared to what Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole has ahead: keeping his party together as he tries to win over voters who haven't voted for it recently. Caucus morale is buoyed by this week's House of Commons vote in favour of a motion declaring a genocide against Uighur Muslims in China. But the Tories remain stuck behind the Liberals in the polls and the Liberal war room is revving up to keep them there. The Tories' hawkish view on China stands as a point of demarcation between O'Toole and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, so while the Tories lauded the vote Monday as a victory for human rights, it's also one for them. That Liberal MPs, but not cabinet, voted with the Tories on the motion underscores the point, O'Toole argued after the vote. "The fact that Mr. Trudeau did not even show up to be accountable is a terrible sign of leadership," he said. That he'd take a strong stance on China was a key promise O'Toole made in his bid for leadership last year. But how he's following through on others is emerging as a question as O'Toole marks exactly six months in the post. Among the issues: a fear he'll backtrack on a promise dear to the heart of the party, especially in the West: repealing the federal carbon tax. MPs not authorized to publicly discuss caucus deliberations say many are concerned about O'Toole's stated support for a Liberal bill aimed at cutting Canada's net emissions of greenhouse gases to zero by 2050. Most environment and economics experts say getting there without a carbon tax is possible, but would cost more because the regulations needed to achieve the goal would ultimately be more expensive. For a party fixated on the bottom line, which path to take without inflaming the base is a tricky choice. O'Toole's spokesperson says he remains committed to scrapping the federal carbon tax, though O'Toole himself no longer includes it in election-style speeches to general audiences, nor would he repeat the commitment to reporters when asked last week. Another marquee promise, to defund the CBC, is also in the wind. Spokesperson Chelsea Tucker didn't directly answer this week when asked if he would still do that if the Conservatives win power. All outlets need a fair playing field, she said in an email. "Conservatives are committed to ensuring the best path forward for Canada’s news sector." The promises on the carbon tax and on defunding the CBC were key planks for O'Toole's leadership campaign because he needed the Tory base on side to win. But as he seeks now to broaden the appeal of the party, many in caucus are expressing frustration with his approach. Recent meetings have been laced with tension and demands for change, several told The Canadian Press. Underpinning the grumbling: how kicking controversial MP Derek Sloan out of caucus played out, the appearance of a demotion from the important finance-critic post for wildly popular MP Pierre Poilievre, and frustration over the Conservatives' overarching pitch to the public. In some instances, MPs have issued their own statements when official lines out of O'Toole's office didn't jibe with their own points of view. MPs Rachael Harder and Jeremy Patzer publicly lashed out over new Liberal measures restricting travel to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, calling them draconian and an overreach, while O'Toole's office stuck with a call for compassion. Meanwhile, some MPs see focusing on anything but vaccines against COVID-19 a waste of political energy, including the recent vote on China. Others argue that O'Toole's stated focus on jobs — it was the reason Poilievre has a new title as jobs and industry critic, O'Toole says — means little without ideas to advance. O'Toole's team has partially blamed lacklustre polling on an inability to get out in front of people during the pandemic, and have tried to counter it with ad blitzes. Those efforts are also aimed at defining O'Toole before the Liberals come up with a narrative of their own. The two clashed Wednesday. As O'Toole marked six months as leader with a new ad portraying him as a serious worker, the Liberals jumped on a clip from his leadership race where he suggests he wants to put the prime minister in a portable toilet. O'Toole's office discounted the tactic as another effort by the Liberals to distract from their record, calling on them to focus instead on vaccines. There are other signs of a disconnect emerging between O'Toole and at least some of his caucus. One is over an upcoming vote in the House of Commons on a ban on conversion therapy. O'Toole says he is against the practice of forcing those questioning their gender or sexual identities into therapy but it's a free vote for his MPs. The members of his caucus who oppose the ban are organizing their own strategy sessions to frame their planned votes, work that includes O'Toole's deputy chief of staff. And the well-organized social-conservative wing of the party is gearing up for the Tories' March policy convention. The effort includes snapping up delegate spots so rapidly that some party stalwarts didn't get one, raising fears the social conservatives will be mighty enough to get controversial policies passed. Competition for spaces is a healthy sign, said party spokesman Cory Hann. "We have had more people interested in our convention than at any time in history, so of course there's going to be competitive delegate-selection meetings right across the country, which just shows how much interest there is in our party," he said. O'Toole said recently what the polls show today doesn't matter. "The Conservatives got Canada through the last global recession, better than any other country, without raising taxes. That is what we will do," he said. "And I think the polls will be on election day when Canadians want to choose that strong future." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — A quarantine screening officer in Oakville, Ont., is facing charges of sexual assault and extortion. Regional police say the accused was trained by the Public Health Agency of Canada and worked for a private security company. Police allege the 27-year-old officer told a woman at a home she was in violation of a quarantine order. They allege he demanded a fine be paid in cash, and sexually assaulted her when she refused. Police say the accused goes by the name Hemant and has been suspended. They won't identify the security company. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Despite rising COVID-19 cases, especially in Metro Vancouver, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry didn’t announce new measures to curb the spread of the virus in a briefing today. Henry urged British Columbians to continue to stay home when sick, wear a mask in public spaces and not socialize outside their households — public health orders that have been in place for nearly five months. “It is concerning that we’re seeing an increase in our per-cent positivity and in our weekly average, particularly in the Lower Mainland,” she said. “We know what to do to manage.” The province need only stay the course to lower transmission as it continues to roll out vaccines to the most vulnerable to serious illness, she said. But recent data shows the number of people infected is beginning to climb again after a slow decline. Earlier this month, the province was reporting about 450 new COVID-19 cases each day. On Thursday, the province reported 617 new cases. Today, Henry said 559 new cases had been identified. And the rolling seven-day average of new daily cases has surpassed 500 for the first time since early January. Recent polling also suggests British Columbians are less likely to consistently follow COVID-19 guidelines than people in other provinces. Concerns have also increased after seven schools reported students and staff had been exposed to COVID-19 variants that are believed to be more easily transmitted and potentially more likely to cause serious illness. Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside acknowledged the issue in a briefing Monday. “I can appreciate the anxiety,” she said. But she added that testing has shown the variants are not being spread within schools. Henry said the province is testing all positive cases for evidence of a variant, and genomic sequencing has been ramped up to confirm the extent of variants in the community. “We are paying extra attention, so we better understand how and where these are spreading,” she said. “We’re learning about the impacts of these variants of concern,” Henry said. “But we know what we have to do to manage it.” Henry said there are signs the province’s vaccination effort has saved lives, particularly in long-term care. More than 220,000 people have been vaccinated, and at least 55,057 of those have had two doses. The province reported one death due to COVID-19 today, an individual in assisted living. There have been no new cases or deaths in long-term care in the last 24 hours, and 92 per cent of residents have had their first dose of the vaccine, Henry said. Outbreaks in long-term care have also dropped from almost 60 in December to 12. There are five outbreaks in assisted living facilities. On Monday the province will announce the plan for vaccinating seniors over 80 living in the community, Henry said, which will begin shortly. “We are in a period of vaccine hope and pandemic reality,” she said. Moira Wyton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee