Four people have died and two people remain in hospital after a fire early Friday in Toronto's east end. Shallima Maharaj reports.
Four people have died and two people remain in hospital after a fire early Friday in Toronto's east end. Shallima Maharaj reports.
LOS ANGELES — Tiger Woods was seriously injured Tuesday when his SUV crashed into a median, rolled over and ended up on its side on a steep roadway in suburban Los Angeles known for wrecks, authorities said. The golf superstar had to be pulled out through the windshield, and his agent said he was undergoing leg surgery. Woods was alone in the SUV when it crashed into a raised median shortly before 7:15 a.m., crossed two oncoming lanes and rolled several times, authorities said at a news conference. No other cars were involved. The 45-year-old was alert and able to communicate as firefighters pried open the front windshield to get him out. The airbags deployed, and the inside of the car stayed basically intact and that “gave him a cushion to survive the crash,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. Both of his legs were seriously injured, county Fire Chief Daryl Osby said. They said there was no immediate evidence that Woods was impaired. Authorities said they checked for any odor of alcohol or other signs he was under the influence of a substance and did not find any. They did not say how fast he was driving. The crash happened on a sweeping, downhill stretch of a two-lane road through upscale Los Angeles suburbs. Sheriff’s Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who was the first to arrive at the wreck, told reporters that he sometimes catches people topping 80 mph in the 45 mph zone and has seen fatal crashes there. “I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive,” Gonzalez said. Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend as the tournament host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, where he presented the trophy on Sunday. He was to spend Monday and Tuesday filming with Discovery-owned GOLFTV, with whom he has an endorsement. A tweet Monday showed Woods in a cart smiling with comedian David Spade. According to Golf Digest, also owned by Discovery, the TV shoot was on-course lessons for celebrities, such as Spade and Dwyane Wade, at Rolling Hills Country Club. Woods, a 15-time major champion who shares with Sam Snead the PGA Tour record of 82 career victories, has been recovering from Dec. 23 surgery on his lower back. It was his fifth back surgery and first since his lower spine was fused in April 2017, allowing him to stage a remarkable comeback that culminated with his fifth Masters title in 2019. He has carried the sport since his record-setting Masters victory in 1997 when he was 21, winning at the most prolific rate in modern PGA Tour history. He is singularly responsible for TV ratings spiking, which has led to enormous increases in prize money during his career. Even at 45, he remains the biggest draw in the sport. The SUV he was driving Tuesday had tournament logos on the side door, indicating it was a courtesy car for players at the Genesis Invitational. Tournament director Mike Antolini did not immediately respond to a text message, though it is not unusual for players to keep courtesy cars a few days after the event. Woods feared he would never play again until the 2017 fusion surgery. He returned to win the Tour Championship to close out the 2018 season and won the Masters in April 2019 for the fifth time. He last played Dec. 20 in the PNC Championship in Orlando, Florida, an unofficial event where players are paired with parents or children. He played with his son, Charlie, who is now 12. Woods also has a 13-year-old daughter. During the Sunday telecast on CBS from the golf tournament, Woods was asked about playing the Masters on April 8-11 and said, “God, I hope so.” He said he was feeling a little stiff and had one more test to see if he was ready for more activities. He was not sure when he would play again. Athletes from Mike Tyson to Magic Johnson and others offered hopes that Woods would make a quick recovery. “I’m sick to my stomach,” Justin Thomas, the No. 3 golf player in the world, said from the Workday Championship in Bradenton, Florida. “It hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident. Man, I just hope he’s all right.” Crews used a crane to lift the damaged SUV out of the hillside brush. The vehicle was placed upright on the street and sheriff’s investigators inspected it and took photos. Then it was loaded onto a flatbed truck and hauled away Tuesday afternoon. This is the third time Woods has been involved in a car investigation. The most notorious was the early morning after Thanksgiving in 2009, when his SUV ran over a fire hydrant and hit a tree. That was the start of shocking revelations that he had been cheating on his wife with multiple women. Woods lost major corporate sponsorships, went to a rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi and did not return to golf for five months. In May 2017, Florida police found him asleep behind the wheel of a car parked awkwardly on the side of the road. He was arrested on a DUI charge and said later he had an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine for his back pain. Woods later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and checked into a clinic to get help with prescription medication and a sleep disorder. Woods has not won since the Zozo Championship in Japan in fall 2019, and he has reduced his playing schedule in recent years because of injuries. The surgery Tuesday would be his 10th. He has had four previous surgeries on his left knee, including a major reconstruction after he won the 2008 U.S. Open, and five surgeries on his back. ___ Ferguson reported from Jacksonville, Florida. Stefanie Dazio And Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is moving slowly but surely toward reengaging with the Palestinians after a near total absence of official contact during former President Donald Trump’s four years in office. As American officials plan steps to restore direct ties with the Palestinian leadership, Biden’s national security team is taking steps to restore relations that had been severed while Trump pursued a Mideast policy focused largely around Israel, America's closest partner in the region. On Tuesday, for the second time in two days, Biden's administration categorically embraced a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something that Trump had been purposefully vague about while slashing aid to the Palestinians and taking steps to support Israel’s claims to land that the Palestinians want for an independent state. The State Department said Tuesday that a U.S. delegation attended a meeting of a Norwegian-run committee that serves as a clearinghouse for assistance to the Palestinians. Although little-known outside foreign policy circles, the so-called Ad Hoc Liaison Committee has been influential in the peace process since Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. “During the discussion, the United States reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to advancing prosperity, security, and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians and to preserve the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state,” the State Department said in a statement. “The United States underscored the commitment to supporting economic and humanitarian assistance and the need to see progress on outstanding projects that will improve the lives of the Palestinian people, while urging all parties to avoid unilateral steps that make a two-state solution more difficult to achieve,” it said. U.S. participation in the meeting followed a Monday call between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israel’s foreign minister in which Blinken stressed that the new U.S. administration unambiguously supports a two-state solution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is close to Trump, has eschewed the two-state solution. Biden spoke to Netanyahu last week for the first time as president after a delay that many found suspicious and suggestive of a major realignment in U.S. policy. Blinken, however, has spoken to Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi twice amid ongoing concern in Israel about Biden's intentions in the region, particularly his desire to reenter the Iran nuclear deal. In Monday's call, Blinken “emphasized the Biden administration’s belief that the two-state solution is the best way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace alongside a viable and democratic Palestinian state,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. The Trump administration had presented its own version of a two-state peace plan, though it would have required significant Palestinian concessions on territory and sovereignty. The Palestinians, however, rejected it out of hand and accused the U.S. of no longer being an honest peace broker after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, moved the U.S. embassy to the city from Tel Aviv, cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority, closed the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington and rescinded a long-standing legal opinion that Israeli settlement activity is illegitimate under international law, Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
(Submitted by Rod O'Connell - image credit) Two retired foresters from the Bathurst area have identified the largest known specimens in the province of two different kinds of trees, in an area they've nominated for provincial protection. Rod O'Connell and Karl Branch found a yellow birch tree measuring 145 centimetres in diameter and a black ash tree measuring 69 cm in diameter while walking along one of the three Portage Lakes, about 60 kilometres south of Campbellton. They first noticed the big trees about 10 years ago, O'Connell recalled. At the time, the men were taking part in an annual Christmas bird count in the Upsalquitch Valley along Route 180, also known as the Road to Resources. But it wasn't until O'Connell's daughter gave him a copy of the second edition of David Palmer's Great Trees of New Brunswick as a Christmas present that he decided they deserved further investigation. "I looked in the book and I said, 'Oh, my! Our trees up there might be bigger,'" said O'Connell. "So, this December we took a measuring tape and an instrument to measure the height. … And sure enough, they were bigger." Karl Branch stands next to a yellow birch tree at Portage Lakes that is estimated to be over 400 years old. The yellow birch at Portage Lakes is not quite the tallest known. O'Connell measured it at 20 metres. And the book lists one at Ayers Lake that's 28.5 metres. But its trunk is almost 50 per cent wider than the next largest birch Palmer has documented. There are three in the book that are each 1 metre in diameter. "It's just absolutely amazing and exciting," said the author, who may soon have enough material for a third edition. "I keep getting calls and emails from people saying, 'Oh, I've got a tree bigger than any in your book. You should come and look at this horse chestnut. It was planted back in 1902 by so-and-so. And did you know about this white spruce? It just keeps on going." O'Connell said he may know of a balsam fir that beats the record, too. It's located on the Nepisiguit Mi'gmaq Trail. He plans to measure it this spring. Palmer estimated the yellow birch tree at Portage Lakes may be five centuries old. "It's obviously been there for a while. Yellow birch is not a fast growing tree. It puts on a few millimetres of growth a year." "I wouldn't hesitate to say it's maybe four or five hundred years old." Palmer said it looks to be in good condition and might even live another 200 years. Yellow birch are "one of the iconic trees of the Acadian forest," said Palmer. "In mature stands," he said, you can usually find "a good sprinkling" of them. They're the longest lived of the three birch species in the province. White birch are old at about 100 years, he said. And gray birch typically only lasts 30 to 40 years. Karl Branch stands next to the large black ash tree found near Portage Lakes O'Connell estimates the black ash at Portage Lakes is about 150 years old. He measured it to be 20.75 metres tall. Palmer's book has one in Exmoor, north of Metepenagiag, that's 24 metres tall, but it's only 55 cm in diameter. The one O'Connell and Branch found is 14 cm wider. "These are two exceptional trees for sure," said Branch. "Just thinking that this birch tree was growing on that site probably before permanent European settlement in North America is difficult to envisage. The odds of a tree surviving all those seasons along with the wind storms, droughts, insect epidemics, fungal attacks, forest fires and more recently logging, are astonishing." Besides their size, he's also surprised by how close they are to each other. "They're only 20 feet apart," said Branch, "— practically twins." Branch didn't want to reveal the exact location of the trees because he's concerned it might put them at risk. "There's always a danger when you bring too much attention to the trees then people want to go see them and destroy what you're trying to protect in the first place." They've been able to survive there for so long, he said, because of "a combination of excellently adapted genes and lots of luck." For one thing, the land is "part of a wetland complex," so the trees are not easily accessible for harvesting and "it wouldn't have been easy ground to work on." This black ash tree near Portage Lakes is thought to be about 150 years old. For another, the forest make-up in the area is primarily hardwood, while softwood was traditionally sought for logging. "It's really only the last 20 to 30 years we've been actively harvesting hardwoods," said Branch. "So, it's been kind of ignored, basically." Palmer noted that yellow birch does have commercial use in high-end furniture and flooring. He described the wood as "beautiful" with a "rich, yellowish brown" colour. But over the long span of these trees' lives there would have been greater threats than forestry, said Branch. "Logging is relatively recent compared to the age of these trees," he said. "They really survived there because they're partially sheltered in the valley bottom. And they're growing obviously on a rich site. So that all contributed. And being a wetland complex there's a lower fire risk of fire. That would have been a much higher risk to them in the long term. They're sheltered from the wind storms … These trees lucked out and just germinated in a great spot, obviously." Owl surveys are done in the Portage Lakes area each spring, said O'Connell. This barred owl was photographed in December about 50 metres away from the site of the two large trees. O'Connell and Branch have submitted a proposal to protect the land that the trees are on. The trees themselves are worth protecting, said Branch, but he also sees them as part of a bigger picture. "It's the whole idea of allowing for older habitat to develop," he said. "It shows us what potentially the forest could look like." Big trees are becoming rarer in New Brunswick forests, said Branch, due to "more intensive forest management activities." "Short" harvesting cycles of 50 to 60 years don't allow most trees to "attain their full ecological potential," he said. Barred owls like large old trees for habitat. O'Connell said the Portage Lakes area has good habitat for barred owls. He participates in owl surveys there from April to mid-May. "It's sort of a protected spot along the lakes," said O'Connell. "Therefore we have a tendency to find more mature-forest-type birds like the black-backed woodpecker, which is fairly rare." Branch said other birds of prey use the large branches of "veteran" trees for perching and nesting. A few types of ducks and owls use their cavities for breeding. And mammals such as pine martens and fishers make dens in them to birth and raise their young. Unlike other ducks, wood ducks prefer to nest in cavities of old trees. "Clearly it's a very rich site and should be protected," said Palmer. The provincial Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development acknowledged the Portage Lakes area is of "known interest for conservation." Part of the area is already protected. The department said O'Connell and Branch's nomination is one of 111 that have been submitted for the latest round of possible "nature legacy" protection. It said each site will be considered by a team of biologists, foresters and geologists. Candidate areas for protection as shown on an interactive map on the Natural Resources and Energy Development website. Those who submitted nominations prior to the most recent Jan. 31 deadline can expect a status update by "this spring," said department spokesperson Nick Brown. After the initial screening, said Brown, proposed new protected areas will be released for review by First Nations, industry rights holders and the public before the government makes any final decisions. Since November, DNRED has opened comments on possible protection of more than 150,000 hectares, said Brown. He said two more batches of sites should be released in April and June.
TORONTO — Some of the most active companies traded Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange: Toronto Stock Exchange (18,330.09, down 86.65 points.) Manulife Financial Corp. (TSX:MFC). Financials. Down 18 cents, or 0.73 per cent, to $24.44 on 18.6 million shares. Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX:SU). Energy. Up 44 cents, or 1.7 per cent, to $26.34 on 15.3 million shares. The Supreme Cannabis Co. Inc. (TSX:FIRE). Health care. Down 1.5 cents, or 4.84 per cent, to 29.5 cents on 12 million shares. Toronto-Dominion Bank. (TSX:TD). Financials. Up $1.19, or 1.55 per cent, to $78.03 on 10.5 million shares. Zenabis Global Inc. (TSX:ZENA). Health care. Down half a cent, or 3.57 per cent, to 13.5 cents on 9.2 million shares. Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX:CVE). Energy. Up 17 cents, or 1.88 per cent, to $9.23 on eight million shares. Companies in the news: Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). Down one cent, or 1.7 per cent, to 56 cents. Bombardier says it has been the target of a cybersecurity breach that compromised confidential information related to its employees, customers and suppliers. Hackers gained access to the data by exploiting a vulnerability in a third-party file transfer application, Bombardier said in a news release. The breach affected approximately 130 employees based in Costa Rica, the company says. Bombardier did not specify when the incident occurred, saying only that it happened recently. The company says it was not specifically targeted and the vulnerability affected multiple organizations using the software. Gibson Energy Inc. (TSX:GEI). Up 27 cents, or 1.3 per cent, to $21.26. The CEO of Gibson Energy Inc. says "clarity" about the future of the cancelled Keystone XL pipeline has prompted increased interest from potential customers in an expansion of its diluent recovery unit now under construction at the Hardisty crude transport hub in east-central Alberta. Diluent, a light oil mixed with sticky, heavy bitumen from the oilsands to allow it to flow in a pipeline, makes up as much as a third of the volume of blended bitumen or "dilbit'' headed to U.S. refineries. Gibson's project is designed to remove the diluent from dilbit transported by pipeline to Hardisty, allowing transfer of the concentrated heavy crude to railcars for shipping south, while the diluent can be recycled to Alberta oilsands producers. Scotiabank (TSX:BNS). Up $2.02, or 2.8 per cent, to $74.10. Scotiabank was one of two banks to report that it is in a better financial position now than before COVID-19 became widespread in Canada. Scotiabank said on Tuesday that it had a profit of $2.4 billion or $1.86 per diluted share in the three months ending Jan. 31, up from nearly $2.33 billion or $1.84 per share in the same period last year. Although the novel coronavirus was identified in Canada in late January last year and sent the economy into a downturn by March, Scotiabank executives said that Canadian and international banking "showed marked improvement" by this winter. Provisions for credit losses for the quarter amounted to $764 million, down from $926 million a year ago. BMO Financial Group (TSX:BMO). Up $3.06, or three per cent, to $104.90. BMO Financial Group beat expectations as it reported its first-quarter profit was up compared with a year ago, before the pandemic began, as clients found ways to make their loan payments. The bank's executives also said on Tuesday that U.S. clients are benefiting from a faster vaccine rollout compared with Canada. BMO beat expectations as it reported a profit of nearly $2.02 billion or $3.03 per diluted share for the quarter ended Jan. 31, up from $1.59 billion or $2.37 per diluted share in the same period a year earlier. The profit came as BMO's provisions for credit losses for the quarter amounted to $156 million, down from $349 million a year ago and $432 million in the fourth quarter of its 2020 financial year. Thomson Reuters Corp. (TSX:TRI). Up $10.89, or 10.7 per cent, to $112.15. Thomson Reuters Corp. raised its dividend as it reported a fourth-quarter profit of US$562 million and beat expectations. The company, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, says it will now pay a quarterly dividend of 40.5 cents per share, up from 38 cents. The increased payment to shareholders came as Thomson Reuters says it earned US$1.13 per diluted share for the quarter ended Dec. 31, down from a profit of US$1.32 billion or US$2.64 per diluted share a year ago when it benefited from a large one-time gain. Revenue for the quarter totalled $1.62 billion, up from $1.58 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite awaiting trial on charges that she recruited teenage girls for Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse, says she’ll renounce her U.K. and French citizenships if she can be freed on bail, according to a court filing Tuesday. Maxwell’s attorneys made the offer in a third try at getting Maxwell out of jail before a trial scheduled for July in Manhattan federal court. A judge has previously rejected two bail attempts, including a $28.5 million bail release proposal in December. As part of the latest bail proposal, defence attorneys wrote that they will put the bulk of the $22.5 million estate belonging to Maxwell and her still-unidentified husband into a special account to be overseen by an “asset manager” — a former federal judge and U.S. attorney from Georgia. The deal would set aside about a half-million dollars for living expenses and over $7 million for legal fees. The 59-year-old was arrested seven months ago on charges alleging she recruited three girls for Epstein to abuse in the mid-1990s. She has pleaded not guilty. Epstein, her one-time boyfriend, killed himself in a Manhattan federal lockup in August 2019 as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges. Maxwell's lawyers say the new proposed bail package would resolve some of the concerns that previously got proposals rejected, including a failure to show Maxwell would not be able to access her assets to flee or rely on her citizenship of France, which would not extradite her to the U.S. Maxwell also holds U.S. citizenship. The lawyers also wrote that they hoped a dozen separate arguments recently made to get the criminal charges against their client thrown out or reduced would also affect any bail decision. The challenges included claims that Maxwell should benefit from a non-prosecution agreement Epstein signed with federal prosecutors a dozen years ago and claims that coronavirus crackdowns forced a suburban grand jury to return her indictment, depriving her of the diversity of a Manhattan-based panel. “These motions significantly call into question the strength of the government’s case against Ms. Maxwell and the underlying justification for continued detention,” the lawyers wrote. The lawyers also wrote that Maxwell has been the victim of “vicious slurs, persistent lies, and blatant inaccuracies” and has been “depicted as a cartoon-character villain in an attempt to turn her into a substitute replacement for Jeffrey Epstein.” They added: “Yet, Ms. Maxwell is determined — and welcomes the opportunity — to face her accusers at trial and clear her name.” Prosecutors declined to comment through a spokesperson. Larry Neumeister, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Josh Norris scored the shootout winner to give the Ottawa Senators a 5-4 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night at Canadian Tire Centre. Tim Stutzle also beat Montreal goalie Carey Price in the shootout. Ottawa's Brady Tkachuk opened with a miss and Senators netminder Matt Murray stopped Corey Perry and Jonathan Drouin. It capped a wild and entertaining game between the two rivals. Both teams had excellent chances in the overtime session. Stutzle had two glorious opportunities but couldn't convert and Montreal's Tyler Toffoli was stoned on a breakaway with about a minute to go. It looked like Montreal's Brendan Gallagher had scored the winner with 2.1 seconds left in regulation but the goal was waved off after a review due to goaltender interference. Tkachuk scored twice for Ottawa with Drake Batherson and Erik Brannstrom adding singles. Shea Weber had two goals for Montreal. Drouin and Toffoli had a goal apiece. After a slow start, the last-place Senators have picked up their play of late. Ottawa (6-14-1) entered with three wins over its last five games, including a 3-2 overtime victory over the Habs last Sunday. The 9-5-4 Canadiens, meanwhile, were 5-1-2 last month but entered with just one win in their last five games to drop them into fourth place in the North Division. The Senators needed just 96 seconds to open the scoring. Derek Stepan delivered a low saucer pass to Batherson, who extended his goal streak to three games by beating Price with a high backhand. Ottawa was rewarded for its steady power-play pressure at 9:57. Tkachuk flipped the puck under Price's arm on a shot the veteran goalie would no doubt like to have back. With Tkachuk and Montreal's Ben Chiarot off for fighting, the Canadiens caught a break to halve the lead at 16:03. Weber fired the puck toward the net from the boards and it deflected off Nikita Zaitsev's skate and past Murray. Tkachuk was in on the action again early in the second period, catching a high stick to the face that resulted in Weber being sent off on a double-minor. Ottawa restored its two-goal cushion as Brannstrom's low shot from the high slot went through a maze of players and between Price's legs at 3:41. It was his first career NHL goal. The Canadiens quickly answered as Thomas Chabot mishandled the puck and Drouin swooped in to collect it before beating Murray at 4:52. Weber then tied it at 10:06 with a trademark rocket from the point. Toffoli gave Montreal its first lead of the game at 8:06 of the third period. He fooled Brannstrom on his way in before snapping the puck past Murray on the short side. Tkachuk pulled Ottawa even with a softie goal less than two minutes later. He steered the puck towards the net and it fooled Price at 10:11. Chabot returned to the lineup after missing two games with an upper-body injury. Defenceman Brett Kulak drew into the Montreal lineup with Victor Mete sitting out as a healthy scratch. Ottawa will continue its five-game homestand on Thursday against Calgary. It will be the first of three straight games against the Flames. Montreal visits Winnipeg on Thursday. The Jets will also host the Canadiens on Saturday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
Two geriatricians answer viewer questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and seniors including improving access to doses and the safety of the vaccines.
LOS ANGELES — On a TV show Betty White hosted 50 years ago, the perpetual charmer flirts with James Brolin, teases Della Reese and trades quips with Carol Burnett. But White appears most delighted in the company of the real stars of “Betty White’s Pet Set," among them elephants, lions and snakes. And dogs, lots of dogs. “All I can say is, Charlie Brown is right: Happiness is a warm puppy,” a beaming White says in one episode, cuddling a pair of tiny brown pooches as she quotes the Peanuts comic strip character. She and her husband, the late game show host Allen Ludden, produced the 39-episode series (originally titled “The Pet Set”) that aired in syndication in 1971 and was released Tuesday on DVD and streaming and digital platforms after a laborious restoration process. Making the show was strictly a labour of love for the Emmy-winning star of “The Golden Girls” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” who, at the age of 99, has retained her affection and compassion for animals. “When Allen and I started our own production company so many years ago, the one show I wanted to do was ‘The Pet Set,’” White told The Associated Press. “Allen’s offices were the most exciting in the building because we were the only show pre-screening guests who were furry and four-legged.” “What a time! It remains one of my favourite shows even 50 years later,” White said in a statement. White, a longtime advocate for animal well-being and conservation, reveled in doing a show with her husband and friends that focused on her passion for animals, said TV producer and distributor Darren Wadyko, whose company shepherded the re-release. Her celebrity pals were invited to bring their pets and get the chance to meet wild animals — sometimes to the guest’s dismay. Reese ("Touched By An Angel") looked askance at White when she tried to coax her closer to a leopard, and Jim Nabors (“Gomer Pyle") did likewise when a snake was involved. Burnett initially hesitated when called on for the messy task of bottle-feeding a baby elephant, but then the formula and the quips flow. “These Playtex Nursers, you can't beat ‘em,” she says. White, however, was fearless, especially in encounters filmed at a Southern California training compound that provided animals for TV and movies. At one point, she's seen snuggling with a 500-pound lion. Other guests include Doris Day, Mary Tyler Moore, Burt Reynolds, Michael Landon and game show host Peter Marshall, who was interviewed for a documentary about the series that's part of the DVD set. “It's fun to look back that many years, and how pretty we all were,” Marshall said with a laugh. The show's revival began when White's longtime agent, Jeff Witjas, asked Wadyko if he could locate the episodes. After what Wadyko termed “a virtual Indiana Jones expedition,” it turned out copies were housed at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills and in White's own Los Angeles-area home. The tapes were restored, digitized and colour-corrected, with the final version cobbling together the best parts of each set to create a pristine version, Wadyko said, a process that took more than six months. The series is available on streaming platforms Apple TV, Prime Video, Google Play, Fandango Now, with more platforms expected to be added by distribution partners Darren Wadyko Media, White’s Albets Enterprises and the MPI Media Group. Wadyko, who produced 2015's “Betty White's Smartest Animals in America,” said he's eager to see her reaction to the reborn “Pet Set,” pandemic safety allowing. He and Witjas are planning to "present her with the wonderful DVD and spend a little time watching it with her. But that event has not happened yet,” he said. Lynn Elber, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to confirm Tom Vilsack as agriculture secretary, his second run at the Cabinet post. The former Iowa governor spent eight years leading the same Department of Agriculture for former President Barack Obama's entire administration. He was confirmed Tuesday on a 92-7 vote. “We’re going to be a USDA that represents and serves all Americans,” Vilsack said after the vote. “I am optimistic about the future and believe our brightest days are ahead.” In his testimony, Vilsack, 70, heavily endorsed boosting climate-friendly agricultural industries such as the creation of biofuels, saying, “Agriculture is one of our first and best ways to get some wins" on climate change. He proposed “building a rural economy based on biomanufacturing” and “turning agricultural waste into a variety of products.” Vilsack also pledged to work closely with the Environmental Protection Agency to “spur the industry” on biofuels. With systemic racial inequity now a nationwide talking point, Vilsack also envisioned creating an “equity task force” inside the department. Its job, he said, would be to identify what he called “intentional or unintentional barriers" that prevent or discourage farmers of colour from properly accessing federal assistance programs. Vilsack also heavily backed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — commonly known as food stamps, or SNAP — as a key instrument in helping the country's most vulnerable families survive and recover from the pandemic era. His Trump-era predecessor, Sonny Perdue, had sought to purge hundreds of thousands of people from the SNAP-recipient lists. Vilsack received minimal pushback or criticism during confirmation hearings. One of the “no” votes came from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats. Sanders later said that Vilsack would “be fine” but he would have liked “somebody a little bit more vigorous in terms of protecting family farms and taking on corporate agriculture.” Vilsack's approval was hailed by the Food Research and Action Center, which focuses on food security and equity. The organization said Vilsack's department faces a looming challenge to “protect and strengthen federal nutrition programs to help address our nation’s hunger crisis that has been deepened by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Ashraf Khalil, The Associated Press
(Maggie MacPherson/CBC - image credit) British Columbia will permanently allow restaurants, bars and tourism operators to buy liquor at wholesale prices, a move that industry hopes will help revive the struggling sector. The provincial government made temporary changes in June to allow the hospitality industry to buy alcohol at the same price as liquor stores, and it has now made that decision permanent. Previously, restaurants, pubs and tourism businesses with liquor licences paid full retail price — the wholesale price, plus a markup set by the government — on most alcohol purchases. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth says in a news release that the government is making the change permanent to give businesses certainty and to help the estimated 190,000 residents who work in the sector. Trevor Kallies, beverage director for the Donnelly Group, which owns several bars in Vancouver, says in the release that wholesale liquor pricing will help alleviate some financial pressures so businesses can focus on other areas, such as the health and safety of staff and customers. Al Deacon, owner of Fox'n Hounds Pub and Fox'n Hounds Sahali Liquor Store in Kamloops, B.C., says the extra savings his business will earn from buying alcohol at lower prices can be used to keep his staff members employed. "In the pub last week, for instance, we were down 12 shifts out front on the floor compared to the previous week," he said Wednesday on CBC's Daybreak Kamloops. "[This] is huge for people who are there, students or single moms or someone who's got a parent or has a mortgage." Restaurants Canada says in a statement that the move fulfils a long-standing recommendation from the industry group and it thanked the B.C. government for levelling the playing field between the province's retail and hospitality sectors. "This move will go a long way to help British Columbia's hard-hit restaurant sector transition from survival to revival," said Mark von Schellwitz, the organization's vice-president for Western Canada. Tap the link below to hear Al Deacon's interview on Daybreak Kamloops:
(Google Maps - image credit) A former Calgary high school teacher recently charged with 17 sexual offences against former students has died but police say the investigation continues. The body of Michael Andreassen Gregory, 57, was found on Vancouver Island. His death is not considered suspicious. The BC Coroners Service confirmed it is investigating the death of a man who matches Gregory's description. Last week, Gregory was charged with six counts of sexual assault and 11 counts of sexual exploitation in connection with incidents alleged to have taken place while he taught at John Ware Junior High School in southwest Calgary between 1999 and 2005. Gregory was a teacher at the school from August 1986 until September 2006. Police say the investigation will continue and are encouraging anyone with information to still come forward. "When a suspect or accused passes away before an investigation is complete, we still finish examining all the evidence to try to learn what happened," said police in a release Tuesday. "This hopefully allows us to give some closure and supports to victims, and helps ensure that no one else who still can be charged was involved in any offence." Police began their investigation last September when a woman reported she and other female students had been undressed by Gregory, exposing them to him and their peers during an unsanctioned canoe trip. Detectives from CPS's sex crimes unit identified five other women who reported sexual interactions with the same teacher between 1999 and 2005. "It is believed that the teacher used his position of trust to groom female students and get them into situations where a range of sexual activities could occur … young people cannot give free and informed consent for any sexual activity with a person in a position of trust," police said in an earlier release.
The goal was quintessential Christen Press: a bending banger from distance. In her return to the U.S. national team for the SheBelieves Cup, Press made an impact with an early goal against Brazil over the weekend. It was her first start for the team this year. Press now has 10 goals in her last 13 games for the United States. She has 59 international goals overall, and her next will tie her for ninth all-time on the national team. It could come Wednesday when the U.S. wraps up the tournament with a game against Argentina. “Every time you score when you represent your country, it’s a huge honour. A lot of work, a lot of shots go into a single goal,” she said. “So, I feel very proud to represent this team, and I will continue to do everything in my power to do that well.” Press was on a roll at this time last year. She was the Golden Ball winner in the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament with five goals, then she added a pair of goals in the 2020 SheBelieves Cup. She saw an increased role in the absence of Alex Morgan, who was on pregnancy leave. The coronavirus pandemic slowed Press' momentum on the national team, but she has stayed sharp with her club team, Manchester United. “Playing in Manchester definitely has helped her because she's in good physical form and she's had the game minutes, so she's a little more played in than the majority of the group — and we could see that in the game the other night, she created for us and scored a great goal,” U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “But one thing that we were very appreciative of was she put in a good defensive shift. She was in the box on two crosses, helped us out. So overall a good performance.” Press made her national team debut in 2013. A standout at Stanford who won the MAC Hermann Trophy as the nation’s best college player as a senior, Press went on to play for clubs in Sweden in addition to the National Women's Soccer League. As the coronavirus impacted sports globally last year, Press opted out of playing for her then-club team, the Utah Royals, in the NWSL's Challenge Cup last summer and a limited fall series of games. Instead, Press headed overseas, signing a one-year deal with Manchester United in September. She has two goals in nine appearances with United, who sit in third place in the Women's Super League standings. While so much has been shut down down during the pandemic, Press still values her time in England. “I think there’s something that’s really freeing about playing internationally and outside of your domestic league, and there’s so many challenges that you face culturally, even when you’re in a country where they speak the same language as you,” she said. Press didn't participate in the national team's January camp or a pair of matches against Colombia while she returned to form following a non-COVID illness. But she returned for the SheBelieves Cup this month in Florida. The United States tops the standings for the round-robin tournament with wins over Canada and Brazil. Brazil coach Pia Sundhage, who coached the United States from 2008 to 2012, gave Press her first call-up to the national team. “I remember when she was called in for the first time and everybody told me that she's a goal scorer — and she's proven that, from different kinds of angles," Sundhage said. "I think in the box she's one of the best.” Press said the key to her success is preparation and staying chill. “One thing that I’ve learned playing on the U.S. women’s national team is you have to prepare for every single game as if it’s the most important game of your life. So that’s kind of the approach I take,” Press said. “And for me, that means actually calming myself emotionally a lot before the game, because I tend to be very excited. And so in order to feel prepared, that’s kind of my game day routine is just to stay really chill. And then kind of feel like you’re shooting out of a cannon during the game.” ____ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Anne M. Peterson, The Associated Press
The Acadian documentary Belle-Île in Acadie by Moncton filmmaker Phil Comeau won its 100th award over the weekend at Vancouver's French-language film festival. Like the Acadian people it features, the film that premiered at Moncton's Festival International du Cinema Francophone en Acadie in 2019, has since travelled all over the world, said Comeau, who splits his time between Moncton and Montreal. Separated from Acadie for over 250 years, Comeau said it was “mind-blowing” how connected Acadians from all over the world felt connected to the place their families had been deported from generations earlier. Making the film, Comeau said he “learned Acadian culture is stronger than I imagined.” The film focuses on Acadians, in particular those from Belle-Île-en-Mer, an island of the coast of Brittany in France, who travelled to the Maritimes for the 2019 Congres Mondiale, hosted that year by Prince Edward Island and southeastern New Brunswick. Comeau said while he has attended all of the Acadian congresses, when he heard about the Belle-Île group, he saw the potential for a film. It was a moving experience, and a hopeful one, making the documentary, he said.. In one scene, the group received an apology from a woman who is a descendant of Loyalists who took over an Acadian farm in Grand-Pré, Nova Scotia. In other scenes, Acadians, gathered en masse, are seen celebrating their culture in the streets. “People see hope in the film,” Comeau said, noting it's a story that conveys Acadian resilience and pride. Louise Imbeault, president of Société Nationale de l’Acadie, the organization which oversees the World Acadian Congress and a contributor to the film’s financing, said, “sometimes you talk about feel-good movies - this could be a feel-good doc. “I think people want to hear stories where there are things that last in an ever-changing world,” she said, calling it a story of people from one side of the Atlantic still having a lasting connection with people on the other. The documentary also exposes the different experiences of various groups of Acadians. The ancestors of the group visiting from Belle-Île were deported from Acadie and held in England as political prisoners before being released and returned to France eight years later, said Comeau. This is a different history from those who were able to stay hidden in the region during the deportation or settle in different areas of New Brunswick or down the eastern United States. “It’s a different history, a different story,” he said. The experience of displacement is one many groups of people can relate to, Comeau said, noting that there are millions of refugees displaced from other parts of the world at this moment in time, and still other groups who have ancestors with similar experiences. Comeau surmises that may be why the film has done so well on the festival circuit, and is still being requested for screenings. While the film has earned awards and critical praise, significant achievements in his career as a filmmaker, Comeau says he's most touched when the film is screened and well-received in areas where Acadians have settled. Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
REGINA — Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he expects a provincial lab will be able to test for samples of concerning COVID-19 variants by next month. He says the Roy Romanow Provincial Lab in Regina is in the process of becoming certified so it can carry out such tests on strains that appear to be able to spread more easily. Currently, samples have to been sent to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, which means results can take two weeks. Moe says testing variants in Saskatchewan will mean more samples can be analyzed more quickly. Health officials say two more cases of the mutation first identified in the United Kingdom were found in two residents in the Regina area. The Ministry of Health says they were tested at the end of January and health officials believe there is no link to travel. The province also reported its first case of the strain initially found in South Africa in a resident who was tested last month and lives in a region that includes Prince Albert. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021 The Canadian Press
IQALUIT, Nunavut — The Nunavut government says its finances aren't as bad as it originally predicted despite spending made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nunavut tabled a $2.4-billion budget Tuesday that focuses on adding health-care services in the territory. The figure includes $4.8 million for the creation of a Pandemic Response Secretariat. The secretariat, which adds 30 new positions to Nunavut's public sector, is to manage services addressing the COVID-19 crisis. Last year, Finance Minister George Hickes projected Nunavut's deficit would be the largest yet — higher than $30 million. But the 2020-2021 deficit sits at $21 million, in part because federal funding was provided to help deal with the pandemic. Hickes predicts next year's deficit to be even lower at $14 million. "Had we not received this federal support, I would be reporting a significantly different fiscal situation today," Hickes said. The federal money includes $130 million for COVID-19-relief and $58 million to cover medical travel costs for Nunavut residents. Last year, Nunavut spent $64.2 million on isolation hubs for Nunavummiut returning to the territory. Quarantining at the hubs is mandatory and has been in place since the pandemic hit last March. Another $30 million was spent last year to put up construction workers in the isolation hubs before they flew up to Nunavut for projects. Nunavut also spent $55 million last year to support Canadian North and Calm Air, the territory's airlines, from April to September. The 2021-2022 budget doesn't dedicate new dollars specifically to COVID-19 relief. Hickes said that's because most of what's needed to support Nunavummiut during the pandemic has already been secured through federal funding. "A lot of the operational network ... on the COVID response has been created," he said. Hickes also said the territory can't anticipate what future costs related to the pandemic will be. "We don't know exactly what those costs are. We don't have a timeline. We don't have a finish line," he said. "Some of those moneys have been tapped from the third-party funding, and that's why we're leaving a cushion in case there are any shortfalls." That cushion is a $75-million contingency fund, up from $50 million in last year's budget. The 2021-22 fiscal plan also commits funding for a new bachelor of social work program at Nunavut Arctic College and $1.2 million to pay for a new colorectal cancer screening program in Iqaluit. "One of the things COVID has enhanced ... (is) that we need to bring more services closer to home and more in-territory care," Hickes said. Hickes said the government's revenues for the next fiscal year are predicted to be almost $2.4 billion. Members of the legislature are to spend the next few weeks reviewing and voting on whether to approve the budget. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021 Emma Tranter, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — Police are still seeking a suspect in the slaying of a Montreal-area woman on Sunday who had told authorities days prior about being the victim of alleged death threats. Provincial police said there have been no arrests in the killing of Marly Edouard, 32, known in Haiti's music scene as a former manager, producer and radio host. A command post was set up near her home in the Montreal suburb of Laval on Monday; a police spokeswoman said Tuesday she had no new information to provide. Djimy Ducasse, who lives in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, and co-owned a music agency with Edouard, said in an interview Tuesday the community to which Edouard was closely tied is taking her death hard. Edouard came to Canada in 2016 and, two years later, set up Symbiose509, a Laval-based promotion, marketing and events agency with Ducasse, which operated in Haiti. Ducasse said he met Edouard in 2013 when she was managing rap stars in Haiti and he was hosting a radio show. It was a friendship that would continue with the pair becoming business partners. “We became good friends, we spoke all the time, we spoke about business, we spoke about everything and nothing,” said Ducasse, who last spoke to her on Friday — the same day she reported alleged threats to local police. Ducasse said they spoke about some tasks she wanted him to do and some recent health problems she'd encountered, but she never mentioned anything about threats on her life. He said he had tried calling her Sunday but Edouard never responded, which he said was unlike her. On Monday, Ducasse was alerted to Montreal media reports that Edouard had been killed. Quebec provincial police have classified Edouard's death as a homicide and have said her body bore marks of violence when it was found Sunday in the parking lot of her condominium building. Meanwhile, Quebec’s police watchdog is investigating the Laval police's response to the alleged threats Edouard reported last Friday. The Bureau des enquetes independantes said Edouard had called 911 to ask for help from Laval police on Feb. 19. The call was placed about 12:40 p.m. to police; officers met with her and left, according to the watchdog agency. Less than 48 hours later, Edouard was found dead. Edouard was described by Ducasse as kind and driven. She had been involved in the music scene in Haiti at a very young age and had worked with many artists in the country. Some artists took to social media to pay their respects to her. “Marly isn’t someone that went unnoticed,” Ducasse said. “Everyone who was part of the rap scene in Haiti, it was nearly impossible to not have worked on at least one project with Marly Edouard. It’s why her death hits hard for a lot of people in Haiti." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
The Canadian men's soccer team will join the Raptors and Blue Jays in Florida next month. Canada Soccer announced Tuesday that Canada, ranked 73rd in the world, will shift its first home game in World Cup qualifying to Orlando's Exploria Stadium — on March 25 against No. 169 Bermuda — due to pandemic-related travel restrictions. The game will be considered a home match in a neutral venue. There will be no fans allowed in the stands. After facing Bermuda, Canada has two away matches — March 28 at the 193rd-ranked Cayman Islands and June 5 at No. 200 Aruba. Canada's other home game in the first qualifying round is June 8 against No. 141 Suriname. Peter Montopoli, general secretary of the Canadian Soccer Association, said no decision has been made yet on the site for the Suriname matchup. "We're going to continue to work with our provincial and Public Health Canada authorities for the best venue for us for June," he said in an interview. "No decisions have been made. "But it's a changing landscape. We certainly want to play in Canada and we'll do our best to be playing in Canada." The Orlando stadium is currently hosting the SheBelieves Cup, which features the Canadian women and three other teams including the U.S. Montopoli said the Canadian women's experience in Orlando and CONCACAF's positive view of the venue and its COVID-19 protocols had prompted Canada Soccer to choose it. The Canadian men played at Exploria Stadium in November 2019, losing 4-1 to the U.S. in CONCACAF Nations League play. The stadium is home to Orlando City SC of MLS and the NWSL's Orlando Pride. Toronto FC is also looking at shifting its base of operations to Florida, with Orlando a possible site at least for the start of the MLS season, which kicks off April 17. The Toronto Raptors are playing home games in Tampa this season, while the Blue Jays are starting their season with home games in Dunedin. Canada is one of 30 CONCACAF nations, divided into six groups for the first round of World Cup qualifying in the region covering North and Central America and the Caribbean. The group winners advance to a round of head-to-head knockout matches with the three victors joining No. 9 Mexico, the 22nd-ranked Americans, No. 47 Jamaica, No. 50 Costa Rica and No. 64 Honduras in the final round The top three teams from the eight-team final qualifying round-robin round will qualify directly to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The fourth-place team qualifies for a FIFA intercontinental playoff. Several previous qualifying road maps were rendered useless by the global pandemic, with international match windows coming and going without play. The Canadian men, who are co-hosting the 2026 World Cup along with Mexico and the U.S., have only ever qualified for one World Cup — 1986 in Mexico where they exited after failing to score in losses to France, Hungary and the Soviet Union. --- Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
MIAMI — A federal judge ordered a former Florida Republican congressman on Tuesday to pay $456,000 for secretly funneling thousands of dollars to a little-known Democratic candidate in 2012 to try to weaken a political rival. U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke sided with the Federal Election Commission in its civil case against ex-Rep. David Rivera. The FEC had claimed that Rivera secretly and illegally contributed nearly $76,000 to Justin Sternad in an attempt to weaken the rival Democratic campaign of Joe Garcia, who eventually won the Miami-area seat. Sternad and Rivera associate Ana Alliegro previously pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the scheme. Rivera has never been charged with a crime and has long denied wrongdoing. Since losing in 2012, Rivera has made other unsuccessful runs for Congress. He was elected last year to the Miami GOP’s executive committee. Several months earlier, Florida Democrats had called for a congressional investigation into Rivera’s business dealings with Venezuela’s state-owned oil monopoly, PDVSA — after a lawsuit revealed that his consulting firm had been awarded a $50 million consulting contract in 2017. The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden's Cabinet is starting to fill out, with nominees for agriculture secretary and United Nations ambassador gaining Senate approval Tuesday. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he intends to wrap up the remaining nomination votes quickly. “At a time of acute national challenge, we need qualified leaders atop our federal agencies — and fast,” he said Tuesday on the Senate floor. “And that’s what we intend to do.” Schumer couldn’t resist a jab at former President Donald Trump, saying that all Biden’s nominees are “undoubtedly qualified for their positions, a stark departure from the calibre of nominees the Senate was made to consider during the previous administration.” But one of Biden's nominees, Neera Tanden to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget, is clearly in trouble in the evenly divided Senate. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has said he opposes her confirmation. Here's what happened Tuesday: UNITED NATIONS The Senate voted 78-20 to approve career diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield as United Nations Ambassador, a Cabinet-level position. A 35-year foreign service veteran who resigned during the Trump administration, Thomas-Greenfield will have to address multiple international relationships that were altered by Trump's erratic and isolationist style. “This confirmation sends a message that the United States is back and that our foreign service is back,” said Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., who chairs a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa, global health and global human rights. “We as a country and as a world are safer with Linda Thomas-Greenfield serving as the United States ambassador to the United Nations.” During confirmation hearings, Thomas-Greenfield faced some criticism from Senate Republicans who labeled her soft on China, citing a 2019 speech she gave to the Chinese-funded Confucius Institute in which she praised China's massive infrastructure and influence program in Africa. She said the speech had been a mistake and was not intended to be an endorsement of Chinese government policies. She said of China, "They are a threat to their neighbours, and they are a threat across the globe.” ___ AGRICULTURE The Senate voted 92-7 to confirm Tom Vilsack for a return engagement as agriculture secretary. The former Iowa governor spent eight years leading the same department under former President Barack Obama. In his testimony, Vilsack, 70, heavily endorsed boosting climate-friendly agricultural industries such as the creation of biofuels, saying, “Agriculture is one of our first and best ways to get some wins in this climate area.” Vilsack received minimal pushback or criticism during confirmation hearings. One of the few “no” votes came from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats. Sanders said he would have liked "somebody a little bit more vigorous in terms of protecting family farms and taking on corporate agriculture.” Vilsack also heavily backed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — commonly known as food stamps, or SNAP — as a key instrument in helping the country’s most vulnerable families survive and recover from the coronavirus pandemic. His Trump-era predecessor, Sonny Perdue, had sought to purge hundreds of thousands of people from the SNAP-recipient lists. ___ HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Health and Human Services nominee Xavier Becerra told senators that “strong federal leadership” was needed to confront the coronavirus pandemic. He also pledged to work to expand health insurance coverage, curb prescription drug costs and reduce racial and ethnic disparities in medical care. Currently California's attorney general, Becerra appeared Tuesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. He has a second confirmation hearing Wednesday before the Finance Committee, which will vote on sending his nomination to the Senate floor. On Tuesday, he pledged to work to expand the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, though he's previously supported a government-run system like “Medicare for All.” Although Democrats have backed Becerra, Republican opposition has grown louder. “I'm not sold yet,” Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the ranking Republican on the health committee, said, addressing Becerra. “I’m not sure that you have the necessary experience or skills to do this job at this moment.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has called Becerra “famously partisan.” As California attorney general, Becerra filed 124 lawsuits challenged Trump administration actions. ___ INTERIOR Rep. Deb Haaland, Biden's nominee to lead the Interior Department, fielded sharp questions from Republicans over what some called her “radical” ideas that include opposition to fracking and to the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The New Mexico congresswoman said she was determined to “strike the right balance” between conserving public lands and energy development. If confirmed, Haaland, 60, would be the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency. Haaland's hearing centred on her and Biden's intentions regarding the future of fossil fuels. Her hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee was adjourned after nearly 2 1/2 hours and will resume Wednesday. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., displayed a large chart featuring a quote from Haaland last November, before she was selected as Biden's nominee. She said then: “If I had my way, it’d be great to stop all gas and oil leasing on federal and public lands.” Manchin, the panel's chair and a Democrat from coal-dependent West Virginia, has said he is undecided on Haaland’s nomination. In response to questions from Manchin and others, Haaland said the U.S. will continue to rely on fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas even as it moves toward Biden’s goal of net zero carbon emissions by mid-century. The transition to clean energy “is not going to happen overnight,” she said. ___ Associated Press writers Matthew Lee, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Matthew Daly in Washington contributed to this report. Ashraf Khalil, The Associated Press
Nonfiction 1. Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey, narrated by the author (Random House Audio) 2. A Promised Land by Barack Obama, narrated by the author (Random House Audio) 3. How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates, narrated by the author and Wil Wheaton (Random House Audio) 4. Atomic Habits by James Clear, narrated by the author (Penguin Audio) 5. Think Again by Adam Grant, narrated by the author (Penguin Audio) 6. How to Train Your Mind by Chris Bailey, narrated by the author (Audible Originals) 7. Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins, narrated by the author and Adam Skolnick (Lioncrest Publishing) 8. The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee, narrated by the author (Random House Audio) 9. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F(asterisk)ck by Mark Manson, narrated by Roger Wayne (HarperAudio) 10. Winning the War in Your Mind by Craig Groeschel, narrated by the author (Zondervan) Fiction 1. Relentless by Mark Greaney, performed by Jay Snyder (Audible Studios) 2. A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas, narrated by Stina Nielsen (Recorded Books, Inc.) 3. The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah, narrated by Julia Whelan (Macmillan Audio) 4. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah, narrated by Susan Ericksen (Brilliance Audio) 5. The Wife in the Attic by Rose Lerner, performed by Elsa Lepecki Bean (Audible Originals) 6. The Shadow Box by Luanne Rice, narrated by Nicol Zanzarella and Jim Frangione (Brilliance Audio) 7. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, narrated by Carey Mulligan (Penguin Audio) 8. 1984 by George Orwell, narrated by Simon Prebble (Blackstone Audio, Inc.) 9. When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal, narrated by Sarah Naughton and Katherine Littrell (Brilliance Audio) 10. Like You Love Me by Adriana Locke, narrated by Ryan West and Lidia Dornet (Brilliance Audio) The Associated Press