Residents of Neskantaga First Nation in northern Ontario were able to return over the weekend after a two-month evacuation. Although the water is cleaner, it’s still not safe to drink.
Residents of Neskantaga First Nation in northern Ontario were able to return over the weekend after a two-month evacuation. Although the water is cleaner, it’s still not safe to drink.
WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security issued a national terrorism bulletin Wednesday warning of the lingering potential for violence from people motivated by antigovernment sentiment after President Joe Biden's election, suggesting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol may embolden extremists and set the stage for additional attacks. The department did not cite any specific plots, but pointed to “a heightened threat environment across the United States” that it believes “will persist” for weeks after Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration. It is not uncommon for the federal government to warn local law enforcement through bulletins about the prospect for violence tied to a particular event or date, such as July 4. But this particular bulletin, issued through the department’s National Terrorism Advisory System, is notable because it effectively places the Biden administration into the politically charged debate over how to describe or characterize acts motivated by political ideology, and suggests it regards violence like the kind that overwhelmed the Capitol as akin to terrorism. The bulletin is an indication that national security officials see a connective thread between different episodes of violence in the last year motivated by anti-government grievances, including over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results and police use of force. The document singles out crimes motivated by racial or ethnic hatred, such as the 2019 rampage targeting Hispanics in El Paso, Texas, as well as the threat posed by extremists motivated by foreign terror groups. A DHS statement that accompanied the bulletin noted the potential for violence from “a broad range of ideologically-motivated actors.” “Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” the bulletin said. The alert comes at a tense time following the riot at the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump seeking to overturn the presidential election. Authorities are concerned that extremists may attack other symbols of government or people whose political views they oppose. “The domestic terrorism attack on our Capitol earlier this month shined a light on a threat that has been right in front of our faces for years,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “I am glad to see that DHS fully recognizes the threat posed by violent, right-wing extremists and is taking efforts to communicate that threat to the American people.” The alert was issued by acting Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske. Biden’s nominee for the Cabinet post, Alejandro Mayorkas, has not been confirmed by the Senate. Two former homeland security secretaries, Michael Chertoff and Janet Napolitano, called on the Senate to confirm Mayorkas so he can start working with the FBI and other agencies and deal with the threat posed by domestic extremists, among other issues. Chertoff, who served under President George W. Bush, said attacks by far-right, domestic extremists are not new but that deaths attributed to them in recent years in the U.S. have exceeded those linked to jihadists such as al-Qaida. “We have to be candid and face what the real risk is,” he said in a conference call with reporters. Federal authorities have charged more than 150 people in the Capitol siege, including some with links to right-wing extremist groups such as the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers. The Justice Department announced charges Wednesday against 43-year Ian Rogers, a California man found with five pipe bombs during a search of his business this month who had a sticker associated with the Three Percenters on his vehicle. His lawyer told his hometown newspaper, The Napa Valley Register, that he is a “very well-respected small business owner, father, and family man” who does not belong to any violent organizations. Ben Fox And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — One of the first book-length inside accounts of the coronavirus pandemic will be coming out in June. Lawrence Wright's “The Plague Year," which builds on a New Yorker story that ran earlier this month, will be published by Alfred A. Knopf on June 8. Wright told The Associated Press that he interviewed more than 100 people for the story, including such top government health officials as Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx. “The Plague Year” will document what he calls “the shocking failure” of the U.S. to contain the virus, which has killed more than 400,000 people across the country. “America was supposed to be the best positioned country in the world to handle the pandemic,” he said. Knopf, which announced the book Wednesday, is calling it an “an all-encompassing account” covering everything from the virus' origins to the development of vaccines and nature of the disease itself. Wright won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and The Road to 9-11” and wrote a novel, “The End of October,” that was completed before the pandemic and in many ways anticipated it. He is still working on his new book, which he expects will end with the incoming administration of President Joe Biden. He noted that Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20 was one year since the first COVID-19 case was reported in the U.S. Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
Autant les fonctionnaires francophones qu’anglophones sont mal à l’aise d’utiliser le français dans les milieux de travail où le bilinguisme est requis. Comment s’en sortir ?
Alphabet unit Google on Wednesday opened a centre to tackle harmful online content, in a move also designed to ease regulatory concerns about how the company and other tech giants police a growing problem on the internet. The world's most popular search engine, along with other U.S. tech giants, has drawn criticism because of the spread of illegal and harmful content via their platforms, triggering calls for more regulatory action. The 27-country European Union has taken the lead in proposing tough new rules to curb their powers, protect smaller rivals and make them take more responsibility for removing harmful content from their platforms.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska health officials plan to launch a live phone service for residents trying to schedule coronavirus vaccination appointments. The state currently provides an answering service through which Alaska residents seeking appointments can only leave messages, Alaska Public Media reported. The hotline will become available in anticipation of a February shipment of COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government, Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration said Monday. Tessa Walker Linderman of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services said more than 40 staff members will answer calls from people wanting to book appointments. Many of the workers were previously tasked with tracking the contacts of people who were infected with COVID-19. A decrease in the number of new cases has allowed those employees to shift to the hotline, Walker Linderman said. “We’ve built up a huge workforce, especially when we were seeing hundreds more cases a day than we are now,” Walker Linderman said. Callers may still have to wait, but the system should allow personal interaction within reasonable amounts of time rather than automatically requiring residents to wait for return calls. New appointment openings are expected to be added to the state’s vaccine website starting Thursday, officials said. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The Associated Press
VANCOUVER — An out-of-bounds snowboarder is recovering in hospital from various injuries including a possible fractured pelvis after being caught in an avalanche on Vancouver's North Shore mountains. North Shore Rescue says its members were called late Tuesday afternoon and braved considerable avalanche conditions to reach the man in a treacherous area north of the Cypress Mountain resort. The slide had swept the man into a tree leaving him disoriented, hurt and hypothermic, but he was able to call a friend who contacted rescuers. Online posts show the high-risk mission took about six hours and involved numerous avalanche and rope experts, three medical specialists and a helicopter. A North Shore Rescue spokesman says the man was alone when the slide hit and the outcome could just as easily have been deadly. He says the man made several serious errors, including venturing out of bounds, snowboarding alone and calling a friend rather than immediately calling 911 when he knew he was in trouble. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
Saskatchewan’s top doctor spoke for the first time following a rally outside of his family home over the weekend.
Sylvain a 59 ans. Il est sorti de la rue depuis maintenant deux ans. Pendant trois années et demie, il a vécu « l’enfer » à Montréal, à Sainte-Thérèse, à Boisbriand, puis à Saint-Jérôme. Du jour au lendemain, sa conjointe et lui ont tout perdu et se sont retrouvés en situation d’itinérance. À l’époque, il consommait beaucoup « pour survire à la nuit », et il dormait régulièrement dans des containers. « Parfois, on ne mangeait pas pendant quatre ou cinq jours. Tu deviens tellement faible. » Il pleurait souvent. On riait de lui, il se faisait juger et cracher dessus. « Pendant un certain temps, j’ai voulu mourir », confie-t-il. Heureusement, aujourd’hui, Sylvain a repris l’envie de vivre. Il revisite plusieurs de ses souvenirs, certes avec beaucoup d’émotions, mais aussi avec quelques touches d’humour, qui laissent présager un nouveau départ. Chaque fois qu’il fait mention de sa conjointe, son regard traduit un large sourire que son masque nous empêche de voir. Lorsqu’il a eu un logement à Sainte-Thérèse, Sylvain a dormi sur la galerie pendant plusieurs mois, incapable de s’endormir à l’intérieur. Il continue de travailler sur lui-même pour reprendre de bonnes habitudes et effacer tranquillement les séquelles que lui ont laissées la rue. Bien qu’il soit en appartement depuis plus de deux ans – aujourd’hui à Saint-Jérôme – il vit avec la peur constante de retourner dans la rue. « Si j’y retournais, je ne crois pas que je survivrais cette fois-ci. » Le plus douloureux pour Sylvain a toujours été les regards condescendants et les remarques haineuses. « Dans la rue, personne ne s’approche de moi. Je suis jugé immédiatement avec mes tatous, les gens ont peur. Mais je ne suis pas comme ça, je suis un bon garçon. » Il a pourtant un cœur immense et malgré sa propre situation, il essaie constamment d’aider les autres autour de lui. Preuve de son empathie débordante, ce n’est pas sa propre détresse qui l’émeut le plus, mais celle d’autrui. Ses yeux s’embuent chaque fois qu’il parle de la pauvreté dont il témoigne à Saint-Jérôme. L’injustice vient énormément le chercher. Il ne peut pas croire qu’en 2021, on laisse encore des gens dormir dehors la nuit. « Ce n’est pas humain », déplore-t-il. Jean Létourneau est travailleur de rue à Saint-Jérôme pour l’Écluse des Laurentides. Il connait Sylvain depuis cinq ans et l’accompagne dans son cheminement. Selon lui, la COVID-19 a mis en lumière un phénomène qui, malgré sa longévité, demeure encore incompris. De sa perspective, l’itinérance ne se résume pas uniquement à un manque de logement. Il s’agirait plutôt d’un « symptôme social » de tout ce qui n’a pas été fait, ou qui est survenu dans la vie de certains individus. Jean Létourneau témoigne d’un besoin criant de mieux se connaître et remettre de l’avant la communication et l’empathie. Un changement de mentalité doit s’opérer. « Je dis toujours la même chose : c’est la fille de quelqu’un. C’est la sœur de quelqu’un », affirme pour sa part Rachel Lapierre. « Comme collectivité, on devrait tous se sentir con-cernés. […] La journée où nous serons plus conscients et plus tolérants, que nous allons aider notre prochain, nous réussirons à trouver des solutions tous ensemble. »Ève Ménard, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
La communication dans le contexte de la transition socioécologique sera au coeur d’un colloque organisé jeudi par les étudiantes en éco-conseil de l’Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC). L’événement, sous le thème « Ensemble vers l’action: comment parler de la transition ? », aura lieu en mode virtuel de 8h30 à 12h30. Le colloque proposera deux conférences, suivies d’une table ronde et d’une activité participative. Les quatre étudiantes au Diplôme d’études supérieures spécialisées en éco-conseil souhaitent ainsi réfléchir à la façon dont la communication peut être un « propulseur pour le changement ». « En tant que futures éco-conseillères, nous sommes des actrices de changements, a souligné l’étudiante Elizabeth Perron en conférence de presse virtuelle, mardi, en compagnie de sa collègue Mathilde Sauvé Gagnon. Nous allons être formées pour outiller les organisations à atteindre leur transition, donc nous devons avoir des outils de communication efficaces. » La pandémie de COVID-19 a aussi influencé les étudiantes dans le choix de cette thématique, alors que parler de transition dans ce contexte représente selon elles un nouveau défi. « On développe une nouvelle façon de faire », a indiqué Mathilde Sauvé Gagnon. Catherine Lemay-Belisle, représentante de l’Association professionnelle des éco-conseillers du Québec, a pour sa part mentionné que la communication est la compétence la plus utilisée par les éco-conseillers, selon les membres de l’organisation. Conférences et invités Oumar Kane, professeur en communication sociale et publique de l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), offrira la première conférence de l’événement, consacrée à l’apport mutuel que peuvent avoir la communication et l’écologie. Rémi Toupin, doctorant en science, technologie et société à l’UQAM, entretiendra ensuite les participants au sujet de la communication de la recherche sur les enjeux écologiques dans un contexte numérique. Cinq acteurs prendront ensuite part à une table ronde pour discuter de leurs stratégies de communication. Alice-Anne Simard, directrice générale de Nature Québec, Adrien Guibert-Barthez, co-porte-parole de la Coalition fjord, ainsi que la députée Ruba Ghazal, porte-parole de Québec solidaire en matière d’environnement, y prendront part. Marie-Michèle Doyon, fondatrice du forum Le Peuplier, et Sophie Delfa, professeure-chercheuse en communication à l’UQAC et membre du comité de démarrage du Grand dialogue régional sur la transition, y participeront également. L’enjeu des stratégies de communication déployées par certains de ces acteurs mobilisés contre le projet d’exportation de gaz naturel à Saguenay de GNL Québec ne fera pas partie des sujets sur la table. « Non, on ne risque pas de parler de GNL, a indiqué Elizabeth Perron. Sauf que peut-être que ça se peut qu’il y ait des invités qui en parlent dans leurs questions plus personnelles ; sûrement des messages qui ont été plus difficiles à passer, quelles stratégies de communication ils ont utilisées pour que ça fonctionne, mais on ne va pas nécessairement dans l’enjeu du GNL. » Les organisatrices ont reçu jusqu’à maintenant 76 inscriptions en ligne à l’événement gratuit. Les étudiantes organisent également un rallye à Saguenay en prévision du colloque, dont les détails ont été publiés sur la page Facebook Éco-conseil UQAC.Myriam Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
Anglers on P.E.I. are being given a chance to fish for perch through the ice this year, in an experiment to see if a regular fishery is viable. The licence is free, but you have to apply and report all you catch. Because the perch are coastal, the province is partnering with Fisheries and Oceans Canada on the project. David Richards, owner of Richards Bait and Tackle in Alberton, is one of the Islanders who has one of the new licences. "It's a little struggle to find them because we've never had a nice winter fishery up here for perch before," Richards told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier. He and his sons got organized in advance of the fishery, heading out on the ice, drilling some holes and scouting with a GoPro camera to see where the fish were. He said it was pretty exciting to spot some, but the fish turned out to be smarter than they thought. "Lo and behold the perch were not where we thought they'd be. They swim," he said. But Richards said he and his family, three generations worth, are still having a good time out on the ice. It doesn't take much in the way of gear, he said, just an ice auger and an ice-fishing pole. He said his own family is spoiled, with a gas-powered auger, an ice-fishing tent and propane heaters. "You don't need all that stuff. You can just get there with your bucket and your auger, a little bit of bait. It's a little cooler but it's still nice to enjoy the great outdoors," said Richards. Finding another reason to get his grandchildren outside has been particularly nice during the pandemic, when kids have been even more tempted than usual to sit at home in front of a screen. More from CBC P.E.I.
ROME — Pope Francis marked Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday by warning that warped ideologies can pave the way to another genocide. Francis spoke off the cuff at the end of his weekly general audience, held in his private library because of coronavirus restrictions, to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in Poland, where Nazis killed more than 1 million Jews and others. In all, about 6 million European Jews and millions of other people were killed by the Germans and their collaborators. The Argentine pope insisted on the need to remember, saying it was a sign of humanity and a condition for a peaceful future. But he said remembering “also means to be aware that these things can happen again, starting with ideological proposals that claim to save a people and end up destroying a people and humanity.” He warned that the Holocaust began that way, opening “this path of death, extermination and brutality.” Francis prayed at the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial during his 2016 visit to Poland. The Associated Press
Police in six European countries, as well as Canada and the United States, completed a joint operation to take control of Internet servers used to run and control a malware network known as "Emotet," authorities said in a statement. "Emotet is currently seen as the most dangerous malware globally," Germany's BKA federal police agency said in a statement.
On Jan. 15, Bruce Power hosted a one-hour, live, virtual COVID-19 update, open to the general public. James Scongack, executive-vice president of corporate affairs & operational services at Bruce Power, served as narrator, opening the session with an acknowledgement on how challenging the pandemic has been for the community, province, the country and the world. He stressed the importance of factual information and gave a shout out to local media for covering the event. Scongack reminded listeners of the availability of the app Grey Bruce Huron Strong, or www.greybrucehuronstrong.com – a joint initiative between the Ontario Nuclear Innovation Institute and NPX Innovation. The app, with more than 8,000 residents involved, gives access to contests, fitness challenges, mindfulness activities, opportunities to help seniors, upcoming events and fundraisers. It will continue to be a communication platform as vaccination information becomes available. The app also promotes buying local in this community. Scongack’s remarks were followed by the introduction of president and CEO, Mike Rencheck. Rencheck extended his thanks to front line medical workers, front line workers in grocery stores and essential services, teachers and all the workers at Bruce Power for “keeping the lights on” and continuing to produce vitally essential medical isotopes. He also thanked everyone who has been supporting local business and local charities. He said these times are an “all hands on deck moment” and when we pull together, we will be strong. Rencheck was followed by Huron Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson and MPP for Bruce Grey Owen Sound, Bill Walker. Thompson, who told viewers “we are strong”, also mentioned that small businesses should apply for the recently launched small business grant. She also said small business can tap into all federal and provincial programs available to them by visiting www.reliefwithinreach.ca. Walker extended his thanks to everyone abiding by health guidelines and asked everyone to “hold on to the hope”. Dr. Ian Arra, Grey Bruce chief medical officer of health and CEO, was the last to appear during the session. Dr. Arra said pandemics only happen every 100 years and residents should continue to “stay the course” as they have for the last 10 months. He addressed the lockdown and stay-at-home order, offering thoughts on the benefits of the order and what each of us can do on an individual level. The order is necessary, “indispensable”, to save lives. Residents can action this by staying home unless you really have to go out to get food or go to the pharmacy. He acknowledged this is “painful” but to remember that this is saving lives. Dr. Arra said if you look at the situation in Grey Bruce, it remains “relatively favourable.” The two-week surge following the holidays seems to have passed and the number of cases per day has been falling. The doctor addressed the return of students to in-class learning on Jan. 25, saying they were ready to go back but with restrictions, including abiding by the stay-at-home order after the end of the school day. Talking about the vaccine, Dr. Arra said all pandemics end and the vaccine will make this happen sooner. His “prescription for success” continues to be the three Ws – washing hands frequently, wearing a mask correctly and watching our distance. Finally, Dr. Arra brought up the “be calm, be kind” mantra that he often mentions. He says the pandemic is a “hardship and people are in pain,” whether it is a small business, people staying home or not able to hug a loved one. He said in the middle of a hardship, it is very easy to point a finger at others and blame them. It is the pandemic that is the hardship. “We need … to remind everyone around us, this is not going to end tomorrow,” said Dr. Arra. “It’s going to end in a few weeks and a few months and we need to stay that course.” Dr. Arra then fielded a number of questions submitted by the public, covering topics including vaccines. Dr. Arra said the vaccine will change the course of the pandemic. The vaccines sent so far were administered to patients, staff and caregivers in long term care homes on the same day they were received. Plans for administering the vaccine began in August 2020, The vaccine will be administered depending on which vaccine is received, a traditional distribution plan (using the Moderna vaccine), through the health unit, primary care family health teams, long term care, hospitals and usually pharmacies. A separate plan for administering the Pfizer vaccine, which is less flexible with its mobility, will be distributed through mass-immunization clinics, or hubs. These hubs could be at the recovery centres, which are already set up. Dr. Arra also said the acceptance rate for the vaccine in Grey Bruce is high, above the provincial average. Final questions included information on the safety of children returning to school, what happens after a positive test and how is contact tracing conducted. Dr. Arra finished his comments by saying that we can remind ourselves that what we are doing and the sacrifices we are making is saving lives. We should stay home, and connect following the recommendations with helping others. “We are creatures of habit” and creating habits that help us through the lockdown is positive. Tammy Lindsay, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent
OTTAWA — The Canadian Armed Forces is dealing with a dramatic increase in the number of troops who have been infected with COVID-19 over the past month. New Department of National Defence figures provided to The Canadian Press show nearly 250 Canadian military members tested positive for the illness since the end of December. That number compares to fewer than 700 cases reported during the first nine months of the pandemic. While the increase coincides with a recent surge in cases across Canada and many other parts of the world, it also comes amid an outbreak among the 540 Canadian troops deployed in Latvia. Defence Department spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier says Armed Forces members on four other missions have also tested positive for COVID-19 since March, along with an unspecified number here at home. Meanwhile, the federal government says more than 1,000 military personnel have received vaccines, with the priority being given to troops working in health-care settings or who have health conditions that could put them at greater risk from COVID-19. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
Waywayseecappo First Nation members will go to the polls Feb. 23, with 37 of those members vying for a seat on council and one member challenging current Chief Murray Clearsky. In 2019, Waywayseecappo had a registered population of 2,818 people, with 1,604 living on reserve. Jeremy Shingoose, Clearsky’s challenger, is running on a platform of transparency, accountability and putting community members first, according to a post on a community Facebook page. "Everywhere life takes me, I always tell people I am an Anishinaabe from Waywayseecappo and that it is the greatest place on Earth. This is not an exaggeration. I believe in a community that is an innovator, a pioneer, and a nation that others look up to in every aspect of life," Shingoose wrote. "I am well versed and educated in many aspects of Indigenous life because of this I will be able to represent our community on a national level, a corporate level, and a community level. I’m fuelled by passion, with lots of great ideas and practical experience, it would be an honour to serve the people of Waywayseecappo — the greatest place on Earth." Clearsky, who has been Waywayseecappo’s leader for 32 years, said his record speaks for itself. "From what I’ve done for the community, if they want to continue succeeding, I guess I’m the guy," said Clearsky. "Everything that we do have ever since I became chief, it’s been established." Until four years ago, elections at the reserve were held every two years, as per the Indian Act. The reserve now follows the First Nations Election Act, which mandates four-year terms. Clearsky, who has never been acclaimed, has seen challengers in each election and recalls one close call quite a few years go. Normally, debates are held, but Clearsky said that won’t happen at this election because of the pandemic. Current councillors are Mel Wabash, Anthony Longclaws, Tim Cloud, Travis Cloud, Joe Gambler and Chantel Wilson — all of whom are running for re-election. The remaining 31 members running for council are as follows: Ashley Brandon, Brad Brandon, Dean Brandon, Laura Brandon, Carolyn Clearsky, Chrystella (Stella) Clearsky, Eileen Clearsky, Mark Clearsky, Bernalda (Peanut) Cloud, Christopher AJ Cook, James Cote, Hugh Hill, Brennan Huntinghawk, Kenneth Huntinghawk, Brenna Ironstand, Tyrene Jandrew, Roderik Keewatincappo, Carla Ledoux-Huntinghawk, Sidney Longclaws, Lisa Makwebak, Eric Mentuck Jr., Grace Mentuck, Quentin Mentuck, Paul Mentuck Jr., Graham Procure, Huston S. Shingoose, Merle Shingoose, Myles Shingoose, Richard Shingoose, Norbert Tanner and Nathan Twovoice. Clearsky said 37 people running for six council seats is not unusual — he recalls 34 at the last election. Sometimes that number has dipped down into the 20s. Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
BERLIN — A survivor of the Holocaust and a young Jewish immigrant spoke about their lives in Germany at a special parliamentary session Wednesday commemorating the victims of the Holocaust 76 years after the Soviet army liberated the Auschwitz death camp in occupied Poland. Charlotte Knobloch, 88, and Marina Weisband, 33, told lawmakers on International Holocaust Remembrance Day how their lives as Jews in Germany are still far from normal, almost eight decades after the Nazis and their henchmen murdered 6 million European Jews in the Shoah. Knobloch, the president of the Jewish Community of Munich, looked back at her life from when she was a little girl and had to hide from the Nazis under a false identity. “I lost my homeland, I fought for it and I reclaimed it,” she said. “Today, I am standing here in front of you as a proud German,” she told lawmakers. But Knobloch also warned of democracy's fragility and asked lawmakers to protect the achievements of the last decades for both Jews and non-Jews and defend Germany against extremists. “I'm asking you, please watch out for our country,” she said. Both Knobloch and Weisband warned of resurging anti-Semitism in Germany, especially while false claims of Jewish responsibility for the coronavirus pandemic abound online and at anti-government protests. “It is still dangerous for us to be visible as Jews in Germany,” Weisband, who immigrated from Ukraine as a child, said. She described how Jews are under constant police protection whether during visits to the synagogue, in school or at university clubs. However, Weisband also expressed hope that one day Jewish life may become normal again in Germany, “and then we can simply be human beings.” Following the speeches in parliament, several high-ranking government officials bore witness in the prayer room of parliament as a rabbi put the finishing touches on a carefully restored Torah scroll. In the presence of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and others, Rabbi Shaul Nekrich wrote the last 12 letters of the Sulzbacher Torah Scroll, one of Germany's oldest Torah scrolls. The Torah was created in 1792 in Bavaria and survived a city fire in Sulzbach in 1822, and the so-called Night of Broken Glass in 1938, when Germans across the country destroyed synagogues and killed Jews. After the end of World War II, the Torah scroll stood unnoticed for around 70 years in the shrine of the Amberg synagogue in Bavaria, until it was discovered again in 2013. The faded letters and animal skin of the Torah were carefully restored for 45,000 euros ($54,520) with German federal funds in Israel and the Torah will now be used again in services at the Jewish community in Amberg. Kirsten Grieshaber, The Associated Press
Souris and Eldon Legions are two of about half of the branches across the country to receive federal funding to replace revenue lost due to the pandemic. “It will help cover our expenses which we weren’t able to cover because of loss of fundraising,” said Dave Perry, president of Souris Legion. In November, the federal government announced $14 million to the Royal Canadian Legion’s Dominion Command to allow rapid distribution of financial aid to individual branches across the country. This funding opportunity is on top of forgivable loans available to Legions earlier in the year. Dominion Command was responsible for deciding which branches would receive funding. After an application process, Dominion Command sent out about half of the available funds to about half of the country’s 1,350 branches just before Christmas. So far in Kings County, Souris Legion received $11,599 and the Eldon Branch received $3,165. Dominion Command is accepting a second round of applications to be sure each branch has a opportunity to apply. After reviewing these, the command plans to send out a second round of funding where it is most needed. “I’ve seen how vitally important the Legion’s Branches are, both here on the Island and across the country, and I know how tough the last year has been on a lot of them,” Cardigan MP and federal minister of Veterans Affairs, Lawrence MacAulay said. Mr Perry said revenues have dropped significantly this year at the Souris Legion. “We usually have Bingos, cards, breakfast fundraisers and entertainment. We raise funds by renting the hall too but this year we weren’t able to do any of that.” Similar stories are echoed country-wide and across PEI. Mr Perry said the Souris Branch still has to afford regular mortgage payments. They must also cover the cost of heat, lights and wages for two full-time staff and three part-time staff. “This funding comes as a relief,” he said. Brian Rector, president of Montague Legion said his branch passed up this opportunity for funding. “I figured there are other Legions that need this more than we do. Some are in threat of going under and we’re holding on.” While regular revenues from bar sales and fundraisers were below normal in 2020, Mr Rector said the Montague Branch has been benefitting from rental payments from Health PEI. Space in the Montague Legion has been rented out to serve as a COVID-19 testing clinic this winter. The branch has also benefited from a property sale which went through last month. The Montague Legion was sitting on about 40 acres of land. “There is no Legion that needs 40 acres of land, so we were sitting on a bit of a gold mine,” Mr Rector said. The sale wasn’t a reaction to the pandemic or loss of revenues; the branch was looking to sell some property for over two years now. “It was just all the administration hoops we had to get through,” Mr Rector said, explaining why it took awhile to finalize the sale. No one was available from the Eldon Legion for comment. , Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Graphic
ST. MARY’S – A tiny dirt road near Sonora – a mere afterthought for any mapmaker – has suddenly become an important topic for local decision-makers. In December, the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s issued a formal expression of interest in acquiring a tiny strip of surplus land – once an access road to the St. Mary’s River – after receiving a memo from the Real Property Services Acquisition and Disposal division of the provincial Department of Transportation and Renewal. Last week, elected officials heard that the province had withdrawn its offer pending examination of an expression of interest by another government department. What’s more, a local developer has also come forward, inquiring about the land’s availability. At council’s Jan. 20 committee of the whole meeting, Warden Greg Wier wondered whether council should step back. “I think if a land developer would like it and it would help build a couple of homes and give us some tax revenues, I think it would be a good idea to let them have it,” he told his fellow councillors.” Deputy Warden James Fuller added, “It may be good for the tax base, [but] I think we should just wait and see. We may be out of the running anyway. And, if we are, let’s just see what the developer is developing.” Councillor Everett Baker agreed: “There’s not much we can do right now anyway.” The Nov. 18 letter from the province stated: “We are informing you that the land … identified as PID 35231786 on Property Online, Old Ferry Road/Gegogan Ferry Road, at St. Mary’s River, Guysborough County… is surplus to the needs of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. Please advise if you have any interest in acquiring the property.” Last month, the municipality’s Director of Finance Marian Fraser explained: “Any time the province has land it no longer has a need for, it always sends out a notice to the adjoining municipalities and any other levels of government to see if there is interest. In this case, council did express their interest and put in a formal notice to acquire it.” The most recent Surplus Crown Property Disposal Report shows that the province earned nearly $161,000 on the disposal of 31 pieces of real property to private and public sector interests during the fiscal year ending March 20, 2020. Of these, the Crown conveyed surplus land only once to a municipality – the County of Shelburne – for $1. Chief Administrative Officer Marvin MacDonald told The Journal: “It’s always good for the municipality to have land, especially if there’s water access. It could be used in conjunction with development. So, if there is a piece of development that would increase our tax base, we might eye it for development.” Council has directed municipal staff to inform the private interest that the decision is still with the provincial government. Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
ST. MARY’S – Voters let their fingers do the walking at a special election earlier this month, pushing participation rates to the highest level ever recorded in the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s, according to Chief Administrative Officer Marvin MacDonald. “It is an exceptionally high turnout rate; one that I don’t think we have ever seen before here,” he said of 73.4 per cent voter participation during the race for the District 8 council seat (Port Bickerton, Harpellville and area), which culminated on Jan. 16. He added that of 278 eligible voters, 121 cast their ballots online, while another 83 used their telephones. Seventy-four did not participate. Noting that council had limited the special election to voting by telephone and Internet only, he said: “The use of online technology is increasing. But no matter where you go in the province, this is a high participation rate.” Indeed, Elections Nova Scotia’s official results of the 2017 provincial election (the most recent available) show that the average turnout at St. Mary’s four polling stations during that ballot was 46.25 per cent (Greenfield Oyster Club in Melrose, 46 per cent; St. Luke’s Parish Hall in Liscomb, 46.9 per cent; Sherbrooke municipal office, 44.9 per cent; and the Port Bickerton Community Centre, 47.2 per per cent). The mobile polls arranged for residents of High-Crest Sherbrooke Home for Special Care and Sherbrooke/Harbour View Lodge in that election registered substantially higher turnouts of 65.5 per cent, suggesting that easy access to ballot boxes played a role in those results. MacDonald, who has administered several provincial and local elections in St. Mary’s over the years, cited several possible factors for this month’s robust public interest. “For one thing, it [District 8 special election] came so soon after the general municipal election in October. To have that particular district go back to the polls so soon probably drew more attention to issues. People were already ready to participate.” Specifically, he said, the near-term prospect of an international whale sanctuary in Port Hilford, and the long-term uncertainty over Atlantic Gold’s plans for an open pit mine upriver from Sherbrooke, seemed to resonate with voters. Last week, James Harpell – who won by a margin of 158 to 46 against his rival James Bingley in District 8 – told The Journal that whales and gold were the top two topics of doorstep conversation as he canvassed the constituency for votes. “A lot of people were really excited about the beluga whales coming. The first thing they wanted to know was what I thought about it,” he said. “The second thing they wanted to talk about was the gold mine. It was a hot topic. People were on board with the idea of not being left in the wake of an open pit mine that might harm the environment in the future.” Beyond this, MacDonald thinks online platforms are facilitating the act of voting. “In some places, like HRM, the argument has been that turnout hasn’t been affected by the electronic voting option. Maybe that’s because it has been really new,” he said. “But now people are more inclined to use the computer for more things. They do more online banking and shopping. If you are used to using computers already, the platforms to vote are a lot easier.” The Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust and other levels of government and the private sector are part way through a $263 million program to bring high-speed internet to 97 per cent of the province’s rural areas, such as St. Mary’s, by 2022. Said MacDonald: “I do think that election turnouts in the future will be higher because of electronic voting.” Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
LOS ANGELES — Kevin Hart will debut his new SiriusXM original podcast with Jerry Seinfeld as the series’ inaugural guest. The satellite radio company announced on Wednesday the launch of Hart’s “Inside Jokes with Kevin Hart” along with two other original programs. He will host the series premiere with Seinfeld’s guest appearance on the Laugh Out Loud Radio channel on Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST. On “Inside Jokes,” Hart will interview top comedians and rising stars. The superstar comedian-actor will chronicle their comedy club experiences and touch on “never-before-heard” stories. Along with Seinfeld, the show’s upcoming lineup includes Steve Harvey, Bill Burr, Cedric the Entertainer, Desus & Mero, Nick Kroll, Hasan Minhaj and Zainab Johnson. “I’m sitting down with some of the best voices in comedy to give my listeners the stories behind the jokes they hear on stage,” Hart said in a statement. “Comedians have been through it all, and I’m excited that I’ll be digging deep into the lives of my peers for my first podcast.” In addition to “Inside Jokes,” Hart’s Laugh Out Loud will air two new shows, “Date Night with Chris and Vanessa” on Fridays and “The Ladies Room with Jazzy” on Mondays and Wednesdays. Both shows launched Tuesday. Last year, SiriusXM announced a new multi-platform deal with Hart and his comedy network Laugh Out Loud. Along with his channel, Laugh Out Loud Radio, he’s expected to expand additional comedic programming that includes radio shows, podcasts and on-demand video. Hart said the deal with SiriusXM will give him more creative control. He launched LOL three years ago. His radio show “Straight from the Hart” premiered on his channel in 2018. Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM’s president and CCO, said he is excited about Hart’s “Inside Jokes” podcast and new shows as “we continue to collaborate with Laugh Out Loud to shape Kevin’s channel into the pinnacle of diverse comedy programming in audio entertainment." Jonathan Landrum Jr., The Associated Press