The New Orleans Saints' chances of making it out of the NFC is stacked against them if they have to face off against the Packers on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.
The New Orleans Saints' chances of making it out of the NFC is stacked against them if they have to face off against the Packers on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.
President Joe Biden is hiring a group of national security veterans with deep cyber expertise, drawing praise from former defense officials and investigators as the U.S. government works to recover from one of the biggest hacks of its agencies attributed to Russian spies. "It is great to see the priority that the new administration is giving to cyber," said Suzanne Spaulding, director of the Defending Democratic Institutions project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Cybersecurity was demoted as a policy field under the Trump administration.
NEW YORK — A lawyers' group filed an ethics complaint against Rudy Giuliani with New York's courts, calling for him to be investigated and his law license suspended over his work promoting former President Donald Trump's false allegations over the 2020 election. Lawyers Defending American Democracy, which includes former judges and federal attorneys among its members, sent the complaint on Wednesday to the Attorney Grievance Committee of the state's court system saying Giuliani had violated the rules of professional conduct. “Giuliani has spearheaded a nationwide public campaign to convince the public and the courts of massive voter fraud and a stolen presidential election,” the complaint said. The complaint called for the committee to investigate Giuliani's conduct, including his comments at a rally before rioters stormed into the U.S. Capitol, and to suspend his law license immediately while any investigation is being done. A message was left with the committee seeking comment. An investigation would be the first step in a process that could lead to a disbarment. Another complaint against Giuliani was filed earlier in January by New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Democrat, who asked that disbarring Giuliani be taken up for consideration. The New York State Bar Association separately has opened an inquiry into whether he should be expelled from that organization, which is a voluntary membership organization. An email seeking comment was sent to Giuliani's representative. The New York Times reported that on his radio show on Thursday, Giuliani said “the whole purpose of this is to disbar me from my exercising my right of free speech and defending my client, because they can’t fathom the fact that maybe, just maybe, they may be wrong." The Associated Press
VANCOUVER — Tyler Toffoli continued to run amok over the Canucks Thursday, tallying two goals and an assist as the Montreal Canadiens dominated Vancouver 7-3. The three points added to the hat trick Toffoli scored against the Canucks — his former team — in Vancouver’s 6-5 shootout win over Montreal on Wednesday. Joel Armia had two goals and two assists, and Josh Anderson, Jake Evans and Ben Chiarot each scored for the Canadiens (3-0-2) Thursday. Vancouver (2-4-0) got a pair of goals from Bo Horvat, one from Brandon Sutter and a pair of assists from Tyler Myers, who took a five-minute major for a checking to the head on Armia late in the third period to go along with three minors for a total of 11 minutes in penalties. Montreal goalie Jake Allen registered 14 saves and captured the 150th win of his NHL career. Thatcher Demko stopped 35-of-42 shots for the Canucks. The Canadiens sealed the score with 1:05 left on the clock when Chiarot's rocket from the blue line beat Demko. The goal was Montreal's only power-play marker on the night, despite having the man advantage nine times. Sutter temporarily put a dent in the Canadiens' lead 4:56 into the third period with a nifty backhand that hit the cross bar before dropping into the net, making the score 6-3. But the Canucks had already fallen apart over the course of 94 seconds in the second frame. Toffoli scored Montreal's second short-handed goal of the night, putting a shot behind Demko 1:13 in. Vancouver battled through much of the frame before crumbling around the 15-minute mark. J.T. Miller took a shot from the blue line that Allen turned away with his pads. Nick Suzuki stole the rebound and sprinted down the ice alone. Demko stopped Suzuki's shot but Anderson was lying in wait at the side of the net to bat the rebound out of the air and into the Canucks goal. Just nine seconds later the Canadiens struck again when Paul Byron whipped a pass across the crease to Evans, who buried it. Armia struck next, scoring with a backhand shot from the slot to put Montreal up 6-2. Vancouver challenged the play for goalie interference but after a review, officials upheld the call on the ice. It was the second flurry of scoring action on the night. The two sides also combined for four goals in the first eight minutes of the game. The Canadiens were first on the board after Brogan Rafferty was caught trying to clear the puck from behind the Canucks' net. It was picked off his stick and a battle ensued in front of the crease. Toffoli came away with it and snapped a shot past Demko to open the scoring 1:54 into the first frame. It took Vancouver less than 90 seconds to respond. Myers took a long shot from the top of the face-off circle and Horvat deflected it in to knot the score at 1-1. A Canucks power play took a turn for the worse after Jonathan Drouin was called for holding 3:55 into the first period. Vancouver defenceman Nate Schmidt gave the puck away deep inside his own zone, where it was picked up by Toffoli. He dished it off to Armia and the right-winger fired it past Demko for Montreal's first short-handed marker of the night. Horvat tied the game at 2-2, beating Allen with a one-timer from the point on a power play before the midway mark of the first period. Vancouver’s veteran defenceman Alex Edler and Travis Hamonic were injured Wednesday's outing and missed Thursday’s game. Hamonic was placed on injured reserve Thursday. The lack of blue line depth was apparent in the second half of the back-to-back, with the Canucks dressing Rafferty, Olli Juolevi and Jalen Chatfield — a trio that had played a total of seven NHL games. Chatfield suffered an upper-body injury midway through the first period and did not return. The Habs and Canucks will close out their three-game series at Rogers Arena on Saturday. NOTE: All five of Toffoli's goals this season have come against Vancouver. The 28-year-old centre signed with Montreal in free agency after play 10 regular-season games with the Canucks last year. … The Canadiens fared better on the Canucks' power play than their own, scoring two short-handed markers and capitalized on just one man advantage. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Parts of Newfoundland and Labrador are marking the end of the first week of the provincial election campaign with a massive snowstorm. Though some candidates were out knocking on doors Thursday morning, by late afternoon it was difficult to see across the street in St. John's with all the blowing snow. Liberal Leader and incumbent Premier Andrew Furey made it back to St. John's before the storm hit after a few days of campaigning in western and central Newfoundland. Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie is in Clarenville, where 60 km/h winds blew overnight Thursday. As of Thursday evening, it was unclear whether NDP Leader Alison Coffin would make it back to St. John's from campaigning in Labrador, where another storm was swirling over the north coast. The snowstorm also marks the one-year anniversary of the record-breaking blizzard, now dubbed "Snowmageddon," which dumped more than 70 centimetres on the capital city and prompted officials to enforce a state of emergency for more than a week. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
Regina– On Jan. 18, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum lifted a state-wide mandatory mask order, with the state having brought its COVID-19 new case numbers down to a level lower than Saskatchewan’s. That state, which had among the worst COVID-19 numbers for the entire United States for the previous three months, has remarkably turned things around. On Jan. 21, Manitoba also announced a slight easing it its public health restrictions, restrictions that were much more severe than Saskatchewan. Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister tweeted on that day, “Today is a day of hope and optimism. We’re announcing a few modest changes to our #COVID19MB restrictions that will allow increased personal connections and economic activity while ensuring we continue #ProtectingManitobans.” Manitoba will now allow two visitors to a household, 10 people plus the officiant at a funeral, and retail establishments to sell items beyond what was considered “essential.” These neighbouring jurisdictions were able to do so as they had both brought down their new COVID-19 cases down considerably. On North Dakota’s day of lifting its mask mandate, they say just 69 new cases, and by Jan. 21, their seven-day average of new cases was 147. On Nov. 14, 2020, North Dakota’s seven-day average peaked at 1,389.1. On Jan. 21, Manitoba’s seven-day average was 163. On Jan. 13 they had 90 new cases, and on Jan. 19, they had 111 new cases. For the past three weeks, both saw their seven-day averages less than 200, and generally around 160 to 170. Saskatchewan Saskatchewan, however, has had nearly double that over the last two weeks. From Jan. 10 to Jan. 21, Saskatchewan’s seven-day average of new cases hovered between 289.1 and 317.6. On Jan. 21, it was 286.1, with 227 new cases reported that day, and a record number of deaths for one day, at 13. Premier Scott Moe said in a Facebook post on Jan. 21, “Sadly, we are reporting that thirteen Saskatchewan residents who tested positive for COVID-19 have died. I would like to extend my condolences to the friends and family of each of these individuals. “While Saskatchewan’s case numbers continue to decrease and we continue to deliver the vaccine at a high rate, reporting the highest number of deaths in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic is a somber reminder of the need to reduce the spread of this deadly virus by following all public health orders and guidelines that are in place.” At the regular COVID-19 briefing on Jan. 19 in the Legislature, both Premier Scott Moe and chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab were asked about what North Dakota is doing better than Saskatchewan, and if they should be removing their mask mandate. Shahab said he’s been following North Dakota, which is similar in some ways to Saskatchewan, with a fairly rural population. He noted, “They were in dire straits by the end of October, early November.” “That's the lesson; that when there's high compliance with all the public health measures, things change very quickly. And I think that's the main lesson from North Dakota, but also, we’ve seen that in Saskatchewan. We've seen that in our neighboring provinces. High compliance through public health measures, restrictions, but also the high compliance by all of us, dramatically changes the course of the pandemic. So, that's what we saw in mid-December. That's really what we want to see right now,” Shahab said. Moe said of the measures implemented south of the border a few months ago, “Apparently they have been effective. There’s obviously been mass adherence to the measures that Governor (Doug) Burgum had put in place. “I’ve talked to Governor Burgum a number of times throughout this pandemic, with respect to some of the challenges that we've seen, north and south of the border, and their numbers have come down markedly. And that is through people doing the right thing, and taking their individual responsibility very, very seriously.” He added that the last time he checked, North Dakota was in excess of 5 per cent of its population having been vaccinated. “In fact, I think it's a few months ago, we were talking about North Dakota, having the highest per capita rate of COVID infections in North America. I believe if they're now leading North America on the vaccination rates, or are very close to it. And so, they have had a very robust ambitious and aggressive vaccination program. I know in one day they had over 300 vaccination sites operating in North Dakota. So they've been very ambitious, with respect to procuring vaccines and making them available to North Dakotas, and I think that speaks to the importance of us having access to a large number of vaccines, as soon as possible, ultimately, finding our way through this COVID-19 pandemic and finding our way back to some degree of normal in our communities.” Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
LISBON, Portugal — With the moderate incumbent candidate widely seen as the sure winner of Sunday’s presidential election in Portugal, the most intriguing question for many Portuguese is how well a brash new populist challenger will fare in a ballot skewed by a surging COVID-19 pandemic. Mainstream populism, which has upended political assumptions elsewhere in Europe in recent years, is a novelty in Portugal. But that could change as taxpayers squeezed by the economic downturn, vexed by hefty bailouts for banks and galled by corruption look for somewhere to vent their anger. A significant political shift in Portugal could help add fresh momentum to a continental trend. Lawyer and former TV soccer pundit André Ventura leads a right-wing populist party called CHEGA! (ENOUGH!), founded in 2019. Nobody expects him to win on Sunday, as he is polling around 11% compared with more than 60% for incumbent Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. Even so, Ventura, 37, could conceivably place second among the seven candidates, drawing a level of support that until recently was unthinkable and sending a shudder through Portuguese politics. A recent surge in the COVID-19 pandemic that has placed Portugal among the worst-hit countries in the world for new daily infections and deaths has added an unpredictable ingredient into the contest, even though the head of state is not directly involved in organizing the country's response. A potentially low turnout as voters, especially the elderly, possibly shy away from busy polling stations could upset expectations and allow determined populist sympathizers to capture a bigger share of the ballot. Ventura's showing “is quite something for a new party,” says Marina Costa Lobo, a senior researcher at Lisbon University’s Institute for Social Sciences. “He has gained a lot of visibility, a lot of exposure.” Like other populists, Ventura portrays himself as leading common people against an entrenched and corrupt elite. French far-right populist Marine le Pen flew in for one of his campaign events in Lisbon. Ventura has participated in rallies in Italy held by Matteo Salvini, leader of the right-wing League party. Ventura occupies his party’s single seat in Portugal’s 230-seat parliament. But he punches above his weight by generating headlines. He is eloquent, happy to scrap in public and disdained by mainstream parties. His firebrand speeches have whipped up public support, especially on social media. He calls his supporters the “Portuguese Popular Army.” He has complained that “minorities are living at our expense” and questions recent liberalizing trends. He asked in parliament last year, “You can change sex at 16 but you can’t go to a bullfight! Doesn’t this country have things the wrong way round?” Ventura ticks the populist boxes. He wants heavier prison sentences, including currently disallowed life terms, for some crimes and chemical castration for convicted pedophiles and rapists before their release from prison. He opposes letting migrants, especially Muslims, into Europe and supports police demands for higher pay. He also wants to reduce the number of lawmakers in parliament and their salaries. Major scandals in recent years have provided grist for his cause. Corruption cases against a former prime minister and against the head of the country’s largest private bank, which went bankrupt, have fueled outrage and tainted Portugal’s two main parties, the centre-left Socialists and the centre-right Social Democrats. Taxpayers, meanwhile, shelled out more than 20 billion euros ($24 billion) to help banks between 2008 and 2019. That’s a substantial sum in one of the European Union’s smaller economies. The election frontrunner, incumbent Rebelo de Sousa, is the kind of target Ventura relishes: An establishment figure with a 46-year political career, including a stint as leader of the Social Democratic Party. Over his past five years as president, the gaunt 72-year-old has displayed the patrician bearing and cordial manner expected of a head of state. Though a president in Portugal has no legislative power, which lies with the government and parliament, the role carries considerable influence. But Rebelo de Sousa’s once cozy relationship with the head of what was Portugal’s biggest private bank, including luxury vacations spent together, and his long spell at the heart of power, have left him vulnerable to attacks from Ventura and the election’s five other candidates. Even so, Rebelo de Sousa has during his term kept his approval rating above 60% and is held in affection by many in this country of 10.3 million. He cultivates an image of man of the people: Portuguese capture photos of him standing alone in line with his groceries at the supermarket, having a shave at a barber’s shop and chatting with excited children on the beach near his house in Cascais, an old fishing town 30 kilometres (18 miles) west of Lisbon. His small security detail keeps a discreet distance. On Sunday, more Portuguese are likely to value those traits than Ventura’s pugnacity. Barry Hatton, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Testing wristbands are in. Mask-wearing is mandatory. Desks are socially distanced. The clearest sign that there's a new boss at the White House is the deference being paid to coronavirus public health guidlines. It’s a striking contrast to Donald Trump’s White House, which was the epicenter of no less than three separate outbreaks of COVID-19, their true scale not fully known because aides refused to discuss cases publicly. While the Trump administration was known for flouting safety recommendations, the Biden team has made a point of abiding by the same strict guidelines they’re urging Americans to follow to stem the spread of the virus. It’s part of an overall effort from President Joe Biden to lead by example on the coronavirus pandemic, an ethos carried over from his campaign and transition. “One of the great tragedies of the Trump administration was a refusal to recognize that many Americans model the behaviour of our leadership," said Ben LaBolt, a former press secretary to President Barack Obama who worked on the Biden transition. “The Biden administration understands the powerful message that adhering to their own guidelines and modeling the best public health behaviour sends, and knows that that’s the best path to climbing out of this until we can get a shot in the arm of every American.” To that end, most of Biden’s White House staff is working from home, co-ordinating with colleagues by email or phone. While the White House aims to have more people working onsite next week, officials intend to operate with substantially reduced staffing for the duration of the pandemic. When hundreds of administration staffers were sworn in by Biden on Wednesday, the ceremony was virtual, with the president looking out at team members displayed in boxes on video screens. The emphasis on adhering to public safety guidelines touches matters both big and small in the White House. Jeffrey Wexler is the White House director of COVID-19 operations, overseeing the implementation of safety guidelines throughout the administration, a role he also served during the transition and campaign. During her first press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested those working in the office would receive daily testing and N95 masks would be mandatory. Indeed, Biden's new federal mask mandate executive order requires that federal employees, contractors and others in federal buildings and on federal lands wear masks and adhere to social distancing requirements. The executive order allows for agency heads to make “case-by-case exceptions" — like, for instance, Psaki's. She wears one until she steps up to the podium for briefings. Officials in close contact with Biden wear wristbands to signify they have been tested that day. Every event with the president is carefully choreographed to maintain distancing, with strips of paper taped to the carpet to show the likes of Vice-President Kamala Harris and Dr. Anthony Fauci where to stand when Biden is delivering an address. When Biden met with his COVID team in the State Dining Room on Thursday, the five people in the room sat at individual tables placed at least six feet apart and four others joined by Zoom to keep numbers down. Plexiglass barriers have been set up at some desks that are in open areas, but nearly all staff who are already working in the building have enclosed offices. The Biden team already had a robust contact tracing program set up during the transition, which it's keeping around for any possible exposures. Staffers also were issued laptops with wallpaper displays that offer a list of COVID symptoms and a directive to “call the White House medical unit” if they have experienced any of them. The Trump White House was another story altogether. After one virus scare in May, the White House mandated mask-wearing, with a memo from chief of staff Mark Meadows requiring their use in shared workspaces and meetings. Simple surgical masks were placed at the entrance to the West Wing. But after only a few days of moderate compliance, mask-wearing fell away almost entirely, as Trump made it clear to aides he did not like the visual of people around him wearing masks — let alone wearing one himself. Trump’s White House reduced staffing capacity during the earliest days of the pandemic, but by late spring, when Trump was intent on projecting that the country was “reopening” from pandemic lockdowns — and the U.S. was at roughly 80,000 deaths — aides quickly resumed normal operations. That provided ideal conditions for the spread of an airborne virus. It was only after Trump himself tested positive that some aides began staggering their work schedules to provide enhanced distancing and contingencies in case someone tested positive. Those working for the new administration welcome the stricter guidelines now, but they do pose some potential complications as the Biden team builds out its operation. Karen Finney, who was a spokeswoman in the Clinton White House, said the first challenge may simply be creating a cohesiveness and camaraderie when some new staffers are brought on board without ever having worked in the same room. “When you sit in the same office as everyone, it’s just a different dynamic," she said. “There's a sense of, ‘We’ve got each other's backs, we're going to be working together on this.'” Finney added that most of the staff are used to working remotely at this point, so it's not necessarily a new challenge. But she allowed that the national COVID response itself could be somewhat hamstrung by the COVID requirements at the White House. “Having to co-ordinate between limited staff in the office, those working remotely, along with governors, mayors, their staff, those on the Hill — it’s a challenge,” she said. “They’ve had the time to think through how to do some of this, but look, it’s going to be a work in progress." Alexandra Jaffe And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday the new English variant of COVID-19 may be associated with a higher level of mortality although he said evidence showed that both vaccines being used in the country are effective against it. Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said the evidence about mortality levels was "not yet strong", and came from a "series of different bits of information", stressing there was great uncertainty around the data. He said that once people reached hospital, there was no greater risk, but there were signs that people who had the UK variant were at more risk overall.
Thursday's Games NHL Montreal 7 Vancouver 3 Winnipeg 4 Ottawa 1 N.Y. Islanders 4 New Jersey 1 Tampa Bay 3 Columbus 2 (OT) Boston 5 Philadelphia 4 (SO) Los Angeles 4 Colorado 2 Florida at Carolina -- postponed --- NBA L.A. Lakers 113 Milwaukee 106 New York 119 Golden State 104 Utah 129 New Orleans 118 --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published January 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
Indigenous Advisory Committee members want to raise awareness about significant Indigenous days. At the Timmins committee's next meeting in March, members will discuss what Indigenous recognition days are out there and will put together statements to formally recognize the important dates in Indigenous culture and history. Some of the mentioned days and events included Orange Shirt Day, Treaties Recognition Week, Louis Riel Day, Rock Your Mocs, National Indigenous History Month and more. “There are so many different recognition days. We’re missing on an opportunity to highlight some really good information and just share about Indigenous culture,” said the committee’s interim chair Kristin Murray. “I’m pretty excited about those recognition days because there are a lot of days we might not know about that do exist.” Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hit back at the search giant saying "we don't respond to threats" after Google said it would remove its services from the country.View on euronews
MOSCOW — The return to Russia from Germany by opposition leader Alexei Navalny was marked by chaos and popular outrage, and it ended, almost predictably, with his arrest. The Jan. 17 flight from Berlin, where Navalny spent nearly five months recovering from a nerve agent poisoning, carried him and his wife, along with a group of journalists documenting the journey. But the plane was diverted from its intended airport in Moscow to another one in the capital in what was seen as an apparent attempt to foil a welcome from crowds awaiting him. Authorities also took him into custody immediately, sparking outrage at home and abroad. Some Western countries threatened sanctions and his team called for nationwide demonstrations Saturday. Navalny had prepared his own surprise for his return: A video expose alleging that a lavish “palace” was built for President Vladimir Putin on the Black Sea through an elaborate corruption scheme. His team posted it on YouTube on Tuesday, and within 48 hours, it had gotten over 42 million views. Navalny faces years in prison from a previous conviction he claims was politically motivated, while political commentators say there are no good options for the Kremlin. The AP looks at his long standoff with authorities: WHO IS ALEXEI NAVALNY? Navalny, 44, is an anti-corruption campaigner and the Kremlin’s fiercest critic. He has outlasted many opposition figures and is undeterred by incessant attempts to stop his work. He has released scores of damning reports exposing corruption in Putin’s Russia. He has been a galvanizing figure in mass protests, including unprecedented 2011-12 demonstrations sparked by reports of widespread rigging of a parliamentary election. Navalny was convicted twice on criminal charges: embezzlement and later fraud. He received suspended sentences of five years and 3 1/2 years. He denounced the convictions as politically motivated, and the European Court of Human Rights disputed both convictions. Navalny sought to challenge Putin in the 2018 election, but was barred from running by one of his convictions. Nevertheless, he drew crowds of supporters almost everywhere he went in the country. Frequently arrested, he has served multiple stints in jail for charges relating to leading protests. In 2017, an attacker threw a green antiseptic liquid in his face, damaging his sight. He also was hospitalized in 2019 after a suspected poisoning while in jail. None of that has stopped him. In August 2020, he fell ill while on a domestic flight in Siberia, and the pilot landed quickly in Omsk, where he was hospitalized. His supporters managed to have him flown to Berlin, where he lay in a coma for over two weeks and was diagnosed as having been poisoned by a Soviet-era nerve agent — an allegation the Kremlin denied. After he recovered, Navalny released a recording of a phone call he said he made to a man he alleged was a member of Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, who purportedly poisoned him. The FSB dismissed the recording as a fake, but it still shocked many at home and abroad. Navalny vowed to return to Russia and continue his work, while authorities threatened him with arrest. WHY DID NAVALNY RETURN AT ALL? Navalny said he didn’t leave Russia by choice, but rather “ended up in Germany in an intensive care box.” He said he never considered the possibility of staying abroad. “It doesn’t seem right to me that Alexei Navalny calls for a revolution from Berlin,” he explained in an interview in October, referring to himself in the third person. “If I’m doing something, I want to share the risks with people who work in my office.” Analysts say it would have been impossible for Navalny to remain relevant as an opposition leader outside Russia. “Remaining abroad, becoming a political emigre, would mean death to a public politician,” said Masha Lipman, an independent political analyst. Nikolai Petrov, a senior research fellow in Chatham House’s Russia and Eurasia Program, echoed her sentiment, saying: “Active, bright people who could initiate some real actions and take part in elections ... while in the country, once abroad, end up cut off from the real connection to the people.” WHY IS NAVALNY NOW FACING PRISON? His suspended sentence from the 2014 conviction carried a probationary period that was to expire in December 2020. Authorities said Navalny was subject to regular in-person check-ins with law enforcement officers. During the final days of Navalny's probation period, Russia’s prison service put him on a wanted list, accusing him of not appearing for these checks, including when he was convalescing in Germany. Officials have petitioned the court to have him serve the full 3 1/2-year sentence. After his return, Navalny was placed in custody for 30 days, with a hearing to review his sentence scheduled for Feb. 2. Earlier this month, Russia’s Investigative Committee opened another criminal probe against him on fraud charges, alleging he embezzled donations to his Foundation for Fighting Corruption. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison. DOES NAVALNY THREATEN THE KREMLIN? Putin never calls Navalny by name, and state-run media depict him as an unimportant blogger. But he has managed to spread his reach far outside Moscow through his widely popular YouTube accounts, including the one this week that featured the allegations about the massive Black Sea estate. His infrastructure of regional offices set up nationwide in 2017 has helped him challenge the government by mobilizing voters. In 2018, Navalny launched a project called Smart Voting that is designed to promote candidates who are most likely to defeat those from the Kremlin’s dominant United Russia party. In 2019, the project helped opposition candidates win 20 of 45 seats on the Moscow city council, and regional elections last year saw United Russia lose its majority in legislatures in three cities. Navalny has promised to use the strategy during this year’s parliamentary election, which will determine who controls the State Duma in 2024. That’s when Putin’s current term expires and he is expected to seek re-election, thanks to constitutional reforms last year. Analysts believe Navalny is capable of influencing this key vote, reason enough to want him out of the picture. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? Analysts say Navalny’s return was a significant blow to Putin’s image and left the Kremlin with a dilemma. Putin has mostly worked from his residence during the coronavirus outbreak, and the widespread perception that he has stayed away from the public doesn’t compare well to Navalny’s bold comeback to the country where he was poisoned and faced arrest, said Chatham House’s Petrov. “It doesn’t matter whether people support Navalny or not; they see these two images, and Putin loses,” he said. Commentators say there is no good choice for the Kremlin: Imprisoning Navalny for a long time will make him a martyr and could lead to mass protests, while letting him go threatens the parliamentary election. So far, the crackdown has only helped Navalny, “and now, even thinking loyalists are, if not on his side, certainly not on the side of poisoners and persecutors,” Alexander Baunov of the Moscow Carnegie Center wrote in a recent article. All eyes are on what happens at Saturday’s planned protests, Petrov said. In 2013, Navalny was quickly released from prison following a five-year sentence from embezzlement conviction after a large crowd gathered near the Kremlin. Putin’s government has since become much tougher on dissent, so it is unlikely that mass protests will prompt Navalny’s immediate release, Petrov said. But the Kremlin still fears that a harsh move may destabilize the situation, and the scale of the rallies could indicate how the public would react to Navalny being imprisoned for a long time. ___ Associated Press journalist Kostya Manenkov contributed. Daria Litvinova, The Associated Press
The United States remains a "beacon of technology" to be emulated and China's Huawei Technology should consider cutting products in the wake of U.S. actions against it, the Chinese firm's founder Ren Zhengfei said in remarks made public on Friday. Ren's comments, in a letter to staff dated June of last year, were shared for the first time on a company message board, making them the first public word from the company since Joe Biden took over the presidency from Donald Trump. Huawei has remained largely silent about its prospects under the Biden administration, after being targeted with several rounds of sanctions under Trump, who said Huawei's equipment poses a security risk.
Five years after four people were killed and seven others injured in La Loche, the northern Saskatchewan community continues to heal. On Friday, La Loche will mark the milestone anniversary of the Jan. 22, 2016, shootings at a home in the community and Dene High School. The day also brings anguish knowing more milestone anniversaries will come — 10 years, then 20. "It's very important to emphasize that healing is occurring for many in the community. But when we are reminded by an anniversary it makes it a little bit more challenging," La Loche Mayor Georgina Jolibois said. "It's a difficult time always, and maybe it will be different in the years to come. But it is a heavy day, a heavy week and a heavy month." On the afternoon of Jan. 22, 2016, a then-17-year-old gunman killed his two cousins at a home in the community, and then went to the school, where he fatally shot two more people and injured seven others. The community will commemorate the four people who died — brothers Dayne and Drayden Fontaine, and educators Adam Wood and Marie Janvier — and the seven injured by hosting a virtual prayer Friday afternoon. Meals delivered to 500 members of the community will follow, and in the evening a virtual gospel concert will be broadcast by a local radio station. Students at Dene High School helped put together a memorial video to mark the occasion, with dignitaries, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, sharing messages of hope. In the video, Trudeau calls the shooting a "senseless moment of violence" that changed lives forever, and "the kind of tragedy no one should ever go through." "Even from afar I stand with you, and I mourn with you," Trudeau said, vowing to offer financial assistance. Finding the right supports for students In the five years since, the community has evolved and persevered. "It's a journey. Everyone heals at their own pace, but I can say we have made improvements at the school level," said Donna Janvier, principal of Dene High School. Mental health services have been added to Dene High School, and a physician routinely visits to provide health care to students. WATCH | A February 2016 report on the shooting in La Loche a month earlier: A modular farm has been donated so students can plant, grow and harvest fresh produce for the school's breakfast and lunch program. An outdoor school program was introduced, and is now in its third year, and is helping students to connect with nature, their elders and cultural practices, Janvier said. "It is crucial. It is our identity. It is who we are," she said. "Integrating that into our everyday learning and curriculum is very important because as students, as a community, we need to remember who we are." Janvier says changes have been positive, as students once again feel safe coming to school. Educators continue to put a focus on making them feel valued, important and listened to, she said. Coping with grief, loss during a pandemic But grieving within the community has become more difficult during the pandemic, as people are isolated. COVID-19 has put a strain on public health resources, and with the restructuring of services, it's hard for many to access mental health support. Therapy sessions have moved online, but those who don't have internet access can't get the help. "We need more resources to work with residents. That is a worrying thought, not only for myself, but for others as well," Jolibois said. "It gets down to taking one day at a time." WATCH | A 2016 report on how La Loche is trying to heal: For Janvier, the hardest part of dealing with the aftermath of the shooting has been to lead. "Many of my students, and many of my staff members grieve differently, heal differently, and I need to be conscious of that," Janvier said. "I know a lot of educators probably feel this way, but as an educator you really want to fix something, and you know you can't, and that is the frustrating part." Five years later, the community continues to celebrate its small successes while continuing its healing journey. "We are resilient. We can move forward," said Janvier. "We need to remember Jan. 22, 2016, and how our lives have changed since then," she said. "And every year, we will remember. We will remember the deceased. We will remember the injured. We will remember the survivors."
CBC's virtual road trip series Land of Living Stories explores the hidden gems across Saskatchewan. You can invite CBC's Laura Sciarpelletti to your community for a virtual tour. Visit cbc.ca/lovesk to pitch your ideas. Rose Richardson speaks about the history of her people, the Métis, as someone who has spent years invested in the well-being and advocacy of that community. Métis history is steeped in values — like giving back to the community, helping each other, and advocating for Métis culture — as well as traditional dress, music and beadwork, and land-based survival. Traditional medicines, community pride and a love of language are key parts of the past and present of the Métis in Saskatchewan. Richardson, 79, has spent much of her life in the village of Green Lake in northwest Saskatchewan. Green Lake, about 45 kilometres east of the city of Meadow Lake, is one of northwest Saskatchewan's oldest settlements — and it's predominantly Métis. This land on the west side of the sprawling Prince Albert National Park is home to swaths of boreal forest. The Métis of the northwest region call the area, lush with nature, the gateway to Saskatchewan's north. Richardson is a specialist in traditional Indigenous medicines and an educator. Originally from Meadow Lake, Richardson's family moved to Green Lake when she was a young girl. From an early age, she was taught to hide who she was. "When I moved to Green Lake, most of the students [were] a mixture of French and English," Richardson said. "But we were taught by nuns and people were not allowed to talk Cree..... It was almost like it was an evil language." "I didn't teach my kids to talk Cree because, to us, it was sort of a hidden language because we were not allowed to speak it." Today, Richardson focuses on teaching Michif, the primary Métis language, to adults at the Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies and Applied Research in Meadow Lake. Green Lake is now home to many advocates, lawyers and educators. "We are known as a really strong community in terms of being able to fight for our rights. We have a lot of people that are really well-spoken people," Richardson said. "But there was a time in life where there was denial. People had to hide the fact that they were Métis because of the racism. One side of my family sort of denied it and said, 'We're French.' But you only have to look at me and you wouldn't have problems identifying me as a Native person." For part of this Land of Living Stories road trip, we wanted to focus on Métis culture and, more specifically, Métis music made in Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan music historian Kaley Evans, of the Prairie to Pine music history website, guest-curated this playlist for us all. Listen to it here. Richardson says this caused her to carry some shame with her as she grew into an adult. "When I went to university, I figured I could never make it because I was Native. We were taught [in the Catholic Church] that girls didn't have to go to school because they should get married and raise a family," Richardson said. "But I wanted to do something. I didn't want to be poor for the rest of my life. I ended up making that decision when I was about five years old. I never wanted my children to be poor. I never wanted them to face discrimination." Richardson's daughter Angela Bishop has no shortage of words to describe her love for Green Lake and her respect for not only her mother, but her community. "I had a culturally enriching experience," said Bishop of her upbringing, which she says literally took a village. "I was very independent and strong-willed thanks to my parents, who were both independent and strong-willed and gave me a real strong sense of confidence and pride in who I am." Today Bishop practises Indigenous law. "I practise law in this area because of my wish to give back to my community. I'm working on several files where we're negotiating Métis self-government. Such is my commitment to reconciliation," said Bishop. "I believe in promoting good relationships where everybody benefits. My experience, my choice, has been shaped by how I was raised." Métis feather painting The Métis are known for their beautiful beadwork, dancing and love of music. But for Lucille Scott, it's all about painting. Scott is a Métis artist who lives in Canwood, about 130 kilometres south of Green Lake. She paints beautiful scenes and memorials onto Canada goose feathers with acrylic paint. Those feathers are then placed into frames made out of old, weathered barn wood — a staple of iconic Saskatchewan landscapes today. "I taught myself to envision what I'm going to put on that feather first. See it in my mind and then put it on that space," said Scott. Scott most loves to paint animals, especially horses, grain elevators and Prairie scenes. She says her art is especially influenced by her Métis culture. "My grandmother on my dad's side used to make paper flowers ... paper roses and sell them as wedding bouquets. She always did these these crafty things and I would watch her. And my grandmother on my mother's side was from the north and she did bead work. She did beautiful roses on her beadwork. They really inspired me, my two grandmothers." Scott's work is often gifted to prominent public figures such as former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall, Premier Scott Moe and National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Perry Bellegarde. One of Scott's painted feathers was recently gifted to Tristen Durocher, the young Métis man who camped in a teepee near the legislative building in Regina last year to raise awareness about suicide in the province. "I enjoy it because when I do my feather paintings, I put good energy into that. And I'm hoping that that good energy goes onto that person who the feather has been gifted to." Eatery on Main, Meadow Lake To the west, in the city of Meadow Lake, Kassidy Dunsing works as the owner and operator of the restaurant, café and bakery Eatery On Main. Dunsing took over the restaurant in 2018 after moving to Meadow Lake from nearby Turtle Lake. "You feel very welcomed. A lot of people do move to Meadow Lake to work at our mills as they are the huge economy source here. So we have people coming from all over Canada to work and typically when they get here, people stay. We are [a] very small business-orientated community that does work together very well," said Dunsing. Eatery On Main is known for its juicy in-house burgers and decadent and unique homemade cheesecakes. But Dunsing says the customers are pretty sweet themselves. "We're super lucky to have a whole bunch of regular customers here at the eatery. Especially since COVID. We've had some really sincere customers in here that have decided every Friday night, [they're] ordering from the eatery. And we just know to expect them," Dunsing said. Dunsing says the small businesses of Meadow Lake are special, but so is the nearby Meadow Lake Provincial Park — a huge perk for the locals. She says the hiking trails are a big part of her weekly plans. Right now, visitors to the park will find that the trails have been turned into skiing trails for some wintertime fun. Sturgeon River Ranch The area in and around the town of Big River, 120 kilometres east of Meadow Lake, is perfect for hiking and horseback riding. Take a short 30-kilometre drive out of Big River and you will come up on Sturgeon River Ranch, located on the west side of Prince Albert National Park. Staff take guests on long, rustic horseback rides on the park's trails. The Sturgeon River is the boundary to the park, and the river is visible from ranch property. "We're in the transition eco region of the boreal forest. And so this is basically the start of the boreal forest. As you head north, it's more forest before it gets in the glacial shield quite a ways north," said John Prosak, owner of Sturgeon River Ranch. Wolves, deer, birds and black bears can be seen on these rides, but the bison are the biggest draw. The wild plains bison herd in the park is Canada's only totally free-ranging herd of its kind within their historic habitat. "When you do see them, they are a wild animal and they act like one. So they become alert and then they make a few grunts and alert the others. They all look at you and then take off into the bush run," Prosak said. "It is awesome to hear them, see them every time, because they go crashing off through the bush and you can feel the rumble of their hooves. You can feel the earth shaking when the herd runs through the bush. You can hear trees snapping." Riding along the Sturgeon River Valley with Prosak and his crew, guests can spot a mix of poplar trees, jack pine forest, birch and willows. While many guests like to visit the ranch in the summer, wintertime on the trail is something special. "Most people don't realize how awesome it is to ride in the winter. It's probably my favourite time of year to ride. One of the things is that it's so quiet. You feel like you can hear things for miles and miles and miles, 'cause there's not as many birds. There's just not as many sounds. And there's not as much foliage. There's no leaves to block the sound," Prosak said. "You can also see a long ways because the leaves aren't on the trees, the grass isn't grown up in the bush. And when there's snow like this, you can see the moose and the deer and the elk and the bison from quite a far ways away." Turtle Lake, Cochin Turtleford, located 136 kilometres northeast of Meadow Lake, is the proud home of Ernie the Turtle — a massive roadside attraction that happens to be the biggest and friendliest turtle in Canada. Visitors can catch a glimpse along Highway 26. Up by Turtle Lake, you can search for the infamous Turtle Lake Monster. About once a year, someone claims to have had an encounter with what is sometimes described as a massive scaly beast. Local Cree legend says people who ventured into the monster's territory on Turtle Lake vanished without a trace. Gord Sedgewick, a Saskatoon area biologist for the Ministry of Environment, worked in the Meadow Lake and Turtle Lake area for 20 years. He says he's been hearing about the Turtle Lake Monster for just as long. "You've heard of the surgeon general? Well, this is the sturgeon general of monsters, I guess, because it's so old," Sedgewick said. Visitors have insisted they've seen the monster, but Sedgewick says no pictures have ever conclusively proven its existence. "We did a lot of live trout netting and surveys. And I can tell you that we never did catch the Turtle Lake Monster. But the Turtle Lake Monster will always likely always be with us. But please, for me, don't hurt it if you do catch the monster. If it is real." Sedgewick says the sightings of the so-called Turtle Lake Monster might actually be sightings of an unusually large lake sturgeon, or a relic of prehistoric plesiosaurs. But you never know .... Meanwhile, 70 kilometres away in the resort village of Cochin, stands the only lighthouse in Saskatchewan. This working lighthouse sits on the top of Pirot's Hill. It serves as a beacon for summertime boaters and people on snowmobiles in the wintertime. Visitors get a workout by climbing the 153 steps to the top of the hill. The payoffs are expansive views of both Murray and Jackfish lakes, as well as the village and prairie farmland. Cochin lighthouse may just be the perfect place to reflect on the beauty of the northwest — a land that spotlights Saskatchewan's nature and its diversity.
China premiered a patriotic documentary film on Friday to mark the one-year anniversary of Wuhan's coronavirus lockdown, part of a broader effort by authorities to cast the government's early response to COVID-19 in a positive light. Small numbers of viewers gathered in Beijing to watch the film "Wuhan Days and Nights" as it opened to the public exactly a year after Wuhan went into a surprise 76-day lockdown in the early hours of Jan. 23, 2020. Wuhan, in the central province of Hubei, is believed to be the epicentre of the global pandemic that has infected nearly 100 million people and killed over two million so far.
CAMEROON, Cameroon — The first-ever treaty to ban nuclear weapons entered into force on Friday, hailed as a historic step to rid the world of its deadliest weapons but strongly opposed by the world's nuclear-armed nations. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is now part of international law, culminating a decades-long campaign aimed at preventing a repetition of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. But getting all nations to ratify the treaty requiring them to never own such weapons seems daunting, if not impossible, in the current global climate. When the treaty was approved by the U.N. General Assembly in July 2017, more than 120 approved it. But none of the nine countries known or believed to possess nuclear weapons — the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel — supported it and neither did the 30-nation NATO alliance. Japan, the world's only country to suffer nuclear attacks, also does not support the treaty, even though the aged survivors of the bombings in 1945 strongly push for it to do so. Japan on its own renounces use and possession of nuclear weapons, but the government has said pursuing a treaty ban is not realistic with nuclear and non-nuclear states so sharply divided over it. Nonetheless, Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize-winning coalition whose work helped spearhead the treaty, called it “a really big day for international law, for the United Nations and for survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” The treaty received its 50th ratification on Oct. 24, triggering a 90-day period before its entry into force on Jan. 22. As of Thursday, Fihn told The Associated Press that 61 countries had ratified the treaty, with another ratification possible on Friday, and “from Friday, nuclear weapons will be banned by international law” in all those countries. The treaty requires that all ratifying countries “never under any circumstances ... develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.” It also bans any transfer or use of nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices — and the threat to use such weapons — and requires parties to promote the treaty to other countries. Fihn said the treaty is “really, really significant” because it will now be a key legal instrument, along with the Geneva Conventions on conduct toward civilians and soldiers during war and the conventions banning chemical and biological weapons and land mines. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the treaty demonstrated support for multilateral approaches to nuclear disarmament. “Nuclear weapons pose growing dangers and the world needs urgent action to ensure their elimination and prevent the catastrophic human and environmental consequences any use would cause,” he said in a video message. “The elimination of nuclear weapons remains the highest disarmament priority of the United Nations.” But not for the nuclear powers. As the treaty was approaching the 50 ratifications needed to trigger its entry into force, the Trump administration wrote a letter to countries that signed it saying they made “a strategic error” and urging them to rescind their ratification. The letter said the treaty “turns back the clock on verification and disarmament" and would endanger the half-century-old Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, considered the cornerstone of nonproliferation efforts. Fihn countered at the time that a ban could not undermine nonproliferation since it was "the end goal of the Nonproliferation Treaty.” Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, said the treaty’s arrival was a historic step forward in efforts to free the world of nuclear weapons and “hopefully will compel renewed action by nuclear-weapon states to fulfil their commitment to the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.” Fihn said in an interview that the campaign sees strong public support for the treaty in NATO countries and growing political pressure, citing Belgium and Spain. “We will not stop until we get everyone on board,” she said. It will also be campaigning for divestment — pressuring financial institutions to stop giving capital to between 30 and 40 companies involved in nuclear weapons and missile production including Airbus, Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Edith M. Lederer, The Associated Press
An alleged Westside Outlaws street gang member from North Battleford was denied bail. Tonia Cantel, 22, had a show cause hearing before Judge Kim Young in Lloydminster Provincial Court Jan. 21. Crown Prosecutor Liam Fitz-Gerald, from North Battleford, told the court he opposed Cantel’s release. Defence Andrew Lyster from the Battlefords Area Legal Aid Office represented Cantel. The evidence presented and submissions made during the show cause hearing can’t be published. Cantel has been at Pine Grove Correctional Centre for women in Prince Albert since she was arrested on Nov. 20, 2020. She is charged with theft of a vehicle, numerous firearms-related offences, endangering the safety of the public, and flight from police. Cantel, and four others, are accused of taking RCMP on a 150-kilometre, two-hour chase from Lashburn to north of Paradise Hill. Her co-accused include Juanita Wahpistikwan, 21, from Big Island Cree Nation, Kyle Lajimodiere from Cold Lake, Alta., and two young offenders who can’t be named in accordance with the Youth Criminal Justice Act. When police searched the stolen vehicle they found a sawed-off modified rifle, ammunition, a machete, a BB pistol and several knives. Police also located gang paraphernalia including a red paisley bandana. RCMP said the five are members of Westside Outlaws street gang. Wahpistikwan was scheduled to appear in Lloydminster Provincial Court on Jan. 21 but her lawyer, Brian Pfefferle, asked the court to waive her attendance and adjourn the matter until Jan. 28. Wahpistikwan remains in custody at Pine Grove Correctional Centre. Lajimodiere is scheduled to appear in Lloydminster Provincial Court on Jan. 26 to speak to his matter. The charges against the accused haven’t been proven in court. If you are associated with a gang and want to leave it, contact STR8 UP in northern Saskatchewan at 306-763-3001, STR8 UP in central Saskatchewan at 306-244-1771, or Regina Treaty Status Indian Services in southern Saskatchewan at 306-522-7494 to get assistance. email@example.com Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter / Battlefords Regional News-Optimist Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
MADRID — Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has tested positive for the coronavirus, the Spanish club said Friday. The announcement came two days after Zidane coached the team in a 2-1 loss at third-tier Alcoyano in the Copa del Rey. The club has not provided any other information on his health status. Madrid plays at Alavés in the Spanish league on Saturday. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
The Caledon Public Library (CPL) is reaching out to the public for community feedback to help determine future public library services. Staff at CPL are developing a strategic plan in order to determine a long-time plan with necessary programs and library priorities with and for the community. CPL has reached out and gained assistance of Lighthouse Consulting Inc., a strategic planning company specifically for library services, for a four-year strategic plan. “It’s more than providing traditional library services to Caledon residents,” said Colleen Lipp, CPL CEO and Chief Librarian. “It’s about listening carefully to our community, our staff and essential research, and stepping outside of the box to demonstrate that we are truly relevant to your needs and essential to Caledon’s quality of life. We need your feedback in order to do so.” Included in the plan is public engagement. An online public survey has been organized to gain feedback from the Caledon community. The survey questions look at the needs of residents, how they feel about library services, and suggestions on new and different future services and programs. “As per our current strategic plan, CPL is envisioned as a vital service and vibrant community space. Over the last four years we have worked to strengthen facilities, build partnerships and encourage discovery, creativity and innovation,” said Lipp. The online survey will be available until February 15. All those who complete the 20-minute survey will have their name entered to win an Acer Chromebook laptop. “To genuinely reflect the vision, needs and expectations of you, the Caledon community, with this new Plan, we hope to hear from as many voices as possible,” said Lipp. In addition to CPL’s upcoming strategic plan, a book photo contest has begun for residents to participate in. Beginning on January 11, and going until the end of February, residents are encouraged to submit a photo of a book with a great story or message, along with a description. The categories include ages six to 12, 13 to 17 and 18 and older. Winners will receive cash prizes from $50 up to $100. The contest is being sponsored by Friends of Caledon Public Library (FOCPL). “The Friends enthusiastically support this contest as we’ve done for many years,” says FOCPL President Marty Harrison. “This contest is a great testament to the talent and creativity in our Caledon community.” To learn more about the online survey, and book contest, visit Caledon.library.on.ca. Alyssa Parkhill, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Caledon Citizen