Norman Powell had a career year for the Raptors last season. William Lou and Josh Hart break down the stats behind his bad start in 2021 and ask what Toronto fans can realistically expect from the 27-year-old.
Norman Powell had a career year for the Raptors last season. William Lou and Josh Hart break down the stats behind his bad start in 2021 and ask what Toronto fans can realistically expect from the 27-year-old.
La ministre des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation Andrée Laforest s’est donné un objectif ambitieux en vue des prochaines élections municipales. Elle souhaite voir doubler le nombre de jeunes élus dans les conseils municipaux du Québec. « Le but serait de doubler et d’avoir 16 % des élus en bas de 35 ans, explique-t-elle en entrevue avec La Tribune. C’est énorme, mais c’est tellement important d’avoir les idées et les innovations des jeunes. Ça donnerait une belle étincelle dans notre milieu municipal. On n’en a pas assez et on en veut plus » Pour ce faire, la ministre Laforest met de l’avant le projet de loi 49 qui vise à encadrer l’éthique et la déontologie en matière municipale. Le projet de loi propose notamment des formations beaucoup plus poussées pour les élus municipaux. « Il faut aider la profession, souligne la députée de Chicoutimi. Plus on va démontrer à quoi sert un élu et plus les jeunes vont être intéressés. La valorisation n’est pas toujours là en ce moment et avec les formations qu’on veut donner en éthique et en déontologie on va voir des améliorations dans les relations de travail dans les conseils municipaux. Elles seront beaucoup plus saines. » La ministre espère donc voir un meilleur équilibre dans les conseils municipaux à la suite des élections cet automne. « Une personne plus âgée amène son expérience et un jeune apporte de l’innovation, résume-t-elle. Les deux sont essentiels et quand on a un conseil municipal très âgé, c’est certain que le côté innovation est moins présent. Ce n’est pas d’avoir juste des jeunes ou juste des personnes âgées, mais vraiment un équilibre, avec des femmes évidemment. »Simon Roberge, Initiative de journalisme local, La Tribune
January 8 marked the first anniversary of the tragedy of the crash of the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. 176 passengers were on board the flight, in which 138 of them had ties with Canada. Minutes after the plane took off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport in Iran, Flight PS752 came down in a field where all passengers on board lost their lives. The cause was first said to be due to a mechanical error, but evidence was later discovered that the plane was hit by an Iranian missile. Area dentist Dr. Hamed Esmaeilion was one of the members who lost family on that fatal flight. His wife, Dr. Parisa Eghbalian, also a dentist, and daughter Reera Esmaeilion were two of the 176 victims. Dr. Esmaeilion, who has been working in the dentistry industry for the past 17 years, has practiced in Aurora, Caledon and Richmond Hill since moving to Canada in 2010. His wife and daughter were visiting family in Iran over the holidays and were returning home where they were transferred to a connecting flight – Flight PS752. “This whole year has been like a nightmare for me,” he said. In the beginning, Iranian officials declared no participation in the events. As investigations were pursued and evidence collected, Iran admitted to their involvement. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau later assigned Ralph Goodale in March as his special advisor in order to “examine lessons learned from the crash of Flight PS752 and other air disasters, develop a framework to guide Canada’s response to international air disasters, provide recommendations on best practices, including advice on tools and mechanisms needed to prevent future events.” Mr. Goodale released a report this past December which strongly underscored the importance of taking care of the families who’ve lost loved ones. “Each encounter is profoundly emotional because the families’ grief and anguish are so real and ongoing,” he stated. “They tell their personal stories. They describe their loved ones, now gone. They mourn the rich human potential so cruelly destroyed. They ask questions. They yearn for the truth.” Families from Iran, Afghanistan, Sweden, Ukraine and the United Kingdom also lost loved ones. After the loss of his two family members, Dr. Esmaeilion went back to work but found he couldn’t continue full-time. In order to work and fight towards getting the truth behind the tragedy, he, along with other family members of the victims of Flight PS742, organized an association in order to inform the public of recent news and to seek justice. “I lost two people,” said Dr. Esmaeilion. “We passed one year. One year is nothing compared to the life span of a human being. I couldn’t do anything else, I needed to know what happened to my wife and my daughter.” PS752 Justice is a non-profit organization developed by the group of families of the victims of Flight PS752, for which Dr. Esmaeilion is the spokesperson. Their mission, according to their website is “to unite the grieving families, keep the memories of the passengers alive, and most importantly seek justice. We are determined to uncover the truth and find out why a commercial flight was shot down by IRGC’s (Islamic Revolution Guard Corps) missiles. We will staunchly seek justice until the culprits, perpetrators and commanders of this atrocious crime are identified and brought to justice before an impartial and independent court.” “The story behind it is very complicated. It’s very hard to understand the chain of events that ended up murdering 176 people,” said Dr. Esmaeilion. “It’s a constant fight. Before all this we were ordinary people living in Canada, living in Richmond Hill. Then in three minutes, life changes. You have to tell yourself why, why this happened to me and it’s very difficult to answer. But you have two options: just sit at home and cry for the rest of your life or stand up and fight. So, [the] majority of the families chose the second one.” The downing of the Flight PS752, came about during high tensions between Iran and the United States. Just five days beforehand, the U.S launched a drone that killed Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani. The same day as the downing of Flight PS752, Iran launched missiles at the U.S military bases in Iraq. A timeline of events is provided on the PS752 Justice website along with other updates, news, and actions being held in order to seek the truth, as well as justice. “Justice for us, and closure for us is to see the criminals in an international court,” said Dr. Esmaeilion. “There’s a long way to go. We are fighting with the government of Iran, but here we have to encourage and push our government forward. They have been very supportive, but after a year, there’s no truth. There’s no justice yet.” A major virtual memorial event was held to honour the victims of Flight PS752 on January 7 and January 8. The event was live streamed on the association’s YouTube channel, beginning at the same time the fateful flight took off one year ago. The event included videos and photos provided from the families of the victims and biographies were read out. A short movie of the children who lost their lives was aired, as well as a social distanced rally took place in Toronto where family members of the victims walked together from University of Toronto’s front campus and concluded at City Hall. Government officials also shared their words on the anniversary, including Premier Doug Ford who stated, “All Ontarians grieve with you. Our government continues to support our federal counterparts working with the international community to pursue accountability, reparations and justice.” Said Dr. Esmaeilion: “Everybody sees themselves in that flight. That’s why it’s not difficult to keep the memory alive among the Iranian Canadian community.” As the majority of the news since March of last year has revolved around the COVID-19 pandemic, PS752 Justice wasn’t able to clearly state their mission, but as the anniversary came around, they were able to speak to a wider audience. They fear they will be put into the dark once again but will continue to work together as a unit to inform and educate the public and seek justice. “My whole life is dedicated to PS752 Justice,” said Dr. Esmaeilion. A fundraiser is also continuously ongoing to help PS752 Justice continue to conduct their work. They have organized a Go Fund Me page which has reached over $160,000. The fundraiser can be found at gofundme.com under ‘Help Us to Keep Up the Fight for Justice’. To learn more about PS752 Justice please visit ps752justice.com or on their social media platforms Alyssa Parkhill, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Caledon Citizen
Saab, a Colombian national accused by U.S. prosecutors of money laundering in connection to an allegedly corrupt deal to obtain supplies for Maduro's government-run food subsidy program, was arrested last June in Cape Verde pursuant to an Interpol red notice. In a late Thursday filing with the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Saab's lawyers argued that he should not be considered a fugitive from U.S. justice because Venezuela's government named him a "special envoy" in 2018.
Les symptômes de longue durée semblent sans rapport avec la gravité de l’infection, mais il semble que les femmes soient plus touchées que les hommes.
After nearly a year in, it seems at this point the pandemic may have gotten to a lot of us. In a series of videos that have struck a chord with the internet, social media marketer and Cambridge local Mikael Melo certainly found some agreement when it comes to the lack of clarity around lockdown and state of emergency messaging in Ontario. One of Melo’s TikTok videos poking fun at the government’s state of emergency order has been watched more than one million times and has 37,000 shares as of Jan. 20. “The response to it has been wonderful,” he said. “I've just had so many people message me saying, ‘I really needed this laugh today,’ or ‘Thank you so much,’ or like, ‘It's really just lifted my spirits during these tough times.’” The sketch in question has him playing a fictional government spokesperson who still has to go to work, despite the government mandate. “We just felt ‘lockdown’ wasn’t really hitting our target audience, so ‘state of emergency’ is just our makeover,” he explains to a bewildered caller. “We’re essentially the exact same experience though,” he explains. If the official message seems a little vague, it’s “because we want customers to choose their own pandemic experience,” the operator adds. When creating the video, Melo thought a few friends would see it and “didn’t think much of it.” But the response hit home (literally) when a few friends turned into a million views in the matter of a few days. Melo “really realized” the video had gone viral when friends reached out to him about the video organically. “They would say, ‘Hey, man, like my mom's friend posted this on her Facebook’ or ‘Hey, dude, like, I'm in North Bay right now, and the local flower shop just posted your video on their Instagram.’ It was like, wow, like this is really making it throughout Ontario.” Melo thinks the reason for the video’s popularity is that the rules of the stay-at-home order still feel “loose” to a lot of people. As someone with marketing experience, the change from lockdown in March to state of emergency today “just feels like a rebrand,” he noted. Melo added that he has more videos that he’d like to keep posting, once TikTok removes his temporary ban. “They thought I was spamming, but I was just trying to respond to everyone's comments and like, thanking them for supporting the video.” Melo, who has been making short TikTok videos since March, said he’s always been someone to “crack a joke or two during tough times.” “I really enjoy making people smile,” he added. Viewers have taken delight to his followup video as the ‘operator,’ which has racked up tens of thousands of views. “In dark times, we just need to find lightness and humour,” Melo said. “And so that's kind of why I started doing those videos.” Swikar Oli, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cambridge Times
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Republican lawmaker and doctor who questioned whether members of “the colored population” were disproportionately contracting the coronavirus because of their hygiene is drawing new criticism from Black lawmakers after his appointment to lead the state Senate Health Committee. “Could it just be that African Americans – or the colored population — do not wash their hands as well as other groups? Or wear masks? Or do not socially distance themselves?” state Sen. Stephen Huffman asked a Black health expert in June 11 testimony. “Could that just be the explanation of why there’s a higher incidence?” The comments resulted in calls from Democrats and the ACLU of Ohio for him to resign from the GOP-controlled Senate. Huffman, of Tipp City, was appointed last week by Senate President Matt Huffman, his cousin, to chair the committee even after he was fired from his job as a Dayton-area emergency room physician for his comments. In a letter Wednesday, the Ohio Black Legislative Caucus demanded a health committee leader who understands and can respond to the inequities of healthcare in Ohio “without political influence.” “If the Senate leadership will not replace Sen. Huffman as Chair, then we will expect Sen. Huffman to use his position to improve the health of Ohio’s African-American population by working with OLBC to pass legislation that effectively addresses health disparities in the state of Ohio,” director Tony Bishop said in a news release. Huffman remains a licensed medical doctor in Ohio. “Senator Huffman is a medical doctor and highly qualified to chair the Health Committee," spokesperson John Fortney said Friday in a written statement. "He has a long record of providing healthcare to minority neighbourhoods and has joined multiple mission trips at his own expense to treat those from disadvantaged countries. Fortney added that Huffman apologized at the time “for asking a clumsy and awkwardly worded question.” “Sincere apologies deserve sincere forgiveness, and not the perpetual politically weaponized judgement of the cancel culture,” he said." ___ Farnoush Amiri is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Farnoush Amiri, The Associated Press
(ANNews) – The COVID-19 vaccination supply coming to Canada has changed and at least in the short term, it will be much less than was originally planned. Minister of Health Tyler Shandro issued a statement on the latest changes in the amount of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine coming to Canada, saying “I am extremely concerned by the announcement that Pfizer is even further decreasing the amount of COVID-19 vaccine coming to Canada from its factory in Belgium, with no doses expected to arrive next week and further anticipated reductions in the two weeks following.” Alberta’s Health Minister continued by announcing that the focus will be shifted to delivering second doses for those who have already been vaccinated. Elderly people in long-term care homes and healthcare workers who have been administered their first dose are the province’s main priority. First time dose appointments for healthcare workers are postponed as well as some second dose appointments. Shandro then went on to mention that province may not be able to vaccinate elderly people in the general population or Elders living within First Nations territory. “A sharp decrease in vaccines coming to Alberta may also further delay our plans to expand vaccination to all seniors over the age of 75 in the community and individuals over the age of 65 in First Nations communities and Metis Settlements around the province.” “Alberta has the capacity to deliver about 50,000 doses per week and rapidly expand distribution, but we lack supply. Whether we like it or not, Canadian provinces are dependent on the Government of Canada for vaccine supply. We continue to advocate to our federal partners to increase the supply of vaccine as soon as possible,” said Minister Shandro. Meanwhile in Ottawa, Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says the Federal Government is working with the provinces to prioritize vaccinating Indigenous people against COVID-19. “This is a particularly acute issue and challenge when we’re talking about the deployment of the vaccine,” Miller told a news conference Wednesday Jan 20, in Ottawa. Concerned that Ottawa is not able to vaccinate its Indigenous population living off-reserve, Miller said, “We need participation of the provinces to ensure that needles get into the arms of people that are the most vulnerable.” “The role of the federal government, in my mind, is to offer our assets, offer our co-operation, our resources, our logistical capacities.” In response to the announcements, the Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations said that they are dissatisfied with “the COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Plan proposed for our respective Nations without Free, Prior and Informed Consent. “There has been a failure to align resources consistent with the Famine and Pestilence Clause, the Medicine Chest, and the Treaty Right to Health." “Until the past week, our Nations were not informed that Health Canada had engaged Alberta Health Services to determine our vaccine requirements. In the past few months, Canada announced publicly on several occasions that Treaty First Nations were a priority and that vaccines would be provided. First Nations are at a greater risk of exposure due to a number of factors including, overcrowded homes with multi-generational families, lack of housing, remoteness, poverty, and distances to health care facilities and providers,” said the Confederacy in a statement. Also responding to the announcement is Chief Tony Alexis, who issued a statement condemning the vaccination roll-out happening in Alberta, “Meanwhile in Alberta under Minister Shandro’s watch, First Nations communities are seeing case numbers rapidly rise, while the rest of the Alberta covid numbers decline.” “The rate of infections, hospitalizations and ICU admissions for First Nations is increasing at an alarming rate compared to the rest of Alberta. The situation is dire for our people. In my community of Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, over 5 per cent of the population has COVID-19 and numbers rise daily.” Alberta Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Marlene Poitras added, “First Nations communities are reaching a breaking point with new cases of COVID-19. When considering the data provided by Alberta Health, we see hospitalization rates of 4.3 for Alberta in general and 7.1 for First Nations living in Alberta. These disparities are un acceptable. There was some hope that access to a vaccine would help us. However, given recent decisions of the Provincial Government, which lacked meaningful First Nations involvement, trust and commitment to partnership continues to be in question. “I’m calling upon the Provincial Government to ensure First Nations leadership are at the decision making tables…to ensure that all First Nations communities are protected from the ravages of COVID-19. “How many times must it be said that Sovereign First Nations must be involved in the decisions that affect them?” The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout prioritize people who live and work in long-term care homes, people over the age of 80, front-line health workers, and adults in Indigenous communities where an outbreak can be particularly harmful and hard to manage. Indigenous Services Canada said there have been 89 COVID-19 cases, including 15 deaths, in nine long-term care homes on reserves located in Manitoba, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. The number of COVID-19 active cases in First Nations communities reached an all-time high this week with 5,571 reported cases as of Tuesday Jan. 19 Jacob Cardinl, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alberta Native News
Malgré la pandémie, l’élan économique de Val-des-Sources ne s’essouffle pas. Après le début de la construction d’Alliance Magnésium et l’arrivée de plusieurs entreprises comme General Recycled en 2020, voilà que pour 2021 déjà plusieurs millions de dollars en investissements sont prévus. Les prochains mois verront d’ailleurs au moins deux nouvelles constructions s’ajouter dans le parc industriel. Concept Promet, acquis par l’entreprise Métal Pless de Plessisville en 2018, construira un nouveau bâtiment de plus de 30 000 pieds carrés sur la rue de l’Ardoise. Environ 3,5 millions de dollars seront investis pour la construction du bâtiment, sans compter l’achat de l’équipement. Concept Promet, qui fait de la peinture et l’assemblage de gratte à neige et d’équipements agricoles, emploi environ 45 personnes et la direction envisage ajouter une autre chaîne de production, ce qui créerait une dizaine d’emplois. « Il y a une grosse ouverture d’esprit de la part de la Ville et il y a un bel avantage de se construire là, souligne Ivan Boucher, adjoint à la direction. On est à Plessisville et ça nous amène un autre bassin de population aussi. » Les locaux laissés vacants par Concept Promet seront repris par ABS Remorques et agrandis de 27 000 pieds carrés. Pour ce faire, les investissements oscilleront entre 3,5 et 4 millions de $. Près d’une dizaine d’emplois seront créés à terme par ce projet. « On va déménager notre usine de soudage dans ces nouveaux locaux, indique François Gouin, président. On vend partout au Canada et un peu aux États-Unis. On veut raffermir notre position au Canada et être plus actifs sur l’exportation aux États-Unis. Parallèlement, on veut développer d’autres types de remorques. » Bulles du Nord, qui produit des jus de fruit naturels gazéifiés, et Distillerie Birster, qui fait du gin (voir autre texte), s’installent aussi à Val-des-Sources. « Quand quelqu’un a un projet, ça nous en prend beaucoup pour dire non, lance Martin Lafleur, directeur de la Corporation de développement socioéconomique de Val-des-Sources. On est aussi en train de mettre sur pied un projet pour développer et acquérir un bâtiment dédié aux écomatériaux. » Dans l’optique de favoriser les investissements, la Ville de Val-des-Sources offre aussi la possibilité de bâtir elle-même les installations pour ensuite les louer à une entreprise qui viendrait s’établir dans la région. « On leur charge un loyer et on leur donne la possibilité d’acheter dans trois, quatre, cinq ou six ans, quand ça leur adonne, résume M. Lafleur. On leur crédite le capital qu’ils ont déjà payé. On se met entre eux et la banque. On en a plusieurs qui ont acheté leur bâtiment de cette façon. » Écomatériaux Presque toutes les nouvelles entreprises de Val-des-Sources et de la MRC ont un point en commun, elles ont toutes un lien direct ou indirect avec l’environnement. « On mise sur les technologies environnementales, confirme Frédéric Marcotte, directeur général de la MRC. Ça fait partie de notre ligne directrice de notre stratégie de diversification économique. Les écomatériaux constituent un levier d’avenir pour le développement de la région. » Alliance Magnésium, qui exploite les haldes pour produire du magnésium, et Nature Fibres, qui produit des panneaux isolants à base de paille de chanvre industriel, sont quelques exemples d’entreprises qui exploitent des écomatériaux. « On prend un résidu et on lui donne une valeur tellement forte qu’il peut même surpasser des matériaux existants », explique M. Marcotte. La région est également l’hôte du Rendez-vous des écomatériaux qui se tient habituellement à l’automne. Diversification Avec tous ces investissements et ces nouvelles entreprises, la région a énormément diversifié son économie au cours des dernières années, mais il reste encore beaucoup de chemin à faire selon le DG de la MRC. « Une diversification économique à la suite d’une économie mono-industrielle de plus de 130 ans, ça ne se fait pas en sept ans, admet M. Marcotte. Si on me pose la question à savoir si la diversification économique est atteinte, c’est difficile de répondre positivement à cela. Par contre, les fondations de la diversification économique sur le long terme sont atteintes. Les secteurs d’activités, leur complémentarité, leur différence, le nombre d’entreprises et la diversité de la topologie d’emploi font en sorte qu’on est sur la bonne voie. » « Une diversification ce n’est pas que les entreprises qui sont implantées, c’est aussi la dynamique de l’économie de la région qui est à faire, résume-t-il. Il y a encore beaucoup de choses à construire et à attacher. »Simon Roberge, Initiative de journalisme local, La Tribune
GREY BRUCE – It was a unique challenge for Grey Bruce Farmers Week, Jan. 5-12 – two featured speakers in different time zones (one in the United Kingdom and the other in New Zealand) speaking simultaneously in a third time zone in Owen Sound, and being broadcast to four different time zones. Lorie Smith and the GBFW organizing team met the challenge, and more with this year’s virtual event. Thanks to the expertise of CTRE Productions and a lot of advance planning, the presentation entitled Using Genomic Markers in an Ovine Breeding Strategy, by Robert Hodgkins, owner, Kaipoi, U.K., and Johanna Scott, owner, Targeted Breeding, New Zealand, on Sheep Day, Jan. 9, went off without a hitch. The same was true of the other presentations and trade show at this year’s event. Unlike past years, when the live conference and trade show has been held in Elmwood, this year’s event was virtual. Said event organizer Smith, the decision made last summer to hold a fully virtual event was not an easy one. While GBFW has utilized livestreaming technology in recent years, doing the entire event including the trade show component was a tremendous leap of faith – not just by her and her team, but the producers and sponsors. And it worked. She said even people who were none too familiar with the technology were willing to give it a try. “Zoom broke through that ceiling for us,” she said. Before the pandemic, no one would have dreamed of having a virtual conference and trade show, but they’ve been talking to their grandchildren on Zoom. And the organizing team did what they could to make sure the event would be a success. New this year was the three-day pass. Smith said a lot of people took advantage of that. And the content was excellent. The virtual format made it possible to bring speakers from quite a distance, with no need for expensive air travel. “We delivered as much content or more,” she said. That content was delivered to a much wider, and, by all indications, very appreciative audience. People participated from right across Canada and some from the United States. “I told the CTRE Productions people to take the best parts of the in-person conference and include it,” Smith said. There was an information desk with a real person on the screen to answer technical questions, for example. People weren’t able to enjoy the beef dinners and pies, but there were ample opportunities for networking and chatting, and for asking questions to speakers. Smith said the local area has always known what an excellent conference and trade show GBFW is. It’s been described as a “hidden jewel” of an event. It’s no longer hidden. Going virtual meant more people learned about it and enjoyed it. “I hope we increased our profile,” Smith said. It wasn’t something that was left to chance. The organizing team went out of their way to get sponsors from outside the area, and they helped to promote the event right across Canada. Smith noted a Twitter comment put GBFW right up there with some of the country’s top agricultural conferences and trade shows. Although the final numbers aren’t in, Smith said indications are that some days there were a lot of people from outside Grey-Bruce attending – for example, on Sheep Day and Goat Day. Preliminary numbers indicate about 620 households attended, and many of those households had more than one person. By comparison, attendance is usually around 700 people. “Attendance was comparable or stronger,” Smith said. Although the format was different, the 55th annual GBFW had the same winning combination of speakers that attendees want to listen to and chat with, other producers to network with, trade booths with plenty of information, and much more. The reason, said Smith, is GBFW is, and always has been led and driven by farmers. In addition to herself, Nicole Heber and Patricia Ellingwood of Grey Ag Services, there’s a committee of people in the business of agriculture. Many of the presenters were suggested by farmers, for example, Crops Day presenter, Dr. Lee Briese, agronomist, from North Dakota, who spoke on Soil and Crop Management: The Details Matter (and yo-yos – those who attended will understand). It means the content is relevant and useful. “We have a history of having an exceptionally well-organized conference,” said Smith. “The was no way we weren’t going to do that (with the virtual conference).” It meant throwing everything she knew about organizing an in-person conference out the window and being ready to meet a lot of new challenges, but Smith said going virtual for 2021 was the right decision. She’s glad the decision was made early, leaving enough time to organize it properly. The organizers are facing another difficult decision about what to do about 2022. In some ways, it will be more difficult, Smith said. No one knows what’s going to happen with the pandemic, if enough people will be vaccinated in time to make an in-person conference possible. And now that the benefits of a virtual conference have been seen, the decision might be made to stay with that format. Being able to access presenters who don’t have to travel to participate is only one advantage. If organizers decide to go back to Elmwood, there will be changes, as GBFW metamorphosizes into something new. One thing is certain – GBFW22 will be excellent as always, with great speakers, ample networking opportunities, and well-attended – the best agricultural conference and trade show around. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
CBC News gains access to a unique inoculation site in the U.K., where vulnerable groups are being prioritized.
Like most residents at her care home in Berlin, 43-year-old Kristina Lang agreed to receive the coronavirus vaccine when her turn came, but not without trepidation. "They only said 'It's a vaccine and nothing will happen', but on TV, people were warned against the side-effects," said Lang, who uses a wheelchair. She is one of 102 residents at the home.
Iran urged new U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday to "choose a better path" by returning to a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and global powers, but said the opportunity would be lost if Washington insists on further Iranian concessions up front. Under Biden's predecessor Donald Trump, Washington withdrew from the deal - designed to stop Iran developing a nuclear weapon - and bolstered sanctions in a bid to force Tehran into talks on a broader agreement that also addressed its ballistic missile program and support for proxies around the Middle East.
A Nepean retirement home where 10 people have died from COVID-19 is the first in the city to begin vaccinating residents and staff against the illness, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) says. "As part of Phase 1 of the COVID vaccine rollout in Ottawa, Valley Stream Retirement Home was identified as a high-risk retirement home and the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was made available and administered to staff, essential caregivers and residents on Jan. 17," OPH confirmed Thursday. OPH finished administering the first vaccine doses to residents in long-term care homes in mid-January, but Valley Stream is the first high-risk retirement home to be offered the same opportunity. At a news conference on Wednesday, Ottawa's general manager of emergency and protective services Anthony Di Monte said that while second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would be delayed for some, one high-risk retirement home and one "congregate home with older adults" would still have a chance to receive first doses of the vaccine. In total, 51 of Valley Stream's 134 residents have tested positive for the virus since the outbreak began on Jan. 2. Thirteen of those cases are now considered resolved. Another 27 staff members have also tested positive, 10 of which are now resolved. Jennifer Rose's 80-year-old father Richard Currie lives at Valley Stream, but has tested negative so far. "I'm obviously grateful and thankful that they're getting vaccines, and [with] my dad still testing negative, I'm happy he's getting that protection," Rose said, adding she's sympathetic to families that haven't been so lucky. "I just find it's so hard for the families that did lose somebody to this," she said. "They were close to being able to get that vaccine. It's just heartbreaking that it was almost within their grasp." Cleaning protocols enhanced Revera, which owns numerous long-term care facilities in Ontario and across North America, said it's working closely with OPH to maintain proper protocols and limit the spread of the virus at Valley Stream. "We are doing enhanced cleaning at Valley Stream, frequently disinfecting high touch surfaces like handrails and doors, common areas and staff rooms," the company's chief medical officer, Dr. Rhonda Collins, wrote. Collins said all residents are being monitored and tested if they show symptoms, while staff are screened at the beginning and end of their shifts. Visits are restricted to essential caregivers, as well as essential visits for palliative residents. "We recognize how difficult these measures are for residents and their families, and we appreciate their patience and understanding as we put these precautions in place for the safety of our residents," Collins wrote. According to OPH, the recent delay of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine "did not impact the administration of vaccines at Valley Stream." Earl Brown, professor emeritus of virology at the University of Ottawa, said while it's important to administer the second dose within a specific period of time after the first shot, giving more vulnerable people a single dose may prove the best option — as long as that second dose isn't too far behind. "It really comes down to maximizing your benefit," Brown said. "So numbers-wise, it generally has tended to favour spreading out the first dose and getting the second dose in somewhat of a timely manner. " But while the two vaccines both report higher than 90 per cent effectiveness in stopping the virus, Brown said it's believed they're less effective for older people. "I think the unknowns loom larger with this group."
NEW YORK — A raging pandemic, tumultuous presidential election and deadly Capitol insurrection have combined to make the annual tradition of Dry January more moist than air-tight for some. Not Sarah Arvizo. She considers it her easiest yet. As much as the 32-year-old Manhattanite would love to partake in a little “vinopeutics,” she said the abstinence period she's participated in for several years has been made smoother this time around by her at-home pandemic life and the closing of bars and restaurants. “Longing for those days, for sure,” said the social drinker who lives alone. “But unless I want to freeze outside, that's largely off the table this year.” Eight-year-old Dry January, which comes at the height of resolution season after the holidays, has brought on the desired benefits for many among the millions participating around the world. They're losing quarantine weight, experiencing more clarity and sleeping easier. Others with lockdown time on their hands and round-the-clock access to TV news and the home liquor cabinet are struggling to meet the challenge. Some who have already cheated hoisted a glass on Inauguration Day, Dry January's surreal New Year's Eve. Sue Cornick, 52, in Los Angeles wanted to experience Dry January after her consumption of alcohol rose from three or four days a week to five or six. But she knew pulling the plug wouldn't work before a celebratory Inauguration Day, so it's Dry February for her. “Full disclosure, my Dry February will be more like almost dry. I'll definitely have a cheat day here and there. Just no daily habit,” she said. Others are holding steadfast but said the horrid year that was and the chaotic events of January have made it far more difficult. The odds aren't in their favour. Studies over the years have shown that a small percentage of New Year's resolutions overall are actually achieved. Peta Grafham, a 61-year-old retired IT specialist in Tryon, North Carolina, signed on to Dry January after watching her alcohol intake creep up during the pandemic and months of political and racial turmoil. “I'm a social creature and isolating has been difficult. I found that I would open a bottle of wine and watch TV, usually CNN, and could knock back a bottle in less than two hours. Then I would move on to the Grand Marnier," said Grafham, who lives with her husband. “I announced to my friends and family that I was doing a Dry January, so my pride is what's keeping me sober.” She hasn't had a drop since Dec. 31. Her spouse didn't join, but she said he's an efficient nurser of bourbon or vodka and has supported her effort. “I seemed incapable of limiting myself to just one glass,” Grafham said. According to a recent survey from the American Psychological Association, 78% of adults report the COVID-19 pandemic has been a significant source of stress, and 65% said the amount of uncertainty in the world is causing strain. While addiction treatment experts note that a month of forced sobriety may not have a lasting impact and may lead to binge drinking in February, others believe the show of sobriety can't hurt. Dry January began after a woman training for her first half-marathon, Emily Robinson in the U.K., decided to quit drinking for the month. She later went to work for an alcohol awareness organization that launched a national campaign. The event slowly went global. Well before that, in 1942, Finland began a program called Raitis Tammikuu, meaning sober January, to assist the war effort against the Soviet Union, said Hilary Sheinbaum, who wrote a new book about Dry January, “The Dry Challenge." She said she wrote from personal experience. “On Dec. 31, 2016, moments before the ball dropped, I made a Dry January bet with a friend,” Sheinbaum said. “In the end, I ended up going the full 31 days. My friend did not. He ended up buying me a very fancy meal, but I had the opportunity to see how alcohol was affecting my day-to-day life. With Dry January, I had clearer skin. I was sleeping better. I had so much more financial savings at the end of the month. This is my fifth Dry January.” When she took on her first dry challenge, she was working regularly at booze-infused events as a red carpet reporter, and a food and beverage writer. She was also single and going on a lot of dates. Now in a two-year relationship, she and her live-in boyfriend do Dry January together. “Having someone doing it with you is definitely encouraging,” Sheinbaum said. “For many Americans, we start off the year with a number of resolutions, whether that's saving money, losing weight, just being healthier in general. Dry January checks the boxes for those goals and many more.” She and others note that the ritual isn't meant as a substitute for addiction treatment and recovery. Dr. Joseph DeSanto, an MD and addiction specialist for the recovery program BioCorRx, agreed but said Dry January may give those in trouble "something to rally around, especially if they're not in a 12-step group, and provide a sense of community.” He added: “Any kind of harm reduction is advantageous. If someone is a heavy drinker, they could benefit greatly from switching to moderate to light drinking, even if they can’t stop altogether. I’ve never met an alcoholic that felt worse from drinking less or not drinking.” MJ Gottlieb is co-founder and CEO of the 100,000-strong Loosid, a sober social network with both physical and virtual events and services around the country. He's in recovery himself and launched the company in part to show the world that sobriety doesn't mean the “end of fun.” Since the pandemic, he said Loosid has seen a spike in people posting on its app, messaging its confidential hotlines and accessing its support groups as the pandemic brought on isolation and more drinking at home. That's where Dry January plays a role. “A lot of people who did not have problems previous to the pandemic and were drinking a glass of wine a night are now drinking a couple of bottles a night," Gottlieb said. "They're wondering what's going on. They're wondering, how did I get here?” Leanne Italie, The Associated Press
Curious onlookers may be forgiven for thinking the Stettler area is quickly becoming the fibre board capital of Canada, as a second company has announced they’re building a major plant here. Alberta BioBord Corp. contacted the ECA Review newspaper last week after a story was printed about Great Plains MDF’s plans to develop a fibre board mill in the region south and east of Stettler. Now, Alberta BioBord, unrelated to Great Plains MDF, stated they plan to develop a fuel pellet and medium density fibre board (MDF) plant adjacent the Town of Stettler. Alberta BioBord is headed up by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) George Clark, who was formerly a spokesperson for Great Plains, and Clark, along with directors Randy Kerr and Lorne Murfitt, joined the ECA Review for a teleconference interview Jan. 19. Murfitt stated during the Great Plains effort a lot of time and effort was spent meeting the public and touring rural Alberta looking for a place to build an MDF facility and Stettler was selected at that time for a variety of reasons, including its excellent road system, proximity to rail lines and population. Murfitt added that even after several people joined Alberta BioBord, they still focused on Stettler. Clark stated that when looking for a great place to build an MDF plant, which uses wheat straw to make fibre board, Stettler kept coming to the top of the list. While Clark said the mill rates are not necessarily the lowest in this region “the logistics were absolutely the best.” Clark stated that Alberta BioBord hopes to continue with the site named last summer, a parcel of land across the road from the Stettler airport, which he said has easy rail access and good connector roads nearby. He stated Alberta BioBoard won’t be causing any traffic troubles as the existing truck routes will suffice, and also pointed out no Alberta BioBord traffic will be using Main Street. Clark also pointed out trucks supplying Alberta BioBord's facility will be coming from all directions surrounding Stettler, not just one. Additionally, Alberta BioBord is proposing straw depots around the area where material can be stored and trucked when needed, plus the use of train cars. The CEO stated Alberta BioBord’s project is valued at between $650 and $750 million, but noted the project will first begin as a fuel pellet plant. Murfitt and Kerr explained straws can be used to make fuel pellets, a heating fuel in big demand. This phase is estimated at between $35 and $40 million. After the fuel pellet plant is up and running, the MDF plant could move forward. It’s estimated the fuel pellet plant will be producing 300,000 metric tonnes of pellets per year with 40 metric tonnes of biomass fibres entering the plant every hour. Clark pointed out Alberta BioBord is also willing to buy flax straw from producers, which he stated is probably good news for producers looking to sell their flaw straw. The CEO explained the company’s first round of financing is being finalized now and expects that to be ironed out by the end of February, when things like municipal approvals can then be addressed. Clark said the company would like to see construction start this year with the fuel pellet plant in operation next fall. Where will this wheat and flax straw be coming from? Central Alberta producers. Clark noted Alberta BioBord's collection zone for straw will be at least a 250 kilometre radius of Stettler, and the company is planning an extensive public consultation process. All three men stated the company keenly wants to develop strong relationships with producers. They added that producers should watch for more information coming over the next weeks and months about Alberta BioBord’s Stettler project. Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review
TORONTO — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Ottawa is sending two mobile health units to the Greater Toronto Area to help address the strain COVID-19 is placing on hospitals. The units will bring an additional 200 hospital beds to the area, to help free up space for people who need intensive care, and will provide medical equipment and supplies. Ontario's hospitals have been struggling with capacity challenges for weeks because of surging COVID-19 cases, especially in hot spots. On Monday, the province said a new hospital set to open in Vaughan, Ont., will be used to help relieve the capacity crunch. Premier Doug Ford said some patients from overcrowded Greater Toronto Area hospitals would be transferred to Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital when it opens on Feb. 7. Ontario is reporting 2,662 new cases of COVID-19 today and 87 more deaths related to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott said there are 779 new cases in Toronto, 542 in Peel Region, and 228 in York Region. She said there are also 128 more cases in Waterloo Region and 118 in Windsor-Essex County. More than 71,000 tests have been completed in Ontario since the last daily update. The province is also reporting that 11,168 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since its last daily update. A total of 264,985 vaccine doses have been administered in Ontario so far. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
Talks over the divided island of Cyprus will be held in New York in the next two months with the participation of the United Nations, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday. The United Nations has been trying unsuccessfully for decades to reunite Cyprus, split in a Turkish invasion in 1974 after a brief Greek-inspired coup. Only Ankara recognises the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) as an independent state.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa signed a law on Friday requiring political parties to disclose donations of more than 100,000 rand ($6,650) in a bid to clean up party funding, but it did not ban anonymous donations. The Political Party Funding Act requires parties to make bank statements available from donations that size or greater. Whether it is drug money sloshing through Latin American elections, wealthy individuals in Western nations making hefty donations in exchange for government contracts, or African patronage networks influencing power, there is a growing global recognition that wealth subverts democracy when unregulated.
The company that runs a limestone quarry on the Port au Port Peninsula is headed to trial, after pleading not guilty to numerous charges surrounding the 2018 death of one of its workers. A lawyer for Atlantic Minerals entered not guilty pleas in Stephenville provincial court Friday to all 10 charges the company faces under the province's Occupational Health and Safety Act, including failing to provide workplace procedures and failing to ensure safe workplace procedures were followed. The charges stem from the death of a 55-year-old worker at the quarry in Lower Cove on July 31, 2018. The man, a long-term employee of the company, was fatally injured after an incident during conveyor maintenance. Six days are being set aside for Atlantic Minerals' trial in Stephenville, starting June 14. A supervisor with Atlantic Minerals also faces two charges in relation to the death, of failing to ensure the health and safety of workers and failing to provide safety information and instruction. On Friday, the supervisor's lawyer, Andrew May, said his client was not ready to enter in a plea, but that a future not guilty plea was an "unlikely event." That matter has been set over until March. If the supervisor pleads not guilty, he will appear at the same trial as Atlantic Minerals. Atlantic Minerals is headquartered in Corner Brook. According to its website, the company has 130 employees at its Lower Cove operation. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
HURON COUNTY – Huron County will host the annual Ontario West Coast Tourism Summit this year, virtually. The free, two-day event will concentrate on the tourism landscape pre- and post-COVID and rural tourism’s advantages. Tourism industry expert William Bakker of Destination Think will speak on Jan. 25 from 1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. Destination Think works with the most innovative tourism boards in the world, according to their website. They create vision, solve business challenges, and “execute brilliant, integrated campaigns.” His presentation will include tourism market trends focusing on the tourism landscape, pre-COVID, and post-COVID. Attendees will hear about destinations that are “re-imagining themselves with a goal of re-building, with both the economy and environment in mind,” according to a press release from Huron County. A facilitated breakout session will follow, which will focus on how Huron County’s tourism sector can work together towards a successful recovery from COVID-19. The second day of the summit will be held on Jan. 26, from 9 – 11:30 a.m. Director and Master Experience Crafter Chris Hughes, from BC Hughes, a tourism, management, and marketing company will share the advantages of rural tourism and how operators can use this advantage to match shifting tourism trends. Hughes will discuss the key elements needed to develop effective touring routes. He will also share how operators can adjust their own tourism experiences to become part of a regionally themed touring route. “The County remains dedicated to working collaboratively and supporting our vibrant tourism sector,” Warden Glen McNeil said in the press release. “Specifically, I want to thank the industry for the resiliency and innovation they have shown over the past year. Huron County tourism, and all of those that support it, are essential to the vitality of our county.” Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times