Disgraced self-improvement guru Keith Raniere, whose NXIVM followers included millionaires and Hollywood actors, was sentenced to 120 years on Tuesday for turning some adherents into sex slaves branded with his initials.
Disgraced self-improvement guru Keith Raniere, whose NXIVM followers included millionaires and Hollywood actors, was sentenced to 120 years on Tuesday for turning some adherents into sex slaves branded with his initials.
WASHINGTON — Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.Barr's comments, in an interview Tuesday with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month's voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.More to Trump's liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn't said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn't comment Tuesday.Trump has long railed against the investigation into whether his 2016 campaign was co-ordinating with Russia, but he and Republican allies had hoped the results would be delivered before the 2020 election and would help sway voters. So far, there has been only one criminal case, a guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer to a single false statement charge.Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest. An attorney general must document such reasons in writing.Barr went to the White House Tuesday for a previously scheduled meeting that lasted about three hours.Trump didn't directly comment on the attorney general's remarks on the election. But his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, "with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president's complaints.Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump's allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired. But it's not clear whether Barr might suffer the same fate. He maintains a lofty position with Trump, and despite their differences the two see eye-to-eye on quite a lot.Still, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quipped: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud.That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election was certified. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.The Trump campaign team led by Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers didn’t have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened. The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence.But local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims, prompting grave concerns over potential damage to American democracy.Trump himself continues to rail against the election in tweets and in interviews though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever. He recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but he still refuses to admit he lost.The issues they've have pointed to are typical in every election: Problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.But they've gone further. Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” – the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. Powell has since been removed from the legal team after an interview she gave where she threatened to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.Barr didn't name Powell specifically but said: “There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”In the campaign statement, Giuliani claimed there was “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined.”“We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth,” he said.However, Barr said earlier that people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said a remedy for many complaints would be a top-down audit by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all," he said, but first there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. ... And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on."___Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
Canada will not agree to lifting a ban on non-essential travel with the United States until the coronavirus outbreak is significantly under control around the world, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday. Trudeau's comments were a clear indication that the border restrictions will last well into 2021. The two countries have highly integrated economies and Canada sends 75% of its goods exports to the United States every month.
Budget talks will continue but Southgate council has provided its feedback on major projects proposed for next year. While council can only approve the budget for the next year, members are presented with 10-year forecasts so they can look ahead at what’s coming. These are only projections. Projects sometimes get delayed for reasons beyond the control of the municipality, or moved forward if there is a good grant opportunity. The project funding doesn’t only come from the same year’s taxation. Projects are also financed by development charges, township reserves, transfers from other levels and in some cases by loans or grants. PLANS FOR TOWNSHIP FACILITIES ARE COMPLEX A big discussion is planned on facilities. Staff had originally proposed construction of a new multi-use facility in 2021. That has been delayed by more pressing needs for increased staff space due to COVID-19. Still, questions remain about that facility and its timing, whether any money will be dedicated to the Olde Town Hall pending proposals from private parties in the upcoming Request for Proposal. Right now, the building department is now operating out of the library, and council is meeting virtually. Discussions will include whether the council should return to the chambers or leave the space to allow more room for staff at the Hopeville office. Other facilities needing to expand are the fire station and Dundalk depot. In the past, the CAO has mentioned putting the Dundalk works and the township building departments in Dundalk, as the county has plans (no date yet decided) to move its sand dome out of town. In general discussion of the capital projects, councillors raised questions about costs expected from growth, especially in Dundalk. The CAO said that new development helps keep rates down. Instead, right now, the force that is a pressure on taxes is the need to keep roads and bridges in good condition, he said. LIBRARY The library anticipates an expenditure of $40,000 to expand the collection, for furnishings and to go to an infrastructure reserve in 2028. FIRE About $725,000 is budgeted in 2021 with the main expense being adding a new rescue/pumper/tanker. In 2022, about $300,000 for an expansion of one bay is forecast. ROADS The proposed roads budget is $3.7 million. That includes various construction projects as well as a plow truck, a loader and a one-tonne truck replacement. At an earlier discussion on Nov. 17, public works manager Jim Ellis asked council to consider whether it wanted to continue having staff work with outside contractors on infrastructure projects. Many paving projects are planned. The 2019 road conditions study found that about one-third of the hard-top roads in Southgate have a condition rating of 5 or less, meaning they need replacement of surfacing and are past asphalt maintenance strategies. Mr. Ellis posed the possibility of turning sections of low-traffic roads back to gravel to save money on roads needing re-construction. He said while 50 to 200 vehicles per day would be typical in that category of road, some sections had an average of seven vehicles per day, with the maximum of 35 in one day in a two-week study. So while a section of road like that might pop up closer to the top of the list for repairs, he said, it might be more worthwhile to put the money into a more-travelled road from slightly lower on the list. About $40,000 is anticipated to be spent on downtown improvements. M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
The Fort McKay Métis Group is planning to break ground on a solar farm as early as next year, making it the second project of its kind in the Wood Buffalo region. Ron Quintal, chair of the group and president of the Fort McKay Métis Nation, said the groundbreaking ceremony is expected to be held sometime in spring 2021. At the same time, the company is looking at larger solar projects closer to Edmonton that could be finalized within the next two years. Details such as costs and size of the solar farms are being finalized. The projects do not represent a switch away from the group's work in the oilsands, but a response to growing demands for renewable energy sources. “You can’t have success in green energy by just shutting out the rest of the energy sector,” said Quintal in a Monday interview. “For our community to be able to build these green projects, we’re going to have to use monies raised from the energy industry.” The McKay Métis Group is also negotiating other equity projects, such as stakes in the proposed Alaska to Alberta railway and the Trans Mountain expansion. Last week, the company appointed Crystal Young as its new CEO. Part of her role will be directing these new green energy projects. For Young, Indigenous-led energy companies should be the ones leading the way in renewable energy development. “Indigenous-led companies understand the importance of giving back to communities,” she said in an interview. “We all have the same vision.” Locally, a new solar farm in Fort Chipewyan is the most recent example of an Indigenous-led energy company pursuing green energy projects. The project, completed by Three Nations Energy, will provide 25 per cent of Fort Chipewyan’s energy annually. The solar farm is designed to cut greenhouse gas emission by 2,170 tonnes and save up to 800,000 litres of diesel fuel annually. Suncor, Canada’s second largest oilsands producer, has also tapped into the renewable energy sector by investing in four wind power farms across Canada. For Quintal, renewable energy and oil are energy sources that are complimentary, rather than adversarial. He also hopes the energy needs of oilsands projects will be met with future green energy sources. Quintal says this will bring operational cost savings that could be invested elsewhere. “I think that’s a win-win for everybody,” he said. email@example.comSarah Williscraft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort McMurray Today
MOSCOW — Irina Antonova, a charismatic art historian who presided over one of Russia's top art museums for more than half a century, has died at 98. The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts said Antonova, its president, died in Moscow on Monday. It said Tuesday that Antonova last week tested positive for coronavirus, which exacerbated her chronic heart ailments. Antonova began working at the Pushkin museum after her graduation in 1945, and in 1961 she became its director. She held the job until 2013, when she shifted into the ceremonial post of its president. The 52-year tenure made her the world's longest-serving director of a major art museum. As the Pushkin museum director, Antonova spearheaded major art exhibitions that saw the exchange of art treasures between the Pushkin Museum and top international art collections despite the Cold War-era tensions and constraints. Those exchanges, facilitated by her extensive personal contacts with colleagues in the museum world, brought Antonova wide acclaim worldwide. She also was very active in promoting the museum's treasures to the public. Antonova has received numerous Russian and foreign state awards. Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his condolences. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the president often met Antonova at the museum and “highly appraised her deep expert knowledge.” Antonova will be buried in Moscow's Novodevichy cemetery alongside her husband, who also was an art historian. Funeral ceremonies will be closed to the public amid coronavirus restrictions. The Associated Press
Santa will be able to make his visit to P.E.I. on Christmas Eve, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison informed Islanders at her regular weekly briefing Tuesday morning that Santa had been pre-approved for travel."I received a special alert this morning to tell me there is no COVID-19 in the North Pole. Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, the elves and the reindeer are all safe and healthy. They know that COVID-19 has been very hard for children and families around the world," said Morrison.Santa is still asking his elves to practise physical distancing and wash their hands regularly, she said.As for Elf on the Shelf, Morrison noted that the annual visitor arrived at her house Tuesday morning, having qualified as a rotational worker who is to become part of her family bubble. Other families' elves will be treated the same way.Holiday guidelinesThe Chief Public Health Office will be posting guidelines for Islanders celebrating Christmas and New Year's later this week, Morrison said.With the Atlantic bubble suspended, Morrison said Islanders need to avoid unnecessary travel."I urge Islanders to not travel off-Island over the holidays," she said."I urge families, including students who live off-Island, to consider not coming home for the holidays, and that's hard to say."For those who do wish to come to the Island, pre-travel approval will be required and arrivals will need to be prepared to self-isolate for 14 days.Morrison is recommending levees not be held this year. As with any gathering, any levee that is held will require an operational plan.More from CBC P.E.I.
NEW YORK — Geoffrey S. Berman, the ousted federal prosecutor in Manhattan who led several investigations into President Donald Trump's allies, has been hired by a white-shoe law firm in New York.Berman will provide criminal defence in white-collar cases and work on complex commercial litigation at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, the firm announced Tuesday.The firm is “well known for its cutting-edge counsel to top tier companies and high-profile individuals,” Berman said in a statement.Fried Frank described Berman as “one of the most respected prosecutors in the United States.”Berman was pushed out in June as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he led several investigations with tentacles into Trump's orbit, including one involving the business dealings of Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney.The same office prosecuted former Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen for campaign finance crimes and two Giuliani associates tied to the investigation that led to Trump’s impeachment investigation. Giuliani has not been charged.Berman later told the House Judiciary Committee that Attorney General William Barr “repeatedly urged” him to step aside and take a new job heading up the Department of Justice’s Civil Division.“I told the attorney general that I was not interested,” Berman told the panel. “There were important investigations in the office that I wanted to see through to completion.”Berman’s removal was decried by some critics as a “Friday night massacre” and fueled longstanding concerns among Democratic lawmakers that the Justice Department had become politicized under Barr.Berman's new role as head of Fried Frank's white-collar practice was previously held by Audrey Strauss, Berman's successor in the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office. Berman only agreed to step down over the summer after being assured Strauss would be in charge of the office.Between jobs, Berman has taught as a visiting professor at Stanford Law School.“It’s been great teaching at my alma mater, even if by Zoom, and as soon as things return to normal, I hope to lecture in person on campus,” he told The Associated Press.__Associated Press writer Larry Neumeister contributed to this report.Jim Mustian, The Associated Press
Multiple regions in the U.S. are reporting that hospitals are filled to capacity with COVID patients. (Dec. 1)
A symbol of magic and happiness, the World Tree has been set up in Jasper for the third year running in Robson Park. "This is an ideal location within Jasper's residential area, nestled in a green space bordering our schools, the library and the Jasper Art Gallery," said Marcia DeWandel, one of the volunteers behind the tree, in an email. "It creates a festive community hub during the cool, dark winter season." This year’s tree was harvested in a valley close to town, as part of the area's FireSmart program. It was set up on Nov. 30 by municipal staff, with help from the volunteer trio of DeWandel, Traudi Golla and Penny Bayfield. DeWandel said there has been a great deal of support from community organizations. The Municipality of Jasper gave approval for the initiative in October, 2018. Other community groups that have helped the World Tree be a shining light include Community Outreach Services, the Jasper Volunteer Fire Brigade, the Jasper Municipal Library, Jasper Artists Guild, the Dutch Guy, SAW Construction, Friends of Jasper and Parks Canada Although the World Tree is not a fundraiser, DeWandel pointed out that in 2018 and 2019, Santas Anonymous encouraged donations through the sale of tree decorations and hot chocolate at the site. Adaptation to the reality of COVID means events have to happen in different ways. "Like the rest of the world, the pandemic has prompted us to think outside the box," DeWandel said. "The World Tree is needed this year, and its light and energy will remain in Robson Park this season." While there won't be a formal lighting event, the tree will be lit on Dec. 4. Volunteers are encouraging festivities and giving in a slightly different way this year. "Visit the World Tree with your cohort and decorate," DeWandel said. "The more love the tree receives, the brighter it shines. Students from all the schools are still encouraged to make decorations and place them on the tree." DeWandel also encouraged folks to donate to Santas Anonymous by purchasing raffle tickets for the "amazing gingerbread house" or visiting the mitten donation line at TGP. "Support your community by shopping locally," she said. DeWandel hopes the World Tree becomes a tradition in Jasper, with coordination done by a formal group. For 2020, she said, "The World Tree will continue to bring happiness and joy this holiday season. It represents a sense of normalcy during a time of uncertainty. “The tree is community, it is fun, it is magic and it is hope."Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
Elliot Page wrote a heartfelt note on Instagram: “I love that I am trans.”
Fines totalling more than $180,000 were issued to people accused of breaking Manitoba's COVID-19 rules in the last week, the province said Tuesday.Of the 100 tickets issued, nearly half were for not following various public health orders. In total, 20 per cent of the tickets were related to gatherings larger than five people, Premier Brian Pallister said at a news conference on COVID-19 enforcement."It's critical right now that we don't gather with people outside of our households, and we need the full participation of all Manitobans in order for these strict public health measures work," he said at a news conference.In addition, 22 fines worth $5,000 each were issued to businesses, for various offences. Of those businesses, Springs Church in Winnipeg was given four fines totalling $20,000 related to a large drive-in service held last weekend contrary to public health orders, according to data from the province.One person was also fined $1,296 over that service. Enforcement officers are still investigating and are expecting to hand out more tickets."There will be consequences for those who disregard public health orders," he said. "It's incredibly disappointing that anyone would blatantly disregard public health orders in place to protect Manitobans."The Superstore in Brandon, Man., was also fined twice, and now owes $10,000, the province says.In addition, 23 tickets worth $298 each were issued to people for not wearing a mask in indoor public places. The remaining seven were band bylaw tickets issued by Manitoba First Nations Police Service.In all, a total of $181,574 in fines was issued from Nov. 23 to 29, up from $126,082 a week earlier.The Church of God in Sarto, Man., near the city of Steinbach, was fined $5,000, and six people were given individual tickets of $1,296, after the church tried to hold a large drive-in service on Sunday. They were blocked by RCMP officers, which led to more than 100 cars lining the highway trying to get into the church's parking lot.Pallister said 30 tickets have also been issued to people who took part in a large demonstration in Steinbach on Nov. 14. Officers are investigating and are expecting to hand out additional tickets, he said.Pallister says if repeat offenders don't get the message, the province could find other ways to get people to stay home, including tougher fines. "The fact is, if you take $1,000 out of somebody's pocket, then that better be a deterrent. And if it isn't, $5000 will be," he said."And if it's a store and it does it again, you can close them. So the fact of the matter is we've got more serious steps we could take if we need to. I just obviously hope and pray we don't have to take those next steps."WATCH | Pallister's message to COVID-19 rule breakers:Asked about municipalities that aren't enforcing COVID-19 restrictions, Pallister said that if they won't do it, the province will. "We'll be enforcing in municipalities just as we did this past weekend, whether they have municipal officials there or not," he said."So I would emphasize to people who think that they can get away with something in one RM because there's nobody from the RM enforcing, that there are other people who are certainly willing to do that and are."The update comes after Manitoba hit a record high for COVID-19 hospitalizations on Monday with 342 people in hospital, 43 of them in intensive care units.On Tuesday, Manitoba reported a record 16 deaths in one day, as the province added 283 new cases to its total.Last week, Pallister said the province had issued close to 100 tickets from Nov. 16 to 22, totalling $126,082. It was a significant increase from the week before, when Pallister announced the province was hiring a private security firm to help crack down on COVID-19 rule breakers.Meanwhile, RCMP said they have issued 21 fines between Nov. 21 and Nov. 27.Of those, eight were issued for hosting a gathering, five were for failing to self-isolate, four were for having guests from outside of a household, three were for failing to wear a mask and one was for attending a large gathering, according to a news release issued Tuesday.Officers also gave 49 verbal warnings during this time, RCMP say.Since April, Manitoba RCMP have issued 188 warnings and 99 fines.WATCH | Update on COVID-19 enforcement measures:
Nova Scotia's office of the auditor general has provided the most detailed and comprehensive picture yet of the impacts of COVID- 19 on the province's spending, and the McNeil government's attempts to cushion the pandemic's economic blow on Nova Scotians and their businesses.According to auditors, the government has spent $580 million in response to the virus, which was first detected in Nova Scotia on March 15.Acting auditor general Terry Spicer noted Tuesday's report was not a formal audit of the spending, rather it was intended to inform Nova Scotians about how the virus has affected provincial finances."It's all about providing Nova Scotians with information on the financial impacts of COVID, and they are significant," he told CBC News. "What we're hoping to do with this would be just to provide and inform Nova Scotians of the various impacts that this has, both on spending and on the revenue side."In terms of revenue, the report noted what Finance Minister Karen Casey reported on July 29 — a $532-million decrease from the budget she presented in February.Coupled with the extra spending as a result of COVID and other increases, the province reported a $852.9-million deficit in the July fiscal update. Another update is scheduled before the end of this month.In terms of extra costs, not surprisingly it's the Department of Health and Wellness that has shouldered the biggest share, racking up a total of $340.3 million in extra spending. Nearly half of that money, $154.7 million, has gone to pay for hospital operations, including extra wages, the purchase of additional personal protective equipment and supplies, and to compensate facilities for revenue declines from lost parking fees and food sales.Another $81 million has gone toward the essential health-care workers program, which provided a $2,000 bonus to front-line staff. The federal government funded $71 million of that program.Other significant expenses include: * $53.6 million to pay doctors for virtual visits * $35.1 million in capital projects * $21.9 million in equipment purchases, including ventilators In the report, the auditor general's office noted that the finance and Treasury Board budget recorded an additional expense of $120 million in the 2019-20 budget. Almost all that extra COVID spending was in the form of a one-time payment to Dalhousie University to administer relief programs on behalf of the province.Because the auditor general's office did not conduct a formal audit, Spicer said he could not express an opinion on whether handing the job over to Dalhousie was the proper thing to do, nor could he express an opinion on the work done by the university.Spicer said that would have to await a formal audit currently underway by his office."We're going to be looking at the controls around the protection of these assets and the money, and are they going to the people that they were intended and the companies that they were intended to go to," he said. "It's going to be a much more focused, in-depth look at the spending."The Education Department is next highest spending department when it comes to COVID mitigation. It spent an extra $65.1 million, primarily on the department's back-to-school reopening plan and child-care centre grants. The McNeil government paid $35.5 million to keep child-care centres afloat between March and September.The Department of Business developed four programs this past year to help struggling businesses, costing a total of $46.3 million. Almost all of that money, $37.9 million, went to capital projects which were already on the books, including work on the Halifax boardwalk, the COVE wharf in Dartmouth as well as improvements at Peggys Cove.The department also compensated two Crown corporations, the Halifax Convention Centre and Develop Nova Scotia, to the tune of $4.2 million for lost revenue.The department responsible for taking care of vulnerable Nova Scotians spent an extra $10 million in increased supports for families receiving government assistance, including a one-time payment of $50 in March to individuals on income assistance.The report also notes $228 million in infrastructure stimulus spending "to create jobs, improve infrastructure and get the economy moving again." The auditor general's office did not detail that spending.The government has repeatedly refused to provide a list of those projects. Premier Stephen McNeil has told Nova Scotians who want to know to search it out on the provincial government's tender web page.The report also noted the absence of a COVID-19 recovery plan."We're not suggesting that there should be as yet, but we think it's a fair question for Nova Scotians to ask government when they'll be providing a recovery plan and what looks like going forward," said Spicer.MORE TOP STORIES
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is turning to a nasal spray as its primary flu vaccine for residents between the ages of two and 59. FluMist was originally available only for private purchase this year, but is now being offered by the Ontario government as demand continues across the province, according to a memo to the mayor and council from Dr. Vera Etches, the city's medical officer of health.The spray will be available at OPH clinics starting Friday. It will also be distributed to pharmacies and family physicians, OPH said.The unprecedented demand for the influenza vaccine this year caused some pharmacies to run out, delaying vaccination for some Ottawa residents.Nasal spray 'proven to be effective'Etches said the nasal spray, which is authorized for use in Canada in children and adults up to 59, is "proven to be effective" and has the support of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization. OPH has distributed the spray in previous flu seasons, Etches said. Infants, adults over 60, people who are immunosuppressed, pregnant women and those with uncontrolled asthma will receive a flu shot instead of the spray.Concerned about the possibility of a "double pandemic" and the resulting strain on the health-care system, public health officials have been especially adamant about residents getting vaccinated against influenza this season, and residents have apparently heeded the call.More than 48,000 Ottawa residents have been vaccinated against influenza since OPH began the current campaign in October. That's more than four times the number vaccinated during the previous flu season. "OPH will continue to offer available appointments on our website based on community demand and vaccine availability," Etches wrote. "OPH continues to recommend that individuals at high risk of influenza-related complications seek out opportunities to get the flu vaccine as soon as possible."
When council had its first look at the capital budget it discussed using outside consultants to complete some crucial planning projects. Southgate needs to do an industrial plan, urban expansion and updates to the official plan and zoning bylaw. Asked why outside help was needed, township planner Clint Stredwick told council it comes down to workload. Of course, subdivision proposals are now coming in regularly he said. “It’s not just residential any more. It’s commercial and industrial… They all require site plans, they require thought,” If he was to take up those extra projects, “you would have people breaking down your door asking where your planner is,” Mr. Stredwick said. Coun. Jason Rice posed the question about the pace of development, and the costs. Mr. Stredwick said that growth will come to an end unless the limits of wastewater capacity are solved. CAO Dave Milliner expanded on that. He agreed that you don’t want to spend money building capacity that isn’t used, and no one can predict if current interest in Dundalk will stay strong. But right now, he said, the demand is high, and he and the planner are fielding many, many calls from people who want to move their business out of Toronto. The new interest in living in Dundalk drives pressure on pricing in our community to almost unaffordable levels for some people, he said, but it also drives the economy. The budget also contains expenses to open up more land for development. About $1.7 million will be spent in 2021 on the first phase of construction of the Highway 10 Bypass, which was deferred to 2021. In 2022, an estimate of $2.3 million is given for the second phase of that construction. About $1 million from the sale of industrial land is expected in 2021, an amount that also was deferred from this year. Water and wastewater are budget categories that don’t come out of resident’s taxes. Money for big water and wastewater projects comes from reserves that are built up from user fees and from Development Charges. Design for the new Dundalk water tower is planned for 2021, with the tower to be built in 2022. Also, servicing will be changed to a loop rather than a dead end at Hagan and Gold Street . While 2021 will see pump replacements, in 2022 about $16 million is forecast for sewage treatment facility upgrades. Work will also have to be done within the next five years on pumping stations to move sewage.M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Roger Mandle, an internationally renowned art scholar and the former longtime president of the Rhode Island School of Design, has died, RISD said Tuesday. He was 79.Mandle died over the weekend, the school said in a statement, without elaborating. A cause of death was not given.Mandle served as president of RISD from 1993 to 2008. He was credited with helping modernize the school, one of America's most prestigious four-year art colleges, and quadrupling its endowment to over $400 million. He previously served as deputy director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.A former member of the National Council on the Arts appointed by former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Mandle helped shape and guide the U.S. art and design agenda.“My mission, my vision, is to contribute to our humanity and quality of life and to make Providence and the Rhode Island School of Design a globally recognized centre of art, design and right-brained thinking,” he once said.From 2008 to 2012, Mandle was executive director of the Qatar Museums Authority, overseeing more than a dozen museums, including the Museum of Islamic Art, the Qatar Natural History Museum and the National Museum of Qatar.Later, he launched a consulting firm dedicated to assisting museums and universities in strategic planning, board and senior staff development and mentoring, and advice during important transitions.He was a former director of the Toledo Museum of Art, a former associate director of the Minneapolis Institute of Art and a member of the Ohio Arts Council.“The American arts and higher education communities have lost a giant," Democratic U.S. Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island said in a statement, calling Mandle “an extraordinary man and a great civic leader.”“His influence on generations of artists and others whose lives were made better through the arts will live on,” RISD President Rosanne Somerson said in a statement.Mandle is survived by his wife, the abstract painter and acclaimed mixed media artist Gayle Wells Mandle; son Luke Mandle; daughter Julia Mandle; and five grandchildren.Funeral arrangements were incomplete Tuesday.William J. Kole, The Associated Press
TORONTO — Awards season is in full swing on streaming services this month, even if the Oscars and Golden Globes have been pushed further into 2021 due to the pandemic. Several likely contenders are making their at-home debut over the holidays, including Chadwick Boseman’s final role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom." The film hits Netflix on Dec. 18 and Boseman is considered one of the frontrunners for a best actor nomination at the Academy Awards.There’s also “Mank,” David Fincher’s three-hour passion project about “Citizen Kane” screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz. The Netflix film may secure Fincher his third director Oscar nod after it arrives Dec. 4.Here are some other picks to add to your watchlist in December:"FUNNY BOY"Sri Lankan-Canadian author Shyam Selvadurai's acclaimed novel is brought to the screen by Deepa Mehta in this vibrant coming-of-age tale set in the leadup to the deadly Tamil-Sinhalese conflict. A Tamil boy, growing up in a wealthy Sri Lankan family, comes to terms with his sexual identity as a gay teen while simmering political tensions threaten to upend everything he holds dear. The film is Canada’s submission for best international film at the Oscars. (CBC Gem, Dec. 4) "SELENA: THE SERIES"The tragic story of Mexican-American pop singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez, who was gunned down by her fan club manager in 1995, is retold through a romanticized lens in this dramatic series that’s being released into two packages of episodes. The first round of nine episodes centre on her family’s rags-to-riches story as they work to make their band, fronted by Selena, bridge the gap between Tejano music and pop radio. Stuffed with feel-good ‘80s hits and an understated performance by Christian Serratos as the titular singer, the series offers a new perspective on a rising star first portrayed by Jennifer Lopez in a 1997 biopic. (Netflix, Part 1, Dec. 4) "YOUR HONOR"“Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston is a New Orleans judge who built his career on truth and justice until his only son confesses involvement in a hit-and-run. Tossing aside his moral high ground, he begins to bury the evidence, hoping to tip the scales in his son's favour. Of course, everything quickly goes off the rails in this 10-episodes limited series. (Crave, Dec. 6, episodes weekly) "PALM SPRINGS"Andy Samberg is a slacker who stumbles into a time-loop while trying to evade mingling with guests at a desert wedding. But once he gets comfortable in the cyclical monotony of his new reality, a surprise arrives that could turn his entire world upside down again. Built on a script that's a cross between “Groundhog Day” and “Russian Doll,” this lively flick, co-starring J.K. Simmons and Cristin Milioti, takes the traits of a typical rom-com and creates a timely reflection on life’s relationship routines. (Amazon Prime Video, Dec. 18) QUICK TAKES:"SMALL AXE" - "12 Years a Slave" director Steve McQueen delivers five distinctly different films in this anthology series about West Indian immigrants in London, mainly during the 1970s. "Mangrove" and "Lovers Rock" have already received rapturous reviews. (Amazon Prime Video, updated Fridays)“LENNON'S LAST WEEKND” – The BBC’s Andy Peebles was the last journalist to interview John Lennon and he returns to New York in this documentary to revisit that experience. (BritBox, Dec. 8)“LET THEM ALL TALK” - Meryl Streep plays an acclaimed author forced to confront her troubled relationships while on a cruise. (Crave/HBO, Dec. 10)This report by The Canadian Press was first published December 2, 2020.David Friend, The Canadian Press
Saskatchewan Teachers Federation president Patrick Maze says more consistent COVID-19 protocols may help alleviate "a tremendous anxiety" that exists among many teachers in the province.There are currently four levels of restrictions in the province's back-to-school plan, but it's up to each school division to decide when to move to another level. The province did recently made masks mandatory in schools for all students, employees and visitors unless they're eating or drinking.Nevertheless, Maze said he wants a consistent set of rules for every school division to abide by."When it's a virus, when it's a medical situation, we're best to leave all precautions and recommendations and that up to medical health officials," Maze told CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.Maze said he understands it's a big province and different schools are in different situations, but that the virus can show up in any community at any time."it's really a situation where we should have one set of standards for education that basically all school divisions are compelled to follow," he said."I think it would be easier to understand for the public if it was one consistent set of standards."Moving online 1 optionMaze said switching to online learning province-wide would be one way to get everyone on the same page and keep everyone safe as case numbers stay high."Right now [teachers] have kids coming into their classroom who we know are involved in community transmission and are bringing it into their classrooms," he told"There's just a tremendous anxiety as they don't know when [or] where they're being exposed."Online and in-person learning are happening around the province. Many schools without any cases of COVID-19 are using in-person learning, schools with a low number of cases are using a mixture of online and in-person learning, while schools with high case numbers have switched entirely to online learning.Maze said moving exclusively online wouldn't just help protect teachers and students, it would simplify the workload for teachers. He said many of them are teaching both in-person and online, and also working with students who are in isolation to keep them up to speed."It feels like they're being pulled in three different directions and it's just not sustainable," he said."The bottom line is they're still exposed to the virus as long as they're going into their classrooms and being in front of students each day." Maze said he appreciates that some parents might be upset by schools moving to online learning, but safety for students and staff needs to be a top priority."There's no perfect situation," he said."We have to recognize the fact that we're in a global pandemic right now and that people are getting sick and we need to take corrective measures in order to prevent that from happening."Maze said he understands online learning can be especially difficult for young kids who need supervision at home, but that it could prevent more cases of COVID-19.Resistance to protocols 'a bit frustrating'More schools have been reporting COVID-19 cases recently. Maze said some could have been prevented had schools been moved to a higher restriction level earlier.Even with rising numbers, there are a lot of people who still aren't following protocols, which is putting teachers at risk, he said."There's a lot of resistance among the Saskatchewan public to change their lifestyle habits until the virus is actually right in their community, right in front of them, and that's a bit frustrating."Maze said his responsibility to keep teachers safe across the province is compromised when people refuse to follow pandemic protocols."I just wish that people would really listen to what public health has to say, listen to the experts, as opposed to what they read online," he said."Their opinions really don't matter in a global pandemic. What matters is what the medical health officers are telling us."
Ontario is reporting 1,707 new cases of COVID-19 today, and seven new deaths due to the virus.Health Minister Christine Elliott says 727 new cases are in Toronto, 373 in Peel Region, and 168 cases in York Region.The province also reported 299 new COVID-19 cases related to schools, including at least 253 among students.Those bring the number of schools with a reported case to 737 out of Ontario's 4,828 publicly funded schools.In the province's long-term care homes, 743 residents currently have COVID-19 and six new deaths have been reported today. The province says 109 of its 626 long-term care homes are experiencing an outbreak.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020. The Canadian Press
Up to $100,000 will be given to the N.W.T. resident or company that submits the strongest proposal for an investment in technology. That financial pledge comes from the N.W.T. Manufacturing Innovation and Technology Contribution, a GNWT fund designed to find a project that will reduce costs, increase productivity for an N.W.T. business, and increase local employment. Members of the N.W.T. Manufacturing Association and new businesses looking to become a manufacturer can apply, as can individual N.W.T. residents. Those applying must be prepared to make an equity contribution of at least 20 per cent of the cost of their proposal. The project seeks to “support and encourage innovation in the N.W.T. manufacturing sector by supporting research into existing and emerging technologies.” Entries must be submitted by December 13. Application details and eligibility criteria can be found on the GNWT’s website.Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio
A former tennis coach in the Annapolis Valley has been sentenced to two years probation for a variety of sexual offences involving a 15-year-old boy.Aaron Byron Cumberland, 29, was credited Tuesday for 18 months time already served in custody, including time spent in isolation.In October, he was found guilty in Kentville provincial court of luring a child, making sexually explicit material available to a child and invitation to sexual touching.Cumberland's sentence also had a long list of conditions, including that he must stay away from public swimming pools, playgrounds and daycares.It was the third trial on the charges after the first ended in a mistrial and the second with a hung jury. But after a week of testimony in the third trial and days of deliberation, the jury returned a guilty verdict.The case centred around Facebook messages Cumberland sent to a 15-year-old boy. The parents of the teen had testified they saw sexually explicit photos that were sent to their son.Caught illegally entering Maine in 2018In 2017, when Cumberland was wanted on an outstanding warrant, he turned himself in to Halifax police on the same day police asked for the public's help in locating him.While he was awaiting trial in May 2018, Cumberland was caught illegally entering Maine on foot on a road that is not a designated entry point to the U.S.An American border control official said Cumberland and two other men were carrying backpacks when they were stopped. A fingerprint check showed Cumberland was facing charges in Nova Scotia.MORE TOP STORIES