An emergency COVID-19 field hospital on Staten Island has reopened as the number of infections as the number of coronavirus cases keep climbing. (Dec. 1)
An emergency COVID-19 field hospital on Staten Island has reopened as the number of infections as the number of coronavirus cases keep climbing. (Dec. 1)
WASHINGTON — The words of Donald Trump supporters who are accused of participating in the deadly U.S. Capitol riot may end up being used against him in his Senate impeachment trial as he faces the charge of inciting a violent insurrection. At least five supporters facing federal charges have suggested they were taking orders from the then-president when they marched on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 to challenge the certification of Joe Biden's election win. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. It's the first time a former president will face such charges after leaving office. “I feel like I was basically following my president. I was following what we were called to do. He asked us to fly there. He asked us to be there," Jenna Ryan, a Texas real estate agent who posted a photo on Twitter of herself flashing a peace sign next to a broken Capitol window, told a Dallas-Fort Worth TV station. Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man photographed on the dais in the Senate who was shirtless and wore face paint and a furry hat with horns, has similarly pointed a finger at Trump. Chansley called the FBI the day after the insurrection and told agents he travelled “at the request of the president that all ‘patriots’ come to D.C. on January 6, 2021,” authorities wrote in court papers. Chanley’s lawyer unsuccessfully lobbied for a pardon for his client before Trump's term ended, saying Chansley “felt like he was answering the call of our president.” Authorities say that while up on the dais in the Senate chamber, Chansley wrote a threatening note to then-Vice-President Mike Pence that said: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.” Trump is the first president to be twice impeached and the first to face a trial after leaving office. The charge this time is “inciting violence against the government of the United States.” His impeachment lawyer, Butch Bowers, did not respond to call for comment. Opening arguments in the trial will begin the week of Feb. 8. House Democrats who voted to impeach Trump last week for inciting the storming of the Capitol say a full reckoning is necessary before the country — and the Congress — can move on. For weeks, Trump rallied his supporters against the election outcome and urged them to come to the Capitol on Jan. 6 to rage against Biden's win. Trump spoke to the crowd near the White House shortly before they marched along Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill. “We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen,” Trump said. “You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.” Later he said: “If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.” He told supporters to walk to the Capitol to “peacefully and patriotically” make your voices heard. Trump has taken no responsibility for his part in fomenting the violence, saying days after the attack: “People thought that what I said was totally appropriate.” Unlike a criminal trial, where there are strict rules about what is and isn’t evidence, the Senate can consider anything it wishes. And if they can show that Trump’s words made a real impact, all the better, and scholars expect it in the trial. "Bringing in those people's statements is part of proving that it would be at a minimum reasonable for a rational person to expect that if you said and did the things that Trump said and did, then they would be understood in precisely the way these people understood them," said Frank Bowman, a constitutional law expert and law professor at University of Missouri. A retired firefighter from Pennsylvania told a friend that that he travelled to Washington with a group of people and the group listened to Trump's speech and then “followed the President’s instructions” and went to the Capitol, an agent wrote in court papers. That man, Robert Sanford, is accused of throwing a fire extinguisher that hit three Capitol Police officers. Another man, Robert Bauer of Kentucky, told FBI agents that “he marched to the U.S. Capitol because President Trump said to do so,” authorities wrote. His cousin, Edward Hemenway, from Virginia, told the FBI that he and Bauer headed toward the Capitol after Trump said “something about taking Pennsylvania Avenue." More than 130 people as of Friday were facing federal charges; prosecutors have promised that more cases — and more serious charges — are coming. Most of those arrested so far are accused of crimes like unlawful entry and disorderly conduct, but prosecutors this week filed conspiracy charges against three self-described members of a paramilitary group who authorities say plotted the attack. A special group of prosecutors is examining whether to bring sedition charges, which carry up to 20 years in prison, against any of the rioters. Two-thirds of the Senate is needed to convict. And while many Republicans — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky— have condemned Trump's words, it remains unclear how many would vote to convict him. “While the statements of those people kind of bolsters the House manager's case, I think that President Trump has benefited from a Republican Party that has not been willing to look at evidence,” said Michael Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law who testified before the House Judiciary Committee during Trump's first impeachment hearings in 2019. “They stood by him for the entire first impeachment proceeding, thinking that the phone call with the president of the Ukraine was perfect and I’m sure they will think that was a perfect speech too. There is nothing yet to suggest that they would think otherwise," Gerhardt said. ____ Richer reported from Boston. Alanna Durkin Richer And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — It's taken only days for Democrats gauging how far President Joe Biden's bold immigration proposal can go in Congress to acknowledge that if anything emerges, it will likely be significantly more modest. As they brace to tackle a politically flammable issue that's resisted major congressional action since the 1980s, Democrats are using words like “aspirational” to describe Biden's plan and “herculean” to express the effort they'll need to prevail. A cautious note came from the White House on Friday when press secretary Jen Psaki said the new administration views Biden's plan as a “first step” it hopes will be “the basis" of discussions in Congress. Democrats' measured tones underscore the fragile road they face on a paramount issue for their minority voters, progressives and activists. Immigration proponents advocating an all-out fight say Democrats' new hold on the White House and Congress provides a major edge, but they concede they may have to accept less than total victory. Paving a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally, the centerpiece of Biden's plan, is “the stake at the summit of the mountain,” Frank Sharry, executive director of the pro-immigration group America’s Voice, said in an interview. He said proponents may have to accept “stepping stones" along the way. The citizenship process in Biden's plan would take as little as three years for some people, eight years for others. It would make it easier for certain workers to stay in the U.S. temporarily or permanently, provide development aid to Central American nations in hopes of reducing immigration and move toward bolstering border screening technology. No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Richard Durbin of Illinois said in an interview this week that the likeliest package to emerge would start with creating a path to citizenship for so-called Dreamers. They are over 1 million immigrants who’ve lived in the U.S. most of their lives after being brought here illegally as children. Over 600,000 of them have temporary permission to live in the U.S. under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Former President Barack Obama created that program administratively, and Durbin and others want to protect it by enacting it into law. Durbin, who called Biden's plan “aspirational,” said he'll push for as many other elements as possible, including more visas for agricultural workers and others. “We understand the political reality of a 50-50 Senate, that any changes in immigration will require co-operation between the parties,” said Durbin, who is on track to become Senate Judiciary Committee chairman. He said Senate legislation likely “will not reach the same levels” as Biden’s proposal. The Senate is split evenly between the two parties, with Vice-President Kamala Harris tipping the chamber to Democrats with her tie-breaking vote. Even so, passing major legislation requires 60 votes to overcome filibusters, or endless procedural delays. That means 10 Republicans must join all 50 Democrats to enact an immigration measure, a tall order. “Passing immigration reform through the Senate, particularly, is a herculean task,” said Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who will also play a lead role in the battle. He said Democrats “will get it done” but the effort will require negotiation. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who's worked with Democrats on past immigration efforts, said “comprehensive immigration is going to be a tough sale” this year. “I think the space in a 50-50 Senate will be some kind of DACA deal,” he said. Illustrating the bargaining ahead, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate who’s sought earlier immigration compromises, praised parts of Biden's plan but said she wants changes including more visas for the foreign workers her state's tourism industry uses heavily. Democrats' hurdles are formidable. They have razor-thin majorities in a House and Senate where Republican support for easing immigration restrictions is usually scant. Acrid partisan relationships were intensified by former President Donald Trump's clamourous tenure. Biden will have to spend plenty of political capital and time on earlier, higher priority bills battling the pandemic and bolstering the economy, leaving his future clout uncertain. Democrats also must resolve tactical differences. Sharry said immigration groups prefer Democrats push for the strongest possible bill without concessions to Republicans' demands like boosting border security spending. He said hopes for a bipartisan breakthrough are “a fool’s errand” because the GOP has largely opposed immigration overhauls for so long. But prevailing without GOP votes would mean virtual unanimity among congressional Democrats, a huge challenge. It would also mean Democrats would have to eliminate the Senate filibuster, which they may not have the votes to do, or concoct other procedural routes around the 60-vote hurdle. “I'm going to start negotiating" with Republicans, said Durbin. He said a bipartisan bill would be better “if we can do it" because it would improve chances for passage. Democrats already face attacks from Republicans, eyeing next year's elections, on an issue that helped power Trump's 2016 victory by fortifying his support from many white voters. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Biden’s proposal would “prioritize help for illegal immigrants and not our fellow citizens.” Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., who heads the Senate Republican campaign committee, said the measure would hurt “hard-working Americans and the millions of immigrants working their way through the legal immigration process." Democrats say such allegations are false but say it's difficult to compose crisp, sound-bite responses on the complex issue. It requires having “an adult conversation” with voters, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., said in an interview. “Yeah, this is about people, but it's about the economy" too, said Spanberger, a moderate from a district where farms and technology firms hire many immigrants. “In central Virginia, we rely on immigration. And you may not like that, but we do." Alan Fram, The Associated Press
The culling of two beavers in Annapolis Royal this week has drawn criticism from residents, but the mayor says it was necessary to protect the town's sewage treatment plant. "We felt that the situation just couldn't be allowed to sit because we had no idea what the beavers were doing underground," Mayor Amery Boyer told CBC's Mainstreet on Friday. "... It appeared that they were burrowing into the dyke system so that really kind of escalated things for us." Boyer said the town originally received a complaint about beavers destroying trees on French Basin Trail. But after consulting the Department of Lands and Forestry, the town's public works department and the Clean Annapolis River Project, it was discovered the beavers also posed a "significant risk to the town's tertiary sewage treatment plant, as well as the adjacent trail and dyke systems." The marsh near the French Basin Trail is part of the treatment system for the town's wastewater. "If there was a blockage, we could have flooding of the walkways. We could have exposure of contaminated water," Boyer said. "If there's burrowing into the sides of the treatment plant, it could cause the walls of the treatment plant to collapse." Town opted against relocation Boyer said the town did consider relocating the beavers. "The answer we got was that nearly all suitable habitat in the province already has a colony of beavers and apparently they do not usually accept outsiders, which gives little chance of survival for the beavers," she said. After that conclusion, town council hired a nuisance wildlife operator to remove the beavers. A notice about the removal was posted in the Annapolis Royal Town Crier and was shared on Facebook, where it drew criticism from residents. "I couldn't believe, firstly, that people complained [about the beavers] because it is a nature area. It's natural, it's a marsh, and you expect [to see] animals," Susan Woodland, a resident of Annapolis Royal, told Mainstreet on Thursday. "Secondly, I couldn't believe, basically, that they were going to be killed because it says they can't be relocated. So my first step was to find out, was there not something else they could do?" Woodland contacted Hope for Wildlife, a wildlife sanctuary in Seaforth, N.S. She said the owner agreed that relocation was not ideal this time of year, but recommended relocation be delayed until the spring. But Boyer said there was no time to wait, especially if damage could be done to the $968,000 treatment plant. "We did feel it was a time constraint. We just couldn't let the situation get beyond us," she said. Boyer said she understands why residents were upset, but the beavers could have caused more damage than originally thought. "We live closely with wildlife. There's a lot of respect for wildlife. It's just that in this particular situation, we didn't see a way out." MORE TOP STORIES
Mayor Subkow called the regularly scheduled council meeting to order for the Village of Calder with all council members present. The council reviewed the minutes and Mayor Subkow made a motion to accept the minutes as reviewed; motion carried. Moving on, the council then reviewed the agenda as amended; carried. The council heard concerns from a village resident and discussed the situation with the resident. Carrying on, the council reviewed the correspondence prior to Councillor Buzinski making a motion to file it; the motion carried The council next reviewed the bank reconciliation report prior to Mayor Subkow making a motion for it to be passed; the motion carried. Moving on, the council reviewed the village’s accounts. Administrator Brock explained to the council what to expect in the accounts for the village. Mayor Subkow made a motion to accept the accounts which was carried. The council reviewed and signed the accounts payable prior to Mayor Subkow motioning to accept; motion carried. Administrator Brock was next to give her report to the council as to what she has done for the last month for the Village of Calder. Municipal Revenue Sharing was discussed under new business topics. The village meets all the criteria. Mayor Subkow made a motion to file the form for Municipals Revenue Sharing; motion carried. With only one (1) tender for garbage pickup, Councillor Buzinski made a motion to accept the tender which was carried. Summer student grants need to be filed prior to January 29, 2021. Councillor Spence made a motion to apply for a grant at a rate of $15 per hour for approximately 25-30 hours per week; motion carried. The meeting was then adjourned by Mayor Subkow. Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal
The Moose Hide Campaign is gearing up for its tenth anniversary with an upcoming livestream and set of virtual workshops. Founded in 2011 by a then 16-year-old Raven Lacerte and her father Paul, the campaign has now distributed more than two million squares of moose hide pins, representative of the commitments made during the campaign’s decade-long effort to end violence towards women and children. While out on a hunting trip near the Highway of Tears in northern British Columbia, called as such because of the many women who have gone missing or have been murdered along that 725-km stretch of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert, the father-daughter duo began thinking of the White Ribbon Campaign. Co-founded by former federal New Democratic Party leader, the now late Jack Layton, the White Ribbon Campaign was sparked in response to the hate and violence that led to the shooting deaths of 14 women and others injured at École Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989. “As we were talking about it, this moment of inspiration came to us,” Raven said. “We thought that moose hide would be something that men and boys would feel connected to with a hunter-gatherer, warrior feel to it,” she said, and that in turn could help raise awareness about the issue of violence toward women and children in the Indigenous community. Paul Lacerte had been at a conference in Vancouver focused on ending such violence when he recognized how few men were engaged by the issue. Of the hundreds of attendees, Lacerte noticed less than five men taking a true interest. “Women were doing all of it, the advocacy, the support, bearing the burden of the trauma and the healing,” Raven said. “We’ve been learning and growing over the years, as you can probably imagine as a 16-year-old and her dad just trying to sort it all out,” Raven said of the Moose Hide Campaign’s development over the years. “When we started, our idea was that ‘men need to end violence towards women and children’, with a special focus on Indigenous women and children,” Raven said. “As visibly Indigenous people, we know that the likelihood of something bad happening to me is much higher than other people. My dad really wanted to do that work to ensure that myself and my sisters could live lives free from violence.” Men and boys soon became engaged in the campaign, which includes a fast for one day as part of a call to action, which tests and deepens an individual’s personal commitment to honour and protect the woman and children in their lives. There was also a strong interest from other participants across the gender spectrum. “Immediately, women and gender non-binary folks were asking what their role could be in this movement,” Raven said. “It’s an awareness campaign. We invite everyone to wear the moose hide pin and fast with us, and continue these really important conversations.” “We’re still targeting men and boys specifically, but in the same breath saying that this campaign is for everyone. We need all of us to work together to end violence against women and children.” Raven also emphasized a greater integration of trans people and members of the greater LGBTQ2S+ community, with a goal of bringing an end to all gender-based and domestic violence. An event planned for Feb. 11 will run from 8:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Pacific Time. The intention is “To remember those we have lost. To share our stories and struggles. To grow closer through the experience of fasting and ceremony. To motivate one another with all we have managed to achieve,” reads the Moose Hide Campaign website. Forced online due to restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event offers the opportunity for attendees to hear from keynote speakers, the campaign’s founders, Elders and to participate in ceremony. February 11 is also the day people will undergo the traditional fast, which offers the opportunity for humility, healing and a signal that those taking part are serious about making change. Raven emphasized the importance of signing up through the campaign website to register for the day’s events, order a set of pins, learn healthy fasting techniques, and tips on organizing local Moose Hide Campaign events. There is also an option to order non-leather pins for those interested. Lacerte emphasized that the moose hides come from a variety of sources that are sent to a tannery, including donations from hunters who otherwise would have left the hides in the bush. “No moose are killed solely for the purpose of the campaign,” Raven said. The campaign encourages participants to wear the hide pins year-round. “Moose are iconically Canadian,” she said. “We wanted to offer a bit of the beauty and love and healing energy of the land as part of this movement. This is not just something you can throw in the garbage. We want you to wear it with pride.” Windspeaker.com By Adam Laskaris, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
The Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas and Beaches-East York Councillor Brad Bradford are asking Premier Doug Ford to limit big box stores from selling non-essential items. In a letter to the premier, writing on behalf of the city’s 84 BIAs representing more than 70,000 businesses, the two state that the latest emergency orders, while important for reducing the spread of COVID-19, are harmful to small businesses. “Under the latest orders essential retailers – particularly big box stores – are able to sell non-essential items in-store, and after-hours,” the letter reads. “This puts small businesses at a disadvantage and is a public health concern as it may encourage non-essential travel.” Bradford has been on weekly calls with TABIA throughout the pandemic and says there have been a lot of grievances over emergency rules for big box stores compared to small businesses. In the letter, Bradford and John Kiru (Executive Director of TABIA) make their request. “We are asking you take urgent action by going one step further in the orders and mandating big box stores and other retailers selling essential goods to close off sections of their stores where non-essential items are displayed,” they said. They cite a similar strategy used in Manitoba. In that province’s second retail lockdown in November 2020, it chose to not allow big box stores to choose their hours of operation. The goal is fairness for small businesses, Broadview-Danforth BIA chair Albert Stortchak said, expressing what so many BIAs across Toronto are feeling. “You see the big box stores, they’re selling the same products as we are and that hurts,” he said. While explaining that small businesses have demonstrated their capability to follow COVID-19 health protocols, Stortchak goes said if small businesses are outcompeted by big box retail under the current disadvantage, it spells problems for the future of community main streets. Some vacancies have made room for other businesses to grow, such as Mary Brown’s Chicken which opened in GreekTown on the Danforth last year, but Stortchak said the risk is greatest for small, independent shops. He said it is those type of small, independent stores and their owners that make a community vibrant as compared to franchises or generic shops which are found in most neighbourhoods. “It’s going to hollow us out,” he said. “If we lose the small independents, you’re going to be going somewhere else.” The letter to Premier Ford asks to “even the playing field” and review the new public health measures to curb non-essential travel and allow for equal competition for all business operators. Ali Raza, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Beach Metro News
Democrats plan to move quickly on one of the first bills of the new Congress, citing the need for federal election standards and other reforms to shore up the foundations of American democracy after a tumultuous post-election period and deadly riot at the Capitol. States have long had disparate and contradictory rules for running elections. But the 2020 election, which featured pandemic-related changes to ease voting and then a flood of lawsuits by former President Donald Trump and his allies, underscored the differences from state to state: Mail-in ballots due on Election Day or just postmarked by then? Absentee voting allowed for all or just voters with an excuse? Same-day or advance-only registration? Democrats, asserting constitutional authority to set the time, place and manner of federal elections, want national rules they say would make voting more uniform, accessible and fair across the nation. The bill would mandate early voting, same-day registration and other long-sought reforms that Republicans reject as federal overreach. “We have just literally seen an attack on our own democracy,” said U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, referring to the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol. “I cannot think of a more timely moment to start moving on democracy reform.” The legislation first introduced two years ago, known as the For the People Act, also would give independent commissions the job of drawing congressional districts, require political groups to disclose high-dollar donors, create reporting requirements for online political ads and, in a rearview nod at Trump, obligate presidents to disclose their tax returns. Republican opposition was fierce during the last session. At the time, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., labeled it the “Democrat Politician Protection Act” and said in an op-ed that Democrats were seeking to “change the rules of American politics to benefit one party.” While Democrats control Congress for the first time in a decade, the measure's fate depends on whether enough Republicans can be persuaded to reconsider a bill they have repeatedly rejected. If not, Democrats could decide it's time to take the extraordinary and difficult step of eliminating the Senate filibuster, a procedural tool often used by the minority party to block bills under rules that require 60 votes to advance legislation. Advocates say the bill is the most consequential piece of voting legislation since the Voting Rights Act of 1965. House Democrats vowed two years ago to make the bill a priority, and they reintroduced it this month as H.R. 1, underscoring its importance to the party. “People just want to be able to cast their vote without it being an ordeal,” said Rep. John Sarbanes, a Democrat from Maryland who is the lead sponsor of the House bill. “It’s crazy in America that you still have to navigate an obstacle course to get to the ballot box.” Current plans would have the full House take up the bill as soon as the first week of February. The Senate Rules Committee would then consider a companion bill introduced in the Senate, and a tie vote there could allow it to move out of committee and to the floor as early as next month, said Klobuchar, who is expected to become the committee’s next chair. A quick vote would be remarkable considering the Senate also is likely to be juggling Trump’s impeachment trial, confirmation of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet choices and another round of coronavirus relief. While states have long had different voting procedures, the November 2020 election highlighted how the variability could be used to sow doubt about the outcome. The bill’s supporters, which include national voting and civil rights organizations, cited dozens of pre-election lawsuits that challenged procedural rules, such as whether ballots postmarked on Election Day should count. They also pointed to the post-election litigation Trump and his allies filed to try to get millions of legitimately cast ballots tossed out. Many of those lawsuits targeted election changes intended to make voting easier. That included a Pennsylvania law the state’s Republican-led legislature passed before the pandemic to make absentee ballots available to all registered voters upon request. Government and election officials repeatedly have described the election as the most secure in U.S. history. Even former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, a Trump ally, said before leaving his post that there was no evidence of widespread fraud that would overturn the result. “The strategy of lying about voter fraud, delegitimizing the election outcome and trying to suppress votes has been unmasked for the illegitimate attack on our democracy that it is, and I think that it opens a lot more doors to real conversations about how to fix our voting system and root out this cancer,” said Wendy Weiser, head of the democracy program at the Brennan Center for Justice, a public policy institute. Along with the election reform bill, the House two years ago introduced a related bill, now known as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in honour of the late civil rights activist and congressman. House Democrats are expected to reintroduce it soon after it had similarly stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate. That bill would restore a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that had triggered federal scrutiny of election changes in certain states and counties. A 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling set aside the method used to identify jurisdictions subject to the provision, known as preclearance, which was used to protect voting rights in places with a history of discrimination. In general, state election officials have been wary of federal voting requirements. But those serving in states led by Democrats have been more open and want to ensure Congress provides money to help them make system upgrades, which the bill does. “If you still believe in what we all learned in high school government class, that democracy works best when as many eligible people participate, these are commonsense reforms,” said Sen. Alex Padilla, a Democrat who oversaw California’s elections before being appointed to the seat formerly held by Vice-President Kamala Harris. But Republican officials like Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill remain opposed. Merrill said the federal government’s role is limited and that states must be allowed to innovate and implement their own voting rules. “Those decisions are best left up to the states, and I think the states are the ones that should determine what course of action they should take,” Merrill said, noting that Alabama has increased voter registration and participation without implementing early voting. “To just say that everything needs to be uniform, that’s not the United States of America,” Merrill said. In the Senate, a key question will be whether there is enough Republican support for elements of the voting reform bill to persuade Democrats to break off certain parts of it into smaller legislation. For now, Democrats say they want a floor vote on the full package. Edward B. Foley, an election law expert at Ohio State University, said Democrats should consider narrow reforms that could gain bipartisan support, cautioning that moving too quickly on a broad bill runs the risk of putting off Republicans. “It would seem to me at this moment in American history, a precarious moment, the right instinct should be a kind of bipartisanship to rebuild common ground as opposed to ‘Our side won, your side lost and we are off to the races,’” Foley said. ___ Cassidy reported from Atlanta. Christina A. Cassidy, The Associated Press
LONDON — A major British doctors' group says the U.K. government should “urgently review” its decision to give people a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine up to 12 weeks after the first, rather than the shorter gap recommended by the manufacturer and the World Health Organization. The U.K., which has Europe’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak, adopted the policy in order to give as many people as possible a first dose of vaccine quickly. So far almost 5.5 million people have received a shot of either a vaccine made by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech or one developed by U.K.-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University. AstraZeneca has said it believes a first dose of its vaccine offers protection after 12 weeks, but Pfizer says it has not tested the efficacy of its jab after such a long gap. The British Medical Association on Saturday urged England’s chief medical officer to “urgently review the U.K.’s current position of second doses after 12 weeks.” In a statement, the association said there was “growing concern from the medical profession regarding the delay of the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as Britain's strategy has become increasingly isolated from many other countries.” “No other nation has adopted the U.K.‘s approach,” Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the BMA council, told the BBC. He said the WHO had recommended that the second Pfizer vaccine shot could be given up to six weeks after the first but only “in exceptional circumstances.” “I do understand the trade-off and the rationale, but if that was the right thing to do then we would see other nations following suit,” Nagpaul said. Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England, defended the decision as “a reasonable scientific balance on the basis of both supply and also protecting the most people.” Researchers in Britain have begun collecting blood samples from newly vaccinated people in order to study how many antibodies they are producing at different intervals, from 3 weeks to 24 months, to get an answer to the question of what timing is best for the shots. The doctors’ concerns came a day after government medical advisers said there was evidence that a new variant of the virus first identified in southeast England carries a greater risk of death than the original strain. Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said Friday “that there is evidence that there is an increased risk for those who have the new variant,” which is also more transmissible than the original virus. He said the new strain might be about 30% more deadly, but stressed that “the evidence is not yet strong” and more research is needed. Research by British scientists advising the government said although initial analyses suggested that the strain did not cause more severe disease, several more recent ones suggest it might. However, the number of deaths is relatively small, and fatality rates are affected by many things, including the care that patients get and their age and health, beyond having COVID-19. Britain has recorded 95,981 deaths among people who tested positive, the highest confirmed virus toll in Europe. The U.K. is in a lockdown to try to slow the latest surge of the virus, and the government says an end to the restrictions will not come soon. Pubs, restaurants, gyms, entertainment venues and many shops are closed, and people are required to stay largely at home. The British government is considering tightening quarantine requirements for people arriving from abroad. Already travellers must self-isolate for 10 days, but enforcement is patchy. Authorities are considering requiring arrivals to stay in quarantine hotels, a practice adopted in other countries, including Australia. “We may need to go further to protect our borders,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday. ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Quebec is reporting 1,685 new COVID-19 cases Saturday as daily counts continue to decline. The province is also reporting 76 new deaths attributed to COVID-19, for a total of 9,437. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 dropped by 43 to 1,383. The drop in case numbers comes after the Quebec government implemented an 8 p.m. curfew province-wide on Jan. 9. Premier Francois Legault attributed the decline to the curfew, but has said hospitals are too full to lift the new restrictions as scheduled on Feb. 8. As of Saturday, at least 225,245 people in Quebec have recovered from COVID-19. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The developer of the Pebble Mine in Alaska has filed an appeal with the Army Corps of Engineers that asks the agency to reconsider the developer's application to build a gold mine upstream from Bristol Bay. The Army Corps of Engineers rejected Pebble Limited Partnership's application in November on the grounds that the mine would not comply with the Clean Water Act. The proposed mine was to be built on state land, but dredging and filling in federal waters and wetlands requires a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska Public Media reported. Pebble CEO John Shively said the Corps' decision was rushed and came only days after the company filed its final document. Opponents to the proposed mine have said the project would pose a threat to important salmon spawning streams and could ruin the area's sport and commercial fisheries. Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy had announced two weeks ago that the state would appeal the permit rejection. Dunleavy said the decision endangers the state’s right to develop its own resources. The Associated Press
BERLIN — Bayern Munich’s closest challengers, Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen, both lost in the Bundesliga on Saturday to give the eight-time defending champions a chance to move seven points clear at the top. Second-place Leipzig lost 3-2 at relegation-threatened Mainz and third-place Leverkusen lost 1-0 at home to Wolfsburg. Bayern visits last-place Schalke on Sunday. American midfielder Tyler Adams got Leipzig off to a great start with a goal in the 15th minute, but Moussa Niakhaté scored twice for Mainz, either side of Marcel Halstenberg’s 30th-minute strike for the visitors. New signing Danny da Costa set up Leandro Barreiro for Mainz’s winner in the 50th. Midfielder Ridle Baku’s 35th-minute header was enough for Wolfsburg. Leverkusen made a good start but Nadiem Amiri and Lucas Alario missed early chances, with Alario striking the post before Wolfsburg gradually settled. Leverkusen maintained its pressure but the defence took a break and left Baku to head in Renato Steffen’s cross against the run of play. Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz reacted at the break by bringing on former Manchester United defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah for his Bundesliga debut, but Wolfsburg saw out the win. Luka Jovic scored his third goal in as many substitute appearances for Eintracht Frankfurt since returning from Real Madrid to seal a 5-1 win at Arminia Bielefeld. Augsburg goalkeeper Rafa Gikiewicz saved a penalty to secure a 2-1 win over his former team Union Berlin. Gikiewicz denied Marcus Ingvartsen in the 56th, then produced a fine save to also thwart Taiwo Awoniyi. Florian Niederlechner, who conceded the spot kick, had already scored twice for the home side. Freiburg beat Stuttgart 2-1. Hertha Berlin hosted fellow struggler Werder Bremen later Saturday. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP CiaráN Fahey, The Associated Press
Two airlines serving Saskatchewan's north have announced they're consolidating their operations under a new name. West Wind Aviation and Transwest Air will consolidate under one air operating certificate, and will rebrand as Rise Air. The consolidation is "going to allow us to survive," Stephen Smith, president and CEO of the West Wind Group of Companies, said in an interview with CBC. "There is no question that COVID-19 put a lot of strain [on us] because a lot of people canceled meetings, which we would provide flights for. The people stop traveling out of northern communities." The slowdown of the uranium market and mines shutting down also had an effect, he said, with operations down by about 50 per cent. Transwest Air was already a wholly owned subsidiary of West Wind Aviation, after being purchased by the company in 2016, according to the Transwest website. Until now, however, West Wind Aviation and Transwest Air each had their own operating certificates, said Smith. "There's a duplication of people in one company to have two operating certificates," he said. "The new cost structure will allow us to not only survive but hopefully look to potentially grow in the future." According to Smith, the business is now right-sized for the marketplace. "The employees that we have now are fine, in terms of we don't have to consider reducing anymore." Ticket prices won't be affected: CEO The rebranding process will start within the next few weeks, once the regulatory requirements have been completed, the carriers said in a media release. Ticket prices won't be affected by the consolidation, Smith said, and the number of aircraft will remain the same. The company picked Rise Air as its new name after receiving 140 different recommendations from employees, said Smith. Another staff member submitted a sketch for the new logo. "Because we're bringing together two different companies that both have their own cultures and histories, we wanted something new and fresh but also wanted to preserve the legacy of both organizations," he said in a media release. Until the rebranding process is completed, people will see three different logos, he said. "We are OK with being patient during this process." West Wind Aviation, which is First Nations and employee-owned, operates from bases in Saskatoon and La Ronge, and has satellite locations in northern Saskatchewan, according to the company's website. The West Wind Group of Companies owns Snowbird Aviation Services, Northern Shield Helicopters, and Transwest Air, soon doing business as Rise Air, said Smith.
Ontario reported 2,359 new cases of COVID-19 and 52 more deaths on Saturday. Toronto has 708 new cases, Peel Region has 422, York Region has 220, Hamilton has 107 and Ottawa has 101. A total of 1,501 people are in hospital with COVID-19, 395 in intensive care units and 299 are on ventilators. Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliott said the province's network of labs completed nearly 63,500 tests in the last 24 hours. The number of people in hospital has declined by 11, the number of people in ICU has increased by 12, while the number of people on ventilators has increased by eight. A total of 5,753 people have died in Ontario of COVID-19-related reasons. Saturday's numbers were down from Friday's figures of 2,662 cases and 87 more deaths. Ontario's current daily test positivity rate is 4.5 per cent. Test positivity is defined as the number of positive tests divided by the number of total tests on a given day. There have been a total of 252,585 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario reported to date. Of this number, a total of 222,287 have been marked as resolved. There are 252 long-term care homes with active outbreaks, an increase of eight from the previous day. Of the 52 new deaths reported on Saturday, 24 are of long-term care home residents. The province reported that 11,161 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since the province's last report. A total of 276,146 doses have been administered in Ontario so far. Health unit reports death of teenaged LTC worker According to the Middlesex-London Health Unit, one of the deaths reported on Saturday is a staff person, a teenaged male, who worked in a long-term care home. "We are not able to provide any other information including the individual's exact age or the facility where they worked, as this could risk identifying them," Dan Flaherty, spokesperson for the Middlesex-London Health Unit, said in an email on Saturday. "I can also let you know that this person is the youngest with COVID-19 in London and Middlesex County to have died." The death is one of three posted to its website on Saturday. Ontario's long term care ministry said in an email to CBC Toronto that it extends its sympathies to the family and friends of the worker. "Due to sensitivities and requirements for protection of privacy for Ontarians, and for protecting Ontarians' confidential personal and health information, we cannot comment on individual cases," Rob McMahon, spokesperson for the ministry, said in an email. "We are grateful for the hard work and dedication of all long-term care staff working under challenging conditions to care for our most vulnerable during the pandemic." More than 300 officers to conduct inspections The daily case count comes as the Ontario government says it is expanding its blitz of big box store inspections to Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham Regions this weekend. The blitz started in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas last weekend. The government said it wants to ensure workers and customers at the essential businesses are properly protected from COVID-19 during the provincewide shutdown. The blitz was developed in consultation with local health units and also includes a variety of other workplaces, including retail establishments and restaurants providing take-out meals. The province's labour ministry says more than 300 offences officers, as well as local public health inspectors and municipal bylaw officers, will conduct the inspections. Corporations can now be fined $1,000, and individuals can be fined $750 or charged for failing to comply with the orders. Labour Minister Monte McNaughton says the province is confident that the majority of workplaces in Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham are following orders. "However, if we find that businesses are putting the safety of workers and customers at risk, our government will not hesitate to take immediate action," McNaughton added in a statement Saturday. "The only way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and end the provincewide shutdown is for everyone — owners, customers and staff alike — to follow the proper guidelines." Variant 1st detected in U.K. found in Barrie, Ont. care home Meanwhile, in Barrie, Ont., the local public health unit has confirmed that a variant first detected in the United Kingdom has been found in a long-term care home in the city north of Toronto. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) said genome sequencing on six COVID-19 samples, which were taken from residents and staff at the Roberta Place Long-Term Care Home, has determined that the variant present in the samples is what is known as the B.1.1.7 variant. Public health officials first declared an outbreak at the home on Jan. 8. A total of 127 residents have tested positive — that's all but two residents at the home. There have been 32 deaths. This variant is considered "highly contagious and easily transmitted," the public health unit said. "The rapid spread, high attack rate and the devastating impact on residents and staff at Roberta Place Long-Term Care Home has been heartbreaking for all," Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for SMDHU, said in a news release. "Confirmation of the variant, while expected, does not change our course of action. We remain diligent in doing everything we can to prevent further spread." On Wednesday, preliminary lab testing of six cases had identified a high likelihood that there was a COVID-19 variant of concern. The second test, a whole genome sequencing test, determined the exact COVID-19 variant, which is the B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the U.K. "This variant of concern is more easily transmitted, resulting in much larger numbers of cases in a very rapid fashion," the public health unit said in the release.
Two Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) special constables have been fired following an investigation that found they used excessive force in an altercation involving a passenger on the 501 Queen streetcar last February, their union said Friday. The termination comes more than a month after an independent investigation into the violent arrest found that three TTC officers used "unauthorized" and "unnecessary" force on a passenger and that their actions were "discriminatory." CUPE 5089, the union that represents special constables, fare inspectors, and protective services guards employed by the TTC, posted the news in a Twitter statement Friday night and expressed their disappointment with the TTC's decision. "The decision comes in the wake of an 11-month investigation by Rubin Thomlinson that was politically motivated and failed to take into consideration any of the relevant legal, procedural, or factual evidence," the statement reads. A 12-second video of the arrest that occurred on Feb. 7, 2020 was posted to social media and showed two TTC staff members tackling a male rider and spraying him with a substance. The poster of the video said it began when the man, who appeared to be intoxicated, was approached by fare inspectors, who asked for proof of payment. He blew them off, which is when it turned physical, the poster said. Toronto police have said that the man was reportedly "acting aggressive and violent." The video gained public attention, with at least two city councillors speaking out in reaction to it. Coun. Brad Bradford called it an example of the "wrong way to handle fare evasion." In March of last year, the TTC retained Rubin Thomlinson LLP, an independent workplace investigation firm to probe the arrest, which found that both special constables used excessive force against the man. It also determined their application of force was based on the man's mental health and this was found to be "discriminatory on the basis of disability," the report stated. The investigator made multiple recommendations for the TTC, including improved training for special constables and fare inspectors on how they interact with people with mental illness and clarity on fare inspectors' use of force. Actions were reasonable: union CUPE 5089 disputed this report and maintains that the actions of the constables were reasonable. In Friday's statement, they note that the officers were cleared of any wrongdoing by the Toronto Police Professional Standards a month after the incident. "As we have done from the beginning, we will continue to fully support the actions of our members," the union said. "The only positive that has come from this unfortunate incident is that the level of violence occurring almost daily towards customers and staff on Toronto Transit Commission has finally been brought to the public's attention." TTC spokesperson Stuart Green confirmed in an email that the employees had been fired, but would not comment further as the union has shown this matter is still active. CUPE said they filed a grievance with the TTC and they look forward to the reinstatement of both officers.
WASHINGTON — Inside the White House, President Joe Biden presided over a focused launch of his administration, using his first days in office to break sharply with his predecessor while signing executive orders meant as a showy display of action to address the historic challenges he inherited. But outside the gates at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., there were signs everywhere that those crises are as deep and intractable as ever. The coronavirus pandemic surges, the economy teeters and Republicans in Congress have signalled objections to many of Biden’s plans. Biden is looking to jump-start his first 100 days in office with action and symbolism to reassure a divided and weary public that help is in the offing. He also knows that what a president can do on his own is limited so he is calling for Congress to act while he is being candid with Americans that dark days are ahead. “The crisis is not getting better. It’s deepening,” Biden said Friday about the impact of pandemic. “A lot of America is hurting. The virus is surging. Families are going hungry. People are at risk of being evicted again. Job losses are mounting. We need to act.” “The bottom line is this: We’re in a national emergency. We need to act like we’re in a national emergency,” he said. Biden’s first moments as president were meant to steady American democracy itself. He took the oath just before noon Wednesday in front of a Capitol that still bore scars from the insurrection that took place precisely two weeks earlier and was aimed at stopping Biden’s ascension to power. The violence underscored the fragile nature of the peaceful transfer of power and led to the historic second impeachment of Donald Trump. Biden resisted calls to move the inauguration to a more secure indoor setting. He was intent on preserving the usual inauguration trappings as a signal that normalcy could be achieved even though there were signs everywhere that things were far from normal: a military presence that resembled a war zone, guests on the dais wearing masks, a National Mall filled with 200,000 American flags standing in for the American people who were asked to stay away because of the pandemic. Biden was plain-spoken and direct about the confluence of crises the nation faces. More than 410,000 Americans have lost their lives to the pandemic, millions are out of work and the aftershocks of a summer reckoning with racial justice are still felt. “You can hear this collective sigh of relief that Trump is gone, but we have no time for a sigh of relief because of the cascading crises,” said Eddie Glaude Jr., chair of the department of African American studies at Princeton University. “We don’t want to assume that the election of Biden solves everything. The scale of the problems is immense and the question for us is do we respond at scale.” The changes within the White House have been swift. After Trump’s departure, his final staffers cleared out and a deep clean began. The White House had been the site of multiple COVID-19 outbreaks and, in a physical manifestation of a new approach to the virus, plastic shields were placed on desks and scores of new staffers were told to work from home. New pictures were hung on the West Wing walls and the Oval Office received a fast makeover. Gone were a painting of Andrew Jackson and the Diet Coke button of the desk; in came images of Robert Kennedy and Cesar Chavez. But the most important symbol, the clearest break from the previous administration, came from the president himself. When Biden sat down at the Resolute Desk to sign his first batch of his executive orders on Wednesday, he was wearing a mask. Trump had resisted wearing one, putting one on only occasionally and instead turning mask-wearing into a polarizing political issue Biden urged all Americans to wear a mask for the next 100 days and used his platform to model the same behaviour, one of several ways he tried to change the tone of the presidency in his first few days. Daily press briefings returned, absent the accusations of “fake news” that marked only sporadic briefings in the Trump era. Biden held a virtual swearing-in for hundreds of White House staffers, telling them to treat each other with respect or they would dismissed, a marked change from the contentious, rivalry-driven Trump West Wing. Calls to the leaders of Canada and Mexico were made without drama. The executive actions Biden signed during the week were a mix of concrete and symbolic actions meant to undo the heart of Trump’s legacy. Biden halted construction of the border wall, rejoined the World Health Organization and the Paris climate accord and bolstered the means for production for vaccines. But the might of the executive actions pales in comparison to the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that he requested from Congress. Biden has not ruled out asking Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., to push it through by tactics requiring only Democratic support. But the president, who spent decades in the Senate, hoped to persuade Republicans to support the measure. “Leaning on executive action makes sense at the start, you can get things going and show momentum right away without waiting for Congress,” said Robert Gibbs, former press secretary for President Barack Obama. “But this is going take a while. Like it was for us in 2009, change doesn’t come overnight." "Everything he inherited is likely to get worse before we see improvement,” Gibbs saidtinued. “One thing you learn on January 20th is that you suddenly own all of it.” Just two Cabinet nominees were confirmed by week's end, to the frustration of the White House. But with the Friday night announcement that Trump’s impeachment trial will not begin until the week of Feb. 8, Biden aides were optimistic that the Senate would confirm more before then. The trial looms as an unwelcome distraction for the Biden team. But while Trump will shadow the White House, Biden aides have noted that the former president commands far less attention now that his Twitter account is gone. They have expressed confidence that the Senate can balance the impeachment proceedings with both Cabinet confirmations and consideration of the COVID-19 relief bill. Biden has made clear that steering the nation through the pandemic will be his signature task and some Republicans believe that Trump’s implosion could create an opening to work across the aisle on a relief deal. “There is a very narrow permission structure for congressional Republicans who want to move past the Trump era and want to establish their own political identities,” said Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist who was a senior adviser on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. Romney is now a Utah senator. “There is an old saying: ‘Make the main thing the main thing.’ And the Biden White House knows that’s the main thing,” Madden said. “If they can improve the pandemic response in the next 100 days, then they can move on to other priorities, they’ll have the capital for legislative fights. But they need to get it right.” ___ Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire Jonathan Lemire, The Associated Press
Yulia Navalnaya was taking part in a protest to demand the release of her husband when she was taken into a police vehicle.
Après 4 jours sans nouvelle infection de COVID-19 sur la Côte-Nord, le bilan de ce samedi 23 janvier fait mention de 3 cas supplémentaires, ainsi que 4 guérisons de plus. Ce sont 2 cas de plus dans la MRC de Sept-Rivières, et 1 dans Manicouagan. Il y a 11 cas actifs et 1 hospitalisation. Situation sur la Côte-Nord NOTE : Confinement du Québec et instauration d’un couvre-feu entre 20 h et 5 h pour la période du 9 janvier au 8 février 2021 : Restez à la maison et consultez la page Confinement du Québec pour connaître les détails. Vous pouvez aussi consulter toute l’information sur la COVID‑19.*En date du 23 janvier 2021 – 11 h Nombre de cas confirmés : 339 (+3) Répartition par MRC : Basse-Côte-Nord : 6 Caniapiscau : 7 Haute-Côte-Nord : 26 Manicouagan : 105 (+1) Minganie : 17 Sept-Rivières : 178 (+2)Cas guéris : 325 (+4) Décès : 3 Cas actifs : 11 (-1) Cas actifs provenant d’une autre région : 0 Hospitalisation en cours : 1 Éclosions en cours : Milieu de travail (Haute-Côte-Nord) : Moins de 5 cas Éclosions terminées récemment : Résidence privée pour aînés (Manicouagan) Milieu de travail (Sept-Rivières) Milieu de garde (Sept-Rivières)Karine Lachance, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
The basic facts of Evander Kane's money troubles are laid bare on page 16 of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy claim filed in the Northern District of California on Jan. 9. Total debts owed by the San Jose Sharks veteran: $26.8 million. Total assets: $10.2 million, most of it in the value of three houses — two in Vancouver and one in San Jose. What's less plain to see is how the 29-year-old arrived at this financial breaking point, a dozen years into a professional hockey career that has to date earned him $53 million. Part of the answer may lie a little deeper in the 73 page document, in the section where the filer has to list losses sustained in the previous one year due to theft, fire, disaster or gambling. There is a single entry: $1.5 million lost because of "gambling at casino and via bookie (sports betting)." It's not the first time Kane's gambling has received a public airing. In 2019, he was sued for half a million dollars by The Cosmopolitan, a casino in Las Vegas. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, court documents stated he owed the casino for eight credits or "markers" in amounts between $20,000 and $100,000 taken out on or about April 15, 2019. The date coincided with the Sharks playing the Golden Knights in Las Vegas during the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Cosmopolitan dropped the lawsuit in 2020, likely due to an out-of-court settlement. But the Chapter 7 filing suggests gambling may be a problem for the East Vancouver native. And he'd hardly be an isolated case, says Declan Hill, University of New Haven professor of investigations specializing in sports, gambling and organized crime. "This is the tip of an iceberg," said Hill. "There is a silent epidemic of gambling-related addiction issues among professional athletes." Athletes suck at gambling Research has shown athletes can be more susceptible to gambling problems. Simply, the qualities that make someone excel in sport are the same ones that make them suck at gambling, said Hill. "They're dedicated, they're focused, they never give up. They're always chasing because they can overturn a deficit ... going into the last minute or third period," he said. There's also a dynamic between the casinos or bookmakers who are happy to supply action to young, confident men with money in search of an outlet to their high pressure job. And unlike other addictions, said Hill, gambling problems aren't easy to spot. "If a top athlete becomes addicted to cocaine or alcohol, you are going to know. You're going to be able to see physically quite quickly that the athlete is just not as good as they should be," said Hill. "Become an addict to gambling, and there's no physical sign. The only symptom is the bank account." Player assistance program NHL players can seek help through the player assistance program, run jointly by the NHL Players' Association and National Hockey League. A 1-800 number is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week allowing players to connect confidentially to targeted counselling for things like gambling addiction and substance abuse. According to NHLPA spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon, program doctors also meet with each team every season to give an overview of the service, including discussions about gambling addiction. "Per the [Collective Bargaining Agreement] NHL players are not able to bet on NHL games," said Weatherdon. Kane's bankruptcy filing lists 47 creditors including banks, credit card companies, the IRS, lawyers, his agency and a number of individuals who appear to have extended personal loans. Generally, in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the filer's non-exempt assets are liquidated and the proceeds used to pay creditors. Kane's filing asks the three houses and other personal property be exempted. It also lists seven dependents: his newborn daughter, his parents, a grandmother, two uncles and a sister. The filing also says he could opt out of his contract at some point this season because of COVID-19 concerns, affecting his salary. Whatever the final result, most of his creditors will likely receive pennies on the dollar, if anything at all. The news is much better for Kane himself. Once his debts are discharged he gets a fresh financial start and some breathing room, one would assume, to move on with what's been a life-changing year in other, more positive ways. He became a father for the first time in the summer. And in the aftermath of George Floyd's murder and the rise of Black Lives Matter, he became a central figure in calling out racial injustice in hockey and is now co-head of the Hockey Diversity Alliance. And his hockey career is far from over, with four-plus years remaining on the seven year, $49 million contract signed with the Sharks in 2018. As pro sports and governments rush to increase their revenue base through expanded gaming, Hill says it's important that people understand a basic truth about gambling. "To be a successful gambler is very, very difficult and the only people who really do it well are emotionless math geeks," he said. "Everyone else should leave it well alone."
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) President Natan Obed took part in a virtual panel Friday afternoon that discussed mental health in diverse communities. The hour-long event was moderated by Dr. Jane Philpott, former federal minister of Health and later minister of Indigenous Services Canada, and now dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s University. The panel was held in conjunction with the Bell Let’s Talk awareness initiative on mental health. Philpott stated on the livestream there were nearly 1,000 viewers registered for the event. The four-person panel also included Dr. Myrna Lashley, assistant professor in the department of Psychiatry at McGill University, Dr. Kenneth Fung, staff psychiatrist and clinical director of the Asian Initiative in Mental Health Program at Toronto Western Hospital, and Asante Haughton, a Toronto-based public speaker and human rights activist discussing mental health and its connectedness to racism. Each of the panelists discussed how mental and physical health challenges have been illuminated in various Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities across Canada throughout the pandemic, as well as long-term existing social determinants of health. “[Mental health] is an area near and dear to my heart,” Obed said in his opening remarks. Obed has served as president of ITK since 2015 In relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, Obed discussed some of the difficulties faced by the approximately 65,000 Inuit living primarily in 51 northern communities. “We know the realities we face in our communities,” he said, stating that “52 per cent of our homes are overcrowded.” He said a lot of the public health messages towards social distancing and keeping a small circle of close contacts can be a challenge with a high number of multi-generational homes. “People who want to do the right thing feel distressed that have no possible way to do it,” Obed said. Obed’s talk covered the correlation between the suicide epidemic in northern communities and the increased influence of the federal government in northern lives, including the history of residential schools and the resulting traumas that occurred within that system. “Inuit did not have an elevated suicide rate prior to the 1970s,” Obed said. “Suicide exists in every known society… but you can’t help but link the imposition of governmental control in our community [with the rising suicide rates]. These systems of government control are inherently racist and need to be actively anti-racist.” Obed added that having a self-determined government structure provides a level of mental health support. “But it doesn’t solve all of our challenges… We’re still dealing with the consequences of colonization in action,” Obed said. “We need a mix of Inuit and clinical mental health support.” Due to a lack of health resources in their communities, some Inuit have been forced to travel to southern centres in order to receive basic health care. Obed discussed the added fear that can exist from this travel during the pandemic, highlighted by patients who have contracted COVID-19 in the south, and in some instances passing away there. Obed also talked about the high rates of tuberculosis in Inuit communities and stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has many similarities. “We’re very familiar with respiratory illnesses.” There is a goal of 2030 to have tuberculosis eradicated within the Inuit community. Despite the many challenges he spoke about, Obed did also indicated there is hope within ITK’s population network. “We are very fortunate that we are on the priority list in terms of the vaccine,” with the first dose of Moderna vaccines having been distributed now in some Inuit communities. “It’s great to have that connection with the federal government and provinces and territories that recognize the very huge risks our communities face.” Obed also discussed the importance of directing people towards professional resources if they are having personal mental health struggles. “We can get stuck sometimes in feeling the inertia of not knowing how to move forward, but there is help. There are people you can talk to,” Obed said. “I don’t necessarily have the answers. I am not a mental health specialist. But often I can recommend a place to go.” Obed also touched on the mental health aspects of something he said he always felt would happen but wasn’t sure when it would—the removal of Indigenous mascots and logos in major North American professional sports, including football teams in Washington and Edmonton, and the planned removal of Cleveland’s baseball nickname in the 2022 season. “These were always racist. They always had a negative health impact,” he said. “[These name changes] are amazing lurches forward. For all of the awful things we’ve been through, I am hopeful because of what was accomplished.” Windspeaker.com By Adam Laskaris, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
It's not uncommon for members of Yukon's Filipino community to work two or three jobs, in order to save enough money for an annual visit to family in the Philippines. Travelling from Whitehorse to the Philippines takes 16 hours and can cost upwards of $2,500. But for many, it's not happening this year because of COVID-19 travel restrictions. "We just kind of hold our plans. We're just waiting until they open and off we go. But it's not just us — it's everybody," said Yvonne Clarke, former president of the Canadian Filipino Association of Yukon. Clarke has lived in Whitehorse since 1995. She says that like herself, many Filipinos who have come to Yukon are working in health care, and continue to during the pandemic. "A lot of us are front-liners," Clarke said. "We kind of know that we have to hunker down and not go anywhere." Social media has been the primary way Clarke has remained connected with family and friends in the Philippines. As for keeping the Filipino community connection strong here in Whitehorse, Clarke says they do what they can. "We can't go and have parties, or sing karaoke together in a house, but we always find a way to gather safely." The pandemic has created challenges, but Clarke has tried to stay positive. "I have a job. I can eat. I can afford to buy food as long as I'm working. What is there to complain?" Clarke says many Filipinos in Yukon are also supporting families back home in the Philippines. Rather than see it as an extra burden, Clarke says it's just the Filipino culture. "When you're in the Philippines, and you're one of the lucky ones to get out of the country, then you have the duty to help others who are back there," she said. 'It's like elbow-to-elbow' Clarke says she has a hard time picturing physical distancing in the Philippines. "The last time I was there, you go to a grocery store, it's like elbow-to-elbow. There's just so many people," she said. Clarke says the Philippines has been in lock down and residents can only shop at assigned times. "Every family takes turns. It's more stricter there, than here. It's understandable because there's just so many people [in the Philippines]." Clarke says there is nothing similar to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) in the Philippines. Residents there are given some basic supplies — rice, sardines, bread. "That's the subsidy that they got. It's like, wow. It's the Philippines." Clarke said. "It's a poor country. That's why we send money". Happy to be in Dawson Rommel Verdeflor is also happy to be in Yukon during the pandemic. He immigrated to Yukon from the Philippines eight years ago. He took a job offer and found himself in Dawson City, where there's a Filipino community of about 80 people. After two years, Verdeflor was granted permanent residency and was able to bring his wife and children over. "You know what, that two years is gone as soon as I saw them in Vancouver airport," Verdeflor says. "It's worth the wait." After working multiple jobs around town, Verdeflor was hired as a financial service representative at the CIBC branch in Dawson. He says he feels lucky to have his family with him in Yukon. "I was able to bring my brother. His wife and his daughter are here already," Verdeflor said. "All of my in-laws are here in Dawson too, so we don't get homesick. It's a quiet, safe place for us."