With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
Emma Corrin just won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Princess Diana.
In the opening moments of a Golden Globes night even more chaotic and confounding than usual, co-host Tina Fey raised a theoretical question: “Could this whole night have been an email?” Only the next three hours would tell. Well, sure, it could have been an email. But then you wouldn't have had Chadwick Boseman’s eloquent widow, bringing many to tears as she explained how she could never be as eloquent as her late husband. Or Jane Fonda, sharply calling out Hollywood for its lack of diversity on a night when her very hosts were under fire for exactly that. Or Chloé Zhao, making history as the first woman of Asian descent to win best director (and the first woman since 1984.) Or 98-year-old Norman Lear, giving the simplest explanation for his longevity: never living or laughing alone. Or Jodie Foster kissing her wife joyfully, eight years after very tentatively coming out on the same telecast. Of course, there were the usual confounding results and baffling snubs, compounded here by some epic Zoom fails. But then we had the kids and the dogs. And they were adorable. Next year, can we still have the kids and the dogs, please? Some key moments of the first and hopefully last virtual Globes night: AN OVERDUE RECKONING The evening began under a cloud of embarrassing revelations about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and its lack of inclusion, including the damaging fact that there are no Black members in the 87-person body. Fey and co-host Amy Poehler addressed it early: “Even with stupid things, inclusivity is important." Winners like Daniel Levy of “Schitt's Creek” and presenters like Sterling K. Brown referred to it. Jane Fonda made it a theme of her powerful speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille award. And the HFPA made a hasty onstage pledge to change. “We recognize we have our own work to do,” said vice-president Helen Hoehne. “We must have Black journalists in our organization.” “I DON'T HAVE HIS WORDS” The best-actor award to Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom” had been expected. That did not dull the emotional impact of his victory. His widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, tearfully accepted in his honour, telling viewers that her husband, who died of colon cancer at 43 before the film was released, “would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside of all of us that tells you you can. That tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you are meant to be doing at this moment in history.” But, she said poignantly, “I don't have his words." Co-star Viola Davis could be seen weeping as Ledward spoke. She was not alone. PREDICTABLE ZOOM FAILS It was obvious there were going to be awkward Zoom fails. It started early, when the very first winner, Daniel Kaluuya for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” was on mute as he accepted his award, leaving presenter Laura Dern to apologize for technical difficulties. Thankfully, the problem was resolved in time for the actor to speak. Jason Sudeikis, whose charmingly rambling speech ("This is nuts!") and rumpled hoodie signalled he hadn't expected to win, finally realized he needed to “wrap this puppy up.” And winner Catherine O'Hara ("Schitt's Creek") had some perhaps unwelcome help from her husband, whose efforts to provide applause sounds and play-off music on his phone while she spoke lost something in translation, causing confusion on social media. Oh yes, and there were those conversations between nominees before commercials — did they know we heard them? KIDS AND PETS, STILL BRINGING JOY Still, the virtual acceptances from winners stuck at home had a huge silver lining: happy kids and cute pets. When Mark Ruffalo won for “I Know This Much is True,” two of his teens could not control their joy enough to stay out of the camera shot. Not to be outdone, the adorable young daughter of Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the Korean-American family drama “Minari,” sat in his lap and hugged him throughout his acceptance for best foreign language film. “She’s the reason I made this film,” said Chung. Winner Jodie Foster ("The Mauritanian") also had a family member in her lap: her dog. Also seen: Sarah Paulson's dog, and Emma Corrin's cat. LOVE FOR BORAT, SNUB FOR BAKALOVA ... AND EXPOSURE FOR GIULIANI Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova, breakout star of Amazon’s “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” had been widely expected to win, but lost out to Rosamund Pike ("I Care a Lot") who saluted Bakalova's bravery. In her movie, Pike said, “I had to swim up from a sinking car. I think I still would rather do that than have been in a room with Rudy Giuliani.” The former New York mayor's infamous cameo was also the butt of jokes from “Borat” star Sacha Baron Cohen, who called Giuliani “a fresh new talent who came from nowhere and turned out to be a comedy genius ... I mean, who could get more laughs from one unzipping?” Baron Cohen, who won for best actor in a comedy, also joked that Donald Trump was “contesting the result” of his win. A FIERY FONDA Did you expect anything less from Fonda? In her memorable DeMille award speech, the multiple Globe winner extolled the virtues of cinematic storytelling — “stories can change our hearts and our minds” — then pivoted to admonishing Hollywood. “There's a story we’ve been afraid to see and hear about ourselves,” she said, “a story about which voices we respect and elevate and which we tune out: a story about who’s offered a seat at the table and who’s kept out of the rooms where decisions are made.” She said the arts should not merely keep step with society, but lead the way. “Let's be leaders,” she said. ZHAO MAKES HISTORY When Zhao won best director for her haunting and elegant “Nomadland,” she was the first Asian American woman ever to win that award. But that wasn't the only way she made history: it was the first directing Globe for a woman in nearly 40 years, since Barbra Streisand won for “Yentl." Her film, a look at itinerant Americans, “at its core for me is a pilgrimage through grief and healing,” Zhao said. “For everyone who has gone through this difficult and beautiful journey at some point in their lives, we don’t say goodbye, we say: See you down the road.” With Zhao's win, the road widens for other female directors. ___ This story has been corrected to show that Norman Lear is 98, not 99. Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. She also says the province will soon share an updated vaccine plan that factors in expected shipments of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province will do that after getting guidance from the federal government on potentially extending the time between first and second doses, like B.C. is doing, of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to four months, Elliott says She also says Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. The province said this week that it may follow British Columbia's lead in delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to speed up immunizations. The government says it hopes a national committee that provides guidance on immunizations will support waiting up to four months to give people a second dose. If that happens, the province could speed up how soon residents get their first shot. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
MANCHESTER, England — Manchester City extended its extraordinary winning run to 21 games by scoring three goals from the 80th minute to beat Wolverhampton 4-1 and move 15 points clear in the Premier League on Tuesday. Gabriel Jesus netted twice from close range and Riyad Mahrez added another goal to cap a period of incessant pressure by City after Wolves equalized in the 61st minute through Conor Coady’s header — the visitors’ first touch in City’s box. Leander Dendoncker had given City the lead for the first time with an own-goal in the 15th. City has won every game it has played in all competitions since Dec. 19 and has 15 victories in a row in the league. Its unbeaten streak stretched to 28 matches — tying a club record also achieved under manager Pep Guardiola in 2017. Second-place Manchester United can restore the 12-point gap to City by beating Crystal palace on Wednesday. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s choice to head the Securities and Exchange Commission told Congress on Tuesday that the agency should address how to protect investors who use online stock-trading platforms with flashy tech gimmicks that entice them to trade more. Gary Gensler, who was a chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission during the Obama administration, testified by video for his confirmation hearing by the Senate Banking Committee. He was asked about the roiling stock-trading drama involving GameStop shares that has spurred clamour for tighter regulation of Wall Street. The trading frenzy in shares of the struggling video-game retailer lifted their price 1,600% in January, though they later fell back to earth after days of wild price swings. “At the core it’s about protecting investors,” Gensler said. Among the issues to be examined, he said, is the use of “behavioural” technology in stock-trading apps. “What does it mean when you have behavioural prompts to get investors to do more transactions? We’re going to have to study that and think about it,” Gensler told the panel. The GameStop episode prompted lawmakers to raise concern about the business model of Robinhood, the online trading platform that hosted a wave of trading in GameStop. Critics have accused Robinhood of trying to lure young people with little or no experience trading stocks by including features on its trading platform that resemble gaming apps — like showering users' screens with virtual confetti when they make a trade. Lawmakers have asked whether Robinhood is doing enough to communicate the risks to its users. Robinhood offers commission-free trading, but critics say customers pay another, hidden price because Robinhood provides their data on buying and selling to Wall Street firms. If confirmed to the SEC post, Gensler said, he would work to strengthen transparency and accountability in the markets. That will enable people “to invest with confidence and be protected from fraud and manipulation,” he said. “It means promoting efficiency and competition, so our markets operate with lower costs to companies and higher returns to investors. ... And above all, it means making sure our markets serve the needs of working families.” Democratic senators urged Gensler to take up requiring corporations to fully disclose their climate change risks and political spending, and punishing companies for violations of securities laws. “That means upgrading climate-risk disclosure requirements that are out of date, punishing misconduct and enforcing the protections on the books,” said the committee chair, Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat. “And it means working with other agencies — the banking regulators — to head off growing problems before they become emergencies that hurt the economy. We’ve seen what happens when markets don’t have real safeguards, and most people are left to fend for themselves — just look at the electricity market in Texas.” Gensler has experience as a tough markets regulator during the 2008-09 financial crisis as CFTC chair. More recently, he has been in academics. Biden’s selection of Gensler to lead the SEC signals a goal of turning the Wall Street watchdog agency toward an activist role after a deregulatory stretch during the Trump administration. Gensler was a leader and adviser of Biden’s presidential transition team responsible for the Federal Reserve, banking issues and securities regulation. No evident opposition to his confirmation to the SEC post has emerged, and approval by the full Senate is expected. Several Republican senators used Tuesday’s hearing, though, to argue against the imposition of new regulations in the financial markets, at the risk of stifling innovation and improperly expanding the government’s authority. The GameStop episode has bolstered political momentum toward tighter regulation of the securities markets, though Republican lawmakers and regulators generally will oppose new rules. Possible avenues for new rules that have been raised include requiring market players to disclose short-selling positions and restricting arrangements of payment for order flow — a common practice in which Wall Street trading firms pay companies like Robinhood to send them their customers’ orders for execution. The GameStop turbulence shows that “the SEC too often stands by while the stock market functions as a casino ... with tilted roulette tables,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. Jay Clayton, a former Wall Street lawyer who headed the SEC during the Trump administration, presided over a deregulatory push to soften rules affecting Wall Street and the financial markets, as President Donald Trump pledged when he took office. Rules under the Dodd-Frank law that tightened the reins on banks and Wall Street in the wake of the financial crisis and the Great Recession were relaxed. Clayton also eased rules for smaller companies raising capital in the market. Gensler comes armed with receptiveness to new financial technologies and cryptocurrency. As a professor of economics and management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, he has focused research and teaching on public policy as well as digital currencies and blockchain, the global running ledgers of digital currency transactions. With a background of having worked for nearly 20 years at Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street powerhouse investment bank, Gensler surprised many by being a tough regulator of big banks as head of the CFTC. He imposed oversight on the $400 trillion worldwide market for the complex financial instruments that helped spark the 2008-09 crisis. Gensler pushed for stricter regulations that big banks and financial firms had lobbied against, and he wasn’t afraid to take positions that clashed with the Obama administration. Marcy Gordon, The Associated Press
Two survivors of a cult which got worldwide attention in recent years have started a podcast called A Little Bit Culty, hoping to help other people learn from their experience. Vancouver couple Sarah Edmondson and Anthony “Nippy” Ames were members of NXIVM, which from the fringes seemed like a personal development program. It had leadership training, mentoring opportunities and a very charismatic leader. It took them 12 years to hit a breaking point, when Edmondson was branded with what they later learned was the initials of that charismatic leader Keith Raniere. That incident brought all their doubts and questions to a head, and they left the cult in 2017. NXIVM founder Keith Raniere was sentenced by a New York federal court in October 2020 to 120 years in jail for racketeering, sex trafficking and more. Several members of his inner circle were also convicted. Edmondson and Ames told Black Press Media they didn’t know any of the criminal abuse that was going on at the top; they thought NXIVM was a personal development program, albeit with some admittedly unconventional methods. It’s since been called a sex-cult. RELATED: NXIVM guru gets 120 years in prison in sex-slaves case Their podcast is grounded in what they’ve learned since leaving the cult through the help of therapists who have put a language to what happened. Some episodes will feature experts, others will interview survivors and some delve into the curriculum of NXIVM’s Executive Success Programs to examine what teachings drew them in and where things got “culty.” The pair, now parents of two, have spent years “de-programming” their minds, and processing various reactions of shame, embarrassment and rage. “Like, what did I miss? How did I think I was doing something good but ended up being aligned with someone who was abusing so many people? That was a really difficult,” Ames said. While they didn’t know Raniere’s abusive side, they were close friends with some who did and lied about who Raniere was. That deception is the first red flag Ames thinks of when he’s asked how to identify a destructive cult. Not all cults are destructive, but many are designed to abuse power. “That was the joke, we were like, yeah we’re in a cult, but were helping people. We were aware of the weird stuff, and we just thought it was funny and ridiculous. We didn’t know that the people closest to Keith were getting abused in the way they were,” Ames said. Their split with NXIVM came gradually. Ames felt the mission to bring joy to the world wasn’t working. Morale was low, and the monthly training sessions weren’t having the same reach. The decision to leave culminated in a ceremony where Edmondson and other recruits to a secret sisterhood were branded with Raniere’s initials. They didn’t know it was his initials, or that it would be a brand instead of a type of bonding tattoo. “There is no word to describe my rage,” she said. Since coming forward about being in NXIVM, the couple were interviewed on The Vow, an HBO documentary about the cult, and were involved in court cases that got Raniere and other top leaders behind bars. They receive inquiries almost daily from people who think they may be in a cult. Some key indicators, the couple said, include if a person can leave the group without being harassed or hurt, if they can question the leader and their transparency. To anyone concerned about a loved one who might be in a destructive cult, they say to approach with respect, curiosity and lots of questions. “Say, I’ve seen these allegations, tell me about them. Like, how is that for you? What do you think about it? Is any of it true? What would you do if it was true? Stuff like that,” Edmondson said. Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: email@example.com Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
TORONTO — Ontario's health minister says the province won't administer the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to seniors. Christine Elliott says the province plans to follow the advice of a national panel recommending against using that vaccine on people aged 65 and older. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended the shot not be used for seniors due to concern about limited data on how it will work in older populations. Elliott says the vaccine could more easily be used in sites like correctional facilities because it does not need to be stored at the same cold temperatures as other vaccines already in use. She also says the province is waiting for recommendations from the immunization committee on whether Ontario can extend the interval between administering first and second vaccine doses to four months. Elliott says Ontario will share its updated vaccine rollout plan once that advice is received, factoring in expected supply of Oxford-AstraZeneca doses as well. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
The Biden administration sanctioned seven mid- and senior-level Russian officials on Tuesday, along with more than a dozen businesses and other entities, over a nearly fatal nerve-agent attack on opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his subsequent jailing. The measures, emphasizing the use of the Russian nerve agent as a banned chemical weapon, marked the Biden administration's first sanctions against associates of President Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader was an intimate and favourite of President Donald Trump even amid covert Russian hacking and social media campaigns aimed at destabilizing the U.S. The government officials included at least four whom Navalny's supporters had directly asked the West to penalize, saying they were most involved in targeting him and other dissidents and journalists. However, the U.S. list did not include any of Russia's most powerful businesspeople and bankers, oligarchs whom Navalny has long said the West would have to sanction to get the attention of Putin. Tuesday's step “was not meant to be a silver bullet or an end date to what has been a difficult relationship with Russia,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. “We expect the relationship to continue to be a challenge. We’re prepared for that.” The Biden administration also announced sanctions under the U.S. Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act for businesses and other enterprises, most of which it said were involved in the production of biological and chemical agents. The U.S. intelligence community concluded with high confidence that Russia's Federal Security Service used the Russian nerve agent Novichok on Navalny last August, a senior administration official said. Russia critic Bill Browder, a London-based investor, tweeted that he feared the new U.S. sanctions would be “way too little and not touch Putin’s billionaire cronies.” Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and chair of the House Intelligence Committee, called the U.S. move overdue. Working with U.S. allies, “we must use an array of tools, including sanctions, to meaningfully deter, repel, and punish Moscow’s transgressions,” Schiff said in a statement. The Biden administration has pledged to confront Putin in alleged attacks on Russian opposition figures and in alleged malign actions abroad, including the hacking of U.S. government agencies and U.S. businesses. Trump spoke admiringly of Putin and resisted criticism of Putin's government. That included dismissing U.S. intelligence findings that Russia had backed Trump in its covert campaign to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. The administration co-ordinated the sanctions with the European Union, which added to its own sanctions Tuesday over the attack on Navalny. The U.S. and European shared concerns about “Russia’s deepening authoritarianism,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. “The U.S. government has exercised its authorities to send a clear signal that Russia’s use of chemical weapons and abuse of human rights have severe consequences,” Blinken said in a statement. The individuals sanctioned by the U.S. included the head of Russia's Federal Security Service, the head of prisons, Kremlin and defence figures, and Russia's prosecutor general. The Biden administration had forecast for weeks actions against Russia. Besides the Navalny sanctions, officials have said the administration plans to respond soon to the massive Russian hack of federal government agencies and private corporations that laid bare vulnerabilities in the cyber supply chain and exposed potentially sensitive secrets to elite Kremlin spies. Navalny, 44, was sickened by the Russian nerve agent in an attack that the United States and others linked to Putin’s security services. After months of recuperation in Germany, Navalny flew home to Moscow in January and was arrested on arrival for an alleged parole violation. His detention sparked street protests across Russia. Police arrested thousands of demonstrators. Authorities have transferred the opposition leader to a penal colony to begin serving a sentence, after what rights groups said was a show trial. Long a target in Russian government attempts to shut down dissent, Navalny has repeatedly appealed to the West to start targeting the most powerful business and financial oligarchs of his country, saying only then would Russian leaders take international sanctions seriously. The U.S. government has previously censured behaviour by Russia that American officials saw as having violated international norms. In 2016, for instance, the Obama administration responded to interference by the Kremlin in the presidential election by expelling dozens of Russian diplomats who officials said were actually spies and by shuttering two Russian compounds in Maryland and New York. Trump's administration also took a handful of actions adverse to Moscow, including through the closure of Russian consulates on the West Coast and the suspension of a nuclear arms treaty. ___ Associated Press writers Eric Tucker and Aamer Madhani in Washington and Lorne Cook in Brussels contributed to this report. Ellen Knickmeyer, The Associated Press
KYIV, Ukraine — A court in Belarus on Tuesday handed a half-year prison sentence to a journalist on charges of revealing personal data in her report on the death of a protester, part of authorities’ crackdown on demonstrations against authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko. Katsiaryna Barysevich of the independent Tut.by online news portal has been in custody since November, following the publication of an article in which she cited medical documents indicating that protester Raman Bandarenka died of severe injuries and wasn’t drunk — contrary to official claims. Bandarenka died in a hospital on Nov. 12 of brain and other injuries. The opposition alleged that he was brutally beaten by police who dispersed a protest in the Belarusian capital, Minsk. Bandarenka’s death caused public outrage and fueled more demonstrations. On Tuesday, the Moskovsky District Court in Minsk sentenced Barysevich to six months in prison and a fine equivalent to $1,100. It also handed a two-year suspended sentence to Artsyom Sarokin, a doctor who treated Bandarenka and shared his medical records with Barysevich, and fined him the equivalent of $550. The U.S. Embassy strongly condemned the sentence, saying in a statement that “the authorities’ assault against the truth, and against journalists and others who reveal those truths, continues unabated.” The Belarusian Association of Journalists denounced the court's verdict as part of government efforts to silence the independent media. “The authorities have unleashed unprecedented repressions against journalists, jailing some, scaring others and expelling them from the country,” said its leader, Andrei Bastunets. Barysevich's colleagues from her media outlet condemned the charges against her as “cynical and absurd” and demanded her immediate release. Last month, two other journalists in Belarus were convicted of violating public order and sentenced to two years in prison after they covered an opposition protest. Several other reporters are awaiting trial. Belarus has been shaken by protests ever since official results from the Aug. 9 presidential election gave Lukashenko a sixth term in office by a landslide. The opposition and some poll workers have said the election was rigged. Lukashenko’s government has unleashed a sweeping crackdown on post-election protests, the biggest of which attracted up to 200,000 people. Human rights activists say more than 30,000 people have been detained since the demonstrations began, with thousands beaten. The United States and the European Union have responded to the election and the crackdown by introducing sanctions against Belarusian officials. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the main opposition challenger in the vote who was forced to leave the country under pressure from authorities, said that Tuesday’s sentence demonstrated that “the truth has become a crime for the regime.” “Lukashenko's resignation and new elections are needed to end the horrible political and legal crisis,” Tsikhanouskaya said. “We are confident that after he steps down all those who were convicted on political grounds will be rehabilitated.” On Tuesday, the Belarusian authorities demanded the extradition of Tsikhanouskaya, who has lived in neighbouring Lithuania, on charges of plotting violent riots. Tsikhanouskaya's team rejected the charges, saying in a statement that she has always supported only peaceful protests. The Associated Press
WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is loosening many restrictions on stores, gyms, restaurants and household gatherings as its COVID-19 case numbers continue to drop. Starting Friday, maximum capacity at stores and restaurants will increase to 50 per cent from 25, although restaurants will still have to ensure that only members of the same household sit together. Indoor religious services will be able to run at 25 per cent capacity or 100 people — whichever is lower — up from 10 per cent. Licensed establishments will be able to reopen their video lottery terminals. People who want to hold gatherings in their home will have more options. Currently, people are allowed to designate up to two people from different households as visitors. On Friday, people will be able to choose between that option or designating one entire household to visit, in essence, creating two-home bubbles. Outdoors, a limit on public gatherings will jump to 10 people from five. "Manitoba's case numbers and test positivity rates continue to trend in the right direction," Dr. Brent Roussin, chief public health officer, said Tuesday. "That's why we're able to begin to look at other options to cautiously reopen services in Manitoba." The Opposition said the government should expand the two-households rule to restaurants. "I wonder why a grandparent couldn't sit with their grandkids at a restaurant, if, in fact, they are part of that same (two-) household bubble," NDP Leader Wab Kinew said. Health officials reported two additional COVID-19 deaths and 64 new cases Tuesday. However, eight cases from unspecified dates were removed due to data corrections for a net increase of 56. The percentage of people testing positive, which peaked near 13 per cent in the fall, was down to four per cent. Roussin said COVID-19 variants remain a concern. One new case involving a variant first seen in the United Kingdom was reported Tuesday, as were two cases involving a variant that first surfaced in South Africa. The looser rules to take effect Friday will also allow fitness facilities to restart group classes, although masks will be required. Casinos, bingo halls, theatres and concert venues must remain closed. "These changes, once again, are cautious changes to ensure we continue to protect and safeguard Manitoba lives," Premier Brian Pallister said. He also announced another round of grants to businesses and charities that have had to scale back due to public-health measures. Like the previous two rounds, the new one will offer each business up to $5,000 to make up for some lost revenue. The loosening of some restrictions is not a sign that life is returning to normal, Roussin said. People must remain cautious, wear a mask and stay home if they are ill. "We are getting closer ... but we still have more work to do." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the decision to delay second doses of COVID-19 vaccine by four months is based on scientific evidence combined with real-world data from the province’s immunization campaign that began in late December.
MALATYA, Turkey — Canadian Atiba Hutchinson's 59th-minute goal lifted Besiktas to a 1-0 win over Yeni Malatyaspor in Turkish Super Lig play Tuesday. The 38-year-old midfielder from Brampton, Ont., lost his marker and was found alone in the penalty box by teammate Vincent Aboubakar. Hutchinson drove towards the six-yard box and faked a shot twice, freezing the goalkeeper before roofing a right-footed shot. Fellow Canadian Cyle Larin also started for the Black Eagles. Larin and Aboubakar are tied for second in Super Lig scoring with 13 goals behind Hatayspor's Aaron Boupendza's 18. Besiktas trails league-leading Galatasaray on goal difference with both teams at 18-5-3. Malatyaspor stands 13th at 7-10-10. Hutchinson, who joined Besiktas in 2013, has won 84 caps for Canada in an international career that saw him make his first senior appearance in 2003. The 25-year-old Larin, also from Brampton, has 31 caps and eight goals for Canada. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — Human remains of early New Yorkers that were discovered during construction in and around Washington Square Park were reinterred inside the park on Tuesday, New York City officials announced. The remains, uncovered during construction between 2008 and 2017, were reburied with assistance from the city Landmarks Preservation Commission and Brooklyn's historic Green-Wood Cemetery, Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said. "Today we honour these individuals and acknowledge Washington Square Park’s history as a final resting place for thousands of early New Yorkers,” Silver said. “We are so grateful to our colleagues at Green-Wood Cemetery and the Landmarks Preservation Commission for their expertise and guidance on this important project.” Sarah Carroll, chair of the landmarks panel, thanked the Parks Department "for ensuring that archaeology was appropriately completed, and the human remains were respectfully treated throughout the process.” Washington Square Park in Manhattan's Greenwich Village neighbourhood was constructed in the 1850s at the site of a former potter’s field. Thousands of people were buried there between 1797 and 1825, officials said. The partial remains that were reinterred on Tuesday were placed in a wooden box and buried in a planting bed with an engraved paving stone marking the spot, Parks Department officials said. Because the remains were fragmentary, forensic analysis did not yield details about the individuals, the officials said. The Associated Press
Which Canadian political party has the best interests of Black people at heart?
Windsor police say an arrest has been made and officers are seeking a second suspect after a shooting over the weekend. The police service responded to a report of shots fired on Downing Street at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning, according to a media release issued on Tuesday. Officers found a vehicle that had damage consistent with gunfire. Police believe the victim was driving in the area when two suspects in another vehicle fired shots and drove away. The victim, who knows the suspects, was not injured, police said. The following day, a suspect was arrested and a vehicle allegedly involved was seized. A 21-year-old Windsor man is charged with attempted murder and possession of a weapon (firearm) dangerous to the public peace. A 20-year-old man from Windsor is wanted on the same charges. Police say the firearm has not been located and the suspect is considered armed and dangerous. More from CBC Windsor
Councillor Daryn Watson Absent Request For Decision (RFD) Two RFDs were reviewed and then passed: · Alberta Police Interim Advisory Board's (APIAB) Quarterly Report: Council received the APIAB's first quarterly report. The report outlines the work that the board has done since last October. A motion was passed to accept this report as information. · Natural Gas Aggregation Round: The Alberta Municipal Services Corporation (AMSC) is offering customers who are in their energy program to take part in their next procurement round for natural gas. This will take advantage of buying at a lower price than the market price. These lower prices can be locked in for a duration allowing for budget stability and long-term planning. The Town's current natural gas pricing expires at the end of the 2022 calendar year. CAO Lewis will begin negotiations on a 2023 – 2026 contract to take advantage of lower pricing in a locked-down rate. Correspondence & Information · Community Futures/Ballad COVID-19 Fund Project Letter: The joint COVID-19 impact study is moving forward. The study explores employer/employee needs and workforce impacts due to COVID-19 and identifies immediate and future assistance for the business community and labour market. The Town has emailed all of the businesses that were on their initial list. CAO Report · Started the Alberta Safety Codes formal audit on Feb. 22. It is scheduled to wrap up on Feb. 26. The Town is also working with Superior Safety Codes to put together the information and review for the Safety Codes yearly self-audit, which is due in March. · The kickoff meeting for the Fireguard project was held on Tuesday, Feb. 16. Work started on Feb. 24; Blue Ridge is currently working east of the fire road. · Met with Sea Hawk consulting on Feb. 11 to review Emergency Management items and reviewed the audit of Fire Services. · Working with Alberta Parks to finalize the agreements for the operation of local campgrounds. With the Freeman Lake campground, there is the potential that they will replace the outhouse, perform some tree clean-up, and provide picnic tables and fire rings. The Town is also exploring the possibility of Alberta Parks doing some repairs on the camp house. · Working on the Statements of Financials and Expenditures (SFEs) for the Municipal Stimulus Program and Municipal Operating Support Transfer grants for the province. · The next Statistics Canada population census will take place in May 2021. There does not appear to be anyone from Swan Hills that has applied for the census worker positions with Statistics Canada. · The Provincial budget is scheduled to be tabled on Thursday, Feb. 25. There are not a lot of hints from the provincial government as to what it may contain. · The COVID-19 vaccination program has opened up to seniors that were born in 1946 or earlier. The response has been overwhelming; by 10:00 AM, AHS had 9000 people booked for vaccination appointments. There has been frustration because the system did reach the point that they couldn't handle the volume of calls. · The province is supposed to move to Step 2 of the COVID-19 reopening plan on Mar. 1. The province had indicated to the municipalities that they would be given roughly a week's notice of potential changes, but so far, there hasn't been any information beyond a hint that changes may be announced on Mar. 1. It is unclear if the province will move fully into Step 2 or if only part of the Step 2 changes will be implemented. There are some complications; while the hospitalization numbers are below the threshold to move to the next step, the R number (a measure of a disease's ability to spread) is still higher than the target value. · Douglas Borg, the Returning Officer for the 2021 Municipal Election, will be coming for a meeting on Feb. 26 to start the preparations for the coming election. · The lease for the 50+ building is coming to an end. The Town will be reviewing the lease to see if there are any changes needed before it is renewed. Operations and Infrastructure · Upon further evaluation of the Emergency Fire Water pump replacement project, we have decided that powering all internal equipment in the event of a power outage is a more effective solution for the facility. In an extended power outage, we would maintain full capability at the reservoir, not only for our ability to fight fire in this condition but to continue full service to residents and businesses alike. · The failed sewage lift station pump is still on backorder due to COVID. · Our level one operator at WTP has now completed course requirements for distribution level one and will write their final exam to complete this course as soon as it is practical. · The Public Works Supervisor has resigned. We will be interviewing for this position over the next few weeks. Reports · Mayor Craig Wilson reported on a meeting with the Barrhead and District Social Housing Association on Feb. 17. The meeting was held at their new facility and included a tour. Phase one of the Hillcrest Manor building has been completed and has passed all of the municipal standards (plumbing, heating, mechanical, etc.) and is waiting for the lodge's approval. Once this has been completed and residents can move into the building, demolition and then construction will begin on phase two. -There was a Golden Triangle meeting by Zoom. The Swan Hills and Fox Creek areas are in excellent shape, but the Whitecourt area isn't in very good condition due to mild weather and lack of snow. · Councillor Carol Webster attended the Growing the North Conference last month, noting the Economic Developers Alberta (EDA) is working on an economic recovery tool kit with free downloads for municipalities. They have also been working on an insider app for a support local initiative. A disaster management tool has been completed for businesses to develop a ready-made disaster management plan. Webster has shared the document with local and regional Chambers of Commerce. -Community Futures Yellowhead East (CFYE) met on Feb. 18. The board approved their 20/21 budget and operational plans and approved the application of a SIP grant (Sectorial Initiatives Program). This provincial grant offers up to $2.5 M/year for 3 years to a total of $7.5 million to assist key sectors of the economy in identifying, forecasting, and addressing their human resources and skills issues. -GROWTH AB met on Feb. 23, inviting CFYE and Ballad consulting to assist the group in determining the future plans for the organization. Made up of 6 regional municipalities, the board plans a restructuring of the non-profit group with a strategic planning session in March with the intent to explore membership and organizational restructuring. -The Regional Chamber of Commerce met on Feb. 24. The Alberta Chamber of Commerce has received a $4.5 million grant to help out smaller Chambers of Commerce, which will soon be rolling out to C of C’s across the province. Two new business support programs were introduced: The Canada United Grant (administered through the Government of Ontario) is open to all Canadian Businesses offers $5000 in funding to businesses with revenue of $150,000 to $3 million to recover costs related to COVID-19 (PPE, renovations, e-commerce development, etc.); the second is the Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit which will take over from the Small and Medium Enterprise Grant (which will conclude on Mar. 31) to provide up to an additional $10,000 to the small businesses that have been impacted the hardest by the pandemic. · Councillor Elizabeth Krawiec also reported on the Grow the North Conference. There was great information on winter and shoulder season tourism as well as the future of hydrogen. -Communities in Bloom will be setting up a meeting to discuss planning for the year. Councillor Krawiec is now the Chairperson/contact person. · Councillor Jeff Goebel received a notification about the upcoming wellness fair and sent it to a wildlife biologist in the area to inquire about adding a bear awareness demonstration to the proceedings. · CAO Bill Lewis updated Council that the wellness fair has been moved to September in the hopes that the pandemic conditions will be more favourable. Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah girl whose football skills won her fame online has lost her court bid to have school districts create football teams for girls. A federal judge ruled against Sam Gordon on Monday, finding that Utah school districts aren't legally required to create a separate team because girls who want to play football can play with the teams traditionally filled with boys. U.S. District Court Judge Howard Nielson acknowledged that schools and coaches could do more to encourage girls to play. But he also acknowledged concerns that without Gordon's star power there might not be enough girls to keep a league running that would have to be built from the ground up since no other high school in the U.S. has a similar program. Gordon's playing videos have racked up millions of views on YouTube since she was 9, but she and other female players argued they were worried about playing with physically larger boys as teenagers. The case also included testimony about the harassment girls have endured while playing with all-boy teams. Gordon argued plenty of girls were interested in playing, pointing to an all-female league she started with her father six years ago that’s drawn hundreds of girls from the Salt Lake City area. Those numbers show girls want to play and could fill a roster, her lawyers argued. But U.S. District Court Judge Howard Nielson disagreed. He found that no district policy had discouraged girls from playing, and that any harassment would violate athletic association rules. While schools and coaches could do more to accommodate girls, “the court is not convinced that it is required by the Constitution," he wrote. He also found the districts raised significant questions about whether there would truly be enough girls within the district boundaries to build up a large enough team without Gordon, who is now 17 and has appeared at the ESPN awards and in Super Bowl commercials. A smaller team could increase the risk of injury, he found. The districts were represented by Assistant Utah Attorney General Rachel Terry, who said she was pleased by the ruling and the finding that they did not violate the Equal Protection clause or Title IX. “The districts will continue to strive to expand opportunities for all students and to ensure equal opportunities for male and female students in athletics and activities," she said in a statement. Brent Gordon, Sam Gordon’s father who is also an attorney, said he and his daughter will continue their own work to expand football opportunities for girls in Utah. “We appreciate the Judge’s efforts to have this trial during the pandemic so that the girls’ stories could be told and voices heard,” Gordon wrote in a statement. “Those voices will continue until equality in athletics is reached in Utah and across the country.” ___ Eppolito is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Lindsay Whitehurst And Sophia Eppolito, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — The federal government is telling an appeal court it had to provide U.S. authorities with customer information from Canadian banks to avoid possibly "catastrophic effects" on Canada's economy. The U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, known as FATCA, requires banks and other institutions in countries outside the United States to report information about accounts held by U.S. individuals, including Canadians with dual citizenship. Among the information from Canada being shared with the U.S. are the names and addresses of account holders, account numbers, account balances, and details such as interest, dividends and other income. In a newly filed submission to the Federal Court of Appeal, the Canadian government says failure to comply would have had serious effects on Canada's financial sector, its customers and the broader economy. Two U.S.-born women who now live in Canada, Gwendolyn Louise Deegan and Kazia Highton, challenged the constitutionality of Canadian provisions implementing the 2014 agreement between the countries that makes the information-sharing possible. The two unsuccessfully argued in Federal Court that the provisions breach the Charter of Rights guarantee preventing unreasonable seizure, and they now want the Court of Appeal to overturn the ruling. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — The Quebec government has reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March, Health Minister Christian Dube said Tuesday. Dube told a news conference that some 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments for vaccinations by March 15. COVID-19 vaccinations are open to Quebecers aged 85 and older in outlying regions, while they are open to people as young as 70 in the Montreal area. Dube said the Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the B.1.1.7 mutation that was first identified in the United Kingdom. "We're afraid," Dube said. "We’re afraid the Montreal region is the calm before the storm." Quebec reported 588 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and eight more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. Hospitalizations rose by 16 to 628, and 121 people were in intensive care, a drop of one. Dube said that while the general COVID-19 curve is dropping, cases of the U.K. variant are rising quickly. The province has confirmed 137 cases of variants, most of which have been identified in Montreal and involve the U.K. mutation. He said there are also 1,095 presumptive variant cases across Quebec. The province began vaccinating older members of the general public at mass vaccine centres on Monday, and administered 16,458 doses over the course of the day. Dube said the first day was a success despite some small issues, including long lineups at some sites. He said adjustments will be made in the coming days, and also asked people not to show up too early for their appointments in order to avoid a long wait. The minister said mass vaccination would be expanded in other regions as quickly as possible. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
Halton police say a big fluffy white puppy is back with his owners after being stolen along with a pick-up truck. An unknown person returned Hudson the Great Pyrenees pup on Monday. The dog was discovered tied on his family's front porch. Hudson had been missing since the Toyota Tacoma pickup truck he was sitting in was stolen from a Real Canadian Superstore in Milton on Feb. 26. Police tweeted Hudson's picture and shared information about the truck in hopes of getting information from the public — a post that was shared some 700 times. Police said Tuesday they're still investigating to try to find the truck and whoever stole it. The vehicle is a 2015 Toyota Tacoma with the licence plate is AY88007.